4 Options for Your Business’ Communication Infrastructure

overhead view of a wooden table with several hands holding laptops and phones and communications graphics overlaid

Businesses depend on their communications solution to work with clients, vendors, and their staff. Depending on the specific needs of the company, a business might implement any number of communication solutions, all of which have various strengths, weaknesses, and uses. We’ll walk you through some of the most common communication solutions, as well as why you might want them for your company.

We want to kick this off with a quick reminder that all of these solutions here are fully capable of being implemented in a cloud-based environment. This is important because it improves accessibility and allows your team to stay connected no matter where they are!

Now, let’s get into the details.

Email

You likely already have an email server for your business, but if not, then there’s no better time to talk about the benefits. Not only does it let you stay in touch with clients and give your company a professional presence, but it also gives you a way to communicate in-office with your coworkers and staff. It goes without saying how important email is, but you will want to make sure that your solution best suits your company’s needs. One of the big considerations you will have to make is whether you want to host your own or outsource the responsibility to a provider. As always, it depends on your company’s budget and technology management expertise.

Instant Messaging

For cases when emails are not urgent enough, you have instant messaging. Instant messaging allows you to instantaneously connect with people within your company for whatever you happen to need. IMs are particularly useful to get answers to quick questions or to get an immediate response. They can also be helpful for just chatting and staying in touch; group chats can be very effective at building camaraderie and establishing a good company culture.

Voice over IP

Email and instant messaging are more text-based methods of communication, so let’s discuss another method that relies on voice: VoIP, or Voice over IP. VoIP can effectively replace your company’s telephone solution with software for your desktop, laptop, or smartphone. It’s particularly great because it eliminates the need to work with your local telephone company by allowing you to use your Internet connection instead. Plus, VoIP has all of the features that your traditional telephone solution has, plus some.

Unified Communications Solutions

Perhaps one of the best ways to stay in touch with your company is with a unified communications solution that includes most, if not all of the above features. It provides a single centralized solution for all of your company’s communication needs. Think of the solutions like Slack and Microsoft Teams–these are great examples of unified communications solutions.

4Corner IT can equip you with all of the important tools you need to boost communications in the workplace. To learn more about what we can do for your business, reach out to us at (954) 474-2204.

Why Your Business Should Start Taking Advantage of Virtualization

black and white terminal control mainframe in data center ranks among supercomputers

Businesses use a lot of technology to keep themselves competitive and operationally efficient. One way that organizations use to make their technology infrastructure more accessible is through taking advantage of virtualization. Let’s discuss what virtualization is, how it benefits businesses and some examples of how you might consider leveraging virtualization to your company’s benefit.

Virtualization for Hardware and Software

Virtualization in its most basic sense is taking something and making it virtual. In regards to hardware and software, it involves taking these parts of your technology infrastructure and making them available in a virtual environment. Virtual applications and hardware solutions can be deployed to the cloud so that they can be accessed by any online device. Some examples of virtualization might include creating virtual machines, like workstations and server units, that are hosted in a virtual environment for as-needed access.

What Benefits Are There to Virtualization?

Virtual machines are great for organizations that want to consolidate their infrastructure and improve the accessibility of resources. For example, let’s say that you have three server units for your business, one of which is dedicated to legacy applications that are not supported on the latest operating systems. You might run a virtual machine to allow these applications to do what they must with the need to run multiple servers just to make ends meet. In other words, consolidating your infrastructure allows you to simplify it and invest fewer resources to accomplish the same tasks. You also improve security, as each instance of an operating system can be isolated.

Desktop virtualization is also an incredibly useful tool that can let you run instances of operating systems on machines that might otherwise not be able to run them, and it’s all thanks to the computing power of the host machine. For example, you might utilize “thin” computing hardware, or slimmed-down desktops, for your company’s workstations. The operating system and desktop infrastructure are then accessed through the virtual environment. It’s a great way to reduce costs and simplify your infrastructure as a whole.

How Can Your Business Start Taking Advantage of Virtualization?

If your business is ready to start taking advantage of virtualization, we recommend working with 4Corner IT to determine which aspects of your business would do well in a virtual environment and what you should avoid. All businesses are different, and one solution that works for other organizations might not work for yours. We can perform a comprehensive IT evaluation to help you make this determination.

4Corner IT can help you begin taking advantage of virtualization solutions in a way that is in line with your organization’s goals. To learn more about what we can do for your business, reach out to us at (954) 474-2204.

Going Paperless Offers More Value Than You Think

green computer key that reads "Go paperless"

Paper documents have always been a major part of doing business, whether it’s signing contracts between you and your clients or employee paperwork from when you make new hires. The thing with paper documents, however, is that they can take up a ton of space in filing cabinets, and depending on your habits, they can quickly become unorganized.

There are several benefits to going paperless, and your organization can take steps toward making this happen through the use of great technology solutions.

The Benefits of Going Paperless

Here are some of the benefits to going paperless for your business:

  • Protecting documents from being lost, stolen, or destroyed
  • Improved security and privacy through the use of digital filing systems
  • Greater access to important documents for both customers and employees alike
  • Less wasted capital on paper, ink, and toner
  • Less storage space utilized on-premises
  • Ease of editing and sharing documents

Scanning Important Documents

While all of these benefits are great and can contribute to a more effective work process as a whole, it’s important to remember that, depending on how long you have been in business, you probably have a ton of documents that must be converted to a digital file format. One way to do this is by scanning files and converting them into a PDF file format. PDFs are great for accessibility, but they cannot be easily edited. Depending on the solution you are using, you can include fillable forms in your PDF documents that make them ideal for forms you might send to employees or customers.

Digital Signage Solutions

Digital signage solutions are perfect for finding an easier way to draw up things like contracts or consent forms. Basically, digital signage solutions allow whoever is signing the document to “e-sign” or electronically sign a document in much the same way they would if they were physically writing out their signature. Digital signage solutions can make sharing documents in this way easier and more efficient, smoothing out workflows and decreasing service time.

Cloud-Based Document Storage Systems

The real benefit of going paperless comes from the solutions that enable it, like a cloud-based document storage system. These systems give anyone with the appropriate permissions access to view or edit documents. Furthermore, documents stored in these systems can be searched for, meaning no more digging through filing cabinets when you need to find a very specific document.

4Corner IT can help your business take the appropriate steps toward a paperless office. To learn more about what we can do for your business, reach out to us at (954) 474-2204.

Use These 5 Steps to Implement Your Business’ Technology

Implementing new technology into your IT infrastructure is not something that can be done without serious consideration. If you skip the planning process, the last thing you should expect is for things to work out in your favor. Start by weighing your organization’s specific needs, then consider all of the ways that those needs can be met. Today we are going to discuss how you can make all of this happen in the easiest way possible.

The process, as you might expect, is a multi-layered one. Start with a business needs analysis, then transition into identifying technology that addresses these pain points, how you will afford said technology, focusing on what your business does well, and calling upon the feedback of employees to strengthen the implementation.

Analyze Your Business’ Needs

Understanding your business’ needs should come first. Be sure to consider what challenges your business must tackle moving forward, as well as how you might overcome them. We want to emphasize one point: only implement new technology solutions that solve problems for your business. If you are too liberal with the employment of new technology, your infrastructure could grow in a negative way, making it more difficult to administer maintenance and keep things up-to-date or in proper working order.

Consider the Price Point

As a small business owner, you know all too well how large costs can set you back, especially with investments in new technology solutions. This makes it significantly harder to budget for. While you could implement new technology by paying for it up-front, there is value to using the “as a service” model for new solutions, as well, many of which provide services based on a monthly payment model. Since these products are scalable, they can be easily budgeted for.

Lean Into Your Strengths

On a micro level, you already do this by delegating duties to your employees based on their roles within your organization, but on a macro level, you can do something similar with your technology solutions by putting your efforts into investing in technology that augments these strengths. One example is the business that prides itself on customer service. This type of business can provide even better service by utilizing help desk solutions or instant messaging chats. Basically, you supplement what your business is already good at with technology that makes doing that even better.

Ask Your Employees

If you are stuck on where to implement technology, you can always get feedback from your employees. Consider asking them what challenges they face and how they can be addressed. You can use this information to implement technology that helps them perform their day-to-day duties in an easier and more efficient way. This approach also helps to give your employees a voice within your organization, which is a value that you cannot underestimate.

Work with a Managed Service Provider

If you are not sure how to address any of the above, we can help your business approach implementing new technology solutions by doing so with intention. To learn more about how you can reach your business goals, facilitated by technology, reach out to 4 Corner IT at (954) 474-2204.

How Will the IoT Be Shaped by 5G Connectivity?

network digital hologram and internet of things on city background.5G network wireless systems.

If there’s any technology that has received hype in recent months, 5G connectivity has to at least be a contender for the most anticipated. The fifth generation of wireless connectivity is staged to benefit society and businesses alike through improved automation—particularly with the concurrent growth of the Internet of Things helping to develop the next iteration of the economy. Let’s consider how 5G is shaping up, and the impacts that it will likely have in the future.

How 5G Began the Year

While we’ve been hearing about the purported miracles that 5G will be capable of for some time now, it wasn’t until 2020 that we saw actual action taken by telecom providers. These 5G connections offered a few impactful benefits:

  1. Lower latency – 5G connectivity promises to basically eliminate the latency issues people have with their wireless cellular applications.
  2. Increased rates – With a 5G connection, faster wireless speeds allow data to be transmitted, providing users with content quicker.
  3. Enhanced capacity – As 5G grows in popularity, more devices will be able to be connected, meaning more can be done.

Of course, as with every other upgrade made to as significant an infrastructure as that which supports our cellular networks, things won’t change overnight. There will need to be some time spent, both on assembling the new infrastructures necessary and introducing devices that support 5G connectivity.

How Will 5G Connectivity Impact the Internet of Things?

Along with the development of 5G, the Internet of Things has seen stupendous growth, with an estimated 26 billion IoT devices existing in 2020. Once the aforementioned improvements made with 5G connectivity become fully mainstream, businesses will have the option to do so much more involving the IoT. Let’s consider a few ways the IoT will likely see expanded usage:

  1. Manufacturing – Perhaps no other industry will see gains of the same significance that manufacturers will. A low-latency, high-speed connection means that business can happen in virtual real time, with massive amounts of data processed and rendered to make decision-making simpler and a more dynamic process and making quality control, procurement, distribution, and customer relationship management all far better as smart technology actively tracks and reports data at remarkable speed.
  2. Supply chain – Traditionally, supply chain management has required a lot of oversight. IoT has been slowly deployed to make this process more efficient, something that 5G connectivity and issue reporting capabilities that today’s smart devices have will use to improve businesses’ ability to manage their supply chain effectively.
  3. Municipal – Municipal services are seeing greater amounts of automation thanks to the implementation of 5G. It is becoming more likely that we will begin to see “smart cities” developed where essential utilities such as water, sewer, traffic, and electricity are all managed through the use of IoT devices that modulate the need for changes to these systems with very little human oversight, potentially saving taxpayers considerable capital.
  4. Autonomous vehicles – Self-driving cars and trucks are one of the more pronounced benefits that the IoT could offer via 5G connectivity. While a process like this takes a lot of data to implement safely, 5G and its high speeds and low latencies could finally make it practicable.
  5. Healthcare – Finally, it’s been predicted that 5G will make healthcare far more efficient by better handling the enormous amount of data that is sent and received. Once the speeds attainable by this network are utilized en masse, patient data will be more readily available to the medical professionals who need it.

The intersection of 5G and the Internet of Things certainly seems to hold great promise, but time will only tell what ultimately comes of it. Whatever the future may have in store, you could rest confidently knowing that 4 Corner IT is taking care of your business’ technology. Reach out to us at (954) 474-2204 to discuss how your operations could be optimized.