My friend Evan Stein of CMIT Solutions is one of the smartest technology consultants around – here’s some advice from him.
5 Tools to Keep Your Business Productive:
1. Virtual Private Networking (VPN)
Virtual Private Networking allows you to connect your home PC to the company network as a secure node. VPN gives you access to all resources available to you on the office network such as server files, email, and applications that are server based.
2. Active remote desktop capabilities
CMIT’s Marathon Performance + and Ultra clients have remote access to their desktop available as part of their service plan. Remote desktop applications such as LogMeIn deliver your work desktop to your home PC, allowing you to run programs and view files on that machine as if you were sitting in front of your work PC. This simple and secure solution brings several other benefits to the table, including providing remote access for employees who work in the field or travel frequently, as long as there is a dedicated PC in the office for them to connect to. But what if your office loses power or Internet? You can’t remotely log onto a machine that doesn’t have electricity or access to the Internet.
3. Offsite backup
When your office loses power, maintaining productivity depends on having access to critical files. As an alternative to installing an onsite generator, having an offsite backup of your files in place will give you access to your data even when the lights go out. Such a system allows you to access an archived copy of your files that’s stored at an offsite location (normally a data center with its own generators and redundant Internet connections), which you should have anyway for purposes of data backups. Clients with CMIT’s Guardian backup have the benefit of offsite data backups and even remote virtualization.
4. Emergency access to email
Email is the lifeblood of many small businesses today. Having access to email without interruption is critical to business operations. An email archiving solution such as CMIT’s RADAR (Rapid Archiving, Discovery, and Recovery) has the additional capability to act as an emergency email system if your email server goes offline. Instead of using Outlook to send and receive email, during an event you would log into a web page and have the ability to view historical and new email, as well as compose and send new messages. An email archiving solution stores a copy of all emails and allows for fast searching, and as an added bonus, the email going to the archive doesn’t stop even if your email server loses power. Since many of us still depend on email, a searchable archive provides redundancy of this key communication tool in a cost-effective manner.
5. Implement an emergency texting service
In the case of a catastrophic natural disaster like a hurricane or flood, having an emergency texting service in place allows you to broadcast messages to your employees even if no one has access to email. Cellular networks tend to stay online even when other infrastructure experiences disruption, and mobile phones run on batteries, which makes this a solid solution for communicating during extreme weather events.
The key for all these tools, however, is having them in place and tested before disaster strikes. Additionally, these tools offer a myriad of other benefits to businesses in terms of cost savings, improvements to efficiency, data security, and system monitoring that continue to provide substantial ROI even when the snow has long since melted.