microsoft office 365

You’re Not Using Office 365 Yet? These Four Reasons Will Change Your Mind

So, you’re still using Office 2013? 2010? 2007? Is your team really being as productive as you want? Are they doing the best work possible?

Oh, and by the way, how’s your Myspace profile doing? Did you check it on your iPhone 4?

You can’t use outdated technologies and expect your business to stay competitive. It’s time to consider making the move to Office 365. With a subscription to Office 365, you boost your team’s ability to communicate and collaborate from anywhere, anytime and on any device. Plus, you have exclusive upgrades and new features as soon as they’re released.

If you need more convincing, here are four reasons that will change your mind:

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1. Access Your Favorite Tools In One Place

Your team uses tools like Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote to conquer their to-do lists every day. So, it’s imperative to your business’s success that they’re able to access these tools throughout the workday without any hassle. When you decide to make the move, Office 365 works flawlessly with the programs you already know well and use.

You get the same great features you rely on, as well as additional powerful capabilities only found in Office 365. The best part? You’re empowered to take productivity on-the-go and access emails, important documents, contacts and more from anywhere on any device.

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2. Effective Collaboration In Real-Time

So, you want your team to create innovative work that leaves your competitors in the dust, but you’re not sure what you can contribute to make this task easier? Give them the gift of simple communication and collaboration.

Office 365 provides you with the opportunity to share large files in and out of the office and gives you a single location to find real-time versions of documents, even when multiple users are working on them. And to keep the lines of communication open, your team can initiate online meetings and instant message each other with Skype for Business.

Microsoft Office 365 Support

3. Predictable Costs Fuel Expansion

New heights, massive growth, well-deserved success – those were your big picture goals when you started your business, right? Well, for that dream to come to fruition you need tools and technology that grow with you as evolve. Office 365 offers the flexibility and scalability you need with a predictable pay-as-you-go subscription.

With this subscription, it’s easy to provide your team with only the services and tools they need, adding cost-effective savings to your bottom line. Plus, Office 365 makes adding new users a smooth, seamless process.

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4. The Latest Releases & Automatic Updates

If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you have to avoid getting stuck with outdated tools and technology. Luckily, Office 365 breaks the cycle of installing Microsoft’s latest release, waiting a few years for their next product to be announced and then another year to actually install it.

Once you migrate to Office 365, you’ll have instant access to the latest updates and new features as soon as they’re ready, so you’re always ahead of the curve.

Still Need Help?

While Office 365 was designed for businesses with no in-house IT staff to easily use, navigating the waters of data migration can often be tricky. Our friendly and professional Technology Consultants deliver reliable support to make your transition and implementation pain-free and seamless. But, that’s not where we stop. We provide continual support to remotely diagnose and resolve your Office 365 hiccups in record time.

 


Is Unified Communications Right for Your Business?

Did you know that 95% of people in the workforce say that face-to-face interactions are essential to building long-term business relationships? If that’s true, why do so many businesses put up with traditional telecommunication systems? Unified communications is your go-to solution for improving real-time video conferencing and virtual face-to-face interactions. Whether you’re looking for a better telecom solution or have never considered UC; use this quick checklist to see if your business needs UC services.

  1. Is your team neglecting valuable leads during call-transfers?
  2. Are you buying multiple subscriptions for email, instant messenger, telephones and automated systems?
  3. Are you losing time sending files back-and-forth between internal and external team members?
  4. Are you missing out on nonverbal cues because you lack video conferencing capabilities?
  5. Is your team pointing fingers when it comes to a failed sell?
  6. Have you been told that your existing solution doesn’t sync with a new solution?
  7. Are you unhappy with the overall reliability of your current telecom solution?
  8. Do you have trouble keeping track of who is and isn’t on a call with a customer?
  9. Do you struggle to connect customers with the right expert the first time they call?
  10. Can you record customer conversations to help improve their experience?

 

Answered ‘Yes’ 1-2 Times: Your current solution looks pretty good, but for how long? Unified communications integrates your favorite platforms for a long-term solution that scales with your business.

Answered ‘Yes’ 3-6 Times: Not bad; but not great. You’ve got some work to do when it comes to providing seamless telecom experiences for your customers.

Answered ‘Yes’ 8-10 Times: Your business is in critical need of a better telecommunication solution. If you keep putting it off, you’ll not only be hurting your business, you’ll be ruining your customer relationships.

 

Whether you need minimal or maximum help, contact us today to learn more about UC and how our managed solutions help you solve your toughest telecom challenges.


Top 5 Tech Tools For Taming Your Remote Workforce

It’s the 21st century, which means it’s not uncommon for organizations to have some workers in the office and others telecommuting from various locations. In fact, according to a Global Workplace Analytics report, the number of telecommuting workers has increased 115 percent in the last decade.

Taming a remote workforce is a whole different beast. It requires extra care and attention to keep communication, collaboration and processes under control. It’s a daunting task. But fortunately, an IT managed services provider can help.

Here are 5 managed services for your remote workforce:

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1. VoIP Phone Systems

One of the best remote workforce tools is VoIP. That is because voice over IP phone systems operate over high-speed wireless connections, so it can be accessed from anywhere. Not to mention, you gain valuable features like the ability to enable video calls and dial in for conferences and quickly add new numbers or extensions.

Best of all, it doesn’t break the bank! Many companies are making the switch to VoIP because it saves small businesses an average of 40 percent on their total phone bill, while larger businesses see an average of 50 to 75 percent savings after making the switch.

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2. Managed Security

A secure end-to-end solution is a necessity with such a widespread infrastructure. And this may be the greatest challenge for a remote workforce: how to keep your business-critical data and applications secure when accessed outside the safety of the office. Installing network security provisions and setting up alerts for when problems occur is a good start.

More than half of workers in the US are developing BYOD programs. Oftentimes, BYOD (bring your own device) leaves holes in your security, so some companies have gone one step further. A VPN (virtual private network) is among the safest options for your remote workforce, while you might also want to consider trying out the best cloud computing solutions for a full list of secure productivity tools.

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3. The Cloud

Workers must be able to easily access information when they need it. Without this, your productivity slips, as even the simplest task is made frustrating and complicated.

Cloud-hosted applications like Office 365 connect all employees across great distances. Not only do they have the same tools to keep things standard, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Skype, and Lync, they also have one platform to exchange information and secure files in an easy-to-access location.

In addition, many organizations are switching to cloud-hosted applications and storage options to unleash more processing power and speed up everyday business.

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4. Data Backup & Recovery

What’s the scariest part about a remote workforce? Big time loss – losing files, data, processes and entire systems to the elements, human and computer errors. When disaster strikes, you need a backup plan, and without it, most businesses sink under the pressure.

Therefore, all remote workforces need a data backup and recovery plan. When employees who are all over the place and left to their own devices exchange, store and access critical files every day, you have an entire business in your data stores to lose. A backup plan is your friend.

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5. Remote Managed Services

With managed services, it’s as if you already had your own IT department. And not just your average IT department – a whole team of IT experts with years of collective, real-world experience in solving the toughest problems and keeping up with equipment provisioning. They do all the maintenance, monitoring, securing and backing up for your business’s precious data-stores, while you sit back and watch how smoothly things work.

Many companies choose to employ a remote managed services provider because it means there’s always someone to call when technology goes wrong. And this proactive approach leads to savings on break-fix models in the long run.

 

What solutions does your organization need to succeed with a remote workforce?

Schedule a Free Assessment!

One of our experts will guide you through the tools you need in order to maximize the productivity of your remote workforce.

 


CES Products

Top 5 CES Products: The Best Way to Achieve Your Goals in 2018

It’s true that there’s never a wrong time to buy new technology, but what’s the best time? The beginning of a new year, of course! With every new year comes new technology innovating the way you get business done. Your goals are fresh in your mind with strategic plan to achieve them, and now you have a stronger infrastructure to support you along the way.

Last month’s 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took place in Las Vegas, attracting over 170,000 attendees and showcasing thousands of new technologies, and these five CES products are going to skyrocket your productivity:

  1. Asus Lyra Trio
    Think of all the spots in your office that your Wi-Fi signal doesn’t reach. Now, imagine all the tasks you could cross off your to-do list if those dead spots didn’t exist. Asus announced the release of the Lyra Trio and the end of your dead spots. The Lyra Trio is a dual-band, tri-hub mesh Wi-Fi system with unique antenna placement that delivers Wi-Fi to every corner of your office, so you can check off all of your online tasks with no interruptions.
  2. Lenovo Miix Tablet 630
    Who wants to lug around a laptop while traveling? But on the other hand, some tablets just don’t offer the functionalities you need to get work done. The new Lenovo Miix Tablet 630 brings working on the go to a whole new level. The tablet provides the power and productivity of a laptop with the always on and connected mobility of a smartphone while weighing less than three pounds. You can even get up to 20 hours of work done before needing to find an outlet.
  3. The Pup Pocket Scanner
    Doesn’t it seem like you only ever need a scanner when you don’t have access to one? Well, say goodbye to low-quality images of documents taken on your phone, and hello to high quality and easily stored images. The Pup Pocket Scanner, dubbed the world’s fastest pocket scanner, is a powerful tool that allows you to scan, store and share all of your important documents with just one click.
  4. Aura
    Among the hundreds of CES products unveiled last month, smart home security systems were a hot topic. And, among those products, Aura was by far the most popular. With this new security system, you no longer need a camera or infrared sensors to track unusual activity in your home or office. Just plug Aura into an outlet and she’ll monitor the WiFi radio waves that fill your office. When these patterns are interrupted, Aura knows that motion is occurring, so you can keep track of who comes in and out of your home and when someone’s in there who shouldn’t be.
  5. Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 
    Old machines slow you down and hold your productivity hostage. You need a laptop with functionality that makes your workday easier. The Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is all that and more. Fold it back to form a tablet with its 360-degree hinge and utilize its 15-hour battery life while enjoying its portability.

We understand that finding and implementing new technologies to your infrastructure that help achieve your goals can be challenging and overwhelming. We’re here to make it easier for you and help you succeed. Get in touch with us today and schedule your free consultation.


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Is PCI Compliance Just Too Complex?

Turn on the screen, open the newspaper or scroll through social media and you’re sure to see a headline of another cyber hacking or breach of security. Why? Many businesses are extremely susceptible to data breaches and the worst part – it’s at their customers’ expense. Take a look at these three major data breaches from the past and the heavy fallout:

  • Home Depot – Malware infected Home Depot’s point-of-sale systems resulting in 56 million credit cards compromised.
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill – Hackers used malware to gain access to customers’ credit card information that affected roughly 2,250 restaurants.
  • TJX Companies – More than 45 million credit card numbers were stolen from TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods over a period of 18 months before they were able to detect and halt the breach.

Here’s the kicker, these breaches could have been avoided through PCI compliance. Inadequate software solutions and policies created a major gap in security for Home Depot, and the use of antivirus software failed to monitor the network for unusual behavior. The case of the Chipotle hacking could have been avoided with stronger security measures and better monitoring systems. And, reports show TJX companies failed to comply with nine out of the twelve PCI requirements.

So, if hackings are on the rise and businesses know they’re vulnerable, what’s going on? Is PCI compliance just too complex?

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Falling Out Of Compliance

PCI is comprised of 12 security requirements, and while the number of businesses achieving full compliance with their annual review reached a record of 55.4 percent last year, nearly half of companies fall out of compliance within a year. Once you’ve reached compliance, the challenging part is maintaining it. You need routine testing and the ability to recognize and remediate any issues quickly.

The truth is, PCI compliance isn’t too complex – you just need a dedicated expert who understands the requirements. We don't want you to become the next big headline of another data breach, the consequences are too great.

Get started today by talking to a PCI compliance expert.

Schedule a Free Tech Assessment!

During your on-site assessment, our team of experts will identify vulnerabilities in your computer network and technology infrastructure that could be putting you at risk.

 

 

Sources:

Creswell, J. (2014, Sept 19). Ex-Employees Say Home Depot Left Data Vulnerable. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/20/business/ex-employees-say-home-depot-left-data-vulnerable.html

Kollmeyer, B. (2017, May 30). Chipotle’s Data Breach: How to Tell if You May Have Been a Victim. Retrieved from https://www.marketwatch.com/story/chipotles-data-breach-how-to-tell-if-you-may-have-been-a-victim-2017-05-27

Vijayan, J. (2007, Oct 26). TJX Violated Nine of 12 PCI Controls at Time of Breach, Court Filings Say. Retrieved from https://www.computerworld.com/article/2539588/security0/tjx-violated-nine-of-12-pci-controls-at-time-of-breach--court-filings-say.html

Kawamoto, D. (2017, Aug 31). Verizon Report: Businesses Hit with Payment Card Breaches Not Fully PCI-Compliant. Retrieved from https://www.darkreading.com/endpoint/verizon-report-businesses-hit-with-payment-card-breaches-not-fully-pci-compliant/d/d-id/1329778?piddl_msgorder=asc


IT Company Los Angeles Cal Net

Is Your Organization's Tech Ready for 2018? (Checklist)

As we near the end of 2017, it’s time to start planning for the New Year. Now, before you start making all your personal New Year’s resolutions, don’t forget to think about how you plan to make 2018 a better work year, too.

Your technology plays a big role when it comes to workplace efficiency, productivity and expenses. We’ve created a quick checklist to help you determine whether your technology is ready to power you through another year:

  • Do you recall your computer crashing on you?

  • Did you experience unexpected server downtime?

  • Where your networks knocked offline due to a bad storm?

  • Do you plan on implementing new technology products?

  • Were you affected by any natural disasters?

  • Did you experience a ransomware attack or cyber threat?

  • Have you run out of server space?

  • Are your cloud subscriptions about to expire?

  • Did you overpay for technology support this past year?

  • Did you ever experience email downtime?

  • Was it difficult to communicate with employees outside of the office?

  • Are you thinking about implementing a cloud solution?

  • Did you miss opportunities due to missed phone calls?

Cal Net Technology Group IT Company Los Angeles

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might have a little extra work to do before you pop the bubbly and celebrate the New Year. Now’s the time to take a close look at your current infrastructure needs, how you’re utilizing the cloud, any gaps in your security, and how you can improve communications.

We want you to enjoy the New Year, not dread the countdown to January 1, 2018. Whether you just need help figuring out where to start, or want us to take a look at your entire system, we’ll make sure you have everything in order to make 2018 your best year yet.

Need some extra help evaluating your technology?

Schedule a Free Tech Assessment!

During your on-site assessment, our team of experts will identify vulnerabilities in your computer network and technology infrastructure that could be costing you business.

 


Here’s How You Can Minimize the Cost of Downtime

Technology is the backbone of your business, so downtime can dramatically damage bottom line. According to a 2016 ITIC survey, one hour of downtime can cost you more than $100,000. The longer it takes to get your system back up, the scarier the numbers get.

There are steps you can start taking today to prepare your systems before you find yourself staring IT downtime in the eye again

  1. Prioritize Process Efficiency

It’s pretty simple. The more efficient your processes run, the less downtime you experience. Investing your time and effort into streamlining processes will go a long way when it comes to reducing the loss of productivity your employees experience when hardware crashes and their workday is interrupted.

  1. Have a Business Continuity Plan in Place

No one likes to think that a cyberattack, natural disaster or even a simple accident could happen to them, but it’s a reality that you’re better off being prepared for. A business continuity plan ensures that your business can continue to operate even after a major incident brings all your systems down.

  1. Outsource What You Can’t Handle

If you don’t have the time, resources or tech proficiency to monitor your system, outsourcing your IT to a managed services provider (MSP) is the simplest way to minimize downtime. A MSP will monitor and maintain your vital systems to pinpoint red flags and eliminate vulnerabilities.

We understand how hard you work to keep your business running. That’s why we dedicate ourselves to monitoring your IT and eliminating red flags before they turn into the worst-case-scenario.

Contact us today and let’s strategize.


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It's the Most Wonderful Time of Year Thanks to Section 179

Is brand-new tech for the workplace on your holiday wish list? Well, you do not have to wait--you'll be rejoicing this tax season thanks to Section 179.

What is the Section 179 Tax Deduction?

Section 179 allows you to deduct the complete price of any qualifying devices or application bought or leased during this past year. This means you do not have to wait for vacation sales to kick in, you can take action now to stay competitive and purchase the equipment you require while benefiting your bottom line.

Here's what qualifies:

Purchased, financed or leased equipment
Desktops, laptop computers, tablets, mobile phones
Servers, printers, routers, network switches, network security devices
Off-the-shelf applications (productivity, administrative, operating systems, etc.)

Here are a couple of limitations:

$ 500,000-- Maximum overall quantity you can deduct of equipment purchased in 2017.
$ 200,000-- Maximum overall quantity you can deduct of leased equipment in 2017.
$ 2M-- Maximum overall quantity of devices purchased in 2017 eligible for complete deduction.

Here's what you have to do:

Purchase, finance or rent the equipment and put it into use by midnight December 31, 2017. Additionally, your purchase must be for business utilize more than 50 percent of the time.

Here's how you can make the most of the Section 179 Deduction:

Just make the purchase and utilize Form 4562 to claim your deduction.
The complete deduction can be declared up until you've reached $2M in equipment or application purchases.
Past the $2M point, the reduction decreases on a dollar-for-dollar basis and disappears once $2.5 M worth of equipment is purchased.

For most situations, applying the tax break will be as simple as deducting the full amount of the purchase as a Section 179 cost; although, sometimes it can be a bit harder. To find out more about Section 179 or if you require assistance getting going, contact us to request your complimentary, no-obligation Section 179 consultation.