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The Power & Business Benefits of a Single Platform UCaaS Solution

Create new opportunities to boost efficiency, improve employee experience, and better serve customers.

For all the power we now carry in our pockets with our phones, many businesses still struggle with enabling seamless communications and collaboration in the world of remote and hybrid work.

Apart from the fact that talking — real-time audio conversation — has become one of the least popular communication methods, and collaboration platforms are incredibly diverse, there’s a wide variety of solutions for messaging, video conferencing, file sharing, whiteboarding… the list goes on.

Many businesses have invested in a Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS) platform to replace their old fragmented systems. The next step is to integrate communication and collaboration into one platform.

The Benefits of Bringing it all Together

Bringing communications and collaboration into a single, purpose-built platform delivers four key benefits.

1. Remote work. Recent research from the SMG Group shows that hybrid work environments are a crucial differentiator when people are looking for jobs. This helps businesses attract and retain top talent and makes it easier for employees to collaborate.

2. Business-app integration. Having communication and collaboration tools all on one app makes it much easier to integrate with your other business apps and processes. Why? It gives you a single integration point rather than having to integrate with multiple apps in a patchwork solution.

3. Cross-channel communication. A universally compatible platform works, regardless of device or operating system. This lowers the burden on your IT staff to troubleshoot compatibility issues and is another enabler of productivity and collaboration for your employees.

4. Asynchronous and live communication. Real-time communication is sometimes essential. But not every discussion or workstream must, or can, happen in real-time. Asynchronous chat helps everyone stay current between live calls no matter the time zone or hour of the day.

How to Choose the Right UCaaS Solution

Once you’ve decided to move to UCaaS that combines communication and collaboration tools on a single platform, remember that not all of these solutions are created equal.

Here are the must-haves to consider as you evaluate moving to a new UCaaS solution…

  • Ease of onboarding. Is the platform easy to use, with a friendly user interface? Will the vendor help with change management as you migrate?
  • Security. How does the vendor address issues like encryption and authentication? How do they keep your data safe from cyberattacks?
  • Reliability. Does the service have guaranteed uptime? How robust is their customer service in the case of an adverse event?
  • Versatility. Is the solution compatible with the other business programs you use every day? Do they offer a comprehensive suite of integrations and/or API availability to draft your own?
  • Global integration. Will the platform be as reliable and responsive in Europe and Asia as it is in the United States?

Together is Better

If your business is experiencing barriers to working together across the office, remote and hybrid work environments, your local TCI team can help bring your communication and collaboration together. Contact us today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

Keeping Up with Data Security & Privacy Regulations… They’re Complex and Changing

Because larger enterprises are highly visible, serve a large customer base, and typically have deep pockets, they need to adhere to the highest standards of compliance. But that becomes more challenging when policy and regulations are a moving target.

To avoid penalties for non-compliance, enterprises must thoroughly research the data privacy and security laws of each market they operate in before placing sensitive and critical data in the cloud. The more geographically distributed they are, the more research they need to do, and the more requirements they must comply with to avoid ending up on the wrong side of regulations.

The TCI and Mitel Solution

For example, TCI’s Mitel-powered solutions allow enterprises to deploy their unified collaboration and communication solutions in their data center, in a partner-managed data center, or via a dedicated instance private cloud environment that uses data center companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, Azure – or any combination – to achieve compliance with local data privacy laws.

Selecting a serverless private cloud option using AWS, Google, or Azure enables the enterprise to keep control of its data without owning its hardware. This option also removes the complexity of maintaining hardware, simplifying management, and reducing costs. Finally, using the private cloud option increases flexibility to grow or reduce capacity, based on changing business needs.

Our customers can also leverage hybrid cloud scenarios, where the on-premises solution can be deployed using a private cloud in combination with cloud applications. This approach provides the ability to either remain on a current on-premises solution using dedicated hardware, use a private cloud while taking advantage of cloud applications, or migrate or expand a part of the business using a public cloud solution.

It’s All About Choices

When the stakes are high and complexity looms large, many enterprises are turning to TCI and Mitel. Talk with our experts about how to find the right communications solution deployment for each market and how to ensure they all work together.

Learn more about how TCI can help you successfully navigate the complex data security and privacy environment. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Need Wi-Fi Support Help? Simplify Management & Secure Your Office Network from the Cloud

Wireless connections are a critical element of today’s network infrastructure and one that consumes a growing share of IT resources to secure and manage. To support your wireless connections, TCI offers cloud-managed Wi-Fi solutions that enable you to streamline switching, routing, and security tasks via the web.

Protecting your Wi-Fi networks

You can arrange to dynamically grant or restrict network access to a device based on its security status, location, installed software and OS version, and more. And when a user fails to comply with a set security measure – such as disabling the antivirus program, jail-breaking a device, removing a passcode, or leaving a given territory – that person’s access to your Wi-Fi networks will be automatically revoked.

Need Wi-Fi support help?

TCI’s certified network experts can optimize and manage the hosting of your entire Wi-Fi infrastructure by offering:

  • Immediate implementation and expansion of Wi-Fi, switching, and security to new sites.
  • Upgrades, patches, and maintenance.
  • Support to allow mobile and remote workers to become as productive on the road as in the office.
  • Tiered services to suit the needs of any sized organization.

TCI’s cloud experts are ready to help you secure and manage your Wi-Fi network. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 


The Bad Guys Are Listening… Preventing Desktop Phone Hacks

Many offices have IP phones, but unknown to most users is that hackers can actually listen to everything that’s going on in the room – whether or not you are on a phone call.

Hackers from a remote location have been able to exploit some IP phones’ vulnerable software and firmware to gain access – even phones sitting behind a firewall.

Here’s some of the mischief hackers do when they ‘tap’ your IP phone:

  • Listen in on your phone conversations and identify who you’re calling.
  • With access to the phone’s microphone, hackers can feed the conversation into a speech-to-text engine and post the transcript to social media.
  • Since the microphone never shuts off, hackers can listen to everything the phone hears, such as conversations in a company’s board room.

IP phones are basically computers and manufacturers periodically issue software and firmware updates to plug security holes. The trouble is that smaller businesses – and many larger ones – are still lax about keeping their systems updated with the latest patches.

The most effective way to stop hackers from taking control of your IP phones – or any other computer – is to keep the software and firmware current with the latest patches from your phone manufacturer.

Ignoring these patches – or waiting too long to implement them – could leave your business exposed to hackers bent on doing it serious harm.

Concerned about possible IP phone vulnerabilities at your location? We have security and communication solutions that can protect your business. Contact TCI today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Securing Your Business Requires Asking Service Providers the Right Questions

Secure communications can protect your business from the damage and destruction of a data breach. And it’s not just a priority for banks and healthcare providers – any business has daily office emails and phone calls that can contain confidential customer and corporate information.

Your communications system must be able to protect the data shared within your business and beyond. Here are 5 questions you should ask your provider to ensure you’re getting the best security:

1. What infrastructure is your system hosted on?

A strong cloud communications provider will be leveraging a best-in-class infrastructure to ensure the highest level of security. This saves you time and resources that can be focused on performance and innovation rather than management and maintenance. A secure communications software system, like TCI Host, can do all this, plus integrate with the programs you already use.

2. Can your communications software handle mobile securely?

Working on the go is a growing norm, meaning mobility is even more important for a communications system. However, a mobile system doesn’t always mean it’s secure. Ensure you can connect and work away from the office – without sacrificing in-office functionality and security.

3. Is your communications software certified HIPAA-Compliant?

Certified HIPAA and SOC 2 compliant software guarantees that your data is encrypted in transit and at rest with anti-virus protection and security protocols that adhere to the most stringent data compliance standards.

4. How do you monitor your system?

Your cloud communications provider should have a Network Operations Center, a location that continually monitors a telecommunications network – all day, every day. Do they support it in-house or outsource? What tools and analytics are they leveraging to stay ahead? Top providers are predictive and proactive, not reactive.

5. How do I get informed of any issues?

If issues do occur with your communications system, you need to know about them quickly. How do they alert you when problems arise? Is there a public site where you can stay up to date about any issues and their solutions?

Whether you’re in healthcare, finance, education or just interested in an additional level of security, look for a communications system that keeps your customer and sensitive data secure. And make sure you can connect to client information from anywhere, while ensuring your client’s privacy needs are met.

Looking for a communications system that’s built for security? Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

The Challenge of Remote Work & Maintaining Financial & HIPAA Compliance

With millions of people working from home in response to the pandemic, many businesses have embraced remote work as the “new normal.” This arrangement looks like it may permanently change how many leaders approach how they work, manage employees and structure their organizations.

But some things will not change…

Enforcement of regulations such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), which deals with the security of consumers’ personal financial information, and the Health and Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which deals with the security of patient records, does not stop just because people have shifted to working from home.

No matter where your people work…

Businesses that rely extensively on distributed workers cannot use just any cloud-based solution without incurring risk. So it is critical to verify that your technology supports customer teams working from home with the same levels of compliance as when they worked in the corporate office.

This is especially important when recording interactions and transactions, including any internal consultations that take place when a financial or healthcare professional is seeking clarification or guidance from a colleague. This also extends to those organizations whose teams continue to handle payments over the phone.

Whether your business is in the financial, healthcare or retail sector, TCI offers secure, reliable cloud communication services. We’re ready to assist your business maintain regulatory compliance no matter where your people work. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

5 Ways to Safeguard your Business from Cyber Threats

One thing that has been fueled by the pandemic is the increasing frequency and greater scope of IT cyber attacks. And still, many businesses remain ill-prepared. Over one-third of small business owners recently surveyed admit they were at risk of falling victim, and a third said they were not confident that their business would recover if attacked. Only half believed they were well prepared.

Although there are new cyber threats every day, here are five measures that can help protect your business from the threat of imminent attacks:

  1. Schedule Annual Risk Assessments – Before taking any steps to prevent cyber-attacks, you need to understand the threats that are out there and your organization’s vulnerabilities. Risk assessments need to be thorough and conducted at least once a year.
  2. Monitor Your IT and Phone Systems – Keep a close eye on all critical IT systems to mitigate imminent threats. Consider hiring a trusted partner to monitor your network traffic, phone systems, server environment, and data processes around the clock.
  3. Back Up and Encrypt Your Data – Team up with trusted Voice and IT experts to set up a reliable cloud-based backup infrastructure system. Encrypted and safely backed-up data can protect against a range of eavesdropping and ransomware attacks.
  4. Manage Admin Privileges – Ensure that employees have access only to the IT resources and data they need to complete their tasks. Limit IT privileges across the board, especially for installing new software and accessing or manipulating sensitive data. Restrict admin privileges to only a few individuals and immediately revoke privileges when people leave the organization.
  5. Train Your Team – Regardless of the cybersecurity measures you have in place, it’s crucial to ensure that your workforce is on board with security protocols. Schedule routine staff training sessions to establish cybersecurity awareness, responsibilities, and accountability across your business.

Defense is the Best Offense

It makes more sense to invest in preventive solutions now rather than scrambling to act after an attack. Keep in mind that a majority of businesses never recover from successful cyber attacks.

With all the dangers lurking out there, you can’t afford to take chances with your security posture. Contact TCI to discuss your Voice and IT security challenges: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Ransomware Attacks Scale Up As Hackers Go After Remote Workers

While the switch to home working has allowed many organizations and employees to remain productive, it has also brought additional risk as IT and security teams try to deal with overlapping personal and corporate networks.

Ransomware attacks soared during the first half of 2020, as cyber criminals looked to spread their file-encrypting malware as millions of people shifted to work from home.

According to an analysis of collected malicious activity published in Skybox Security’s 2020 Vulnerability and Threat Trends Report, ransomware has proliferated, with a 72% increase in new file-encrypting malware.

Security vulnerabilities in remote-desktop protocols – combined with the use of weak passwords by staff – have provided cyber attackers with easy access into many IT networks.

Home workers who have not been provided with clear cybersecurity training are even more vulnerable, and smart hackers know that IT teams are already bogged down trying to support remote working.

To protect against ransomware attacks during the pandemic – and beyond – it’s vital to close any vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. This includes having a full view of all connected corporate IT assets so gaps can be identified and remediated.

Need help safeguarding your mobile workforce technology? Contact TCI today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Did You Know TCI Provides Infrastructure as a Service… Managed Wi-Fi, Cabling, Security & More?

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a computing environment that is provisioned and managed by your provider. IaaS simplifies your life. You avoid the complexity of buying and managing your own infrastructure.

Rather than paying a big upfront capital expense, you pay an affordable monthly subscription that scales up and down based on what you need. TCI’s experienced experts can design, build and support all of your infrastructure needs…

  • Structured Cabling
  • LAN/WAN
  • Wi-Fi
  • Security

When it comes to financing, we’re flexible… You can own any aspect of your IT environment and subscribe to IaaS for other elements. When we manage the infrastructure, you get…

  • End-to end setup, implementation, and testing
  • Ongoing monitoring and support, including a 24×7 help desk
  • Upgrades included and new equipment as technology evolves

Talk to our certified network engineers. We offer the best in specialized expertise, project assistance, and development help. Contact TCI today: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

We’re All Human… Why Your Employees are the Greatest Risk to Your IT Security

The greatest threat to the security of any organization is often traced to employees who inadvertently allow confidential data to be accessed and stolen. The latest estimates indicate that more than 90% of cyber attacks can be attributed to human error.

Social engineering attacks such as phishing and spoofing continue to grow in frequency and sophistication at alarming rates. With people’s interests publicly available on social media, hackers often use this information to manipulate an unsuspecting target into handing over or revealing sensitive data.

As attackers constantly employ new and innovative methods, companies are hard pressed to stop them. This is because even with excellent security tools and knowledgeable security teams in place, the weakest link is often a user within the company who has unknowingly fallen victim to an attacker.

The best security intervention is to raise the awareness of staff. 

When your employees understand the mechanisms of spam, phishing, spear phishing, malware, ransomware and social engineering, they can apply this knowledge in their day-to-day job.

Even when you raise cyber security awareness among your employees, they can still make mistakes. We’re all human.

TCI offers expert assessments, mitigation recommendations and innovative IT security solutions to help you better protect your organization. Contact TCI today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.