Small business technology solutions for startups

Starting a business is not easy, especially in the current climate. But we know that there are still entrepreneurs creating and innovating, and rolling their sleeves up even despite the challenges that the pandemic is causing to business.

Now more than ever, the journey of an entrepreneur is riddled with challenges and stumbling blocks. There are deep-pocketed Goliaths to stand up to, aggressive competition to stand out from, and an increasingly demanding group of consumers to please. And for every problem, there’s an ocean of solutions to choose from. Without the right guidance, it is easy to lose focus from what you set out to do. You need someone you can trust, to empower and guide you every step of the way.

Complete IT Systems, Lenovo and AMD are here to help you discover the right solutions for your technology needs, and grow with your business every step of the way.

Technology as a foundation for your startup

To ensure sustained growth of your business, it is imperative you consider technology, not just as an enabler, but the bedrock on which your business is built. The gains you’ll make from building your business in the right way are immense, and range from increased productivity, to image, to data mining, and everything else in between.

There are three aspects that you need to be mindful of while developing the technology strategy for your business:

  • Your must-have technology
  • Specialised technology for your profession or industry
  • Support and assistance to fuel success

Lenovo’s guide helps take you through these steps, and helps you build your foundations in the right way.

 

Must-have technology

New and emerging businesses need rock-solid IT infrastructure as the foundation of their survival and growth. The requirements for IT may vary, depending on the nature of the business as well as the stage of development your business is in. But there are certain must-haves which no business can operate without. Watch this short video to find out more.

Want to find out more?

As Lenovo Platinum PC Partners, Complete IT Systems can offer you expert advice on how the devices and solutions and could be effectively deployed in your business.

To find out more please call us on 01274 396 213 or use our contact form and we’ll arrange a good time to call you back.

This article was originally posted here.

The workplace of the future is here now. Are you onboard?

Okay, so we might not be living in sci-fi movies just yet, but offices around the world are undoubtedly undergoing a revolution. Workplaces are transforming into collaboration spaces where no one has a fixed desk, computers are no longer tied to a single user and boardrooms are virtual.

Companies are embracing flexible working. Employees are expected to work remotely rather than being in the office from nine to five, and senior management are happy to let their middle managers decide who needs to be in the office when.

Even putting the COVID crisis aside, it’s estimated that half of UK businesses are now fully embracing flexible working, allowing employees to work from both home and an office. The Working Anywhere report by Lancaster University’s Work Foundation estimates that 70% of employees now have the opportunity to work remotely, and this will result in big changes for businesses as they look for ways to make the office accommodate everyone.

“The evidence is showing a clear trend towards a more flexible way of working in the UK as the hurdles are overcome by fresh innovations in technology and people management,” says Cathy Garner, director of the Work Foundation.

The office space itself

As fewer employees need a desk, businesses can downsize their office space. Small businesses can cut costs by only paying for office space when it’s needed, while larger businesses can either rent out space to smaller companies or relocate into a smaller office – significantly reducing overheads in both cases.

The design of these office spaces is changing too. Instead of sprawling offices with cubicles, which contribute nothing to productivity, organisations can instead use a co-working space or open up enclosed spaces to make the environment feel more collaborative.

Configurable desks feature in some offices, allowing employees to move them around according to whether they need to work collaboratively or singularly, and outside areas will feature heavily, offering workers a breath of fresh air when things start to get stuffy.

If businesses take note of a study that revealed buildings with better ventilation and ‘green’ features improved the cognitive abilities of workers, sophisticated heating and ventilation networks could feature heavily in office design of the future.

Smart lighting adapts during the day to ensure it’s always the most efficient for employees to get work done, and sensors will monitor the temperature, carbon dioxide levels and humidity, ensuring employee comfort is optimal.

Beacons can be used to log an employee’s attendance from a health and safety point of view, checking them into the building as soon as they walk through the door and logging them off as soon as they leave.

Office hardware of the future

It’s unlikely we’ll see laptops and desktops replaced by the virtual, holographic screens from Minority Report. Nor is it likely all desktops will be replaced by tablets and smartphones. What is changing, however, is the way ‘standard’ hardware is used.

Desks are starting to be equipped with computers that employees can simply log into and see the content from their computer at home – or mobile or tablet.

In the boardroom, tables and chairs are being replaced by huge screens such as Microsoft Surface Hub, allowing staff to work collaboratively from home, in a cafe, or with a client from another office.

If employees need to present, they can beam content from their connected device – be it a mobile, tablet, or computer. Because everything is stored on one single account, no one needs to carry bulky equipment with them.

The design of devices is also changing to accommodate portability and flexibility. Check out more information and a video on our Lenovo ranges with AMD Ryzen processors via this link.

Office software of the future

Software is the area most likely to experience a shake-up within the office of the future. As teams become more distributed around the world, they need to stay in contact and work as though they are right next to each other.

If businesses opt for the shared desk route, employees will simply arrive at their desk, log in and be able to access everything on a standard computer using a virtual desktop. All files and folders will be on shared drives and accessible from anywhere.

Collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams accommodate 24/7 communication, helping colleagues and teams stay in touch, share resources and ideas, making the working day more productive (click here to get FREE Teams licenses for your users).

It will also take the headache out of IT management and shadow IT as all equipment is treated equally and individual users won’t be able to install non-approved apps onto the communal computers.

“The next five years will see even more change than the past five years,” Peter Hirst, associate dean of executive education at MIT Sloan School of Management, told Inc.

“Over the next five years, it is hard to imagine that the display, processing, interface and communication capabilities of these wearable devices won’t match and likely surpass what we can do with today’s tablets and phablets (phone/tablet hybrids).”

One thing’s for sure: as more employees embrace flexible working, employers need to ensure their workers can be more productive wherever they opt to work. And if they do decide to head into the office, they must have all the resources required to get the job done.

Want to find out more?

As Lenovo Platinum PC Partners, Complete IT Systems can offer you expert advice on how the devices and solutions and could be effectively deployed in your business.

To find out more please call us on 01274 396 213 or use our contact form and we’ll arrange a good time to call you back.

This article was originally posted here.

References

http://www.think-progress.com/blog/innovation-and-entrepreneurship/put-digital-at-the-heart-of-a-flexible-workplace-strategy/

http://www.theworkfoundation.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/398_Working-Anywhere.pdf

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/innovative-companies-changing-workplace#sm.000oyzuvf1031ddvup822dcydpruy

http://naturalleader.com/thecogfxstudy/study-1/view-the-reports/

https://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-surface-hub/en-gb

http://www.think-progress.com/blog/performance-and-productivity/working-around-clock-company-always-on/

https://www.inc.com/comcast/your-office-in-2020-a-glimpse-into-the-future.html

 

Start-ups: How to start the right way with IT security

Always built on innovative ideas, intellectual property and the collective vision of its founders, startups take years to turn dreams it into real business plans and obtain funding to start operations.

But a new business can find itself in a spider web of competition and intense pressure to grow the business. There is hardly time to think about issues like Security. But when problems do occur, loss of critical business information is inevitable.

Complete IT Systems and Lenovo take a look at how you can start your business the right way and without breaking the bank in this age of unprecedented cyber security attacks.

Why are startups more susceptible to security issues than more established companies?

Most of the focus (understandably!) is on acquiring customers and driving profitability

According to a recent study by Champlain College, 60% of small businesses fail within six months of suffering a cyber-attack. Almost 31% of all cyber-attacks targeted companies with fewer than 250 employees. The point is that startups often rely on the perception that they aren’t significant enough to warrant the attention of cyber criminals. Criminal intent, on the other hand, will find the most natural targets first. As the IT resources of most startups are directed towards growth rather than security, these organisations are comparatively easy targets.

Lack of detailed data security policies

We live in an era where the mobile workforce is prevalent. Employees routinely use their business devices as well as personal devices for work-related tasks. The Champlain College study also shows that 60% of small businesses don’t have a privacy policy that employees must comply with when handling customers, such as sharing files using free sites and tools. As a result, these companies can’t be sure that employees are aware of the risks even when they merely sync data across their devices. The risk factor goes up as the digital touch points with customers expand with new ways of doing business.

Lesser capacity to sustain ‘damage.’

Big companies have dedicated resources and funding assigned to ensuring IT security. While damaging, a one-time data breach is not necessarily business-crippling to them. According to this ZDNet post, “The larger Target breach, which occurred in late 2013 and exposed over 40 million credit and debit card account numbers as well as 70 million other PII (Personally Identifiable Information) records ended up costing the company about $105 million, after subtracting insurance reimbursement and tax deductions for breach-related expenses. That is less than 0.1% of the company’s 2014 sales”.  However, 60% of small companies fail after IT security problems. Security problems can be more damaging to a startup, compared to a large and established business.

What’s the easiest way to increase security?

End-point security is the simplest and easiest way to boost security and protect your business. It ensures that only bonafide employees can access company PCs and data. It is the first and most crucial component of IT security infrastructure. Without it, even the most sophisticated IT security solution is incomplete. For startups, end-point security assumes even greater significance because it is easily accessible, affordable and straightforward to manage.

End-point security is the overall term for three categories of protection:

User access control
This set of technologies protects unauthorized persons from accessing company PCs. It doesn’t depend on passwords only, which can be stolen or hacked, but on a potent combination of biometric and secondary identifications.

Port & hardware protection
Port security features controlled help protect against theft of data from the USB and other access ports on company PCs. Hardware protection includes features that prevent access to the chassis of desktops and workstations, and also for inbuilt devices like cameras.

Data protection
Data needs to be protected from theft, and from inadvertent loss due to technical failures. Backing up data efficiently and automatically can be the strongest ‘peace of mind’ factor for startups. It is also necessary to ensure that if data loss or theft occurs, it is recoverable only by you, and unusable by thieves because of strong encryption.

What are the end-point security features that matter?

User Access Control

  • FPR (Fingerprint Recognition): A biometric security feature which requires the user to authenticate themselves using a fingerprint.
  • Smart Card Access: A highly secure way of storing login information in tamper-proof cards, that can also be used to manage access to multiple devices without using passwords.
  • NFC (Near Field Communication): NFC is a type of radio communication standard, much like Bluetooth, WiFi and other networking technologies. To snag the NFC signal to log in, the user needs to be physically close to the company’s PC, with the right NFC tag or secondary device.

Port & Hardware Protection

  • Smart USB protection: This is a USB security solution which blocks the data transfer capability of the USB port, but still keeps it functional for input devices like mouse and keyboard.
  • Camera Shutter: Camera hacking risks can be avoided by physically covering the camera. With the shutter built into the camera, protecting privacy just requires closing the camera cover.
  • Chassis lock: A lock and key mechanism for the chassis that prevents theft of components, including hard drives and graphics cards.

Data Protection

Full Drive Encryption (FDE): This is a method for encrypting hard drives in such a way that all data on the drive is always encrypted, without the use of third-party encryption solutions. FDE drives encrypt data on the disk by default. Used along with a hard drive password, FDE prevents unauthorised users from booting the drive and accessing your data, while full disk encryption prevents more sophisticated attacks, such as attempting to retrieve data directly from the drive’s platters.

Online Data Backup: Compared to tape archives, backing up your business data automatically online offers better speed and ease of use. Business continuity is assured when technical or natural disasters strike.

Hard drive retention: When a hard drive is replaced under warranty, this add-on service allows the company to retain the original drive. It ensures the data is always in safe hands and is never handed over to a third party.

Built-in security features of Lenovo products:

As Lenovo Platinum Solution Partners, Complete IT Systems can offer you expert advice on the Lenovo range and how it could be effectively deployed in your business. To find out more give us a call on 01274 396 213 or email  and we’ll get back to you promptly.