Systems Processes and Working Remotely

Dan McCoy – Micro Enterprises LLC.

Episode 58 with Paul Beers and Dan McCoy

One of the best things any company can do is set up technology systems and processes that help prepare them to work under any circumstances. GCI was prepared for the current crisis and hasn’t had to make many (if any at all) adjustments to work remotely. We continue to deliver a rapid response to our clients now, and in the future beyond the current crisis. Here’s a look at some of the technologies and strategies we’ve been using with great success for the past decade.

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Paul: Hello, everyone. This is Paul Beers, CEO and managing member of GCI Consultants, and I am going to be your host today. Welcome back to the “Everything Building Envelope” podcast. I am really excited about today’s guest and today’s topic. The guest is a guy that I’ve known for a while now and work with a lot. He’s actually our IT consultant. Dan McCoy is the CEO of Micro Enterprises. And we’re gonna be talking about the new situation a lot of people are finding themselves in. We’re recording this from home, of course, in the middle of the corona virus crisis. And a lot of companies are making a big switch right now from being in the office or being at work locations. And now, everybody has to work from home.

And there’s a lot of technology and infrastructure, and things like that, that goes behind it. For GCI Consultants, we’ve been working remotely for 10 years. Our change was zero. We do it really well. We’ve got a lot of experience. And I thought it would be interesting for everybody to just kind of hear about how we do it and what we do. And Dan, welcome.

Dan: Thanks, Paul. I appreciate it. And I’m excited for the conversation today.

Paul: Yeah. So, Dan is a big part of all this, obviously. His company, Micro Enterprises, provides the outsource support for all of our processes, and systems, and maintenance, and troubleshooting, and lots of other stuff. So, we thought maybe we’d talk about that Dan. And maybe you can start out telling everybody a little bit about yourself and your company. And then, we can jump into the topic.

Dan: Absolutely. So, I have run Micro Enterprises for, goodness gracious, now it’s…let’s see. I worked full time for another company for a long time while I started this company, but it’s almost 10 years now that we have been out on my own, if you will. But it’s not just us. In fact, most of the day-to-day support is handled by our great team. We’ve got six employees and it’s definitely a team effort. And Paul, you know, I think…and this is true for you guys. One of the strongest things that any company can do is set up great systems and processes. And a lot of IT companies, I think, are very reactionary where, you know, they wait until the IT…or until the client has a problem and the client has to call in. We call that break-fix or, you know, reacting. If you think about it, it’s really a problem from that standpoint because if I’m only billing you by the hour, then I’m making money when you’re down and you’re not making money when you’re down. And it’s a broken mentality.

So instead we choose to work with our clients, just like you, where we can charge a flat fee per month. But more importantly, what happens is it aligns our goals with yours. Because when you’re down, then I’m having to react. So, creating systems and processes together as a team with you to make sure that the things that are most important to you are taken care of, is the approach that we take. And now, we have a model called 3P. It’s protection, productivity, and profitability. And it’s a great model for any company to follow. And that is where you look at stabilizing the environment first, protecting them, and then helping them become more protected or productive and profitable, using strategy and technology. So, we’re gonna get into that a little bit.

Paul: Yeah. You know, I mean, there’s nothing worse than being down with your IT systems. And it’s complicated. I mean, you’ve got devices. And you’ve got internet providers, and users, user errors, all these kind of things that can come in, the whole security thing, and hackers. And there’s so many things. So, you know, we had worked with a few IT firms over the years, and Dan’s been with us for a long time now. And there’s a reason for that because everything he’s just…he’s begun telling you about, he’ll continue to tell you about, has really worked. And it hasn’t been, you know, “Call us when it’s broken,” which is really a horrible way to do things. It’s not that we don’t have things break, and they have really good IT support when that happens, but…Dan, maybe just talk a little bit about the big picture, what’s really important with working remotely, with regards to systems processes, security, those sorts of things.

Dan: Got it. So, the most important thing is that…And too many people start with the tactics. Basically, you know, they go, “Oh. Well, what internet speed do we have? Or what computer should we have?” Or things of that nature. And I think that’s kind of a broken way to think about it. The first question has to be is, “What are the company’s goals? What are we trying to accomplish? Is it, not have the overhead of an office? Is it to allow people to be at home with their family? You know, what is the strategy?” Right? Too many people start with the tactic. The question needs to be asked is, “What are we trying to accomplish?”

For example, with GCI, you have people who work out of their homes, employees, all over the state. So that helps serve your clients better because if we have somebody in the southeast section of Florida, say Miami, then you can dispatch somebody from Miami to go on-site. Whereas if they’re on the southwest coast, Naples, for example, then you can dispatch somebody from there. So, I think that makes a lot of smart sense when you’re trying to cover a broad area to not have to have people drive. Because it’s a waste of time if people are having to drive back and forth. So, I think that’s a perfect example actually of the strategy. Hey, we wanna have rapid response to be able to help our clients in various areas of the state, so how do we now accomplish it?

Right? That’s the strategy. And then, the tactic is, “Oh. Well, let’s see if we can have people work remote.” Okay. This is obviously…We’re not even talking COVID. We’re talking just general strategy and tactics. So, I think that’s probably a really smart way to think about it from a standpoint. And then, take each and every piece of that, Paul, going in and making sure that, “Okay. Now, what technology do we need to have in place to be able to accomplish that?” “Oh. Well, we need to be able to communicate effectively.” What does that mean? Then we start breaking that down. And, you know, a lot of this comes from your core values too. You’re a traction…you use the EOS traction system in your company before making sure you have great systems and processes. And I think the technology implementation of that is just an extension of that. I mean, how has that helped you when you move to that? Because you did that, you know, while we were working with you.

Paul: Yeah. Well, I mean, it’s very critical. And I was just thinking when you were talking about this. The benefits, you know, some of them are kind of obvious. You don’t drive to the office every day. You save a lot of time just on travel time. Your infrastructure costs, as far as buildings and all that kind of stuff, are less. You can be more productive working at home. I’ve heard a lot of people tell me that, that have suddenly been thrust into this during the coronavirus crisis. But then what are the challenges? So, the challenges are…well, the first thing everybody thinks about is…well, not everybody, but some people do. How do we know our people are working? And I can tell you, you know. So, you got to go from the time clock mentality to the get things done mentality. Now they need to always be available and be on call during certain hours of the day, likely, with a lot of positions. But you just know if they’re productive or not.

The second really big challenge is the whole communication, comradery, teamwork, those sorts of things. So, when you work from home, you can feel isolated, like we all do now on this stay at home order. But, you know, that can be a regular feeling even in normal times. And that’s something that you’ve really gotta come up with good systems and processes. And Dan, you mentioned the EO system, which is the Entrepreneurial Operating system that some companies use. And it brings a lot of structure to how you do things. And it includes daily check-in calls. It includes weekly meetings and things like that. And instead of, you know, driving to the office and trying to get everybody there, we do it via video conference. And we can turn on the cameras and see everybody. And, you know, maybe a couple of them are together for whatever. But everybody can check-in at the same time each week and go over everything. So, the process part of that is really important.

Dan: Agreed. And you mentioned the strategy. Right? That daily check-in. And we’re gonna talk about the tactic and how we actually accomplish that at GCI. But the one other thing I wanna bring up is the fact that you have people…this is really a personality-driven thing too. You gotta hire the right people. Right? So, you have to hire people, you know, who are a fit for your core values and for the way you operate. But…Because there’s some people who, you know, come from a 9 to 5 job, if you will, with a bunch of people. And now, they start working at home. And that’s a tough adjustment for some folks. Others excel at that. So that is an individual thing with a person.

However, whether it’s this situation or just working at home in general, a great solution or tactic to solve that problem is the Microsoft Office 365 suite of products. It contains many different pieces which are useful in working remotely, but one of those is Microsoft Teams. So, there’s other products that allow this capability too, but Teams does it very well. And it’s included in the suite of products. Microsoft Teams gives you the ability to not just do things like video conference calls. Many of you are familiar with Zoom. They’ve risen, or zoomed, pun intended, to great heights. I mean, I think I heard that they went from like 10 million users to 2 million users in like 3 days. It was insane. And they had some security and infrastructure problems in doing that, but they’ve handled it fairly nicely.

But Teams gives you the ability to all get on a call and see each other. We use the same thing. In fact, we run our company on EOS and traction also. In fact, I think we may have even been doing it prior to you guys. And so, that level 10 meeting, that once a week, hour-and-a-half-long meeting that we have that allows our team to really get together and identify, discuss, and solve the problems that we have is done once a week via Teams. Because I am also a virtual company. I actually own two companies. But one of our companies is virtual, Micro Enterprises. And our IT support, since we support people all over the company, our employees work out of their house.

And you hit the nail on the head, and I love this, Paul. That is, you switched this mentality from putting time in, trading time for dollars, time in, to a productivity model. We know what needs to be accomplished. Well, are these things getting accomplished? For example, in our company, we have a ticketing system. We know what needs to be accomplished because it’s all done in the system. And so, are the tickets getting closed? Are the project getting completed? How far into the project are we? That’s all documented. So, you know the performers and the underperformers.

Paul: You do. You do. And it becomes really obvious. You know, the best part about the whole work from home thing, once you really get in the groove, is it suits people’s…The lack of rigidity is actually an asset. You know? So, if you have to go pick up your kid at school, or you have…like this morning, I got my hair cut at 9:00, it’s not a disruption. It’s just, you know, “Okay. From 9:00 to 9:30, I’m getting my hair cut.” And even better, I had somebody come to my house today and I had it done in the garage, which was great. That’s somebody else now that…the haircutter that came over that’s now basically providing a different variation of the service. But I think we’re seeing a big shift, you know. As we get through this, maybe we’ll talk about that a little bit more.

Dan: I think few people leave a company just for money reasons. I think…In fact, I know better because there’s been data to prove this, that people leave companies because they don’t feel appreciated, or they don’t feel that they have been heard, or they don’t see a room for advancement. Money is usually pretty low on the list of things that people leave companies for. So, if you step back a minute and look at, why do people leave, and how do you avoid that and create a work environment? If they have the freedom…and you mentioned it a minute ago. If they have the freedom to know that, if they need to step out and take care of their kid for a second, that they can do that and, “Oh, I haven’t stolen company time that I can…I still have a job I’ve gotta get done. So that maybe means I work a little bit later to get the job done.” At the end of the day, if the job is getting done, isn’t that what we as business owners want?

Paul: For sure. And you know, and this speaks to quality of life. So, quality of life is that it doesn’t have to be all about work. You know, you’ve got personal relationships, and families, and other interests, and things like that. And working from home, you’ve gotta be careful that some of the things don’t take away from your productivity. But it can be a really good blend that works better, and the staff is happier, the team is happier. When it works well, it works really well. And for most people, it can work well and it does work well.

Dan: It does. And you bring it back to our whole core value mindset. The core value…Like in our case, we have a core value. Our number five core value is enjoy life and balance the journey. That’s designed for our team. It’s not all about work. It’s about quality of life. We gotta be productive, but we also need to enjoy life because if we can’t take care of ourselves, then we can’t take care of our clients. So, you know, hiring somebody who gets that concept is wonderful. But, you know, I wanna take this back for a second because we talked about Microsoft Teams. Let’s talk about a little bit more about the rest of the Microsoft suite. Maybe you can talk about some of the ways that you have used that.

But in Teams, you can collaborate. And this is the key piece. It’s not just video conferencing anymore. It’s now the ability to allow you to dial in. For example, if you have to join a meeting, or you wanna join a meeting but you don’t have your computer in front of you, there’s an app on your phone. So, the other day, we have our daily check-in. Right? It’s at 9:15 every morning. And from 9:15 to 9:30, we try to keep it as tight as possible, just a daily check-in, “Hey, what’s going on?” Get everybody on the same page. We actually call it our Same Page meeting. I think that might be some EOS terminology.

We actually…One day, I was out running, and I lost track of time. And I was out exercising snd I’m like, “Shoot, it’s 9:15.” So, I grab my phone, stopped in the park, it was a beautiful day, and brought the Teams app up on phone and joined our Same Page meeting, and stood there for 15 minutes, and had my Same Page meeting out at the park. So, you don’t actually…And that’s the beauty, technology gives you freedom to do what you need to do from wherever. I could be on a beach in Tahiti. If I’ve got an internet connection, I can make the call. I can still get business done. It creates flexibility and allows you to be productive wherever you’re at.

Paul: Yeah. So, you know, one thing that comes to mind with all that is that the way that we’re set up is, you know, in the flexible collaborative type of environment. So, everything that we’ve got comes from the cloud. We don’t have any servers or, you know, machines, or anything like that. I think I might have one back-up device or something like that. But we don’t have any…everything’s cloud-based. So, it’s an application. You know, if your computer crashes, you need a new one, you can just bring all that stuff back in from the cloud. You’ve really lost nothing. So, the security concerns we used to have with server room, you know, what if there’s air conditioner breaks? What if a key piece of equipment breaks? Or what if there’s a hurricane and the roof blows off? That’s totally not a concern anymore, zero concern.

And the other thing that you were just touching on that’s really important, I think, is that everything that we do, there’s a mobile version of it. Every single application that we have, there’s a mobile version. So, like you, you could be…not today, because of the coronavirus, stay at home and whatnot. But you can be sitting in an airport, you can be at a job site, you can be exercising, you could be sitting out in front of the supermarket, whatever, and you communicate, you collaborate. We use a file storage application called Egnyte. And we have all of our files on Egnyte. Egnyte is a really great system. But anything that’s on the server, I can look it up on my phone. So, if I’m at, say, a job site, and somebody says, you know, “Does your proposal include such and such?” I can say, “Well, let’s see.” And in about 10 seconds, or maybe if I’m booting up, whatever, 30 seconds, I can have that document on my phone and looking at it. And that’s super powerful, something that…it’s a capability that is far beyond anything that we had in the past.

Dan: Agreed, Paul. And I will just take that a little bit further and go a little bit deeper. The strategy is, how do I make sure that my stuff is backed up, that it is secured? And we’ll break down what security means at a different level. I highly recommend that…You know what? I’m not gonna get into that just yet. Let me just…that it’s secured, that it’s available. And this is the key. So, the old model, when you had a server, is you gotta log on. So, you’re in your house…or sorry, in your office. You can get to…you map a drive. We’ll call it the X drive or the Z drive. Right? You map a drive to the server. And then, everything is stored at that central location. Well, we need to make sure that it is stored at the central location because we wanna make sure that it can be backed up. Right? That’s the concept of storing it centrally so that we don’t have files on people’s computers, and if their computer crashes, then company data is lost.

But what Egnyte has done is just taken that concept and pushed it up into the cloud. So just to be clear, right, the cloud is just servers that are in a data center somewhere else. At the end of the day, I’ve seen jokes about this, but they call it the cloud. You can’t see this thing. And they have this picture of this guy with a bunch of servers in his living room. That’s definitely not what Egnyte is. But Egnyte gives you the ability to have the data stored elsewhere and have it accessible from any device. So, whether you’re on an iPad or a Mac, a PC, a laptop, a mobile phone, Android or Apple, we don’t care, whether you’re on your actual computer, maybe you just need to log on via the web, it doesn’t matter. Regardless of where you’re at or how you’re trying to access it, the data’s available.

And from a security standpoint, Paul, this is really important, especially in a medical environment or something of that nature where HIPAA and things like that are important, everything is logged. So, every time somebody accesses a file…heck, I can have it email me, if I want to, every time someone adds a file or deletes a file. I mean, it’s very very powerful. And so, it gives us visibility. So, if you have a rogue employee…because this never happens, right? If you have a rogue employee who leaves the company and takes the data with them, and decides they wanna download 10,000 files, then boom, you can see that. You can see so and so downloaded 10,000 files. And then, you got some questions to start asking, why so and so just downloaded 10,000 files.

But you can go back and see who has permissions to this, permissions to that. You can give permissions to people. So, if you have an employee that just has a need-to-know situation where maybe they only need to access two or three directories, you can give them permissions to only access those two or three directories regardless of what device that they’re on. You can tell them they can’t even…You can turn off the capability of accessing it even from a mobile device if you don’t want to. And there’s one more piece that I want to add to this, and it’s super important. And we rolled this out with you guys. And we roll it out with all of our clients. And that is two-factor authentication. Let’s face it. It’s a big pain in the neck because it’s extra security, it’s extra steps and hoops you gotta jump through to be able to log in the first time you do it. However, two-factor authentication is something you know, your password, and then something you have.

So, there’s an app that runs on your phone that, when you go to log in, you put your username and your password in. But then, it sends a…we call it a push, to your phone. And you have to go approve it on your phone to be able to log in. So, if somebody got ahold of your username and password, but they didn’t kidnap you and have you held hostage and got your phone in front of you, then they’re not getting into this thing. So, from a security standpoint, we recommend, regardless of what technology it is, whether it’s Office 365, whether it’s Egnyte, whether it’s your bank, whether it’s Facebook, all those things, that you enable two-factor authentication. It’s one of the best ways that you can remain secure.

Paul: Well look, it’s a pain, but you get used to it. It’s a very, very, very minor inconvenience at this point. So, you’ve got the security, you’ve got the access, you’ve got all that stuff. But another thing that you have with an app such as Egnyte is it’s a very collaborative environment too. So, we can open documents in Office 365. Say we’re working on a big report and there’s two or three of us working on it, we can open it, right from Egnyte, on Word Online let’s say. And all three of us can work on the same document at the same time, maybe in different pages or whatever. Everything’s saved real-time. And it’s super cool and super powerful to be able to do that. In addition to that, if we were just, you know, putting it…say we put a new document in on a project. There’s a feature called comments. And you can actually go to the Egnyte screen where the document is, select comments. And you can write in there, @danmccoy, “Dan, please review this and let me know what you think and if there’s any changes.”

Then, you can take that document, go through it, maybe make some changes, and then go back to the comments and say, “I reviewed it. I changed section five, line three. And I want you to take a last look at it and see if we’re good to go.” And you can just go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And there’s kind of like a transcript of who’s doing what along the way. So, there’s so much stuff just with the file storage that you can do. And it’s so collaborative because not only does it have its own collaboration features, but it brings you, you know, into Office 365, which has a whole nother suite of collaboration features. And I mean, let’s face it, collaboration’s what it’s all about these days, especially in the teamwork environment.

Dan: Collaboration and integration. And we don’t wanna forget that part, because you kind of touched on it without completely saying it. But you can open things right from Egnyte in Microsoft Word and save them right back to Egnyte from Microsoft Word without ever having to save it first on your computer and things of that nature. So, what’s really powerful about that is, for example, every email that I send out has part of our system is attached to it. So, every email that goes out has two things. One, it has at the bottom…And this is me. I don’t do this with everybody, but we have the capability. And that is, if you get an email from me, at the bottom, it says, “Click here to send me files securely.” And if you click that link, it gives you the ability to upload a file that is large and it does it securely.

So, once you do that, it actually drops it right into Egnyte. And as soon as somebody does that, I get an email saying, “So and so, Paul Beers, just sent me a file.” And then, I can just go right into my folder, right on my Explorer window, just like I would browse any other folder on my computer. And I’ve got access to that file that you just uploaded to me. It puts it right in a folder with your name and email address on it. So, it’s super powerful. And you can go the other direction too. I can send you files securely that are password encoded, that automatically expire, you know, a week from now, two weeks from now, whatever, it’s settable.

And so, if I have a sensitive file that I’m sending my banker or whatever, I can say it’s gonna expire in two days. And I can separately send him the password snd he can access that file. And then, I don’t have to worry about it being available after two days. It just auto disappears. So, there’s a lot of collaboration capability, but there’s also a lot of integration. So, it ties in with just about every major platform out there, HubSpot. It ties in with Docusign or WriteSign, or any of those document signature platforms. So, for example, I used Adobe EchoSign. And I can right-click on a document and say, “Send with EchoSign.” It will send the file to you for you to sign electronically. Then, you sign it. And as soon as you sign it, it puts the signed copy automatically right back in my folder snd I don’t have to do anything. So, it’s very powerful.

Paul: It really is. And by the way, I was just taking notes about the click here notes with email. So that’s a great idea. And I’ll be putting a ticket in when we’re done for that.

Dan: I actually purposely did that because I know that many of you are not using that capability in there. But it is, it’s very powerful. And then, couple that in with our microdefender systems, which are our spam filtering and virus filtering systems that keep the junk from getting into your email, or at least minimize the junk from getting into your email. Also, using that system, we don’t even have to add…like when we send emails…And I’ll just mention this now because this is something we implemented with you guys. You had a challenge. When I came onboard, one of your challenges was that everybody was setting up their signatures via the device. So, one guy had one signature that looked one way. Another guy had another signature and it looked the other way. If he sent it from his iPad, it looked different than if he sent it from his mobile phone than if he sent it from the Outlook on his computer or the web. It always looked different. So, you didn’t have a continuous look.

And this is something…again, we’re taking it back up to strategy. As a company, one of the important things is to have a common branding, and a feel and a look to the way you do things and what you do. So, why would you want to have different looking signatures? So, we implemented a system called Exclaimer that automatically…We set up a template as to what the signatures look like. And then, it pulls the content for your name, your phone number, your fax number, your address, whatever, right from Office365. So, I have one template that when Paul sends an email to me, has his name, and his title, and his phone number populated into that.

And then, if one of the other employees send something to me, say, Chris, then his information is populated. But it’s all being generated by the same system. Now, the powerful thing about that is no matter what device I send it to because we’re using cloud-based systems, no matter what device I send it from, whether it’s the iPad, the phone, or the computer, it automatically puts that same signature on there so it has a uniform look. And that just tightens up the visuals and the branding of what a company has.

Paul: Yeah, really good. And, you know, the other thing I was just thinking about when you were saying that about talking about emails is the worse way to send documents around is email. And that’s what we used to do, you know. We’d review something, email it. Then you’d review it, email it back. We had all these versions floating around. And it was a disaster. So that’s been overcome. And the document transmittal with downloading and uploading directly from the server is a really great thing. And it works so much better than the old ways of doing things. Real quick, the last tactic I wanna cover, Dan, and then we’re gonna wrap things up is tell about when you’re in the cloud, you end up with enumerable usernames and passwords. Now, you know, I used to have like the same password for everything. And I know you’re gonna…And I know that that’s really really bad. And so, you helped us put in some systems to overcome that. And if you could quickly maybe just run through that, the final tactic piece that we’ll talk about today?

Dan: Yeah, absolutely, Paul. And before I mentioned that but let me just talk about why real quickly. Cybersecurity, and there’s a lot of stuff behind the curtain that Paul doesn’t even get to see that we do on a daily basis. We have systems being watched 24 by 7 from a standpoint of cybersecurity. So, if for some reason, a virus gets on his computer and it attempts to call home to, you know, mother Russia or whatever, we get notified of that right away. And so, we talk about the why. Paul, I was looking at this the other day. There’s a website out there called av-test.org, av-test.org. And if you go there, it keeps track of all the known new threats that it sees. And I don’t have time to pull it up right now. But when I looked at the other day, we were averaging, in April, 350,000 new, never seen before threats. We’re talking viruses, malware, malicious software, things of that nature, 350,000 new threats per day. Let that sink in for just a second, 350,000 new threats a day.

Now, the reality is your antivirus and the software that you have on your computer simply cannot keep up with that. So, if you’re going and buying the old traditional Norton McAfee antiviruses from Best Buy, things like that, and putting them on your computer. it’s 30-year-old technology that has a database. And they have to put that virus in the database before the system recognizes it. And on average, it’s 30 to 60 days before that gets added to that database. We actually track all that information. So that’s actual factual data based upon what we’re tracking. Think about that. If there’s 350,000 new threats today, do the math. In 30 days, you’re toast if you click on the wrong thing. If you click on an email from someone that’s been hacked, you’re toast. So, there’s gotta be…there’s newer technology out there. And I won’t get into the details now for time. But there’s newer technology, we call it next-generation threat management, that looks at behaviors and what’s happening.

So, when you understand that this behavior, if it occurs, is potentially bad, then I can flag when that behavior occurs, as opposed to just having a database that says that this program is bad. So, the concepts and the way we look at cybersecurity is important. And you gotta think about this. I mean, this is also a big problem with everybody working at home. And we can cover this, if we have time, maybe in another broadcast. But I wanted to preface what I was about to say with all of that. if you understand that their goal, okay, their goal in doing this is to capture a username and password. If you’re going to have a password…That’s one of their goals. If you’re going to have a bunch of different passwords, or even one password…If there’s one password that you make different than every other one, could you hazard a guess which one that would be Paul? But if there’s one password that should be different than every other password that you have…I recommend they all be different. But if there’s one, which one do you think that would be?

Paul: My bank account.

Dan: Okay. That’s a really good guess. The answer is the email because, think about it, the email is a central place for them to reset every password that you have. Because what do they do when you send a password reset? It sends an email to your email account. So, if I can compromise your email, then I can get to just about anything. And I’d bet you, if I go through your email, I can figure out who you bank with. I can figure out all of the accounts you have. Because our emails are bread crumb trails for lots of cybersecurity attacks. So now, that one password should be different. If you don’t use a system like I’m gonna recommend, your email password should be the one that’s different than everyone else. However, what if you could have your every password be different and completely random and 16 characters long so that you never have to remember it again, and it’s near impossible for anybody to guess because it’s completely randomized?

That’s where a password manager comes in handy. There are enterprise accounts that you can get like we use. And those accounts allow the administrator to control all that. So, for example, if you need to terminate somebody or somebody leaves the company, whether they leave under good terms or not, standard process dictates that we have a process that locks them out of all accounts immediately. So, you don’t get into this, “Well, they’re good people. We can be a little slower at it.” No. Standard process, and from a security standpoint, is that you shut them down right away. Well, how do you do that? Well, when you have systems, you can flick a switch. And you have processes that tell you all the switches you need to go flick. So all of your passwords, in one location, they’re encrypted, and you just have to remember one password. And that’s the one to get into your LastPass. And oh, by the way, set up two-factor authentication on that like we talked about before.

But if all of them are random passwords, then when you go to a website…This is also a productivity tip. You go to a website to log in, boom, it populates automatically because you’ve already authenticated and logged in. So, it’s faster. You don’t have to remember the password. Oh, you have to pull your notebook out, which is highly secure. Right? I saw a guy the other day, Paul, he had his passwords taped to the back of his phone, his mobile phone. Because nobody ever loses their mobile phone, right?

Paul: Yeah. It’s a big problem. And I can tell you, I have different passwords for everything now. It even has my credit card information and it can auto-fill in. So I don’t store credit card information anywhere anymore. Like the airlines, hotels, they all get breached. I don’t do that. I just don’t.

Dan: If there’s one thing you hear me say though, Paul, if there’s one thing you hear me say in all of this is, we’ve talked about a number of pieces of technology, but we cannot just simply go, “Oh. Well, I like this and I’m gonna go implement it and I’m just gonna throw it in.” There has to be some strategy. And if you don’t have the ability, whoever you is that’s listening to this, if you don’t have the ability to think strategically or understand what you don’t know because the things you don’t know are the things that will bite you, then you need to definitely reach out to…hopefully, you have an IT company that can think strategically for you and help you along with this. At the end of the day, you gotta think and implement these things strategically, and not just grab a piece here, grab a piece there, and toss it in a big pile.

Paul: Ad hoc doesn’t work, you know, I wanna get this, I wanna get that. Everything’s gotta work together. And having a plan is really key. So, you know, I think the thing that, you know, that we’ve learned with all this over time, and it’s really helped us…And I hope that we’ve shared some information that’s really gonna help the listeners. But the big benefit here…you know, I’ve talked about how it’s benefited us. But the really big benefit is how much it’s benefited our clients, you know. So, we’re able to deliver a higher, better level of service to them in a secure professional, and an easy way, I mean, just moving the documents back and forth, and the look and feel of the documents, and the teamwork and the effort that goes into everything, and the availability of information, you know, at short notice. So, the benefit here, which is what we really strive for, is to really help our clients get the best possible service and result. And, you know, that’s what it’s all about. So, all this stuff, as you say, it’s strategy, tactics, all that, it’s all great. But ultimately, it’s what’s delivered to the clients. And it’s all that helps make us great and helps make them great as well.

Dan: It’s all part of the sales process. And this is the key piece. We didn’t talk about this. But from a sales strategy standpoint, I’m gonna tell you, Paul, when I sell, my entire sales process is all focused on helping me understand what our clients’ needs are and solving them. I’ve often said, and I’m sure you’ve heard it said too before, if you focus on and give other people what they need, you’ll never go hungry a day in your life. And, you know, your valid mission and purpose in a sales process has to be helping your client get what they need and serving them at the highest level. That means focus 100% on them. Our number two core value is serve others. So, if you do that, then technology becomes a strategy for sales. And it all ties together. So, if you’re pulling it up a level…we didn’t really talk about this. But now, sales and technology and the strategy behind that become one. And that’s really important, I think.

Paul: Yeah. So, you know, I think about our core values. And, you know, they’re all basically trying to do just that, to really give the best possible outcome for our clients and have the team grow along the way. And number four, we hold ourselves to the highest professional standards. And you’ve gotta have a good foundation to be able to do that. Everybody’s gotta be on the same page. Everybody’s gotta be working together. And things have gotta be done in a really good, efficient, and quality way to achieve the highest professional standards.

Dan: Totally agree.

Paul: Yeah. So here we are. We’re in the coronavirus. We’re working from home. That’s what we do anyway. That’s no big deal for either one of us. What’s this thing gonna look like come out the other side? What’s the new normal gonna be, do you think, as far as with regards to today’s topic in general?

Dan: Well, I think that’s still probably taking shape. And it will become clearer what the new normal is. But I think you’re getting a lot of differences. So, I’ll give you a perfect example. In addition to owning this company, I also own an electronics store. It’s actually a Radio Shack dealership here in Pennsville, New Jersey. And one of the things that I threw out there is, “Hey. Is anybody sitting here at home wondering whether trying my hand at entrepreneurship is something that I wanna do?” I mean, I think you’re gonna see a shift. People are rethinking what is important to them. As they’re sitting home with their families and getting to know the people that they haven’t seen in a while because they been working so much, I think the whole economy…not just economy, but the whole world has gotten a reset button. You know, it’s easy to look at this thing as being a problem and it’s a bad thing. But I think there’s a lot of good that has come out of it.

So the reset button has been pushed. And because that reset button has been pushed, we now have the ability to look at things with a different set of lenses. So, what does the future look like? I have people who…I have 10 people signed up for an entrepreneurship class that I’m going to be teaching to talk about some of these types of things. And what is the mindset of an entrepreneur? Some people are saying, “Hey. Maybe I wanna try my hand at doing something different. I’ve always had a passion for this. And now, I wanna go see how I can implement it.” So, I think you’ve got some people who are going to be doing that.

I think you’re gonna see some people who are gonna wanna homeschool their kids. They’re like, “Man. I’ve gotten used to this thing, and I’ve gotten to know my kid a little bit better. And they’ve gotten to know me a little bit better. And heck, I’m gonna wanna do that.” In fact, I think there’s probably some parents that are saying exactly the opposite. “I can’t wait for my kids to go back. I’m not cut out for this.” But, you know, there’s…

Paul: Well, you know, I mean, the educational system…who knows? May have to go a fundamental change, where maybe there is some more from home type of learning. It’s not all sit in a classroom all day. Things like that are gonna play out.

Dan: You’re spot on.

Paul: Yeah, exactly. And like you say, we don’t know exactly where that ends up. Things that I’ve noticed just so far, the explosion in the use of Zoom is just staggering. I mean, like you said, it was 10 million. I read just today or yesterday in an article; it went from 10 million a day to 300 million a day.

Dan: Yep, that’s true.

Paul: And that’s gonna become a mainstream part. I mean, they sort of grabbed…I don’t think they had a plan or anything. It just sort of happened, I think, because their technology was good. But they’ve grabbed a big chunk of the market, and that’s not going to go away. And, you know, the work from home thing, I think is gonna be the same. I mean, it’s gonna be…not look the same. It’s gonna change and it’s gonna be a lot different. A lot more people are gonna do it. It’s gonna hurt the commercial real estate market, there’s not gonna be as much of a demand for real estate, and just on and on and on and on.

Dan: As I sit there, right now, with an empty spot in my commercial building, waiting to get rented, that we were very close to closing right as all this crap hit and now is on hold, hearing what you’re saying, you’re right. You’re right. And now, you know what? I wanna say this too. Video collaboration is good, and it works. But there still are times when getting in the same room and hashing something out is more efficient. And so, having a space, one of those coworking spaces that you have a share in, if you will, something like that…A lot of downtown spaces have these, I forget what they exactly call them but coworking spaces. That’s, I think…

Paul: They’re great. That’s what they call them. That’s what they call them and they’re great. I’ve worked in them on occasion. They’re great. They’re really great.

Dan: They are. But back to my store. Because I had this store, I’d get to see a lot of people coming in and purchasing products that were helping them do this at this time, exactly what you’re talking about. So for example, Bank of America, I had bunches of people who work at Bank of America, different departments, the fraud department, all kinds of different departments, coming in to buy adapters to be able to adapt their headphones to their mobile phones because that’s what they’re doing now. Their fraud department is talking to you on a mobile phone, out of their house, because it’s being forwarded from their phone system. And you know, Paul, we didn’t talk about this, but phone systems is another key important piece.

Those companies, right now, that have traditional phone systems, what we call the old POTS, or Plain Old Telephone Service systems, they’re in a world of hurt. And I can tell you that our company has sold 12 phone systems in the last 3 weeks, I say sold, has implemented 12 phone systems. And it’s the same systems that you guys are using because our engineers worked overnight for two straight nights when this happened to create a softphone that you probably don’t even know about yet because we just launched it. But we now have the ability to not even have a physical phone, and either have an app on your mobile phone, which we have had, but now there’s app on the desktop. And it’s done right from the web. And we now have the ability for you to log in to that app and put a cordless phone on your…like a Bluetooth phone on your headset, link it to your computer, and make and receive calls right from your computer. You don’t even need a physical phone. And that’s all implemented.

So the same integrations and collaborations that you’re talking about where you can make calls from your mobile phone, but not come from your cell phone, it comes from the office line if you don’t want people to see your cell phone number, that’s the technology, another piece of key technology, that has to be implemented. And those folks who had the old telephone services, when their business is closed, they’re kind of stuck. They can’t do business from home if they could have done business from home.

Paul: Technology is a wonderful thing. I thought about that, and we’re gonna end on this. I thought about that. What if this would have happened 10 years ago? You know, the whole world probably would have shut down. Because the technology, that’s probably 100 times better than it was 10 years ago, is a huge, huge help with this.

Dan: It is. It is. And I hate the term “social distancing.” It’s not social distancing. If anything, we’re becoming socially closer. It’s physical distancing. And without the advent of Facebook and things like that, I mean, I don’t know how people would survive. And, you know, they need…we as humans desire to be around other people, whether it’s feeling loved through your work or whatever it is, people desire to be around people, and they have to be able to communicate and collaborate. So yeah, I don’t know what it would have looked like. It would have been a whole different world, you know. That’s for sure.

Paul: Yeah. Well look, we’re a social species. So anyway. Dan, thanks so much. Really good stuff. Interesting. I hope it’s of interest to our readers. I know it’s a little off-topic from our normal technical type of things. But I also know there’s a lot of interest in this. Do you wanna tell people how they could get ahold of you if they’re so inclined?

Dan: Yeah, absolutely. If you go to our website, you can go to www.microent, that’s microent.net. You can fill out a form and reach out if you have some questions. You can also…I’ll give you my personal email address. You can reach out to me, to dan.podcast@microent.net, microent.net, dan.pocast@microent.net. So, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out, happy to answer them. And thanks, Paul, for the opportunity to share the cool stuff that we get to implement for you.

Paul: Yeah, good. Great stuff. So, closing, I’d like to thank everybody for listening to our podcast today, “Everything Building Envelope.” And I invite you to take a further look at our company, GCI Consultants, and the services that we provide on our website at www.gciconsultants.com. You can also reach us at 877-740-9990 toll-free if you have any Building Envelope related needs you’d like to discuss. Thank you once again. I look forward to talking with you next time on “Everything Building Envelope” podcast. So long.