More than just offering apps and cloud services designed to boost productivity, Microsoft 365 also provides robust security tools for protecting data from loss and theft. Make the most out of these tools and ensure data security by following these tips.

Take advantage of policy alerts

Establish policy notifications in Microsoft 365’s Compliance Center to help you meet your company’s data security obligations. With these in place, your employees will receive policy tips about sending confidential information anytime they’re about to send messages to contacts outside of the company network. These preemptive warnings can prevent data leaks and also educate users on safer data sharing practices.

Secure mobile devices

Since employees often use personal smartphones or computers to access their work email, calendar, contacts, and documents — especially if they’re working remotely — securing employee-owned devices should be a critical part of protecting your organization’s data. Installing mobile device management features for Microsoft 365 enables you to manage security policies and access permissions/restrictions, and remotely wipe sensitive data from mobile devices if they’re lost or stolen.

Use multifactor authentication

Relying on a single password to protect your Microsoft 365 accounts could lead to account hijacking, which could put your data at risk of being compromised. Instead, enable multifactor authentication (MFA). MFA requires users to supply additional credentials on top of a password before they can access their accounts. This makes it difficult for hackers to access your accounts since they not only have to guess user passwords, but they also need to provide a second authentication factor like a one-time SMS code or a fingerprint scan.

Apply session timeouts

Many employees usually forget to log out of their Microsoft 365 accounts and keep their computers or mobile devices unlocked. This could give unauthorized users unfettered access to company accounts, allowing them to steal sensitive data. By applying session timeouts to Microsoft 365 accounts, email accounts, and internal networks, users will be automatically logged out after a period of inactivity, preventing hackers from taking over users’ devices and accessing private information.

Avoid public calendar sharing

Microsoft 365’s calendar sharing feature allows employees to share and sync their schedules with their colleagues. However, publicly sharing this information is a bad idea because it helps attackers understand how your company works, determine who’s away, and identify vulnerable users. For instance, if security administrators are publicly listed as “Away on vacation,” an attacker may see this as an opportunity to unleash malware on unattended computers.

Employ role-based access controls

Access management is another Microsoft 365 feature that will limit the flow of sensitive data across your organization. It lets you determine which users have access to specific files in your company. For example, rank-and-file employees won’t be able to read or edit executive-level documents, minimizing the risk of data leaks.

Encrypt emails

Encrypting classified information is your last line of defense against data breaches. If hackers intercept your emails, encryption tools will make files unreadable to unauthorized recipients. This is a must-have for Microsoft 365, where files and emails are shared on a regular basis.

Partner with us to ensure your organization’s Microsoft 365 accounts are always secure and compliant with changing data security requirements. Give us a call today — our team of experts are here to help.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

The cloud is currently a key player in transforming organizations and digitizing IT infrastructures. In the coming years, cloud solutions will be more accessible, agile, and competitive. This will drive more and more businesses to adopt cloud computing. But with many different types of services available, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your organization. To help, here is a rundown of the three most common cloud service models used by small- to medium-sized businesses.

1. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Unlike software that you install on your computer, SaaS solutions are apps that are hosted on a provider’s servers. Easily the largest and most well known cloud-based service, SaaS uses the cloud to process app functions for users. That is, when a user opens a mobile or web browser app, the device merely sends inputs to a data center. The data center then processes the inputs and sends its outputs back to the user’s device.

Minimal to no processing is done on the user’s device itself. And for as long as users have an internet connection, they can access the software from any device, at any time.

With SaaS, your provider is responsible for software maintenance and updates. This allows all users will be using the same version of a particular software and get updates at the same time. As a business owner, this means that managing the software on all of your computers is not only easier but more affordable.

SaaS software solutions include office document creation suites, accounting software, email service, HR solutions, content management tools, customer relationship management systems, and more.

In a nutshell, SaaS is:

  • Available over the internet
  • Hosted on a remote server by a third-party provider
  • Scalable, with different tiers for small, medium, and enterprise-level businesses
  • Inclusive, offering security, compliance, and maintenance as part of the cost

2. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

PaaS is primarily used by developers who need a virtual environment for developing and testing their own custom software or apps. This means developers don’t need to build and maintain their own infrastructure — which is comprised of networking devices, storage, servers, an operating system, and other necessary hardware and software — when developing applications, saving the firm time and money.

Most companies that utilize PaaS do so to either host or develop their own software solutions, or provide support for software used by employees. But while PaaS is gaining popularity with many small businesses, most won’t have firsthand interactions with this type of cloud.

In general, PaaS platforms are:

  • Accessible to multiple users
  • Scalable, as you can choose from various tiers of resources to suit the size of your business
  • Built on virtualization technology
  • Easy to run without extensive system administration knowledge

3. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

IaaS offers services such as pay-as-you-go storage, networking, and virtualization. The most popular and well-known type of IaaS is the virtual machine. This is a digital version of a computer or server that is accessed over the internet. IaaS gives users cloud-based alternatives to expensive on-premises infrastructure so businesses can use their funds to invest in other things.

In other words, if you are looking to virtualize your systems via the cloud, IaaS is a good place to start. It allows you to move existing support systems into the cloud. Other solutions can then be migrated or introduced as needed.

IaaS is essentially:

  • Highly flexible and scalable
  • Accessible by multiple users
  • Cost-effective

While the cloud offers a wide variety of benefits and solutions, choosing the service which is best for your company’s needs can be tedious. To ease this burden, get in touch with us today. We’ll you find the best solution your business needs, ensure proper migration and implementation allowing you to focus on running your business.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

cloud data protection

Data breaches are a common occurrence in today’s business environment. While many businesses have turned to cloud applications for better productivity, scalability, and savings, some business owners worry that the cloud is more vulnerable to data breaches than an on-premises data center. The truth is that any computing environment is vulnerable if you don’t take steps to prevent a data security breach. Here are simple steps to protect your data in the cloud.

Know your cloud apps:

Get a comprehensive view of the specific threats that business apps pose. Ask questions like: Which ones render you more or less prone to a breach? Does an app encrypt data stored on the service? Does it separate your data from that of others to limit exposure when another tenant has a breach?

Migrate users to high-quality apps:

Cloud-switching costs are low, which means that you can always switch to another application that best suits your needs. Take the time to consult with your vendor before switching to another app to make sure the new app is secure and compatible with your systems. Now more than ever, you have choices.

Find out where your data is going:

Take a look at your data in the cloud. Review uploads, downloads, and data at rest in apps to determine whether you have potential personally identifiable information (PII), or whether you simply have unencrypted confidential data. If you do have PII stored in the cloud, you need to make sure there are additional layers of security measures in place such as encryption. This is to avoid violating compliance regulations and paying hefty fines.

Look at user activities:

It’s important to understand not only what apps you use but also how these apps use your data. Determine what apps employees are using to share content and whether such apps have a sharing functionality. Knowing who’s sharing what and with whom will help you understand what policies to best employ.

Mitigate risk through granular policy:

Start with your business-critical apps and enforce policies that matter to your organization in the context of a breach. For example, block the upload of information covered by certain privacy acts, block the download of PII from HR apps, or temporarily block access to vulnerable apps.

The key to preventing a data security breach in the cloud lies in careful attention to your cloud applications and user activity. Analyzing your apps and looking into user activities might be time-consuming, but minimizing cloud and data security breaches makes this task worthwhile. Looking to learn more about today’s security? Contact us and let us manage and minimize your risks.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

When it comes to the cloud, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are often presented with the choice of either a private or a public cloud. But there is a third option — a hybrid cloud. And this is the choice that provides SMBs with greater flexibility. How so? Read on to find out.

Hybrid clouds are a combination of private and public clouds. In private clouds, data and applications that require tighter controls are hosted either internally or privately in an off-site facility. Meanwhile, public clouds are managed externally by third-party providers with the express purpose of reducing a company’s IT infrastructure.

Here are three significant advantages of hybrid cloud environments.

Adaptability

Having the ability to choose between on-site or privately hosted cloud servers and public ones let you pair the right IT solution with the right job. For example, you can use the private cloud to store sensitive files while utilizing more robust computing resources from the public cloud to run resource-intensive applications.

Cost efficiency and scalability

Does your business struggle to meet seasonal demands? With a hybrid cloud solution, you’ll be able to easily handle spikes in demand by migrating workloads from insufficient on-premises servers to scalable, pay-as-you-go cloud servers whenever needed, without incurring extra hardware and maintenance costs.

So if there are last-minute computing demands that your hardware can’t support or if you’re planning for future expansion, hybrid cloud solutions allow for on-demand increases or decreases in capacity.

Security

Last but not least are the security advantages of a hybrid cloud solution. You can host sensitive data such as eCommerce details or an HR platform within the private cloud, where it will be protected by your security systems and kept under close watch. Meanwhile, routine forms and documents can be stored in the public cloud and protected by a trusted third-party.

To set up a hybrid cloud model based on your SMB’s requirements and the providers available to you:

  1. Employ one specialized cloud provider who offers comprehensive hybrid solutions.
  2. Integrate the services of a private cloud provider with those of another public cloud provider.
  3. Host a private cloud yourself and then incorporate a public cloud service into your infrastructure.

Our experts can help you transition to a hybrid cloud solution without interruption and huge costs. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits that a hybrid cloud can bring to your SMB.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

365 Phishing Scams

Microsoft is a known provider of top-tier business productivity software — and its commitment to its subscribers’ cybersecurity is integral to that reputation. To fight phishing, one of today’s most prevalent cyberthreats, the tech titan has equipped Microsoft 365 with powerful features.

Among the many business solutions that Microsoft offers is email hosting through Outlook. This service is protected by Microsoft Defender for Office 365. Defender has many key features:

1. Anti-phishing

The most dangerous types of phishing scams masquerade as emails from a party the victims know, such as their boss, colleague, business partner, or bank. A phisher may use crafty impersonation tactics, such as referring to the victims by their nickname, making it harder to immediately identify the scam as fraud. A cybercriminal may even take over actual email accounts and use these to completely fool their victims.

Using machine learning, Defender creates a contact graph of contacts that users normally exchange communications with. It then employs an array of tools, including standard anti-malware solutions, to differentiate good from suspicious behaviors.

2. Anti-spam

Generalized phishing campaigns utilize spam emails, which are sent to a large list of email addresses, to catch random victims. Stopping spam is, therefore, a great start to protecting your company from a phishing attack.

Microsoft 365’s anti-spam technology addresses the issue by examining both an email’s source and its contents. If an email is determined to have come from an untrustworthy source or has suspicious contents, then it is automatically routed to your spam folder. What’s more, this feature checks the activity of people in your company to ensure that none of them sends out spam emails.

3. Anti-malware

Malware, such as ransomware and spyware, can spread via phishing emails. Ransomware locks data and programs from users until a ransom is paid. Spyware, on the other hand, steals data by recording keystrokes, copying clipboards, and taking screenshots, among other methods.

Microsoft 365 employs a multilayered defense against both known and unknown types of malware. This covers the different stages of email transmission, including filtering potentially harmful attachment formats, and real-time threat response. Microsoft also regularly deploys malware definitions to keep its defenses updated.

4. Safe Attachments

Some phishing emails contain file attachments that infect your computer with malware. Any email attachment should be handled with caution, but it’s not uncommon for some users to accidentally click on one, especially as they rush through the messages in their inbox.

Defender resolves this issue by opening all attachments in a sandbox first. This sandbox is an isolated environment, so even if the attachment contains malware, it would not affect your system. While in the sandbox, the attachment is meticulously scanned. If it’s clean, Microsoft 365 will allow you to open it as normal. If it contains a threat, the service will notify you of the issue. Microsoft uses some of the information collected by Safe Attachments to further improve the feature’s capabilities.

5. Safe Links

Instead of attachments, some phishing emails contain URLs that lead to websites — often spoofed versions of legitimate websites — that require victims to provide their personal information such as their account credentials. Some of these URLs lead to download pages that infect your computer with malware.

In a process called URL detonation, the Safe Links feature protects users by scanning the links in their emails and checking for malicious behavior, such as the transmission of malware. If the link leads to a malicious website, Defender will warn users not to visit it. Otherwise, users can proceed to click and go to the destination URL without a hitch. But even so, the service will rescan the link in the succeeding days and report any suspicious changes.

What’s great about Safe Links is that it doesn’t just scan links from unfamiliar sources. It also scans links in emails from people within your company and works on files uploaded to Microsoft Teams and SharePoint.

6. User Submissions

Microsoft 365 allows you to set a specific mailbox to send emails you deem a threat. The User Submissions feature lets you set criteria for both malicious and safe email and identify mailboxes besides your spam folder to keep these messages in. This feature gives your administrators greater control over which emails to flag and which to report to Microsoft.

7. Enhanced Filtering

If your company uses third-party services to route emails before they are sent to Microsoft 365, you will benefit from Enhanced Filtering for Connectors. Microsoft 365 uses inbound connectors to determine the trustworthiness of email sources. The more complex your routing scenario is, the more likely that an email’s inbound connectors will not reflect its real source.

Enhanced Filtering preserves authentication signals that may have been lost over the course of routing emails. This maximizes the effectiveness of Microsoft 365’s overall filtering capabilities, helping it detect spam and phishing emails.

If you need an email service that promotes efficiency while protecting your business, we can implement and manage Microsoft 365 for you. Just call us today to get started.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Small- and medium-sized businesses are adopting cloud technologies. However, some business owners may not be aware of certain hidden costs. These costs don’t seem much at first, but they can eventually snowball. Follow these five tips to keep the cloud from breaking the bank.

No standalones

Cloud services come in various shapes and sizes, many of which are standalone platforms with rates that increase over time. Opt for a cloud service provider that offers a suite of products that all work together. It is often less expensive than a group of standalone products. Another benefit of working with a cloud provider is that you receive a single point of contact to resolve your issues quickly and effectively.

Experience matters

If you plan on integrating a standalone cloud service into your system, make sure you hire an experienced integration consultant to facilitate a smooth transition. Integration mishaps can cause serious downtime and cost a lot of money.

Backups are important

Unnecessary or inefficient backups waste cloud storage space. Review your cloud storage data by asking yourself the following questions:

  • How many versions of this data do I need to store long-term? The more versions I store, the more it’ll cost me.
  • What regulatory demands do I need to meet? Some data may need to be accessible for up to three years, whereas other data can be deleted after 30 days.
  • How quickly do I need to access my backups? If it can wait for a day or two, I can archive that data to a less expensive service or offline at the provider’s data center.

Remove users

Many cloud service providers charge by the number of users in your system. If you neglect to regularly manage the list of users, you’ll end up paying for people who no longer work for you. Implement processes that remove users when they leave the company and consider scheduling a regular audit. Ideally, conduct an audit once every six months to ensure your cloud user list is up to date.

Monitor proactively

Ask your cloud provider whether they can proactively monitor your account and notify you of potential issues before they escalate into major problems. This is especially important if you have a pay-as-you-go license that charges based on resource or storage consumption.

Utilizing the right technology resources is vital to your business’s success, and so is knowing how to prevent such resources from racking up an overwhelming monthly bill. If you wish to enjoy all the benefits of cloud computing without breaking the bank, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Microsoft understands the value of business data and the costly repercussions of losing it. That’s why they’ve released a slew of security and compliance tools for Microsoft 365 subscribers. But given the increasing sophistication and frequency of data breaches, these cloud security solutions aren’t enough to protect your files. You’ll need to follow these seven security tips to prevent data loss in Microsoft 365.

Take advantage of policy alerts

Establishing policy notifications in Microsoft 365’s Compliance Center can help you meet your company’s data security obligations. For instance, policy tips can pop up to warn employees about sending confidential information anytime they’re about to send messages to contacts who aren’t listed in the company network. These preemptive warnings can prevent data leaks and also educate users on safer data sharing practices.

Secure mobile devices

Since personal smartphones and tablets are often used to access work email, calendar, contacts, and documents, securing them should be a critical part of protecting your organization’s data. Installing mobile device management features for Microsoft 365 enables you to manage security policies and access permissions/restrictions, and remotely wipe sensitive data from mobile devices if they’re lost or stolen.

Use multifactor authentication

Don’t rely on a single password to safeguard your Microsoft 365 accounts. To reduce the risk of account hijacking, you must enable multifactor authentication. This feature makes it difficult for hackers to access your account since they not only have to guess user passwords, but also provide a second authentication factor like a temporary SMS code.

Apply session timeouts

Many employees usually forget to log out of their Microsoft 365 accounts and keep their computers or mobile devices unlocked. This could give unauthorized users unfettered access to company accounts, allowing them to steal sensitive data. By applying session timeouts to Microsoft 365, email accounts, and internal networks, the system will automatically log users out after 10 minutes, preventing hackers from opening company workstations and accessing private information.

Avoid public calendar sharing

Microsoft 365’s calendar sharing features allow employees to share and sync their schedules with their colleagues’. However, publicly sharing this information is a bad idea because it helps attackers understand how your company works, determine who’s away, and identify vulnerable users. For instance, if security administrators are publicly listed as “Away on vacation,” an attacker may see this as an opportunity to unleash malware on unattended computers.

Employ role-based access controls

Another Microsoft 365 feature that will limit the flow of sensitive data across your company is access management. This lets you determine which user (or users) have access to specific files in your company. For example, front-of-house staff won’t be able to read or edit executive-level documents, minimizing data leaks.

Encrypt emails

Encrypting classified information is your last line of defense against data breaches. If hackers intercept your emails, encryption tools will make files unreadable to unauthorized recipients. This is a must-have for Microsoft 365, where files and emails are shared on a regular basis.

While Microsoft 365 offers users the ability to share data and collaborate, you must be aware of potential data security risks at all times. When you partner with us, we will make sure your Microsoft 365 is secure. If you need help keeping up with ever-changing data security and compliance obligations, we can assist you there, too!

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

In April 2020, Microsoft launched Microsoft 365, the successor to its popular Office 365. But it’s not a mere name change. The tech giant is also introducing improvements to its productivity software that will enhance how your business deals with cyberthreats every day.

Name change

Microsoft has time and again shown that they are willing to make drastic changes to their products and services in the name of development. Their Windows 10 operating system (OS), for instance, is a far cry from its predecessor Windows 8. Microsoft made the jump from what they thought would be a revolutionary tile-based design in Windows 8 to a classic, ergonomically designed Windows 10.

The tech giant has once again made drastic changes, this time to their award-winning line of productivity apps Microsoft Office 365. O365, as it was lovingly referred to for nearly a decade, is now the sleeker, more powerful, Microsoft 365 Business.

Microsoft 365 Business is available to small- to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) on three different subscription plans: Business Basic, Business Standard, and Business Premium.

Available plans

MICROSOFT 365 BUSINESS BASIC

Microsoft 365 Business Basic comes with many standard features, including web and mobile app access, full email and calendaring tools, secure file storage, collaboration tools, and support. Rest easy knowing that you have a powerful enterprise-grade software for a fraction of the cost such as:

  • Web and mobile app versions of Office apps
  • Real-time coauthoring
  • Email hosting with 50 GB capacity
  • 1 TB of OneDrive storage
  • Automatic syncs regardless of work platform choice (between OneDrive and SharePoint).
  • Teleconferencing and unified communications via Microsoft Teams for up to 250 users
  • Automatic threat defense via Exchange Online Protection
  • A complete array of cybersecurity tools and protocols, such as automated password policy tools

MICROSOFT 365 BUSINESS STANDARD

With the Microsoft 365 Business Standard plan, you’ll get everything Business Basic offers plus:

  • Desktop versions of Office apps for up to five PCs or Macs per user
  • Easy and smart appointments management with Microsoft Bookings
  • Real-time mileage tracking and reporting with MileIQ

MICROSOFT 365 BUSINESS PREMIUM

Microsoft 365 Business Premium is the brand’s flagship plan, a great tool for businesses ready to take their operations to the next level. It comes with everything Business Standard offers plus:

  • Advanced security tools to protect from zero-day threats and ransomware, via Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection
  • Remote wiping tools for stolen or lost devices, via Selective Wipe from Intune
  • Restricted copying or saving options for unauthorized apps and locations
  • Complete control of company data, via Information Rights Management
  • Pre-breach threat resistance policy options, via Windows Defender Exploit Guard
  • Malware protection, via Windows Defender
  • Unlimited cloud archiving of emails, via Exchange Online Archiving
  • Setup wizards for Windows 10, iOS, and Android
  • Total security policy deployment — even for mobile apps — via Mobile Device Management from Intune

Microsoft 365 Business will change the way your staff powers your business. Contact us today to discuss how you can avail of a subscription.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

IT services are more critical than ever before, proving their value in the face of a health crisis and the abrupt shift to remote working. Here are some ways managed IT services providers (MSPs) are helping small companies leverage technology to support their remote teams and go about business as usual.

Providing infrastructure and service desk capabilities

In today’s digital work landscape, MSPs are keeping their noses to the grindstone to fulfill customer demands and help keep businesses running. While many small companies have taken the first step of transitioning to remote work, they still need help managing the logistics.

Right now, MSPs are providing customers with IT infrastructures and taking on a host of network tasks, including configuring hardware, establishing remote connections, and managing backup and storage options, among other activities. These all help to ensure that company networks are reliable enough to facilitate a remote workforce.

MSPs are also offering service desk capabilities, providing companies with a centralized resource for employees, customers, and business partners to answer questions, troubleshoot problems, and facilitate solutions. Appropriate and timely support is crucial, especially in times of great uncertainty.

Simplifying cloud adoption

Cloud solutions are ideal if IT environments must be quickly modified to meet changing demands or difficulties, which is why MSPs are now helping businesses leverage a variety of cloud technologies and even move their data and applications online.

And because cloud migration can get complex, many MSPs are also offering managed migration plans that help companies transition key workflows and processes to the cloud safely and efficiently.

Offering remote support where possible

The current travel restrictions and social distancing measures make work-related travel difficult and risky. And with highly distributed workforces, many companies would rather source local service technicians for break/fix assistance, cabling, and other IT solutions.

Partnering with MSPs ensures that systems and networks are protected all the time and critical support is provided within 24 hours. What’s even better is that some providers have technicians in different locations, making it easy to provide tools, resources, and support even in hard-to-reach areas.

Delivering flexible solutions

As business needs continue to shift, MSPs must move in lockstep and provide support wherever they can. Here are some other ways MSPs are helping their clients navigate these trying times:

Assisting with IT projects
Because of how broad and challenging IT projects can be, it’s not uncommon for companies to lack the right skills and resources to handle them. MSPs are helping them by providing the expertise and technologies needed to pursue these projects, allowing companies to keep moving forward.

Foregoing long-term contracts
Some companies need IT support and services but can’t afford to commit to long-term contracts. Similarly, some want to augment their IT only for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s great is many MSPs are providing flexible IT solutions, giving customers all the services and support they need, when they need them.

Offering faster response times
Especially now that downtime could likely spell the end of a business, companies seek quick turnaround times. Since MSPs typically offer 24/7 support and tout specialists with a wide range of experience and knowledge, they can proactively address issues and ensure that IT infrastructures are working as efficiently as possible.

Providing better customer service

As many businesses are still adjusting to the new normal, providing positive customer experiences will go a long way to earning trust and ensuring customer loyalty post-crisis. By being compassionate and empathetic to the situations of their customers, MSPs are showing companies that they’re navigating these trying times together.

Call our IT experts today to help configure the perfect remote work setup for your business.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Even before COVID-19, remote working was already quickly becoming the new normal. It took a pandemic to tip the scale, and now most jobs are being done from home. But it’s not always a smooth ride. There are many things that can cause productivity dips, one of them being limited internet bandwidth. How much bandwidth do you need to be able to work from home without lags or interruptions?

What is bandwidth?

Bandwidth refers to the maximum data transfer rate possible in a network or internet connection. It indicates the amount of data that can be sent over a connection in a given amount of time, and is usually expressed in bits per second (bps) or bytes per second (Bps).

Imagine two computers with the same internet speed at 100 megabit per second (Mbps): the first computer only has a 50 Mbps bandwidth, while the second one has 100 Mbps. If they were to download the same 500 Megabit (Mb) file, the first computer would be able to do it in 10 seconds, while the second one could do it in just five.

This is because the first computer’s bandwidth is capped at 50 Mbps — even if the internet was fast, the limit of transfer would still be low. Therefore, the higher the bandwidth, the more data can be sent over a connection, contributing to faster uploads and downloads, and overall better internet experience.

How much bandwidth do you need for remote working?

The answer to this question isn’t clear cut. The biggest considerations are the type of work that you do and the apps that you use. If your job mostly consists of sending emails, editing and writing on Google Docs, and communicating on Slack, then you can do your job with ease even with a low bandwidth. On the other hand, if you frequently attend meetings through video calls, then you’d definitely need a plan with higher bandwidth.

Once you have a clear picture of how much data you send and receive on an average work day, you can start looking for plans that can support your needs. And while you definitely don’t need to conduct virtual meetings in 4K quality, you also won’t want your clients and colleagues to appear pixelated during a meeting. Neither would you want a session that gets choppy or cut off mid-conversation.

Here are the minimum requirements for the most common video chat apps used by remote workers today:

For 1:1 video calling:

    • 600 Kbps (up/down) for high-quality video
    • 1.2 Mbps (up/down) for 720p HD video
    • Receiving 1080p HD video requires 1.8 Mbps (up/down)
    • Sending 1080p HD video requires 1.8 Mbps (up/down)

For group video calling:

    • 800 Kbps/1.0 Mbps (up/down) for high-quality video
    • For 720p HD video: 1.5 Mbps (up/down)
    • Receiving 1080p HD video requires 2.5 Mbps (up/down)
    • Sending 1080p HD video requires 3.0 Mbps (up/down)

HD video quality  

    • Outbound signals must always meet a 3.2 Mbps bandwidth requirement.
    • Inbound signals: 2.6 Mbps with two participants; 3.2 Mbps with five participants; and 4.0 Mbps with 10 participants

Standard definition (SD) video quality

    • Outbound signals must always meet a 1 Mbps bandwidth requirement.
    • Inbound signals: 1 Mbps with two participants; 1.5 Mbps with five participants; and 2 Mbps with 10 participants

Video calling

    • HD: 1.2 Mbps (up/down)
    • SD: 400 Kbps (up/down)
    • The more participants, the higher the bandwidth requirement for downloads: 512 Kbps for three participants; 2 Mbps for five participants; and 4 Mbps for seven people. Upload requirements remain constant at 128 Kbps.

Teams requires the same upload and download internet bandwidth for the following scenarios:

    • 30 Kbps for peer-to-peer audio calling
    • 1.2 Mbps for peer-to-peer HD-quality video calling at 720p
    • 1.5 Mbps for peer-to-peer HD-quality video calling at 1080p
    • 500 Kbps/1 Mbps for group video calling

If you’re worried about your internet bandwidth, you can opt for audio calls instead of video calls. This considerably helps lower the information you need to upload and download. For more tips and solutions on how you can work from home without a hitch, call us. We’d be happy to help.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE