Tip of the Week: Three Strategies Behind a Better Remote Meeting

Boost Engagement with Responsibility The experience that participants of an in-person meeting have is naturally going to be very different than it would be in a remote meeting. The natural flow of conversation is interrupted by the limits of the very tool that enables the conversation to take place at all. This can lead to inconsistent participation and side conversations taking place… bad enough in person, but debilitating to a remote session. Preparing an agenda ahead of time and giving each participant something that they will be responsible for during the meeting can help to minimize the chances of this. Streamline Your Meeting Just as is the case in person, a remote meeting that involves too many people can be counterproductive and ineffective when collaboration is the goal. With an overly large group, there are just too many potential distractions to derail your efforts. Lagging technology and excessive background noise can swiftly diminish a meeting’s value, so to minimize the chances of this happening, resist the urge to pack your meetings and stick to those whose presence is essential. This also helps to add to the engagement that participants can have, as a smaller group offers more opportunities to speak. Disable Muting When someone has muted themselves during a remote meeting, they have effectively disengaged from the conversation. Consider it: by muting themselves, they can no longer contribute, and there’s the potential that they could allow their attention to wander more easily. While briefly muting can help to minimize interruptions, it should not be sustained longer than necessary when meeting. How have your remote meetings gone? What have you done to make the most of them? Share your approach in the comments!

Taking a Look at Unified Communications

What Are Unified Communications? Speaking plainly, “unified communications” are a business’ strategy to improve its collaborative capabilities by implementing various communication solutions for its staff to use. Oftentimes, this strategy is referred to as unified communications and collaboration. It is important to differentiate between these two parts, as they are—while similar—two different concepts. The Difference Between Communications and Collaboration We’re all familiar with the concept of water cooler talk. People gather around a common area and chat for a moment. This is a prime example of communication, as coworkers are talking to one another, but there isn’t necessarily any productive benefit to be directly gained from their conversation. For an example of collaboration, we would turn to the conference room, where coworkers go to discuss projects, hashing out ideas and pooling their talents. Basically, collaboration will involve communication, but not all communication counts as “collaborative.” Why Implement Unified Communications? Unified communications can deliver substantial benefits to the businesses that put them in place. For just a few examples: Improved productivity and performance. Unified communications gives the members of your team improved access to shared resources, along with the tools necessary for collaboration to take place. As a result, your team members can work together (even if working remotely) to produce a superior result. Improved user experience. With these collaborative tools, your employees will find it much more achievable to meet your expectations. Because of this, they will be more satisfied with the work they are tasked with while they increase their overall productivity. Improved budgeting. As unified communication platforms tend to be cloud-based, these services are billed per month and are therefore a scalable operational expense. This helps to make your available budget more flexible. Improved cohesion. By tying all of your communications together and tracking interactions and individual projects, unified communications make it far easier to keep everyone involved up to date on important information. Interested in learning more about unified communications, or any other beneficial IT solution? SRS Networks is here to help. To find out more, give us a call at (831) 758-3636.

Video Conferencing Security is Important

Why is it so Important to Have a Secure Conferencing Solution? Prioritizing security is a consideration that needs to be made on every part of your IT. In regards to conferencing, a secure strategy is crucial as these apps are some of the most targeted by cybercriminals right now. Diligently choosing the right technology for your business, and implementing practices that have your business’ cybersecurity in mind, will go a long way toward keeping your business secure as you heavily lean on your conferencing solutions. Some of the video conferencing applications are proven to be more secure than others. With so many people using these applications, it’s important to implement these four security strategies: Create Secure Policies Does your business have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy? If so, you will want to fashion your video conferencing solution in the same manner. It’s extremely important for your remote employees to understand that while the solution may have some security features baked in, it is on them to use good judgement and not put strain on your cybersecurity infrastructure by ignoring the best practices.  Here are some line-items that should be in your policy: Users need permission from all attendees in order to record a meeting. Personal devices should not be used to record meetings. Confidential or sensitive information should not come into view during the meeting unless it is expressly relevant or requested by meeting attendees.  All cameras and microphones should be disconnected when not in use. If sensitive information is to be shared, it should be done so securely and not in group meetings. Authentication and Control  Many of the most used conferencing apps feature a single-sign on (SSO) system. The SSO makes it easier for administrators to control user access, but it doesn’t necessarily work to secure the solution. If your solution offers two-factor authentication, that is a good way to ensure the person signing into your meeting is the person supposed to be there. Another strategy is to set up domain-based security. This provides network administrators the most comprehensive tool to manage access to video conferencing solutions.  Be Sure to Use Encryption  Any conferencing solution your company uses should come equipped with 128-bit AES encryption. You will also want to deploy this on the hardware where you run the meetings to ensure that all data sharing that happens during the meeting is protected.  Update Your System  A video conferencing solution is like any other software system, it needs to be updated and patched regularly. This will make absolutely sure that your systems are protected from any vulnerabilities that would be found in antiquated version builds.  Video conferencing is the star of the stay-at-home orders and its place in business has been fortified. Call the security professionals at SRS Networks to get more information about security surrounding your video conferencing apps. 

Conferencing Enhances Mobile Work

Conferencing solutions are available which can be used across all different platforms, across different devices. The attendees can partake in a conference call on a Mac, an iPhone, or even a tablet. Improving the tools you use to conference call your employees or clients will greatly improve the attitude typically associated with meetings. No longer will they be too long or boring, or just a waste of energy.  Different conferencing solutions offer a variety of different features, but there are a few that you should really look for when selecting a solution. These are… Screen Sharing Screen sharing is simple. It allows you to take your screen, everything you are looking at, and share it with meeting attendees. You can navigate pages or complete different tasks just as you normally would, except to an audience.  Real-Time Chat Different conferencing solutions allow you to send messages in real-time, which likely was a factor in the naming of this feature. Being able to do so allows you to message your coworker to mute their mic as they chomp down on crunchy chips, which could save a client.  Drawing Tools Drawing tools might seem like they belong in the classroom, but visual learners strongly benefit from this feature. This tool brings conferencing great value when combined with the screen sharing feature.  Meeting Recording Being able to record meetings means you don’t have to keep pushing the meeting back if someone is unable to attend. It also allows you to look back and listen to the most critical points of the meeting.  There are so many more features that can be used to make conferencing more efficient. Our trained experts at SRS Networks can answer any questions you may have, so give us a call at (831) 758-3636 today!