Planning for Adversity: Ensuring business communication continuity with the cloud.

Your new marketing campaign was a huge success and your office is receiving the highest level of calls you’ve ever experienced in your growing business.  Your staff is taking live calls, checking voicemail and returning customer inquiries as fast as they can.

Can you imagine the impact if your phone system goes down mid-morning – at the peak of the call volume?

Who knows why disaster strikes?

It could be a clumsy utility worker, a lightening storm or some other unpredictable problem.  Phone system issues are a reality with traditional telecommunications systems and can create enormous business headaches for you.

If your business hasn’t planned for adversity with a disaster or redundancy plan, those kinds of communication failures can significantly disrupt your business from, well, doing business.

What is your communication continuity plan?

In the past, developing a disaster recovery plan meant that your IT staff would need to re-engineer your business phone system so it could be recovered successfully. If you’re a growing business, you likely don’t have that kind of unlimited resources for equipment and infrastructure.

This is where cloud communication can help.

Cloud phone systems have greatly advanced system recovery and business continuity in the face of an outage. They’re hosted virtually, so there’s no need to worry about the types of disastrous scenarios that used to disrupt on-premise or landline phone services.

If a phone line is cut, cloud-based systems are totally unaffected. If Internet service goes down, phone calls can be re-routed to backup cell phone numbers or other business offices.

3 Essential Business Benefits of Switching to the Cloud

As you think about a continuity plan for your phone system, there are several important benefits to the cloud that you want to consider.

  1. Your phones stay up and running – always. Even if a total outage strikes, wiping out your office’s power and Internet service, cloud-based phone systems allow employees to connect from anywhere — their home, a coffee shop, or wherever they can tap into power and a data connection.
  2. Redundancy is built into the architecture in all the applications. This means that the system isolates any issues and the redundancy allows you to troubleshoot during business hours rather than coming in after-hours.
  3. Cloud-based phone systems are completely scalable. If you need to re-direct call flow from one site to another, it’s very easy to do without any disruption in call quality or service.

Simply put, recovery and continuity is a non-issue.

With these benefits in mind, the question, then, is why you wouldn’t switch to the cloud?

Ramping Up: Deploying a Phone System that Works for Remote Employees

What if you were challenged by your CEO to hire a significant number of new employees within the next 6 months?  He would want you to find the right talent that will do the jobs exceptionally well and meet the demands of your growing business.

As a senior manager, you know that finding employees with the right stuff will require you to look outside of your current office locations.  Your goal is to find the right people – location is no longer critical.  And, you need to remain close to the new team with fewer layers and more attentive communication.

Of course each new employee will have a personal smartphone they can use remotely, but you know that business calls are better conducted on a private line that provides more reliable call quality.

You need your team to be efficient and professional as quickly as possible.

How will you ensure you have a phone system for the new remote employees that will enable them to be productive right away?  You know your current on-premise phone system may limit the efficiency and capabilities of your off-site staff.

On-Premise Phone Systems May Limit Remote Employees

Generally, the benefits of on-premise phone systems are about reliability, caller identification, and voicemail functionality. Businesses that have onsite systems want to maintain control of their technology, have concerns about data privacy and often have international locations.

Modern cloud phones systems, on the other hand, allow employees (including remote workers) to:

  • Quickly set up new phone lines
  • Take advantage of click-to-dial technology
  • Implement detailed call analytics
  • Easily link their phone to CRM and ERP applications
  • Get live help directly from their phones without engaging IT

If you’re growing, hiring and building a business that leverages remote staff, then an on-premise phone system without cloud functionality might be limiting their productivity.

Is a Cloud Phone System the Solution?

With cloud-based VoIP technology, you no longer have to deal with these challenges. Onboarding a new remote employee is as simple as purchasing a phone, connecting it to the Internet and downloading some software.

Gone are the added setup, management, maintenance costs and headaches. Your employees have immediate access to the exact same functionality as your on-site employees. And perhaps best of all, cloud phone providers ensure your phone system is constantly upgraded and protected. All these changes provide your company improved uptime, call reliability and customer experience.

In a word, a cloud-based phone system just makes things simpler.

If you’re looking for a more effective way to sync remote workers to your company’s network, then you may want to consider moving to the cloud. Your remote employees — and their customers — will thank you for it.

 

If you’d like to examine cloud phone system options for your company, contact us and let’s determine what makes the most sense for your company’s situation.

 

DT Receives Veteran Institute for Procurement GROW Certification

Deerwood Technologies recently completed the Veteran Institute Procurement (VIP) GROW Program, a comprehensive training and certification program that helps veteran-owned businesses strengthen their ability to win government contracts and do business with both military and civilian agencies they once served in uniform.

On June 22, 2017, Deerwood Technologies was one of 49 businesses from 15 states and the District of Columbia to graduate from the Veteran Institute for Procurement (VIP) GROW Program.

After completing the VIP Start program in April 2016, this seemed like the next logical step for Jim Mayne, owner at Deerwood Technologies. “The VIP program has helped us grow our public sector client base to complement our commercial business, giving us an advantage that most IT Solutions and Managed Security Services Providers don’t possess,” said Mayne.

Jim served in the US Navy in Pensacola, Florida from 1976-1980, after which he worked for major financial institutions in Minneapolis, Minnesota before establishing Deerwood Technologies in 2006.  He also enlisted briefly as a US Navy reservist with the Naval Intelligence Processing System Support Activity from 1986-1988.

The first program of its kind in the nation, VIP GROW is conducted by specialists in the essentials necessary to win government contracts: law, accounting, insurance, human resources, marketing, and proposals. It also provides participants with access to Federal and prime contracting executives along with a national network of veteran owned small businesses that they can team with on opportunities.

Since its launch in 2009, VIP GROW has helped 727 service-disabled and veteran-owned small businesses grow. This three-day, 27-hour comprehensive certification program has volunteer instructors and is provided at no cost to participants; being fully funded by the Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation, partners, and VIP sponsors.

“We are honored to give back to the men and women who served our country by providing them with the tools necessary to succeed as government contractors,” said Barbara Ashe, President of the Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation. “We hope this training fosters their success as businesses and employers.” 

For additional info about the VIP program visit www.NationalVip.org.

To our GUARDIAN Network Support® clients:

The purpose of this note is to notify you of proactive, preventative actions we’ve taken on your behalf for your GUARDIAN Managed Workstations and Servers.

Last month, Intel released information regarding a firmware flaw in certain computers with their chipsets in general business computers.  Consumer PC’s and data center servers are not affected.  Read more: Intel® Product Security Bulletin

In recent weeks, Deerwood Technologies engineers identified client computers with this vulnerability, created and tested a script to mitigate the security risk.

Late last week, we completed actions to disable the Local Manageability Service (LMS) on susceptible client computers to prevent an unprivileged local attacker from gaining system privileges. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact any member of the Deerwood Technologies team!

How to Empower Employee Collaboration with Cloud Communications

Remember the days when the only way you could empower your team to collaborate was in face-to-face meetings that required time and travel that were planned far in advance? That brings up not-so-fond memories of securing landlines, delayed flights, flip charts, windowless meeting rooms and maybe even slide projectors!

Of course in today’s business world, this is an outdated and impractical proposition. You and your team are mobile, on demand. Your mobility requires today’s flexible business communication tools that enable quick teamwork to solve business problems.

But how do you create collaboration when you and your staff may be located all over the state, or even the country?

 

Communication Tools that Drive Collaboration

It all depends on the tools you are using to gather team members together to share information, plan and innovate.

Many businesses lack the communication equipment their teams need to work together effectively.

In today’s business world, your employees access information from their desks, laptops, cell phones and a variety of other devices and locations.  To share that information they use email or separate web applications that require additional steps to use.  Even with web conferencing, the personal cell phones that remote employees rely on may not be connected to the company’s main phone system to join a conversation.

Unfortunately, your current phone system may be creating limitations for you and your team.  It’s drastically more difficult for remote employees to access company systems for conferencing and voicemail with personal landlines and cell phones.  And since it doesn’t make business sense to fund frequent company meetings, you need another way to encourage employees to work together whenever and wherever they need.

Thankfully, there’s a relatively simple way to solve that problem: Implementing a company-owned communication system that’s flexible, mobile, and collaborative.

 

Enable Mobile Employees with Functional and Professional Tools

A unified communication system encourages collaboration. Team members receive company calls, access corporate voicemail, and setup virtual conferences from a basic Internet connection.

It’s one click to start a meeting or share a document.  No more separate emails, links and phone numbers.  It just happens in the flow of the conversation.

Traditional phone systems, on the other hand, often hinder collaboration because of their limited mobile capability. This results in lost money, lost productivity and lost opportunities.  To top it off, you may be paying more in the form of multiple carriers and disparate systems.

Cloud communication systems give you a continuous connection to your partners, co-workers, customers and suppliers from almost any location your employees are working.  Your teams can collaborate as easily from the road as they can from the office.

Forget about fragmented conference calls and impersonal emails.  In today’s business environment, it just makes sense to bring teams together using cloud technology.

Deerwood Technologies can help!

Unified Communications Changes the Nature of Work

In the 21st century, work is no longer a place you go, but a thing you do.  That’s the nature of the changing work place.  And your phone system needs to work with you – in multiple locations, with a mobile and growing staff, and a customer that demands high quality communications.  You do more.  Your phone system needs to support you, not hinder you.

As your business changes and grows, you’re likely hiring employees that will work remotely and flexibly.  You may have sales people who telecommute, consultants who are in the field or staff who work in remote offices.  You might be hiring millennials that expect to work with greater flexibility.  You are creating your workplace to meet the changing demands of your employees and your customers.

In fact, there are some estimates that up to half of workforces will be working outside of traditional offices by 2020.  And, if you’re trying to attract millennials to your staff, flexibility is key to them wanting to work for you.

Will Your Current Phone System Support this Changing Work Environment?

Today’s organizations must find ways to empower all of their employees to work effectively and efficiently from any location at any time. Thankfully, cloud technology is making this kind of flexibility a reality — allowing employees to access virtually any file, application, network, or communication service from any place with a secure Internet connection.

With a cloud phone system, you can hire staff wherever and whenever you need them, and ensure they will be able to connect consistently and professionally.

Meet Your Employees Where They Are

Cloud phone systems allow team members to receive company calls, access corporate voicemail, and setup virtual conferences from a basic Internet connection.  When employees step out of the office, calls can be forwarded and certain features can be accessed from their cell phone

Traditional phone systems, on the other hand, often hinder remote workers’ communication effectiveness because of their limited mobile capabilities.

This often results in lost money, lost productivity, and big headaches. Even worse, businesses often pay more for traditional phone systems in the form of equipment maintenance and outages.

Unified communication systems create an overall user experience that makes people feel like an effective part of the team, wherever they are.  At the end of the day, that’s good for your team, your company, and, most importantly, your customers.

If you want to unify your communications system with your business, employees and customers, then it might be time to consider making a change to the cloud.

Deerwood Technologies can help!

When cyberattacks come knockin’.

(Sent to Deerwood Technology’s GUARDIAN Network Support®clients on Saturday, May 13th.)

Yesterday, a massive cyberattack spread globally in a only a matter of minutes.

Gizmodo: There’s a Massive Ransomware Attack Spreading Globally Right Now
CNN: Massive ransomware attack hits 99 countries
Time: Cyberattack That Crippled U.K. Hospitals Is Global

The initial attack was via email, through spam. These messages are typically fake invoices, job offers and other lures which are sent to random email addresses. Within the email is a .zip file and once clicked, that initiates the WannaCry infection.

The attack is then spread on internal networks with a worm which abuses SMB, a network file sharing protocol. Other aspects of the malware leverage file-less exploitation techniques, and the malware is morphing rapidly in the wild with over a dozen variants seen thus far.

GUARDIAN Managed Network

Clients with Unified Threat Management (UTM) features on your network firewall/router devices have gateway anti-virus and intrusion protection as a very important first line of defense.

GUARDIAN Managed Workstations and Servers

Computers and servers with Managed Endpoint Protection are also protected from this malware. The Advanced Active Protection feature of our service has been shown to be effective at stopping even previously-unknown strains of this threat.

Most of your servers and desktop/laptop computers have already had the Microsoft maintenance and patches applied for this particular vulnerability.  This morning, Deerwood Technologies engineers completed a review of your computers and have manually pushed the patches to any computers that may have been powered down or off-network in recent weeks.

GUARDIAN Managed Backup

Business critical data on servers and workstations backed up both locally and in our secure, cloud datacenters provides yet another safeguard from ransomwarefile encryption.

While not infallible, these aspects of your GUARDIAN Network Support® work together effectively to provide business continuity protection for your and your customers’ data.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at your convenience.

Thank you for your business!

Jim Mayne

How to Empower Employee Collaboration with Cloud Communications

Remember the days when the only way you could empower your team to collaborate was in face-to-face meetings that required time and travel that were planned far in advance? That brings up not-so-fond memories of securing landlines, delayed flights, flip charts, windowless meeting rooms and maybe even slide projectors!

Continue reading “How to Empower Employee Collaboration with Cloud Communications”

How Your Phone System Hinders Business Growth

Here’s the good news. Business is booming and you’re ready to grow your employee base to meet the increasing level of customer demand. And in today’s business environment that means your employees need to be available anytime, anywhere and on nearly any device, which requires a business phone system with flexibility, mobility and scalability.

Continue reading “How Your Phone System Hinders Business Growth”

Demystifying the Top 3 Concerns about Cloud Phone Solutions

There are many reasons organizations are turning to cloud technology. It’s flexible, scalable, offers cost savings and has the mobile features to meet your business and employee demands. But what about your phone system?

You may be considering updating your phone system to the cloud, but have concerns about security, control and risk. The reality is that world-class cloud phone systems have largely addressed these worries. Continue reading “Demystifying the Top 3 Concerns about Cloud Phone Solutions”