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Title Image For Improve Your Video Calls With These 7 Easy Steps

Improve Your Video Calls in 7 Easy Steps

By | blog, Productivity | No Comments

Sometimes, it’s not feasible to have multiple employees or clients visiting one office to have a meeting.

This is where video and conference calls come in handy; being able to discuss business from your own home, or when on-the-go, is a lot more cost-effective, time-efficient and environmentally-friendly than several individuals travelling across the country to be in one place for a few minutes.

However, most of you know that video calls are not always the smoothest of operations. One person can’t hear anything, one person’s picture is distorted, and another’s computer keeps crashing. While some technical difficulties are unavoidable, there are some areas where you can ensure that your business calls run much more smoothly than before.

Set out your objectives.

Let’s face it, many of us have been to meetings, both in-person and virtually, where we have no idea what we’re there for. Start the call with introductions and clear aims. And, if you discover that there’s not much point in having a full-blown meeting, maybe set up a group chat on a messaging app like Slack or Microsoft Teams to discuss your meeting topic instead.

Be organised.

Make sure everyone knows the date and time of the meeting and has everything they need to be prepared, whether that’s documents, images or a mindmap. Tell everyone to add it to their diary, or send out a calendar invite with the day and time of the call.

Send a reminder.

Nowadays, thanks to online calendars like Google and Outlook, we usually get an automatic reminder of our appointments. But, it’s a good idea to send out an email the day before. Some people don’t check their calendars as often as others, so they could still forget if not reminded.

Send out the agenda. 

You should have a structured plan of what needs to be talked about during the meeting. Giving everyone the information beforehand helps everyone get on the same page from the very start of the session.

Arrive early.

Try to be at least 10-15 minutes early so that you can check any equipment and your internet connectivity. This way, if there is an issue, you have some time to address it and fix it. Encourage other attendees to do the same so that they are ready to start before the meeting even begins.

Have a designated note-taker.

It’s always good to take notes, but it can be hard to focus on the conversation while scribbling in a notepad. Your note-taker could act as a moderator for the call, or be one of your employees within the video link. These notes should be sent out to all attendees post-call, just in case someone has missed something or needs to refresh at a later date.

Alternatively, and if everyone agrees to it, you could record your video chat to look back on in the future.

Give everyone a chance to speak.

A moderator is a good way to make sure everyone gets their say. There can be many voices during a business call, so it’s vital that everyone has a chance to contribute.

Of course, face-to-face meetings are often the best way to discuss business. But, we know it’s just not possible sometimes, especially if you have employees or clients across the country or even the world. Using video call technology is a little more personable than an email or phone call, and you can chat with multiple people at any one time. We hope, with these tips, your next video call runs so slickly, that it’ll feel like your colleagues are in the same room as you. 

Speak to a member of our team about how you can boost your team’s productivity with technology. 

Working Remotely Success Tips Title Image

5 Tips For Successfully Working Remotely

By | blog, Productivity | No Comments

Working remotely from home is on the rise, with flexi-time rising by 12.35% between 2012 and 2016.

In fact, an estimated half of the UK workforce will work remotely by 2020.

Working away from the office can boost productivity, allowing your team to fit their schedule around family and home life. But, there are risks to consider for your business, especially if you jump into remote working blindfolded.

We’re here to give you some starting points to help your team stay secure and productive.

Strengthen your security when working remotely.

Invest in security.

Antivirus, firewalls and backups – even if no one in your team works remotely, you should have quality software to protect your data and applications.

Moreover, it’s essential to push cybersecurity to the forefront of your employees’ and colleagues’ minds. Humans are often the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain and can easily undo any hard work put in by security software and systems.

Raise awareness about cybersecurity. Stop sharing passwords, think before you click on a link in an email and think twice before you hook up to the dodgy free Wi-Fi in your local coffee shop.

Keep your software up to date.

Viruses and ransomware are becoming smarter by the day, with new versions of the malicious software being released all the time.

Your antivirus and security software is only as reliable as its last update. Keep on top of updates and make sure you have the latest release installed so it can battle the most advanced threats.

Set up a VPN.

If your remote workers wish to work on-the-go, you need to consider investing in a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

This creates a secure tunnel between the user and the internet, preventing prying eyes from (notoriously unsecure) public Wi-Fi hotspots peeping in on your connection and data.

Read our blog on how to use public Wi-Fi safely.

Increase productivity when working remotely.

Manage your projects seamlessly.

It’s challenging to stay on the same page when you’re not all in the same office. But, with advancements in software, it is possible to keep everyone on track when they’re scattered around the world.

One simple way to keep on track with deadlines, meetings and dates is to put them in a shared calendar on Outlook or Google Calendar. Meanwhile, project management tools like Trello, Asana and Monday are brilliant for assigning tasks and moving projects forward, quickly.

Communicate and collaborate.

Again, it can be challenging to get everyone in the same room when you have a team of remote workers.

Instant messaging tools Microsoft Teams and Slack are built for businesses like yours. What previously would have been a quick (potentially unnecessary) meeting or long-winded email thread, can now be a five-minute group chat.

However, when you do need a face-to-face discussion, video conferencing software like Zoom and Skype connect people from all over the globe. All you need is an internet connection.


Thinking of remote working, but not sure where to begin? We can help you and your team get off to a great start, give us a call today.

Title image for How to stay secure on public Wi-Fi. Person working in a coffee shop on public Wi-Fi

How To Stay Secure On Public Wi-Fi Networks

By | blog, Security | No Comments

Hands up who uses free public Wi-Fi when out and about?

We do, we love a freebie! 

However, public Wi-Fi is not always the most secure option. Of course, it’s great to be able to get online and not use our data, but if you’re taking your laptop to your local coffee shop, you need to be aware of the risks. 

Whether you’re on a laptop, phone or tablet, the risk is still the same. You don’t know who has set up the network, or who else is using it.

Hackers also love free Wi-Fi, because it gives them a brilliant opportunity to pry on you and snoop in on your connection – that’s all the data you share over the network by the way; your login details, bank information, information, photos, whatever you share using the Wi-Fi hotspot.

On top of this, people set up fake hotspots. If you’re unsure whether the network is genuine, don’t use it or check with a member of staff in the coffee shop or wherever you’re trying to connect.

We’ve rounded up our best advice to help you stay safe online when you’re not at home.

How can you stay secure on public Wi-Fi networks?

Limit your use of public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Only use them if you must. Use your mobile data primarily and public Wi-Fi if you run out!

Turn off automatic connection.

Make sure you turn your Wi-Fi on and off every time you use public hotspots, or you could be getting hacked without knowing.

Know which networks to trust.

Stick to well-known, trusted networks, such as Starbucks or Costa, as there’s less chance of a security risk. If in doubt, ask a staff member about the correct hotspot.

Use a VPN.

If you use public Wi-Fi a lot, consider using a Virtual Private Network. This handy bit of tech encrypts your data, making it harder to be hacked or for others to see what you’re doing. Do some research beforehand though, as some services are superior to others.

Stick with HTTPS.

Watch out for the little ‘S’ in the HTTP part of URLs. There should also be a green padlock to certify the website is secure.

Install as many security features as possible.

Two-factor authentication, antivirus and firewalls – use them to boost your security when browsing online. Remember to make sure they’re updated regularly.

Don’t use personal, sensitive accounts when on public Wi-Fi.

Avoid using websites that require sensitive information, such as personal banking. Social media and email should be kept to a minimum, as well as any websites that you store personal details on.

‘Forget network’ after you log out.

It’s almost like shutting the door fully instead of leaving it ajar. It will reappear if you choose to use that network again in the future, you’ll just have to re-enter the password.

Public Wi-Fi is a lifesaver, especially for freelancers and small businesses regularly work in coffee shops. But, you need to be cautious and take these steps to avoid getting hacked. Think about your location and the websites you’re using, and always keep your security tools updated. You never know who could be watching.

If you need any more advice on how to stay secure online, please get in touch with a member of our team

Title Image For Backup Statistics Every Business Needs To Know

10 Backup Statistics Every Business Needs To Know

By | Backups and disaster recovery, blog | No Comments

We’ve rounded up a whole bunch of backup and disaster recovery statistics that highlight the importance of best practice and will hopefully motivate you to take action today, rather than putting off backing up your files until tomorrow.

3/5 of backups are incomplete and half of data restores fail.

Even if you make the effort to back up your files, it doesn’t mean they’re always 100% effective.

That’s right, a backup can fail and you may not realise until it’s too late.

Regularly checking your backups is essential to ensure that – if it comes to it – your files can be restored fully, with no missing data.

We recommend monitoring your backups every few weeks, or as often as you can. This way, you can discover any problems almost straight away, and only have to deal with a few days of data loss, rather than months.

17% do not backup business data at all.

Almost 20% of businesses admit to not backing up their files at all. Neglecting to back up is generally more common among sole traders and small businesses, with medium-sized to large businesses usually being more on it.

Do you fall into the 20%?

If you do, consider how long it would take to get your business back up and earning money if you lost all of your files and applications.

3.8 million UK businesses do not adhere to backup best practice.

Out of those who use backups, many do not follow best practice, such as an offsite backup and regular monitoring.

Half of the respondents to one survey admitted that their backups were kept on a separate system, but within the same office.

We strongly recommend following the 3-2-1 backup method; three copies of your data, stored on (at least) two different types of device, with one of these located offsite.

Read our guide on How To Set Up and Maintain Backups here.

But, what are the chances of data loss for my business?

Data loss is estimated to be up 400% since 2012, with around four million UK businesses at risk of losing data due to their insufficient – and non-existent – backups.

Remember, you can lose your data in a number of ways:

  • Cyberattack.
  • Damage to equipment.
  • Faulty machines.
  • Loss of devices.
  • Accidental deletion.
  • Malicious intent by an (ex)employee.
  • Natural disaster, such as a flood or fire.
  • Burglary or theft.

You are not immune. Everyone says it won’t happen to them, until it does.

Is losing data that bad for my business?

60% of businesses shut down within six months of data loss.

93% of companies that lost data for 10 days file for bankruptcy within one year while half file immediately.

31% of targetted attacks focus on businesses with fewer than 250 employees and 1/5 small businesses will be hacked within one year.

Hackers are turning their ugly heads to smaller businesses just like you, who are typically ill-equipped to deal with a cyberattack. While it used to be just the big guys getting attacked, now anyone and everyone is at risk.

40% of SMBs who manage their own network are affected.

Yep, if you manage your own network and use the internet for more than simply email, you’re very likely to have your network accessed by a cybercriminal, if you haven’t already – half of businesses are unaware when they’ve been breached.

A quality backup strategy and disaster recovery plan are essential for any business. Data loss can be extremely detrimental to your company. By securely storing and managing multiple copies of your most important data on and offsite, your office can recover quickly if disaster does strike. 


We work closely with you to install, configure and monitor backups, providing a proactive resolution that allows you to continue doing what you do best. If you’d like any more information about backups or disaster recovery, please get in touch with a member of our team right now

Sources:

  • IT Pro
  • Gartner Group
  • National Cyber Security Alliance
  • Richmond House Group
  • Symantec
  • Boston Computing
  • National Archives & Records Administration in Washington DC
Why Your Business Doesn't Need IT Support

Why You Don’t Need IT Support For Your Business

By | blog, IT Solutions

An IT company telling you that you don’t need IT support… wait, what?

Hear us out…

It’s a nightmare when something goes wrong with your business’ IT. Whether it’s a laptop breaking, your network going down or a lost internet connection, an unexpected problem can disrupt your day and cost you time and money.

A common attitude is “Let’s get IT support in quickly and get it fixed so we can get back to what we were working on”. 

We get it. Downtime is costly and you really need to get that project finished by close of business on Friday.

But, what if we told you that there was a way to have more control over your IT so you don’t have to worry about unforeseen tech issues?

IT support is not the answer. Managed IT Solutions is. Here’s why.

Proactive rather than reactive.

Waiting until something breaks to fix it might appear to be less expensive and easier. But, in the long run, additional problems will arise if you continue to use the same setup and ignore underlying issues.

A proactive IT company gets to know how your team works and what technology you rely on. This is beneficial for two reasons:

  1. We can pick up on any issues and nip them in the bud before they become a real problem.
  2. We know your IT environment inside out, so can resolve issues more promptly.

Added value rather than a one-time fix.

And, because we work with you to get your IT right, we can advise you on the services, apps, software and hardware that best suit your business.

Managed IT Solutions give you a chance to develop your own technology roadmap and strategy, so you can stay ahead of the game and look forward to how your business is going to grow in the future.

If you only ever get your old technology fixed, how are you going to move things forward in this ever-evolving digital world?

Fixed monthly fees rather than surprise invoices.

One of the worst things about an IT issue is that they always seem to crop up at the most inconvenient time. It could be during a quiet month when funds are slightly lower than usual, or maybe during a busy month where you have landed a few big contracts.

With Managed IT Services, you can enjoy a fixed monthly cost, instead of erratic and unwelcome bills.

One point of contact rather than multiple IT support companies.

Of course, with Managed IT Solutions, problems still rear their ugly heads.

Still, you’ll know exactly who to call when they do – in fact, your Managed IT Solutions company may have picked up on the problem before you.

When you opt for a break/fix approach, you may end up wasting even more time trying to get an IT company to come out to you.

Meanwhile, with a managed solution, a dedicated account manager – who already knows your systems and team – is on hand and committed to resolving your problem.

Still not convinced? Check out the infographic below or get in touch with us to tell us why.

Comparing-Proactive-Reactive

 

How to Create a Strong, Memorable Password

How To Create Unique, Strong Passwords You Will Remember

By | blog, Security

When was the last time you remembered your password correctly on the first try?

You probably can’t remember.

We all know that we’re supposed to have long, complicated and unique passwords for each account we own.

But, when the average user has around 23 online accounts that all require a password (and that number is only increasing), there becomes a point where we must accept that we’re only human and simply not able to master that many quirky combinations.

Especially alongside remembering to floss daily and take the bins out on time…

What if we told you that you can create a unique, secure password without needing a photographic memory?

Introducing the concept of passphrases…

This sketch has been circling the internet for some time.

Passwords V Passphrases

It shows you that choosing found random, common words for your password is a highly efficient way of protecting yourself from brute-force attacks.

This is because four, random words are just as hard for supercomputers to crack than a series of obscure letters, punctuation marks and numbers.

Also, because they are easier for humans to remember, we’re not tempted to change our passwords to something like ‘JustGilbey19’ – which could be cracked by a computer in seconds and a hacker in minutes.

We’d also recommend adding a few letters and symbols in there for good measure. For example, “PineappleTeaCrunch78!”.

You can try out the four common word passphrase trick here to see how long it would take for a computer to guess it.

With this being said, you can never sit too comfortably when it comes to your business’ cybersecurity.

Technology will rapidly advance, supercomputers will get smarter and hackers will become wise to our tricks.

So, it’s important to combine your powerful passphrase with at least one of the following:

Two-Factor or Multi-Factor Authentication.

Nowadays, most online services and platforms boast this security feature. All you need to do is spend a couple of moments switching it on and setting it up.

When 2-factor is activated, you’ll be sent a unique code via text message or email each time you log in. Simply enter that code to access the application or service.

We understand these extra few seconds could slow productivity, but we’d definitely encourage you to take advantage of this security feature – if only for your more sensitive accounts, such as online banking.

Authenticator applications.

An easier way to manage 2-step authentication is using a special app, such as Google Authenticator or Authy.

New codes are generated on your phone or tablet every few minutes and it means that even if someone does crack your password, they’ll have to access to your authentication app in order for them to successfully get into your account.

Touch ID.

More and more laptops, phones, tablets, and apps are supporting biometric security tools – we’re talking thumbprint, face and eye recognition.

This is possibly the quickest way to stay secure – it’s faster than entering a passcode, so you have no excuses!

And, finally, brush up on your password habits.

Unfortunately, the weakest link in the security chain is often human behaviour and silly slip-ups.

Please be wary of the dangers of password sharing and not storing your passwords securely.

If you do need to write your details down, avoid using notebooks and stick notes. Instead, opt for a password manager, such as LastPass.

This affordable tool enables you to securely store your login credentials. Additionally, it tells you if your password is weak and can generate new unique combinations.

If you would like more information about staying secure, please do get in touch with us today and we’d be happy to advise you.

Woman typing on a Windows Laptop

Automatically Sync Important Folders To The Cloud With New Feature

By | blog, Business Updates

OneDrive Known Folder Move – AKA Autosave – is a relatively new feature of Microsoft’s file hosting service but one that could make your work day a whole lot easier.

This nifty tool allows you to automatically sync desktop files to the cloud, with little-to-no disruption to your team’s productivity.

Most of us know the advantages of the cloud by now…

When your files are stored on OneDrive you benefit from being able to access them on any connected device, as well as having a protected version of that data stored on a Microsoft server.

If someone loses their laptop, all synced files are safe. If hardware fails or is damaged, your synced files are safe. When you wish to upgrade your machine, all of your documents are waiting in the cloud ready to access on the new computer from day one.

However, whilst we all know that it’s good to sync and store files to the cloud, the task is a bit like flossing your teeth; many of us forget when we’re going about our day-to-day business.

Windows Known Folders

 

The default setting for most Windows machines is to dump files to the Documents or Desktop folders. So, before OneDrive Autosave, we had to manually import them, which is a bit of a faff.

Once configured, Autosave syncs your Known Folders to OneDrive automatically, without any input from you, so you can go about your day, saving files without worrying if they’re synced in the cloud.

Note: ‘Known Folders’ include Documents, Desktop and Photos, but doesn’t include Downloads.

So how can you set this up?

This feature is not enabled by default and is currently supported for eligible OneDrive For Business users.

If this is you – great! You can switch on Autosave via your OneDrive settings.

Meanwhile, if you have a larger office, your IT admin will be able to enable Autosave across your whole organisation. This will prompt users to auto-sync files the next time they log in.

Set Up Protection of Important Folders OneDrive

Choose which files you would like to Autosave in OneDrive

Don’t confuse syncing to the cloud with backups.

Whilst syncing your files automatically with Autosave gives you some form of protection against data loss, you should never fully rely on it as it isn’t the same as backups.

OneDrive should always be used in tandem with additional backup methods.

For instance, one we like to use is Spanning Backups. Hosted in AWS, you can backup all of the above vendors and set up an offsite copy. It’s also a great choice as it stores multiple copies of the files.

Want to read about how to set up and maintain backups, please check out a previous blog of ours here.

So, are you going to try this new tool from Microsoft? If you need any more advice on setting it up or even getting Office 365 For Business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’d be happy to advise.

Person sending an email from a laptop

Why Managed Email Signatures Are Essential For Your Business

By | blog, IT Solutions

Managed email signatures are pretty much essential for every business, whether you’re a startup or large corporation.

They save you time, ensure consistency, look professional and allow you to quickly add marketing copy, legal requirements and disclaimers to all outbound emails.

In this post, we round up some of the key benefits, as well as explain how you can set up managed email signatures for your company.

What are the core benefits of managed email signatures?

Consistency.

If you want to present your business as professional and consistent, a managed email signature is a must, whether you’re a freelancer or have a large team.

As they are centrally-managed in the cloud,  a standard signature is attached to any outbound email.

This removes the ‘Sent From iPhone’ default when you’re sending emails from your phone and ensures that your business is presented in the best light.

Update instantly.

Once set up, your staff can update their own contact details with ease from a central location.

There’s no need to contact your IT guy!

Of course, this allows your IT team to focus on their other tasks, whilst members of staff quickly update and make changes when necessary.

Everyone can get on with their work, without having to worry about their email signatures.

 

David Gilbey Email Signature

 

Always legal.

Legal statements are always attached – or ‘stamped’ – onto every email that leaves your business.

This is great if you need to add a disclaimer on every outbound email.

Meanwhile, it’s easy to update this disclaimer, add marketing copy and make changes to everyone’s signature from that centralised location. You don’t need to ask everyone to stop what they’re doing to make a change – one person can do this via a central control.

Flexibility.

What’s more, with most managed email signature software, you can apply different signatures to different groups of people. This is super handy if you have different teams – sales staff, marketing, IT – who need a variation in their signatures.

In most cases, you can also set a signature to run for a certain period of time. This feature is great for promoting campaigns, discounts or highlighting specific services you offer.

For example, we’ve recently changed ours up to support a good friend of ours, Josh Barnfather, and the campaign #DoItForJosh to help raise funds for his life-extending treatment.

#DoItForJosh Email Signature

How do I set up managed email signatures?

We use and recommend Exclaimer, which is compatible with Office 365 and – more recently – G-Suite. A monthly subscription allows you to create and design your own email signature. On top of this, it allows you to manage all of your signatures centrally, syncing with your mail client and ensuring all staff contact details are correct.

If you’d like to find out more about managed email signatures, please get in touch with us today.

A man and a woman discussing something in front of a laptop

Why Proactive IT Support Is Crucial For Your Business In 2018

By | blog, IT Solutions

Here at Just Gilbey, we take a proactive approach to IT.

But, what does this mean exactly?

Well, rather than constantly fire-fighting IT issues, we work with our customers to implement long-term systems and solutions.

We believe that this is the best way to ensure your business and its technology continues to run smoothly without any unexpected costs or downtime.

However, there are a lot of companies out there who still adopt a reactive break/fix approach to IT, believing it to be a more cost-effective choice for small and medium-sized businesses.

Whilst it’s true that a one-off cost if something goes wrong sounds more appealing than a regular monthly bill, it can mean that more serious (not to mention more expensive) issues crop up later down the line.

Today, we’re talking about the top reasons why you should consider a managed solutions package as opposed to waiting for IT problems to rear their ugly heads.

We can prevent issues from happening.

As we’ve briefly mentioned, a proactive approach means that we can deal with issues before they become damaging to your business.

A qualified, dedicated IT consultant should ensure that your systems and infrastructure are set up correctly from the start, following best practice and reducing the risk of future issues.

Meanwhile, by actively monitoring your systems, we can flag up a problem before it becomes a real problem for your team.

This preventative approach will cost a regular fee, however, surely a fixed, monthly cost is more appealing than a large bill landing on your doorstep after a major IT issue affects your business?

We get to know you and your team.

At Just Gilbey, we pride ourselves on becoming an extension of your team. We’re not just in your office to fix one thing that isn’t working. Instead, we sit with you and discuss, at length, how you work best and what systems and services you already use.

After gathering this information, we then use our experience to draw up a tailored solution that suits your needs.

We’re always on hand to advise you on any aspect of IT, happily recommending products that are right for you. On the other hand, we look to see if you’re shelling out for services that aren’t quite working for you.

We can add value to your business.

And, this brings us to our next point.

Whilst break/fix is a quick way to get rid of pressing IT issues, it doesn’t add value to your company.

By getting under the bonnet of your organisation, we can help you to put together a strategy that moves you forward, equipping you for the future.

We bridge the gap.

For many SMEs and startups, a full-time IT director or department isn’t a realistic option – and often not necessary.

Meanwhile, having no technical support can leave you very vulnerable. It increases your risk of business downtime, malicious attacks, data breaches, data loss and an overall fragmented system.

By outsourcing your IT, you enjoy the benefits of a dedicated engineer without the hefty price tag of employing fulltime.

If you would like to discuss proactive IT solutions or managed services packages, please get in touch with a member of the Just Gilbey team today