6 Phases to Guide Your COVID-19 Planning & Response

Posted by Kayla Knight on Jun 16, 2020 10:55:09 AM
When planning for re-opening your business after COVID-19 and planning for the rest of the year, it is important to understand how to deal with a crisis in the future and understand all the phases for your planning and overall response.
While most businesses are currently on phases 4-6, it is important to understand each phase, in order to improve systems and processes for how to better prepare against potential pandemic or natural disaster in the future. 
  1. Phase 1: The Crisis Emerges
    1. Avoid panic and focus on employee and customer safety
    2. Determine plan to work from home and online

  2. Phase 2: Employee Safety - WFH
    1. Train users on security measures to take while working form home
    2. Have meetings regularly and establish normal schedule
  1. Phase 3: WFH - Low Tide
    1. Ensure to work with employees on overall moral and mental/emotional health 
    2. Use virtual meetings as team building resource (we are all in this together)
  1. Phase 4: Clarity on Return
    1. Prioritize health and safety - evaluate if wfh needs to continue for longer
    2. Being a process for re-implementing physical location hours
    3. Standardize cleaning and safety measures
    4. Checkout info card for our video on returning to the workplace
  1. Phase 5: Return to Work
    1. Being to role out new work policies 
    2. Role out phases of employees - especially depending on the size of business
    3. Be able to pivot quickly and use this time to learn and understand how to role out phases better in the future if ever needed. 
  1. Phase 6: Recovery/ A New Normal
    1. Focus on what worked and what didn't
    2. Re-evaluate planning for potential future out breaks or natural disasters 
    3. Have a plan in place
    4. Focus on 2021 planning
For more information on how to get SaaS backups setup for you data and business, contact us at (719) 359-5995 or send us a message from the link below! 

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Topics: Working remote

How to Transition Your Business Online - During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted by Kayla Knight on Jun 9, 2020 12:04:26 PM

How to Transition Online

The way we do business is quickly changing, and those businesses that are not transitioning online could quickly be left in the dust. 

Especially with the pandemic causing many businesses to shut their doors, the ones without an online presence were definitely effected. 

Here are a few reasons why your business should be online proof:

1. New normal

With everything happening during the current pandemic, it is important to ensure your business is able to resume business as normal, in the event of another state wide shutdown.  

While many businesses are beginning to re-open their doors, there is still a chance in the near future, store fronts may once again have to close their doors to the public. In order to keep your business running as usual, having systems and processes in place to switch your business online is necessary.


2.Preparing for Crisis

If you learned one thing from this pandemic is should be that crisis can strike at any time. This can range from another pandemic to a natural disaster.  Either way, these can quickly and unexpectedly affect your business. 

Having a plan to transition your business online in the event the physical location cannot be accessed, is extremely important in keeping your business running. 


3. Ability to Pickup and Work from Anywhere

The ability to pick up your business and work from anywhere will not only give you a lot of freedom and opportunity in running your business, but can protect you in the event of a crisis, to keep business running. 

Set yourself, business, and employees up for success with the right tools that allow them to resume work from anywhere in the world. 
To learn more about getting setup online and transitioning your business to the new normal, contact us today.  




Checkout our post on transitioning your business online

If you have questions on how to setup prepare your business for return or need more information contact us today.



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Topics: Working remote

Returning to Work After COVID-19: A Checklist for Businesses

Posted by Kayla Knight on Jun 5, 2020 3:58:25 PM

Returning to Work - COVID-19 Checklist 

As government is beginning to loosen restrictions and regulations after closures from the COVID-19 virus, many businesses are looking to begin re-opening their doors. 

When looking to re-open your business, it is increasingly important to prepare yourself and your business for an overall game plan to keep you, employees, and clients safe.  Use this checklist to jumpstart your return. 

1. Create a "return to work" task force. 

Especially depending open the size of your organization, you will want to slowly start bringing employees back into the office.  Look at appointing individuals or an entire team to lead efforts of optimizing the return to the physical office.

2. Create a “return to office” schedule 

Manage how many people are simultaneously in the office and avoid having too many people at one time.  Instead, develop a schedule on employees needs, abilities, etc. that will allow you to have less people working in common areas at the same time. 


3. Establish an ongoing “work from home” policy 

It is important to ensure your business is not overly crowded at any point in time.  Setup a policy to work from home, and allow those who do not need to be at the physical office, the ability to work from home. 


4. Review and update policies 

Because times have changed, fairly drastically in the last 6 months, it is very important to look at sick leave, vacation time, etc. and update any outdated policies.  Also, consider adding a section on COVID-19, if necessary. 


5. Encourage good hygiene practices in the office.    

When employees begin to enter the workplace again, it is extremely important to set new cleaning standards, and ensure high touch areas are disinfected often.  

Ensure that there is enough cleaning supplies to keep areas disinfected.  Also encourage employees to practice good hygiene.  These practices should include frequent hand washing, eliminating high touch areas, wiping down work spaces, etc. 


Remember that even though businesses are beginning to re-open we are returning as a completely different workforce.  Prepare yourself ahead of time for the changes, to avoid being caught off guard. 

Download the complete checklist from the form below! 




Checkout our post on transitioning your business online

If you have questions on how to setup prepare your business for return or need more information contact us today.



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Topics: Working remote

7 Tips to Holding Effective Virtual Meetings

Posted by Kayla Knight on Jun 3, 2020 4:11:42 PM

How to Have Productive Virtual Meetings 

With many business moving to an online platform - read our latest blog post on how to transition your business online here - one of the biggest ways to be successful in doing so, is to continue to communicate and connect with your team. 

While meetings in person are less frequent, meetings do not need to cease altogether.  Rather, learning how to have productive meetings online can help your business succeed and excel in productivity. 

Here our our 7 tips on how to hold effective virtual meetings: 


1. Schedule the meeting ahead of time

Try not to hold impromptu meetings unless absolutely necessary.  Impromptu meetings without a plan or agenda can be extremely unproductive. 

The best time of day to schedule your meetings are first thing in the morning and late afternoon, as they set the tone for the day or for the next day. While mid-afternoon meetings are typically the least productive times for meetings. 

When scheduling meetings ahead of time ensure everyone is invited to the meeting and knows the overall agenda and objective. 

2. Put together an agenda for the meeting

Have a specific agenda for the meeting along with goals and objectives to be achieved to set the expectations for the meeting.  When these are broken down into tasks and goals to be achieved, everyone can better see what steps need to be taken next.  Don't forget to send out the agenda ahead of time, so everyone involved can come prepared and ask any potential meeting stopping questions before hand. 



3. Turn off distractions

All distractions that could destroy productivity during the meeting should be muted. Require phones to be turned off and email to be closed.  This will ensure that everyone is staying on task and not getting side tracked. 


4. Allow time For announcements and conversation at the beginning

Allow a 5-10 minute segment at the beginning of the meeting to be for conversations and announcements while everyone gets settled.  Especially with many of us working remote, this time allows employees to share random facts before the meeting takes place, preventing distractions. 


5. Work towards a solution

When discussing problems in the meeting, the goal should be to come to a solution on how to resolve that problem.  Rather than discussing the problem for a long period of time, the problem should be identified, and the remainder of the time should be put toward solving it.


6. Honor the purpose of the meeting

Don’t get side tracked by issues or other problems unrelated to the meeting.  Each meeting should have an overall goal and purposed defined before a meeting is scheduled. 

Hold each-other accountable to stay on track and redirect the conversation  back to the purpose of the meeting. If needed, schedule another meeting to discuss any unrelated issues that may be brought up. 


7. Use a reliable source for virtual meetings

Ensure you are using a reliable source for your virtual meetings.  Each platform has its own pros and cons, so evaluate each before making your decision, and ensure all employees know how to use the tool before starting the meeting.  This will ensure no distractions arise preventing the meeting from starting on time.

Some platforms have time restrictions allowed on their free version, so make sure you have the paid version of virtual meeting platforms, if you need extended time. 





Checkout our FREE webinar here to learn more about the importance of a business continuity plan and how to implement one for your business. 

If you have questions on how to setup proper backups or need more information contact us today.



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Topics: Working remote, Managed Security

5 Reasons To Backup Office 365

Posted by Kayla Knight on Jun 2, 2020 5:00:21 PM

5 Important Reasons to Backup your Office 365

Office 365 (O365) is a great tool utilized by many businesses.  While many small businesses do not back up this data, as it is stored in the cloud, this can be a huge mistake that can cost your business valuable data.  

Here are 5 important reasons why you should backup your office 365 data. 


1. YOUR data is YOUR responsibility

Starting off with the biggest point - Your data is your responsibility.  If your data is important to you and your business, you need to takes steps to protect it!  Backups are always a good idea, as you can go back in a point in time, and recover your saved work and data.  Disaster can strike at any point, being prepared can save you a lot of headache, money, and invaluable data. 


2. User Error Happens

User error is the leading cause of data loss.  Accidental deletion or destruction could be detrimental to a business due to costs associated with data loss, but also data loss itself. 

Proper backups protect you against user error and accidental deletion.


3. Data Retention Policies 

Data retention policies can change at any point in time.  Data can be stored for shorter periods of time, or there may be certain stipulations around data retention that may change. 

Proper backups ensure that little to no data can go missing and that data is properly restored.  As long as you are properly baking up and ensuring that backups are running, your data should be accessible through the point and time needed. 


4. Long term access to files, data, and emails

Audits, projects, and legal reasons may arise that cause you to go digging for past information and data. Without proper backups that data may no longer be accessible. 

Backups allow you to go back in time and find the data that you need. 


5. Security threats

There are several different types of security threats when it comes to your data: internal and external. Employees are an internal threat as they can unintentionally or intentionally delete or remove valuable data. 

Hackers, viruses, malware, updates, etc are all forms of external threats, that could effect your data and cause data loss. 

No matter the threat, proper backups allows your business to restore its data, saving you the headache and financial loss associated with data loss. 



Checkout our FREE webinar here to learn more about the importance of a business continuity plan and how to implement one for your business. 

If you have questions on how to setup proper backups or need more information contact us today.



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Topics: Managed Services, Business Continuity

5 Tips to Transition Your Small Business Online

Posted by Kayla Knight on Jun 2, 2020 4:40:25 PM

Is Your Business Recession Proof? 

We live in a new normal and doing business is not the same as it was a few years ago, or even a months ago.   One of the biggest struggles for businesses over the past couple of weeks for small businesses was being forced to shut their doors, and having their business go dark, because they were not prepared to move their business to an online platform. 
As business are beginning to reopen their doors, it is important to use this time as a lesson on how to transform your business to one that can be taken online at any point in time.
Here are our top 5 tips to setup a business that can be transitioned online at any point an time and ultimately recession proof:

1. Using Online Meeting  & Conferencing Platforms

Be able to connect with employees, clients, and potential leads virtually.  Having an online conferencing platform that works for your business needs.  This can look different for each business, and it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each service, as well as become and expert in whatever software you choose.  This will allow you to run meetings efficiently with employees and clients from anywhere in the world! 

2. VPN and Work from Home Setup

Whether you work from home 7 days a week only when it is necessary, it is important the each employee has the ability to work from home in a secure manner. 

Ensuring that ALL employees are setup to work from home in the case they become sick, are exposed to anyone who has been sick and needs to self quarantine, or in the event of natural or unforeseen disaster.   

VPNs (Virtual Private Network) allows for you to create a secure connection to another network.  This will allow you to resume business as normal and ensure that employees are securing your business data in the meantime.

3. Going Paperless

If you have not fully transitioned to a paperless business, now is the time! Being able to access all of your business data online without being tied to a physical office can help ensure your business can be transitioned online at any point in time. 

When going paperless, it is important to assess software that will allow you to move all data, billing, invoicing, and internal documents to a secure online platform, where they can be accessed and stored securely.

This will allow you to share data with everyone who needs it without being tied to a physical address, plus it is more eco friendly!!

4. File Sync and Share

This brings us into our fourth tip, which is utilizing a file sync and share tool. The right file sync and share tool will help with overall collaboration, accessing of files, and can be extremely beneficial when moving paperless. 

The right file sync and share tool will allow you to work from anywhere and access all the files you need, while also allowing you to set security and viewing settings based on who can access files and documents. 


5. Backups

Don't let our last tip fool you, as it is probably the most important tip when transitioning your business online. 

As all your data is now spaced out, paper is gone, and you are working remote, you want to ensure that data is protected and able to be recovered in the event of disaster. 

Because disaster can strike at any point in time, and it’s important to cover your bases and secure your business and data with backups!  Your data is your responsibility, and if not properly cared for, it can easily be lost, erased, or even stolen.   The right backups and business continuity plan is essential for any business. 

Checkout our FREE webinar here to learn more about the importance of a business continuity plan and how to implement one for your business. 

To learn more about getting setup online and transitioning your business to the new normal, contact us today. 



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Topics: Managed Services, Digital Transformation

Is Your Wordpress Site Secure?

Posted by Kayla Knight on May 27, 2020 5:03:12 PM

Is Your Wordpress Site Secure or is it a Target for Attack?

Wordpress sites are a great tool for many small business, as it allows them to create, manage, and update their own website without the overhead of a web developer.  However, Wordpress can be a prime target to many hackers, as there are several security loop holes that can lead to attack. 
Ensure that your Wordpress site is secure and up to date by following some of our tips!  


Have a secure password

Having a secure password that keeps hackers out in the first place is crucial to avoiding attacks on your Wordpress site. 

When choosing a password, it should not be one that you use commonly on other sites or easy to guess.  We recommend using the four word method by preshing.com.  

This method involves using 4 common radome words to make a password that is secure and easy to remember.  

Password management tools are also a great resource to store passwords in a secure format and also allow you to update passwords with a click of a button!


Ensure that plugins and updates are complete 

Plugin updates will ensure that bugs and patches are not leaving your site susceptible to threats or attacks. 
It is important to run updates and remove old plugins that you are no longer in use so that not back doors are left open for hackers. 


Security Plugin

Having a security plugin that monitors your sites over all health can lead to insights and potential threats before they are a problem. 

These are great plugins to have as they will email you as plugins need updates, potential issues, logins, and threats made against your account.  


Install and SSL Certificates

An SSL Certificates are an encrypted channel between user and server.  These sites are more secure as they create a secure link between the website and the visitor. 



Don’t Login on Public WI-FI

Public WiFi is a very un-secure space, especially for important data and information.  It is very easy for hackers to gain access to public WiFi and steel credentials or gain access to data. 



Backup site

The truth is mistakes, disasters, and attacks can happen even if you do everything perfect! Prevention is the first step in preventing loss of valuable data or information, but preparation and planning can make or break your business. 

Always have a secure and up to date backup, so in the event of disaster you can recover your data. 


For more information on how to secure your business and data, and setup employees to work from home, contact us today! 



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Topics: Working remote, Managed Security, Digital Transformation

Protect your Business from COVID-19 Scammers

Posted by Kayla Knight on Apr 28, 2020 11:50:27 PM

Scammers targeting COVID-19 

A new trend among many scammers is targeting the fears and concerns around the COVID-19 virus. 
These scams target individuals and businesses in several ways, and can have a major impact on small businesses resulting in data loss or stolen information. 
Individuals are being targeted via text, email, phone, and more services that many individuals are currently utilizing.  Especially with the increase in number of individuals working from home, security around your business and data has never been more important.  
Here are a few common methods hackers are utilizing to target individuals and businesses:

Streaming Services

Netflix, Hulu, etc. 

With many people stuck inside their homes, there has been a rise in streaming services.  Hackers are targeting the increase in usage to send phishing emails, texts, and offers to individuals that could get them to click on malicious links or send in personal information. 
This can lead users to malicious links and result in stolen credit card information and valuable data.  These include fake sites, website urls, and links within emails and texts that are targeting popular streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and more.  It is especially important when clicking on any link, that it is from a trusted and reliable source. 


Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks are on the rise as many individuals and businesses are researching information on COVID-19, stay at home orders, and more surrounding the virus.  Not only can these malicious attacks be a result of phishing attacks, but they can come in many forms online, through un-secure websites and forms. 
Be sure to inform your users how to identify malicious links, and to be extra cautious of attacks during this time.  This can be extremely detrimental to businesses if users are logged in through a VPN or conducting business from home, infecting your entire network. 
Checkout our blog post on User Training here to learn more about preparing your users for potential risk and threats. 
To learn more about these attacks checkout our latest YouTube video!

For more information on how to secure your business and data, and setup employees to work from home, contact us today! 


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Topics: Business Continuity, Working remote, Managed Security

Software to use to increase productivity while working from home

Posted by Kayla Knight on Apr 21, 2020 11:25:38 AM

Working from home (WFH)

A majority of businesses, that are still operating, are having their employees working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and for good reason.  
However, there are some common issues many employers are facing right now, as the WFH force is increasing: lack of productivity, resources, and organization. 
In this blog post we will discuss three free software tools that you can utilize to help increase productivity and help keep your data and information in one place to help with over all organization. 
By adding these tools to your organization and task management stack, you will be able to cut down on the clutter, overall email threads, and organize your content and data much more efficiently! 


file sync and share tool

Dropbox is a file sync and share tool that is useful for collaborating with team members and accessing files from just about anywhere. 

How Dropbox can help

Dropbox can help organize your thoughts and files all in one place; allowing you to collaborate with team members, organize your to do list, setup due date reminders, and access files from anywhere in the world from any device. 

Things you are already doing

  • Taking notes during meetings
  • Creating a tasks or to-do list
  • Brainstorming
  • Accessing files


Instant Messaging Software

Slack is an instant messaging software that can help organize conversations by topic and users involved in the project. 

Things you are already doing

  • messaging with your teammates/coworkers - emailing, texting, and instant messaging 
  • Organizing content


How slack can help

  • Slack can replace your text messages, emails, and instant messaging and bring it all together in one place.  
  • Stop losing emails 
  • Conversation & topic organization
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Ability to upload documents, pdf's, etc. 
  • Notifications when name is mentioned or conversation/topic needs your attention.


Kanban organization tool 

Trello is a kanban organizational tool that uses cards to organize tasks, to-dos, and project.  This tool allows you to create specific tasks, checklists, and to-dos, as well as the ability assign cards to specific users to complete the tasks. 

Things you are already doing 

  • Creating task lists
  • Creating to do lists
  • Managing your calendar 
  • Collaborating with teammates


How Trello can help 

  • Great for project and task management 
  • Can manage tasks and to dos within projects separately 
  • Can manage tasks (cards) on calendar
  • Assign tasks and to-dos as well as manage due dates
  • Upload content to cards


For more information on how to get your business setup to work from home, contact us today! 


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Topics: Working remote, Managed Security

How to Work Remote From Home

Posted by Kayla Knight on Apr 21, 2020 10:55:25 AM

How to Work Remote from Home in a Secure & Productive Manner

With the pandemic in the world growing, there is an increasing number of people working from home.  Fortunately, there are a lot of resources available to make working from home secure and productive. 
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Topics: Working remote, Managed Security

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Welcome to the Tech Talk Blog by IT Specialists, where we focus on all things technology and business.  

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