Tag: cloud

What The Future of Work-From-Home Could Look Like After COVID-19

2021 Work From Home

Gage has been preparing small to midsized business (SMB) owners on what to expect in the workplace, after the pandemic. With people working from home in droves, there is plenty of speculation as to where the modern business is headed in terms of remote staff, on-premise staff and hybrid staff. With some experts expecting the earliest vaccine to arrive sometime in 2021, most business owners are assessing their options and planning for their futures, now. As a trusted IT advisor, Gage is helping companies to map out solutions to address the new workplace reality.

The data is crystal-clear when it comes to employee sentiment about the brave, new world of work-from-home (WFH). According to the New York Times and Morning Consult, “In a survey of 1,123 remote workers…86% said they were satisfied with the current arrangements — even when that sometimes meant working from their bedrooms or closets.” Furthermore, more than half of that number, 47% reported they were “very satisfied with the current arrangements.” This isn’t a surprise because of the obvious increases in freedom, flexibility, and productivity spikes which are all natural byproducts of WFH. However, many business owners are still asking themselves questions like, “How do I effectively manage my team? How do I keep our network secure with everyone working-from-home? Which portion of my workers will need to remain in-person vs. remote? How do we foster collaboration and strengthen the company culture?”

The ‘Open Floorplan’ Concept

While the answers to those questions are still moving targets, the pandemic is forcing companies to make these decisions before their lease renews. “Unfortunately, due to health concerns, the ‘open floorplan’ concept is no longer going to be an option for most companies,” stated Jason Landry, VP of Sales of Gage. “As a result of this shift, we’ll see two major movements. First, some businesses will opt to downsize their office space and to reallocate their reduction in cost to strengthen their IT infrastructure as they go full bore into a remote workforce. For companies who double-down and reinvest in commercial real estate, their space demands will grow dramatically, because of the social distancing recommendations.”

“50/50” Offices

Some workers will return to “50/50” offices, where they’re in the-office for 3 days, but out for 2 days, or any variation thereof. Additionally, once employers learn how to take advantage of geological arbitrage, the cost savings that occur when a company budgets a San Francisco salary to hire someone with similar talent from the Midwest, at a much more affordable rate, WFH could likely expand to 4-5 days per week for most workers.

IT Demands

These shifts don’t come without complexity, though. As WFH grows into the new standard, SMBs need to consider the rigorous demands that will place on IT. “Business owners need to understand that if you have 30 employees and one main office, you now need to treat that situation like you have 31 distinct offices. Each one will require a dedicated internet network, firewall, access to private company network and of course, cybersecurity must be thoroughly considered, as well,” added Mr. Landry.

While 45% of home networks are already infected with malware, like keyloggers, a type of malware which records your keystrokes and sends your passwords back to the hacker. Historically, IT departments have never tackled the home office before because of its inherent complexity and the multiple users that utilize the network. The network is only as secure as its weakest link, and if someone’s child is playing online video games and exposing the network to potential threats, there’s a question of where to draw the line. Does the IT department block your child from playing video games? Can your teenager download apps that will make their TikTok videos more likely to “go viral”, when it could affect your company network?


Gage is leading the way and consulting with business to create a clear transition plan to whichever version of WFH suits them. “Fortunately, the technology that Gage deploys enables our customers’ employees to be just as productive at home. We work with our customers to customize solutions that support their WFH objectives,” commented Landry. To learn more about WFH or business solutions, contact Gage today. 

Cutting-Edge IT Trends to Look For In 2020

IT Trends 2020

As technology continues to expand beyond our wildest imaginations, there remains a singular focus when it comes to its development: human experience. At its core, technological improvements sprout from a very human desire to protect ourselves and our information, to experience the world through a new perspective and most importantly, to enhance communication across offices, countries and oceans. 

With this perspective in mind, we’ve put together some of the most cutting-edge and pivotal IT trends for the coming year in order to keep you and your business prepared for what’s ahead in the world of technology and communication.

 

5G

The global adoption of this new mobile network generation is highly anticipated in the coming year, and, while its faster connection is certainly a plus, 5G is taking a novel approach to change the tech landscape. 

Along with the natural evolution from its predecessor, 5G at its core is meant to enhance mobile broadband communications, massive machine-type communications and ultra-low latency communications. In other words, this highly-flexible network – according to Atos – is expected to be able to deliver the wireless capacity needed for streaming eight million 3D videos, well-connected video conferencing and so much more. What’s more, 5G will cut network latency to around 10 milliseconds end-to-end and is projected to save up to 90% energy. 

Of course, a new type of network will require new types of hardware. That’s where Gage comes in. We’ll help you determine what hardware you’ll be able to keep and what you’ll have to replace to accommodate the new 5G capacity, so your business will be ready to handle the 4G to 5G switch with ease.

 

Blockchain

Enabling blockchain technology provides both you and your clients with a transparent, secure way to store records of all kinds while removing the need to involve a third party. Blockchain has no single point of failure; it acts as a point of access between peers and has a variety of access parameters.

Blockchain can be used to record and store all manner of confidential data, including payment, bookkeeping and cryptocurrency information as well as intellectual property, health care information and supply chain authentication. 

According to Atos, companies should experiment cautiously with blockchain, identifying advantageous use cases. If a use case implies a group of users with a common goal, including a need to store global information, and there is a lack of trust between these users (no one is certain that another user is not going to change data afterward to his benefit), then blockchain is a good candidate.

Integrating blockchain alongside Gage’s Insite IT management suite is an excellent way to even further the protection provided to your business and your customers, providing all your day-to-day operations with a sort of tech security blanket.

 

Voice over Internet Protocol

This next system is already very familiar to the Gage team. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is one of our primary services in the form of Gage Cloud Voice. By utilizing the cloud, our VoIP system provides remote access to your business anytime, anywhere and on any device with a plethora of carrier-class mobility and collaboration features. 

VoIP provides advanced security and high-quality calls, without requiring a complicated or costly set-up. Gage Cloud Voice goes the extra mile by giving you a variety of options to personalize your service to exactly what your business needs. Whether it’s call recording or web and video collaboration, adding any of these to our 70+ standard features and always-at-your-side customer support will help extend your office to wherever you go.

 

Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs)

With the myriad of security breaches in digital databases, it’s no surprise that technology surrounding user security has become a primary focus for developers across the board. More than just password management, utilizing PETs in your daily business is now becoming a crucial part of creating and sustaining trusting relationships with both clients and employees. 

Through the use of various PETs, individuals are able to exchange personal data through digital platforms with peace-of-mind while companies can still implement data monetization business models that comply with continually-improving data protection legislation. Atos notes that the PETs like ‘pseudonymization’ and ‘data minimization’ will mold themselves to fit government regulations right out of the box. 

What’s changing most about PETs is not only how they’re used, but when they’re used. The majority of PETs are applied only after a major security breach occurs. With this coming push in regulations as well as the constantly-growing concern for online privacy, PETs are now becoming part of any base system set-up.

 


 

As the business world continues to digitally expand, Gage knows how important it is that our clients don’t get passed up by progress. We are right by your side, learning and adapting to join tech leaders across the business world. In the end, technology is only as good as the people who take care of it, which is why Gage puts our customers at the forefront of all that we do. 

At Gage, communication is our personal business. Let us help you make it yours. Check out our services and see how we can help you. We’re available 24/7 to support you and your business.

The 5 C’s of Cloud-Based Phone Systems

Cloud Based Technology

 

What exactly is a “cloud-based” phone system? Is it the same as VoIP? Is everything in the cloud these days? If you own a business, you may be asking yourself these questions, as more and more services migrate to the ubiquitous cloud. How is the cloud changing telephones as we know them, and what does this mean for communication and voice services for your business?

Many people call it VoIP, or “Voice Over Internet Protocol,” which stands for a service that uses the internet to make calls as well as store data in an offsite server, or “the cloud.”

At GAGE, we call this service GAGE Cloud Voice, and the beauty of cloud-based communication is that it gives your business the ability to be accessible anytime, anywhere, on any device. In today’s fast-paced world of instant-gratification, being able to access your customers whenever, wherever is critical. Many cloud-based services also have integrated mobility and collaboration tools for your team that make working together easier than ever. When everything works together like this, you can communicate more effectively and efficiently. And if you’re still not convinced, here are 5 of the top reasons to consider moving your communication to the cloud:

// Collaboration

Cloud-based voice makes collaborating with your team easy, wherever they are. While something like forwarding a call might typically cause confusion, it’s easy to handle on the fly with cloud-based voice. And when something unexpected happens that keeps you away from your office, like severe weather, you can easily re-route your calls to go to your cell phone, or connect with instant messaging or video conferencing without missing a beat.

// Customer Service

With cloud technology in place, your team can use enterprise-class features like CRM data integration and voicemail-to-email to keep everyone and everything connected in their sales pipeline. And once they’ve closed the deal, cloud-based voice makes it that much easier to keep in touch and be available for customers when they need it most.

// Cost

Cloud-based voice runs on far less equipment than on-premise phone systems, and expert installation, thorough training, and software that’s easy to update keeps you up and running with the latest features. And with so many customizations available, you can build a phone system to meet your needs, instead of paying for unnecessary bells and whistles. Add or remove services easily as your business requirements change.

// Convenience

With all this easy access to communication, you can do everything quicker and more efficiently, boosting productivity. When it’s easy for your team to do their work, everybody wins.

// Clarity

Cloud Voice does everything you’d expect from a phone, and so much more. When communication is clear and easy, everything else can fall into place. Don’t let an outdated communication system get in the way of communicating with your team or your customers. Cloud-based voice services are easy to use, intuitive, and customizable for your needs.

With features like that, it’s clear to see how a cloud-based voice system could help boost communication for your business, both internally and externally. Want to learn more? Contact us today and let us show you how to get the most from the cloud for your business.

Understanding Cloud Computing: What is the Cloud and How does it work?

Cloud Based Technology

 

You’ve most likely heard of people referring to “the cloud,” but what is the cloud exactly, and how does it work? More importantly, is it safe for sensitive business or personal data? We’re here to clear up some rumors you may have heard, and help demystify the cloud.

What is the Cloud?

The cloud is virtual and therefore does not require any hardware of your own to deliver a service. Cloud technology can deliver that service to you, without having to install anything or have it on a server at your business. This is something that you can access remotely, or via the Internet through your web browser. Offsite, secure third party data centers manage all of your cloud data so that you can access it at your convenience.

You May Already be Using the Cloud

Are you using Gmail? Amazon Music? A Kindle? Dropbox? These are all cloud services that store the data you access. All you have to do is log in to their servers to get what you need. If you use an Apple iPhone or iPad, then you’re familiar with the iCloud service, the cloud technology that allows you to sync and upload your photos and contacts.

Why Use the Cloud?

The cloud is convenient for accessing and backing up data no matter where you go. With it, you can access servers anywhere, rather than just locally from your office. This allows you to perform your job duties at home and on the go! There is no need to carry around (and risk losing) USB drives with sensitive information on them. If you lose that USB drive, then your files are gone forever. If you back them up to the cloud or store them there, however, you can easily retrieve that data.

Why is the Term “Cloud” Used?

There is both a literal and figurative meaning here. Have you ever laid down in the grass, and looked up at the clouds in the sky? Oh, look, an elephant! A boat! Oh nice, a dinosaur! But the person next to you may not see the same shapes. They may see a sandwich, a skyscraper or an airplane in the clouds instead. The possibilities are almost endless, and not everyone has the same vision. Cloud technology is similar, offering a plethora of possibilities to help support and scale your business. Also, clouds are generally always above us. Just head on up, and grab whatever you need on-demand. The sky is always accessible.

So, you can store and access files in the Cloud. You can use cloud-hosted applications, like Gmail and GoogleDocs, and there’s even a cloud based phone system. Finally, the cloud gives you access to your data anywhere with a network connection. This all sounds great, right? It is, but as with anything on the Internet, these services need to be used responsibly. Is your IT services provider helping to manage this?