Everything you need to know about monitoring employees online

If you’re managing a remote workforce, you may wonder whether your team is doing their jobs or wasting time watching random videos on the internet. Using employee monitoring tools is a good way to keep track of your team’s productivity. But is this practice ethical? Read on to learn more.

What is employee monitoring?

Employee monitoring is the practice of using digital tools to track employee activity and performance, and the progress of their tasks. The data collected can be used to identify patterns, trends, and correlations across different teams allowing managers to gain insight into various work processes, and how they can be improved.

What are the benefits of employee monitoring?

Here are the key benefits of monitoring your employees online:

1. Improved productivity
Using employee monitoring tools can help you track how much time employees spend visiting non-work-related websites or chatting with friends. If an employee’s productivity goes down significantly because of these activities, you can address the issue by reminding that specific employee about the company’s policy regarding visiting non-work-related websites and/or limiting his/her internet access.

When employees know that their activities are being monitored, they’re more likely to focus on their tasks and avoid inappropriate internet use.

2. Better security
According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, 85% of breaches reported in 2020 were due to human error. Monitoring the online habits of employees can help employers track and flag instant messages and emails containing sensitive and private information. In addition, managers can block employees from visiting phishing sites or websites that automatically download malware onto unprotected computers and mobile devices.

3. More efficient project management
Monitoring employee activity provides managers with continuous reports on workers’ progress, allowing them to stay on top of multiple projects. These reports can help managers delegate tasks and adjust schedules to meet deadlines.

What are the disadvantages of monitoring your employees online?

Despite its benefits, employee monitoring also comes with some drawbacks, such as:

1. Trust issues
Employees may feel that their privacy is being violated. This can lead to low employee morale and reduced productivity, as well as distrust between and among colleagues.

2. Legal issues
States and countries may have varying policies on employee monitoring, but one thing is constant ⁠— an employee’s consent is needed before any type of monitoring can be done.Without the consent of an employee, an employer can be charged with privacy violations and discrimination if the information collected is used to harm that employee.

To avoid potential problems that can arise from employee monitoring, employers should explain why monitoring is needed. A written policy should be created explaining how employees will be monitored, what information will be collected, and how that information will be protected.

If you want to learn more about employee monitoring, give us a call today.

This post was originally published on this site

How online scheduling solutions can help your healthcare business

The key to being a successful healthcare company — aside from providing great patient care — is getting the logistics and organization components of operations down to a fine art. You can accomplish this with the help of a reliable online scheduling solution.

Online scheduling is one of the simplest and most popular technologies used by forward-thinking health clinics and hospitals. It shows your patients which doctors and what times are available for appointments, and then allows them to book the appointment right on your website. Practices that have kept up with tech trends like this have seen an uptick in both the number of patients they take in and the quality of care they are able to provide. They are also able to reap the following benefits.

More potential new patients

Today, people are less inclined to make phone calls, especially if it involves ringing up someone they don’t know. For many people looking for a new doctor or specialist, they will simply keep looking for one whose information and appointment booking system can be found online.

More time for your staff, better care for your patients

Think about how much time your staff spend each day answering phone calls from people making an appointment. It’s probably a lot if you have a busy practice. Online scheduling lessens phone time required so that your staff can better focus on and tend to patients. As a result, patients will feel truly cared for and will more likely return to your healthcare facility in the future.

Setting appointments beyond clinic hours

In the past, patients had to wait for the clinic to open just to make an appointment. With online scheduling, they now can simply log in to your website and see available appointment times so they can plan their schedule accordingly around their visit.

Still unsure whether you need online scheduling?

Sure, you probably can get away with not having it at the moment, but eventually, most patients will expect this technology from you. And the sooner you roll out online scheduling, the sooner your staff will get the hang of it, and the sooner your patients can enjoy its benefits.

Need help setting up online scheduling for your practice? Talk to our IT experts today and we’ll make sure this technology will make things easier for your patients.

This post was originally published on this site

Why monitoring your employees’ online activities is both good and bad

More and more businesses are choosing to monitor their employees’ online behavior, as it’s one way of keeping their data and devices secure. However, there are consequences to monitoring your employees’ activities. For instance, doing so can make them feel like their privacy is being violated, which can affect productivity and morale. Because of this, it’s important that you know the advantages and disadvantages of employee monitoring, as well as some guidelines to follow, should you decide to implement it.

The case for monitoring

Monitoring your employees’ activities on company devices can be beneficial, as it helps:

  • Protect your organization from data theft or harm since careless or disgruntled employees may leak or steal your data.
  • Ensure members of your staff comply with policies such as not downloading illegal programs or visiting websites with illegal or hostile content.
  • Provide evidence in case of a lawsuit should an employee participate in illegal activities using your business’s computers.

Arguments against employee monitoring

Of course, you should also be aware of the potential downsides to monitoring. These include:

  • Reduced productivity, as monitoring can put a damper on employee morale and the perceived distrust may make your employees less driven to perform well.
  • Privacy or discrimination issues that may stem from you being privy to personal details about your employees that you would’ve never known about had you not monitored them. For example, you may discover their political or religious views, sexual orientation, or medical problems. This subjects your business to potential privacy or discrimination issues if you or your management team acts negatively based on any of this information.

Monitoring guidelines to follow

If you decide to monitor your employees, here are a few tips you should follow.

1. Create written policies
When you monitor your employees, ask yourself, “Am I doing this for security purposes? Is it to ensure my employees aren’t wasting time on games or social media?” Monitoring policies that are too strict could create an atmosphere of distrust.

Set guidelines for acceptable use of email and social media, web browsing, instant messaging, and downloading software and apps. Also, make sure to include how monitoring will be carried out and how data will be used, secured, and destroyed.

2. Inform your employees
It’s important to inform your employees about the scope of your monitoring policies. If they find out you’re doing it secretly, you could face legal issues.

Explain to your employees why you’re monitoring them and the risks your business faces from misuse of digital assets. Reassure them you’re not doing it to spy on their personal lives, but to create a compliant and law-abiding workplace. Because their activities will now be less private, encourage your staff to use their smartphones for personal matters. Also, provide your employees with a copy of your written policy for them to read and sign.

If implemented correctly, employee monitoring makes your business more secure and productive. For more information about security and other IT support tools, get in touch with us today.

This post was originally published on this site

4 Things to consider before choosing an MSP

Incorporating technology into business operations can be challenging because it’s always evolving. Many companies simply can’t keep up — this is why many of them turn to managed IT services providers (MSPs) for their tech needs. Read on to learn more about them.

MSPs defined

MSPs are companies composed of specialists from various IT fields. They deliver various IT services (e.g., cloud computing, cybersecurity, backup and disaster recovery) and proactively manage their clients’ IT systems under a subscription model.

Selecting the best MSP

While there are numerous MSPs out there, not all of them are equipped to meet your company’s unique needs. You can only achieve optimum IT results by selecting the right MSP.

Here are some criteria to keep in mind:

  • Depth of skills and experience – An MSP should have the skills and experience that go beyond basic software installation, maintenance, and upgrades. They should also have strong expertise in advanced IT functions, such as database management, cloud technology, security, and cross-platform integration, so they can keep pace with your company’s growing IT requirements.
  • Financial stability – With IT being the backbone of your business operations, you need an IT partner who will be there for the long haul. Assess their stability by looking into their annual reports and financial statements. Check how many clients they have and their customer retention numbers. Also, read customer reviews and testimonials online customer reviews and testimonials.
  • Competitive service level agreement (SLA) – An SLA is a contract that dictates the standards that your MSP must meet. It should be able to answer these questions: Do they offer 24/7 support? Can they conduct remote and on-site support? What are their guaranteed response and resolution times? If they fail to meet their committed service levels, do they offer rebates or money-back guarantees?
  • Third-party vendor partnerships – Pick an MSP with an ongoing relationship with the technology vendors (e.g., Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce) whose products you already use in your IT environment. Verify the partnership the MSP has with those vendors. The higher the partnership level, the more vendor certifications the provider has, which means they can provide plenty of expertise to your business.

Choosing the right provider is a crucial decision that will impact your business’s performance and success. If you want to learn more about how MSPs can support your business, contact us today.

This post was originally published on this site

Here are 5 mistakes to avoid when investing in IT

Investing in new IT solutions can make your team more productive, ensure compliance with industry regulations, and improve the outputs you deliver to your customers, among other outcomes. But if you really want to maximize the returns you gain from any new tech investments, make sure to avoid these common mistakes.

Spending without finding the perfect fit

Advertisers would have you believe that the newest technology will solve all your problems. While the latest cloud or virtualization offering will likely improve things for many companies, they may not work for everyone.

Don’t let the flash and hype of new products impress you. Carefully think about the results you want to achieve with technology. Make a list of your goals and see if they can be fulfilled through a new IT investment. A good IT provider should guide and not confuse you and should see to it that you make the best choice.

Believing everything will magically work together

As technology evolves, it tends to become more user-friendly, helping people work better and faster. However, some solutions do not follow that route and many business owners mistakenly assume that their new tech investments will work well with their existing IT systems.

Incompatible technologies can result in massive and costly downtimes that can cripple your business. Therefore, you need to be smart and do your research, or consult an IT professional before making tech purchases.

Not training your team

Just because you’ve found and purchased powerful new technology that integrates well with your existing infrastructure doesn’t mean you can set them and forget them. New systems won’t magically boost your company’s outputs and increase its bottom line. To achieve your desired results, your team will have to know how to use your tech investments first.

Keep in mind that not all of your employees may be able to quickly get a handle on new tools. Some may simply prefer the technologies they’ve become accustomed to. If you can, have IT experts who have considerable experience in your new tools train your staff. Because of their knowledge, these specialists will know how to simplify complicated steps and can offer tips on how to get the most out of your tech investments. Your IT provider is a good place to start when looking for an expert who will handle training.

Forgetting your budget

More and more IT solutions are packaged with pay-as-you-go monthly pricing. While this is a great way to help you avoid a large upfront capital investment, implementing too many different technologies quickly without thinking about recurring costs can exhaust your finances.

Think carefully before opening your wallet. Do a little research, draft a budget, or get help from a consultant. These steps will spare you from a lot of frustrations in the future.
Not getting feedback

Before you purchase new tech, consult the employees who will be using the new technology on a daily basis. Remember that not everyone may feel at home with fresh tools. They might even discover some downsides you aren’t aware of.

Need an IT professional to create a complete technology solution for your business? We’re happy to serve you.

This post was originally published on this site

Here are 5 mistakes to avoid when investing in IT

Investing in new IT solutions can make your team more productive, ensure compliance with industry regulations, and improve the outputs you deliver to your customers, among other outcomes. But if you really want to maximize the returns you gain from any new tech investments, make sure to avoid these common mistakes.

Spending without finding the perfect fit

Advertisers would have you believe that the newest technology will solve all your problems. While the latest cloud or virtualization offering will likely improve things for many companies, they may not work for everyone.

Don’t let the flash and hype of new products impress you. Carefully think about the results you want to achieve with technology. Make a list of your goals and see if they can be fulfilled through a new IT investment. A good IT provider should guide and not confuse you and should see to it that you make the best choice.

Believing everything will magically work together

As technology evolves, it tends to become more user-friendly, helping people work better and faster. However, some solutions do not follow that route and many business owners mistakenly assume that their new tech investments will work well with their existing IT systems.

Incompatible technologies can result in massive and costly downtimes that can cripple your business. Therefore, you need to be smart and do your research, or consult an IT professional before making tech purchases.

Not training your team

Just because you’ve found and purchased powerful new technology that integrates well with your existing infrastructure doesn’t mean you can set them and forget them. New systems won’t magically boost your company’s outputs and increase its bottom line. To achieve your desired results, your team will have to know how to use your tech investments first.

Keep in mind that not all of your employees may be able to quickly get a handle on new tools. Some may simply prefer the technologies they’ve become accustomed to. If you can, have IT experts who have considerable experience in your new tools train your staff. Because of their knowledge, these specialists will know how to simplify complicated steps and can offer tips on how to get the most out of your tech investments. Your IT provider is a good place to start when looking for an expert who will handle training.

Forgetting your budget

More and more IT solutions are packaged with pay-as-you-go monthly pricing. While this is a great way to help you avoid a large upfront capital investment, implementing too many different technologies quickly without thinking about recurring costs can exhaust your finances.

Think carefully before opening your wallet. Do a little research, draft a budget, or get help from a consultant. These steps will spare you from a lot of frustrations in the future.
Not getting feedback

Before you purchase new tech, consult the employees who will be using the new technology on a daily basis. Remember that not everyone may feel at home with fresh tools. They might even discover some downsides you aren’t aware of.

Need an IT professional to create a complete technology solution for your business? We’re happy to serve you.

This post was originally published on this site

4 Ways to boost staff efficiency

Technology enables businesses to work remotely, collaborate more efficiently, and manage their time more effectively. But to achieve these benefits, you need to implement technologies that align with your business’s needs. Here are some things to consider.

Change office communication

To increase teamwork and productivity, set up instant messaging software such as Slack or Microsoft Teams. These platforms allow employees to communicate in real time instead of communicating through asynchronous methods like email. You can instantly send messages and share files in team chat rooms, saving precious time and allowing you to get more work done. This is especially useful in enabling communications when everyone is working remotely

Install video conferencing

Rather than spending hours getting to and from meetings outside your office, opt for a networked phone solution that offers video calls and conferencing. This way, you can hold a video conference to discuss business matters while in the office, at home, or abroad. You can also record the call so everyone can actively participate in the meeting and review important details for later without having to pause to take notes.

Implement ERP software

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a type of software that organizations use to manage various business processes like accounting, project management, and supply chain management. ERP software provides employees with up-to-date business information that they can easily access and use. It eliminates redundant data entry and reduces the number of spreadsheets that are used to record critical business data by storing information in a centralized database.

Once information is in one place, managers have complete visibility across departments, allowing them to make smarter decisions and eliminating organizational silos. For example, supply chain managers can quickly detect when store shelves need to be replenished and send purchase orders to accounting teams for approval.

Upgrade workstations

Outdated technologies and workstations limit your business’s progress, and are a hindrance to developing clued-up, efficient employees. Aging systems and slow networks can frustrate your team and hamper productivity.

That’s why it’s important to thoroughly assess your current workstations, applications, hardware, and tools. While this doesn’t mean that you have to buy a new set of workstations for your entire company, you should at least replace obsolete equipment with more modern machines In addition, make sure all software and applications are up to date to ensure maximum efficiency and employee satisfaction.

To get the maximum return on your technology investment, it’s also important to partner with a knowledgeable and reliable service provider. Get in touch with our IT experts today to find out how we can implement technology to help your employees become more efficient and productive.

This post was originally published on this site

4 Ways to boost staff efficiency

Technology enables businesses to work remotely, collaborate more efficiently, and manage their time more effectively. But to achieve these benefits, you need to implement technologies that align with your business’s needs. Here are some things to consider.

Change office communication

To increase teamwork and productivity, set up instant messaging software such as Slack or Microsoft Teams. These platforms allow employees to communicate in real time instead of communicating through asynchronous methods like email. You can instantly send messages and share files in team chat rooms, saving precious time and allowing you to get more work done. This is especially useful in enabling communications when everyone is working remotely

Install video conferencing

Rather than spending hours getting to and from meetings outside your office, opt for a networked phone solution that offers video calls and conferencing. This way, you can hold a video conference to discuss business matters while in the office, at home, or abroad. You can also record the call so everyone can actively participate in the meeting and review important details for later without having to pause to take notes.

Implement ERP software

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a type of software that organizations use to manage various business processes like accounting, project management, and supply chain management. ERP software provides employees with up-to-date business information that they can easily access and use. It eliminates redundant data entry and reduces the number of spreadsheets that are used to record critical business data by storing information in a centralized database.

Once information is in one place, managers have complete visibility across departments, allowing them to make smarter decisions and eliminating organizational silos. For example, supply chain managers can quickly detect when store shelves need to be replenished and send purchase orders to accounting teams for approval.

Upgrade workstations

Outdated technologies and workstations limit your business’s progress, and are a hindrance to developing clued-up, efficient employees. Aging systems and slow networks can frustrate your team and hamper productivity.

That’s why it’s important to thoroughly assess your current workstations, applications, hardware, and tools. While this doesn’t mean that you have to buy a new set of workstations for your entire company, you should at least replace obsolete equipment with more modern machines In addition, make sure all software and applications are up to date to ensure maximum efficiency and employee satisfaction.

To get the maximum return on your technology investment, it’s also important to partner with a knowledgeable and reliable service provider. Get in touch with our IT experts today to find out how we can implement technology to help your employees become more efficient and productive.

This post was originally published on this site

Why you should consider SSD over HDD

Computer and laptop buyers today need to make a decision between getting either a solid state drive (SSD) or a hard disk drive (HDD) as a primary storage component for their device. But which one is the better choice? In this article we outline the distinct features of SSD and HDD so you can make the right decision for your next purchase.

What is an HDD?

An HDD is basically a storage device in a computer. It consists of metal platters with magnetic coating, a spindle, and various moving parts to process and store data. The common size for laptop hard drives is the 2.5” model, while a larger 3.5” model is usually found in desktop computers.

What is an SSD?

An SSD is another type of data storage that performs the same job as an HDD. But instead of storing data in a magnetic coating on top of platters, an SSD uses flash memory chips and an embedded processor to store, retrieve, and cache data. It is roughly about the same size as a typical HDD, and resembles smartphone batteries.

HDD and SSD comparison

The differences in capabilities between the two storage devices can be grouped into six categories:

1. Speed

This is where SSDs truly prevail. While HDDs need a long time to access data and files because the disk must spin to find it, SSDs can complete this task 200% faster since data is instantly accessed through flash memory chips. This is why an SSD-equipped PC will boot operating systems within seconds and deliver blazing-fast speed for launching programs and applications, whereas a computer that uses an HDD will take a much longer time to boot the operating system, and will continue to perform slower than an SSD during normal use.

2. Capacity

The largest SSD units have a maximum 100 TB storage capacity. Although there are large SSDs, anything that’s over 1 TB will cost businesses a lot of money. HDDs, on the other hand, have much larger capacities available for much more affordable prices.

3. Durability

HDDs consist of various moving parts and components, making them susceptible to shock and damage. The longer you use your HDD, the more it wears down and most eventually end up failing. Meanwhile, an SSD uses a nonmechanical design of flash storage mounted on a circuit board, providing better performance and reliability, and making it more likely to keep your files and data safe.

4. Noise

An HDD can sometimes be the loudest part of your computer. Even the highest-performing HDDs will emit some noise when the drive is spinning back and forth to process data. SSDs have no moving parts, meaning it makes no noise at all.

5. Heat

More moving parts means more heat, and HDD users will have to live with the fact that their device will degenerate over time. SSD uses flash memory, generating less heat, helping to increase its lifespan.

6. Cost

SSDs are generally much more expensive than HDDs for the same capacity. This is why many budget laptops may only have up to 512 GB of SSD storage.

Despite the high costs and low capacity, however, SSDs are the clear winner over HDDs in terms of performance. While you’re paying more for less memory with an SSD, you’re investing in a faster and far more durable data storage option in the long run.

We recommend using an SSD as the primary storage for your operating system, applications, and most-used programs. Many laptops and computers also allow you to install additional SSDs, so you can upgrade as required if your storage needs grow. Implementing HDD as a secondary storage unit is another great idea, especially if you need a place to store documents and pictures because they don’t need to leverage the incredible access times and speeds of an SSD.

Looking to invest in some new hardware for your business? Talk with our experts before you make a decision. We can provide sound advice and help guide you in the right direction.

This post was originally published on this site

Why you should consider SSD over HDD

Computer and laptop buyers today need to make a decision between getting either a solid state drive (SSD) or a hard disk drive (HDD) as a primary storage component for their device. But which one is the better choice? In this article we outline the distinct features of SSD and HDD so you can make the right decision for your next purchase.

What is an HDD?

An HDD is basically a storage device in a computer. It consists of metal platters with magnetic coating, a spindle, and various moving parts to process and store data. The common size for laptop hard drives is the 2.5” model, while a larger 3.5” model is usually found in desktop computers.

What is an SSD?

An SSD is another type of data storage that performs the same job as an HDD. But instead of storing data in a magnetic coating on top of platters, an SSD uses flash memory chips and an embedded processor to store, retrieve, and cache data. It is roughly about the same size as a typical HDD, and resembles smartphone batteries.

HDD and SSD comparison

The differences in capabilities between the two storage devices can be grouped into six categories:

1. Speed

This is where SSDs truly prevail. While HDDs need a long time to access data and files because the disk must spin to find it, SSDs can complete this task 200% faster since data is instantly accessed through flash memory chips. This is why an SSD-equipped PC will boot operating systems within seconds and deliver blazing-fast speed for launching programs and applications, whereas a computer that uses an HDD will take a much longer time to boot the operating system, and will continue to perform slower than an SSD during normal use.

2. Capacity

The largest SSD units have a maximum 100 TB storage capacity. Although there are large SSDs, anything that’s over 1 TB will cost businesses a lot of money. HDDs, on the other hand, have much larger capacities available for much more affordable prices.

3. Durability

HDDs consist of various moving parts and components, making them susceptible to shock and damage. The longer you use your HDD, the more it wears down and most eventually end up failing. Meanwhile, an SSD uses a nonmechanical design of flash storage mounted on a circuit board, providing better performance and reliability, and making it more likely to keep your files and data safe.

4. Noise

An HDD can sometimes be the loudest part of your computer. Even the highest-performing HDDs will emit some noise when the drive is spinning back and forth to process data. SSDs have no moving parts, meaning it makes no noise at all.

5. Heat

More moving parts means more heat, and HDD users will have to live with the fact that their device will degenerate over time. SSD uses flash memory, generating less heat, helping to increase its lifespan.

6. Cost

SSDs are generally much more expensive than HDDs for the same capacity. This is why many budget laptops may only have up to 512 GB of SSD storage.

Despite the high costs and low capacity, however, SSDs are the clear winner over HDDs in terms of performance. While you’re paying more for less memory with an SSD, you’re investing in a faster and far more durable data storage option in the long run.

We recommend using an SSD as the primary storage for your operating system, applications, and most-used programs. Many laptops and computers also allow you to install additional SSDs, so you can upgrade as required if your storage needs grow. Implementing HDD as a secondary storage unit is another great idea, especially if you need a place to store documents and pictures because they don’t need to leverage the incredible access times and speeds of an SSD.

Looking to invest in some new hardware for your business? Talk with our experts before you make a decision. We can provide sound advice and help guide you in the right direction.

This post was originally published on this site