telanova Blog

telanova: the outsourced IT team that feels like your own

Providing advice, consultancy, helpdesk, monitoring and maintenance, updates, upgrades, security: all the things your in-house team would do, but better and at a fraction of the cost and hassle.

Business rename IT challenges

When a business re-brands there are a lot more IT changes than you might think.

We have helped numerous businesses through the IT challenges involved in a rename/re-brand. This is a good checklist to start with:

  • Website
  • Domain name
  • Content
  • Downloadables e.g. Brochures, reports, etc
  • Redirecting the old website to the new website
  • Email system
  • Domain name
  • Signatures
  • Aliases
  • Line of business software
  • Templates e.g. Word
  • Invoicing systems
  • Computer logins
  • Wifi

If you’ve got any doubts about your IT provider don’t let them mess up on this or it could seriously affect your brand. Now is the time to consider the obvious alternative - telanova

How we’ve helped businesses keep working during COVID19

As the outsourced IT team for our customers, our challenge during COVID-19 was to keep each one up and running as best we could in the evolving situation. This is how we responded.

Before Lockdown started – we helped our customers prepare.

In February (seems an age away) the prospect of mass work-from-home seemed likely. We helped our customers identify what the challenges would be and how they could prepare. For one customer we provided training for staff who were not familiar with working from home, and carried out a stress test by getting everyone to work from home on the same day. So when the government instruction came to work from home it was business as usual.

For every customer we prepared our own plan, even if they weren’t ready to consider it at the time. So when the crunch came we were ready to keep them working.

Setup and configured servers (including one in our living room)

For a London based customer we remotely deployed a Remote Desktop server farm so that 100s of users could remotely connect. For another we procured and installed a new server to increase the remote working capacity. It didn’t arrive until just after lockdown started, so we had the delivery diverted to one of our engineers’ homes. They set up and configured it in their living room! This minimised the time needed at the customer’s site and made sure we could bring the extra capacity they needed online as quickly as possible.

Installed hundreds of VPNs and Remote Desktop connections

Even with all that preparation (see above) we still had to manage a tidal wave of tickets. Our skilled engineers configured hundreds of VPNs and Remote Desktop connections so that our clients could work from home. And we advised on how they could make their work from home solutions secure.

Want to check your work-from-home solution is secure? Check out our blog here.

Helped with Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Meet

Whatever platform our customers needed to use, we have been there to provide 121 training and help desk support to help them set up and make sure the audio and video was the best it could be. We even wrote this blog to help decide which is the best platform to use. And put together 11 Microsoft Teams tips.

Stayed in contact with everyone

We have been regularly keeping in contact with our customers, making sure they have what they need to navigate this unique time.

Stay safe everyone – we are looking forward to when we can write blogs from the office soon.

How secure is your business’s home working setup?

The last couple of months has seen a rush, if not a stampede to work from home, following the guidelines and reducing the impact of COVID-19. However this needs to be done in a safe manner that does not not expose your business to increased security risks. It is important to remain compliant with legislation such as GDPR and PCI whatever the circumstances.

Some points to consider when allowing staff to work remotely

  • Secure their logons
    Implement Multi Factor Authentication (MFA or 2FA). A strong password on it’s own isn’t enough. Multi factor involves an extra security step, such as an SMS or app on a phone, or biometric method such as fingerprint or facial recognition.
  • Encrypt their connection
    When users connect to your office, deploy an encrypted VPN connection. This ensures the connection between their computer and your servers is secure and the data transferred cannot be intercepted. When using cloud services make sure they use secure HTTPS connections.
  • Manage their devices
    Deploy Mobile Device Management (MDM). An MDM system will allow you to monitor, manage and secure laptops, smartphones and similar devices. If a device is lost or stolen it can be locked or wiped remotely.
  • Protect their devices
    Have a firewall that is enabled and configured correctly on the device, and use Antimalware Software that is updated and monitored.
  • Secure your business data
    Encrypt hard drives and USB drives with a technology such as Bitlocker, arrange for data to be securely backed up, and have your staff aware that they should only save data in secure locations for compliance with relevant legislation such as GDPR and PCI.

This is where telanova can help, we have enabled our customers to work remotely and safely by implementing best practices and secure technologies appropriate to their needs. Would you like us to secure your home working setup? Contact us now.

Microsoft Teams Tips and Tricks

We have put together 11 top tips and tricks we think everyone using Microsoft Teams will find useful.

Tip 1 - Save important messages

  1. Locate the message you want to save
  2. Hover your mouse over the top right of the message
  3. Click on the three-dot icon
  4. Click Save this message

To find a saved message

  1. Click on your profile icon in the top right corner
  2. Click Saved

Tip 2 - Learn some simple commands in Teams

  1. Click in the search bar at the top of Teams
  2. Type the following character: /
  3. All the commands you can use will show

For example /saved will take you to your saved items

Tip 3 - Grab someone's attention in a post

  1. Type the following character: @
  2. Immediately start typing the person's name
  3. A list will appear, select the appropriate person

You can also remove their surname by pressing backspace once

Tip 4 - Add someone new to your team

  1. Go to the Teams section
  2. Right-click on the team you want to add someone to
  3. Click on Add Member
  4. Search for the user and select them
  5. Click the Add button

Tip 5 - Make a high priority channel more visible

  1. Go to the Teams section
  2. Right-click on a channel name
  3. Click Pin

The channel will then move to the top of all your teams

Tip 6 - Find posts you have been mentioned in

  1. Go to the Activity section
  2. Click on the filter icon
  3. Click on the three-dot icon
  4. Click Mentions

Or

In the command bar in the top type the following: /mentions

Tip 7 - Use a virtual whiteboard to brainstorm in a meeting

Note: This only works in a meeting not a call
  1. When in the meeting click the share button
  2. Click on Microsoft whiteboard
  3. If this is the first time you have used it clickUse whiteboard in Teams instead

The whiteboard will then load up for everyone to see and use

Tip 8 - Start a group chat

  1. Click on the new chat icon, in the top left of teams
  2. In the To: bar, enter each person’s name
  3. Type a message in the bottom
  4. Press enter or click the send button

Tip 9 - Add more functionality your channels

  1. Go to the channel you want to enhance
  2. Along the top, next to the other tabs, click the + button
  3. Select the app you want to add e.g. Planner

Experiment with the available apps, you can add simple files like Word and Excel, link to YouTube videos, or integrate information from other cloud services.

Tip 10 - Share your sound when sharing your screen

Note: By default when you share your screen it does not share your sound

  1. Click the Share button
  2. Tick the include system audio box
  3. Select the screen you want to share

If you forget to tick that before sharing your screen you can click this icon on the presenting bar along the top of your screen.

Tip 11 - Add a virtual background to your video calls

Note: This video effect requires a processor with Advanced Vector Extensions 2 (AVX2) support so the option might not be available.

  1. In a video call click the three-dot icon
  2. Then click Show background effects
  3. Select the image you want
  4. Click Apply

Microsoft Teams or Zoom or Google Meet?

Microsoft Teams or Zoom or Google Meet or Skype

Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Meet are three of the leading video conferencing solutions. But what is the difference, which one should you use and what about the others?

Microsoft Teams

Teams is the new communication and collaborative working tool that is part of the Office 365 family. It has instant chat, meetings, video calls, voice calls as well as screen and file sharing. They are adding new features all the time and there are already plugins to many Microsoft and third party services. It replaces Skype for business, which will be removed from the Microsoft offering soon (and had nothing to do with Skype).

We are making effective use of teams whilst working from home to keep in contact with each other, have meetings and share information. It is a great tool for inter-business communications.

But it is also good for communicating with contacts outside your business too. You can invite a non-team contact to an online meeting and they can join via a web link - without the need for teams to be installed or even a teams account.

If your email system is on Office 365 chances are you already have teams and you should try it.

Zoom

Has rocketed in popularity during the the current lockdown (Even my children use it to keep in contact with their classmates) Currently, there is a basic free subscription and higher levels with more features, which are summarized here https://zoom.us/pricing. It is easy to use and some nice features. Such as break-out rooms so you can have a smaller, more private sub-meeting. There are add-ons to expand its functionality beyond just video conferencing.

Google Meet

Google meet is the video conferencing solution built into G suite. It has a host of teleconferencing features and it integrates with the rest of the google family of products. You can display any google docs and collaborative work on them in the meeting. You can schedule meetings and invite others who do not have a google account to join.

If your email is on the g-suite platform this is definitely one to try.

What about the others?

Google hangouts

You can use this with a free gmail account, it is a cut down version of google meet (see above).

Skype

Skype one of the largest communication platforms it allows you to communicate via voice, video or chat with other Skype users. It’s been around since 2003 is now owned by Microsoft, who merged their MSN messenger into the platform. Its features are aimed at consumers rather than business but there is a Skype meeting functionality where participants do not need a Skype account, but a lot of people have Skype accounts. It might be a good option if you primarily need business to consumer communications.

Apple Facetime

This is an apple-apple video calling tool - All participants have to have an Apple device, really a consumer tool - but could have business to consumer uses.

Google Duo

This is Google’s answer to Facetime (video calling tool) - All participants have to have Google accounts. It is really a consumer tool - but could have business to consumer uses.

Which one to use?

If none of the unique features have stood out to you and you are not sure where to start:

If you already have Office 365 - try Microsoft Teams

If you’re on the G suite platform - try Google Meet.

If your email system is not on either - and want online meetings with lots of participants give zoom a try. (also contact us to discuss upgrading your email system!)

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