We are entering week-whatever-it-is of the COVID-19 work from
home phenomenon. We know at some point, we'll be able to go back to the office
or visit with our loved ones, but for now, here's how technology can help you
work smarter and see those beautiful faces of your families and friends.
Real-Time Communication Apps
Meetings and emails are considered to be among the biggest
productivity killers in the workplace. Instant messaging platforms like Slack
can save you time and money. Hailed by Inc. magazine as their 2015 Company of
the Year, Slack is the answer to All. Those. Emails. Send your team members
instant messages, share files, assign tasks and show off your wicked sense of
humor by sending your favorite memes to your co-workers while reducing the
email in your inbox and putting an end to death by meetings. It will also
integrate with many of your other systems like Google Docs and Dropbox.
Microsoft Teams, available through Office365 subscriptions,
is also a great option for video chats, group and private messaging. The app
works on Apple iOS, Android and Windows operating systems and can be downloaded
across devices with your subscription. Easy features like a single click to go
from a team chat to a video conference and high participant capacity make Teams
a great option.
You've probably heard a lot about Zoom, a video chat
application that was recently in the news for its ability to be hacked. The
company has made cybersecurity a priority and has put measures in place to
tighten up security. The professional version costs around $15 per month, which
gives you access to longer, larger meetings.
Skype, owned by Microsoft, offers video chats for enterprise
and is available as an add on to your Office365 subscription for around $12 a
month. Google Hangouts is free within the U.S. and can support up to 25
participants, and like Teams, can be used across Android, iOS and the web.
Keeping track of tasks and projects can be tough when
working remotely. Depending on the size of your team and your needs, and your
appetite for complexity, options abound.
Asana offers a free version that works for task managing
smaller teams, and for a price, can provide more substantive project management
Trello is a virtual bulletin board with cool task list
assignment features and is one of the simpler of these apps.
Basecamp is an affordable option at around $99 per year with
unlimited users, and is great for task management, file sharing, and messaging.
And for data geeks, has some reporting features and a universal search function
to help find that file you remember seeing somewhere.
Securing your Technology
All of this is great fun and can really boost productivity,
but what about security? Since this is our favorite subject, here are our top three
- Strong passwords. Change them regularly and don't
use the same one for every app.
- Make sure your anti-virus software is up to
date. We like Trend Micro, but there are other good ones out there.
- Email safety – have a strict policy on how to
handle suspicious messages. Don't click on links that seem dicey to you and
have your company email encrypted.
- Have your network monitored by IT professionals
and perform regular computer maintenance to look for malware.
As an essential service, information technology specialists
are here for you during these trying times. To give you some reassurance, check
in with a pro to make sure your networks are safe and your computer is up to
the challenge with regular maintenance. You'll be glad you did.
DeBug Computer has been serving the community for nearly 20 years. With two locations in Carson City and Minden, DeBug provides IT support and consulting services to home users, and dental, medical and business offices.