View Excalibur Technology's Facebook page View Excalibur Technology's Twitter page View Excalibur Technology's YouTube page View Excalibur Technology's Google Plus page View Excalibur Technology's blog View Excalibur Technology's LinkedIn page

Excalibur Technology Newsletter – April 2017

Excalibur Technology April 2017 Newsletter

We invite you to read the latest edition of our newsletter, by CLICKING HERE.

Be sure to check it out!

Highlights in the April 2017 Edition Include:

– 100% Uptime Is A Myth, But Our Total Support Solution Gets You Close

– Is Your Business Prepared To Handle These 2 Challenging IT Trends?

– Here’s A Cost-Effective Alternative To Onboarding Additional IT Staff

– 3 Ways Your Business Can Secure Its Hosted VoIP System

– Give Your Staff The IT Support They Need Without Breaking The Budget

– Pair Up The Right Workers To Increase Productivity By 10%


Pair Up The Right Workers To Increase Productivity By 10%

Pair Up Productive WorkersKeeping your workers as productive as possible is a challenge for every employer. According to a recent study by the Harvard Business Review, there is one easy way that you can increase productivity: By keeping a productive worker in close proximity to other workers.

Such a profound discovery could be enough to shake the foundations of how you form your departments and how the interior of your office looks. Theoretically, you could simply arrange your office in a way which takes advantage of this “productivity by proximity” rule, keeping those who get the most work done at the center of the action. This could inspire your less-dutiful employees to better themselves and improve how they work.

What’s interesting is just how the study describes this phenomenon: “We saw that neighbors have a significant impact on an employee’s performance, and it can be either positive or negative. In terms of magnitude, we found that approximately ten percent of a worker’s performance spills over to her neighbors. Replacing an average performer with one who is twice as productive results in his or her neighboring workers increasing their own productivity by about ten percent, on average.”

Maybe you’re feeling that you should reevaluate how your organization is approaching the office setup, but before you go and make drastic changes, keep in mind that doing this haphazardly could actually make things worse. This study highlights the benefits of productivity by proximity, but keep in mind that it also warns of how the exact opposite can happen too. For example, an employee who wants to get the most done, for example, could be held back by a slacker that’s nearby.

You need to also consider other factors that influence worker productivity, like motivation. If you have a worker who wants to learn how to do a better job, putting them next to someone who is highly motivated and willing to go the extra mile could help dramatically. On the other hand, a worker who doesn’t care about doing a good job won’t be impressed by the positive attitude of their peers.

This is a negativity that your business can do without. In this situation, it might seem tempting to just isolate workers so they don’t influence each other. You can do this by either providing them with their own office, giving them the freedom to work remotely, or removing the problem employee from the equation completely.

As you can see, motivation is a crucial when it comes to worker productivity. It’s logical to assume that if you can provide powerful motivators, your team will be more likely to do their best work. Allowing workers to improve themselves by learning from motivated employees can be a spectacular way of improving productivity.

One last thing to consider is the technology that your organization uses. Implementing cloud-based collaboration software and communication solutions like VoIP and instant messaging can be a great way to help employees stay in touch and be more productive, regardless of where they are working. This helps your staff (especially those who might need help) stay in constant contact with those who can help them, allowing your team to be productive at all times.

To take advantage of the latest and greatest technology solutions, reach out to Excalibur Technology at (877) NET – KING.

Give Your Staff The IT Support They Need Without Breaking The Budget

Managed Services Help IT BudgetsWhat would you do if you got a surprise bill for tech support? Would you go around the office asking where it came from, or would you worry more about trying to figure out how you’re going to pay for it? Clearly someone in your office doesn’t know the proper way of asking for IT support if you are receiving mystery invoices. Regardless, it’s important that you understand that this is the norm for an organization working with a break-fix IT provider.

Basically, an employee will only contact an external tech support when you don’t designate someone to contact internally. When you don’t have any employees dedicated to keeping your technology functioning, what happens when you encounter a crippling problem that makes it more difficult for your workers to do their jobs? Your employees will try to find a solution to the issue, whether it’s in your IT budget or not. This could result in heavy blows to your bottom line, but when a project is on the line, the employee might not care. How do you stop these situations from happening?

Keeping the struggles of break-fix IT support in mind, it’s easy to see how help desk support can improve the way your organization functions. Excalibur Technology, a managed service provider, can help you keep your business’s technology troubles from breaking your budget by offering monthly, flat-rate services. This makes it so that you don’t have to worry about an employee exceeding the budget with calls to break-fix IT providers, thus mitigating phantom cost.

To further enhance the benefits of managed IT, consider the difference between paying per hour and paying per month. If your business is charged per hour for IT assistance, your employees might hope to save your organization some money by not reaching out for help at all. However, if you’re paying for something at a monthly rate, it makes the most sense to get as much out of it as possible. After all, you don’t pay for Netflix just to watch it for a day. You want to stream as much as possible and get the most value from the service. If you make a monthly payment for IT support, your workers can get the help they need when they need it, without suffering from long-term technology troubles.

Introducing “All You Can Eat” IT Support
If you want to give your team the IT support that they deserve, consider finding a service provider that gives as much support as possible for a monthly rate. This means that your IT provider won’t bill you per call and will instead charge only a flat rate that is set in stone. All you have to do is sit back, relax, and see how much value you can get out of your relationship with your managed service provider.

Excalibur Technology wants to help your organization get the most out of its technology solutions. To learn more about what we can do for your business, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.

3 Ways Your Business Can Secure Its Hosted VoIP System

VOIP SecurityHow much has your business invested in its communications technologies? If your business is like many others, it relies heavily on the functionality of its organization’s communications platforms. You might have a VoIP system filled with features, but are you taking full advantage of them? Here are three ways you can get the most out of your VoIP solution.

Keep Track of Your Usage
There’s always the possibility that your organization’s VoIP solution will get hacked. It’s safe to say that the majority of attacks you’ll run into that target your VoIP system will be ATO attacks, which basically work by pumping traffic into the phone system. This ultimately affects how much money you’re spending on your solution, as the hackers can use the phone system at will and make you foot the bill. To keep this from happening, you should keep track of your business’s VoIP usage to make sure that nothing out of the ordinary is happening behind your back. Furthermore, you should have a good, long conversation with your VoIP provider to see what they can do to keep your system secure from threats.

Implement Powerful Authentication Procedures
Security is incredibly important, especially in regard to access control. You need to make sure that only your employees are accessing your hosted VoIP system. One of the best ways you can do this is by implementing a two-factor authentication solution, or more specifically, an identity management system. By making it more difficult for people to log into your VoIP system, you can effectively keep those who aren’t supposed to have access out of it. However you decide to secure your VoIP system, you’ll need to make sure that you do the same for all outlets of access, including mobile applications, desktop apps, physical phones, or virtual solutions. This makes sure that your phone system is accessible wherever your employees are.

Take Advantage of Private VLANs
With a private VLAN, also known as a virtual local area network, your business’s IT can control your hosted VoIP system. This means that there is only one point of access and uplink for a device that’s communicating with your network or server. Once you’ve managed to single out each device, you can group them together even if they are not on same network switch. Setting up a VLAN allows for even more security, something that you can never get enough of.

Hosted VoIP is fantastic for businesses that plan on growing, but only if you’re capable of taking full advantage of the many benefits that they can provide. After all, you’re paying for the service, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting the most of it. If you want to improve the way that your business communicates, Excalibur Technology can work with you to assess ways in which you can maximize the value you get from your technology solutions. To learn more, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.

Here’s A Cost-Effective Alternative To Onboarding Additional IT Staff

Outsource IT Support To Excalibur TechnologyAn internal IT department serves two primary purposes for businesses. The first is to keep an eye on your technology problems and resolve them. The second is to plan for the future and implement new strategies that will help your organization function more effectively. The problem for the average small business is that their IT department often doesn’t have the luxury of performing both of these tasks.

The root of the problem is that most IT departments are too busy dealing with technology support issues and requests from employees to innovate. Eventually, this lack of innovation could cost your business money.

Do You Know What You’re Paying Your IT Department For?
By definition, your IT department is supposed to plan methods for your business to improve its infrastructure through any means necessary. On the side, they are supposed to help your organization by providing technical support for your assets. By adhering to this model, your IT department should be able to find ways to improve your technology infrastructure, while providing technical assistance for those who need it. The problem is that, as technology becomes more complicated, the help demanded by employees increases.

While it might seem ideal to approach IT support with an internal IT department, it rarely works out. IT departments just don’t have as much time as they need to really work toward improving anything. Often times, these issues are either recurring or resolved simply by rebooting the system, which is a waste of your IT department’s time.

Is Your IT Department Taking Your Company Nowhere?
While your IT department struggles to keep up, your team will naturally need to make forward progress. However, when all they do is respond to problems without making progress in order to prevent them, it’s easy to overlook the fact that many of these problems can be prevented in the future with a little innovation in the present. Plus, when routine maintenance is foregone for the sake of solving short-term problems, you’ll lose out in the long-term due to decreased performance and security issues.

As you can see (perhaps even from your own experience), an in-house IT department is often more distracted by problems that aren’t even theirs to resolve, which pulls them away from work that could make your business better. As a result, many organizations seek to outsource the IT work of their IT department’s in order to make up lost time. This can include innovation, but more often than not, you’ll find that outsourcing routine IT tasks and technology support to be helpful to your company’s overall goals.

After all, your technicians were hired to innovate, so why not give them the opportunity to do so?

To learn more about outsourced IT, reach out to Excalibur Technology. We can provide a help desk, network audits, and so many more valuable IT services that will help your organization improve efficiency. Call us today at (877) NET – KING.

Is Your Business Prepared To Handle These 2 Challenging IT Trends?

Thanks IT Support - Thumbs UpSmall and medium-sized business owners are finding that it’s getting more difficult to compete without the means to deploy the newest technologies. Larger organizations are finding greater market shares, but smaller businesses have some advantages, namely in terms of maneuverability. With the help of some external resources, SMBs can be operate as effectively as larger organizations.

Generally speaking, when your business faces a challenge, you might see little choice but to pick vendors who are best suited to resolve your issues at hand–even if they aren’t the most qualified solution. Worse yet, if someone is particularly skilled in a specific area and they’re not allowed to flourish due to the needful, they may find other opportunities. This makes it challenging to sustain operations, especially when you’re already strapped for resources as is.

Take, for example, the position of an IT technician. While having a competent in-house IT department is a great benefit for your organization, paying one might be ambitious. You’d be better served elsewhere in your budget. Instead of adding multiple salaries to your payroll, consider your alternative choices. Furthermore, a qualified IT professional will want to help your organization implement the best technology solutions to improve efficiency and productivity, many of which might be budget-breaking off the bat. What’s the business owner to do?

IT support is much more manageable to obtain today. For Excalibur Technology’s Managed IT Services in lieu of adding new salaries, you will only need to take on an affordable monthly payment to get the comprehensive support and management you need for your organization’s IT. However, even with IT support handled, you’ll want to know how trends will affect your business in the future. Two of the most important to consider are the proliferation of mobile devices in the workplace and Internet of Things technology.

Concerning Mobile Devices
Mobile technology is a major talking point among businesses, but this isn’t anything new. Ever since the initial surge in mobile technology began over a decade ago, IT professionals knew that someday mobile would become crucial to the success of their endeavor. While mobile devices have the potential to offer significant benefits to small businesses, they also could become huge problems in the long run, particularly in regard to network security and data leakage. Businesses that are serious about appropriately leveraging mobile devices in the workplace will want to implement a BYOD policy that allows employees to use their devices, but only by adhering to usage protocol designed to mitigate risk.

If implemented properly, mobile devices in the workplace can allow your business to improve employee morale and engagement. However, businesses that want to use mobile devices in the workplace still have their fair share of challenges. One of the clear problems associated with mobile devices is that they can become a huge time sink for your employees. Considering how the majority of the smartphone’s operations are rooted in entertainment or social media rather than productivity, you need to instill proper time management practices into your employees. Furthermore, there needs to be some sort of protocol for distributing sensitive data and establishing unified communications between your devices, so management and monitoring needs to be considered before making a commitment to mobile.

The Internet of Things
In a sense, the development of the Internet of Things trend could be considered similar to the way mobile devices entered the work environment. The Internet of Things consists of any device that can connect to a network and communicate with other similar devices, many of which are devices which wouldn’t normally have connectivity capabilities. If anything has been made clear by the explosion of device development, it’s that the Internet of Things is not going away, and that your business (just like with mobile devices) could be put at risk, or reap rewards for their effective use. The problem is determining which devices you’ll find effective for your operations.

Depending on your business’s specific needs, the Internet of Things devices that have practical use for your organization will vary. Some, however, will be interesting initiatives regardless of which industry your business falls into. Devices like remote controlled locks, thermostats, and security cameras can be effective introductions to the world of the Internet of Things. Others, however, might be more situation-specific, like card readers for point-of-sale technology. As the Internet of Things grows more popular, you can bet that more devices will be introduced over the next few years. It is predicted that as many as 20 billion devices will be implemented and connected to the Internet by 2020!

Excalibur Technology can help your small business benefit most from new technical assets. To learn more, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.

100% Uptime is a Myth, But Our Total Support Solution Gets You Close

Proactive IT SupportEvery piece of technology comes with this risk. Although, some businesses are better at mitigating this risk than others, and it’s usually based on how they approach their organization’s IT maintenance.

Unfortunately, no computer manufacturer can guarantee their equipment to be impervious to breaking down, and no IT network can deliver 100 percent uptime. It’s unrealistic to expect as much from your own technology, yet coming to terms with the reality doesn’t make it any less frustrating when you encounter an error.

When it comes to protecting your company’s productivity from the inevitable imperfections of technology, whether it be hardware failure, a data breach, user error, or a litany of other issues. Having the right approach to IT maintenance is the best way to give yourself peace of mind that issues that appear will be taken care of efficiently, before they are problems to be dealt with. Essentially, this approach must be proactive in nature, otherwise you’re doomed to deal with one unexpected technology problem after another, and at the worst possible times.

With managed IT services from Excalibur Technology, we’re able to proactively monitor and maintain your company’s technology in order to significantly reduce the risk of downtime. Admittedly, even this approach cannot guarantee that your company will never again experience a technology issue (this silver bullet doesn’t exist, unfortunately). Although, we can confidently say that by taking a proactive stance toward your technology’s maintenance, many problems will be prevented that would otherwise cause downtime.

So, while 100 percent uptime and issue-free technology is an unrealistic expectation, you can be confident that partnering with Excalibur Technology will provide your business with a dedicated team of IT professionals that do everything they can, and use every resource at their disposal to make sure your company’s technology is operating at maximum efficiency. That said, if your company’s technology is ever hit with an issue that takes your systems offline or causes downtime, know that we have a plan in place to handle such a crisis and our team of IT experts will act fast to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

Keep in mind that, even if you are faced with such a crisis, if you’ve taken the proactive approach to IT maintenance, then the number of these technology crises your business faces will be dramatically reduced. Considering how expensive downtime is for any organization to experience, you can see why taking every measure possible to prevent IT problems proves to be so valuable.

Is your business taking a proactive approach to IT maintenance, or are you handling technology issues as they happen? To equip your business with Excalibur Technology’s proactive IT solutions, give us a call today at (877) NET – KING.

Setup A New Windows 10 PC In One Hour Or Less

Windows 10 LaptopZDNet put out an interesting article today:

“How to set up a new Windows 10 PC perfectly in one hour or less” details step by (major) step directions on how to setup a new PC with Windows 10 or reload an older PC with Microsoft’s newest operating system.  While this article is definitely geared towards IT professional and power users familiar with reloading PC’s, it is still a good reference guide to review.  One hour might be a bit generous on the time.  With the install, updates, patches, software downloads and data transfers, two to three hours of time is more accurate.

Regardless of how many check lists you have available to you, there is still one best way of reloading your PC with Windows 10 – call the experts at Excalibur Technology!

View the original article by CLICKING HERE.

These Innovative Technologies Are Helping eBay Move Beyond Passwords

Password InnovationTechnology continues to grow more advanced, and with it comes major pain points that need to be resolved. Today’s modern businesses will need to adapt by implementing new solutions for both themselves and their customers or clients. In this fashion, eBay has begun to implement an assortment of new features to assist with the customer experience.

The first of these features is called “One Time Password,” which is an initiative that’s attempting to take the “two” out of two-factor authentication. Rather than requiring users to remember a password, eBay wants to send you a confirmation code via SMS that can keep the user logged in indefinitely. The goal is to keep users logged in regardless of how the code was used–allowing those who logged in via a mobile device or desktop more flexibility with their logins.

eBay is also working to allow account authentication through the use of the Touch ID sensor that’s found on more recent Apple devices. The goal is to eliminate the need to remember a password in the first place so that users of Apple products will be able to more efficiently use eBay’s services.

Of course, these services are bound to bring about questions regarding eBay’s motivation for creating such features. Senior Director for Identity and Member Communication Product Management Dave Comer stated: “One Time Password and Touch ID Authentication eliminate the need to remember your password when you want access to the eBay Marketplace… We all use so many applications that require passwords and login information that it is impossible for users to remember them all. We want to eliminate the friction entirely.”

eBay’s reasoning might make sense, but does the security hold up on its end of the bargain? Consider how easy it would be to accidentally leave eBay open on an unlocked workstation. Users could fall victim to either lighthearted pranks or financially motivated crimes. Passwords might make things more difficult for the user, but this difficulty is for their benefit. Complex passwords are more difficult to guess, which makes things more difficult for hackers.

In addition to these advancements, eBay plans on increased functionality with Android Wear devices. Users will soon be able to receive notifications on their wearable devices that show them items they may be interested in purchasing. Users will also be able to read and respond to messages through their smart device.

Yet, this presents a similar security problem. Wearable devices have consistently shown that they are less secure than other mobile devices, and much less so than desktop solutions. Unless eBay is implementing other serious security measures, these new features may not be worth the risk.

For the small and medium-sized business, eBay’s technological advancements should resonate. SMBs should be using two-factor authentication whenever possible, such as security systems which utilize a user’s smartphone to deliver an access code when logging into a network. This way, hackers will have a much harder time accessing an account–even if they’ve somehow managed to get a hold of legitimate credentials. Plus, new physical security solutions like pin pads and smart door locks can now be unlocked directly with an employee’s smartphone.

If your business is ready to tackle network security, Excalibur Technology can help. To learn more, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.

Crank Up The Tunes And Turn Up The Productivity

Listen to music at work to boost productivityWith the use of portable personal music players and streaming services like Spotify, Google Play Music, and Pandora, unobtrusively listening to music in the workplace has become much easier–but has it also made it easier for employees to be more distracted from their tasks? Additionally, assuming that music does create a boost in productivity, why does it do so?

Research has shown that, depending on what variables are present in the environment and what the employee is engaged in doing, music can either boost or hinder productivity levels.

One such variable was the nature of the task itself, and how much cognitive creativity and focus it demanded of the employee. The process of checking email certainly doesn’t change very much as it progresses, but developing a proposal for a business transaction very well might. In cases where a task is mostly repetitive, studies have shown that listening to background music does show notable benefits to both employee performance during such tasks, and how efficiently the task is completed.

Another hypothesis is that (especially in the increasingly-popular open office spaces) productivity may be boosted simply because the headphones employees use to listen to music also help to drown out the other distracting factors present in the office environment. These other distractions, whether they’re caused by equipment noise or coworker conversations, can break employee focus and disrupt tasks. Naturally, if these distractions are blocked out and overpowered by a consistent environment created by music, the employee will be less likely to shift their attention to the distraction, and instead, be more likely to stay focused on their work.

Despite the boosts to attentiveness that listening to music can provide to someone performing a relatively mundane, basic task, someone trying to focus on a new or complicated process will most likely find that even the most subtle tones can be horribly distracting. These effects can be made worse if the song is unfamiliar to them; worse still if there are lyrics involved. After all, the first instinct many will have when encountering new music (especially music with lyrics), is to focus on the tune as part of their overall critique of the music. In fairness, studies have indicated that tasks involving parts of the brain that don’t deal with verbal language can be benefitted by lyrical compositions–designing and developing software, for instance–but it may be safer to stick with exclusively instrumental pieces.

Of course, every worker is different. Some may not be bothered by lyrics or new music being introduced to them, others may find that these common distractions are uncommonly distracting. As a result, it may not be a bad idea to give your employees a few options to take advantage of until they can lock down how their own auditory secret sauce is composed.

What do you prefer to listen to while you’re working? Share your favorite selections in the comments below!

Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology