Helping Businesses Shift from Survival Mode to Strategic Growth Mode in 2021

Posted on: February 23rd, 2021 by admin

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Leading Managed Technology Services Provider Educates Businesses on Dramatic Increase in Cybercrime Directed at Small-Business Owners and How to Prevent It

CONCORD, CA – ATS Communications, a leading managed technology services provider (MTSP), announced today that the company is helping businesses develop strategic plans for workplace interaction as they move into 2021. In 2020, virtually every business was caught “off-guard” with pandemic restrictions, which led to them focusing primarily on ways to survive and stabilize. However, as many of these businesses have successfully reoriented themselves and are back in operation, they are now looking for ways to return to strategic growth in 2021. While businesses are not in control of whether or not there are secondary or tertiary waves of infections, they can adopt a technology plan to support their new workplace environment and ensure productivity.

While business owners may have been astonished that their employees actually kept working while remote, the next area of concern is that that technology works, too. In 2020, many businesses were using “workarounds” to solve communication breakdowns, but by now, there’s no reason for lapses in productivity. In fact, there are plenty of technology tools at our fingertips that businesses are utilizing successfully to keep team members engaged, productive and efficient, regardless of physical limitations imposed by the
pandemic.

“Successful small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are well aware of the benefits of strategic planning and even though the pandemic has been an unforeseen variable for many of us, we now have enough information to build workplace interaction strategies that will
support revenue growth in 2021,” stated RSanford Gladding, President of ATS Communications. “Although businesses may consider themselves to be lucky to have survived, they need to expand their thinking in terms of setting new goals, instead of being caught in reaction mode, once more.” COVID-19 has forced companies to adapt and at this point every business owner essentially needs 3 strategic plans for workplace interaction. The most sophisticated businesses are creating contingency plans for these three different potential environments. ATS is consulting with CEOs and CFOs individually because each business will have its own unique variables to consider when formulating their workplace interaction plan that may include the following in 2021:

  1. Fully-Remote Workplace –
    Organizations that were flexible enough to sustain a fully-remote workforce have opted to keep everyone remote, until further notice. A fully-remote work environment presents its own unique set of challenges but it also offers new opportunities to be taken
    advantage of. For this workplace interaction strategy to be successful, employees must be backed with technology tools that support key functions. For example, employees need to be empowered to remain in constant communication with other team members.
    Additionally, business owners need to provide them central access to data, with responsible levels of cybersecurity on the network. A remote team means more exposure to the network, but it also brings more flexibility than ever before. A full transition to this means that the business won’t be interrupted further by additional restrictions/lockdowns.
  2. Hybrid Workplace –
    The majority of businesses believe that this will be the most likely scenario in 2021. Over the past year, companies have cycled through lockdowns, partial openings and full reopenings depending on health risk factors. If a business owner wants to plan for this they will need to consider ways to secure entrances/exits/access points with things like body temperature scanners or touchless door access controls. They also benefit significantly from tools like cloud voice with call forwarding, to make transitions seamless when staff migrate from the office to remote work environments. In order for hybrid to work, remote technology needs to be secure and seamless, while workers/customers need to feel safe in-person.
  3. In-Person (w/Social
    Distancing) Workplace –

    For a minority of businesses, all activities are dependent on the physical location remaining open. For these businesses, owners need to consider how to adhere and accommodate various safety measures to ensure compliance and worker safety.

Regardless of which workplace environment is most likely, there are three critical aspects that must be addressed within any workplace interaction strategy to ensure success. The first is that employees need access to cloud voice to keep team members in constant communication and to ensure that office calls are properly routed to cell phones when team members are out-of-the-office. Secondly, no matter which workplace environment an SMB finds themself operating from, the team needs to be able to collaborate
effectively. Businesses are well aware that solutions like Microsoft Teams exist, but they need to maximize these tools by customizing them to achieve business outcomes. Lastly, every single workplace environment needs to be kept secure. For inperson strategies, this means secure access points, with tech like body temperature scanners to ensure illnesses cannot spread. For remote workplaces, this means that the cybersecurity precautions have to be considered because generally speaking, home networks pose
much higher risks than office environments.

“We are currently meeting with customers and depending on what they want to achieve in 2021, we are devising custom technology plans to help them accomplish their strategic goals,” added Gladding. “This is what leaders do, they step up and lead in times of uncertainty. We are using our expertise to provide structure and clarity so that businesses can continue to thrive. Technology just happens to be our particular expertise but this effort is about honoring our responsibility to the business community at large.”

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Protecting SMBs from Exponential Growth in Cybercrime

Posted on: January 13th, 2021 by admin

A shield blocking red skulls representing cybersecurity

Leading Managed Technology Services Provider Educates Businesses on Dramatic Increase in Cybercrime Directed at Small-Business Owners and How to Prevent It

CONCORD, CA – ATS Communications, a leading managed technology services provider (MTSP), announced today that it is educating companies on the dramatic spike in cybercrime targeted towards small to mid-sized (SMB) businesses. Cybersecurity Ventures predicted that “cybercrime will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015.” Effectively, this means that criminals have access to unlimited budgets to increase the sophistication of their attacks, meanwhile, business owners are doing little or nothing to defend themselves. Those diverging trendlines signal a precarious future. Furthermore, due to COVID-19, most businesses have been forced to operate remotely which has increased their reliance on home networks to perform their daily duties. This increased reliance on insecure home networks has left them more susceptible to breaches than ever before.

Most business owners are aware of this problem, but disregard it as a distant threat that can be eliminated through the standard cybersecurity solution –which is comprised of a prepackaged firewall, anti-virus/malware protection and data backup plan. However, while that used to be a sufficient solution, it’s unfortunately no longer appropriate. Hackers are constantly evolving their methods and as they find new ways of causing a breach, new technologies are needed to combat these advances. The gap is widening and is also showing no signs of slowing. In fact, according to Accenture, “Security breaches have increased by 67% since 2014.” This fact suggests that while prior dismissals may have been the appropriate business decision at the time, now, businesses must take proactive action to support their staff, especially while they increase their risk of breach in the mandated work-from-home work environment.

Sanford Gladding, President of ATS Communications, stated, “The game has completely changed and businesses need to understand the implications of inaction. For example, in most states, you’re legally obligated to publicly announce any breach to news outlets. This can do irreparable harm to a company’s reputation, which is an extremely costly burden to bear, especially when cybersecurity solutions are readily available to eliminate these risks.” Gladding later added, “Regardless of which provider you use, the best tactic to employ is a layered approach. That way, breaches can be contained, assets can be protected and exposure is minimized. When a business is breached, it’s important to ensure that the whole company isn’t incapacitated.”

Another key factor that has changed is the average duration of a breach. Most people assume that a typical breach, like a ransomware attack for example, results in a breach, demand for a ransom and resolution within a few days. However, according to IBM, “the average life cycle of a breach (from breach to containment) lasted almost 11 months.” The employee downtime from something like this can be a nightmare for management and in many instances, can put businesses on the brink of collapse.

In sum, businesses who have managed to survive the disruption that 2020 has caused need to reassess their security strategy for 2021 so that they don’t get caught in “survival-mode.” While business owners are being tested on every front, Gladding summarizes why cybersecurity needs to be an immediate priority for every business in the modern age, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and only a few minutes of a cyber-incident to ruin it.”

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How to Improve Your Remote Workforce’s Security and Efficiency

Posted on: December 31st, 2020 by admin

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Many companies have made the switch to remote working this year due to the pandemic, doing their best to adapt to changing work culture. However, the struggle doesn’t end with just establishing your remote operations. Now that you’ve reacted, it’s time to plan out how to improve your operations. Remote workforces need to not only work efficiently to succeed, but need to have the proper security in place to keep them protected. That’s where ATS comes in. We can improve the security and efficiency of your remote operations with our solutions and expertise.

Security

Hackers everywhere are taking advantage of the chaos caused by the pandemic. Attacking and scamming any and everyone not properly protected, and your remote workforce is no exception. You need the security we can provide at ATS. Not only do we offer a complimentary cybersecurity scan, but we provide several security options. From email spam protection to multi-factor authentication, we have everything a remote workforce needs to operate securely.

Efficiency

For a remote workforce to work efficiently, collaboration is key. If your workers can’t communicate effectively with each other, then the flow of work falls apart. That’s why you need to provide the right kinds of tools to your workers, so they can converse and collaborate effectively. You need tools like video conferencing, unified communications, and file sharing so your workers can maintain a proper workflow and work culture at home. All things we offer with our remote workforce solutions.

This year has forced many businesses to change their work culture and adapt in ways they never thought they would have to. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most out of having a remote workforce. You can turn your new situation into a successful means of operating. You just need to keep improving. Get the right tools for your remote workforce to improve their security and efficiency needed to succeed when you partner with ATS.

COVID-19 Accelerates Azure Adoption Among ATS Communications’s Customers

Posted on: November 30th, 2020 by admin

Businessman Hand Working with a Cloud Computing Diagram

ATS Communications, a leading
managed technology services
provider (MTSP), announced today
that the COVID-19 pandemic has
drastically increased the forecasted
demand for cloud solutions among
SMBs, even beyond what most were
expecting. Due largely to the
increased need for Work-FromHome (WFH) solutions, SMBs are
investing heavily in the cloud,
through services like Microsoft
Azure, to equip their organizations
with the virtualization solution
necessary to take their businesses to
the next level. As a result, ATS
Communications is helping more and
more SMBs transition their on premise IT network to Microsoft’s
Azure…

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The Time Has Come for Toshiba VIPedge Cloud Users to Migrate to a Current Cloud Platform

Posted on: October 30th, 2020 by admin

Man Getting Alert Message on Tablet

60-Day Notice

As ATS has previously communicated in blogs, emails, and personal conversations, Mitel has slowly been
implementing their end of life strategy for the Toshiba product line since their acquisition in 2017. We applaud
Mitel that they have given clients ample notice of this strategy and have provided over three years of support
providing time to proactively plan and migrate their systems.

Some premise Toshiba equipment will stay in support until October 2021, but the cloud platform, known as
VIPedge, is coming to its end of life and end of support on December 31, 2020. So, it is time for VIPedge users to
migrate now.

Mitel Notices

Mitel has been sending our reminder notices in recent invoices, but because of electronic billing, several clients
may have been missing the announcement. Here is an excerpt from Mitel’s bulletin to their partners:

Mitel is announcing an end of life and support for Mitel VIPedge, effective December 31, 2020. Mitel is
focusing its efforts on our flagship UCaaS offering, MiCloud Connect, which will meet and exceed the
user experience that Mitel VIPedge has provided for SMBs and mid-market customers.

No extensions or renewals will be offered on existing VIPedge customer contracts. Customers will need
to be fully functional on another platform before the December 31, 2020 date.

View Bulletin

Get More without Spending More

With only sixty days left, it has become urgent for current VIPedge users to make a switch. ATS is committed to
assisting all VIPedge users to another platform. Cloud technology for voice applications has proven to be a great
solution for many businesses. You were an early adopter with the implementation of the VIPedge solution
provided by ATS and realized these advantages for your business. Today’s cloud platforms provide the same
historic benefits of simple licensing and competitive pricing and easy to use features. But many new applications
are now included that were not available on the VIPedge platform like:

Clouds Connected with Lines, Networking Technology Concept

  • IM Messaging/Presence
  • HIPAA Compliancy
  • Mobility Apps
  • Video Calling
  • More Feature Rich IP desk phones
  • Modern User Interface
  • Meeting Collaboration
  • Desktop Softphones
  • More third-party integrations

Our experience with clients that have already changed platforms shows they are getting much more for the same
historic monthly VIPedge operating expense.

ATS Will Do the Work on Your Behalf

As always, ATS is here to partner with you to find the best fit for your business with either the Mitel platform or
another cloud provider. Our team has implemented cloud voice solutions for over 15 years and we will have
migrated over 2000 users this past year alone. Our team will work to handle all aspects of the migration and can
complete the project in about three weeks. Let’s talk further so we can put together the right plan for you while
we still have time. Contact your ATS advisor, or email us directly at service@teamATS.com and we will help get
the process started.

ATS Communications Helps Businesses Deduct Up to 1 Million Dollars on Qualifying Equipment Expenses

Posted on: October 14th, 2020 by admin

Man Using Laptop Computer with Graph of Savings on Screen

ATS Communications a leading
managed technology services
provider (MTSP), announced today
that it is helping customers take
advantage of a substantial tax
deduction, outlined by guidance
issued from the IRS, also known as
Section 179. Section 179 allows
businesses to completely deduct the
purchase price of qualifying
equipment and/or software
purchased or leased during the
2020 tax year. However, the
technology or equipment must be
operational by the end of the
calendar year, December 31, 2020,
and with the deadline fastapproaching businesses must
leverage its benefits quickly…

Read More »

ATS Communications Forecasts What the Future of Work-From-Home Could Look Like After COVID-19

Posted on: September 16th, 2020 by admin

Woman on Phone, Using Laptop, and Looking Over Papers in Home Office

ATS Communications, a leading
managed technology services
provider (MTSP) announced today
that the company is preparing small
to mid-sized business (SMB)
owners on what to expect in the
workplace, after the pandemic.
With people working from home in
droves, there is plenty of
speculation as to where the modern
business is headed in terms of
remote staff, on-premise staff and
hybrid staff. With some experts
expecting the earliest vaccine to
arrive sometime in 2021, most
business owners are assessing their
options and planning for their
futures, now. As a trusted IT
advisor, ATS Communications is
helping companies to map out
solutions to address the new
workplace reality…

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Providing Customers With a Technology Plan for Continued Operations

Posted on: August 19th, 2020 by admin

A business person using a tablet and a laptop

CONCORD, CA – ATS Communications, a leading managed technology services provider (MTSP), announced today that the company is building technology plans for businesses to continue to operate through the pandemic. ATS Communications begins by evaluating an organization’s existing technology and then creates a plan to maximize operations and employee productivity with the proper technology that supports both remote and on-site workers. While more restrictions may be on the horizon, there is no reason why most businesses cannot adapt and thrive, especially when they have a strong technology plan.

“We are in unprecedented times, but this doesn’t mean businesses can’t continue thriving,”
stated Sanford Gladding, President of ATS Communications. “With a shift in approach and proper
technology, a business can set itself up for successful continued operations.”

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Thermal Cameras and Scanners to Keep Employees and Customers Safe

Posted on: July 26th, 2020 by admin

Surveillance security camera focused on human icon metaphor data collection red black

We are a leading managed technology services provider (MTSP), announced today that the company is supplying small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) with thermal cameras and scanners designed to read body temperature in order to keep their locations safe for employees and customers.

As protection from COVID-19 is at the forefront of every business owner, demand for thermal technology is skyrocketing in every industry and every environment where people gather whether it be employees, customers or both. Companies are proactively adopting this technology out of moral obligation to protect their team and those they serve. Many organizations that have made the investment in thermal cameras and scanners are also benefiting from increased profits and competitive advantages over companies that have not yet made a similar investment. Customers are now choosing to conduct business with only those companies that have installed thermal technology.

“Thermal cameras have become a necessity in this new world that we find ourselves in,” stated Sanford Gladding, President of ATS Communications. “When given the choice between going to a business that conducts mandatory body temperature readings and one that doesn’t, which one do you think most customers feel safer visiting? This is having a profound impact on revenue recovery amongst SMBs.”

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How to Ensure Your Remote Workforce Is Successful in the New Environment

Posted on: July 23rd, 2020 by admin

A bearded man working from home using his laptop

Companies made the switch to remote work to keep employees safe from COVID-19, and with the pandemic still affecting businesses, long-term remote work appears to be the solution. Ensuring your employees have the tools and infrastructure to be successful is critically important to your business’s continued success. Some remote employees are struggling with broadband speeds, while others are struggling with being isolated. Cybersecurity is another issue that companies are dealing with, as home computers may not have the robust cybersecurity that office machines have. At ATS Communications, we understand these challenges and have solutions to impact your remote workforce positively.

Collaboration Tools

With your employees working remotely, collaboration can be challenging. Your employees can no longer pop into an office to ask a quick question, and working on a project in a group is much more difficult. However, Microsoft Teams provides your remote workforce with collaborative tools that will enable them to work effectively. With the chat function and presence monitoring, you can quickly communicate with available employees and share files efficiently. Additionally, with Microsoft Office 365, your employees can work on files simultaneously and see real-time edits, making collaborative efforts much more effective.

Microsoft Teams also offers video conferencing, which enables more efficient communication than email or audio conferencing. Also, video conferencing provides a face-to-face medium, which can help your employees who are struggling with the isolation of working from home.

Security

Another issue your company can face is that of cybersecurity. Employees may not have the same level of protection on their home computers that they had in the office. Spam filters and email security could be lacking, as well. The importance of training your employees on best practices to avoid phishing scams is paramount. Additionally, each home office should be considered a satellite office, and your cyber protections should have robust endpoint security. Our Advanced Endpoint Detection will protect computers and data from malware, viruses, and cyber attacks.

In addition, your employees should keep their computers updated with the latest versions of software to ensure that known vulnerabilities have been patched. Where possible, your business should consider providing your employees with computers and other hardware to ensure that they are using the most up-to-date software and cybersecurity.

Broadband

In some cases, home broadband speeds are unable to handle the demands placed upon it. With VoIP phone systems requiring a high bandwidth to operate efficiently, some of your employees’ home internet may not be up to the task. If possible, your business should consider upgrading internet speeds for your remote workers to help them work efficiently.

Supporting your remote workforce presents challenges for businesses, but these issues can be solved with the right partner in your corner. ATS Communications has solutions that will empower your remote workforce and allow them to be as efficient and productive as they were in the office. Ensuring your employees feel connected to their coworkers and that they have all of the applications and tools to be successful is crucial. Contact ATS Communications today so we can help your company get your remote workforce prepared for working from home for the long term.