Business phone solutions – step up to VoIP

If you’ve got a legacy PBX in your office, you’ve certainly noticed how it’s getting harder to maintain. You can’t get new systems that use the old TDM technology, and fewer and fewer companies want to support the old ones. The jump to VoIP business phone solutions might seem intimidating, but it comes with a lot of advantages, and if you use a hosted exchange, it’s not very hard to get it working. Continue reading “Business phone solutions – step up to VoIP”

The Benefits of Using a Network Proxy Server

One way to reduce the risks associated with business Internet activities is to use a network proxy server. A proxy server can be considered as the guardian of your network. It sits between your internal and external network servers and works to filter and monitor incoming and outgoing traffic.

What do Proxy Servers Do?

Caching: Proxy servers can download and store local copies of any web pages that you frequently visit. This is known as caching. They also monitor the pages on an ongoing basis and automatically update the cached version when the live form of the page is modified, making the cached version always up to date. Cached versions of web pages can be accessed anytime without being online; and as such, caching is a valuable method of enhancing your Internet speed and reducing bandwidth usage.

Content Filtering: In some cases, you may wish to have more control over which websites your employees access on the internet. For example, you may be concerned about your staff spending time on social media when they should be engaged in company activities. In these cases, you can use a proxy server to determine the content users can access within your network. Other examples of content that may be filtered in this way are gaming websites and entertainment portals.

Monitoring: In addition to controlling browsed content, you may also wish to monitor your employees’ online behaviors; for example, the emails that are sent, the websites they connect to, and the chat messages they exchange. You can use a proxy server to track incoming and outgoing information on your network from a single location.

Privacy: Users within the local network can connect to an external web page via the proxy server as opposed to creating a direct connection. As such, any requests that are filtered through the proxy server appear to be coming from that server and not your internal network. This allows users within your network to connect anonymously to the Internet, which enhances your business security.

Every modern-age business should make full use of proxy servers to protect business assets and maximize productivity. If you’re interested in exploring the option of adding a proxy server to your network, call us and we will be happy to talk about it.

Does your business have a problem with wasted employee time due to unauthorized web surfing or down time due to viruses?  We can help!  Contact us…

The Business Case for Using Pokemon Go

Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm in few days since its launch. People are hitting the streets in search of Pokémon, and getting sore legs in the process. But how can local businesses take advantage of people’s obsession with this latest fad to increase sales and profitability?

Before you start developing a strategy by which you can convert sauntering mobile gaming fanatics into cold, hard cash, you need to identify whether your business is a PokeStop or near a Gym. You can do this by downloading the Ingress map. While this online map of portals isn’t explicitly related to Pokémon Go, savvy game players have found that it pretty much maps 1:1 with the PokeStops and Gyms on Pokémon Go.

If your Business is a PokeStop, throw down a lure and wait for the customers to come streaming in; a lure is a special module that will attract Pokémon. When a lure is placed, Pokémon (and, more importantly, players) suddenly descend on your location.

You buy lures with real money. For a budget of $50, you can purchase 84 lures, which will give you a Pokémon at your business for 42 hours in total; that’s just $1.19 an hour! Think of how much foot traffic you can get through your door with 42 hours of promotional activity on the world’s most popular game.

If your business is near a Gym, capitalize on your location; users converge on gyms to enter into virtual duels with other players in a bid to take control of the gym. You can capitalize on this by running giveaways that are explicitly targeted at Pokémon Go players, offering discounts to the representatives of the team that has control of the gym, or advertising your proximity to a Pokémon gym on social media.

If your business is not near a Gym or a PokeStop, you can still take your business on the road to a PokeStop and lay down the lures from there. Or you can promote the nearest Pokémon on social media.

Fad or not, Pokémon Go can make you some cash right now.  Don’t miss out on an amazing opportunity to tap into this craze.

Five Great Time Saving Email Management Tips

The rise of email for business and personal communication has greatly reduced turnaround time in general and fostered greater information exchanges. Yet, it has also introduced new time-sucking woes. For instance, email has made it simple and cheap for communication you don’t necessarily want to arrive at your desk, and this can clog up your email service as well as monopolize much of that time electronic messaging was supposed to save in the first place. Here are some tips to reclaim that time:

1. Delete Obviously Unnecessary Emails

When you first access your email, you will notice some emails you can immediately identify as unimportant. Don’t even bother opening these; just delete them right off the bat to pare the list of emails down to the ones that do require your attention.

2. Recycle Sent Emails

If you find yourself sending out similar emails on a regular basis, why not just copy and paste the parts you need or the message in its entirety? This saves you composition time without sacrificing the quality of information you need to impart to a new recipient. You can also forward these messages; just remove all of the previous recipients’ information and make adjustments to the subject line to make your latest email appear brand new.

3. Sort Messages to Delete En Masse

Although different email services may vary in sorting options, most will allow you to make distinctions within folders by size or attachments. One method that is usually effective is to sort your Sent folder to discover those emails with attachments and delete them; after all, you likely have those attachments saved on your PC as well. This can free up huge amounts of space in a pinch.

4. Turn Notifications Off:

Unless it is part of your company’s policy or you have other reasons to receive a notification for every new email received, it is often a time waster. Many of these emails don’t require your immediate attention, but it does pull you away from the task at hand when notifications go off. It is usually better to check your emails at particular times of day instead of continually throughout the day.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Close Your Email:

There are times you don’t need the distraction of email. As long as you aren’t going all day without checking in, you are likely taking care of your electronic communication in a timely manner. When you aren’t using your email, don’t be afraid to close it out to remove the temptation to check in.

CORE Networks Saves the Day Again

It was a pretty rough week with all the thunderstorms in our area.  We had multiple weather related emergency calls where businesses were struck by lightning.  In all cases we were able to get them back online but one case in particular was quite bad.

office lightning strike
Lightning destroys electronics!

This client’s Core network switch was struck by lightning and completely fried.  We were able to get their data network and servers online relatively quickly by using spare equipment and moving some equipment around.  Unfortunately, their in-house telephone system also wasn’t working after the lightning strike.  This gave our business phone solutions service, CORE Connex, an opportunity to shine.  We replaced a few of their primary phones with CORE Connex hosted phones and forwarded their telephone number to our cloud PBX so the business could function normally until parts arrived to bring their in house telephone system back online.

This client quickly realized how vulnerable having an in house telephone system can be and will most likely be switching to the CORE Connex hosted phones soon.

Is your telephone system redundant and disaster proof?  It can be with CORE Connex…  We host your system between 3 geographically redundant datacenters and always have a stock of phones available in the event of a local emergency.

Give us a call today for a free consultation! 985-273-5699

Server 2003 End of Life

Unfortunately we’re losing another great business operating system. Similar to the way Microsoft phased out Windows XP they’ll be soon doing the same to Windows Server 2003.  As of July 14th, 2015 the popular business server operating system will be no longer supported.

What does windows server 2003 end of life mean for your business?

When Windows Server 2003 end of support is activated on July 14th, 2015 Microsoft will no longer provide security patches & system updates. This will leave many systems vulnerable to attacks if they’re not phased out by the Microsoft imposed deadline. Without proper security patches and updates a system can become an immediate threat to the entire business network and important data. If you have one of these servers still in operation you need to seriously be considering a migration path. Our recommendation, cloud based network solutions via our Cloud Connect service.

Migration options for your network solutions

Typical server migration would normally take months of planning and testing. So, your choices are;

  1. Spend a bunch of money and start the painful process of migrating to server 2012
  2. Go with a Cloud OS and let us manage your IT in a secure datacenter. Never worry about buying another server or purchasing server licenses. We handle all that for you. Plus, migrating your IT to the cloud is quick & easy when you chose our Cloud Connect service.

Looking for a Windows Server 2003 replacement or server 2003 upgrade? Look no further, our experienced engineers can custom build your next server to ensure it’s ability to run your business IT functions.