The Best Tech Gifts for Everyone on Your List

It’s been a tough year, but it’s not too late to spread some cheer to your friends and family (and yourself!). The holidays are quickly approaching, so we’ve created a guide to help you find the perfect tech gifts to give this year. 

Tech gifts for adults

Rocketbook Wave $21.49

This environmentally friendly notebook is next level. You write in it as you would any notebook, but then your notes are digitally processed and saved to the cloud. You’ll never lose your notes, and they are easily searchable. And the best part? It’s endlessly reusable — just pop it in the microwave (yes, you read that right) to remove all of your notes. This is the perfect gift for pretty much anyone on your list. 

Smart Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock — $45.96

Humans are wired to wake up with the sun, but that isn’t always an option. The Smart Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock mimics being slowly awakened by the rising sun. Give this gift to anyone you know who isn’t usually a morning person. They will appreciate the gentle wake-up and the ability to change the light’s color and brightness to create the perfect customized alarm clock.

Sennheiser HD 450BT Noise-Cancelling Headphones — $149.95

Nearly 88% of companies worldwide have encouraged employees to work from home because of COVID-19 (Gartner). It’s safe to say, at least one adult on your Christmas list has been trying to adapt to a new work-from-home lifestyle that is inherently full of noisy distractions. These wireless headphones offer superior sound quality with active noise cancellation for a distraction-free work environment.

Gadget Discovery Club — $23 – $32 per box

This is an excellent gift for the gadget-obsessed. Gadget Discovery Club describes its curated gadgets as “epic” and “life changing.” Each month, your friend will receive one expertly curated gadget they’re sure to love. Past devices include the RISE miniBOOM wireless portable speaker and a Smoovii wireless blender. Whatever lucky person gets this gift will enjoy the excitement of a new surprise gadget every month.

iLive UV Sanitizer with Wireless Phone Charging and Aromatherapy — $39.99

There are over 25,000 bacteria per square inch on the average cell phone (StateFoodSafety). Give your loved one the ability to zap all those germs on their cell phone. The iLive UV Sanitizer works well for other small objects, too, such as toothbrushes or car keys. This multipurpose device is also a wireless phone charger and has an aromatherapy feature. It’s small enough to take everywhere and sanitize on the go. 

Tech gifts for kids

DIY Synth Kit — $40

Music buffs and techies alike will be obsessed with this unique DIY synth kit. They can create three different mini-synthesizers and experiment with pitch, frequency, and volume to create their own unique electronic music. There’s a ton of fun packed into this little kit!

Long-Distance Touch Bracelet for Friends — $98

It’s no surprise that stay-at-home orders and social distancing have been particularly tough for kids. Not being able to socialize with friends is stressful and isolating. These long-distance touch bracelets allow two friends to stay connected even though they’re far apart. A tap on one bracelet makes the other light up and vibrate, letting that person know their friend is thinking of them. They can also create a secret code of taps to send special messages. It’s a fun, thoughtful gift that any kid in your life would love to have.

Bitsbox Coding for Kids — $16.95 – $37.95 per month

Bitsbox is a monthly subscription service that teaches kids ages 6-12 how to code. Each box contains resources that help illustrate a new computer science concept. Kids use those resources to build apps on the easy-to-use Bitsbox website, and the apps they create will work on any mobile device. Coding is a great skill for children to develop, and being able to use their creations means this is a gift that keeps on giving. 

Smartphone-Controlled Paper Airplane — $50

Do you remember all the fun you had as a kid trying to design a paper airplane that would actually fly? This is the 2020 version of that. This Bluetooth-controlled update of the paper airplane is made from crash-proof carbon fiber “paper,” flies up to 25 mph and can pull off some serious tricks. It also comes with a desk stand to safely put the plane away when it’s not in use.

Tech gifts for pet owners

SureFlap Microchip Pet Door — $200

A pet door can be a great convenience for dog and cat owners. Their pets can come and go as they please without needing any assistance from their human companions. The only drawback is the risk of unwanted animals waltzing in. SureFlap resolves this issue by adding a microchip scanner that reads your pet’s implanted microchip to allow them to go in or out. They also have programmable collars for pets without microchips. It’s a gift of convenience for both your friend and their pet. 

GoDogGo Fetch Machine G4 — $149.95

This is a thoughtful gift for the work-from-home dog owner. Dogs don’t understand remote work. In their eyes, you’re home, so it’s time to play. When you’re busy and need to keep the dog occupied, this automatic ball launcher is worth its weight in gold. It keeps your pup busy while providing great exercise and mental stimulation.

PetChatz Interactive Pet Camera — $329.99

Almost all pet owners are curious about what their furry friends get up to when they’re not around. This interactive pet camera is described as “digital daycare for the home alone pet.” It keeps track of a pet’s activities and has a remote treat dispenser, two-way audiovisual interaction, calming aromatherapy, and motion-triggered video recording. It’s an all-in-one gadget that any friend or family member with a pet would be excited to receive.

Happy shopping!

How Onehub Can Help You Prevent Employee Burnout

What exactly is burnout?

Work burnout is a state of chronic emotional distress caused by work-related stress. Gallup, a globally recognized analytics company, released a report on employee burnout. It found that 76% of employees experience burnout at least sometimes, and 28% experience it “very often” or “always.”

This report was released in 2019, well before “pandemic” became a household word. There’s little doubt that the rate of burnout has gone up now that nearly every employee has had to adapt to drastic changes in how they do their jobs and live their daily lives.

How does burnout affect employees?

Work burnout takes a heavy toll on your employees’ physical and mental health. It can lead to depression, apathy, irritability, insomnia, and even physical ailments such as headaches and digestive issues. It’s difficult for an employee suffering from burnout to manage these symptoms, and eventually, it will impact their work performance. 

1. Job dissatisfaction

Feeling stressed out at work every day is a huge emotional burden. Burned-out employees are more likely to be actively looking for another job. In 2017, the average cost of training a new employee was $1,886. It’s less expensive to examine the common causes of work burnout and address those issues within your organization than it is to keep replacing employees as they burn out and quit.

2. Sick days

Burned out employees take more sick days than usual due to their feelings of exhaustion and malaise. People often can’t pinpoint the exact cause of their issues and may mistake burnout for an actual illness.

3. Underperforming

Burned out employees can’t recover through sheer willpower. No matter how herculean their efforts, their performance will slip unless changes are made to address the workplace issues dragging them down. 

4. Self-doubt

One of the most emotionally debilitating aspects of burnout is an ever-growing sense of self-doubt. It turns your once-confident employee into someone who second-guesses every decision and needs much more guidance than before to successfully complete a project. 

5. Bad attitude 

We all know how difficult it is to keep a positive attitude when we feel exhausted, stressed, and miserable. Employees with burnout can only keep their issues bottled up for so long before they start seeping out in the form of cynical comments, exasperation, or passive aggression. This type of behavior can quickly bring morale down for your whole team and increases the risk of burnout for others.

In contrast to the harmful effects of employee burnout, “engaged employees who have job flexibility tend to work more hours per week than the average employee, while reporting higher wellbeing. When people feel inspired, motivated, and supported in their work, they do more work — and that work is significantly less stressful on their overall health and wellbeing.” (Gallup)

How can Onehub help you prevent employee burnout? 

It can be difficult to recognize burnout in your employees due to the personal nature of many of the symptoms such as depression, self-doubt, and insomnia. The effects burnout has on an employee’s work can often be mistaken for them having a bad week or feeling under the weather. It’s more effective to create a work environment that helps prevent the common causes of burnout rather than trying to address it in individual employees. 

The most common causes of employee burnout:

  1. Unmanageable workload
  2. Lack of clear communication from managers
  3. Feeling unsupported by management or colleagues 

In addition to Onehub’s cloud storage and document sharing solutions, you can also create multiple online Workspaces to use with employees. Using a digital Workspace promotes clear communication, effortless collaboration, and support from managers, helping employees do their best work. It’s one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to prevent employee burnout. 

According to Gallup’s report, “Employees who have a space that helps them connect with coworkers are 26% less likely to feel burnout frequently.” In the past, this collaborative space took the form of conference rooms. Today, many companies operate with remote teams, whether by choice or as a result of COVID-19. The new era of collaboration resides in digital Workspaces. 

When you create a Workspace with Onehub, you’re setting up a structured, collaborative environment for your employees to work within. Once invited to the Workspace, employees have access to the time-saving and easy-to-use features below.

Comments and messages promote communication between team members.

A clear way to connect with team members and management makes employees feel more comfortable reaching out for additional information or support when needed instead of trying to power through on their own. Employees can post comments on files or folders and can easily communicate with everyone in the Workspace by posting messages for collaborators.

Tasks help employees keep track of their workload.

Workspace users can assign tasks to themselves or others, assuring every aspect of even the most complex projects is done. Your team can comment on tasks and track them toward completion on the tasks page. If an employee has a question about an assignment, they can reply to the task asking for clarification. It’s a fast, organized way to track what needs to be done and communicate with team members about specific items on the to-do list.

File syncing and versioning means employees always have the most updated information.

Trying to collaborate on a file saved to a local server often results in multiple unsynced versions, leaving employees confused and increasing the risk of mistakes. Using Onehub sync ensures workers always have the most up-to-date versions of files. They can also quickly restore older file versions if needed, meaning nothing important is ever lost. 

High-quality online previews save time. 

Viewing high-quality previews directly in a browser means employees don’t have to waste time downloading a file and opening another application to view it. They can quickly preview files, whether they’re at their desk or on the go with only their phone for access.

Full-text searches quickly retrieve files. 

Constantly sorting through files on a local server with limited search features wastes time, adding additional work hours to the week and piling on more stress. Onehub improves searches by securely indexing every word in the files uploaded to a Workspace. This allows users to quickly search through their entire account to find what they’re looking for every time. 

Favorites keep your most-used Workspaces at the ready.

Employees can pin their most-used Workspaces to keep them at the top of the homepage. This shortcut means employees don’t have to endlessly scroll to find the Workspaces they use daily. It’s a handy time-saver and keeps the most essential work top of mind.

Onehub’s Workspaces provide the supportive infrastructure your workers need to avoid costly burnout. You can try Onehub for free, no strings attached, to see how much it improves your team’s performance.

The Best Alternatives to Local Servers for File Sharing

Sharing digital files is an integral part of business operations. A 2016 Hubspot study revealed the average business stores 162.9 terabytes of data. These businesses estimated their accumulated data would increase by over 50% within a year and a half. That data represents priceless information, but it’s only useful if you can share it with other users quickly and securely. 

Local servers are the traditional method of file storage and sharing, but they have many disadvantages. Luckily, your options for file sharing are growing as steadily as your company’s digital mountain of data. 

Pitfalls of local servers for storage and file sharing

Expensive hardware and ongoing maintenance

A dedicated server requires a significant up-front investment in hardware. For a small business, this can range from $1,000 to $5,000, and of course, the price point goes up for larger companies with more robust server requirements.

And that isn’t just a one-time expense. Server hardware needs to be updated every three to five years to keep it running optimally. You’ll need IT support to install new hardware and ongoing help for maintenance and troubleshooting. 

These hidden costs add up quickly, making on-premise servers an expensive option for data storage and file sharing.

Difficult to collaborate on projects

Your local server is great for file sharing if you’re shooting over an email attachment to a colleague as an FYI, but things get complicated when a team needs to collaborate on a document. 

When sharing files using a dedicated server, each employee on the project will have their own version of the file. Your team can’t work together in the same document to make real-time changes or leave feedback, so they’re essentially working in isolation. 

Vulnerable to data loss and downtime

A new server’s failure rate is 5%, but this statistic jumps up to 11% for a four-year-old server and continually increases as your server ages. Regular server backups are an essential best practice, but you may still lose any new data added between the last backup and the server crashing. Server failure also means significant downtime, which costs your company money.

Alternatives to local servers for file sharing

Cloud storage 

Cloud storage and file sharing via a hosting service is an easy, cost-effective option for businesses. You choose a provider that suits your company’s needs and upload files to a secure cloud server. You can access your data or share files from any device anywhere in the world with an internet connection. 

High-level security

Cloud storage is casually referred to as “the cloud” now. That colloquial term conjures images of your data freely floating around with no security, but that isn’t the case. Cloud service providers take data security seriously. 

For example, if you use Onehub for your file sharing, your data is protected by bank-level encryption and security policies. It’s automatically backed up across multiple devices in multiple facilities, so if disaster strikes, you won’t experience any data loss or downtime. 

Less expensive and easy to scale

With a traditional server, scaling up requires purchasing additional hardware, and scaling down leaves you with an expensive piece of equipment you don’t need.

Because everything is virtual with the cloud, there’s no expensive hardware to buy or maintain. The upfront costs are minimal, and you can effortlessly scale your storage needs up or down with just a few clicks of your mouse. Easy scalability ensures you only pay for the exact amount of storage you need.

Remote work friendly

The cloud is perfectly tailored to the needs of the ever-growing remote workforce. Cloud sharing files means that workers can access files from anywhere and can collaborate with colleagues in real-time. They can easily access or restore previous versions of a document, see who made which changes, and view who’s currently working on the file.

Client portals

A client portal is a digital gateway that allows you to quickly and securely share files. They’re most often used for external file sharing with a company’s clients, though they’re also great for internal file sharing and project collaboration. 

File sharing with multiple companies

Client portals have gained popularity because they allow you to share files among many different clients. While you can do this with traditional cloud storage, the user experience isn’t as supportive of regularly sharing files with many audiences. 

Clients can use their portals from anywhere with an internet connection. This is ideal when you’re working with multiple clients from all over the globe. All users need is internet access to log into their dedicated digital space where they can share files, send messages, or work on documents.

Project management tools

Client portals can double as project management and collaboration tools. Features such as tasks, messaging, and Microsoft online integration can be added to your portal to encourage convenient collaborations between you and your clients or colleagues. 

You can also see who is in the workspace and what files they’ve viewed or edited. This keeps everyone on the same page about who is working on a project at any given time and prevents accidental duplication of work.

It’s a convenient way to consolidate your file sharing and project management needs into one easy-to-use workspace.

Long-term file-sharing needs 

Unlike virtual data rooms, which we’ll cover next, client portals are designed to be a long-term file sharing solution. The collaborative features, user transparency, and customizable design create a digital work environment that’s simple to navigate yet powerful enough to manage complex projects and multiple users.

Virtual data rooms

Virtual data rooms, or VDRs, are cloud-based databases that are extremely secure and offer a more controlled file sharing environment than traditional cloud storage or client portals. They’re perfect for facilitating sensitive operations such as mergers and acquisitions, series funding, or legal proceedings. 

Highest level of security

VDRs have layered security protecting your data at every level, from the document to the user to the virtual room itself. Security details will vary by provider, but all VDRs are created to provide the utmost security to your company’s most critical files.

Virtual data rooms also give administrators granular control over user access. Collaborators all stay anonymous, and they only see the information you want them to see. There are fail-safes to reduce the possibility of human error, so no one accidentally shares sensitive files with the wrong user.

Monitoring and digital rights management

Because VDRs were created to enable corporate financial deals involving sensitive data, administrators have many monitoring options and full control over digital rights management. You can review which devices are currently accessing the VDR and immediately revoke access to your confidential information if needed.

A VDR also provides audit trails, session timeouts, and secure authentication. It allows you to control what users can view, print, or download, and you can add watermarks to any printed documents to help protect your company’s intellectual property. 

User-friendly branded workspace

VDRs have a user-friendly interface that makes sharing important information simple. They’re easy to navigate, so people can quickly access and share data without needing intensive training. 

Another benefit of a virtual data room is customizable branding. You can create a custom domain and easily add your company’s colors and logo. A branded workspace gives collaborators a seamless user experience when logging in to the VDR from your site. 

Network Attached Storage (NAS) Device

If you’re not convinced that cloud sharing options are right for your business, you can opt for a network attached storage (NAS) device. Think of a NAS device as a mini local server. It’s a small piece of hardware (about the size of a toaster) with high storage capacity that connects to your local area network. 

No third-party access

Despite extensive security measures, not everyone is comfortable with cloud storage provided by a hosting service. Since NAS doesn’t store your data in the cloud, you don’t have to be concerned about any third-party data breaches or downtime. 

Small size with large storage capacity

NAS devices may be small, but they have serious data storage capacity. Since they’re much smaller than servers, which can take up a whole closet or room in your building, it’s easy to store them almost anywhere. 

Easy to scale

Scaling up your NAS is as easy as adding another hard drive to an open bay in the device. It’s a simple process that requires a screwdriver, a handful of minutes, and very little technical know-how. Whether your company has just a few terabytes of data or a few hundred terabytes, NAS can be scaled to fit your storage needs.

Sign up for Onehub’s free trial to find out if cloud storage is the right file-sharing solution for your business.

5 Cloud Collaboration Technologies that are Driving Productivity

With so many employees now working remotely, the cloud has played a key part in ensuring that businesses are able to adapt to the ‘new normal’ of working from home. 

From incorporating Cloud PBX systems to facilitate call handling and providing call centre training online to using cloud enabled video conferencing to host meetings, cloud technologies have become critical to driving productivity. No surprise then that the majority of organizations plan to use cloud services for over half their infrastructure and apps, going forward. 

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That collaboration is key to productivity has been illustrated in recent surveys. It’s been shown to be the backbone of high performing companies. And cloud technologies needn’t cost the earth, with a big variety of paid and free tools available for sharing and communication. 

Here are some cloud collaboration technologies that guarantee to improve your productivity:

1. Project Management Software

There are plenty of cloud-based project management tools available that allow teams to organize projects and work on them with colleagues. Some tools enable teams to work with whiteboards or lists, so that projects can be divided into different tasks. There’s also often the option to set up to do lists and delegate and assign team members to complete certain pieces of work.

A good project management system should also give the option to comment and give feedback to others – in real time. And it’s recommended to use project management software that integrates with all your third party systems. 

Since your project management software will play an integral role in ensuring teams can work remotely, it also pays to opt for a tool with an intuitive interface so it’s easy for users to set up and use the software. This can help with onboarding if you find yourself in need of hiring remotely.  

Cloud based project management software can also be used for cloud storage – combining all the features of a management system with a secure place to save all project management information. There’s usually the option to organize data into folders and keep them in a centralized place where users can access them at any time. That’s as long as they have the right permissions and a good internet connection. 

A cloud based project management software can also help your business share files more securely than through e-mail, something essential when working with sensitive information.

Many project management tools can be used on a basic level for free. However, it may be advisable to upgrade to a premium service in order to unlock additional features. These commonly including the ability to add more users or use more in-depth organizational management features.

2.  Messaging Apps

Emails aren’t suited for quick, back and forth conversations between employees. They require titles and lengthy paragraphs – and it can be confusing trying to keep up with endless threads in a packed inbox. 

Team messaging apps simplify business communications. 

A reliable, high quality messaging service can play a critical role when it comes to effective collaboration. You can use some apps for messaging as well as for voice and video conferencing – and screen and file sharing. It will pay to opt for a tool that’s user friendly and accessible across all your platforms and devices, in order to boost internal and external communications. 

The benefits of messaging apps include:

  • Real-time communication
  • Bite-sized communication capabilities, saving time setting up and participating in long phone conferences
  • Task management features
  • Greater engagement – teams can share personal information as well as dry business messages 

Select one with end-to-end encryption to ensure optimum security. 

3. Collaborative Email Management Tools

While messaging apps are great for internal communication, many customers see emails as a primary method of communicating with a business. 

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So when it comes to a customer service strategy, email remains one of the main drivers of customer retention and acquisition. Finding a way to prioritize messages and organize workflows helps customer service teams to cut down on the time required to reply to customer emails. It also helps teams to collaborate and organize workflows. 

Features of an email management system include the ability to create workgroups,assign to-dos, and integrate with a CRM in order to label emails and add internal notes.

As part of an effective email marketing strategy, it’s also essential to improve email deliverability – so that your emails don’t end up in spam. 

4. A VoIP Phone Service

An internet based phone service has become an essential part of a company’s collaborative efforts. Enabling staff to communicate from wherever they are in the world and stay connected with each other on any device can help them anticipate problems before they escalate. 

Employees can keep in touch with customers while they’re away from their desks – while teams can work together to find creative solutions without any barriers to collaboration. Call forwarding services come as standard with many VoIP packages, ensuring companies never miss an opportunity to connect with customers. 

Calls between employees are usually free. There’s also no need to buy in different software or hardware because you can use your existing equipment to set up meetings – with or without video. And to aid customer engagement and give them a better service there’s always the option to offer freephone numbers to them, too. 

5. Social Media Planning Platforms 

Social media planning platforms enable you to boost collaboration around your content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. This collaboration allows you to reach customers, clients, and readers with unified brand offerings.

You can also take advantage of analytics tools to help you understand which of your posts are working and which are not. 

Tools including Hootsuite are built around teamwork so that reports are customizable and ensure that everyone can see the data they need to focus on. They are also designed to integrate with many third party platforms so that all team members can work productively and efficiently together, and create a seamless saas seo marketing strategy or whatever else your team needs to work on. 

Bio: Sam O’Brien is the Director of Digital and Growth for EMEA at RingCentral, a Global VoIP Service, video conferencing and call centre software provider. Sam has a passion for innovation and loves exploring ways to collaborate more with dispersed teams. He has written for websites such as SAP and Revenue River. Here is his LinkedIn.

How the Cloud Ensures Business Continuity

Transferring operations to the cloud has ensured it’s been ‘business as usual’ for many companies during the recent crisis. Being cloud-enabled has allowed firms to continue to collaborate across different geographical parameters and time zones. 

In particular, the cloud has become the ‘go to’ solution for businesses who have had to concentrate on effective virtual team building to keep employees connected whilst working from home.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing describes the process of storing and retrieving programs and data via the internet rather than via a hard drive. The cloud offers a host of advantages – from reduced spend on IT and speedy installation, to flexible pricing and increased scalability. 

Cloud based software has had a measurable impact on business productivity both for large manufacturers and small businesses. 

Impact on business from cloud computing

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How does the cloud improve business continuity?

Business continuity means making sure that an organization can continue to operate and make money throughout downturns or negative events. For this to happen it’s essential that remote teams can fully function and access applications from wherever they are. There are several ways the cloud acts to improve business continuity – we’ve outlined some here. 

1 Improved collaboration

The cloud allows team members to share and edit files outside of the company firewall, across any number of devices. By providing teams with the right tools, members can communicate, collaborate, and work together cost-effectively. 

The ability to meet virtually and share information in real-time means companies can reduce their time-to-market, improve product development, and continue to create better customer engagement strategies

2 Instant software upgrades

In a cloud-based environment, organizations can run the latest versions of their software, immediately as they are released. These upgrades put new features into employee’s hands so they can become more productive. 

For example, if a company can see immediate upgrades to their applicant tracking software, this will instantly put them in a more competitive position when it comes to hiring new staff. 

Unlike with cloud based apps, existing hardware upgrades tend to be few and far between. In the cloud, upgrades are released far more frequently and take less time to roll out. 

3 Always-on availability

The majority of cloud providers offer a very reliable service – many maintaining 99.99% uptime. Since the connection is always on (as long as there’s a reliable internet connection), employees can get to the apps they need from anywhere, and even work with them offline in some situations. 

4 Flexibility 

Cloud computing costs are flexible according to how much capacity is required. When more capacity is required, companies only need to commission it for those times. When less capacity is required, such as at low peak times, capacity can be decreased. 

5 Mobility

Employees can access data and applications no matter where they are, and they can take their work with them on smartphones and tablets in their homes or whilst working out in the field. By enabling employees to work more flexibly, companies also get a welcome boost to productivity. The ability to collaborate in real time also means team members can share insights like remote learning best practices in real time. 

6 Lower costs

With no requirement to invest in equipment or build out a data center, businesses don’t have to spend excessively on hardware, facilities, or any other aspects of operations. During recessions (like the one we’re experiencing right now), cloud computing offers a flexible cost structure thereby limiting business exposure and enabling companies to continue to operate profitably. 

Companies utilizing cloud solutions saw reduced costs.

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7 Ability to add and withdraw capacity quickly

If extra capacity is needed quickly – e.g. when you’ve taken steps to promote your website and see a spike in traffic – capacity can be added swiftly so that servers don’t crash and the company doesn’t lose sales. When the promotion has finished, capacity can be quickly reduced to keep costs down. 

8 Facilitate M&A activity

The cloud accommodates faster changes so that merging two companies is much more efficient. With traditional computing, changes might take years to complete in terms of migrating operations and decommissioning data centers. Now, companies can be up and running on the same IT stack in next to no time. 

9 Reduction in environmental impact

Having to build fewer data centers and keeping operations more efficient means less impact on the environment. Companies who adopt cloud computing are improving their carbon footprint and boosting their green credentials. 

10 Easy to backup and restore

According to recent reports, 73% of organizations fall victim to natural or man-made disasters. From malicious hacking to malware, these occurrences severely impact business operations. 

In the event of a disaster it’s far easier to recover and restore operations in the cloud than with traditional computing. Business continuity no longer has to rely on backup options that involve tapes, disks, or flash drives – all of which have a high probability of data corruption. 

Cloud computing enables backup in real time or at scheduled intervals – so making the old school night-time backups obsolete. And these backups can be automated with servers configured accordingly. 

The introduction of cloud-based SD-WAN has minimized networking disruption even further for inbound and outbound call center software, ensuring that it performs more effectively. 

11 Security 

When it comes to data security, the data that’s stored in the cloud is nearly always kept in an encrypted form. Hackers find it difficult to access the data because files look like gibberish rather than meaningful information. 

Even before the pandemic, companies were seeing the benefits of adopting cloud computing. The remote working shift has now brought into sharper focus the need to find an effective way to ensure business continuity and keep project collaboration on track.

Given the unpredictability of world events, being enabled in the cloud is becoming ever more critical. Because of the cloud, businesses are finding they no longer need to shut down operations – or take a hit on profits – because they can adapt to shifts in working practices. 

Cloud enabled companies have the flexibility to continue to give employees access to shared information, so they can continue to work at full capacity. 

Bio: John Allen, Director, Global SEO at RingCentral, a global UCaaS, VoIP and auto dialler software provider. He has over 14 years of experience and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs. He has written for websites such as E-Spirit and Pandadoc.

4 Key Tools for Your Remote Work Tech Stack

The sudden transition to remote working has meant that virtual tools and technologies are now uppermost in most business leaders minds. From chat and video to file sharing and more, there’s lots to consider when it comes to empowering teams to work efficiently from home.

Businesses need to adapt existing elements of the business tech stack to make them more remote work friendly – as well as tackle new security and licensing issues. 

To help make the transition to remote working, there will also inevitably be new tools to adopt to optimize workplace collaboration. Most of all, employees need a central hub where everyone can communicate, maintain productivity, and keep company culture intact.

In this post we’ll outline key tools you need to have in your remote work tech stack

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1. A project or work management tool

When it comes to remote workforce management, it’s essential to ensure each team member can track a project’s progress and see which tasks they should be focusing on. 

Just because a team is decentralized it doesn’t mean projects have to be. So a shared portal for all your work is key in order to minimize the time lost switching between different apps and tools – and so everyone can work together in real time.

Collaboration tools like Google’s Suite or Onehub allow teams to connect and share documents, slides, and sheets – and let members comment. 

Certain project management apps offer users a way to collaborate on design or use roadmaps, as well as create mock-ups. These are particularly suitable for design agencies and developers. 

Others allow remote teams to use virtual whiteboards so they can get as close as possible to face to face working – with the ability to provide feedback in real time. 

2. A CRM system

Without the ability to engage in person with clients, a good CRM system has become even more important. Your customer relationship management system is a place to keep you on track as regards maintaining regular contact with customers. That way, you can continue to support and nurture them effectively. 

CRMs enable you to log interactions at all touchpoints so you don’t overlook any red flag situations. 

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A CRM is essential for your sales team, so that reps can keep up with where they are in the sales process and work out which communication methods are working best. 

You’ll want to provide everyone with access to your CRM, too, as well as sales. For example, the marketing team will need to upload content to support the sales team, while the accounting team can use the CRM to ensure customers pay their invoices on time. 

Providing all necessary stakeholders with access will increase transparency company-wide. Now that we’re working more remotely, team members must be trained to troubleshoot issues with the system themselves –  since they can no longer ask IT for physical support.  

Make sure your CRM integrates with your contact center cti software so you can provide customers with a personalized experience when they call. 

3. Video conferencing tools

Just a few months ago, video conferencing tools were only used sporadically. Now they’re used for the majority of meetings. Video conferencing allows people to talk together in real time, thereby helping to facilitate better, more empathetic conversations and keep teams connected. 

Because you’ll now be using this type of software a lot more, you may have to rethink how your current tools are organized as well as assign new access or permissions to users. 

You may have to change or upgrade your video hosting platform to keep up with usage requirements and ensure high quality of visuals, too. Quality is not only essential for live meetings, after all. It’s essential so that you can record and distribute content whenever needed. 

If you opt for a higher level plan you’ll be able to increase the number of users who can access the video conferencing tool. You will also be able to add in new benefits such as customer support and onboarding. These can help teams transition seamlessly to remote meetings. 

Make sure your video conferencing software can integrate with third party apps like Google Calendar. This will ensure everyone is reminded about upcoming meetings. 

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It’s also helpful if your software integrates with your CRM. That way people can book virtual meetings with you in place of face-to-face meetings. And if possible integrate your video conferencing system with your project management software so teams can collaborate asynchronously.

Your video conferencing software doesn’t have to be used just for work-based meetings. You can use the video chat tool to set up virtual coffee breaks with colleagues or group lunches. This will help boost morale and boost productivity. 

4. A chat tool

When you’re working remotely it’s easy to get lost in endless email threads. To work efficiently you need to be able to have conversations in real time so you can make decisions quickly, share information, and get instant feedback from multiple team members and stakeholders. 

This is where a chat or instant messaging app comes into its own. It enables you to keep the conversation flowing and projects progressing. 

Make sure your instant messaging app integrates with your project management tools and your mobile operating system. That way, team members can collaborate across different platforms, increasing productivity. 

Look out for certain features in a chat app, such as the conversation layout. Being able to follow conversations easily is essential when working in groups. Also, it will pay to choose an app that sends out clear alerts and reminders. A good chat tool will make it easy to tag someone in a conversation, too, so they can be notified when they’re outside the app. 

It’s also crucial to make sure your team’s conversations are kept private so select an app that keeps outsiders out. 

These are some essential tools to have in your remote tech stack. Having these systems on board will guarantee your business continuity and ensure your digital ad spend is working hard for you.

John Allen, Director, Global SEO at RingCentral, a global UCaaS, VoIP Technology and contact center software provider. He has over 14 years of experience and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs. He has written for websites such as Ceoblognation and 3dcart.

How to Narrow Down a List of Virtual Data Room Providers

Compare VDR features to find the best fit.

A virtual data room, or VDR, is a secure virtual storage space typically used by companies to store valuable documents, confidential information, and data pertaining to their business processes, employees, and/or clients. VDRs help companies increase their reach and productivity without compromising professionalism or security.

However, not all virtual data room software is created equal. Keep reading to learn how to spot an inadequate VDR amongst the never ending list of virtual data room providers (and why it’s crucial that you do).

Potential VDR Pitfalls 

Finding a VDR isn’t difficult. But finding a service that meets your needs without sacrificing security or professionalism takes time. Here are three major signs of an inadequate VDR provider.

1. Poor quality

Have you ever been disappointed by an off-brand version of a product? The same can happen with virtual data room providers. If you notice a lower price but also a less than professional design, limited features, or a long list of online complaints, the monetary savings aren’t likely worth the risk.

At the same time, opting for a VDR provider simply because they’re the most expensive won’t guarantee the best experience either. When searching for the best VDR, focus on quality before any other criteria. 

Is the provider’s website professional or rather lackluster and filled with spelling errors? Do past and current clients praise their services or complain of shortcomings? Take a tour of the provider’s services and listen to your gut. At the end of the day, a poor quality VDR will never give you (or your clients) a professional and positive experience.

2. Poor security

With the average cost of a data breach in the U.S. reaching $8.19 million in 2019, online security should be a main focus of all virtual data room providers. But you’ll likely find that this isn’t the case.

Signs that a VDR lacks security include:

  • Minimal security features
  • A history of data breaches
  • Hard-to-find contact information

A VDR provider that prioritizes the security of your stored data and documents will have an impressive number of security features available. Look for automatic encryption (for data both at rest and in transit), passwords and two-factor authentication, the ability for document owners to revoke viewing privileges as required, and activity audits.

Even if you feel the data you store isn’t sensitive in nature, understand that a leak of any sort could end in serious litigation brought on by clients or a severe loss of revenue after damage to your brand.

When browsing virtual data room providers, explore their websites, looking for pages dedicated to their commitment to providing a secure storage solution. And to cancel out any doubt, speak to them directly to learn about the precautions they take and how they handle security threats.

3. Limited options

A VDR is designed to make your work processes simpler, whether it’s a merger and acquisition or just sharing project updates with clients. So when you come across a provider that seems to have more restrictions than options, it can be a red flag that their limited approach will leave you feeling frustrated and constricted.

When searching for a VDR, look for personalization options, including the ability to add logos, brand colors, and custom messages to portals. Look out for red flags, like being forced to use the provider’s organizational schemes instead of being able to sort and arrange folders and documents based on your company’s protocols. 

Browse past updates and announcements on a contender’s website as well. Are they continuously adding new features and listening to their clients for suggestions or do they seem stuck in a rut that leaves their services feeling a bit cold and outdated?

A VDR that evolves alongside your business will always be a better option.

How to Know You’ve Found Your Perfect VDR Match

It certainly takes time to find the perfect VDR service provider. And while there’s no singular magical sign showing you when you’ve found the perfect match, there are certain features and services that tend to be found in superior providers.

Here’s a list, though not exhaustive, that will help you narrow down your search and take a step closer to finding the perfect VDR match for your business.

  • Data rooms should be secure, anonymous, and easy to set up.
  • Uploading shouldn’t be overwhelming. Look for drag-and-drop features that can have your documents uploaded in a matter of minutes.
  • Activity trackers that keep you up to date on every file interaction should be included.
  • Don’t accept basic preview options. Make sure your VDR allows employees and clients to preview a variety of file types without downloading additional software or apps.
  • Bank-level encryption should be a basic feature for data in transit and at rest, combined with invitation-only access to data.
  • Communication within a VDR should be simple and seamless. Look for features that allow viewers and editors to post messages within each workspace.

Think all of these features can’t be found in one VDR provider? Onehub offers all of these features and more, including the ability to assign multiple levels of permissions to documents and customization features that make your brand the star of the show. With no long-term contract lockups to worry about, scheduling a free trial of Onehub is the best way to see a winning virtual data room solution in action.

So, Does It Matter Which VDR You Choose?

Put simply, yes — it absolutely matters which virtual data room you use. There are plenty of virtual data room providers out there, some much stronger than others. But a little research is all it takes to weed out the inadequate providers and find one that matches your needs and budget without compromising your brand or online security.

To see Onehub’s VDR setup and features up close, schedule a free demo today.

File Sharing for Startups: 3 Solutions to Common Hurdles

File sharing & collaboration for startups.

Startups are what the American dream is made up of. Perhaps that’s why there were nearly 31 million small businesses in the U.S. in 2019.

While the typical small size of a startup allows it to be more versatile and agile than its oversized competitors, they often face unique challenges as well. Between never-ending to-do lists, funding fumbles, and navigating industry technology, startups can crumble before their foundation is even poured.

There are services and tools that can help startups not just stay in the game but come out ahead of their competitors. One such tool is Onehub, a cloud-based platform offering secure file sharing and collaboration tools for startups in a variety of industries.

If you’re a startup struggling to keep your head above water, see how Onehub’s file sharing solution for startups can help.

5 Common Startup Challenges (with Solutions from Onehub)

Of course Onehub can help startups store and share files securely and confidently. But here are three ways the file sharing service can help with other common startup challenges.

Limited funding

Startups aren’t known for having piles of cash available for marketing, supplies, and payroll. While raising funds should always be on a startup’s radar, finding ways to stretch the budget they do have is important as well.

A cloud storage solution like Onehub won’t directly put money in a startup’s bank account. But it can help in several indirect ways.

For example, studies show that the equivalent of one working day per week is wasted by employee’s searching for job-related documents. Onehub can help make every payroll hour count with their organizational and document search features. 

Onehub’s collaboration and personalization tools can help startups impress and secure more clients, ideally growing their financial resources for the future. 

Onehub’s virtual data rooms can help startups go through fundraising rounds to earn more capital and has the features you require and expect from data rooms, all without breaking the budget.

And finally, Onehub also offers users four different pricing tiers, allowing startups to choose the features they need without going over budget.

Time management

Research has shown that up to 70% of a CEOs schedule is spent on tasks that don’t add up to great time management skills. This can be especially true in a startup, where the to-do lists tend to grow and the hours in a day stay the same.

Onehub helps teams, whether made of a sole CEO or a small army of hungry entrepreneurs, boost productivity levels by simplifying several common business processes.

Need to send an email to a client reminding them to sign their contract? Just send a message through your client portal in Onehub that not only nudges your client to sign but lets them view all submitted documents, including the original proposal, in one place.

Do you need to send the new employee handbook to your team? Securely share a link in a matter of seconds that will have everyone updated on company policy. Don’t want employees having access to such documents if they leave the company? You can revoke viewing privileges at any time. 

Can’t find the rough draft of a lead magnet you were working on? No worries. Once it’s stored in Onehub, you can search through your files to highlight text, saving you time and stress.

Onehub might not be able to help the new intern make coffee any faster, but it can shave off time from multiple tasks throughout the day, adding up to better time management and improved productivity.

New startup smell

A 2019 survey found that ⅓ of Americans say that due to financial struggles, trusting a brand is more important than ever. Consumers with tight purse strings aren’t likely to take a risk buying from a brand that seems inexperienced, or “too new.” If you want potential customers to stop focusing on your fresh foundation, take advantage of Onehub’s personalization and branding features. These include:

  • Logo and custom colors – Create a designed virtual space that customers will instantly recognize.
  • Branded emails – Nothing turns off a potential customer faster than a generic email. Onehub helps you send branded emails that build trust.
  • White label support – Onehub can be your best-kept secret with white label support, which removes all Onehub branding from your account for a seamless customer experience.

Offering a more personalized experience can increase sales 20 percent. Onehub can help startups, including those in their infancy, create trusting relationships through personalization features that quickly build a professional and consistent brand.

Is Onehub Your Startup’s Missing Ingredient?

You’ve already proven you have grit and determination by getting your startup off the ground. Just keep in mind that there’s no reward for taking a harder road than your competitors. Leverage every available tool, including file sharing for startups, and you’ll be better equipped for success. 

If Onehub could be a catalytic tool for your startup, reach out today with your questions or ask for a free demo.