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.

Top tips for a virtual social!

At telanova we’ve had some really good fun at virtual socials. We want to share with you some of our top tips to make the most of the current situation. Your colleagues will be raving about what a great time they had.

Activities

Have multiple activities prepared in case the main one gets boring or isn’t a crowd-pleaser. So here are some ideas that have worked well for us.

Games

Quiz night

Get everyone to write 5 questions (theme related) and send them to you in advance of the event. You could even use powerpoint!

Or buy a pub quiz book: Here

Visit a museum (virtually)

Many museums have virtual tours. Just visit and browse through together.

British museum
Natural history museum

Irreverent comments obligatory.

Talent show

Host a virtual talent show. Let everyone show off their talents and vote for a winner!

Food and drink

Tell everyone in advance to get themselves drinks and snacks just like they would in the real world. Maybe order pizza for everyone with the same arrival time and see whose arrives first!

Theme

Pick a theme for the social: maybe a specific country, or Disney, musicians, film characters etc. Have a competition with points for:

  • Best fancy dress
  • Best custom virtual background
  • Best snack / drink

Structure

Have a timetable and allocate time to different ideas and activities. You don’t need to stick to it but it helps keep things rolling. For example:
  1. 18:30 - 18:45 Chatting and catching up
  2. 18:45 - 19:15 Game 1
  3. 19:15 - 19:30 Food / Drinks / Chatting
  4. 19:30 - 20:15 Quiz
  5. 20:15 - 20:30 Food / Drinks / Chatting
  6. 20:30 - 21:00 Museum tour

Proper Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!

Make sure you get everyone to test their webcam and microphone before the big night so everyone can enjoy the party without any hassles. Get them to set themselves up with their device in a stable position. No one wants to hold a phone up for hours!

Get the party night right and your street cred in the company will be assured for years to come!

Phishing attempts are getting more dangerous

A teacher at a school we support, forwarded to us a suspicious email from a student’s parent. It was a phishing email with a link to a website that looked identical to the school’s. But it was fake and requested the teacher’s username and password.

Ultimately the hackers would be trying to get control of the school’s servers, get fake invoices paid, divert salary payments, install ransomware etc.

We advised the teacher to delete the email, to advise the parent that their email had been hacked and to warn the other teachers.

This was a school, but it could just as easily be a business, a charity etc.

We offer security awareness training coupled with regular testing to improve your staff’s skills at recognising phishing attempts, and protecting your organisation from damage.

Contact us to protect your business from phishing.

Why would a business want to use web protection?

Web threats have increased over the past few years. From phishing sites to drive-by downloads, the dangers have never been greater. To stay safe, you need to make sure you have advanced malware protection.

Keep your employees safe

  • Check the reputation of each site before the browser loads it and block it if below a certain threshold. Protecting your employees from malware, phishing, adware, botnets etc.
  • Block harmful sites, such as hate crime, drug abuse, violence, nudity, gambling etc.
  • Keep users off sites that could cause a data breach and protect the business from the legal liability that comes with a data breach.

Improve productivity

  • Block unproductive sites, such as Facebook or Netflix during working hours e.g. 0800 - 12:00 and 13:00 - 18:00

Isn’t antivirus enough?

No, Antivirus offers very basic protection from opening ‘dodgy’ websites, nor blocking of inappropriate content or non-business websites.

Tales from our helpdesk: website blocked abroad

Due to the pandemic a staff member at one of our customers was stuck in Germany and called our helpdesk with a major issue they were experiencing. Part of their job role is keeping abreast of industry specific research for which they pay a large subscription fee to access a particular website. But when they accessed the site in Germany they got this error:

“Access Denied - you are not authorized to access this site from outside the UK”

There are a couple of technical ways to get round this kind of region block:

  1. Connect back to a device in the UK (via remote desktop, TeamViewer etc) and then access the website - Unfortunately this customer did not have any spare devices in the UK that could be used.
  2. Use a VPN provider (like people use to stream US Netflix) - Among numerous other issues, this would risk the provider blocking their whole business.

Before trying a technical solution we suggested that they first contact the website provider to see if there were any other options. After explaining the situation the service provider created a separate account under the German wing of the site free of charge! A much better outcome than any technical solution.

If you would like a helpdesk that gives sound, practical IT advice, not just techie solutions.

Automating important but tedious IT chores

We don’t just do help desk, projects and maintenance. A significant part of our work is administration:

  • Setting up new starters
  • Processing leavers
  • Changing job titles, names and phone numbers,

There are often multiple systems on which to make these changes: PCs, Servers, Printers, Cloud services etc. It can take hours!

We do these tedious but important tasks for our customers, and because they’re tedious and susceptible to human error we optimize them and automate them!

For an accountant

Before we got involved, a staff member was taking over an hour to set up each new starter. We got the process down to 5 minutes.

For a school

We automated the annual class intake process. Creating the new student accounts, year group transitions, class memberships and archiving the leavers.

Other areas we have improved with automation

  • Email signatures
  • Changing properties on mass - such as brand names etc
  • Pushing out wifi credentials
  • Adding key websites to web browser favourites
  • Mapped drives
  • Deploying software
  • Deploying new hardware

Spending too much time on tedious but important IT chores, or avoiding them altogether?

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