Every year the snow affects people and businesses. According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), in 2009, UK businesses lost an estimated £1.2bn
because of bad weather.
This article was created to show how businesses can use relatively new technology to stay open during bad weather.
Remote Desktop and Cloud Computing
Although cloud computing
is quite new, the concept has been around for a long time. Two example of cloud computing are the Hotmail
email services. Emails are stored on large computers and accessible from anywhere in the world via the internet. So, in the event of bad weather, people are still able to access their emails from home.
Businesses can use this to their advantage. By storing information in a format that’s accessible online, during snowy weather, businesses can allow staff to work from home and avoid the need to drive to work.
is a technology that’s part of the Microsoft Windows system. Small companies where each member of staff has a designated computer can use Remote Desktop to give staff access during bad weather. It can be used to give people fully access to their work computer from home. Microsoft Small Business Server
builds on Remote Desktop, and allows users to simply select their computer from a list, and start work without even leaving the house. If a company does not have Small Business Server, or the technical knowledge to set it up, they can sign up for a free LogMeIn account. LogMeIn Free
is a service that gives users secure access to their computer and is very easy to set up. If you want a higher level of access, you can sign up for LogMeIn Pro2
Cloud Computing is just like Remote Desktop, except the desktop’s are stored by a cloud provider and staff access it via Remote Desktop or similar technology. Cloud Computing can give a higher level of flexibility and security. Usually, a professional cloud computing provider will keep backups of your files and have fail safes in place to ensure you are never without service. With Cloud Computing, the desktops are already accessible online and therefore available if staff need to work from home.
Hosted PBX and Phone Systems
In an emergency, the telephone is still the primary means of communication. Often during bad weather, call centres find it difficult to manage when staff cannot get to the office. Traditional office phone systems generally only operate within one building. If staff need to work from home, it would mean that calls would have to be transferred to the staffs’ houses which can be impractical and expensive. Hosted PBX is similar to Cloud Computing in that the main part of the phone system is stored on the internet. Incoming calls are received directly by the Hosted PBX system and then transfer over the internet using VoIP. This means that the transfers are free and can be to anywhere in the world. In theory, a company’s entire workforce could be home-based.
Hosted PBX gives a number of additional advantages over traditional phone systems. These can include Call Recording, Menu Systems, Voicemail and Call Queuing. And staff can use phones that look like standard phones so they won’t notice the difference.
It is very important to make sure any project is implemented securely. Anti-virus and firewalls need to be installed and updated on all staff computers, including home computers. All passwords need to be complex and secure. Make sure no member of staff have simple passwords that can be easily guessed. Some businesses think that no one would want to steal their business information. But hackers can find simple passwords and use them to disrupt your business in a number of different ways. The most common at the moment is using your computer systems to send out junk emails which can blacklist your company and prevent your legitimate emails from being delivered.
Please ask questions and check that the information is suitable for your business before using any of its advice.