5 IT Tools Your Business Needs in 2021

5 secure IT tools for 2021_Now IT Connects

With a remote workforce and cyberattacks on the rise, you need to be sure your data and your customers’ data are secure yet accessible. After spending much of 2020 helping our customers safely move to a remote workforce, the Now IT Connects team has come up with a list of must-have IT tools for 2021. Which ones do you already use, and which ones are you going to adopt this year to keep your data safe and your team productive?

1. Two-Factor Authentication

With the rise in cyberattacks in recent years, securing your data is more important than ever. Two-factor authentication is an affordable, powerful way to immediately improve data security. It requires your team to use two login methods to access their email, web apps, and other business tools. Two-factor authentication can protect your data from phishing and from bad actors gaining access using weak or stolen passwords.

You’ve likely run into two-factor authentication at your bank or other online retailers. To get access to protected accounts, you need something you know, such as a password, and something only you have, such as your phone. Anytime you’re texted a code or asked to verify your account through email after you’ve entered your password, that’s two-factor authentication.

Other systems use a two-factor authentication app that generates a random code for you to use after you enter your password. AuthPoint and Duo are our favorite two-factor authentication apps. To use them, your team downloads the AuthPoint or Duo app on their phones or smartwatches. When they log into a connected account, the app will send a push notification on them to approve or deny the login.

2. Cloud Backup

With so many people working remotely, offsite access to files and collaboration tools is essential to your team’s productivity. Cloud backup not only provides a fast and secure way for your team to access the information they need from home, it also protects your data from being lost or erased on physical servers. Cloud backup is also affordable, as it requires no infrastructure investment from you.

The Now IT Connects team recommends a SaaS backup for Microsoft 365 and all associated apps in their suite, including Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Groups. This SaaS solution is easy to set up and integrates with all Microsoft products and will back up all files on your Windows computers.

3. Endpoint Protection

Endpoint protection tools are the applications on your computers and other devices that protect your network from cyberattacks. Examples of endpoint protection tools include the antivirus and antimalware apps on your laptop, desktop, or mobile device. They are your last line of defense against cyberattacks.

With so many endpoint protection tools available, it can be difficult to decide which ones to use at your business, and another thing altogether to manage these tools. That’s why we recommend Webroot’s suite of endpoint protection tools. It allows your managed IT provider to monitor and update your endpoint protection tools across all devices from a single dashboard they access on the cloud.

4. Microsoft 365

If you run your business on Windows, integrating the full suite of Microsoft 365 products into your business is a smart move. Not only does this product include the full Office suite, it also includes video conferencing, project management, cloud storage, email, and calendaring. Built-in security features ensure your data is protected.

Microsoft 365 is the most underrated and underutilized tool you likely already own. When we fully integrate Microsoft 365 into our customers’ businesses, we’re often able to save them money and improve their team’s productivity and collaboration.

5. Managed IT Services

If finding, installing, and monitoring these IT tools seems like a full-time job, it is! That’s why most businesses partner with a managed IT service provider to take care of IT. At Now IT Connects, we work with our customers to identify the secure IT tools that will best serve them and their team while keeping their data secure. We handle all updates, upgrades, and security remotely and in real time so your team doesn’t miss a beat.

To work with a managed IT provider or learn more about the five secure IT tools your business needs in 2021, get in touch with the Now IT Connects team today.


Microsoft OneDrive: The File Storage Tool You Have but Never Use

Microsoft OneDrive_NowIT Connects_Clearwater_Minnesota

Earlier this month, we shared some of our favorite but oft-overlooked collaboration tech tools. Today, we want to talk about the one tool most of our clients already have but never leverage: Microsoft OneDrive.

OneDrive is primarily a single-user tool that has file-sharing and collaborative capabilities. But that doesn’t make it the weakest link in the suite of Microsoft apps. Here’s why Now IT Connects loves OneDrive and why you should, too.

Create, Edit, View, and Share on the Go

Ever arrived at a meeting only to realize you forgot all the documents you were planning to review or share? With OneDrive, all of your files are at your fingertips. Access them on your phone, tablet, or laptop, even when you’re offline. Your changes and additions sync immediately across all your devices as long as you have an internet connection.

Keep Track of More Stuff

Not only can you add documents to OneDrive, you can use it to snap photos of your meeting notes, the business card of a networking connection, or work receipts for reimbursement. Never misplace a card or lose a receipt—OneDrive will have you covered.

Restore, Recover, and Protect Your Files

Ever save over a document you intended to save as a different file? We’re all busy, and it happens to the best of us. OneDrive can help you recover files that have been accidentally deleted or altered. You can also customize how you protect your OneDrive data so it’s always safe.

Yes, You Can Collaborate, Too

While we think OneDrive may become your personal favorite, it’s also a great way to collaborate with others. You can create links to files you wish to share with a client or supplier or invite team members to work on a document with you in real-time. You’ll even be able to see their cursors in your Word doc.

The Now IT Connects team would love to help you discover if you already have a OneDrive account and to help you set it up. Wondering what other Microsoft apps you may have already that you could utilize this year? Let’s schedule a time to find out.


Leverage the Collaboration Tools You Already Have

Collaborative tools for teams_Now IT Connects_Clearwater Minnesota

If you’re like us, you’re always on the lookout for your next collaboration tool. Many employees now work outside the office or spend time out on the road or in the field. Or, maybe you outsource some of your tasks to vendors. Finding tools that empower everyone to communicate, collaborate, and stay updated is more important than ever.

Often, our clients ask us for recommendations on collaboration tools that would work well for them. Usually, it’s an easy answer: the best tools are likely the ones you already have but don’t use! If you have Microsoft 365 (and at this point, if you don’t, let’s talk), then you’ve got several of our favorite collaboration tools already. All you need to do is identify and use them.

Outlook Tasks

Yes, Outlook is an email and contact management tool. But if that’s where your use of Outlook ends, we’ve got great news for you. It’s also a great tool for fostering team collaboration.

Outlook’s tasks function can help you get rid of paper to-do lists and sticky notes and get organized. Create a task and assign it to yourself or someone else in your contact list. Use its prioritizing feature to rank tasks by urgency. Add a start date, a due date, or both, then set reminders. If it’s a task you or someone on your team must repeat, you can set up recurrence, too. Pretty slick for an email application!

Outlook Calendar

Outlook’s calendar function is another collaboration tech tool. It goes way beyond setting aside time for a meeting. You can invite collaborators, share calendars, book meeting rooms, and RSVP right in the app.

You can also use Outlook calendar as a scheduler. Show yourself as busy or available so team members know when they can reach out. Invite people to a Skype meeting right from your calendar. Once your meeting is done, add notes from your OneNote app.

OneNote

Speaking of OneNote, it’s another collaboration tool you likely already have and don’t use. Microsoft bills it as a digital notebook. You can take text notes, draw, take and store photos and videos, and clip web pages to read later. OneNote allows you to share your notes and invite others to collaborate on notes, too. This makes it a great tool for creative teams that work remotely.

SharePoint

SharePoint is one of the most overlooked tools anyone with a Microsoft 365 account has at their fingertips. How nice would it be to have a single place you and your team could go to find and share files, share company news, ask questions, submit requests, and even track purchasing and production. Your team can access your company’s SharePoint site from their phones, keeping them connected wherever they are.

Microsoft Teams

Think of Teams as an internal instant messaging system, web conferencing platform, phones system, shift manager, and scheduling tool all rolled into one. The most robust version of Teams is an application for companies with Business Premium versions of Office 365. But you can get a free version of Teams with chat, file sharing, and video calling for free. Yup, free.

Datto Workplace, aka OneDrive on Steroids

We’ve talked about Workplace on our blog before. It’s a file sync & share (FSS) application designed just for business. Think of it as a Microsoft OneDrive on steroids. You can sync, access, and share files from your desktop or mobile device anytime, anywhere. But Workplace also provides highly secure infrastructure and data privacy tools that you can ramp up or dial back as you require. It also offers HIPAA and SOC 2 compliance for health care and financial companies.

Interested in integrating any of these tools into your workflows? Contact Now IT Connects and we’ll help you and your team get set up.