Irate customers? VoIP features can calm them

By EDITOR 

When customers call your help desk, one of the the first things they hear is your automated on-hold message. This message can either uplift or worsen their moods, so you should choose wisely. Follow these simple steps to ensure you don’t frustrate your customers more than they already were.

Hire professionals to record your on-hold message

On-hold messages are your customers’ first point of contact with your business when they need help, so your messages should be professionally recorded. You may be tempted to have an in-house production because it will initially cost less than hiring a professional voice talent and renting a studio, but in the long run, professionally recorded messages in your company’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems will be more beneficial.

Voice talents have the skills and equipment to give your phone system that professional, friendly, and pleasant feel. If you want to sound sincere about helping your customers with their issues, invest in professionally recorded on-hold messages.

Use calming on-hold music to keep callers engaged

Another strategy to keep customers from hanging up while they’re on hold is putting on music while they’re waiting. The trick for keeping callers calm is picking the right music. You might think that your choice of music is a minute detail, but it can make or break whether customers decide to leave or stay. You need to find a balance between engaging and relaxing, which is much easier when you have the power to pick or change tunes in just a few minutes. Cloud-based phone systems allow you to do exactly this by letting you test out different tunes.

Provide clear and useful information

Not everyone who calls your customer service hotline has a problem. Sometimes, people just need a piece of information. Use your IVRs to help callers find non-critical, frequently asked information such as business operating hours, special offers, and minor account updates. You can also deploy a more complicated system that redirects customers to specific concerns, like account management and payment instructions. This frees customer service representatives to take care of issues that need actual human interactions, like walkthroughs and policy misunderstandings.

Connect the call to a real person

According to a study, 83% of customers prefer human interaction over automated channels when solving customer service issues. Your automated recordings may lessen customers’ agitation or frustration, but nothing beats talking to a real person. Always provide an immediate option to talk to a customer service representative in your IVR. Most companies dedicate a particular number during calls to be connected to a real person who can help them with their concerns.This shows that you are serious in addressing your customers’ problems.

There are so many ways a VoIP system can help your business reach new heights. Our team of trained technicians can install affordable, cutting-edge phone solutions that are easy to use. Give Lanlogic a call today to learn more.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why you need Hardware-as-a-Service

By EDITOR 

The new flashy set of PCs your company just bought last year are becoming outdated, and you don’t have enough IT staff to maintain them. If this is your current situation, it might be time to consider Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS), a pay-as-you-go model where you pay your managed services provider (MSP) a monthly fee to take care of all your hardware needs. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider HaaS.

Big savings
For SMBs, cash flow is a crucial matter. HaaS is essentially like leasing hardware equipment so you don’t have to pay for all of it upfront. What’s more, you pay a fixed monthly cost for all the maintenance and upkeep you need. This allows you to turn a big capital investment into a small, manageable operational expense that leaves you money for more important projects.

Advanced tech
It’s not easy for small businesses to catch up with the latest technology since they have limited funds. By using HaaS, your MSP gives you cutting-edge hardware and ensures they get the most recent upgrades so you can run resource-intensive applications and work efficiently.

Expert maintenance
Hardware must be managed and maintained, but small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) often lack the proper expertise, labor, and time to do so. Fortunately, HaaS providers have a team of hardware specialists on staff, ready to fix and proactively manage your equipment for you around the clock.

Flexible service
As time progresses, your organization grows and changes, which means your IT needs will also evolve. HaaS makes it easy for you to add or decommission hardware when your operation grows or scales down.

Robust security
Software isn’t the only thing that needs to be up to date to defend against the latest cyberattacks — your hardware does, too. HaaS providers update hardware that may be susceptible to cyberthreats. For instance, they may upgrade outdated WiFi routers to make sure hackers can’t infiltrate your network and steal information.

Thinking about switching to Haas but not sure where to start? Why not contact us today? We provide a variety of HaaS solutions tailored to suit any business’s needs. Tell Lanlogic your IT requirements and let’s see what we can do.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

5 virtualization options for every SMB

By EDITOR 

Understanding office virtualization is difficult enough; picking from the long list of software providers that help you achieve it can feel impossible. Since virtualization is a relatively new practice for small- and medium-sized businesses, there is no standardized way of virtualizing your company. So why not start with this simple list of the five most popular virtualization options and what their strengths are?

VMware

Any conversation about virtualization for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) usually starts around VMware. VMware is the company that really put office virtualization on everyone’s action item list. The company offers a number of different solutions for different-sized businesses with a wide variety of needs. Its ease of use and robust security features have secured its reputation as one of the best options for virtualization for SMBs.

Citrix

The average user may not recognize the company name but probably knows their popular remote access tools, GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting. Citrix has specifically geared their virtualization software XenApp, XenDesktop, and VDI-in-a-box toward SMBs and even claims that non-IT staff can easily manage and administer the services. They even provide a free trial to prove it.

Microsoft

Although it may be a little more difficult to manage without an in-house or outsourced IT staff, Microsoft’s Hyper-V option is hard to ignore, considering its integration with the popular cloud platform Azure. Whether you’re a Microsoft loyalist or you just want to minimize the number of vendors in your network, Hyper-V offers everything you need from a virtualization service.

Oracle

Specializing in marketing software, Oracle also offers database management, cloud storage, and customer relationship management software. If you’re using any of their services already, there could be benefits to enlisting their virtualization services as well. Oracle does everything — server, desktop, and app virtualization — and they believe that consolidating all of these into one solution is what sets them apart.

Amazon

Since we’re on the topic of household names, let’s talk about Amazon’s EC2 platform, which hosts scalable virtual private servers. The ability to scale and configure capacity is definitely EC2’s biggest draw for SMBs preparing for the possibility of rapid growth. Although almost any virtualization service is rooted in scalability, Amazon is leading the pack in how quickly and finely you can adjust your solution to your individual needs.

Virtualization is a really hard topic for most SMBs to tackle. This list only covers the most popular vendors, and there are plenty more out there. Choosing one based on its application possibilities and management requirements is not a subject for the lighthearted. Get in touch with Lanlogic today so we can break down all of the technobabble into easy-to-understand advice.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Don’t let hackers fool you with these tricks

By EDITOR 

The volume of malicious cyber attacks is increasing every year. Although many companies use the latest network security systems, they aren’t immune to the hackers’ favorite strategy — social engineering. Unlike malware, social engineering tricks people into volunteering sensitive data. Here’s what you should know to protect your business.

Phishing

This is the most frequently used social engineering attack, especially against small businesses. Check out these frightening statistics:

How is phishing carried out? Criminals make use of emails, phone calls, or text messages to steal money. Victims are directed to phony websites or hotlines and are tricked into giving away sensitive information like names, addresses, login information, social security, and credit card numbers.

To protect yourself, be wary of emails from people you don’t know that offer you a prize, come with attachments you didn’t request, direct you to suspicious sites, or urge you to act quickly. Phishing emails usually appear to come from reliable sources, but they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

One of the most infamous and widespread examples of phishing was during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, where victims received fraudulent emails for fake ticketing services that stole their personal and financial information.

Tailgating

What’s the fastest and easiest way for criminals to enter a secure office? Through the front door, of course! Tailgating happens when an employee holds the door open for strangers and unauthorized visitors, allowing them to infiltrate an organization. This simple act of kindness enables fraudsters to enter restricted areas, access computers when no one is looking, or leave behind devices for snooping.

Quid pro quo

Here, scam artists offer a free service or a prize in exchange for information. They may lure their victims with a gift, concert tickets, a T-shirt, or early access to a popular game in exchange for login credentials, account details, passwords, and other important information. Or hackers may volunteer to fix their victims’ IT problems to get what they want. In most cases, the gift is a cheap trinket or the tickets are fake, but damages from stolen information are all too real.

Pretexting

Fraudsters pretend to be someone else to steal information. They may pose as a telemarketer, tech support representative, co-worker, or police officer to fish out credit card information, bank account details, usernames, and passwords. The con artist may even convince the unsuspecting victim to apply for a loan over the phone to get more details from the victim. By gaining the person’s trust, the scammer can fool anyone into divulging company secrets.

In spite of the many security measures available today, fraudsters and their social engineering schemes continue to haunt and harm many businesses. Thus, it’s best to prepare for the worst. To protect sensitive information, educate yourself and be careful. Remember: If anything is too good to be true, it probably is!

To shield your business from social engineering attacks, don’t take chances! Get in touch with our Lanlogic experts today.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Windows 10 October 2018 best features

By EDITOR 

Microsoft releases two major Windows 10 updates every year, one in spring and one in fall. Following Windows 10’s April 2018 update, Microsoft is set to release a fresh batch of features in October. So if you’re a Windows 10 user, here are some features to look forward to.

Your Phone
Windows 10 is getting a built-in app called “Your Phone” that makes it easier to integrate your phone’s features with your PC. For instance, it will let you send texts and instantly access photos from your phone’s library on your computer.

There’s also talk about syncing notifications between devices in future updates. Currently, the iPhone has limited compatibility with this app, but Microsoft promises additional features will be added later.

Clipboard History
The Clipboard app has been revamped and now allows you to access a list of items you’ve copied to your clipboard, pin frequently used images, and sync your clipboard across your devices. All you have to do is hit Windows key + V to pull up your clipboard history and copy-paste items without having to constantly switch between windows.

SwiftKey
Windows touchscreen devices like the Surface Pro will come with SwiftKey functionality, which lets you type by swiping your finger from letter to letter rather than tapping each one. According to Microsoft, this feature produces accurate autocorrections and makes typing faster once you get used to it.

Dark Mode
All Microsoft apps will now support Dark Mode, which can be enabled by going to Settings > Personalization > Colors. This improvement may seem small compared to other features in this list, but Dark Mode reduces eye fatigue and saves battery life.

Cortana Search
When you use Cortana’s search functions, she’ll now provide previews to give you more information. For instance, if you use Cortana to search the web, Bing search results will be displayed on your Start menu. Or, if you search for an application, Cortana will show you its download page.

Windows Security
Windows Security will replace the Windows Defender Security Center program and add even more safeguards for your devices. It will have a “Block Suspicious Behaviors” setting that detects and prevents app and file activities that can leave you open to attacks.

What’s more, Windows Security keeps track of all the antivirus software, firewalls, and other security measures on your device, so you can see threat reports and manage your device’s cybersecurity in one place.

Predictive Updates
If you’re tired of Windows 10 restarting your computer at the worst times, you’ll love the new predictive updates feature. This function uses machine learning to study your computer habits and predict the best time to restart and update your PC.

These are only a few of the features that Windows 10 has in store for users. Microsoft will likely release dozens more in future updates, so tune into our blog to learn about the latest Windows developments.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What’s better with the iPhone XS

By EDITOR 

Apple recently released the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max. These phones replaced the iPhone X, which was released in 2017 but recently discontinued. With every new iPhone iteration, Apple always ups the ante. What makes the iPhone XS better than the ones that came before?

Like most Apple smartphones, the iPhone XS is expensive, especially when compared to other smartphones. Yet its improvements aren’t as big a leap from the iPhone X that came before it.

On the inside
The main differences between the iPhone XS and its predecessor lie on the inside. With every release, Apple claims faster speeds and better performance upgrades. And this latest is no exception.

#1 A12 Bionic chipset
This is one of the most powerful chipsets of any smartphone, providing snappier responses to simple tasks like web browsing or sending messages. But the power of this faster chip is best felt when running apps and games using augmented reality (AR). AR apps still have a way to go in improving its visual polish, but the A12 chip is ready for their future.

#2 Face ID
Apple’s Face ID technology may not be as fast at unlocking your phone as a passcode or fingerprint scan, but Apple claims the facial recognition features are faster and more accurate than ever before. And it’s incredibly secure.

#3 iOS12
Using the latest iOS with the iPhone XS is a smooth and enjoyable user experience. The new iOS also has several nifty new features, including:

  • Group notifications – Notifications are lumped into groups, so when you check your handset after an hour or two, you won’t be flooded with a long list of notifications.
  • Screen Time – This feature allows you to monitor how much time you spend on your phone, what apps take up most of your time, etc.

On the outside
Outside, the iPhone XS is almost identical to the iPhone X. However, Apple did make a few tweaks to its design and performance.

#1 Tougher glass case
Apple has upgraded its protective glass case, making it harder and tougher against accidental drops. It is also more waterproof, so you never need to worry about spills or getting caught in a storm.

#2 Improved screen
While the resolution (2436 x 1125) and pixel density (458 pixels per inch) on the XS are similar to its predecessor, there more colors thanks to the improvement of the dynamic range of its display.

#3 Improved camera
It has the same dual 12MP sensor as the iPhone X. But pixel size has been increased for better low-light photos. The Smart HDR (high dynamic range) mode also improves the details and brightness of your photos.

#4 Improved battery
Compared to the batteries in other smartphones on the market, the iPhone’s battery life has often been considered a little below average. But compared to the other iPhone batteries, the XS and XS Max are far better.

The verdict
Thanks to hardware improvements, the iPhone XS is still Apple’s most powerful phone to date, with faster speeds and improved cameras. Its battery life is so-so, it doesn’t sport a new design, and it’s still quite expensive. If you need help safely integrating Apple devices in your team’s daily operations, contact Lanlogic today.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ways to handle virtualization security risks

By EDITOR 

Online blogs and forums mostly cover networks and the cloud when it comes to cybersecurity, leaving other types of technology — particularly virtualization — overlooked and unsecured. If you don’t have the right defense plans in place, your business will be vulnerable to all types of cyberthreats. Here are some of the major risks of insufficient virtualization security and some methods to prevent them.

Security risks of virtualization

Complex infrastructure – Much like virtualization itself, the infrastructure of a virtualization solution can oftentimes be confusing to small businesses. In fact, the complex configuration alone can be a big headache for it’s more difficult to spot anomalies and unusual events happening in your virtual machines and network.
Dynamic design – Virtualized environments are dynamic by nature and constantly changing. Unlike adding physical equipment, the addition of virtual machines can go almost completely unnoticed as they’re created in a matter of minutes and aren’t visible in your workspace. The danger here is the age old adage, “out of sight out of mind.” And if you add too many, they can easily become difficult to manage and protect, creating security holes in the process.
Quick moving workloads – As your virtualized infrastructure grows, there will come a time when you need to move data from one machine to another. While this may sound harmless, the real issue is that your virtual machines will likely require different levels of security. And when you’re juggling multiple workloads over multiple virtual machines, you may accidentally move mission critical data to a machine that has minimal protection.

How to mitigate risks

While these three risks may sound alarming, they can all be mitigated. The key behind effectively securing your virtual machines all comes down to process. Put some thought into your security processes and then implement them. Here are a few areas to cover:

  • Organization – Decide how and where to separate your test, development, and production virtual machines.
  • Audit – Develop a system to regularly audit your virtual machine security. Whenever possible, use tools to automate your security checks, balances, and processes.
  • Patches – Perform regular security maintenance to ensure the patches are up-to-date for all virtual machines.
  • Overflow management – Create a system to monitor all your virtual machines, identify what each of them is used for, and manage them accordingly.
  • Responsibility – Designate an IT technician to watch over your virtual machines to ensure zero security gaps.If you prioritize proper management of your virtual machines, security doesn’t have to be an issue. Get in touch with Lanlogic if you’re interested in getting additional assistance for your virtualized infrastructure or if you’re planning to implement a new virtualization solution. Call Lanlogic today! (925) 273-2333.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is your continuity plan doomed to fail?

By EDITOR 

Like all things, business continuity plans are not perfect. They have pitfalls that can result in your business’s failure if not taken into account immediately. Don’t blame it all on the IT guy; often, the way a system is designed can also have loopholes. Here are a few of the reasons why business continuity plans fail.

Over-optimistic testing

The initial testing attempt is usually the most important. It’s when IT service providers can pinpoint possible weak points in the recovery plan. However, what usually happens is that they test the system in full, instead of via a step-by-step process. This results in them missing out specific points, with too many factors overwhelming them all at the same time.

Insufficient remote user licenses

A remote user license is given by service providers to businesses so that when a disaster strikes, employees can log in to a remote desktop software. However, a provider may only have a limited number of licenses. In some cases, more employees will need to have access to the remote desktop software than a provider’s license can allow.

Lost digital IDs

When a disaster strikes, employees will usually need their digital IDs so they can log in to the provider’s remote system while their own system at the office is being restored. However, digital IDs are tied to an employee’s desktop, and when a desktop is being backed up, they are not automatically saved. So when an employee goes back to using their ‘ready and restored’ desktop, they are unable to access the system with their previous digital ID.

Absence of a communications strategy

IT service providers will use email to notify and communicate with business owners and their employees when a disaster happens. However, this form of communication may not always be reliable in certain cases, such as when the Internet is cut off, or there are spam intrusions. Third-party notification systems are available, but they are quite expensive, and some providers sell them as a pricey add-on service.

Backups that require labored validation

After a system has been restored, IT technicians and business owners need to check whether the restoration is thorough and complete. This validation becomes a waste of time and effort when the log reports are not easy to compare. This usually happens when IT service providers utilize backup applications that do not come with their own log modules, and have to be acquired separately.

These are just some reasons why business continuity plans fail. It is important for business owners to be involved with any process that pertains to their IT infrastructure. Just because you believe something works doesn’t necessarily mean that it works correctly or effectively. If you have questions regarding your business continuity plan, get in touch with our Lanlogic experts today, (925) 273-2333.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Getting ready to switch to VoIP phones

By EDITOR 

Voice over Internet Protocol, commonly known as VoIP, allows you and your employees to make and take phone calls over the Internet using your existing broadband connection. It saves you loads of money and increases team efficiency. If you’re considering moving to a VoIP solution, here are some of the most important aspects to address before the switch.

Network stability

Implementing a VoIP phone system presents unique challenges, such as maintaining a consistent internet connection. Backup internet connections and uninterrupted power supplies are just some of the hardware you should have to ensure reliable VoIP calls. If your internet goes down or the power is knocked out, business goes on as usual.

Bandwidth

Beyond a stable connection, VoIP calls also need minimum network speeds to function. Estimating your current bandwidth and VoIP’s needs is crucial to ensuring your calls are clear and free of drop outs. Before benchmarking your internet speed, decide on how many users, handsets, and calls per day your new VoIP solution will need to handle.

Security

As with anything connected to the internet, VoIP is susceptible to cybersecurity threats and breaches. You could fall victim to information theft and malicious attacks if you don’t have robust and preventive security measures in place. Your best bet is to deploy a firewall to monitor the flow of traffic and protect your systems from security threats.

Budget

VoIP is a long-term money saver for small businesses, but there are relatively small upfront costs when upgrading from a traditional phone system or another subpar VoIP solution. You need to take into account things like whether you’ll purchase deskphones, potential cabling challenges, and installation costs for VoIP-specific routers.

Staff

Employee training is key to a successful VoIP integration. You help these efforts by asking one, or several, of your staff to work with the vendor or IT provider to learn the new system and become in-office resources. While most people are already familiar with video conferencing software such as Skype, it helps to create user guides and manuals to educate those that aren’t as tech-savvy.

VoIP systems create countless cost-saving and business-enhancing benefits, but they should not be installed without certified help. Our dedicated professionals streamline the whole process so your solution is configured and optimized as quickly as possible. Get in touch with Lanlogic today at (925) 273-2333 for information on how to embrace this groundbreaking technology.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What to do when tech doesn’t work

By EDITOR 

Almost every employee in every role relies on technology in order to do their job. When technology is working, everything hums along and productivity is solid. The second our technology stops working however, we can find ourselves struggling to even complete the most basic of tasks. The result can be a dramatic drop in overall productivity. The thing is, we know our systems will eventually breakdown. But, do you know what to do when this actually happens?

What to do when your systems stop working

Often, our first reaction when our technology or systems stop working is to either panic, or get angry. Once we are over this, we often feel desperate to get the problem fixed but may be at a loss as to what to do.

When technology does breakdown, here are some recommended steps you should take:

  • In the words of Douglas Adams, “Don’t Panic!” – One of the more popular quotes from the immensely successful Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is “don’t panic”. This rings true for the vast majority of tech problems. While you may feel like you are facing a big issue at the time, most systems can be fully recovered. This is especially true if you have backup solutions in place.
  • Note what you were doing before the problem occurred – This is an important step, as when something does go wrong, one of the first things tech support will ask you is what you were doing before the problem occurred. The more information that you can give them, the more likely they will be able to solve the problem faster.
  • Ask your colleagues if they are having the same problems –Because so many business systems are networked together, many techs will want to see if problems are localized to your computer or are network wide. Armed with this information, it is far easier to work out the most effective solution.
  • Try turning it off and on again – When faced with many tech problems, you will be asked to turn the system – be it your computer, an app, server, etc. – off and on again. Sometimes the fault lies in the software or short-term memory (RAM) of systems, and turning the system off and on again is enough to fix this.
  • Google it – If an issue persists and it is related to the software on your computer, or a website, try searching the Internet for an answer. If the page doesn’t load, you then know the problem is related to the Internet connection. Should the problem be with a cloud service, checking the provider’s website or social media feeds is useful to check for post status updates of their systems.
  • Don’t rush into a supposed fix – It can be tempting to try out the first supposed fix you come across or someone suggests. The problem is, some ‘fixes’ can actually end up harming a system even more. For example, you may find suggested fix for a phone that has been dropped into water that says to take the device apart and dry it with a blow dryer. This will damage components, and also void your warranty, which could make the issue even more expensive to deal with. Instead, you should seek the advice of an expert like us.
  • Don’t overreact – Have you ever felt so frustrated you have wanted to reach out and smack your computer? While this may make you feel better on one level the reality is that you could make a bad situation worse. When faced with any tech troubles it is best to walk away for a short time so that you can deal with the situation in a calm and collected way.
  • Call your IT partner or IT helpdesk – If the system doesn’t work after restarting we strongly recommend stopping there and reaching out to your IT helpdesk or an IT partner like Lanlogic. We have the experience to investigate the problem, and we can usually come up with an answer and hopefully a fix in a short amount of time.

Preventative steps you should take

While it is inevitable that systems will eventually breakdown, it doesn’t mean we are powerless to prevent this from happening, or at least minimizing the potential fallout. One of the easiest preventative measures you can take is to try and take care of your devices and systems. This includes being careful to not physically damage them, while also being sure to watch what you install on your systems, and implementing security standards.

We also strongly recommend working with an IT partner like us. We can help manage your systems and implement measures to keep them working long into the future. Beyond that, we can help monitor systems so that should something start to go wrong, we can begin to implement a fix even before you notice it. And, if something should break down, we can either fix it ourselves or recommend an expert who will be able to help.

Looking for help keeping your systems running and employees productive? Contact Lanlogic today at (925) 273-2333 to learn more about our services and how they are designed to help.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment