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Securing Your Premises: The Advantages of IP Cameras for Modern Businesses

As a business owner in today’s world, odds are you’ve migrated some of your critical business environment to the cloud with solutions such as Microsoft 365 and others. However, have you considered the potential benefits of making that same move with your physical security environment, such as IP cameras and video security?

 

Traditional on-premises video surveillance systems, while familiar, can no longer meet the growing demands for flexibility, scalability, and advanced security for most businesses. This is where cloud-based solutions like Verkada, implemented by a trusted partner like WorkSmart, come into play, offering a smarter, more resilient approach to security.

The Shift to Cloud-Based Security

The transition from traditional on-premises Network Video Recorders (NVRs) to cloud-based video security solutions marks a significant advancement in how businesses protect their premises and assets. 

 

Unlike NVRs that require substantial physical infrastructure, cloud-based systems leverage the power of the internet to store and manage video footage. This shift not only reduces the physical burden but also enhances the functionality and accessibility of the security system.

Benefits of Cloud-Based Video Security with Verkada

Verkada’s cloud-based video security solutions provide a host of advantages over traditional systems, making them an ideal choice for businesses looking to improve their security posture. Here are some of the key benefits:

 

  • Availability: Cloud solutions ensure that your security system remains operational 24/7, regardless of local incidents such as power outages or hardware failures. With video data securely stored offsite, you can access live feeds and recordings from anywhere in the world, provided you have internet access. This constant availability is crucial for maintaining the integrity of your security measures.
  • Scalability: As your business grows, so do your security needs. Cloud-based systems like Verkada can scale effortlessly with your growth, without the need for significant additional hardware or resources. Adding new cameras to your network is as simple as connecting them to the internet, allowing you to expand coverage and enhance security with minimal fuss.
  • Security: With advanced encryption and regular software updates provided by Verkada, cloud-based systems offer superior protection against both physical tampering and cyber threats. Unlike on-premises solutions that require manual updates, cloud systems are continuously improved upon, ensuring that your security infrastructure remains on the cutting edge.

Verkada And Multi-Location Businesses

Verkada’s cloud-based video security solutions are also ideally suited for multi-location businesses due to their centralized management capabilities. With Verkada, all video surveillance operations across various sites can be managed from a single, intuitive dashboard. This centralization eliminates the need for different systems at each location, simplifying management and ensuring consistency in security practices.

 

Another significant benefit is the ability to access and monitor video feeds remotely. Verkada’s secure web-based platform allows business owners and security personnel to view live feeds and recorded video from any location worldwide, at any time. This remote monitoring capability ensures that you can keep an eye on all your operations, enhancing oversight and responsiveness without the need to be physically present at each site.

WorkSmart Can Supercharge Your IT Environment

Choosing the right technology partner is as important as selecting the right security solution. WorkSmart is your proven technology advisor, simplifying technology for over 500 companies just like yours throughout the United States.

 

By partnering with WorkSmart, you not only gain access to Verkada’s cutting-edge technology but also benefit from expert installation, tailored configuration, and ongoing support. WorkSmart ensures that your cloud-based security system is optimized to meet your specific business needs, providing peace of mind and allowing you to focus on what you do best—running your business.

Get Started With WorkSmart And Verkada Today

For businesses evaluating where cloud belongs in their security posture, cloud-based video security offers a powerful, scalable, and secure solution that adapts to the needs of dynamic business environments. Verkada’s state-of-the-art technology, combined with WorkSmart’s expert implementation and support, provides a comprehensive security system that protects your assets and ensures your operations run smoothly.

 

Embrace the future of security with WorkSmart and Verkada to safeguard your business effectively and efficiently. Contact one of our Senior Business Advisors today to learn more about how cloud-based solutions can revolutionize your security strategy.

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Transforming Meeting Rooms: How Microsoft Teams Rooms Elevate Collaboration

Whether your business is in-person, remote, or a hybrid mix, communicating effectively and quickly is a cornerstone of making sure your business can thrive. Microsoft Teams Rooms offer a great solution to help your business transform meeting spaces beyond what traditional video conferencing systems can provide.

 

In this article, we’ll cover what Microsoft Teams Rooms are, what hardware and licensing are needed, and where they may be the best fit for your business.

What Are Microsoft Teams Rooms?

A Microsoft Teams Room is an integrated meeting solution designed to bridge the gap between virtual and physical meeting participants. It leverages Microsoft Teams, a leading collaboration platform, to provide a seamless meeting experience, whether participants are joining from the office or remotely. The system combines software, hardware, and room setups to optimize meetings, making them more engaging and productive.

Teams Room Use Cases

Microsoft Teams Rooms can enhance a number of different types of meetings and collaborative sessions, making it an important tool in the modern hybrid work environment. For hybrid meetings, Teams Rooms ensures that both remote and in-room participants have a seamless and integrated experience, with high-quality video and spatial audio that make communication as natural as if everyone were in the same room. This technology is particularly beneficial for organizations adopting flexible work arrangements.

 

The solution also excels in larger settings such as conferences, where its ability to support multiple cameras and large displays ensures that presentations and speakers are effectively showcased to all attendees, regardless of their physical location. In addition, you get interactive features such as real-time document annotation and digital whiteboarding which help make Microsoft Teams Rooms ideal for brainstorming sessions, allowing for dynamic interaction and engagement.

Hardware and Licensing Requirements

To set up a Microsoft Teams Room, specific hardware and licensing are required:

 

  • Hardware: The setup includes a central console, cameras, microphones, speakers, and often, dual screens for better engagement. Microsoft partners with several hardware providers to offer certified devices that ensure compatibility and optimal performance. WorkSmart recommends Lenovo’s integrated Teams Room solutions for an all-in-one conference room platform.
  • Licensing: Microsoft Teams Rooms requires a specific license separate from the standard Microsoft Teams license. Options include the Microsoft Teams Rooms Standard or Premium license, depending on the level of management and analytics needed.

Where Can You Put Teams Rooms?

Microsoft Teams Rooms is versatile enough to be implemented in various environments, each enhancing different aspects of collaboration:

 

  • Small Huddle Rooms: For quick, informal meetings, a small setup with a single camera and screen suffices, making it cost-effective and efficient.
  • Medium to Large Conference Rooms: For these, dual screens and multiple cameras/microphones may be necessary to cover all participants and provide a more immersive experience.
  • Boardrooms and Multi-use Spaces: High-end cameras with pan, tilt, and zoom capabilities, along with premium sound systems, are ideal for these settings, where decision-making is critical.
  • Training Rooms: A flexible setup with mobile cameras and interactive displays supports dynamic learning environments and interactive sessions.

Implementation and Management

To get the most out of your Teams Room involves careful planning and execution, including network assessments, room design, and hardware installation. Partnering with an experienced Microsoft partner like WorkSmart can make sure you get the best deployment strategies, ensuring that each room is optimized for the best possible meeting experience.

 

Once deployed, Teams Rooms systems can be centrally managed through the Teams Admin Center, which provides tools for configuration updates, monitoring, and troubleshooting. This centralized management helps maintain consistent performance and minimal downtime.

Elevate Your Collaboration with WorkSmart and Microsoft Teams Rooms

Whether upgrading existing conference rooms or planning new ones, Microsoft Teams Rooms are a scalable solution that can adapt to your business needs. WorkSmart is here to guide you through every step of designing, implementing, and managing Microsoft Teams Rooms, ensuring your business harnesses the full power of advanced communication technology.

 

We specialize in simplifying technology for your business, and our expert team understands the unique challenges and opportunities of modern workplaces, making us the perfect partner to bring Microsoft Teams Rooms into your organization.

 

With WorkSmart, you’ll receive:

 

  • Customized Design: Tailored configurations that fit the specific needs of your spaces, from huddle rooms to large conference halls.
  • Seamless Implementation: Hassle-free installation with minimal disruption, handled by certified professionals who ensure everything works perfectly from day one.
  • Ongoing Management: Proactive monitoring and management of your systems to guarantee reliability and efficiency without any technical headaches.

 

Don’t let outdated technology hold you back. Contact WorkSmart today to explore how we can make your communication as dynamic as your business.

 

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The WorkSmart Way Blog

Right Technology, Right People: A Team You Will Love

Right Technology, Right People: A Team You Will Love

Have you ever dealt with technical issues and felt the IT support you received needed a more human touch?

WorkSmart’s IT experts believe that behind every technical problem are real people who deserve to be heard, understood, and valued. WorkSmart focuses on building collaborative partnerships with clients, empowering them to overcome IT challenges with confidence. This approach leads to lasting relationships, not just one-time transactions.

Read on to discover how WorkSmart, an IT service provider, is redefining the industry with its empathetic, collaborative solutions.

Blending Technical Expertise with Empathy

WorkSmart is the perfect fit if you’re looking for a company that values genuine relationships over mere transactions. Their success speaks of their ability to identify and hire individuals with both strong technical proficiency and emotional intelligence (EQ). This unique combination leads to exceptional problem-solving abilities and attentive listening skills, greatly benefiting clients. When you choose WorkSmart, you will have a team dedicated to collaboratively meeting your specific  needs, instead of automatically giving you the same rigid and generic answers they give every other customer.

The Right People and the Right Technology

You’ll find that WorkSmart is an organization that believes in providing you with comprehensive support, guidance, and security. They focus not on technology only, but also on building personal connections within their team to create an environment where client relationships thrive. Their ultimate goal is to empower your organization to achieve its full potential by delivering the right technology and a team that genuinely cares about your success.

WorkSmart’s unique approach, combining the right technology with the right people, sets them apart from other service providers. It is not just about the technology. It is about people who care about helping you use technology to optimize your business so you are successful. This makes them the preferred partner for you. After all, when you love working with someone everything runs smoother, doesn’t it?

Going Beyond Typical Help Desk Support

“Working smart” means more than having a sales representative available at a help desk. WorkSmart has a team of Client Success consultants actively engaging with you. Everything they do — from planning IT strategy meetings to ensuring that multiple team members are involved in the strategic planning process – is part of a concerted effort aimed at your success. Beyond the sales team and help desk, other WorkSmart team members also work on accounts to make sure all clients receive the personal and quality service they deserve.

A Multidimensional Approach to IT Services

WorkSmart offers a higher level of engagement, facilitated by a multidimensional approach. With teams well-versed in emotional intelligence and technical expertise, they anticipate and address their clients’ diverse challenges. Dedicated teams and salespersons build relationships, understanding each business and the daily challenges.

Their understanding of client challenges stems from firsthand experience. WorkSmart has gained insights into the intricacies of various client needs through years of navigating the industry. However, it’s important to note that this understanding doesn’t equate to assuming their clients’ strategies or solutions. Instead, it fuels their commitment to conducting thorough IT strategy meetings, tailored to each client’s unique requirements.

Aligning Technology with Business Objectives

WorkSmart aligns technology with the client’s business objectives in IT strategy meetings. These meetings are about more than just discussing technology, they focus on a holistic approach that considers overall objectives. They also use strategic planning meetings to build relationships at the executive level.

In strategy meetings, they take the time to review your corporate goals and help you formulate action plans to bridge the gap between technology and your business objectives. The focus is aligning proposals with your strategic vision instead of merely reviewing past achievements and discussing potential purchases of new IT solutions, products, and services. This involves a clear understanding of your short-term and long-term goals, ensuring that every recommendation supports your overall objectives and vision for your business. WorkSmart is on your side, from planning to implementation!

Collaborative Approach

Collaboration is at the heart of WorkSmart’s approach. Rather than claiming to know everything, they provide well-informed guidance based on their expertise and client needs. Their advisory services team aims to empower clients, making them feel heard, understood, and supported in every interaction. WorkSmart’s mission is not just to sell products or services but to offer meaningful advice, support, management, and security. These three pillars underpin their commitment to client success and guide their interactions, shaping a collaborative strategy.

Navigating the Future

WorkSmart remains committed to keeping up with the latest trends. They adjust strategies and services to meet their clients’ evolving requirements. An unwavering dedication to building genuine partnerships and offering exceptional IT services has made WorkSmart a trusted ally for businesses that seek to leverage technology for growth and success.

Contact WorkSmart today if you are looking for a collaborative partnership where you feel heard, respected, and empowered to navigate IT challenges with confidence. We have a team that you will love!

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The WorkSmart Way Blog

Tailored Tech Solutions: A Game-Changer

Are you receiving tailored tech solutions from your IT service provider – or are they just trying to sell you their standard products and services?

At WorkSmart, we believe in providing our clients with the right technology solutions, instead of overwhelming them with unnecessary technology. Although we offer core products and services, we do not have a cookie-cutter solution. We take the time to consult with our clients and identify their specific needs. We assess systems to identify vulnerabilities and find solutions for them.

This article discusses WorkSmart’s tailored technology solutions and how we assist our clients in finding the right technology solutions through a collaborative process.

Understanding the Tech Stack

To properly understand tech tailoring, you have to understand the concept of a stack. A tech stack is a programming language and framework built to create and operate an application or system. An application or system consists of a presentation, a database, and an infrastructure layer, each serving a specific purpose.

The Pitfalls of a One-Size-Fits-All Approach

The one-size-fits-all approach may seem convenient, but it often falls short when it comes to meeting the unique needs of businesses. Every organization has its workflows, processes, and objectives. A generic solution can result in inefficiencies, waste of resources, and lost opportunities. Therefore, it is crucial to have a tailored approach that aligns technology with the specific needs of each business.

Tech Tailoring: The What and Why

Tech tailoring involves customizing and adapting technological solutions to meet the needs of a company. Analyzing existing processes, workflows, and goals will help determine the most effective technology implementation approach. Technology helps organizations improve productivity, optimize operations, and create new opportunities for innovation. Rather than being a roadblock, technology should enable progress.

Jim Rappl, WorkSmart’s Senior Business Advisor, shares this real-life example:

“We have a new client who switched from their old provider because they were only given tech recommendations without explaining how it would help their business or considering the risks and costs involved. Instead of explaining why certain actions were necessary and how they would benefit the client’s productivity and reduce risks, the old provider simply insisted on them. We believe it is important to understand our clients and how they budget during our IT strategy meetings. It’s not just about recommending solutions; it’s also about understanding how they can afford and incorporate them into their budget cycle. We ensure the clarity and feasibility of our recommendations through this alignment.”

Implementing Tech Tailoring: A Step-by-Step Approach

A systematic approach is necessary to ensure success when implementing tailored tech solutions. Here is a sample of the key steps to consider:

  1.   Assessment: Assess processes, workflows, and goals to identify areas that can be optimized using technology.
  2.   Requirements Gathering: Ensure that the tailored solution meets the specific needs of various stakeholders.
  3.   Customization: Work with a trusted technology partner to adapt and customize existing solutions or create new ones to fit your client’s needs.
  4.   Testing and Deployment: Ensure the tailored solution’s functionality, reliability, and scalability by testing it thoroughly. Implement the solution across the organization and provide employees with the necessary training and support.
  5.   Continuous Improvement: Evaluate the performance of the tailored solution regularly and seek feedback from users to identify improvements and further customizations.

What Tech Tailoring Can Do for You

Forward-thinking companies can unlock innovation through tech tailoring. In the first place, it helps organizations align technology with their business objectives, ensuring that every investment in technology directly supports their core objectives. Customer satisfaction increases, it reduces costs, and efficiency increases.

In addition, tech tailoring allows businesses to leverage their existing infrastructure and resources for maximum return on investment. It also enables organizations to stay ahead of their competitors by adapting to changing market dynamics. Adapting technology to their unique needs allows businesses to respond to market demands, implement new strategies, and take advantage of emerging opportunities. Today’s fast-paced business environment requires agility and adaptability to compete successfully.

Overcoming Challenges in Tech Tailoring

It can be challenging to implement tech tailoring, but with proper planning and execution, these challenges can be overcome. Resistance to change is one of the most common obstacles for organizations, especially when existing processes are well-established. Communication, training, and employee involvement can all help address this challenge through effective change management strategies.

Tailoring technology solutions can also be complex and expensive. Working with a trusted technology partner with expertise in tailoring solutions is the key to minimizing complexity and ensuring cost-effectiveness. Involving internal stakeholders throughout the process can also make technology tailoring more successful.

Today’s competitive environment depends heavily on innovation, which technology facilitates. The goal is to harness technology to unlock new business opportunities and stay ahead of the competition. Consider tech tailoring if your business wants to drive innovation.

WorkSmart’s customized IT solutions can help you get the most out of technology and improve your business performance. Get in touch with WorkSmart today so we can help you to use the right technology, not more!

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Unlocking Team Potential with Microsoft Teams Voice: A Guide to Business Communication

Even with the shift in our society over the years to email, chat, and more technology, phones remain the backbone of business communication for most organizations. In recent years, the shift from traditional Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone systems to cloud-based solutions like Microsoft Teams Voice marks a significant transformation.

 

Although at their core, they both make phone calls, there are major differences between these two telecommunication systems and there are significant benefits of integrating Teams Voice within the broader Microsoft 365 ecosystem.

Understanding Traditional PBX and Microsoft Teams Voice

At its core, a traditional PBX is a private telephone network used within a company. The system connects internal phones to each other and to the public switched telephone network (PSTN), allowing for internal communication and external calls using traditional landline technology.

 

Microsoft Teams Voice, however, doesn’t require all that legacy technology and wiring. Teams Voice is an add-on to Microsoft Teams that turns it into a powerful business phone system. It allows you to make, receive, and transfer calls to and from landlines and mobile phones through the internet, directly from your Teams environment. 

 

This means you can use Teams not just for chats and meetings but also as your primary phone system, and you can use it anywhere you have an internet connection, on any device that runs Microsoft Teams.

How Is Teams Voice Different From My Existing PBX?

One of the primary differences between traditional PBX systems and Microsoft Teams Voice is the infrastructure requirement. Traditional PBX systems require physical hardware and dedicated space within an office environment, along with regular maintenance by specialized personnel.

 

Microsoft Teams Voice operates in the cloud, eliminating the need for extensive hardware and significantly reducing the maintenance burden on businesses.

 

Another benefit of Teams Voice is the ability to scale the system up and down depending on your business requirements. Traditional PBX systems can be challenging and costly to scale, requiring additional hardware and resources for expansion. Microsoft Teams Voice offers easy scalability, catering to businesses of all sizes with flexibility to adjust as the organization grows or shrinks, all without significant capital expenditure.

Frequently Asked Questions About Teams Voice

Do I need to replace all my hardware to use Teams Voice?

No, you don’t necessarily have to replace all your existing hardware. While Teams Voice is designed to work well with headsets, computers, and mobile devices, you can also use existing desk phones if they are compatible with VoIP technology. There are adapters that can make traditional phones work with Teams Voice, but for the best experience, using devices certified for Microsoft Teams is recommended.

Can I keep my current phone numbers?

Yes, in most cases, you can port your existing business phone numbers to Teams Voice. This process involves transferring your phone numbers from your current service provider to Microsoft, allowing you to maintain business continuity and avoid updating your contact information on business cards, websites, and other materials.

Is Teams Voice secure?

Yes, Teams Voice benefits from the same enterprise-level security and compliance features that protect the other services within Microsoft 365. It includes end-to-end encryption for calls, robust data protection measures, and compliance with global standards, ensuring that your business communications are secure.

How does Teams Voice integrate with Microsoft 365?

Teams Voice is deeply integrated with Microsoft 365, allowing you to access, share, and collaborate on documents directly from within Teams. You can schedule meetings in Outlook, share files from OneDrive, and even use Microsoft Power Automate to streamline workflows. This integration ensures that your team has the tools they need to communicate effectively.

What is required to start using Teams Voice?

To start using Teams Voice, you’ll need a Microsoft 365 subscription that includes Teams, along with a Teams Voice license for each user who will be making or receiving calls. You’ll also need to ensure your internet connection is robust enough to handle VoIP calls, and you may want to consider compatible devices like headsets or desk phones for the best experience.

Can Teams Voice handle international calls?

Yes, Teams Voice supports international calling, but you’ll need to consider the appropriate calling plans offered by Microsoft. There are different plans available depending on the volume of international calls you expect to make, and these can be adjusted to fit your business needs.

Get Started With Teams Voice Today

Are you ready to revolutionize the way your business communicates? Let WorkSmart help your business simplify your communications experience with Teams Voice. From assessing your current infrastructure to implementing Teams Voice and providing ongoing support, we can tailor a solution that fits your business needs perfectly.

 

Contact us today and one of our Senior Business Advisors or your Client Success Manager can help advise you on a Teams Voice solution that fits your business needs perfectly.

 

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The WorkSmart Way Blog

Case Study: The Right Technology – Not More Technology – with WorkSmart

Client Profile:

Crisis Assistance Ministry was founded in 1975 to meet the urgent needs of families experiencing financial crisis in Mecklenburg County, Charlotte, NC. Today, the organization stabilizes Mecklenburg County families by addressing housing stability through emergency rent and utility assistance, clothing, appliances, and household goods while empowering families with the tools to set and achieve goals for longer-term financial stability. The independent, nonprofit agency engages and inspires the community to action through advocacy and education about the complex, systemic issues surrounding poverty in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Sue Wright is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Crisis Assistance Ministry in Charlotte. She brings a wealth of experience to her role, having previously worked as a technical project manager consultant. She focuses not only on technology within the organization but also on strategic projects. Sue takes a holistic approach to her role by combining technical expertise with a broader understanding of organizational dynamics.

The Need

Crisis Assistance Ministry decided to enlist WorkSmart as their IT service provider due to their need for a comprehensive managed IT services package tailored to accommodate the diverse roles within the nonprofit. Since the organization had a small team responsible for multiple tasks, they decided to opt for the expertise of WorkSmart rather than maintaining in-house technical staff. WorkSmart was selected as it could provide a full suite of services, including a responsive help desk, ensuring timely support for the organization’s 65+ users dealing with email, phone, or computer issues.

The WorkSmart Solution

On-Site Support and Monitoring: WorkSmart’s on-site support is invaluable, with a consultant familiar with Crisis Assistance Ministry’s operations dedicating four hours twice a week. They also take care of background tasks such as server monitoring and support, which ensure ongoing security and keep infrastructure up to date.

Strategic Project Support: WorkSmart provides expertise and support during strategic projects. In a recent collaboration, WorkSmart’s project manager and technical consultant helped the agency implement a new cloud-based phone system. As a result of this transition, the company was able to adapt to the current hybrid work environment by enabling seamless remote communication and eliminating the need for physical desk phones.

Microsoft Office 365: WorkSmart provided valuable assistance to the agency in transitioning to Microsoft Office 365 before 2020, which proved to be a wise decision during the pandemic. Their expertise in setting up Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive enabled seamless remote work, ensuring uninterrupted workflows and efficient internal communication during difficult times.

Troubleshooting: As CIO, Wright trusts WorkSmart to assist her in troubleshooting technical issues. For example, if the phone extensions malfunction, the organization relies on WorkSmart to communicate with the vendor and initiate support cases on their behalf. In the same way, if there are any issues with internet or phone lines that involve external providers, WorkSmart contacts them directly, simplifying troubleshooting and saving Crisis Assistance Ministry time.

Technical Resource: Crisis Assistance Ministry relies on WorkSmart’s account manager for technical support since they do not have an in-house technical team. The account manager and WorkSmart technical team troubleshoot problems and suggest alternative options with Wright and her team.

“WorkSmart is a valuable resource for me,” notes Wright. “When I need to discuss technology-related issues and explore solutions, I can rely on my account manager. They serve as both a strategic partner and a technical consultant, providing invaluable assistance in problem-solving and offering alternative options.”

The Result

WorkSmart’s contribution to the development of Crisis Assistance Ministry’s technological infrastructure enabled it to significantly improve its technological capabilities. WorkSmart ensures that Crisis Assistance Ministry is technically prepared to address unforeseen challenges and provide its customers with quality service. The support team actively takes care of background tasks such as server monitoring and support, ensuring the security and up-to-date nature of the infrastructure. 

Assisting Crisis Assistance Ministry to move to a cloud-based phone system was made easier with WorkSmart. This enabled seamless remote communication and allowed the agency to eliminate physical desk phones as part of its transition to a hybrid work environment. With direct access to the organization’s system, WorkSmart can quickly make modifications or updates based on vendor discussions, expediting the resolution process. Serving as both a strategic partner and technical consultant, WorkSmart provides the necessary technological insights and solutions to Crisis Assistance Ministry.

The Impact

Through proactive IT solutions, WorkSmart has improved Crisis Assistance Ministry’s ability to serve its customers. A recent example highlights WorkSmart’s contributions to enhancing security and streamlining processes. A major challenge for Crisis Assistance Ministry was the integration of new copiers and printers while maintaining data security. Their goal was to implement secure printing procedures to safeguard sensitive information. Providing seamless communication and advocating for the organization’s best interests, WorkSmart acted as an intermediary between Crisis Assistance Ministry and vendors to implement unique, secure printing that met Crisis Assistance Ministry’s needs. 

This case study highlights the advantages of shifting from reactive to proactive IT services with WorkSmart. This means a commitment to “the right technology, not more technology,” efficiency, and robust security measures – all supported by real people who value the relationships they build with clients. 

Contact WorkSmart for comprehensive managed IT services if your organization has 10-100 computer users and is within an hour of their offices in Durham, Charlotte, Alpharetta, Greensboro, or North Philadelphia.

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The WorkSmart Way Blog

WorkSmart: Your New Way to Do IT Right!

Have you experienced persistent IT issues that resulted in downtime and diminished productivity?

Today’s businesses rely heavily on IT infrastructure to maximize efficiency, drive productivity, and ensure seamless operations. Nevertheless, businesses often face the challenge of reactive IT solution providers that address problems only once they arise. Taking this approach may lead to disruptions and a lack of foresight, which could slow down your business growth.

WorkSmart, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, believes in the right technologies for today and the right strategies for tomorrow. WorkSmart’s proactive approach ensures that you are always at the forefront of technology, giving you the confidence to be prepared for any challenge that comes your way. This approach allows you to focus on expanding your business and achieving your goals without ever having to worry about falling behind in IT.

In this article we delve into the challenges that businesses face, the proactive solutions WorkSmart provides, and the benefits of the right technology, not more technology, maximizing your IT as a strategic investment.

Reactive IT Solutions Are a Challenge

One of the common challenges you might be facing is the reactive nature of your current IT service provider. Traditional IT support tends to focus on fixing problems after they arise, leading to a cycle of recurring issues and a lack of proactive measures. This reactive approach both inhibits operational efficiency and creates uncertainty about the stability of IT systems. You find yourself caught in a constant struggle to address problems as they emerge, often resulting in downtime, decreased productivity, and increased costs.

WorkSmart Does IT Proactively

WorkSmart distinguishes itself with a proactive approach to IT services. Rather than waiting for problems to surface, WorkSmart anticipates problems and works to address them before they negatively affect your business. To provide an IT environment that is stable, secure, and optimized, WorkSmart prioritizes proactive problem-solving over reactive firefighting.

4 Benefits of WorkSmart’s Proactive Approach

  1. Preventing Recurring Issues: It is easier to reduce disruptions when you identify and address issues before they escalate. WorkSmart offers ongoing IT support and maintenance services to ensure that your systems run smoothly. Our proactive maintenance of critical infrastructure includes regular monitoring, troubleshooting, software updates, and proactive maintenance to maximize efficiency and minimize downtime.
  2. Collaborative Strategic Planning: WorkSmart offers collaborative strategic planning sessions that extend beyond reactive support. These sessions enable you to actively shape your IT roadmap and align it with your long-term business objectives. Our team of experts works with you to create a customized plan that takes into account your unique business needs and goals. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the technology that drives your business and how it can be utilized to prepare for any event.
  3. Forward-Thinking Problem Solving: WorkSmart, as a proactive organization, does more than simply fix problems. Our focus is to reduce potential problems before they arise by adopting a preventive and forward-thinking approach. We focus on finding the root cause, and providing a solution before it escalates. This approach not only saves valuable resources but also promotes a culture of preparedness and resilience within your organization.
  4. Local Expertise and Responsive Support: WorkSmart provides a unique combination of services that blends the advantages of personalized attention with large-scale capability. We deliver personalized and responsive support that is tailored to meet the specific needs of each client. With deep roots in each of our communities, our local experts are a valuable resource for our clients.

 

WorkSmart’s approach ensures that every client receives customized solutions while maintaining a high standard of professionalism and expertise. We are committed to delivering excellent service.  It is evident in the quality of our work and the long-lasting relationships we establish with our clients. You will simply love your local team!

Maximize Your IT as a Proactive Strategic Investment

In today’s world, businesses cannot afford to ignore the importance of IT as a strategic investment. IT is no longer just a support function, but a critical element for organizations aiming to thrive in the digital age. Besides enhancing operational efficiency, IT can streamline processes and give businesses a competitive edge. Companies that strategically invest in IT resources can position themselves for sustained growth and innovation. They can implement cutting-edge technologies, improve cybersecurity measures, and leverage data analytics to stay ahead in the market.

With WorkSmart, you’ll get the proactive long-term IT partnership you’ve been looking for. We specialize in:

  • Managed IT Services
  • Co-Managed IT Services
  • Cybersecurity Services
  • Data Backup and Recovery
  • IT Strategy and Planning
  • Cloud Services
  • Microsoft 365

Our mission is to simplify IT for local businesses and organizations to fuel their growth. We are conveniently located close to Durham, Charlotte, Alpharetta, Greensboro, and Lancaster, and provide IT services to local businesses with 10 to 100 computer users.

Contact WorkSmart today to meet your local team!  And stay tuned for the upcoming case study on how a company switched from reactive IT services to WorkSmart. Discover why they switched service providers and how this transition revolutionized their IT experience.

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Cybersecurity - Prevention Blog

Protecting Your SaaS Environment: Best Practices with Avanan

As technology has evolved, cloud environments (commonly also referred to as SaaS, or Software as a Service) have become the backbone of business operations, offering scalability, flexibility, and remote accessibility. However, this shift has also exposed businesses to a new range of security threats. 

Cybersecurity threats such as phishing attacks, ransomware, account takeovers, and data breaches can jeopardize sensitive information, disrupt operations, and damage a company’s reputation. For small to mid-sized businesses leveraging Office 365 and other cloud platforms, safeguarding their digital assets is critical to keeping your business up and running. 

WorkSmart, partnering with cloud security company Avanan, can help protect your business by providing comprehensive cloud security solutions that protect against these evolving threats.

Common Threats to Cloud Environments

Although there are a myriad of threats that cloud environments can face, some of the most common ones we see in practice are based in a couple of categories.

Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks usually come in the form of emails, messages, or even phone calls that appear to be from a trusted source, such as a bank, a well-known company, or a social media platform. These messages often create a sense of urgency, fear, or curiosity to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. 

Once you do, you might be taken to a fake website that looks incredibly real, where you’re asked to enter sensitive information like your password, credit card details, or social security number. Cybercriminals use these methods to trick users into revealing their credentials or downloading malware.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that locks you out of your own computer files or entire system, and demands payment for their return. The attackers encrypt your files, making them inaccessible, and the key to decrypt them (or get them back to normal) is held for ransom, often demanded in digital currency, such as Bitcoin, to make the transaction harder to trace.

Ransomware can infect your computer if you accidentally download it by clicking on a malicious link in an email, visiting an infected website, or running infected software. Once it’s on your computer, it can spread rapidly, locking files not just on your own device but also on connected network drives, potentially affecting entire organizations. Paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee the return of your files and can even make you a target for future attacks, as it shows the attackers that you’re willing to pay.

Account Takeovers

An account takeover happens when someone else gains unauthorized access to your personal online accounts, such as your email, social media, or banking accounts. It’s like giving your house keys to a friend for safekeeping, but then someone else steals those keys without your knowledge. With those keys, or in this case, your account information, the thief can enter your “online house.” 

They can pretend to be you, stealing your personal information, sending messages in your name, or even locking you out of your own account by changing the password. This can lead to a range of problems, from privacy breaches to financial loss. The intruder usually gets in by tricking you into revealing your password through phishing attacks or by guessing weak passwords, highlighting the importance of keeping your account details secure and using strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts.

Data Breaches

A data breach is like someone breaking into a secure vault where companies store valuable information, such as customer names, addresses, credit card numbers, or even sensitive health records. Instead of physical thieves, these are cybercriminals who use sophisticated methods to bypass security measures and access this digital vault. 

Once they have this information, they can use it for various illegal purposes, such as stealing identities, making unauthorized purchases, or selling the information to other criminals. For companies, it can result in significant financial penalties, loss of trust among customers, and damage to their reputation.

Insider Threats

An insider threat is when someone from within an organization, such as an employee, contractor, or business partner, misuses their access to the organization’s systems and data for malicious purposes or personal gain. 

Imagine an employee at a bank who has the keys to the vault and decides to steal money from it. Just like this employee, insiders with harmful intentions can access sensitive information, sabotage systems, or steal data because they are already inside the security perimeter, making them harder to detect. 

This threat is particularly concerning because it comes from individuals who are trusted and have legitimate access, making it a complex issue for organizations to manage.

WorkSmart’s Solutions for Cloud Security

WorkSmart, partnering with Avanan, provides advanced security solutions specifically designed for cloud environments, including Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams, two of the most widely used platforms in the business world.

Microsoft 365 Protection

Our Microsoft 365 Protection solution offers a multi-layered approach to protect email, files, and collaboration tools across the entire suite. It employs advanced AI algorithms to detect and block phishing attempts, ransomware, and other malware before they reach the user’s inbox. 

By scanning internal and external emails, we can help prevent account takeovers and safeguard sensitive data from unauthorized access. The seamless integration allows for easy deployment and management, ensuring you can maintain productivity without compromising on security.

Microsoft Teams Protection

As collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams become integral to business operations, securing these platforms is crucial. Our Teams Security solution protects against malicious files and links shared within conversations. It offers real-time scanning of shared content, detecting and blocking threats that could compromise the network. 

Additionally, policy enforcement capabilities ensure that communications comply with regulatory standards and company policies, protecting against data leaks and insider threats.

Why Choose WorkSmart and Avanan?

Avanan stands out in the cloud security space for several reasons:

  • Ease of Use: Avanan’s solutions are designed for rapid deployment and minimal maintenance, allowing small to mid-sized businesses to focus on their core operations.
  • Comprehensive Protection: By securing email, data, and collaboration tools, Avanan provides an all-encompassing security posture that addresses multiple facets of cloud security.
  • Advanced Technology: Leveraging AI and machine learning, Avanan stays ahead of emerging threats, ensuring businesses are protected against the latest cyber-attack strategies.
  • Seamless Integration: Avanan integrates smoothly with existing cloud services, providing robust security without disrupting user experience or business processes.

Are you ready to safeguard your business against the ever-evolving cyber threats that loom in the digital landscape? Protecting your sensitive data, customer information, and internal communications has never been more crucial. 

With WorkSmart by your side, you can protect your business against phishing attacks, ransomware, account takeovers, insider threats, and data breaches, ensuring your peace of mind. Don’t wait for a security breach to disrupt your operations and tarnish your reputation. 

Contact us today to learn how our comprehensive security solutions can be tailored to fit your unique needs, allowing you to focus on growing your business with confidence.

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The Importance Of Managed DMARC Services In Preventing Email Fraud

As a business owner, you’re aware that your organization faces an ever-evolving array of cyber threats, with email-based attacks like phishing and spoofing at the forefront. These attacks can not only compromise sensitive information, but also may damage your brand reputation and customer trust, and can lead to significant financial and reputational losses. The complexity of these threats requires ever-evolving defenses, as traditional security measures often fall short in the face of sophisticated email scams.

A key emerging piece of your managed security strategy should include management of your domain’s DMARC service, a powerful email authentication protocol designed to give organizations the ability to protect their domain from unauthorized use, commonly known as email spoofing. How does it work? We’re glad you asked!

What Is DMARC And Why Does It Matter?

DMARC, which stands for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance, is an email authentication, policy, and reporting protocol. It builds on two foundational email authentication methods: SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail). DMARC enables your business to publish policies that define how your email is authenticated and how receiving email servers should handle messages that don’t pass these authentication checks.

When an email is sent, DMARC works by checking that the message’s source is authorized by the domain’s owner using SPF and DKIM. SPF verifies the sender’s IP address, while DKIM verifies that the message content, including headers and body, has not been tampered with. DMARC then takes this a step further by ensuring that the information validated by SPF and DKIM aligns with the domain stated in the email’s “From” field, adding an extra layer of verification. Based on the DMARC policy defined by the sender’s domain, the receiving server can then decide whether to accept, reject, or quarantine the email if these checks fail.

DMARC policies tell how emails failing these checks should be handled, and importantly, they report back to the sender about messages that pass or fail DMARC evaluation. WorkSmart’s Managed DMARC service helps your business identify and resolve potential vulnerabilities or authentication issues proactively. We also offer visibility into how your emails are being handled, and also help in identifying spoofing or phishing attempts.

DMARC is critically important in the fight against email spoofing and phishing attacks. Email spoofing involves sending messages with a forged “From” address, making them appear as if they come from a trusted sender. This is a common tactic in phishing attacks, where attackers trick recipients into divulging sensitive information or downloading malware.

By enforcing and managing DMARC policies and reporting, WorkSmart can significantly reduce the risk of your domain being used in spoofing and phishing campaigns. This not only helps in safeguarding your sensitive data but also protects your brand integrity and customer trust, which are often targeted in such attacks.

What Can Happen Without Managed DMARC?

Without actively managed DMARC, businesses expose themselves to the risk of email spoofing and phishing attacks, which can lead to data breaches, financial loss, and erosion of your reputation and relationships. Without a way to authenticate emails effectively, cyber criminals can easily impersonate a business to exploit its employees, customers, and partners.

One notable recent example of a breach that could have been stopped with managed DMARC involves a well-known financial institution that suffered a significant phishing attack, leading to a substantial financial loss and compromised customer data. The attack was orchestrated using spoofed emails, mimicking the bank’s domain. 

Another case involved a retail company that experienced brand damage after attackers sent malicious emails to its customers. These incidents underline the importance of actively managing DMARC in preventing such security threats.

Can I Manage It Myself?

DMARC, SPF, and DKIM are highly technical DNS records that are difficult to manage without a trusted IT partner by your side, and misconfiguration of these records can cause email deliverability and trust issues. The challenge is compounded by the need to monitor and interpret the reports generated by DMARC, requiring a deep understanding of email authentication mechanisms.

Setting the right DMARC policy (none, quarantine, reject) and understanding the implications of these settings is crucial for effective protection without disrupting legitimate email traffic. Misconfiguration can lead to legitimate emails being rejected or quarantined, disrupting business operations.

With WorkSmart’s Managed DMARC service, we handle everything for you, from proper configuration, to report analysis and ongoing management.

Choosing The Right Managed DMARC Partner

When choosing a partner to manage your DMARC (and overall IT security posture), it’s important to consider a number of aspects, including:

 

  • How much experience do they have with email security?
  • How is their customer support?
  • How comprehensive are their service and security offerings?

 

WorkSmart’s team has been serving businesses throughout the United States for over 20 years, and has the breadth and depth of experience to help your business, whether you’re just getting started or established and scaling.

Get Started With Managed DMARC Today

DMARC plays a critical role in securing email communication for businesses, protecting against spoofing and phishing attacks that can lead to data breaches and loss of customer trust. Implementing and managing DMARC can be complex, but WorkSmart’s Managed DMARC services offer a solution by providing our proven expertise and simplifying the process.

To find out more about our Managed DMARC services, schedule a consultation with one of our Senior Business Advisors or reach out to your Customer Success Manager today!

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Streamlining IT Management with Game-Changing Solutions

Who in your company wears the IT hat? Is it an IT professional or has someone in another role been tagged for the task?

If you don’t have an in-house dedicated IT professional, you may find that the daily management of IT duties can distract you from your core business responsibilities as a business owner or employee. The difficulty of keeping up with rapidly changing technologies is a leading cause of time-consuming work for those who aren’t IT professionals. The tasks include overseeing IT-related matters and following up on them, dealing with the complexities associated with IT management, and navigating interactions with your IT providers.

In this article, we discuss the common pain points businesses face when managing IT responsibilities and why you should partner with WorkSmart. Our partnership will streamline your IT management, allow you to refocus on your core functions, and rebuild maximum efficiency and trust in a solution partner that is responsive and transparent. It is our mission to simplify your IT with WorkSmart’s game-changing solutions.

5 Reasons to Partner with WorkSmart

1. Strategic Focus and Investment

It has been WorkSmart’s mantra for 25 years to “make IT easy.” One of the key benefits you’ll experience when partnering with WorkSmart is the ability to maintain a strategic focus on your core responsibilities. WorkSmart can handle your IT management tasks for you, freeing up your valuable time so you can focus on your primary duties. This allows non-IT professionals to move to a more strategic role when they find themselves stuck wearing the IT hat.

When you recognize IT as an investment, you realize that technology can provide significant returns in terms of efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness. Keeping this perspective in mind will help you prioritize your technology initiatives in line with your overall goals and growth plans. Investing in IT infrastructure, software solutions, and digital transformation enhances your operational effectiveness while enabling you to remain agile and adapt to market changes.

2. Saving Time

Managing IT tasks can be time-consuming, leading you to work overtime if the person wearing the IT hat has other important responsibilities. When you partner with WorkSmart, you save valuable time spent monitoring or following up on pending IT issues. This time can be redirected towards strategic initiatives and other projects that contribute to the overall growth and success of the company.

3. Simplifying IT Complexity

Non-IT professionals may feel overwhelmed by the dynamic nature of Information Technology. You can manage your IT seamlessly and stress-free with WorkSmart because we simplify IT. The WorkSmart team of experienced professionals is well-versed in the latest technology and can handle all aspects of IT management, including cybersecurity, data backup and recovery, cloud services, and more. This allows businesses to focus on their core operations without having to worry about the complexities of IT.

4. Restoring Trust

Successful business partnerships are built on trust. If you outsource functionality to a provider and spend half your time tracking down the status of projects, implementations, and maintenance, it makes little sense. Your IT support should also be responsive. This means that if and when you ask a question or need support, you get a reply within a reasonable amount of time and have the ability to speak to a real person who gives personal attention to your concerns.

IT consultants from WorkSmart are the best in the business. That is why we hire them. It is important to us at WorkSmart to do the right thing, to make connections, and to share the desire to grow. Our goal is to build trust through responsiveness, transparency, and accountability. With these values in mind, our IT specialists build strong, lasting, trustworthy relationships with each of our partners.

5. Collaborative Approach

Collaboration is an integral part of WorkSmart’s IT management. An important aspect of WorkSmart’s service is supporting you in your short and long-term strategic IT decisions. Our team manages your day-to-day tasks, allowing you to tap into our expertise while shaping your IT infrastructure. This approach nurtures a sense of partnership, ensuring that IT solutions align with your specific needs and goals.

About WorkSmart

WorkSmart focuses on today’s technologies and tomorrow’s strategies. Our offices are located in Durham, Charlotte, Alpharetta, Greensboro, and Lancaster, and we service clients within an hour of these locations. WorkSmart’s team specializes in providing in-person and value-driven assistance to businesses with 10–100 computer users. With us, you will not only find the right technology but also enduring relationships and a team you will love!

Rather than just offering short-term fixes that leave you vulnerable to recurring issues, our goal is to partner with you long-term to develop sustainable IT strategies that will help your business grow.

Need help handling IT responsibilities in your business? WorkSmart is here to help you. Contact us today!

Stay tuned for our next article, as we will discuss how to redefine the IT landscape with proactive strategies and collaborative planning that ensure a smoother, more proactive approach to problem-solving.