Unified Communications: Teams, SharePoint, and Phone Vendors

Since the beginning of COVID-19, the majority of the U.S workforce is working from home. This has increased the importance of a safe and efficient remote access plan and unified communication. According to Global Workplace Analytics the post COVID-19 forecast is that the longer people work from home, the greater the adoption we will see when the dust settles.  

In today’s world, it is important to keep business moving as usual, while ensuring the productivity of your employees.  We are all adapting to change, experiencing “new kinds” of distractions and most likely implementing some type of work-around outside of standard practice, such as saving everything to your desktop.  

With one flat monthly rate, a Managed Service Provider (MSP) not only saves you money, but it relieves the concern for security breaches. Through their Managed Security offerings it allow your business to stay monitored and all of your endpoints protected, while providing the tools necessary for your team to work efficiently. The benefits allow for positive financial gains and an effective, positive workforce. 

Security is more important now more than ever. This is due to the fact that hackers are taking advantage of organizations with a lack of a secure plan for their team to work from home. According to threatpost 40% of companies that are currently working remote have experienced an increase in cyberattacks. 

Unified Communication  

Phone and Printer Vendors  

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Some of the biggest elements of working from home are functional hardware. Personal phones and printers have come crucial aspects of any home office.  With a VoIP phone system, your company can stay connected quickly and efficiently. Recently, many companies have had issues with dropped calls and a lack of ability to finish a conference call because the connection isn’t strong enough. This can immensely decrease productivity.  

Additionally, many users have issues changing their settings to meet their needs or they have a bad experience with the vendor. Depending on the vendor you’re using, sometimes they will renew a contract without confirming your current package is still appropriate for your changing business.  

An MSP will ensure that you’re paying for the right package with the right vendor. Not only will they help incorporate this into your business, they will handle interactions with the vendor for you as well. This is beneficial because typically vendors are quicker to get back to MSPs they work with most frequently. You won’t have to wait as long for your needs to be addressed more quickly.  

Other Communication Tools 

Microsoft Office 365

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Microsoft Office 365 not only provides for secure remote access, but it has a number of tools that make team communication more effective. Office 365 comes with different storage and sharing options that can be utilized to your benefit. SharePoint, OneDrive and Teams are all cloud-based services from Microsoft that allow you to organize information, and share and sync files across devices. These applications are easily accessible, from anywhere. 

The Office 365 suite has built-in advanced security features that protect against external threats and provide administrators with internal access control. You will always know where your data is and who has access to it.  

In addition, Mobile Device Management is a component of the application that enables you to secure and manage company data on employees’ mobile devices You have the ability to institute a remote wipe of all data if a device is lost or stolen.  Office 365 Message Encryption is an online service that’s built on Microsoft Azure Rights Management (Azure RMS) and includes encryption, identity, and authorization policies to help secure your email. 

At this point in time, most businesses can’t afford to lose money. Having a safe way to communicate removes the potential concern of going out of business due to a data breach.  

Office 365 Communication Tools  

SharePoint  

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SharePoint is primarily used for collaborating on files or publishing documents and files for colleagues to see.   Team sites are great for collaborating, while communication sites are perfect for publishing.  They are setup for specific users that are working toward a common goal as it relates to work. 

The teams may be set up by department, projects or in any manner that works best for you organization.  Team sites are for pushing things forward by allowing access and editing rights to all users.  Documents that are owned by your team or specific projects that you are associated with should be stored in SharePoint.  It is similar to working within or storing information on a shared drive on a file server. 

In terms of publishing documents, SharePoint is a web-based document management and collaboration platform. Communication sites are usually acceptable to just about everyone within the organization, but tend to have read-only access.  Company policies and other company wide information are housed here.   

SharePoint allows you to simplify everyday business activities by taking advantage of workflows for initiating, tracking and monitoring business activities, such as document review and approval.  The tight integration amongst other applications, email and web browsers, provides a consistent experience.   

No more wasted time redoing work and merging documents. Office 365 also provides shared calendars to keep everyone on track to reach deadlines. It also keeps your team on track and organized at a time when everyone is in separate places.  

Teams  

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Microsoft Teams, is another, less formal way to communicate. It also uses SharePoint on the backend which allows your team to use this application to access important files. This feature also allows for co-authoring, which enhances productivity as we are no longer working side-by-side with our co-workers.  Whether you are finalizing a presentation with multiple participants, holding a meeting or working together in other applications or within team files to complete a project, it allows for easy interaction and timely responses. 

An application like Teams, speeds up communication and ensures that only the correct people are accessing your company’s private data. Another positive element of Teams is it’s video conferencing feature.  At this point in time, this is one of the most efficient and positive ways to communicate with your team members. It also changes up your average phone call meeting.  

G Suite

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G Suite is another cloud-based platform that allows your team to securely communicate from various places. G Suite allows users access to all Google applications like Docs, Sheets, and Slide for example. Similarly, to features of Office 365, it allows for co-authoring as well. Just like Office 365, G Suite is a safe way to keep business operational during these challenging times.  

Additionally, G Suite has Google Hangouts. This is a chat platform that is similar to Teams. It allows for quick communication between team members and can be as formal or informal as you’d like it to be. Cloud-based platforms have increased the safety of open communication for many organizations.  

How an MSP will Guide you 

One of the greatest aspects of working with an MSP is that they will not only set up these applications for you, but they will also guide you in the right direction based on your business. Office 365 may work perfectly for one business but not for another. It’s your MSP’s job to ensure that you’re not spending too much money on the wrong products.  

Along with guidance and installation, they will assess any issue your team members might have with the product in question. They will monitor your network 24.7 so you don’t have to worry about anyone gaining access to your data that shouldn’t be.  

If you’re interested in learning more about how an MSP can increase your security while saving you money, contact The TNS Group today.