ATS Communications Helps Companies Transition to a Remote Workforce

Posted on: May 8th, 2020 by admin

A man working from home using a laptop and a headset while writing on in a notepad

CONCORD, CA – ATS Communications a leader in managed technology services, announced today that the company is proactively helping small to midsized businesses (SMBs) rapidly transition to a remote workforce. With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, mandatory precautions have forced organizations to adopt a work from home policy. ATS Communications has been setting up remote workforces for years and their expertise has enabled the company to be in the leader in their community and enable organizations to make a successful transition in a very short period of time.

Working from home is just as productive as working in the office if you have the right technology and the right provider guiding you along the way. Today’s technology that is a must for collaboration, communication, and productivity includes voice, videoconference, instant message, Office365, Microsoft Teams and access to files whether cloud-based or via VPN. Cybersecurity solutions is a necessity as well because there has been a substantial increase in cyberattacks. Hackers are sending a flurry of COVID-19 phishing attacks and are preying on workers sitting at home hoping to gain access to personal and company information.

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We Are Working Hard to Educate Customers on Cloud Technologies

Posted on: May 5th, 2020 by admin

Four coworkers video conferencing and collaborating

As more companies are switching to a remote workforce, there is a learning curve to using the new technology. Whether it is adjusting to the unified communications (UC) software or learning how to communicate over a video conference efficiently, ATS Communications is working hard to ensure that our customers are trained on the new technologies.

Training

During these difficult times, we are using all of the tools at our disposal to ensure our customers are able to get the most out of their cloud technology. We have been handling training sessions by doing screen shares to walk our clients through the UC software capabilities.

As our customers grow accustomed to the UC software, they are beginning to see the added value. The increased mobility and collaboration afforded by the cloud is offering real benefit to their business. With Microsoft Teams, collaboration is easy and efficient. Our customers can hold on-the-spot meetings, share files, and sync calendars. Having these tools at their fingertips makes working remotely much less stressful and allows their employees to be efficient and productive.

On-site Calls

Our technicians are still going out to calls at essential businesses. Before they go out, we ensure that the company is set up for social distancing, and all of our technicians are wearing masks and carrying wipes. We are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of all employees involved.

Help Desk

Our help desk is still available 24/7/365, and we will work diligently to resolve any issues that may arise while your business is working remotely. We are able to troubleshoot most issues, including virus and malware issues, desktop performance problems, email applications, and more.

ATS Communications is working hard to ensure that all of our customers are set up and able to work from home efficiently. We offer a variety of services and tools to keep them collaborating and able to hold effective communication amongst themselves and with their customers. It is not too late to transition to a remote workforce and get set up with cloud technologies. Contact ATS Communications today!

ATS is Your Business Technology Partner – Use Us!

Posted on: April 9th, 2020 by admin

Man Working Remotely on Laptop in Coffee Shop

As we face together the reality of needing to work remotely for an extended period, rely on the ATS team to help you make the best total decisions for your company and your staff. We can help navigate all the technical offerings being made by multiple vendors and find the right fit for your company to maximize your daily business operations.

Guidance Icon

Guidance: There are a multitude of options for businesses to connect their voice and data infrastructure to a remote workforce. Work with us to identify your specific short-term and long-term objectives so we can match the right technology for your team.

Advice Icon

Advice: A successful deployment has multiple components necessary to create a stable and secure environment. ATS will advise you on all the specifics for your environment to ensure a successful deployment the first time.

Recommendations Icon

Recommendations: We are already familiar with your technical environment. Leverage the ATS expertise to get recommendations on which platforms will be the best fit so your staff can work as efficiently from home as they do in the office. With our vendor agnostic approach, we will create and implement a strategy that will provide short-term and long-term solutions. Whether the need is to address the current COVID19 environment, a permanent remote worker or to better prepare and position the business to mobilize instantaneously, the ATS team can design the right solution.

Guidance, advice and recommendations are the values the ATS team can provide you as your business technology partner. Please use us a that resource. Contact your Account Manager or Technical Advisor directly or call (800) 995-4287, Option 1 or email service@teamATS.com for support.

ATS Communications Offers Cloud Solutions to Work Remotely

Posted on: April 2nd, 2020 by admin

Woman working remotely in her home office with a laptop

With the growing COVID-19 crisis, it is becoming increasingly necessary for your employees to be able to work remotely. At ATS Communications, we have cloud solutions that will give your company the mobility to adapt to the rapidly changing landscape. From presence-based awareness to video communication, your company will remain productive and be able to maintain all of the necessary communication needed to run efficiently.

In order for your business to continue running smoothly during the COVID-19 outbreak, it is critical that your employees are able to maintain collaborative efforts. Our cloud solutions offer video conferencing, so meetings and customer communications can still take place. Having the ability to convey information is essential, and video conferencing will allow your employees to remain efficient and productive.

Additionally, our solution delivers a single communications portal that displays consistently on desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. The single communication portal will allow your employees to communicate effectively from any device.

Other features that are included are:

  • Unified Messaging
  • Flexible SIP bundles
  • Contact center solutions
  • Direct Inward Dialing

If your company is already using some cloud applications, such as Office365 or IP phones, the transition to working remotely can be done quickly and easily. If your company is using older technologies, we will still be able to migrate your company relatively quickly and cost-effectively.

Adapting to this situation is critical for your company to survive. Contact ATS Communications today, so we can take the necessary steps to get your business migrated to the cloud. We will work diligently to ensure your business operations are back up and running as soon as possible.

Coronavirus (COVID19) Update – Our Concord Office Remains Open and We Are Here to Help!

Posted on: March 16th, 2020 by admin

Businesman opening door and walking into an office full of people

To our valued clients:

The spread of the COVID19 (Coronavirus) is requiring us to rapidly adapt and change our work routines and our personal lives. This afternoon the Contra Costa County has issued a mandate that all county residents “shelter in place” and that Contra Costa businesses cease normal business operations until April 7th, 2020.  Our corporate office operates in Concord, a Contra Costa city. There are exceptions for businesses that provide essential services during this timeframe. ATS meets the requirements for providing essential services in supporting our client’s voice and IT infrastructure.

This means our Concord office can stay open. We will have essential personnel only in this office while other staff work remotely. Additionally, our Sacramento and Redding offices remain open with no restrictions as of this email (subject to change, and probably will).

We are committed to making sure your systems continue to operate in a safe a stable environment. Our service center and technical team continue to be fully staffed and fully operational. Our technical advisors are supporting clients remotely whenever possible in lieu of traveling to sites, but if required and safe, our team will travel onsite to support your systems. Our objective is to continue to provide our best to you, our clients, in these unique circumstances.

Our account management team is also available via phone and email (or in person in some cases) and can assist with any transitional projects that you may need to set up your own remote workforce or add new cloud applications.

If you have a pending project currently scheduled, our operational team will contact you directly to review the timeline and determine if any modifications to your project are needed.
The safety and health of our staff and their families remain a top priority.  Even with offices open and our ability to go to client sites remain intact, we have a social responsibility to follow the recommendations of the CDC to help minimize the exposure and spread of COVID19.  We are asking all team members from all offices to limit in person meetings and service tickets until April 7th.  We will look to conduct meetings online using our tools and complete service requests remotely.  If any ATS team member does conduct a site visit, we will ask for confirmation from you that in person meetings are acceptable.  While onsite, our team members will be accommodating to any specific safety requests you have in place and follow the proper safety protocols (no handshaking, social distancing, washing hands before and after meeting). 

ATS team members are going to do our part to “flattening the curve” and limit our exposure so we can be sure our staff is able to protect themselves, their family as well as our fellow community members.

As always, we appreciate your partnership and we stand ready to assist as we navigate these unprecedented circumstances together. 

Want to Set Up a Remote Workforce?

Posted on: March 13th, 2020 by admin

Remote workforce computer engineer coding from home office

It May Not Be As Hard As You Think

In these unprecedented times, some businesses are evaluating their options for their staff to work remotely so they can continue to conduct daily operations. If you are considering these options, but have questions, ATS is here to help.

The ATS team is available to answer your IT and voice related questions about working remotely. Your IP phone and cloud applications will work anywhere there is an internet connection. If you do not have IP phones or cloud applications, there are options starting at about $30/user with no contracts.

Consult your Account Manager directly or call or send an email to our technical service center for support if you would like to learn more.

Leveraging Microsoft Azure to Take Customers Into the Cloud

Posted on: March 9th, 2020 by admin

A blue digital cloud hovering over a man's hand

CONCORD, CA – ATS Communications a leading managed technology services provider (MTSP) is leveraging Microsoft Azure to help eliminate outdated IT hardware in small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) and make a seamless transition to the cloud. Microsoft’s most common suite of products has reached expiration such as Windows 7 and as those products and services have matured into obsolescence along with server they ride on. ATS Communications has been proactively transitioning companies with end-of-life Microsoft products into Microsoft Azure in order to keep them up-to-date with the contemporary business world.

While many business owners are accustomed to purchasing on-premise servers, this way of storing data has become obsolete with the proliferation of the cloud. Aside from the fact that the tech world has embraced the cloud and that virtually all innovation from this point forward will incorporate the cloud in some way, on-premise servers have matured beyond their useful life into obsolescence. On-premise servers are vulnerable to becoming outdated, which lead to major security concerns for business owners. On top of that, without regular updates and software upgrades, they are susceptible to slower speeds while the rest of the world is speeding up. In sum, it makes no sense for business owners to outlay large capital expenditures on deteriorating technology.

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Email Filtering to Protect Your Business from Phishing Attempts

Posted on: March 4th, 2020 by admin

Man wearing a white hooded sweatshirt and a mask holding a credit card and laptop

Your business’s IT security is critical to its well-being and success. Your company likely stores copious amounts of sensitive data about your finances and your customers’ information. Keeping this information protected is critical, and that’s why your company has numerous security measures in place.

Unfortunately, when it comes to IT security, humans tend to be the weak link. Hackers will try to trick people by sending spam emails with links to click. This method is often used since it is a cost-effective way to gain sensitive information since thousands of emails can be sent at once. These types of attacks are known as Phishing attacks.

Fortunately, ATS Communications offers an email filtering solution to better protect your business from email attacks. Having a spam filter is essential as it will not only filter spam, but it also helps ensure that your inbox only contains relevant business-related emails.

In addition to email filtering, our service has numerous add-ons to further aid you and your employees.

  • Outbound Filtering. Any sensitive or harmful information won’t get sent out. This filter cleans and maintains the integrity of information leaving your corporate network.
  • Email Encryption. Prevents valuable and confidential material from being seen by unwanted parties. Your company can rest easy knowing all of your sensitive data in emails will remain protected from hackers.

If your company is receiving numerous spam emails every day, contact ATS Communications. Our email filtering service will protect your business from Phishing attacks, as well as aid in making your employees more efficient. They will no longer need to spend time clearing spam from their inboxes and will be able to focus on their tasks that are vital to your business’s success.

New 911 Laws in Effect – Action Needed to Be Compliant

Posted on: February 18th, 2020 by admin

This week marks the inception of two new federal laws that any business or entity that uses a Multi-line Telephone System. These two laws are Kari’s Law and the Ray Baum Act. The purpose of this announcement is to inform you of the new laws, understand your requirements, and the steps you can take to make sure you comply.

Call 911 sign, police, fire, medical, emergency

  • Kari’s Law

    Kari’s Law Act of 2017 (codified at 47 U.S.C § 623) or “Kari’s Law” was introduced to ensure that in case of an emergency, callers have direct-dial access to emergency 911 services from all devices. It also makes it easier for first responders to locate the emergency when the call is placed from a business phone number. Noncompliance with the law could lead to a fine of up to $10,000 and additional penalties of up to $500 per day of noncompliance. In order to be compliant, what does Kari’s Law require?

    • Callers must be able to dial 911 without the need to enter any prefix or postfix digits, i.e. (no dial “9” first)
    • Phone system must automatically send notifications of the 911 caller location to designated personnel
  • Ray Baum’s Act

    This new law, that builds on Kari’s Law, was passed in March 2018 by the US House of Representative and it is estimated it will go into effect in late 2020. The Act requires that “Dispatchable Location Information” be conveyed by the phone system to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) when 911 is dialed.

    Dispatchable Location Information is defined as more specific information than just a street address. For hotels it could include conveying information such as room number, floor number, meeting room ID, pool, exercise room, etc.

    The notification must be sent to the central location/person in the business at the same time as the call is placed, without delaying that the call goes through to the 911 PSAP.

Businesses and Entities Must Comply

While there is some ambiguity in both laws, the primary requirements listed above leave little question businesses will be required to take steps to insure employees and visitors can directly dial 911 and a notification of the call be sent to a central location/person at the facility providing immediately awareness of the call.

Many states have their own 911 calling requirements and neither law supersedes these state laws, however, each business must meet the requirements of Kari’s Law and Ray Baum’s Act at a minimum.

Compliant word in rubber stamp of approval

How Do I Meet the New Requirements?

The good news is many of the systems installed by ATS can be programmed to meet compliancy, if they are not already. Systems programmed to dial “9” first and then the phone number may require a change in programming to allow a direct call to 911. Sending the notification to a designated recipient within the facility is a more enhanced feature older digital telephone systems may not be able to accommodate. Both pieces are required to meet compliancy.

We recommend you contact your ATS account manager (or ATS Service if you do not know your account manager) especially if your system if over 5 years old, to review your current design with our team so we can either schedule to re-program your system or further discuss alternative options.

It is our understanding that systems in place prior to February 16, 2020 may be “grandfathered” until the system is upgraded or replaced. There is still some ambiguity regarding what constitutes a “system upgrade” triggering the requirement that the system must comply with the new laws. We expect the FCC will clarify or make a ruling on this at some point soon. To the best of our understanding some older systems which cannot easily be re-programmed have some time to make the necessary changes:

  • Fixed Phones: Physical phones that are static in an environment. These phones must meet these requirements January 6th, 2021.
  • Non-Fixed: Softphones or physical phones that move (IP Phones) in a business environment. These phones must meet these requirements by January 6th, 2022.
  • Remote: Off-premise 911 calls such as remote workers or people working from home. These phones must meet requirements by January 6th, 2022.

Penalties and Who Must Comply

Because it is the law there are consequences if corrective action is not taken and if you are found non-compliant.

  • Penalties: “$10,000 fine and $500 per day till it’s fixed”

Summary

A horrible experience was made worse because a child could not easily dial 911 from a hotel (business) phone when emergency services were needed which has led to new laws in order to allow people to dial for emergency help without any restrictions. Many business or entity phone systems may need to be re-programmed and/or upgraded or replaced to meet the requirements of these new laws. Older systems that cannot be altered may have as a grace period to make accommodations to meet requirements. Failure to address these new laws can result in penalties and fines.

ATS is sharing these laws so you are aware of the responsibility of your organization and is ready to help you identify what is needed and how to best implement the necessary changes to meet the compliancy requirements. We encourage you to contact your ATS account Manager or our ATS Service Center by calling (800) 995-4287, Press 1 for service. Or you can email us at Service@teamATS.com and use the Subject Line Kari’s Law to start the process of meeting the new legal requirements.

Additional Information and Resources:

Link to FCC Regulation: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-18-132A1.pdf
YouTube Video explaining Kari’s Law: https://youtu.be/PWUyfL8PXec (1:29)
Documentation from CA OES on how to safely test 911 calls: HowToTestMyTelephoneWith9-1-1.pdf
FAQ questions about 911 calls from 911.gov: https://www.911.gov/frequently_asked_questions.html

This article is intended to provide you with general information regarding the new 911 laws and is not intended to provide specific legal or business advice. If you have any questions about new laws or you need legal advice, we recommend that you contact your attorney.

ATS Communications Helps SMBs Leverage the Power of Microsoft Teams

Posted on: February 3rd, 2020 by admin

A man in a suit stroking his chin while holding a phone in the other hand, with multiple 3D images coming out of the screen of the phone

CONCORD, CA – ATS Communications, a leading managed technology services provider (MTSP), announced today that the company is leveraging the power of Microsoft Teams to help companies collaborate faster and more effectively. As we enter a
new decade, the workforce is changing drastically, both in demographic and behavioral tendencies. Millennials soon will make up the majority of the workforce and “by 2025, 3 out of every 4 workers, globally, will be a millennial,” (source: TIME Magazine). Millennials and Generation Z have a preference for working remotely and utilizing collaboration enabling tools.

Microsoft Teams is a representation of the way that communication has changed the way we work and is set to become the new standard in collaboration and professional communication, posing many new opportunities for enhanced productivity amongst SMBs. ATS Communications is helping businesses reinvent themselves and remain relevant with advanced technology, so they can reach higher heights than ever before

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