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COVID-19 Resources for SMBs

Updated 03/30/20; Additions in italics.

As a service to our clients and to small and midsize businesses, we are collating resources to help you mitigate the economic and business impact of the COVID-19 emergency.

Some of these resources are informational, others are tools that can help you adapt your business to current conditions. This post covers the following topics and will be updated regularly.

  • Tools & Services for Remote / Virtual Work
  • Informational Webcasts
  • Emergency Financial Assistance (updated 3/3o)
  • Customer Engagement Tools
  • HIPAA Compliant Video Conferencing in G Suite
  • Free / Discounted Phone and Communication Services

Tools & Services for Remote / Virtual Work

Informational Webcasts

  • We are posting information webcasts from multiple sources in our News & Events calendar. Please check the calendar for dates and times.
    • Open Office Hours — Cumulus Global
    • COVID-19: General FAQs for Employers — Massachusetts Health Council (MHC) & Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM)
    • The Remote Worker: Effective Virtual Meetings – Brainstorm, a Cumulus Global partner in learning
  • NOTE: While some events may be from organizations in our area, we expect the information to be useful to all small and midsize organizations.

Emergency Financial Assistance:

  • In Massachusetts:
    • The Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation has halted its disaster loan program to avoid conflict with the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program (see below)
  • In ALL States:
    • With the passage of the CARES Act, additional loan programs will be available.  See this post for info on the loan/forgiveness program.
    • The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program is available to most businesses nationally.  Start here: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela
      • The Small Business Administration (SBA) has made an important adjustment to the terms of its Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL). Moving forward, EIDL loans will defer payments for the first year (twelve months) of the loan.
    • The SBA launched an Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program offering emergency loans up to $25,000. Click here for information.

Customer Engagement Tools

  • Live Chat
    • Adding live chat to your website can help you facilitate sales and customer service, and can provide a role for your sales team.
    • Contact us to discuss solutions
  • Phone Services
    • Providing remote workers access to your business phone system helps facilitate customer interactions.
    • Contact us if your current phone system does not let you easily extend to employee laptops, tablets, or phones.
    • We have affordable ways to improve communications, often by augmenting your current phone services.
  • Webcast Services
    • Webcasts and video meetings and want to engage customer, employees, and other face-t0-face.
    • If you are running G Suite or Office 365, you have the ability to run video meetings and broadcasts without additional costs.
    • Contact us if you want to learn more or need assistance running a meeting.
    • We can also assist with more advanced web/video meeting services.

HIPAA Compliant Video Conferencing in G Suite

  • Hangouts Meet, the new video meeting service in G Suite can be used for HIPAA compliant video sessions
  • Hangouts named video calls are not covered by G Suite’s HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA)
  • For best practices, administrators should make Meet the default for video meetings and disallow use of classic Hangouts and chat.  These settings can be limited to specific groups of users, if appropriate.
  • Contact us for assistance with these settings and/or user training.

Free/Discounted Phone and Communication Services

  • Several VoIP and online meeting providers are offering free or dramatically discounted services for up to 90 days.
  • These services can be configured to work with your existing phone services to extend access and features to employees that do not normally work remotely
  • Contact us to discuss your needs, workflows, and options.

Resources for Remote Work

To assist you in coping with the impact of the COVID-19 emergency, we are providing this list of resources to help you fully leverage remote work.

We have additional business and technical resources listed in our COVID-19 Resources for SMBs blog post.

(Updated: 3/27/2020 — Updates in italics)

 

 


Fast and Easy Intranets and Customer Portals in G Suite

  • Secure web sites are a great way to stay connected and engaged with your team and with customers
  • While Google Sites is somewhat limited, there are other options
  • OverDRIVE automates the creation of web pages and sites, using Google Drive as the content management system
  • Click here for more information and to arrange a demo or a trial, or contact us for assistance.

Cloud Access to On-Premise File Servers

  • We have the ability to quickly setup remote, mapped drive access to on-premise file servers via the CentreStack cloud service.
  • This service provides a secure, easy to setup and manage solution that gives your team access to your on-premise file server without the need for expensive and difficult-to-manage VPN services.
  • As a month-to-month, affordable service, CentreStack gives those working remotely access to critical files and data.
  • Contact us for more information.

Simple Tools to Coordinate and Manage Tasks

  • With Office 365
    • Most Office 365 licenses include access to Planner, a simple tool for tracking tasks, individually, and across teams, departments and working groups.  Let us know if you need some guidance or training.
    • Teams is a comprehensive tools for social collaboration with built in Wiki’s, file sharing, and audio/video conferencing.  We can help your team learn and use this powerful tool
  • G Suite
    • You have access to Keep for notes and reminders. Contact us for a demo or assistance.
  • Other Tools
    • Hive, Trello, Slack, and others give you social teamwork and project management capabilities that are easy to adopt and use.
    • Hiver let’s you quickly setup shared mailboxes for customer service and team functions (see a webcast and demo here).

Cloud Access to QuickBooks

  • We can move your on-premise QuickBooks (or other application) setup to the cloud and provide secure remote desktop access.
  • Doing so can provide, as needed:
    • Secure access to multiple users
    • Export of reports and data to Excel or other systems
    • Local printing of checks, reports, and invoices
    • Fast, reliable access without VPN hassles and expense
  • Contact us for more information.

Emergency Server Migrations / Hybrid Clouds

  • We have staff on-hand to move file and application servers to the cloud, providing secure access for remote/virtual workers.
  • Contact us to assess your needs and possible solutions.

Flexible Communication Services

  • If you are not able to extend your business phone service to workers at home, please contact us.
  • We have a number of VoIP and number matching services that can fill this need.
  • We can also address other issues, such as the need for separate or additional voice/text services.

Free/Discounted Phone and Communication Services

  • Several VoIP and online meeting providers are offering free or dramatically discounted services for up to 90 days.
  • Providers include, but are not limited to: Dialpad, UberConference, RingCentral, and Cisco WebEx.
  • These services can be configured to work with your existing phone services to extend access and features to employees that do not normally work remotely
  • Contact us to discuss your needs, workflows, and options.
News from Cumulus Global

Resource Center Helps Small and Mid-Size Businesses Make Better Cloud Decisions

Westborough, MA – The volume of information about cloud computing can be overwhelming for small and mid-size enterprises as owners, executives, and IT professionals look for the best solutions.  To ease their burden, Cumulus Global launched a new online resource center to help SMEs learn and make better decisions.

“Much of the discussion about cloud computing focuses on the infrastructure and platform services used by larger enterprises,” note Cumulus Global CEO Allen Falcon. “Our Resource Center focuses on information most useful for small and mid-sized businesses, nonprofits, and government entities.”

The resource center (https://www.cumulusglobal.com/resources/) includes access to a library of whitepapers and eBooks, upcoming webcasts and live events, blogs, and recordings of past webcasts and events.  In addition, visitors can subscribe to daily and weekly online newspapers that deliver cloud computing ideas, innovations, and news stories to your inbox.

“Our goal is to provide decision makers with perspective and knowledge,” stated Falcon. “If we can help small and mid-size businesses see past the hype, they will make better decisions and will be happier with the results.”

Launch Alert: Cloud Solutions Weekly

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As part of our commitment to provide information about cloud computing for small and mid-size enterprises, we are pleased to announce The Cloud Solutions Weekly.

Published every Friday at 10:00 am ET, The Cloud Solutions Weekly covers cloud computing and its potential role and value for your business.  We aggregate news, stories, and videos from more than two dozen reputable sources to ensure a broad range of coverage. And we don’t accept advertising to keep it clean and easy to read.

Subscribe to The Cloud Solutions Weekly to receive a weekly headlines summary in your inbox.


News from Cumulus Global

A New Look for Spring

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Yes! We launched our new website!

Our objective, to provide a better understanding of our solutions and the breadth of products and services we mix and match to create them.

Our focus remains on helping you achieve your goals and objectives by providing you with cloud-enabled technologies, services, and expertise.

We will continue to add and enhance the content in our belief that information is key to making sound decisions. To that end, the Resources section gives you access to our Cloud Solutions eNewsletter, our monthly 3T@3 Webcast series, and the Cloud Solutions Daily.

11 Great YouTube Channels for Teachers

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As headlined in the Sept 11th edition of our very own Education Resource Daily,  this article from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning highlights some great resources for teachers.