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A Message from the President
COVID-19 continues to disrupt our lives, and businesses continue to refine their hybrid and work-at-home arrangements. In this issue, TCI addresses the ongoing technology challenges many are still confronting, and we map out some practical solutions to better protect and connect your teams during the pandemic…

  • Ransomware attacks soared during the first half of this year, with cyber criminals targeting people working from home with their file-encrypting malware.

  • New advancements in the cloud and better online collaboration tools have put users of older phone systems at a disadvantage, especially with more employees working at home. TCI Host’s Migration Program makes upgrading to the cloud easier and more affordable than ever.

  • With remote work becoming the new normal, we offer some proven productivity tips for those working at home with kids and pets.

  • PRI and analog telco lines are not flexible enough to handle a distributed workforce. We make the business case for replacing them with affordable SIP Trunks.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has raised awareness of health and safety in the workplace. A pair of federal regulations have gone into effect that could impact your 911-calling compliance.

Contact me today to discuss how TCI solutions and services can support your company’s office, home, and hybrid work initiatives.

Tom Cornbrooks, President
(703) 321-3030 | cornbrookst@tcicomm.com.

Ransomware Attacks scale up as Hackers go after Remote Workers
While the switch to home working has allowed many organizations and employees to remain productive, it has also brought additional risk as IT and security teams try to deal with overlapping personal and corporate networks.

Ransomware attacks soared during the first half of 2020, as cyber criminals looked to spread their file-encrypting malware as millions of people shifted to work from home.

According to an analysis of collected malicious activity published in Skybox Security's 2020 Vulnerability and Threat Trends Report, ransomware has proliferated, with a 72% increase in new file-encrypting malware.

Security vulnerabilities in remote-desktop protocols – combined with the use of weak passwords by staff – have provided cyber attackers with easy access into many IT networks.

Home workers who have not been provided with clear cybersecurity training are even more vulnerable, and smart hackers know that IT teams are already bogged down trying to support remote working.

To protect against ransomware attacks during the pandemic - and beyond - it's vital to close any vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. This includes having a full view of all connected corporate IT assets so gaps can be identified and remediated.

Need help safeguarding your mobile workforce technology? Contact TCI today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

Move to the Cloud with TCI Host’s Migration Offer! Upgrade Your MiVoice, Toshiba, ShoreTel, or Inter-Tel system
Legacy on-premises phone system providers like ShoreTel, Toshiba and Inter-Tel eventually came to market with cloud offerings, but for many businesses, their old phone system equipment continued to get the job done.

But like everything technology related, new advancements in the cloud and better online collaboration tools have put these older platforms at a disadvantage, especially with more employees spread out and working at home.

To get your communications up to speed, TCI Host’s Migration Program makes upgrading to the cloud easier and more affordable than ever.

TCI Host Migration Offer Highlights

  • TCI Host is our complete, locally supported Unified Communications service, powered by Mitel. Get everything you need to connect your business - all for a budget-friendly monthly subscription.

  • When you migrate to TCI Host service from your legacy MiVoice, Toshiba, ShoreTel and Inter-Tel equipment, you’ll get up to 25% off new user licenses and 50% off hardware.

  • Migrating a MiVoice Business system? Receive one free 6900 series phone (6920, 6930, 6940 models) for every three you buy of the same model.  
TCI Host makes Cloud Voice easy 

TCI Host is designed for today’s connected workforce, and serves up voice, instant messaging, screen sharing, video and audio conferencing, file sharing, contact center, business app integration and other capabilities from a single interface.

TCI Host is Flexible 

We customize every client’s service and our local team handles all the implementation details for you. Our flexible service supports a range of deployment options. Need tailored financing to meet budget requirements? We can support that too.

Let’s talk about connecting your business with locally supported TCI Host. Contact our cloud experts today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

Share these Productivity Tips for Working at Home with Kids and Pets
The spread of coronavirus has forced parents far and wide to move work from the office to their homes. It can be a challenge to try to stay productive while working from home, especially with children or noisy pets. If you find yourself in that situation, here are some tips that can help.

  • Create a Schedule – Kids do better and behave better when they know what to expect. Let them know what your meeting schedule looks like, when quiet time will be, and when they will need to be doing an activity. Let them know when lunch and snack time will be so they’re not tugging on you.

  • Keep Kids Entertained – Getting blocks of time where you can knock out projects, whether 15 minutes or an hour, is heavily dependent on ensuring you can keep the kids entertained. Plan activities ahead of your workday.  

  • Separate Roles – If you don't make a conscious effort to separate both the role of parent and businessperson, you will most likely never fully feel like you are doing either particularly well. If you can, set up a special place in your home that will be your workspace. This will help you separate work and home time, enabling you to focus on work when you are in this space. 

  • Get Help If Necessary – First, a partner or spouse can be a wonderful source of additional support with kids. As much as possible try to take turns watching the kids in between projects and work calls. Sometimes additional help is needed. Working from home doesn't necessarily translate into not needing childcare, at least not every day. 

  • Manage Expectations – Often, simply helping a boss or coworker know what to expect can save you both a lot of grief. If you have young kids that need a lot of attention, for example, working with your manager to set realistic and somewhat flexible deadlines (plus or minus a few hours to account for tending to children) is usually much better received when you set that expectation ahead of time. 

  • Giving Pets Attention – Much like kids, people find that if they make sure their pets have enough attention, they tend to behave better and create fewer inopportune distractions. A well-placed distraction for your pet can make all the difference.

Working from home with children or pets (or both) can be challenging, especially in this uncertain time. While it might be difficult, keep in mind that continuing to work from home right now can be the difference that keeps employees safe and organizations operating.

Make sure your remote workers have the technology they need to stay productive… Contact TCI today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

Still running on PRI or Analog telco lines? The Business Case for Affordable SIP Trunk connections
If your business is still running on PRI or analog lines, now is the time to start considering what virtual SIP trunks can do for you.
SIP Trunking offers a number of benefits over outdated network services such as cost savings, increased flexibility to support a distributed workforce, and added business continuity. By running everything over the Internet, you’re able to gain cloud benefits with your current onsite phone system and increase operational efficiency.

Here are a few things to consider as you look at different SIP providers…

  • Performance with Other Communications Solutions – Knowing how your SIP Trunking solution will perform with your other communications solutions is critical to ensure clear call quality and dependable uptime. Older connectivity solutions aren’t optimized to work with modern UC solutions so the connectivity may not perform as well as it could. Make sure your SIP provider is aware of your current communications solutions, so you are properly configured for success.

  • Complexity, Maintenance & Effort Required – As you evaluate virtual trunks, keep in mind the amount of time you spend maintaining your current solution. Determine how much goes into scaling, configuring and budgeting for your hard lines. With traditional, non-virtual trunks, scaling requires adding new physical lines entails time and money to order and install them. With virtual trunks, all you have to do is contact your provider and you can scale instantly.

  • Support for Future Needs & Growth – If your business is expecting growth or you experience seasonal fluctuations in call volume, SIP Trunking is a great way to save time and money. You can add trunks as needed so you’re able to manage resources more efficiently. SIP Trunking also improves business continuity by delivering built-in redundancy and automatic failover destinations. With legacy connectivity solutions, if something happens to your hard lines, you likely don’t have multiple carriers at your fingertips for backup. 

  • Resilient & Redundant – SIP Trunking can be delivered over multiple paths and or sites. No longer do you need to be down because the Carrier has a circuit issue. We can move the SIP Trunks to an alternate path or an alternate site and keep your service up and running until the primary path is fixed.   

The benefits of SIP Trunking are numerous and compelling. TCI is ready to help you select and implement SIP services from the best providers. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

Need to get up to speed on 911-calling Regulations that protect everyone in Your Building?
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised awareness of health and safety in the workplace. A pair of recent federal regulations will expedite 911 calling and emergency response - Kari’s Law and Ray Baum’s Act.

These important mandates are intended to protect everyone in your office or building - employees and visitors - by improving access to emergency services:

  • Kari’s Law applies to newly installed, multi-line telephone systems. The law requires that users be able to directly call emergency services by dialing 911 without having to dial a prefix to reach an outside line.

  • Ray Baum’s Act requires that 911 emergency operators be provided with the specific location of the calling party so that appropriate assistance can be dispatched to that location.

If you’re planning for a new telephone system or want to be sure your current system is in compliance, you should be aware of these requirements and ensure that your provider’s offerings can comply with them.


Compliance Challenges  

As you take steps to comply with the new 911 rules, you’ll want to keep in mind several factors - including the technology used in your IT environment, network topology, and the geographic scope of your phone system deployment.

Also, many states have adopted their own 911 regulations which may contribute to compliance confusion.

Need help with 911 calling compliance in your business? TCI can help.
We’ll get it all going for you! Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

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