IT Solutions
Advanced IT

How Can IT Solutions Make Companies Better in Post-COVID World?

IT Solutions

The COVID-19 crisis has definitely changed the way everything works. During the period of social distancing and lockdown, most companies across the world have asked their employees to work from home. This has given rise to the need to access valuable and sensitive data from home internet connections. But the real question is, “Are IT solutions of today prepared for this kind of work arrangement?”

In other words, are home internet networks safe and secure enough? Apart from that, it is also important to think about the IT infrastructure to see if it’s resilient enough to adapt to varied situations. In the unpredictable post-COVID era and with society getting used to the ‘new normal,’ the IT structure needs to adapt to it.

Following are some steps that can help in making your IT system more powerful in a post-COVID world:

  •       Using Cloud Services for Better Security & Flexibility

Cloud services can come in handy when you or your employees plan to work from home. However, this would require a secure cloud migration program so that the data from the premise can be moved to a cloud service. Once all your data is transferred to the cloud, you will be able to access it from any location.

However, this requires a modern IT infrastructure to ensure that there is no security breach. Working with reliable IT services such as Stickboy Creative can help you install high-quality and reliable cloud-based systems.

  •       Strategic Cloud Planning

Strategic planning is crucial when you are considering to start using cloud services extensively for your business. However, it is never a good idea to do it all at once. There has to be in-depth planning and analysis carried out to have the pain points identified at the earliest. Hence, there is a need to have a checklist for cloud migration, determination of public or hybrid cloud service model, and the possible challenges to manage the entire transfer of knowledge.

  •       Security & Cloud Testing

It is important to consider cloud computing platforms as important business infrastructure. As a part of this consideration, businesses must conduct regular maintenance and testing to ensure their operations’ stability and security. It is crucial to remember that all new cloud applications or platforms come with a security risk of some kind.

Hence, these aspects must be considered and handled proactively. In this regard, some things to bear in mind are ensuring strong data encryption for at-rest data and in-transit data as well as enforcing adequate access control and data deletion policies.

  •       Manage Your IoT & Mobile Devices Properly

This transition will also compel companies to find a way to properly handle both employee-owned and company-owned mobile devices, including the data they contain. Research shows that more than 78% of companies across the globe had BYOD activity carried out on their network in 2019. That said, most businesses still do not have a clear plan regarding the effective management of those devices.

To ensure effective and secure remote work, businesses need to effectively control all mobile devices with access to their resources. In this regard, being on top of their game will have them ensure a secure and permanent arrangement in this new norm of ‘work from home.”

  •       Ongoing Security Monitoring

Finally, ongoing security monitoring is a must for businesses with sensitive customer data. In the same vein, if your company has strict compliance requirements, it is vital to invest in 24/7 security monitoring to ensure that your privacy and that of your customers are secure at all times. Using this service can help you keep an eye on your network’s endpoints, regardless of whether they are remote or on-premise. Hence, you will be able to respond to incoming threats quickly.

The only way to ensure resilience and strength in a post-COVID world is for companies to work with seasoned and expert IT services providers. They must choose wisely after thoroughly checking the portfolios and reputations of companies in the field. The shortlisted IT solutions companies must excel in mobile endpoint management, cybersecurity, and cloud computing so that your business can rest assured of no data breach on any front.

With years of experience, Stickboy Creative has quickly made a name for itself in the IT solutions industry. Get in touch with us for unparalleled IT solutions for your business!

tips to create business continuity plan
Advanced IT Strategy

Tips to Create a Seamless Business Continuity Plan

tips to create business continuity plan

It cannot be disputed that planning, as well as executing a business continuity plan in the present times, has become the need of the hour. Companies can’t predict all the things that can go wrong. Even if you have sufficient time to prepare beforehand, you cannot be sure how a natural disaster or a cybersecurity breach will affect your business.

In this article, we share with you some tips for creating a seamless business continuity plan.

What Does a Business Continuity Plan Entail?

Simply put, a business continuity plan can be defined as a documented system that helps in recovering data from threats and averting damage in a crisis. Incorporating this plan into your business can help you protect your assets and ensure that all kinds of crucial operational activities do not stop once disaster strikes.

With the company’s staff and stakeholders’ help, you can create a business continuity plan that can help you prepare for any future threats. It is noteworthy that a successful and thorough business continuity plan must be integrated completely throughout your IT infrastructure and business to reduce possible damage and downtime. Irrespective of whether you run a small business or a major corporation, any business continuity plan’s main goals are to minimize loss, protect the brand image, sustain continuity, and retain customer value.

Things to Keep in Mind When Designing an Efficient Business Continuity Plan

All business continuity plans differ according to the industry, IT infrastructure, and company size. However, some common key components of all plans are the following:

  •       Recovery Mechanism

You must begin by identifying and implementing measures to recover all the important business operations.

  •       Business Impact Analysis

It is important to identify all the time-sensitive processes and identify how a certain organizational failure will affect your business.

  •       Training & Testing

Your team members must be trained as well as tested to make sure that they understand the business continuity plan thoroughly.

  •       Organizational Roles

It would be best if you created a dedicated response team to manage business disruptions.

Tips to Create the Perfect Business Continuity Plan

To make a standardized business continuity plan, you must keep the following checklist in mind and make sure it is enforced in your company:

  •       Build a Team

The first thing to do to build an efficient business continuity plan is to assign roles and responsibilities to all the employees in your company. This will help everyone understand their responsibilities when disaster strikes. Therefore, the business recovery plans will be carried forward smoothly till the execution stage.

  •       Identify Threats

You must then identify the potential risks, vulnerabilities, and threats that could potentially affect your business. This list will depend on your geographical location and set-up. For example, your business’s physical location might enhance the chances of a hurricane, flood, tsunami, earthquake, or fire.

  •       Carry Out Business Impact Analysis

You must also execute a business impact analysis that means that you must identify time-sensitive and important business processes and figure out how they rely on each other for the optimum running of your business.

In order to do this, you will need to establish when the loss of a process or a function would lead to the impacts and the impacts that would come from losing a specific business process or function. Once you complete this analysis, you will be able to prioritize all the important processes to ensure operational and financial continuity.

  •       Educate Your Staff

It is crucial to prepare your IT staff for digital transformations with the basics of cybersecurity so that they can handle business continuity optimally. For that, it is important to make all your employees aware of the plan as well as their roles in the protection of the business. You can form a training program to this effect so that the staff can develop all the skills that will be required to ensure an effective recovery strategy.

  •       Protect Sensitive Information

Finally, every business has some vital data that cannot be lost or misplaced for critical business functions. Losing it to the wrong hands can put your entire business at risk. Therefore, login credentials, financial records, data backups, as well as other critical data, must be isolated. You must store it somewhere safe so that you can access it quickly during recovery.

Keeping these tips in mind can help you create a seamless business continuity plan.

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Strategy

Free Remote Employee Setup For SWFL Businesses

Is your business ready for remote work? Stickboy is donating FREE IT lockdown prep. Let us configure your work computers so you’re ready when the mandatory work-from-home order comes.

Your business will be back online with a simple flip of the switch. Same computer, different chair.

Contact us to learn more. 239-206-1193 | [email protected]

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Advanced IT News

Stickboy announces free remote work prep services for affected businesses!

Is your business ready for remote work? Stickboy is donating FREE IT lockdown prep. Let us configure your work computers so you’re ready when the mandatory work-from-home order comes.

Your business will be back online with a simple flip of the switch. Same computer, different chair.

Contact us to learn more. 239-206-1193 | [email protected]

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Strategy

6 Free Services Your Business Needs Right Now

With so many people now telecommuting from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and organizations around the world are scrambling to adopt remote-work practices. Whether its video conferencing, remote team collaboration, virtual classrooms, or other activities, there are free and discounted services available to you. We’ve put together a curated list to help you sort through the chaos of work-from-home!

Contact us to learn more. 239-206-1193 | [email protected]

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Advanced IT News Software Development Stickboy Creative This Week From Stickboy Tips

Free Services Your Business Needs Right Now. Here’s a list of FREE and discounted services for your school, church, or business

With so many people now telecommuting from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and organizations around the world are scrambling to adopt remote-work practices. Whether its video conferencing, remote team collaboration, virtual classrooms, or other activities, there are free and discounted services available to you. We’ve put together a curated list to help you sort through the chaos of work-from-home!

Google Hangouts Meet

Focus: Video conferencing service and online productivity tools.

Offer: Google Cloud has announced free access to its advanced Hangouts Meet videoconferencing capabilities for all customers of its G-Suite and G-Suite for Education services. This enables calls of up to 250 people and also allows meetings to be recorded and saved on Google Drive.

Loom

Focus: Video messaging service.

Offer: Loom is scrapping a limit on the number of videos that a user can access under its free plan through July 1 (previously the limit was 25) and extending the free trial period of its premium Loom Pro service from 14 to 30 days. It’s also making Loom Pro free for students and teachers at K-12 schools, universities and other educational institutions with no time limit.

Microsoft Teams

Focus: Team collaboration and communication platform.

Offer: Microsoft Teams, the company’s collaboration and communication platform, is scrapping the user limit on its free version, which was previously restricted to 300 people. Microsoft has also announced it is making the basic version of its Office 365 enterprise suite of productivity tools such as Word and Excel free for six months to organizations, which gives users access to the premium version of Microsoft Teams.

Slack

Focus: Team collaboration and communication platform.

Offer: Slack is offering free upgrades to paid plans for organizations working on coronavirus research, response or mitigation, as well as to local media organizations and scientific publications covering these areas. The company has also removed the 250-user cap on its Standard Plan service for all nonprofits for three months.

Zoom

Focus: Video conferencing service.

Offer: Zoom has removed a 40-minute meeting limit on its free Basic accounts for students and teachers at K-12 schools in America. The company has partnered with Clever, the most widely used single sign-on service used by U.S. school districts, so that schools who don’t have access to its service can get it quickly. It has also scrapped time limits on meetings for K-12 schools in a growing list of other countries impacted by COVID-19.

And as always, Stickboy

Focus: Technology Partner

Offer: With a flip of a switch any of our clients can have remote access to any of their workstations inside their office as long as they have internet access.  We are giving away two months FREE of our services to get you through this time.

If you need any help implementing these or other remote-work solutions, please contact us today.

239-206-1193 | [email protected]

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News Tips

The Art Of Running A Productive Business When Your Team’s No Longer In Arm’s Reach

Anxiety, worry, and uncertainty. These are three feelings plaguing the workforce in these trying times. Luckily, you have us, so worry no more! We’re going to review for you some quick tips for maintaining an excellent and amiable corporate culture remotely so your team can continue to be the rock stars you hired them to be.

The secret ingredient in our secret sauce? Meetings. Hold internal meetings. Already holding internal meetings? Hold more. You want to aim for (at a minimum) daily standup meetings. To keep things productive, focus on these tips.

Turn On Your Webcam

A photo says a thousand words. A video could fill a novel with words. The easiest way to replace face-to-face contact is to encourage cam-to-cam contact. Seeing your team (and letting them see you) will build trust and reassure your team. There are tons of video conferencing options out there (Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, etc), so just pick one and run with it!

Provide A Dial-In Option

Video conferencing is great, but it does have some hardware requirements (webcam and microphone). Additionally, with an increase in remote work, some cities are reporting slowing internet speeds. To combat these issues, ensure your video conferencing solution allows for your team to participate via phone. Make it clear to them, however, that video-first is the new norm.

Test It, Then Test Again

In times of crisis, your team will be looking to leadership for guidance. You have the solemn responsibility of appearing calm and composed at all times. To that end, make sure your technology works before the meeting starts. Nothing derails a meeting quicker than technical difficulty. Simply hop on the call 5-10 minutes early and make sure video’s coming in clear, audio is working, and all the bits-and-bobs are in place. Most video conferencing software has a quick “mic check” you can run before the meeting.

Put On Your Best Face

Avoid minimal distractions on your video feed. Remote workers should attend the call in a designated spot. The background should be clean and their faces should be visible. It lends the meeting the professionalism and seriousness it deserves.

Have An Agenda, And Keep It Short

Before every meeting assemble a clear agenda and distribute it to the team. Keep the meeting short (this is a touchpoint, not a seminar). Keep presentations to a minimum, and (again) keep them short. You want to keep everyone interested and on task.

Break The Ice

Incorporate small icebreakers into your meeting. The hokier, the better. Small activities like this remind your team that they are indeed a team. Encourage participation. Strive for laughter. They may seem silly, but they make a difference.

Put Someone In Charge

Keeping in-person discussions on-topic is hard enough. Virtual ones can turn into a circus quickly. Assign each meeting a facilitator who’s in charge of guiding the conversation. This will allow your team to focus on the content of the meeting without being thrown off-course by idle chatter.

Call On People

Video conferences can be intimidating, and it’s commonplace for one or two voices to take control of the conversation. Make sure everyone has their voice heard. If they don’t speak up, call on them. When it comes to decision making, try to “go around the table” before the decision is finalized.

Tackle The Tough Issues

It may seem natural to wait to discuss tough issues until everyone is in person, but that may not be an issue. So don’t shy away from the controversial topics. It is better to address it now rather than regret it later.

That Wasn’t So Hard, Now Was It?

Not being able to work together in the same room with colleagues will become a major hurdle in the coming weeks, but with small adjustments you can quickly overcome this challenge. Meeting virtually is a learned behavior, and you’ll be amazed how much you can get out of it once you and your team begin to be comfortable working this way. 

Remember, a small investment in preparedness now will have a huge impact on your business’s profitability and longevity.

Need help with getting a remote work solution in place? Get in touch today. We’ll help you out!

[email protected] | 239-206-1193

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News

A Message From Our CEO: How Can We Help Amid Coronavirus?

Watch The Video Here

As the CEO of Stickboy and a longtime resident of SWFL, I wanted to reach out to my fellow business owners to offer some help.Coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting us all, and it’s important to me that I do what I can for my community.

We’re all in this together. With the nature of your business, working from home may not be an option for all of your employees, but if you could keep a number of employees productive and work from home, would that help you?

If this is something you are interested in getting help with, my team is standing by to assist. Call today for a friendly consultation. I have instructed my team to give all new business clients 50% OFF their setup of these remote employee work configurations.

Please call the Stickboy team today at 239-206-1193 to get the help you need.

May we all get through this challenging time safely and profitably.

Sincerely,
Matt Bernhardt
CEO of Stickboy

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Strategy

Guide To Running A Productive Remote Business

Anxiety, worry, and uncertainty. These are three feelings plaguing the workforce in these trying times. Luckily, you have us, so worry no more! We’re going to review for you some quick tips for maintaining an excellent and amiable corporate culture remotely so your team can continue to be the rock stars you hired them to be.

The secret ingredient in our secret sauce? Meetings. Hold internal meetings. Already holding internal meetings? Hold more. You want to aim for (at a minimum) daily standup meetings. To keep things productive, focus on these tips.

Contact us to learn more. 239-206-1193 | [email protected]

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Advanced IT Tips

Florida Man Tries 8 Remote Collaboration Tools. You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!

Did that catchy title get you in here? Good. Close the door and take a seat. We need to have a serious conversation.

Throughout the course of this pandemic, your business will be the victim of many traumas. But your worst enemy isn’t coronavirus. It’s not a dropoff in sales. It’s not a shortage of toilet paper.

The greatest danger facing your business is a loss of employee productivity.

Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of web-based collaboration tools that will keep your team communicating and your business running like a well-oiled machine!

Google Drive

File Sharing // Free with paid upgrades // Get it here

Google’s Drive product is one of those how-do-they-offer-this-for-free services. Boasting a whopping 15GB of free storage space, Drive allows you and your team to easily store and share files from the cloud. The service is designed to sync across devices (you can access your files from your phone!) and includes free access to Google’s collaborative office suite as well. All for the crazy low price of nothing.

Microsoft Onedrive

File Sharing // Free with paid upgrades // Get it here

Let’s be honest. Onedrive is the gas station pizza of file sharing tools. There are definitely better options out there, but if you’re really craving file sharing, it gets the job done. Onedrive features 5GB of free storage. It’s saving grace and the reason we’re including it on this list? It integrates directly with the desktop version of Microsoft Office, so you’ll be able to edit and files directly within Onedrive. Paid tiers expand on this functionality, granting access to the online versions of Microsoft’s office suite.

G Suite

Productivity Suite // $6/mo with optional upgrades // Get it here

The only paid option on this list, G Suite is a product we couldn’t recommend enough. For the low price of $6/mo you gain access to a massive suite of productivity, communication, and collaboration software.

  • Office suite: Google Docs, Sheets, Presentations, and Forms
  • Communication tools: Hangouts Meet, Hangouts Chat, and Currents
  • Email and calendar solutions
  • Enhanced Drive functionality.

The best part? Every one of the G Suite softwares talks to each other seamlessly! And if you need additional functionality on top of the Google-provided tools, their Marketplace offers a huge selection of free and paid third-party addons.

Google Hangouts

Communication Tool // Free with G Suite // Get it here

One of the primary reasons we like G Suite so much, Google Hangouts is a free video conference offering. Out of the bot it supports up to 100 participants. You can schedule calls through your calendar or start impromptu meetings with the click of a button. It integrates directly with your preferred calendar solution. It supports screen-sharing and participate-by-phone (paid features in most other conferencing software).

Slack

Communication Tool // Free with paid upgrades // Get it here

Slack is the chat service favored by companies both large and small. It’s familiar interface makes it easily usable by both the tech-savvy and the not-so-savvy. Communication is fast paced and separate channels can be created for various groups and projects within your organization. It features a huge assortment of integrations with third-party software and allows for video calling as an optional upgrade.

Zoom

Communication Tool // Free with paid upgrades // Get it here

Zoom is the go-to video conferencing software for many organizations. It allows easy peer-to-peer video calls as well as group conferencing. The free tier is limited to 40-minute calls, but the service can be upgraded to remove this limitation. Zoom does require the user to install software locally to function. This can be a barrier for entry with clients, so we tend to steer more towards Hangouts Meet internally.

Microsoft Teams

Collaboration Tool // Free with paid upgrades // Get it here

Teams is Microsoft’s answer to remote project collaboration. It supports project-based communication and allows users to easily share pertinent files. It even supports editing those files within the browser. It supports both chat as well as voice and video conferencing. It offers various tiers with varying support for Microsoft’s Office suite.

Teamwork

Collaboration Tool // Free with paid upgrades // Get it here

Teamwork is the deluxe package when it comes to project management and collaboration. It supports project-based task management, time tracking, internal communication, and more. It features a helpdesk, file sharing, and storage. Everything you could possibly need to run a project. It even allows you to share and communicate with clients and other external resources, all from within one handy portal.

Gosh, That’s A Scary Wall Of Text

As you can see there are tons of software options out there to support your business’s remote work program. Perhaps too many options. And unfortunately they’re not one-size-fits-all. If you need help putting your remote work solution in place, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We specialize in remote employee setups.