Boost Productivity with Better Internal Communications

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  • February 1, 2018

Boost Productivity with Better Internal Communications

Without a reliable way to stay in touch during office hours, your business can suffer from miscommunications and other, worse consequences. With so many communication solutions available to the average business, how can you help your business be as productive as possible? It all starts by making sure that your employees stay connected.

A Social Intranet
An intranet can be used to stay connected to your staff and all of its resources. It works like a portal where any assets used by your company can be easily located. Imagine having one infrastructure dedicated to keeping your employees connected to each other, as well as where they can access important software, online resources, links, documents, and much more. You can even include a phone number or a link to your managed service provider’s help desk, making it easier than ever to take advantage of technology help and assistance when in a pinch.

Instant Messaging
If you have ever sent an email with the hopes of getting an immediate response, you’ll know the frustration that comes from waiting hours and hours just to get a response that has come far too late to do anything about. Instant messaging is a valuable tool that can help to alleviate this issue considerably. It’s perfect for the moments where an immediate response is needed. Many instant messaging applications also allow you to create group chats or private rooms where you can collaborate on projects.

Internal Blogs and Documentation
Your employees should want to do a better job than what they are currently doing, and in order to guide them toward this lofty goal, you should make internal blogs and other documentation available that they can consult for any information about a specific task. In fact, blogs and documentation can significantly cut down on any time spent training employees. After all, the best way to help someone do their job is to help them help themselves.

Discussion Boards
Just like with internal blogs and documentation, you can foster a conversation about ways to improve workflows or brainstorm new ideas through the less formal medium of discussion boards or open forums. Discussion boards are generally implemented with the idea of creating consumable and accessible content for your employees.

A Ticketing System (or Help Desk)
Chances are that your employees might be somewhat technologically savvy, but they are certainly no IT technicians. This can lead to wasted time and energy. It’s more efficient to simply reach out to someone who specializes in this craft. A ticketing system or an outsourced help desk from Catalyst Technology Group can help your employees contact someone who can help them with their technology issues. We can provide specialized maintenance as per your service level agreement so that you can avoid costly downtime.

Catalyst Technology Group wants to help your business stay connected to all of its crucial elements. To learn more, reach out to us at (317) 705-0333.

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Tip of the Week: Your Productivity Doesn’t Depend on the Internet

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  • January 24, 2018

Tip of the Week: Your Productivity Doesn’t Depend on the Internet

It is an expectation for the modern business to rely on the Internet in order to complete its daily function. As a result, anytime there is an Internet outage, many employees may find themselves lacking purpose or direction. However, a lack of Internet doesn’t have to mean a lack of productivity. For this week’s tip, we’ll review some ways your staff can be productive without an Internet connection.

Keeping Things Organized
Office clutter happens. It is the natural side effect of a team being focused on getting task after task completed. If the files on your local network need some reorganization, or the workspace itself needs a little TLC, an Internet outage provides an ideal time to tidy things up a bit.

A tidy workspace will benefit the organization as a whole, as well as each employee. After all, the fewer distractions that an employee has on their desk, the easier it is for them to stay focused (and the easier it is for someone else to find a resource should that employee be away from the office that day).

Furthermore, it is much easier for one to find things in an organized closet or cabinet than one that has everything thrown in and piled up without any rhyme or reason, which translates to saved time. Using the time that the Internet is down to go through your storage and organize it will allow you to achieve an important task without sacrificing another.

If you can still access your internal network’s data storage, an Internet outage also presents the opportunity to reorganize this storage space as well. Using folders to organize the files on your desktop into a logical system of categorization will also help you to find them later when they can be used to achieve something.

Team Building
While technology has enabled businesses and their employees to experience greater connectivity than ever before, this has also contributed to the seemingly opposite effect of creating some barriers between team members as well. After all, it is much harder to build the interpersonal relationship that develops into the synergism that you want and expect from your team when most of their communication takes place through a screen. Additionally, this synergism will often have a positive benefit when collaboration is part of your team’s responsibilities. Therefore, it only makes sense to encourage the development of these interpersonal relationships when the Internet doesn’t allow for typical workplace duties to be completed.

As they wait for their Internet access to come back, your team can hold meetings that don’t need the Internet in order to be run. These meetings could even be relatively simple brainstorming sessions where new ideas can be shared freely. Alternatively, you might encourage your teams to reach out to departments they don’t often do business with in order to get to know the other people who work alongside them.

This can benefit management as much as it benefits the workforce. If you and the rest of your management team reach out to employees with the intent of getting to know each other better, you can better shape your management style. By doing so, you encourage your employees to be more engaged and communicative, and you can personalize your approach to each employee for the highest impact.

Mobile Devices
While there are times that an improperly used mobile device can be a detriment to office focus and productivity, there are also times that these devices, leveraged properly, can be your best bet if you want productivity to be preserved. Mobile devices provide the chance that, if your business’ Internet should fail, your employees could continue their work. With the right proactive planning, your workforce could continue their tasks through the use of their own mobile data, with reimbursement dictated by a Bring Your Own Device strategy, or on a device that your company provides. If you’d like help in developing any of these measures, Catalyst Technology Group can provide that assistance.

In the meantime, what do you do to help stay productive when the Internet fails? Share some of your ideas with us in the comments!

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A DDoS Attack Hits Your Productivity and Profits

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  • December 8, 2017

A DDoS Attack Hits Your Productivity and Profits

How quickly could your business recover if it were suddenly hit by a Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS, attack? Are you protected against the effects they could have on your operations? If asked these questions, most businesses should want to say yes, but in reality, over half lack the means to defend against DDoS.

It may be helpful to go over how a DDoS attack operates. Simply put, a DDoS attack overwhelms your network and its defenses by hitting it with a barrage of traffic. As a result of this attack, you can lose access to your data and be stuck with downtime. As any executive knows, this is how a DDoS attack really hurts a business. Downtime equals a loss of productivity, which in turn equals wasted time and lost profits.

In a report from CDNetworks, 88 percent of companies are under the impression that their defenses are sufficient to stop a DDoS attack. 69 percent of these companies have also been victims of a DDoS attack within the last year. This begs the question–how much are these attacks affecting these companies?

Other statistics provide a glimpse into the other costs that businesses face in response to these attacks. Companies in the United States invest an average of $ 34,700 into protection against DDoS attacks every year; while companies in Europe spend about $ 29,000 on average. These are not meager sums to sink into protections that don’t do their desired job. Some other questions a business owner or manager has to ask include: why do DDoS attacks defy the protections put in place to thwart them; and, what can businesses do to bridge this gap?

In order to secure your business against DDoS attack, you need to learn from the failures of the 88 percent (the companies that think they are ready to stop a DDoS attack), and even more so the 69 percent (the companies that have already been attacked over the past year). Nearly three-quarters of companies have already resolved to dedicate more funds toward preventing DDoS attacks over the next year. Do you plan to follow suit, and if so, how do you plan to protect your business against DDoS attacks?

If you’re looking for help protecting your business from DDoS attacks and other risk factors, reach out to Catalyst Technology Group. We can be reached at (317) 705-0333.

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A VPN Allows Productivity Without Sacrificing Security

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  • August 28, 2017

A VPN Allows Productivity Without Sacrificing Security

Security needs to be a priority for everyone involved with business. This has led to a rise in the use of solutions that will protect the security and privacy of the user and their systems. A very common, yet effective, means of securing your data is to use a virtual private network, or VPN.

A VPN is a network that masks your activity through encryption and routes your web traffic through servers located somewhere that you are not. These safeguards allow a user to worry less about having their data stolen in transit. This feature makes VPNs useful to businesses, especially to organizations that have employees that work remotely, on the road, or from multiple locations.

Using a VPN, a worker can remotely access their business’ network without fear of their data being harvested, allowing the worker to maintain their productivity, whether they’re sick and stuck at home or across the world on business. Some VPNs can even maintain a virtual desktop, allowing a worker to access their workstation remotely and use it just as though they were in the office.

In a world where everything seems to happen online, it is more important than ever to protect your business against cybercrime. Criminals have been quick to embrace technology and use it to their advantage.

Let’s consider a quick scenario: you’re on a business trip, staying the night in a chain hotel. At your free continental breakfast, you decide to get some work done on your laptop. You could potentially be at risk of cyberattack the moment you connect the device to the hotel’s Wi-Fi, and unlike other crimes, the cybercriminal doesn’t even have to be there to participate. They could be sitting in a diner down the street or at their 9-to-5 job on the other side of town, letting a planted device to their dirty work for them.

It is unnerving to think of how much someone can learn about you based on data they intercept. A journalist was able to take data from a completely ‘smart’ apartment in Bucharest and write a story about the resident of that apartment based off a week’s worth of data. The fictional story was almost completely accurate to the resident, even though the writer had never met him. Imagine the damage that a cyber criminal could do with that amount of comprehensive data.

For reasons like these, it is all the more important that you leverage a VPN for your business’ protection.

VPNs are also commonly used to sneak past geographic restrictions on certain websites, which has led to some countries banning them outright. China, for example, has made the use of VPNs illegal after they were used to undermine the Great Firewall, allowing citizens to view content that was censored by the government. Russia has followed a similar route, with Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Venezuela all considering following suit. These laws make it considerably more difficult for many businesses to ensure their security, as these countries may find out sooner or later.

As for your business, a VPN is a tool that you should implement to better ensure your data security. Catalyst Technology Group can help you get one set up, just give us a call at (317) 705-0333.

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Prioritizing Productivity Is Easy With The Right IT

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  • July 26, 2017

Prioritizing Productivity Is Easy With The Right IT

With productivity being so important in the modern business, it only makes sense that so much of the technology we have now–and will likely have in the future–is devoted to maximizing the amount of work that can be accomplished by one person in a given time. While not everything we will discuss is always relevant for the typical SMB, if your business continues to grow, more technologies will only become accessible over time. Here are a few technology tips to increase your organization’s productivity.

Work Harder By Working Less
One of the biggest barriers to productivity takes the shape of the tiny, menial tasks that every employee has to attend to every day. While it isn’t that these tasks aren’t necessary, it’s just that they don’t necessarily need to be supervised as they’re completed. What’s the best way to make sure that these necessary tasks aren’t ignored, without spending an exorbitant amount of time on them every day?

Automation. With technologies that can perform certain tasks, it frees up a user to attend to other matters. The boost to productivity that an organization can gain from automation is considerable, as twice as much can presumably be accomplished in the same amount of time. So, instead of an employee being tied up by sorting through email, they can continue with a revenue generating task while their email is sorted for them. The same can be said for data backup–automated solutions are more reliable and less prone to user error. Software patching is also a task that can be easily automated by a knowledgeable technology professional so that you don’t miss out on the most recent versions of your mission-critical software.

Using Televisions to Boost Productivity
While they may be distracting in at least some capacity, having a television in the office can actually benefit your workforce’s productivity. As long as you keep their use strictly for work purposes and not entertainment, you might be surprised by how much they can help. For example, you could display important information, such as upcoming meetings, deadlines, or otherwise to keep your employees focused on meeting their goals. These displays might even lead to some healthy competition in the office so see who can be more productive in either the short or long term.

You can also use televisions to add media to meetings. Imagine being able to pull up spreadsheets or slideshow presentations to drive home key factors or numbers regarding productivity. There is even the option for video conferencing, which can help out-of-office employees attend meetings as well.

Implement Better Working Conditions
Employees work better when they feel better. This simple, common-sense statement can be a great motivator to implement smart desks–Internet of Things devices that are designed to track health and behaviors of employees to help them achieve a better working condition. You may have heard that it’s best not to sit in front of a desk all day and to stand up on occasion, and the smart desk is a way to help alert employees when they are in need of a standing session. Health issues can be caught preemptively and resolved, allowing them to remain productive and keep sick time to a minimum.

Even just giving employees the freedom to pick and choose where they want to work can be empowering. With mobile devices like laptops and smartphones, employees can work from anywhere in the office, so make sure that you have a setup that is intuitive for this type of productivity.

Does your business have a plan to leverage technology to ensure maximum productivity? The right technology can be the game-changing factor in this pursuit. To learn more about what enterprise-level technology solutions can do for your business, reach out to us at (317) 705-0333.

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Looking to Boost Productivity and Capital? Outsourced IT Can Help

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  • June 22, 2017

Looking to Boost Productivity and Capital? Outsourced IT Can Help

There are a lot of moving parts in a business, but overall the goals are simple. If you make more money than you spend in operational costs, you’re considered a success story. However, it’s not always easy to achieve this balance–especially when you’re a small business with a limited workforce and budget. How can you cut costs and increase your bottom line?

One of the biggest things holding back smaller organizations is the need to invest large sums into expensive operational necessities, which inevitably leads to less flexibility in the face of critical business decisions. If your budget is stretched to the maximum, you won’t have the funds required to respond to an emergency situation, like a hardware failure or other similar catastrophe. This is a tricky situation to get out of, and it might require some creative cuts to your budget in order to just get by. This isn’t how you want to manage something as critical as your business’s budget.

Modern businesses rely on technology solutions in order to maintain acceptable levels of productivity and efficiency, and we at Catalyst Technology Group want to help your business achieve greater heights by offering managed IT services. SMBs have to invest a lot of time and resources into their technology infrastructure, but we can make it more affordable through proactive maintenance and management, providing more time for your organization to stay productive and efficient.

How Managed IT Works
Catalyst Technology Group’s managed IT services work by providing your organization with a single point of contact for all of your technology needs. This includes knowledgeable consultants and trained technicians that can help you make informed decisions regarding your IT infrastructure. Here are some of the core services that we offer:

  • Network monitoring: Thanks to our expertise and a certain level of automation, Catalyst Technology Group can keep close watch on your network to prevent issues from evolving into downtime-causing problems.
  • Backup and disaster recovery: Too many businesses believe that their data isn’t important enough to warrant a backup solution. Keep in mind that the success of your organization is heavily dependent on your ability to access information that you’ve gathered over the years, including internal records and client information. You need to safeguard these important assets so that they can survive even the most devastating disasters, like a fire, flood, or even a cyberattack.
  • Cloud-based services: One of the biggest capital expenses organizations have to deal with comes from upgrading their computing infrastructure. By this, we mean all of the critical business applications that you use on a daily basis. Cloud-hosted versions of these software solutions are always up-to-date, and they are generally cheaper per user on a subscription basis compared to the expenses of software licensing. All-in-all, cloud computing can be used to cut costs in regard to email hosting, data storage, and even virtualization, allowing you to improve operations while eliminating unnecessary costs.

Long story short, managed IT is capable of removing unnecessary costs from your budget, while improving operational efficiency, allowing you to better spend your assets elsewhere. With Catalyst Technology Group on your side, you’ll be able to properly leverage new and innovative solutions to save money and get the leg up on your competition. To learn more about managed IT services, reach out to us at (317) 705-0333.

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