A Lifeline for remote workers – Lifeline IT founder Daniel Mitchell’s top tips…
For many budding entrepreneurs IT is not just essential, it’s their businesses’ lifeline which is why co-founder and Director, Daniel Mitchell, called his company Lifeline IT.
Seeing a gap in the market for a personalised service for SME’s, the company has gone from strength to strength and now Daniel has his top tips for West Midlands Business Information Portal on what businesses still find their biggest bugbear –working remotely.
In its fourth annual IT trends survey, the network support company found whilst nearly half of businesses regularly work remotely, 80% say access to reliable and fast public Wi-Fi is their biggest concern.
- Clean up your computer
At some point you’re going to have to log onto an open network. Make sure your computer makes the most of such networks by doing everything you can to speed up browsing, such as ensuring your software and particularly your internet browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) is up to date and free from Malware and Adware, which sap your processor power and could compromise your privacy.
- Invest in the best
Modern laptops will normally run the latest Wi-Fi standards which will allow you to connect at the fastest and most reliable speeds, but if you are running older hardware, you can buy an external wireless device that connects via your USB port that will allow you to take advantage of more modern standards with your existing computer.
- Stay safe
Our survey found a third of businesses admitted they have been targeted by cyber criminals and over three-quarters are concerned about the security of open networks used by themselves and their employees.
When using a public network there is always a trade off with privacy against convenience. You are better protected if the network you are connecting to has encryption in place (normally shown by a padlock beside the network name), as this means your data is better protected, better still see if you can VPN to your company network once the connection is established. Be mindful of what data you are transmitting, particularly via unsecured websites – all modern browsers will show the status of website security, normally in the address bar.
- Paying for it
We also found that nearly half of businesses were frustrated about the cost of paying for substandard WI-FI.
Plan ahead for your requirements, particularly when travelling abroad. Ensure you are on the correct tariff if using data from your mobile provider. Many mobile workers tether their laptops to their mobile phones for browsing and Apple’s latest operating systems allow this virtually seamlessly, but if you are a heavy user consider purchasing a separate data dongle rather than using your mobile phone’s built in data package as this can often provide savings.
- Dropping calls
We also found that nearly 60 % were fed up with poor mobile reception and ‘dropping calls’.
Many modern phone systems will allow you to use a softphone on your PC to connect to your office phone system via a secure internet connection. As well as improved functionality and cost savings, this can be really valuable in areas of poor cellular reception but where Wi-Fi is available.
Lifeline IT is a network support company which manages, sets up and develops IT systems for businesses across a variety of different sectors, including accountancy and finance, retail and property.
With more than 20 years’ experience in the IT industry, it has specialist interest in advising small businesses and Lifeline IT is a Microsoft Small Business Specialist.
For further information about Lifeline IT, go to www.lifelineit.net
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