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Posts Tagged ‘office’


Managing Messaging Tools in Your Office

Monday, March 5th, 2018

When used well, instant messaging tools can increase productivity while offering secure information exchange in your office. Messaging works in business environments because it’s less involved than email, easy to queue and fast to respond. Several free and premium messaging systems that vary in both features and security are widely used in businesses today. Some of the most popular include Slack, HipChat, Yahoo Messenger and WhatsApp.

As with any communication tool, businesses should make sure messaging services are being used securely and for work-related purposes. The following tips can help your business stay focused on work while minimizing security risks when using instant messaging platforms:

Avoiding Distractions

While instant messaging helps speed up work-related communication, it can also be a major source of distractions. Taking an overbearing stance against non-work related conversations can be bad for morale; instead, your administrators should steer the conversation towards productivity in the following ways:

  • Use a service that controls which accounts can talk to one another to ensure that employees are only talking to business contacts.
  • Keep chatroom membership levels appropriate. The smaller the number of people in a given chatroom conversation, the less opportunity there is for distractions. Having too many people in a chatroom can make the conversation difficult to follow.
  • Design chatrooms around a specific group or job, and make sure the name describes the room’s purpose. This will naturally steer conversation toward an appropriate topic.
  • According to Slack, there’s no such thing as too many chatrooms, so don’t feel obligated to condense groups. Having more chatrooms helps minimize conversation clutter.
  • Assign administrators to chatrooms to bring the conversation back on topic if it gets too far off base.

Checking Conversation Logs: When HR Gets Involved

Sometimes your business will have to address bad behavior on instant messaging services over both security and distractions.

Monitoring all conversations is bad for morale, because employees will feel as though management is invading their privacy.

It’s best to read employee conversations only if there’s a report of harassment, abuse or a substantial drop in productivity. Set chat expectations in advance to avoid the need to pull conversation records.

Conversation Security

Your business should ensure your instant messaging platform has sufficient security practices to prevent outsiders from gaining access. Because instant messaging platforms save conversation history, an intruder may access untold amounts of confidential information. It’s also important to make sure employees are using secure login credentials. Administrators can minimize the amount of damage from a compromised account through access control settings. Additionally, many messaging platforms allow your business to control who employees can contact so you don’t have to worry about outsiders accidentally gaining access to group conversations.

Data Security

Employees may use a messaging platform to transfer files with confidential information between each other. Therefore, it’s important that your messaging service encrypts data transfers. Messaging services that store file transfer backups in the cloud can also introduce new security risks, so staff should move sensitive data files through other, more secure means.

The IT consulting experts at MPA Networks can help your business find the right messaging tools that fit your needs. Then, through business productivity consulting, they can help you set policies that help avoid workplace distractions and implement secure technology use. Contact us today to learn more.

Putting Unused Computers Back to Work

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

There are many ways to reuse an old computer. Replacing an old computer that still works is a good feeling.   The device survived the replacement cycle. However, some desktops and laptops have the potential to lead second lives in the workplace. Re-assigning old devices to different jobs is a great way to save money and increase productivity. For instance, maybe it wasn’t cost-effective to buy a dedicated office server, but a retiring computer serves as a low-cost alternative. Some businesses also may want to avoid throwing out old devices to avoid regional computer recycling fees.

Draw inspiration from the following five ideas — these are just some of the many unique second-life uses for an old workplace computer.

1. Old Operating System Testing Computer 

Your business may keep its devices running modern operating systems and software, but there’s no reason to believe all your customers do the same.

An old computer running an old version of Windows is a great troubleshooting tool.

You may encounter customers who can’t get your site or online services to work and are running old software and hardware, so the dated computer will help confirm the problem exists and possibly identify an easy fix. However, keep security in mind with this old system and isolate it from your main network.

2. NAS or Office Server

An old desktop computer can be easily converted into an onsite mass storage solution as either a network-attached storage device or a local server. This device, which can be used to store backups and share files, is helpful for collaboration purposes. Setting it up is pretty straightforward, and your server can even take unused hard drives from other computers to amass plenty of space. Your office may have much to gain with a NAS device or local server.

3. Media Server

Similar to the office server solution, the retiring computer could be reused as a media server. This device can be helpful for creating a localized storage place for promotional videos, training information and other frequently accessed media.

4. Intranet Server

Medium-sized businesses looking to invest a little time into a more user-friendly server option should consider using the old computer as an Intranet server. Intranet servers behave like an inexpensive internal website.

5. Conference Room Skype PC

An old laptop with a functioning webcam can work well as an office conference room “Skype system.” The laptop stays in the conference room and is only used when someone needs to hold a teleconference. Because nothing else is running on the computer, it’s a hassle-free solution.

If your business wants to get the most out of the technology you purchase, the IT consulting experts at MPA Networks can guide you with an IT and Productivity AssessmentContact us today to learn more about our services.