The Benefits of Microsoft Remote Desktop Services

Following the outbreak of Covid-19 and the national lockdown, many people had to change their working habits and begin working from home. For business owners, this involved solving a range of problems to keep their companies going and to support their employees – from finding them suitable equipment to investing in IT solutions to provide a productive working environment.

A survey by PwC found that CEOs believe working from home will continue into the future. Therefore, it is not hard to conclude that the companies who invested in a good work-from-home set up during Covid-19 the pandemic have invested wisely.

A Remote Desktop Service is a key IT function for businesses who need their
employees to work from home, or from other remote locations. Remote Desktop functions have often been considered “clunky” to use or tricky to configure for different devices, however this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Desktop Service can be accessed and managed from almost any location on the planet, and from almost any device – including mobile phones and personal laptops. The log-in process is typically the same, and quickly becomes as easy as using a standard desktop computer.
Configuration is also easy. You don’t need to worry about the compatibility of the operating system on the remote device, it is just a case of logging in. If you want to switch devices, simply disconnect the old one and reconnect using the new one.

IT Security is another key feature. You can assign permissions to particular data files in the normal way, but your data is also less vulnerable to breaches, hacking or technological and device failures due to it being a Cloud-based system. Most systems come with built-in encryption.

Investing in the Microsoft Remote Desktop can save your business money. It is a reliable storage system at a fraction of the cost of a standard IT service, and IT support is included. Money saved can be invested back into the growth of your business.

Lastly, the benefits of an engaged and connected workforce cannot be overlooked. Most employees who can complete their tasks remotely rather than being confined in one location prove to be more trustworthy and motivated, and in turn more productive for your business.

Working from Home: The Benefits of the 3CX Phone System

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic it was predicted that 40% of the workforce would soon be working from home. Following the pandemic, the percentage of the population remote working has risen sharply. For businesses and employees new to working from home there was a sharp period of adjustment.

Working from home comes with some challenges – some employees are distracted by the domestic chores around their home while others find it hard to know when to log off or take a break. The technological difficulties, such as inadequate bandwidth and security concerns, are perhaps easier to tackle.

3CX is a communications solution that can cut costs while giving a boost to
employee productivity and flexibility. It combines WebRTC web conferencing, soft phones for Mac and Windows computers, and smartphone clients for iOS, Android and Windows phones. 
This software allows businesses that use a variety of telephone systems across different locations to use their existing systems under 3CX within a single unifying solution. Employees on the move can also use the system to make free telephone calls using 3CX soft phones or mobile applications.

When a face to face meeting is needed 3CX has an integrated video conferencing application which enables users to participate from home. The integrated WebRTC technology is simple to use and does not require downloads or plugins. A key feature is the ‘Video Adaptivity’ setting which allows users with lower bandwidth connections to compensate by downgrading the transmitted video quality. 

Collaborative working is also supported by whiteboard, PDF sharing and poll functions. Being able to share a PDF without everyone having to refer separately to an email maintains the flow of a meeting, while the whiteboard function allows brainstorming and a more visual presentation. The poll application is a great tool for creating engagement audience engagement and enabling feedback from those attending, which is ideal for a webinar or a sales pitch. Once the poll is closed, the organiser can immediately share the results with participants or incorporate them
into a shared document. These functions are also perfect for home learning in a university or school setting.

Pandemic or no pandemic, remote working provides companies with greater flexibility and a variety of valuable benefits.

Phone Systems

The End of ISDN – The Future is VOIP

BT recently announced a reprieve for our old-fashioned telephone lines, but not for long. Businesses can continue to buy ISDN lines until 2023, but they will still be obliged to migrate to VoIP in 2025. Up to a million households still have a landline but no internet or mobile but they too will be moved onto some form of VoIP router by 2025.

The end is definitely nigh for a telephone system that has been in use since 1876. VoIP is simply better and cheaper to operate.

How are they different?

The original Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) established a call by devoting a succession of circuits to the current that carried your voice from phone to phone. The ISDN services (Integrated Services Digital Networks) provided to many businesses are still dependent on the same wired telephone circuits. In contrast, VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) digitises communications and routes them across the internet through an SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunk provider.

Why is VoIP a more cost effective solution?

A major overhead of ISDN (and singe line PSTN) is its dependence on that old wired network. Longer distance calls mean more circuits have to be devoted to the call, making them expensive. More phones need more lines that still cost money when they aren’t in use. That makes growing your operations wasteful and costly. ISDN equipment is also expensive, whereas VoIP handsets are a minor outlay.

In contrast, the internet is available (almost) everywhere, and has more than enough capacity to carry voice calls. Using the internet, the physical distance between connected parties becomes irrelevant. In fact, neither requires a fixed location – both can be roving. Additional numbers don’t need additional hardware.

Does ISDN have any advantages?

Conventional landlines carry a current independent of the electricity grid so even in a power cut you could still make a call. These days you would probably fall-back onto your mobile phone, but ISDN and landlines are also independent of the internet, so a problem with your broadband won’t cut off your phones. Despite the availability of mobiles, some businesses are reluctant to put all their eggs in one basket.

On the other hand, you can make VoIP calls using a mobile phone or laptop microphone if you need to, and you can maintain a backup broadband connection or a wifi hotspot.

The irresistible benefits of VoIP

Extending and contracting your telephone capacity is easy when you use VoIP. You can easily relocate to new premises, connect new sites and provide access to out-of-office employees. You can provide customers with cheap local calls no matter where they live. You can record and archive important calls, re-route them to other desks and merge your telephony into a unified communications system. Digital communications make it far easier to provide video-conferencing and other collaboration tools to your in-house and home-working staff.

VoIP will also make it much easier for local firms to go national – because both incoming and outgoing calls can be charged at cheap local rates.

Change is now inevitable, so if you haven’t yet made the switch you should consider it today with Andromeda Solutions.

Local IT Solutions

How to get the most from your IT services with Andromeda Solutions

You know your business relies on its computers, but how well do you know the machines? Can you fix them, restore network connections, repair corruption, defend them from hackers or, most importantly, understand the many new things they could do for you?

It is difficult for any in-house IT department to master every skill that falls under the umbrella of “information technology”. IT department development is itself restrained by the burden of daily routines. Typically, the workload of in-house IT departments is dominated by mundane chores such as website updates, OS repairs, cabling, backing up, installing patches and server administration. Few have staff to spare for creative tasks like software development, digital marketing or business transformation.

Yet nobody understands your business and its potential better than your own staff. Free your IT personnel from chronic problems and you can liberate them to help develop your enterprise. You build an agile in-house team, outsource the most specialised challenges – such as maintaining cutting-edge security, and also the most routine – including backup routines.

Choosing the best local IT services:

Establishing a strong partnership with an external service provider is always important, but never more so than in IT. If you outsource payroll, staff soon start complaining at the end of the month if their wages aren’t right, but when you outsource IT, an uncorrected error could stop your operations today. So, how can you ensure your provider understands your priorities?

Using local IT services means that you can invite them to visit and see how you work. It is often easier to convey your concerns and ambitions in a face-to-face. For the same reason, it helps to choose a local IT services provider that is neither too big nor too small for the scale of your own operations. IT companies in your own area are more likely to share your passion for success.

Preparing to outsource IT:

Before you ever dial a number or meet a rep, there are two things you should do. The first is to clearly itemise all the targets you want to achieve from your IT resources. The second is to research the companies in your area willing to provide it.

Itemising your objectives:

Your list, or lists, should include both your routine performance targets and your longer-term ideas for applying new information technologies.

Routine requirements might include reliable automated backups, easy data restoration, improved document control, effective spam filtering and rapid repair callouts. If you can set specific performance targets, all the better.

Your development objectives may include migrating to Office 365, integrating VoIP telephony into a new CRM system, developing an e-commerce shopfront, or providing collaboration tools that will enable remote outworking.

Vetting local IT services providers:

Every point you have listed now suggests a useful question to ask your prospective provider. A great IT team soon reveals its genuine interest in your business by making creative suggestions that will help you advance those plans. Even if your primary objective is to delegate laborious routines, an IT service provider happy to volunteer advice is worth its weight in gold.

Of course, check their customer service reviews, professional accreditations and contract small-print, but always remember – you are looking for an IT partner not just a utility.

IT Services Middlesbrough

Remote Working!

Following the government’s latest announcement companies must work from home, and we at Andromeda Solutions would like to help with this transition.

We can remotely deploy phone systems, setup remote working systems, VPN’s (Virtual Private Network), Cloud Packages & Unified communications packages.

All of this can be done remotely and quickly with minimal to no downtime during the transition to remote working.

This will enable you to effectively and efficiently continue to operate during these difficult times.

Andromeda Solutions are based in Middlesbrough. Working across the local area including Stockton, Hartlepool and further. Please contact us on 01642 903810, and we would be happy to advise you on the best solutions.

Remote Working - IT solutions Middlesbrough

Are you planning remote working?

Are you planning on your staff working from home?

Have you got systems in place to facilitate this?

Key Systems Include:

* Telephone System
* Email system
* File / Data access
* Application access
* Collaboration
* Laptops

Our team can facilitate successful home working in Middlesbrough, Stockton, Hartlepool and the surrounding areas of Teesside. We also cover Durham and Newcastle making us highly trusted and reputable across the North East.

If you are planning on remote working for your team, Andromeda Solutions will ensure you can facilitate this. please get in touch with one of our team. 01642 903810

Here is our latest server install

A data cabinet installation from one of our customer sites, here at Andromeda Solutions.

Full project included an on premise migration to the cloud covering applications, data, telephony and email.

For more information give us a call 01642 903810. Based in Middlesbrough we work right across Teesside and the North East including Newcastle.

How Secure are your Backups?

Last week we were called out to a new customer due to concern regarding their current back-up state. After checking their systems we found they were not using any actual backup apart from saving to a local computer. This was all unbeknown to the user of that specific machine. Should this computer fail, all company files would have been lost.

How we Helped

Having come across similar situations previously, we have partnered with VEEAM and other companies, ensuring our customers are not left in such predicaments. VEEAM is an excellent backup system for Cloud, Virtual and Physical systems. Our team ensures the best levels of IT Security, keeping company data safe at all times.

Whether using VMware, Hyper-V, AWS, Azure, IBM Cloud, Office 365, Windows or Linux, we have a system to suite your needs. If you are looking for a backup system that is simple, flexible, reliable and trusted by 365,000 customers worldwide, let us know.

Choosing IT Support in Middlesbrough

The importance of IT services for business cannot be overlooked. Today we are investigating how to find the best IT Support in Middlesbrough and the surrounding areas.

Defining IT Support & Consultancy

IT support and consultancy differ and it’s important to highlight the variations. IT support covers a multitude of factors including the purchase and management of equipment, cyber security, networks, connectivity and more. A support contract means company owners and management are left to concentrate on running the business. Should any IT related issues crop up, help is a mere phone call away.

In contrast, the consultancy service provides a sounding board to discuss the right IT processes and procedures relevant to the business. This service is ideal for companies on a limited budget and with some level of IT knowledge. A consultant will listen to your thoughts and ideas before providing the best way forward and information on implementation.

What to look for in the Right Support

Your quest for the right level of IT support should always begin with an adequate level of research. Take a look at online reviews, specifically Google and Facebook. Whilst a handful of positive reviews are good, multiple testimonials evoke confidence in a supplier. Make sure each comment differs and refer to numerous services as opposed to just one. 

Reviews Look Good, What Now?

Head across to the website. Does it look professional? Is information easy to find and does it make sense? Can you easily find the contact details required to make an enquiry? These are all the questions you need to ask whilst researching.

Website Looks Professional, What Now?

Take a look at the service section. Is IT support provided in Middlesbrough or the area your business is located? Does the company cover evenings and weekends as well as 9am – 5pm? IT can encounter issues at any time of the day and it’s important you’re fully covered in case of an emergency.

Take Note of Response Times

Should you be faced with downtime or an IT related emergency you need to be confident in response times. Ideally this will be clearly stated on the website, but if not we recommend getting this in writing prior to any conversations. An emergency taking you offline and stopping a business from functioning warrants action within one hour. Less urgent problems should be fixed within a maximum of four hours. If these timescales are not feasible it’s better to look elsewhere. 

A good IT support company will provide you with only the services required. Whilst smaller companies may only need access to one off, quarterly or even yearly support, medium to large may require a monthly contract. If you’re looking for the best possible IT support in Middlesbrough, Stockton, Darlington and the North East, begin your research with Andromeda Solutions.

Our Team is Growing!

Andromeda Solutions welcomes James Stubbs to his new role as IT Sales Executive.

James has twenty years’ experience in the IT sector. Starting out as an IT Technician at East Durham Community College, before joining the Royal Navy as an IT, Radio and Satellite Specialist. Following his tour, James relocated to Cyprus where he ran his own IT Company.

James relocated back to the UK ten years later and took on a national role overseeing the IT services for a large chemical company.

James has sound technical background and experience in IT sales and procurement, making him a great fit for our new IT Sales Executive role and strengthening Andromeda Solutions’ growing talent pool.