A Guide to Better Virtual Meetings


Thanks to advancements in conferencing technology, your business can connect with customers, employees, and contractors all over the world. Successful collaboration with dispersed teams requires virtual meetings that run smoothly and enable easy communication—something that is not always easy to achieve.

We've all experienced virtual meetings plagued by technical difficulties, sound problems, and gaffes. Follow these six steps to make sure your next conference call or video chat goes off without a hitch.


There's more to Microsoft than Office 365

With all the bad news out there regarding Internet security, scams, and hacking, some of the "good stuff" gets left behind. This month, we're highlighting several of the "other" Microsoft products and services available through The Computing Center.

Most of us know about Windows 10 and Office 365, and rely on them daily.

But I’m here to tell you there’s a lot more going on at Microsoft.

Packed inside of Windows 10, packaged up with other offerings or simply available as standalone products, there’s a ton of business productivity just waiting to be unleashed on your business.

Recently I visited the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond for a tour with its crew of Small Business Ambassadors (I’m one of them). I discovered that Microsoft is innovating all over the place. Here are 10 highly useful Microsoft products and features that if you are not aware of, I suggest you explore:


Snow Days - Working from Home

It's been many years since the Tompkins County roads were closed due to snow. But it did happen this March. Like many businesses, we needed to quickly execute our plan to make sure our people were safe, but still be able to serve clients. Although a bit stressful, we were able to operate through the storm and the road closings reasonably well:

  • Most of our deliveries were delayed because our clients who had ordered printer consumables, had regular repair pickups and deliveries, etc. were closed as well. That kept our pickup and delivery people off the roads - a good thing considering the weather.
  • Service calls that required on-site vists were also delayed for much the same reasons as deliveries and pickups.
  • A few of our clients who were planning on-site upgrades and updates actually kept to their schedules prior to and directly after the road closures. It turned out that our work was actually easier to accomplish because it disrupted fewer people. All it took was engineers with good driving skills and 4WD vehicles.


We Need To Get Serious About Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is absolutely becoming a big-deal! In the past several months, our staff has helped a number of local companies thwart ransomware attacks.  And we also aware of successful attacks that resulted in ransoms being paid or systems that needed to be 100% rebuilt.  In addition, financial, insurance, and other related industries are now required to have systems, policies, and procedures in-place which are very similar to the HIPAA requirements of healthcare.  It's getting hard to ignore the need for carefully thought out cybersecurity plans for every company and organization. Please don't wait. 

More than half of small and midsize businesses in the U.S. have suffered a cyber attack in the past year—but despite this frightening reality, very few businesses are making IT security a priority this year. That's a big mistake, because small business owners are at a greater risk than they may think for data security problems and cybercrime.

Your businesses at risk

Businesses are starting to wake up to the risk of cybercrime. In a 2016 survey by the Ponemon Institute, more than half of businesses surveyed believe cyber attacks are becoming more targeted, more sophisticated, and more costly.


Improve Your Work-Life Balance

Many small business owners will tell you the rise of the internet has changed how they work. Newer entrepreneurs may not even be able to imagine moving about their day without email, social media or mobile banking.

But while these tools make it easier to do business in many ways, the pressure of always being “on” can amplify stress for small business owners. Time management can be particularly challenging for entrepreneurs who may be building a business while keeping another job, raising a family or pursuing education, just to name a few examples.

If you’re feeling the pressure, try one or more of these time-management techniques to help you balance work alongside everything else.


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