Tools, tips, and support from Fidelis, Inc to help your teams work from home effectively

No matter the size or sector of your business, the COVID-19 and the new reality that it has brought is a difficult time for all of us. One of the most critical and common challenges organizations face is to ensure their teams have the capability to work effectively from home in order to maintain the quality of service to their clients.

Fidelis ’s IT specialists have put together a detailed, easy-to-understand list of tools and resources that will help you do just that. As your committed IT partner, we will continue to provide the support you need, and together we’ll get through this.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is the successor of Skype for Business and includes most of its features. It is free for six months, easy to configure, and may already be included with your existing Office 365 subscription. With Teams, your employees can stay connected via private, group, or topic-based chat channels. You can also perform private or group audio and video calls from your computer to any device with the Teams app, and even schedule these calls with built-in functions.

Teams’ file sharing feature lets your employees access shared content easily and work on files simultaneously. It also enables you to sync shared files via OneDrive to allow offline access to the full Microsoft Office 365 suite (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc.).

For improved convenience, opt for the Audio Conferencing feature which allows your team members to call in to Microsoft Teams meetings via phone, which costs $4 per user per month.

You can learn to use Teams with free training videos from Microsoft here. Should you need any support with Teams’s configuration or training, please reach out to us at [email protected] or 206-725-7728 and our software specialists will be with you in no time.

Zoom

Zoom is a high-quality, easy-to-use virtual meeting tool that also integrates with Microsoft Outlook. The Basic licenses include screen sharing capabilities and are free, with no time limit on one-to-one video or audio calls and a 40-minute time limit on video or audio group meetings (3+ participants).

Pro licenses are $14.99 per user per month, and include all of the basic features. Furthermore, the time limit for group meetings is increased to 24 hours and you get 1GB of cloud recording storage, phone call-in options to Zoom meetings, as well as your own meeting URLs (e.g. yourcompany.zoom.us)

You can find Zoom video tutorials here as well as several live daily training here. And should you need any support for setup or training, please reach out to us at ref="mailto:[email protected]" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">[email protected] or 206-725-7728 and our support specialists will be with you in no time.

Webcams and Headsets

When it comes to remote working, efficient communication is more critical than ever. Ensure you choose the right cameras and microphones the first time and so you don’t end up frustrated over low-res images or unclear audio. Our IT specialists recommend:

OneDrive for Business

OneDrive is cloud-based software included in most Office 365 subscriptions. It enables your team members to share and access files from anywhere and on any device, work offline by automatically syncing data to devices, and sync file libraries from Microsoft Teams or SharePoint for easy, direct access via File Explorer. You’ll also work with peace of mind knowing you can easily restore older versions of a document with smart, automated archive features.

SharePoint Online

SharePoint a cloud-based collaborative platform and is included in most Office 365 subscriptions. It ensures that any files your team members store on Microsoft Teams can also be accessed via SharePoint Online.

With SharePoint’s File Libraries feature, your team members can easily and securely access shared content from anywhere, on any device. They can also work offline by syncing the files to their computers via OneDrive for Business.

Softphone

Softphone is efficient, user-friendly software that lets users make and receive high-quality phone calls over the internet while saving on phone bills. While most cloud phone systems support Softphone, some require additional licensing or setup by IT specialists.

Fidelis partners with leading service providers including NEC and Crexendo and will help you select the option that best suits your business needs. We will also ensure seamless integration with your existing systems, or a hassle-free migration to a cloud phone system that supports your desired softphone option. Simply contact us at [email protected] or 206-725-7728 and our VoIP specialists will be with you in no time.

Voice-over-IP (VoIP) Handsets

If your current VoIP handset requires a hardwired ethernet connection, you might have already suffered with the headache that comes with reinstallations and reconfigurations. Don’t let such limitations compromise the quality of your communication with clients, especially in a time like this. Contact us for recommendations on getting better handsets and setting them up.

Twinning Feature

Twinning is a phone feature that allows calls to ring to your desk phone and to a cell phone simultaneously, ensuring you never miss an important call even if no one is working in the office.
Most modern phone systems come with the twinning feature, and should you need expert support enabling or configuring the feature, our IT specialists will be on standby at [email protected] or 206-725-7728.

Voicemail-to-Email Capability

Most VoIP phone systems support a voicemail to email feature, which generates an email with the voicemail attached as an audio file. Most modern phone systems will also transcript your voicemail and send it directly to your email as text, saving you time and resources and enabling you to serve your clients faster.

If you need expert configuration to enable this feature on your current phone systems, or would like to explore the phone options that best suit your business needs, our IT specialists will be on standby at [email protected] or 206-725-7728.

Remote Access and Office Network Tools

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

VPN connections allow your staff to securely access your office network from a remote location. It lets organizations limit user access to confidential information, and protects your business systems against the risk of cyberthreats that might come in from your employees’ personal devices.

While most firewalls have a built-in VPN, sometimes it requires configuration to enable the capability, and our IT specialists are on standby to help you with that.

Remote Access Software

LogMeIn Pro, TeamViewer, and GoToMyPC are some of the most effective, reliable and easy to set up remote access tools. That’s why we have included them and other expert-recommended remote access options in Fidelis ’s FiMSP plans.

Reach out to us at [email protected] or 206-725-7728 and our IT specialists will ensure your staff are able to easily and securely access your company resources anywhere and from any device.

Backups

If your organization is still relying on manual data backup like offsite media rotation, you might already be struggling while most or all of your staff are working remotely. And even if your employees have been leveraging the benefits of the cloud and its advanced security features, it is still important to have a comprehensive backup strategy in place.

The IT specialists at Fidelis can help you safeguard everything you have worked for by implementing robust, cost-effective backup and business continuity solutions that will automatically back up all your critical systems to the cloud. Reach out to us at [email protected] or 206-725-7728 and our dedicated technicians will ensure that your business data is safe no matter where you are.

Remote Desktop Services/Terminal Server

A dedicated Remote Desktop Services (RDS) server allows reliable remote connections from PCs, Macs, and other devices to office applications for multiple users. This allows your team members to collaborate uninterrupted on multiple tools at the same time.

In some cases, additional licensing or hardware is required, but Remote Desktop Services will improve your data security and decrease your IT expenses long term.

Set up clear, effective remote work policies

Remote work is a new practice for most businesses, and employers are experimenting with communication and work policies that best suit their company culture and ensure maximum efficiency. Here are our tips:

  • Ensure you have clear, step-by-step Remote Work Policies in place and that your employees are aware of the organization’s expectations. See our sample policy here
  • Ensure your employees are securely accessing your business systems and data by:
    • Setting up strong, unique passwords on all devices and installing password management tools such as LastPass
    • Updating antivirus software with the latest security patches
    • Implementing comprehensive, efficient encryption software like Bitlocker
    • Training your employees on cybersecurity to minimize the risk of human error — don’t have enough time to train your teams on the latest best practices? Let our IT specialists take care of that with our Security Training Service

Prepare company-wide, efficient remote support

Establishing prompt, comprehensive systems and technologies to support a fully remote workforce can be intimidating, especially when entrepreneurs like you have more at stake than ever. But if you outsource Help Desk support, you can rest assured that your staff have the tools and assistance they need to maintain the quality of your services, and you have the time to focus your resources on other crucial tasks.

Our comprehensive, cost-effective FiMSP Bronze service ensures your employees can access your critical data securely and collaborate efficiently. We will equip their personal computers with batch processing systems, up-to-date antivirus software, and a suite of efficient, user-friendly tools.

Not sure if our service fits your budget and business needs? Reach out to us at [email protected] or 206-725-7728 and we will work with you to find the best remote IT support for your employees. Our teams are also on standby to assist you with any tech issues and recommendations during this difficult time.

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