Posts

DC Region’s Extreme Weather & Stronger Storms… Protect Your Business with Cloud & Business Continuity Planning

TCI’s cutting-edge Disaster Recovery solutions are tailored to help protect your entire IT environment – from data and applications to office computers, mobile devices, networks, and phone systems.

Will your business continue to operate when disaster strikes?

Here are just some of the ways TCI’s comprehensive approach helps you safeguard what counts:

  • Determine appropriate risk reduction strategies, remedies, and alternatives for critical systems and networks, including affordable ways to address voice and data protection measures like off-grid power sourcing and secure off-site storage.
  • Enable a remote work program that can keep your business open when your office is shut down during an emergency.
  • Avoid critical data loss or recovery delays dealing with missing databases, disrupted systems, networks, and more.

And if you’re considering moving to the cloud, remember you don’t have to do it all at once.

Create a plan. Identify what should stay in-house and what should go to the cloud. Focus on what you’d need to operate if a major interruption or disaster occurred. Determine the connectivity your employees need to do their jobs remotely. Also, work toward consistent and seamless end-to-end communications. TCI can help you build a hybrid or full cloud solution that meets your business needs.

The cloud gives your company the agility it needs to respond to any disruption, be it a natural disaster, pandemic, security breach, or a failure of your network or hardware.

Schedule your Business Continuity planning session today. Contact TCI at (703) 321-3030 or GetHelp@tcicomm.com.
 

Connecting Healthcare Providers with HIPAA-Compliant and Cloud-Based Communications

As a local technology leader, TCI is committed to delivering the best HIPAA-compliant healthcare communications tools for your facility.

The entire healthcare industry underwent a rapid digital transformation due to the pandemic and continues to evolve as the world changes.

Telehealth, remote treatments, and virtual patient services have grown in popularity, enabling patients to receive care outside the traditional clinical environment.

Healthcare providers are embracing the latest communications technology to keep up with their patients’ evolving digital-first expectations – and many are already taking advantage of the Cloud to achieve healthcare benefits.

The Key Benefits of Cloud-Based Healthcare Communications

  • Enhanced Data Security and Compliance – Hospitals and other providers are among the biggest targets of hackers and ransomware due to the sensitive data they must store and transmit. Patient information is more secure in the Cloud, protected by encryption and access controls. TCI offers Cloud-based UC solutions that are updated continuously to comply with the latest privacy and security standards, including HIPAA and GDPR.
  • Scalability and Flexibility – Healthcare systems with Cloud-based UC solutions can seamlessly transition to remote operations and manage increased volumes of patients during a pandemic or short-term crisis.
  • More Cost-Efficient, Effective Processes – Private and hybrid Cloud communications solutions reduce infrastructure and maintenance costs using digital rather than physical storage. Integration with medical apps streamlines complicated processes. Time-consuming administrative tasks can be automated for improved operational efficiency.
  • Advanced Analytics and Insights – Cloud-based UC solutions can use powerful predictive analytics tools for data-driven decision-making.

All aspects of your healthcare communications can be elevated to the Cloud, such as:

  • Contact Centers
  • Patient Portals
  • VoIP Phone Systems
  • Video Calling and Voice Messaging
  • Collaboration Software and Teamwork Solutions
  • Text Alerts and Reminders

Take Your Healthcare Communications to the Cloud with TCI & Mitel

TCI deploys HIPAA-compliant Mitel solutions that empower your clinical staff to spend less time on administrative tasks and more on critical care by supporting streamlined workflows, seamless file sharing, and API integration.

Innovations like AI-enabled automation, self-service tools, and virtual assistants will increase patient engagement, trust, and satisfaction with their healthcare experience.

To future-proof your healthcare communications, look for the deployment model – private, hybrid, or public Cloud – that best fits your clinical needs, data security requirements, and budget.

Contact your local TCI experts to learn more about migrating your healthcare communications to the Cloud: (703) 321-3030 or GetHelp@tcicomm.com.
 

TCI Host Service – Customized Contact Center, Team Collaboration & Business Communications

Empower your people to serve your customers better

For a single, low monthly price, you can upgrade old phones to advanced mobile-enabled desktop phones and use Mitel’s award-winning capabilities to dramatically improve your Customer Experience.

Cloud communications isn’t an all-or-nothing endeavor

There are several deployment models to choose from depending on your business’s unique situation, and you can shift from one approach to another over time. Managing a multi-site business? TCI Host can bring your offices closer together.

In and Outbound Contact Center / Call Center

Whether you’re a small or big business, you can support omnichannel queues that let customers contact you the way they prefer. Track your customer contacts and get real-time metrics for informed decision-making and better team coaching.

  • Integrate with your CRM, like Salesforce, Microsoft, and others
  • Offer Live Agents, Web Chat, Email, Text Messaging / SMS
  • Monitor and respond to Social Media feeds (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.)
  • Automate and access Full Reporting on Your Customer Interactions
  • Improve Customer Experience
  • Become more efficient

Powerful Collaboration Capabilities

Explore some of the Mitel-powered team-building and conferencing tools your users can tap into with their mobile or desktop phones…

  • Virtual workspaces for team meetings, conversations, content review, and project management
  • Team Video Conferencing and Recording
  • Participant management
  • Desktop application sharing
  • Team and private chat
  • Web-based file sharing
  • Document management

Unified Messaging and Integrated Apps

With access to these Mitel-powered tools, your team’s work can be tackled on more devices from any location:

  • Integration with business applications from tech leaders like Microsoft and Google
  • Presence Tools
  • Softphone App on Mobile Devices
  • Unified Messaging
  • Remote control of desktops
  • Outlook client plug-in
  • MS TEAMS integration (Mitel Assistant App)
  • Message retrieval from one synchronized message store

Our TCI Host Cloud Voice Service is all about flexibility

Add new cloud-based tools to your existing business phone system, and when you’re ready, migrate your entire platform to the cloud to reduce your overall telecom costs.

Schedule your TCI Host demo. Call us today at (703) 321-3030 or GetHelp@tcicomm.com.
 

Position Your SMB for Success with the Latest UC Capabilities… Connect Your Employees & Customers

As we look toward the new year, small business owners have a lot to consider…

  • After navigating a global pandemic and high inflation, small business owners know they need to be ready for the next unexpected business disruption.
  • Customer expectations have reached an all-time high, and delivering an optimal customer experience has become more critical than ever.
  • Employee needs have also changed, with many desiring more flexible and fulfilling work options.

These increasing demands present new challenges for SMB owners and IT professionals who now must develop a strategy for connecting a distributed workforce while interacting with customers wherever they happen to be.

The SMBs that will be the most successful are implementing the latest Unified Communication (UC) tools to provide resilience over the long term.

Today’s UC tools are integral in streamlining business processes by combining features like Team messaging, AI-powered chatbots, Video chat, and Third-party app integrations.

  • Delivering an Optimal Customer Experience – UC solutions provide SMBs with the flexibility to connect with customers on their preferred channels – whether it be contact center, SMS, Web chat, email, social media, or even virtual agents. SMBs need UC solutions that easily follow a customer conversation from virtual chat to phone to email.
  • Providing Flexibility to Employees – 98% of employees want to work remotely at least part of the time. As your workforce moves toward a hybrid work model, long-distance collaboration will be essential. A single easy-to-use UC interface simplifies this process for both employees and IT departments bringing together phone, chat or messaging, audio and video conferencing, web collaboration, and more.
  • The Cost Consideration – Lost productivity from poor communications strategies can cost SMBs significant dollars – funds that small business owners can’t afford to lose. They need reliable UC tools that are scalable and can grow and change with their business. Their UC deployment models must adapt to what’s best for business – whether that’s on-premises, in a private or public Cloud, or hybrid arrangement.

Plan Now for a More Prosperous 2024

As many SMBs prepare for the new year, there’s no better time to start implementing UC tools into business practices. Customers will spend money with businesses that are easy to communicate with and can solve any issues that may arise, quickly and efficiently.

Prospective employees looking for a new opportunity will also be attracted to businesses with systems that make their jobs and lives easier.

Let’s talk about your challenges and goals and map out a plan that will move your organization forward. Contact us today: (703) 321-3030 or GetHelp@tcicomm.com.
 


 

TCI’s Popular Cloud, On-Site or Hybrid Voice Subscription Supports Customized Communications and Improves Customer Experience

Acquiring an enterprise-level phone system typically requires a hefty CAPEX investment or lease. But now TCI offers a budget-friendly way to simplify your Communication and Collaboration needs as a predictable OPEX subscription.

Why Subscribe to TCI Hosted Voice?

  • Only pay for the number of users you have now – scale up and down as needed
  • The latest software/security updates are included
  • Deployment flexibility – You can choose the best arrangement for your needs: On-Prem, Private Cloud, or Public Cloud
  • Choose your calling, collaboration, video, and contact center user features and permissions
  • Make budgeting predictable and reduce your upfront costs

TCI deploys the precise mix of communication, collaboration, and contact center applications you need – without the big upfront price tag.

  • No need to combine tools from multiple vendors – TCI delivers an end-to-end on-site phone and unified communications solution from a single provider.
  • Mobile-first IP Desktop Phones – we support a range of devices with exceptional HD audio quality, one-touch Bluetooth pairing, and seamless integration with your mobile phone.
  • Flexible, Easy-to-Manage Platform – Web-Based Management ensures administrators can deploy a multi-site solution from their web browser.

For more details on TCI’s Hosted Voice subscription plans, contact us today: (703) 321-3030 or GetHelp@tcicomm.com.
 

Why So Many Contact Center Leaders Stick with On-Prem Deployments

A lot of tech trade media claims that: “Companies are lining up to move their contact centers to the cloud!” But we often hear decision-makers say: “Moving to the cloud makes no sense for us!”

So, what’s really happening out there?

Research shows that almost 29% of companies globally have moved to Contact Center as a Service (defined as public-cloud, multi-tenant platform). Another 20% have moved to a hosted/managed platform (defined as dedicated-instance, single-server platform owned and managed by a third party).

22% own and operate their contact centers from their physical locations and another 21% own and operate their on-premises contact center platforms with the dedicated-instance servers physically located at a third-party data center.

Architectural Drivers

We’ve all heard plenty about the value of cloud in various applications. So, what’s causing companies to keep their contact center deployments on-premises — or return to on-premises after riding the cloud wave?

Let’s start with why Customer Experience leaders who are on-premises are Staying There…

  • Reliability (45.9%)
  • Security (41.4%)
  • Customization (34.2%)
  • Cost (28.8%)

Why are some Returning to On-Premises from the Cloud

  • Security (54.5%)
  • Customization (40.9%)
  • Cost (13.6%)

Though much of the public square narrative around contact centers suggests cloud is the way to go, research shows that companies are staying with full on-premises platforms, adopting hybrid cloud/on-premises approaches, or, to a lesser extent, returning from cloud to on-premises environments.

Before choosing the best arrangement for their organizations, business leaders must evaluate the following:

  • Opportunities – What problems or opportunities are you trying to address from your contact center? How can you deliver most efficiently and competitively?
  • Cost – How does your cost structure look on-premises, with a hybrid architecture, or in the cloud? Factor staffing, technology, managed services, and all other related costs.
  • Disruption – How much would switching architectures disrupt customer service and satisfaction, and over what timeframe? For large, complex contact centers, rip-and-replace may not be an option.
  • Provider Innovation – Will staying in the cloud put you at a competitive disadvantage? Is your provider investing in on-premises platforms?
  • Competitiveness – Are you able to stay competitive in terms of customer interaction capabilities and agent efficiency on-premises? Does it make sense to innovate by adding cloud-based applications?

Need help choosing a contact center solution that fits your business requirements? Contact us today: ((703) 321-3030 or GetHelp@tcicomm.com.

TCI Host Cloud Voice & Contact Center Service… Customized Capabilities & Local White Glove Support

Our TCI Host Cloud Voice Service is all about flexibility

Add new cloud-based tools to your existing business phone system, and when you’re ready, migrate your entire platform to the cloud to reduce your overall telecom costs.

Cloud communications isn’t an all-or-nothing endeavor

There are several deployment models to choose from depending on your business’s unique situation, and you can shift from one approach to another over time. Managing a multi-site business? TCI Host can bring your offices closer together.

Unified Messaging and Integrated Apps

With access to these Mitel-powered tools, your team’s work can be tackled on more devices from any location:

  • Integration with business applications from tech leaders like Microsoft and Google
  • Presence Tools
  • Softphone App on Mobile Devices
  • Unified Messaging
  • Remote control of desktops
  • Outlook client plug-in
  • MS TEAMS integration (Mitel Assistant App.)
  • Message retrieval from one synchronized message store

Powerful Collaboration Capabilities

Explore some of the Mitel-powered team building and conferencing tools your users can tap into with their mobile or desktop phones…

  • Virtual workspaces for team meetings, conversations, content review, and project management
  • Team Video Conferencing and Recording
  • Participant management
  • Desktop application sharing
  • Team and private chat
  • Web-based file sharing
  • Document management

In and Outbound Contact Center / Call Center

Whether you’re a small or big business, you can support omnichannel queues that let customers contact you the way they prefer. Track your customer contacts and get real-time metrics for informed decision-making and better team coaching.

  • Integrate with your CRM, like Salesforce, Microsoft, and others
  • Offer Live Agents, Web Chat, Email, Text Messaging / SMS
  • Monitor and respond to Social Media feeds (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.)
  • Automate and access Full Reporting on Your Customer Interactions
  • Improve Customer Experience
  • Become more efficient

Empower your people to serve your customers better

For a single, low monthly price, you can upgrade their old phones to advanced mobile-enabled, desktop phones and use Mitel’s award-winning capabilities to dramatically improve your Customer Experience.

Schedule your TCI Host demo. Call us today at (703) 321-3030 or GetHelp@tcicomm.com.

6 Cybersecurity Best Practices You Need to Implement in 2023

As the hybrid workforce has increased, so has the number of cybersecurity breaches. Fortunately, many of the security vulnerabilities that come with remote work can be minimized with clear-cut policies, training, and IT support for your remote workers. Here is a helpful checklist of best practices you can implement to better safeguard your organization.

1. No Public Wi-Fi

40% of the remote workforce spends time in public or shared spaces where privacy isn’t guaranteed. If your employees still want to work from Starbucks, instruct them to set up a personal hotspot on their mobile device to bypass the public Wi-Fi or have them use a virtual private network (VPN).

2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings and Communicate Responsibly

According to a Code 42 study, a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds in airports alone. Instruct your remote workers not to be careless with their work laptops. They should remain alert if they work in a public space. They should ensure no one can sit behind them and watch/record everything they do. Employees should take their devices to the restroom and avoid leaving them in their cars. On video calls, use headphones and employ safe screen-sharing practices.

3. Encrypt Stored Data and Update Devices & Apps

Make sure your remote workers are using devices set to encrypt stored data. Encryption encodes data to make it unreadable to anyone without the matching encryption key, password, or PIN. Keep devices, firewalls, and apps up to date. Developers are constantly working to close security gaps, so it’s essential to set the software to update automatically when patches are released.

4. Enable Email Encryption

Emails are another point of vulnerability for remote workers. Just as you want to ensure that all stored data is encrypted, it’s also a good idea to encrypt the data attached to any email. This will prevent an unintended recipient from viewing the information.

5. Disable all External Drives and Store Work in the Cloud

Consider disabling all external drives on work devices. USB thumb drives are popular vehicles for bad actors to use for malware attacks. Bad guys can install malware onto thumb drives and then distribute them where an unsuspecting worker would pick one up, and thinking it was theirs, plug it into their device. Use secure, cloud-based storage instead.

6. Update Password Policies and Enable Security Features

Instruct employees to choose strong, unique passwords and to have different passwords for different apps. Users can store passwords in an encrypted password manager or use a password generator to make them up. Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds another layer of security using a second or third identification element, like a key card, fingerprint, or text code, to verify identities. Turn on location-finding and remote wiping to manage devices if they get lost.

Final Thoughts

When you keep your communications platform up to date with the latest software and features, it will be protected with fixes that address security flaws and close security holes that could be exploited.

UC or voice platforms/services also require proactive updates to help ensure your business can head off cyberattacks on your communications systems.

TCI can help ensure your systems are continuously updated and secure. Contact us today: (703) 321-3030 or GetHelp@tcicomm.com.

 

Choosing the Best Deployment Platform for Your Business Communications

We don’t believe in “one size fits all.” TCI’s custom solutions are designed to meet the precise communication needs of large and small organizations. A variety of cloud and on-premises deployments are available to connect your company and every location in your enterprise, and we’ll help you find the one that fits you best.

Cloud Considerations

When it comes to the cloud, here are some of the factors that will help determine the best platform or combination for your business…

  • What goes in the cloud? What stays? Start by identifying the applications that really matter and check for redundant functionality across applications; then focus on the key business and technical reasons for moving to the cloud. Use those decisions to shape the specific criteria for determining which applications should move to the cloud.
  • What level of privacy and security do you need? If you’re in government or a highly regulated industry like financial services or healthcare, you may want to consider combining a private, onsite platform with cloud services. A hybrid solution enables you to keep control of your communications infrastructure while still reaping cloud benefits like scalability, resiliency, and cost management. If advanced features, privacy, and control are essential to your business, dedicated private solutions offer the customized tools and flexibility you need.
  • How important is reliability? If your workforce needs immediate and reliable access to complex data, like large multimedia files, consider storing your data using redundant onsite and offsite storage. If you operate a busy contact center, a dedicated private cloud solution combined with redundant backup can protect you from costly downtime – if you lose your onsite system, the cloud will be there. Likewise, if a network failure hits your cloud provider your in-house infrastructure will be your safety net.
  • Will the communications system grow and flex with you? For many small and mid-sized organizations, the public cloud environment can be very cost-effective. You typically pay on a flat, user-per-month basis. In addition, even though you may connect via a public Internet connection, you can overlay a private network service for added reliability. A hybrid solution gives you added flexibility to scale more broadband when needed, ensures reliability, and allows you to maintain control.

On-Prem Still Makes Sense for Many Industries

Many TCI customers continue to choose on-prem based on control, reliability, security, customization capabilities, and complex integrations with other business applications. In some cases, Cloud providers either simply do not support these customizations or, if they do, they require the use of additional third-party platforms and complex custom application development.

A preference for CAPEX over OpEX and forecasted Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) are financial factors that drive some organizations to go with on-premises platforms or complement what they have with cloud apps.

Making the Right Decision

TCI can help you refine your communications strategy and will design, deploy, and support a solution tailored to your specific requirements – on prem, cloud, or a blend of both.

Get started today. Contact us at (703) 321-3030 or GetHelp@tcicomm.com.

 

Expert Insights: 2023 Unified Communications Predictions

Today, unified communications (UC) technology is more than just IP phones and simple features like live chat. You’ll want to partner with a local provider who can help guide you toward the right mix of today’s solutions and evolve with you in the future.

TCI has been supporting the DC Metro Region for 40 years and we’re here to help. As we look toward the new year, we know many organizations will be modernizing their communications systems to streamline operations and keep employees and customers connected.

Our strategic technology partner, Mitel has weighed in on what UC will look like in 2023. Here are their predictions.

Generative AI will take off.

Generative AI can create content automatically. It has the potential to revolutionize certain aspects of business, specifically when it comes to content marketing and contact center communications.

The technology can improve the chatbot experience on websites and provide personalized content to customers based on their history. In the contact center, Generative AI can produce content for agent coaching. It can also document and summarize interactions between agents and customers, creating content that can be used for training and development.

Organizations and UC providers need to stay on top of the role Generative AI will begin to play and be able to incorporate the content produced by it into their UC technology stacks.

CISOs will focus on recruiting employees to play a bigger role in preventing attacks and securing edge devices.  

Phishing attacks rose in 2022 and organizations are concerned about unauthorized access or leaks of their proprietary information. Business leaders need to raise employee education and vigilance in avoiding ransomware, phishing, and other threats coming in email, texts, and social media.

Another challenge is securing a rapidly expanding universe of edge devices, both professional and personal. Most employees work on multiple devices, and you can’t protect what you don’t know about, so auditing and securing a widely dispersed infrastructure will be essential.

Mitel and TCI offer a software assurance (SWA) subscription that keeps your UC up to date on the latest software, security fixes, and compliance requirements.

A one-size-fits-all approach to delivering UC will no longer work. Organizations are demanding customized solutions.  

Customers have many communication technology choices today, and many use a mix of infrastructures. In 2023, the world’s business communications will occur across a panorama of on-prem, private cloud, hybrid, and UCaaS systems.

Currently, deployed on-premises solutions lead the pack, but Mitel’s survey found that over 40% of enterprises are combining their on-premises solutions with a cloud solution, and almost half are either evaluating or currently moving their on-premises communications to the cloud.

UC providers need to fully embrace Customer Lifecycle Management as organizations look for the right communications solution to deliver long-term value for both the customer and employee experience.

With so many choices regarding technologies and deployment options, organizations need more than just a drop-ship phone provider. They need a local partner who can support them on-site and guide them toward solutions that support shared workspaces, file and screen sharing, and a mobile-first design. Businesses are looking for a quick and sustainable ROI that empowers their customers to collaborate and complete tasks from anywhere.

Our local team of experts is ready to advise you on the best path forward as you implement your 2023 plans. Contact us at (703) 321-3030 or GetHelp@tcicomm.com.