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Tips and Tools for a Happy and Productive Remote Team

3.7 million employees (2.8% of the workforce) now work from home for at least half of their working hours. The number of employees working remotely (not including the self-employed population) has grown 10x faster than the rest of the workforce since 2005.

There's a reason remote teams are becoming more popular. When geographic location is no longer a constraint, employers can attract talent from anywhere. Companies no longer need to be headquartered in large metropolitan areas to access top talent, and workers can live anywhere they like.

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The Busy Professional's Guide to OneNote

There are a ton of cool apps spread across Office 365 – but my favorite is OneNote. As a business owner, I am frequently in meetings. Inevitably, I come out of these meetings with lots of ideas, questions, follow ups, or to-dos.

Before OneNote, I would capture these in a regular notebook (or an index card). As someone who 1) has extremely bad hand writing and 2) has a hard time keeping up with slips of paper, I was constantly letting things slip through the cracks.

Since switching to OneNote, that has changed. I can access my notes from any location and any device (as long as I have internet access) without having to worry about keeping up with a physical notebook. Just as important - I can actually read my notes now.

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Five Fast Facts about Microsoft 365

Microsoft recently introduced a new product called Microsoft 365, centered around making business more productive and more secure. While it’s not going to be for every business, it’s a natural fit for many businesses – especially if you’re already using (or looking to move to) Office 365 or Windows 10.

Here’s what you need to know:

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Five Things to Look for in an IT Support Company

In a small business, it’s not uncommon for technical problems to be handled be whoever happens to be the most tech savvy person on the team. That can work for a little while, but it’s not a sustainable practice.

Your team should be focused on meeting your organizational goals – not dealing with technology problems. Outsourcing your IT needs can help alleviate the burden so you can get back to business.

Here are five things to look for when looking for an IT support company:

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The Best Apps for Staying Productive While Traveling

When you think IT company, you don’t necessarily think about much employees traveling too much- and usually, we don’t have to. Most of the work can be done from our office. But most of our employees do travel out of state at least once or twice a year for a conference or seminar.

We’re not asking engineers to work service tickets during a conference. But the reality is for most people, other work doesn’t go away while you’re traveling. Here are some of our favorite apps and services for staying productive on the road.

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What to Know Before Moving Your Files to SharePoint

The most common use for SharePoint Online is to replace a shared company server. In fact, it's how we use it and we've helped dozens of businesses move their shared storage to SharePoint. Moving your shared company storage to SharePoint can greatly increase your employee productivity and eliminate the cost of maintaining a physical server. 

But over and over again, we see companies make the same mistake: they don’t want to take the time to properly plan their SharePoint infrastructure. Companies want to just pick up everything from their physical server and dump it directly onto SharePoint. 

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Why Data Security Should Be Treated as an Operating Expense

Traditionally, data security has been treated as a capital expense. Even if they’re regularly updated, firewall and antivirus programs have only been purchased–and thought about-every few years. In the past, this was enough to keep your business safe.

But cyber threats are advancing and evolving at a breakneck speed. Letting your data security decisions be dictated renewal dates is no longer acceptable to keep your business protected. Shifting your data security decisions to be part of your business operations, rather than just a capital expense, will keep you safer and make budgeting easier.

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FAQ: How do you prioritize service requests?

On average, we receive about 40 new service requests (we call them ‘tickets’) a day. Some days that number can be much higher. Tickets can be anything from a password reset for a user to printer issues for a department to a server outage affecting an entire company.

Managing and prioritizing these tickets is a job in itself. Our dispatcher and service team leadership have to decide in what order these tickets are worked on (hint: it’s not first come, first serve) and who will work on them. We use a few different criteria, the main being client agreement and issue severity.

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How to Set Up Office 365 Password Admins

As a Microsoft Partner, it's rare that a day goes by where we don't get a few requests for Office 365 password resets. We get it - a user sets their password, never logs out and ends up forgetting what they made their password (we're just happy you aren't using the same password for every account!).

While we certainly don't mind changing passwords (and if your Microsoft admin or partner does mind, you need a new one!), it is actually pretty easy to handle this internally so you don't have to wait for us. In Office 365, you can set up a user (called a Password Administrator) specifically to handle password change requests.

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Are you paying for internet speeds you’re not getting?

One of the best things a business can do to improve productivity is to provide employees with reliable technology that doesn’t slow them down. A major piece of this (especially for companies with cloud based applications) is your internet speed.

Current provider speeds range from 20 MB/s to well over 200 MB/s compared to the old T1 speeds of 1.5 MB/s. Unfortunately, there are businesses who are paying for very fast connections from their providers but aren’t getting what they are paying for – and not because their provider is ripping them off. Many companies aren’t getting the performance they’re paying for because they’re using an old firewall.

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5 Ways Outsourcing Your IT Can Help Your Bottom Line