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8×8 cloud solutions help businesses transform their customer and employee experience. With one system of engagement for voice, video, collaboration and contact center and one system of intelligence on one technology platform, businesses can now communicate faster and smarter to exceed the speed of customer expectations.

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“Alexa, start my meeting.” “Alexa, read Priority Inbox.” “Alexa, ask my boss for a raise.”

Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa is starting to invade the workplace. You can already ask Alexa some basic business-related questions and make requests — though, regrettably, petitioning on your behalf for a raise isn’t among them (yet).

But more Alexa skills for businesses are on the way, fueled by Amazon’s November 2017 announcement of Alexa for Business. The open API development platform, which runs on Amazon Web Services, provides the tools and controls “administrators need to deploy and manage shared Alexa devices, skills, and users at scale,” according to Amazon Alexa for Business FAQ.

Here’s a quick overview of what you need to know about Alexa and other virtual assistants for business.

Related Story: 16 Crucial Alexa Skills For Marketers

1. Amazon Echo Dominates the Consumer Smart Speaker Market

Amazon announced its first-gen Echo smart speaker, featuring Alexa, in 2014, ahead of Google Home website (released in 2016, featuring Google Assistant) and Apple’s just-now-emerging, Siri-enabled Apple’s HomePod website.

Thanks to its head start, Echo has 69% of the U.S. smart speaker market, according to January 2018 research results from Edison Research and NPR and as reported by Voicebot.ai website. Google Home has 25%. (Apple’s HomePod wasn’t available at the time of the research.)

Alexa doesn’t just live in Echo smart speakers, of course — it’s also available in cars, smart home gadgets, even alexa powered toilets.

2. Alexa’s Dominance in the Home Could Lead to Dominance in the Workplace

Ten years ago, the first-gen iPhone inadvertently launched the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon. Could Echo’s popularity do the same in 2018, stirring consumers to bring Alexa to the office or, at a minimum, be comfortable using Alexa at work?

While 38% of professionals said they’ve used a chatbot or digital assistant like Alexa for personal reasons, only 11% have done so in their professional lives, according to the 2017 Enterprise Technology End-User Sentiment Survey from Unit4, which provides enterprise systems for services organizations. However, those who’ve used a chatbot or digital assistant in their personal lives are more than 1.5 times likelier to trust one in handling a work-related task, the survey found.

Separately, 62% of organizations expect virtual assistants to have a place in their companies within the next two years, according to a recent study from Dimension Data report on the digital workplace, a division of telecommunications service provider The NTT Group.

Given Alexa’s current dominance among consumers, then, it’s probable that Alexa will be a popular choice for virtual assistance in the workplace — at least in the beginning.

Read more @:https://www.cmswire.com/digital-workplace/7-things-businesses-should-know-about-alexa-in-the-workplace/

Dont reply on your employees ability to create and maintain a secure self-assigned password.

Add a second layer of security to vastly decrease your companies attack footprint.

2FA adds an extra layer of protection to the authentication process. It requires users to provide a second piece of identifying information in addition to a password. Examples of 2FA include answering a question like “What was your high school mascot?” or entering a verification code received via text message.

Why use 2FA?

The notion of 2FA as a best security practice is no longer even remotely new. Google brought the advanced form of online security into the mainstream conscience with the launch of multilayered protection for enterprise customers in 2010 and then for all Google users in 2011. Facebook followed soon after. Yet, according to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, only 10 percent of American adults can correctly identify a two-factor-enabled login screen from a set of four choices. 

Read more on the topic https://www.itnews.com/article/3239144/password-security/what-is-two-factor-authentication-2fa-how-to-enable-it-and-why-you-should.html

Contact Us today for help setting up Two Factor Authorization for your company.

Image result for security awareness trainingWith the increased emphasis on computer use in the workplace, it is becoming easier and easier for nefarious individuals to target and attack companies, taking valuable company time and money. Often these attacks are targeted at the most vulnerable cybersecurity links: Employees.

Due to employees having access to company information, cybercriminals will send websites and emails geared towards misleading them to download software or send information that will harm the company. These techniques are often sneaky and hard to pick out without knowing what to look for.

Training employees to identify phishing, prevent and dispose of viruses, and practice better security  can be advantageous to your company.

Contact Us to see what we can do for your company.

Read more on the topic: https://www.sans.org/reading-room/whitepapers/awareness/importance-security-awareness-training-33013

 

post-adToday’s smartphones, tablets, 2-in-1s and ever-slimmer notebook PCs make it easier than ever for businesses to adopt digital workflows. Yet, businesses still cling to paper.

Read more at smallbusinesscomputing.com

 

By 8.10.2015

pageadsThree years ago we were benchmarking Microsoft’s then latest operating system, Windows 8. At the time we were keen to make sure Windows 8 performed as well as Windows 7, which was a huge upgrade from 2006’s Windows Vista.

In the end, we determined that Windows 8 was on par with 7 and at times a fraction faster, leading us to this conclusion in our performance review:

“Looking beyond benchmarks, Windows 8 appears more polished than Windows 7, even if you plan to live on the desktop and aren’t too fond of the Start screen, general usage is smoother and appears to be faster on Windows 8, which I found most noticeable on our somewhat underpowered Athlon II X4 system. If anything, it’s a great start. Now the Metro/Modern style will have to prove itself as a cross-platform OS that marries desktop, laptop and tablet PCs.”

It’s obvious now that the ‘Metro’ Start screen was an epic failure and in my opinion it was the only real issue with Windows 8, as I thoroughly enjoyed using the operating system with Classic Shellinstalled.

Fortunately, Microsoft learned from its mistakes and addressed some of Windows 8’s shortcomings in Windows 10, which we believe is the best version yet, if only for its improved looks and functionality across devices and form factors.

Read more at: http://www.techspot.com/review/1042-windows-10-vs-windows-8-vs-windows-7

pageadsA Small Business Guide to Mobile Device Management

By Pam Baker | Posted February 23, 2015

Bring-your-own-device, or BYOD, is popular in small businesses these days, because companies don’t have to purchase mobile devices when employees willingly use their own. But protecting company data on employee-owned devices can be a tricky affair, in both the legal and the technical sense.

Guarding data and access to the company network on company-owned devices is equally taxing. While mobile device management (MDM) tools abound, it’s sometimes difficult to tell which is best for your needs. To help you with that, here’s a guide to help you decide.

Mobile Device Management: Pros and Cons

Mobile device management (MDM) software manages the actual device. Generally speaking, these tools let you manage mobile devices remotely and from a centralized dashboard, no matter whether they’re company or employee owned devices. Once you connect a device to the software, you can enforce security and compliance policies, grant or deny the device’s access to your company data, and automate many functions such as app and security distribution and updates. They also let you wipe data off a device that’s been lost or stolen, or that belongs to an employee who has left the company.

While you’re likely nodding your head at this point thinking this is perhaps precisely what you need, MDM software also has few cons that you need to consider.

For one thing, wiping an employee-owned device clean means the employee loses all his or her personal data too. Data such as personal photos, personal documents and files, creative works, apps, call records, calendar appointments, and contact lists. In effect, it renders a device completely unusable. Many a business has been sued for losing personal data in a device wipe and for losing use of the device, too.

MDM gives you complete and comprehensive control over mobile devices. You just need to be extra sure that your BYOD and MDM policies are rock solid and that employees sign a document stating that

  1. they understand what a wipe and other MDM actions can mean to them
  2. that they agree to all actions outlined in your policy

pageads“All the vendors say pretty much the same thing about their product, which makes it hard to differentiate them and make a decision for your business,” said Jeff Driscoll, IT manager at Marketing Mojo, adding that he’s “used several products for small business MDM, including N-able, Centrastage, ManageEngine, GFI Max [now Max Remote Management or MaxFocus], and trialed a bunch of others.”

“Cost is an acute point for small businesses, and it can vary wildly, but almost all [MDM software] will be a monthly subscription billed per device,” he explained. Mobile carriers offer basic MDM, too. Driscoll says that it won’t be elegant, or particularly easy to use, but you can expect basic functions such as remote data wiping of phones. Third-party MDM pricing usually ranges between $1 and $10/month per device.

“You can get bundle deals if you also monitor your workstations and servers,” says Driscoll. “MDM is commonly bundled with or tacked on to asset management or remote monitoring and management (RMM) solutions for servers and workstations. Some are just lightweight half-measures, and the industry is just now getting to a level of true MDM,” he added.

The Alternative to MDM: Mobile Application Management

Mobile application management (MAM), as the name implies, manages applications on a mobile device instead of managing the device itself.

MAM lets you control and manage specific applications—namely business applications—without affecting any consumer applications or personal data on a mobile device. That means you can still wipe data off a device if an employee leaves your employ, or if a device is lost or stolen, without damaging anything personal that the device owner has stored on the device.

Some MAM products containerize applications as well, meaning that even if malware exists on the mobile device, it can’t penetrate the apps in the container.

You can still automate app and security distributions and enforce policies. You can also remotely wipe data from the device to retain company data—such as phone logs and contact lists—as opposed to such records remaining on the device when the employee leaves.

The MDM Plus MAM Option

Many products today combine the best of both worlds and offer a blend of MDM and MAM features and functionalities. Before you get too excited about this, be aware that both terms are loosely thrown about by vendors. Due diligence is important; insist that vendors spell out precisely what they mean when they use these terms.

Most anti-virus and anti-malware companies also offer MDM and MAM products, so you might want to check with whichever company you use for anti-virus protection to see what’s available. You may also want to check with your cell phone carrier to see what they have to offer.

Some of these companies offer MDM and/or MAM at no extra cost or for a modest monthly premium. Other reputable vendors offer blended products too, so you have many options. But again, be sure you understand what you’re getting before you sign the dotted line. Not all of these products are created equal.

 

Read full article here.

pageadsWhat’s In A Name

– By Greg Crumpton

Not many people who operate at a high level think the word “vendor” is very appealing. In fact many find it to be borderline offensive.

What Is The Alternative?

Partner, yes, but it too has become jaded. Resource, ally, co-customer, you name it, the moniker has been adopted by many sales folks who are trying to differentiate themselves.

Can You Really Blame Them?

I am not sure what to call the position that true professionals strive for. I do know that it’s important. It’s important to me when I’m getting ready to buy. Another thing I know is that the kind folks who have allowed me to serve them like it when I help them solve the non-routine problems. You know that feeling when you get it.

The word I really want to use here is friend. My fingers actually cramped up just then trying to type it because I know in my 50-year-old brain that corporate america is not keen on a purchasing agent buying things, items, ideas, etc. from a friend.

Even if you are friends, the arms-length requirement to keep everyone from suspecting any wrong-doing has to be very, very clear. That’s a shame, but the path is littered with poor decisions involving friends in business.

There Is A Balance Between Vendor And Friend.

Many call it a “trusted advisor” or some similar name. The point is, it has to be done intentionally, with the key word being intent. That means serving with good-will, a “definite chief aim” or purpose and an over-arching desire to deliver the unexpected. It also means communicating like Churchill, having the tenacity of Patton and the exhibiting the character of Honest Abe Lincoln.

In the end it really doesn’t matter what’s on your business card. Market leader, VP or custodian. What does matter is that you deliver, or as Seth Godin would say- ship, your work, regardless of what people label you as.

Original Article can be found here.

 

Greg Crumpton founded AirTight in 1999. Greg has over 33 years of experience in full service mechanical and mission critical environments with a heavy emphasis on service, maintenance and repair. Greg specializes in mission critical cooling and electrical infrastructures, as well as the comfort cooling surrounding them. Greg owned and operated AirTight until 2014 when he decided to merge it into Service Logic’s existing Charlotte business, FaciliTech, to provide great service capabilities for their customers. Greg continues to be highly involved with the combined organization, ensuring clients have a great experience.

 

Hololens 2876387

Microsoft has a vision for the future, and it involves terms and technology straight out of science fiction.

But are we actually glimpsing that future? Yes and no.

Microsoft’s HoloLens, which the company unveiled at its Redmond, Wash., headquarters on Wednesday, is a sleek, flashy headset with transparent lenses. You can see the world around you, but suddenly that world is transformed — with 3D objects floating in midair, virtual screens on the wall and your living room covered in virtual characters running amok.

Technology companies have long promised to bring us the future now, reaching ahead 5 or 10 years to try to amaze consumers with the next big breakthrough. Hollywood, on the other hand, has shown that tech in action (or at least simulations of it).

Read More- http://www.cnet.com/news/microsoft-hololens-explained-how-it-works-and-why-its-different/

Microsoft HoloLens- http://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-hololens/en-us

pageads

Since the advent of email, the contact list has become an icon of social connections across the internet. Nothing seems to better symbolize who we know than looking through that long list of names. The problem most of us experience is that our contact lists can get pretty long over time. Some email services automatically add someone as a contact every time you interact with that person. Having so many people on that list can eventually transform what was once a useful aid into a nightmarish labyrinth of tangled-up names and email addresses. There has to be some way to put it all in order, right?

What if you could attach a face to each contact’s name? Unless you are one of the unlucky few with prosopagnosia, faces are more easily recognizable to you than names. Because of this, putting a picture of a person’s face next to their name is monumentally helpful in sorting out who is who, especially in a messy and winding contact list!

Let’s look at some products that do this eloquently:

  • Rapportive – If you use Gmail, you may notice that it only pulls up contact pictures from Google Plus. Not all of your contacts use that social network, but you’ll find many of them on LinkedIn and Facebook. Rapportive is a Google Chrome extension that links up your Gmail interface with Facebook. The only obvious problem with this is the fact that this doesn’t work if you access email from mobile devices. Most people prefer to use an app for this activity and forego the entire process of using a browser. For this reason, Rapportive is more useful for desktop environments.
  • Rainmaker A solution for those who wish to see contacts’ faces on mobile devices, Rainmaker offers a variety of contact sync features. Aside from Facebook, you can also pull contacts from LinkedIn and Twitter. Like Rapportive, it’s a service offered exclusively for Google users, particularly those using Gmail or Google Apps. To get real-time sync capabilities (rather than daily), you must pay $9 a month. Supported mobile platforms include Android, iOS, and BlackBerry.
  • Plaxo Although it’s an old service (offered since 2005), Plaxo still has a lot going for it. Its “Personal Assistant” plan at $6.67 a month pulls up information and photos from Facebook, LinkedIn, the White Pages, and other places. This platform works with virtually any email client and continuously finds new information – including work addresses and phone numbers – as it comes along. Plaxo also supports an unrivaled amount of mobile devices, including Android, iOS, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone.

Before your contact list spirals out of control, you need to adopt the right kind of technology. Keeping your list organized will give you one less thing to worry about – another step in reducing the struggles of running your business.

by Miguel Leiva-Gomez

 

Read More: http://www.smallbiztechnology.com/archive/2013/09/3-services-that-help-add-a-face-to-the-name-on-your-contact-list.html/