If you feel a bit “hazy” when it comes to understanding “the cloud,” you’re not alone. While many businesses have adopted cloud solutions in recent years, some leaders still have questions about what the cloud actually is and why they should use it.
In simple terms, the cloud refers to servers accessed over the internet that host applications and store data. Rather than storing data on local servers or personal devices, cloud computing allows you to access these apps and files from any internet-connected device.
There are a few types of clouds:
Public clouds that serve multiple customers (e.g. Microsoft 365, Dropbox)
Private clouds used by a single organization
Hybrid clouds that combine public and private elements
At Now Micro, we help clients implement cloud infrastructures to give them greater access, robust security, and more control. Moving to the cloud gets technology out of your way so you can stay focused on business priorities.
Other ways cloud technology is beneficial include:
Increased accessibility: The ability to access files and tools from anywhere on any device not only accommodates a hybrid work schedule, but also increases collaboration.
Scalability: You can easily add/remove features and users based on needs, rather than overpaying for unused capacity.
Enhanced security: Reputable providers invest heavily in security measures and best practices. Our team helps configure tools properly to keep your data safe.
Greater efficiency: Cloud providers handle maintenance and updates, freeing up your IT staff. Solutions also tend to be more user-friendly.
Now Micro helps you implement a cloud-based infrastructure, giving you unparalleled access, robust security and greater control in your environment. Moving the infrastructure to the cloud pushes technology out of the way so you can focus on your job.
If you have questions about moving infrastructure or workloads to the cloud, Now Micro has the expertise to help. Our core competencies around implementing cloud solutions include Office 365, Microsoft 365, Exchange Online, Teams, OneDrive, Power BI, Cloud PBX, Intune, and more.
With the right guidance, you can transition smoothly to the cloud and gain all the advantages it offers. Contact our Professional Services team to get started!
Teachers are essential to schools and student learning. They impart academic knowledge and social and emotional tools that boost students’ long-term life outcomes. In addition, teachers inspire future generations of leaders and innovators that shape our society.
Technology can ensure teachers have the right tools and expertise to do their jobs. In our ever-growing digital world, it’s also essential for teachers. Here is how IT administrators can guarantee the technology is used intentionally in the classroom
1. Technology is not the end-all-be-all solution, but it can be a solution to various problems.
There are many challenges in education that all have different solutions. One can’t just throw new laptops or tablets into a classroom and expect it to be a utopia. However, technology can help solve more minor issues, as shown in the table below.
Communication with parents and students is unorganized and confusing
A classroom site can help a teacher streamline all communication and be a resource for parents and students
Illness or weather keeps causing students to be absent
Providing laptops or tablets so they can still do their work at home
Students are at different levels in the curriculum, and it’s hard to give everyone attention.
2. Investing in training and support is essential.
Each teacher comes into each school year with unique skills and knowledge related to technology. IT administrators should provide training and support on new technologies they implement to guarantee that teachers can use them successfully. Also, if teachers have any questions, there need to be resources or people available to help answer their questions.
3. Testing technology will ensure that it works, is used, and increases learning.
IT education administrators must continually monitor technology performance to ensure that implementation and training are worthwhile. Every school or classroom runs differently, so what works in one may not work in another. The fun of technology is that there is always something new out there or improvements to existing technology that could help, so IT administrators should always research new classroom tools.
The ongoing pandemic is changing the way companies are structured. Remote work adds flexibility to workers’ lives and protects them from COVID-19, while in-person work allows staff to communicate nuances and socialize. Companies are now offering their employees the best of both worlds: a hybrid office. Read our top 4 tips on providing the right technology for a smooth transition into hybrid work.
The new hybrid office system can look different for every company or for different departments within one company. For example, not all employees work on the same day in many companies, so to save space, a company could opt to have unassigned desks, also known as hoteling. Pairing hoteling with seamless workstations makes for a great hybrid office that saves space and money.
Invest in seamless workstations
After working the last two years at home, many employees have perfected their home technology to be able to work exactly how they want. However, with hybrid schedules, going back and forth between home and the office can be quite the hassle if you’re bringing things like laptops, headsets, and charging cables back and forth. A way to solve that challenge is to invest in seamless workstations for assigned desks or hotel stations. The arrangement can look different depending on each company’s needs. The setup used at Now Micro allows staff to bring only their laptops and plug them into monitors, which connect the laptop to charging, a wireless keyboard, and a mouse.
Conference Room AV Setup
Some days employees may choose to be in the office, while others work remotely. However, that doesn’t mean meetings have to only occur in person on only by video. Simply adding a small media player, a display on the wall, a web camera, and a speaker/microphone can equip conference rooms to help teams collaborate no matter where they are working.
Borderless Data Center
Storing company data can be challenging when employees are based in many locations. A solution to this is the borderless data center. The borderless data center is a hybrid cloud concept that brings the basic tenants of cloud computing to the brick-and-mortar data center for seamless application operation. Disaggregating the traditional physical infrastructure through a cloud-enabled Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) facilitates a software-defined, unified system combining all the elements of a conventional data center: storage, compute, networking, and management into a cloud infrastructure on-premises with lower costs, more control, and improved security.
Office setup and workplace culture are not going back to the way things were before. Therefore, it is essential to adapt to the times and equip offices that push us towards a more innovative future. Now Micro and its partners are here to help your office transition to a hybrid office. To learn more, visit nowmicro.com or email email@example.com.
The Most Notable Microsoft Teams Announcements of 2020 (through Oct)
The later part of 2020 has seen a flurry of updates, previews and announced roadmap items for Microsoft Teams. Let us look at the announcements that are likely to have the most impact.
HealthCare: Virtual Rounding and Care Coordination
2020 has been a stressful time for health care professional across the globe. From exposure risks to PPE shortages, healthcare providers are turning to technology to provide solutions. Microsoft has answered this call by announcing Virtual Rounding and Care Coordination.
Virtual rounding, a Teams app that aims to reduce exposure while health care professionals do their daily checkups on their patients. The goal is to limit contact to infected or vulnerable patients by leveraging portable carts equipped with video screen, mics, camera’s, and speakers. This allows healthcare professionals to maintain distancing when physical presence is not needed for diagnostics or treatment.
Care Coordination, which began its private preview October 1st, allows healthcare to aggregate patient data, provide care plans and test results and communicate with each other regardless of physical location all in a HIPAA compliant platform. The introduction of Teams for care coordination aims to improve efficiency while minimizing exposure.
SharePoint home sites for Teams
The SharePoint home site experience announced in 2019 allows organization to create a new or migrate their existing intranet sites to SharePoint. With the increasing ability to embed your organizations apps and resources into Microsoft Teams many organizations are hoping Teams will be come the single pane of glass for all needs.
So why create a home site to serve as your organizations intranet if it will detract from all the work you have done in teams?
Enter the SharePoint home site app for Teams. This home site app allows you to deploy your intranet home site through the Teams client.
The announcement came to us in September 2020 and we are eagerly awaiting release details.
Many in person conferences and events will include a keynote or introduction meeting that all attendees are present for before breaking into smaller groups for more granular content. Recreating this experience virtually has proven difficult. Microsoft Teams breakout rooms hopes to simplify this experience.
Teams Breakout Rooms will allow meeting organizer to split attendees into smaller groups and bring everyone back together without the need to drop and rejoin multiple meetings.
The announcement for Teams breakout rooms came to us in July and we hope to see previews or general availability before the end of 2020.
Advanced Communication Add-on
2020 has seen an interesting race to provide more attendees, more features, and more video feeds between collaboration platforms. The majority of normally in person conferences, large presentations and even college orientations have been converted to virtual events. 2020 more than ever has created a need for very large virtual events.
Microsoft’s answer to this need is the advanced communications add-on. At release, the advance communication add-on increased the maximum attendees for Teams live events to 20,000.
Features coming later this year include:
Teams meeting maximum members increase to 1,000
The ability for a Teams meeting to have up 20,000 overflow participants in a view only meeting experience
Custom Lobby Branding
To take advantage of these features, the organizer of the meeting/live event will need the advanced communication add-on currently priced at $12 per user/month. Attendees DO NOT need the add-on. There is also a 60-day trial available through the admin center.
Considering this new and not quite yet saturated market, I would expect to see more feature announcements coming soon.
If you are looking to make a good impression on clients or impress you coworkers with your big presentation, Microsoft may have given you a secret weapon. Teams custom meeting layouts allow you, the presenter to customize what attendees are seeing. Microsoft Ignite gave us a preview of new tech allowing you to overlay the presenter on a PowerPoint slide. Who knows, maybe someday virtual meetings may look more professional than traditional in-person meetings with half the effort!