Work from Home: An Option or The Only Option?



As at today 18th March 2020, the world is finding its ways to fight the spread of COVID-19. Italy led the way by imposing a lockdown on its country to contain this minuscule enemy from spreading and killing many more citizens. Spain followed straight after and the latest in Europe is France. President Emmanuel Macron imposes a 15-day lockdown on 16 of March 2020 preventing its citizens to walk out of the house. In Asia, similar decisions are made by several countries including Malaysia. And this decision has made Work from Home accelerates from a concept that the business community dilly-dally on to something inevitable going forward.

The concept of Work from Home (WFH) or formerly known as Work at Home (WAH) was explored more or less 10 years ago by many international companies like Amazon and Dell. Communication advancement helps the acceleration of Work from Home adoption in companies as people can get tasks done efficiently even though they are not in the same premise with each other. Work from Home is where employees can carry out their job at home with flexible working hours to bring work-life balance, and in the end, will improve health, reduce stress and save money for the employees involved. In return, employer benefits by having employees who have greater loyalty to and better engagement with the company.

The idea of Work from Home has been better received in more advanced countries and in selected industries. However, for developing countries, companies are still reluctant to put this into action. Many have applied caution and the progress of its deployment has remained stagnant due to the need for the management to control and monitor its labour force. Out of sight could lead to low motivation and discipline, hence, less contribution and depleting productivity.

All that changes when the world is hit by the unsuspected Covid-19. Today, as I’m writing this piece, I’m sitting on my sofa in my cosy living room with my Mac on my lap and tired fingers for having to type non-stop since this early morning addressing various departments on how to Work from Home. On the 17th of March, the Malaysian government issued a Restricted Movement Order that requires all private companies to shut operations from today until 31st March 2020, leaving us no choice but to Work from Home on a big scale. In one day, we have to allow our company from only selected RnD staff to WFH to a 100% staff permit to Work from Home.

How do you monitor the progress of the employees? How do we assign tasks, check on deliverables, communicate with the team, coordinate with other teams and maintain operations from afar? Thanks to technologies like Skype, WhatsApp, Google Drive, communication poses no challenge whatsoever. We are communicating with each other like a champ, and Google Drive is a great collaboration tool for Work from Home, hands down.

Another matter is, how do we know the whereabouts of the staff at all times? Fortunately for us, TimeTec TA saves the day. Through smartphones, the staff can clock their attendance data using the GPS feature that records their exact location, and managers can view their times through the Audit List feature in the web version of the software. Impose multiple clocking times, and we got that covered. How about leave management? TimeTec Leave App, the perfect leave application is available on every employee’s smartphone to make leave application and approval fast and efficient. Accruals and leave balance are automated and taken care of by the system.

Group meetings are carried out successfully through Skype. Perhaps they have not dressed appropriately for a meeting but they bring seriousness and professionalism along, that will do it.

Despite technology can resolve a lot of challenges by employing Work from Home, it cannot quite resolve family matters. One of the staff members is going crazy because the children keep fighting in the house. Another finds it hard to manage food preparation for the family within an hour of time during lunch after meeting with the team. Children and spouses have been screaming for attention, not realizing that work is still required to be carried out during the usual working hours even with this Work from Home concept.

Approximately two more weeks for us to brace this Restricted Movement Order, and I’m sure that we will get out of this intact. Thankfully our company is actually semi-prepared for this. Our employees  understand the ecosystem of cloud solutions, and their advantages. Thus, when events like this occur, we remain calm because we know what to do.

For the rest of the world, Work from Home is no longer an option that you can ignore. As we move forward, Work from Home perhaps is the only option for us. Who knows.

Cloud Deployment Models - Finding Your Business Fit



Companies have shifted to the cloud in throngs. According to Mc Kinsey’s report “Cloud-computing adoption has been increasing rapidly, with cloud-specific spending expected to grow at more than six times the rate of general IT spending through 2020”. Amongst the many benefits of cloud adoption are the reduction of IT overhead costs between 30-40%, helping to scale IT processes, optimizing IT asset usage, improving the overall flexibility in IT with better and more features, increase the quality of service, and many more. In short, the cloud is a means for businesses to achieve digital transformation. Nevertheless, organizations have to make that crucial decision of the type of cloud to adopt because apparently, not all clouds are the same. 

Let’s explore different methods by which a company can select the perfect cloud deployment model for the business, and we should understand the types and the advantages of them. 

Public Cloud - The Public Cloud model is the most sought-after cloud deployment by the masses. It provides reasonable levels of security, reasonably easy to implement, cost-effective and operation cost is affordable. These services are made available to the public and accessible to anyone. The resources such as servers and storage are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Alibaba Cloud, and delivered via the Internet. The cloud provider provides all hardware, software and supporting infrastructure and support to the customers. And the customers access the software and their accounts through a web browser. This type of cloud model provides maximum levels of reliability and scalability. 

Private Cloud - The Private Cloud model is the cloud services that are meant exclusively by a business or an organization, it resides inside the organization behind a firewall, and only the organization personnel has access to it. Data residency or the servers can reside at the company’s data centre or host at a third-party service provider. However, the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network, and the hardware and software are solely dedicated to one organization. This type of cloud model provides maximum levels of reliability and scalability. It is designed exclusively for the enterprise, whereby the businesses have greater control over the infrastructure and get network access and computational resources. This model is preferred by government agencies, financial institutions, or companies that require total control over their operations. 

Hybrid Cloud - The Hybrid Cloud model offers better flexibility for companies that want to keep the critical and sensitive data saved and intact in a third party system while sharing general resources in the public cloud for more lenient data access. There could be two parts of hybridization, on infrastructure and applications. Anyhow, the model should ensure safety, scalability, and performance overall. Hence, the Hybrid Cloud model distributes its services/features among public and private clouds via API integration. In daily operations, the users can use the on-premise application (third party application) or TimeTec application on a public cloud when necessary. Many businesses have adopted hybrid solutions because it allows employees to access business-critical applications and information to improve collaboration. 

TimeTec is a Software as a Service (SaaS) provider that opens up the possibility for any organizations or businesses that have an interest in our myriads of solutions to explore the possibility of the different cloud models with us. 

Going private with TimeTec solution is a possibility considering the budget and timeline of an organization. Rather than starting to develop applications desired from the ground up, TimeTec can help to mould the readily available solutions to match your business needs at a lesser cost and reduced timeline. Worth to note that the investment is still significant if compared to the public cloud, however, your organization will be in charge of the critical data, the security and the infrastructure of it, going forward. TimeTec, on the other hand, will be collaborating with your organization on the development of the application.

The scope TimeTec undertakes for a Private Cloud model on-premise or on a third-party cloud provider platform  includes: 

  • · Client’s Account Setup and Configuration
  • · Time Attendance Web Setup & Configuration
  • · Time Attendance Mobile Server Setup & Configuration
  • · Time Attendance iOS & Android App Setup & Configuration
  • · Client Database Server Setup & Maintenance (Multi AZ, Read Replica)
  • · Google Map Services Setup
  • · AWS Other Services Setup
  • · Installation & Commissioning of the Private Cloud for a client will be finalised pending discussions with the client
  • · Modules included:
    •     - Dashboard
    •     - Clocking Methods (Beacon, GPS, WiFi)
    •     - Attendance
    •     - Report
    •     - Report Scheduler
    •     - Language (English + One other)
    •     - SAP Integration (import or export of user listing/transaction log)
    •     - API & SDK for all supported current functions
    •     - Maintenance & Bug Fixing 

If you intend to go Private with our solutions, contact us at info@timeteccloud.com for more information and discussion. 

Another option on the table is Hybrid cloud; where TimeTec is open to collaborating with your company to achieve the level of integration required in the application side. With this integration, the organization can use both the on-premise/private application and TimeTec application on a public cloud when necessary for its daily operation. For Hybrid cloud the license subscription remains with additional requirements from the client and the scope TimeTec covers for Hybrid include:

  • · Integration via API on public cloud
  • · Maintenance & Bug Fixing
  • · Post Project Customization Requests

Interested to explore Hybrid Cloud Model, contact us at info@timeteccloud.com




Benefits from Cloud-based Access Control System



Cloud computing is a burgeoning trend as today's world is keen to leap at the opportunity to transform into more technologically-adapted environments. In the world of business, the cloud is changing management at its most global ever. Is the cloud system a breakout hit? Definitely not. Chances are, humans relying more and more on cloud computing services to tackle problems and uprising challenges faced by a growing company and a fluctuating workforce.

At this juncture, enterprises should acknowledge that the intimate link between workforce and workplace security exists as the management demand evolves. Think about strengthening security, we all know that cloud-based access control systems claim best at reducing time consumption and lowering expenditure on operational costs while having the capability to tame the business empires' craving for security access system optimization. There are no accelerated formulas to achieve the best performance outcome if the gap between conventional and unconventional is not bridged.

To exclaim on the most trendy way of tightening security on-prem in the present, most companies have been moving the door of access control to cloud, believing that it can ultimately improve the efficiency and the security in a way that routinary don't. Here are the growing benefits and implications to convince you what cloud access control can bring to businesses:

01 Mobile-Friendly Real-time Validation
With cloud merging the application software, the Cloud Computing Applications are starring as the fastest-growing in the market with the ubiquitous smartphones. The mobile cloud approach enables access control to be designed, especially for mobile users to enjoy the 'remote access anywhere' and to use without being bound to the device operating system. Data synchronizes with people movement in real-time generated a strong monitoring platform for a revolutionary era.

02 Globally Scalable
Scalability is unquestionably another predominant and valuable feature of cloud computing. Scaling in the cloud demonstrates the delivering performances of the flexibility of time and money. There are no restrictions as to the difference between cultures, societies, and frame of mind. It is the 'One for all and all for one' demand that cloud systems can achieve. The capability to make prompt readjustment has patched up the flaws of many products that were not made reachable in achieving such a feature. Cloud is flexible. It accommodates a cavernous data flow rate without affecting the business operation and completes the transformation of existing infrastructure, creating effective leverage of the scalability of the cloud.

03 Easy to Administer Identity Management
System management personnel are relatively resourceful when compared with manual data tracking of access systems. To determine whether it is or not being accessed, whether it is allowed or not allowed to be authorized can all be done effortlessly via the Cloud-based system. The scouting process is made more accessible through this intelligence storage system when tracing the log of door activities is much-needed for management reporting and fraud-risk prevention used. 

04 Increased Collaboration
Cloud epitomizes less friction between people and systems. More significantly, between systems and management. The competency of the cloud illustrates a positive increase in the productivity of handling volumes of unknown identity registration. With a cloud-based access control system, the security and control of the building can be delegated to tiered admin levels that give levels of control across the organization without compromises. That being said, the cloud improved the total cost of ownership, giving the management more control over who comes and goes.

05 Low Infrastructure Costs for Local Servers and Hardware
Costs to be paid for on-prem access control systems are the lack of remote support and the high cost of installation and equipment input. Every refinement or tuning requires a support technician to come on-site and is challenging to install. Commonly, hardware does take up physical spaces, including wiring. It all may affect not only the system operation but also the cost and time of investment. Why the fuss when the cloud is a virtualized hardware with strong server consolidation and demand zero need for on-site hardware and capital expenses? Deal only with subscription-based models that prices are reflected based on actual usage and with the deliverance of effective after service at a moment’s notice through 24/7 web live chat, webinar and demonstration videos. 

06 Continuous Upgrading Features and Improvements
Static software systems limit functional programming. It is an unsafe method when the same output is given for the same input. Essentially, IT has a constant demand for enhancing competitive advantages for organizations and attaining consistency in running system management. Cloud allows users to get instant access to new features and to be a part and have a say in the product development cycle. Cloud attributes to these accessible features to be upgraded instantly for free and thereby, increase performance and capacity to run the program efficiently. 

07 Fast Recovery and Forever Backup System
Reliable access control data recovery across the entire infrastructure can be complicated. Cloud’s unlimited storage for file restoration and backup has broken free the formidable hurdle in server recovery. Blazing fast-in memory is one of the strongest strengths of Cloud systems. With its built-in database redundancies to reduce latency and optimize throughput, it demonstrated the compute capacity for failover to continuously backup.  


“The enterprise market has a thirst to move to access as a service, but they haven’t been able to get the response they were looking for [from providers].” -SDM article. Cloud-based systems are the ground-breaking blends of modern-day technologies. IT blindspots are removed through aspects of development such as remote-location management, infinite compute and storage capacity, unrestricted resources accessibility and more. There are so many reasons to move to a cloud-based platform. All in all, cloud access control systems are all about using a lesser amount of money and time to tighten security despite the size of the organization. 


Ready to move to the cloud? 
Drop us an email at info@timeteccloud.com or 
Visit our website to know more at https://www.timeteccloud.com/




The Ride-on The Next Cloud Wave at Intersec, Dubai



While the Big Mac index reflects the purchasing power parity between nations, the Intersec's performance reflects Dubai economy.

For the past three years, exhibitors get lesser, and crowds get thinner at Intersec, mirroring the fact of the economic downturn in Dubai. Nonetheless, Intersec, as the most significant security tradeshow and congregation hub in the Middle East and North Africa region, still retains its status with quality leads to offer.

Intersec, as always, connects us with our longtime partners and it was a pleasure meeting Mr Faisal Kan, the CEO of IPTec UAE, Mr Kinan Alfin, the CEO of Link2Tec, Rouaa and Noor Alkhalifa from Ultratech Sudan, Mr Mohan Das Kuttath from Okaz Telecom Saudi, Mr Ibrahim Elshamy from Intelligent Project Qatar, Mr Mahmoud from DLink Kuwait, Benacer Douadi from Safety and Protection Ltd Algeria, and many more to catch up with our latest developments.


One of the discernible trends I have observed, the main exhibition halls that used to be occupied by the surveillance system and CCTV products have shrunk, many famous brands disappear, lost in the fierce competition. Access control products, the once smaller in size if compared to surveillance, has now seized a larger hall space.

This time around, we exhibited FingerTec products; but highlighted our arrays of cloud solutions. It has marked the transformation of our company, from a hardware-driven company to a software-driven, from outright purchase to subscription-based, from standalone simple biometrics product to a cloud ecosystem company.

I'm proud that we come prepared as compared to many market players to ride on the next wave of cloud computing technology advancement. While many Chinese companies still relentlessly showing their perpetually lower price hardware products; we manage to bring forward a cluster of mature cloud products, under the trademark of TimeTec Cloud City, complemented and integrated with easy-to-connect IoT devices.

Many visitors found TimeTec's latest QF Master App awe-inspiring. 

We turned a standard Android phone into a face recognition terminal that opens the door. The QF master App scans face for recognition and also scans QR codes for verification. It integrates with the latest TimeTec BLE-2 door controller via Bluetooth communication. 

Two parties, one from Saudi Arabia and another from UAE, foresee the massive potential of TimeTec cloud solutions, hence, have proposed joint ventures and investments to foster stronger ties with us. Besides, Assa Abloy of Dubai scheduled a meeting with a prominent housing developer for an integration proposal of the Assa Abloy locks and i-Neighbour cloud intercom system, i-Comm, an integral part of our smart community product, i-Neighbour. And soon, our esteemed distributor of FingerTec, Magnum Connect of Dubai will actively promote TimeTec Cloud solutions with the blessings of the CEO, Mr Nayagam Pillai, to carry this product forward.

February is going to be a busy month for us with proposals to write and follow-ups to make.

Till next time, Intersec.



Teh Hon Seng, Group CEO of TimeTec Group of Companies. Prior to forming TimeTec, Teh led PUC Founder (MSC) Bhd to be listed on MESDAQ (ACE) market of Bursa Malaysia in 2002. Teh initiated the R&D in fingerprint technology in 2000, which later developed into a renowned global brand for commercial fingerprint product known as FingerTec. In 2008, he foresaw the trend of cloud computing and mobile technology, and over the years, he had strategically diversified and transformed its biometric-focused products into a suite of cloud solutions that aimed at workforce management and security industries including smart communities that centered around the cloud ecosystem. Teh has more than 10 patents to his name, and he is also a columnist in a local newspaper and a writer of several books.

Biometrics, the Protection from Ghost Employees



It sounds almost comical, ghost employees. No, it's not referring to the staff who passed. This term refers to names recorded on payroll, but they do not work at the place, like at all. They could be real, actual people or they could also be fictitious characters, depending on who created the records for these spooky, non-existent employees. It is indeed terrifying when these employees can rake a lot of money from a company and even millions from a government. Bizarre? Not so.

In 2016, a Nigerian government cut nearly 24,000 non-existent workers from its payroll and saved $11.5 million a month! Iraq paid a whopping $380million a year for 50,000 soldiers who never reported for duty. Many other cases are affecting nations across the globe as well as corporate companies.

How could this happen in the first place? You might ask. Dishonest employees and corrupted civil servants pose real damaging risks to businesses and governments alike. And the primary motivation for the perpetrator(s) is money and how to get more money through illegal manners. It could be an individual effort or a collective effort to cheat a system, and the absence or the lack of detailed audit in any system elevates this further.

Is this crime preventable? It's easier to prevent if it happens in SME, smaller companies. However, it's trickier when it occurs in multinational, multibranch, labour-intensive organisations because the larger a company is, the massive the data to audit.

The good news is, every company can minimise the risk by employing this one simple yet effective tactic in operation. Before we dive into the solution, let's explore how could this ghost employee occurrence happen? Two ways, timecard falsification, and another is a ghost employee presence, where an administrator is giving an avatar or a 'life' to an ID in a system. All the perpetrator needs to do is to falsify time for this fake ID, and approves the 'work' done to get paid.

Now, let's talk biometrics.

What biometrics technology does is, it compares the recorded template of a person's biometric data with the biometric characteristic of a real person. If you have stored a fingerprint template inside a system, you would have to scan your finger for your data to be verified and recorded. There is two-step to biometric authentication. One, a person needs to register, then he/she needs to verify. Biometrics cannot skip these two steps to provide authentication. Then, apply this biometric technology to time clocking and monitoring to obtain reliable time data for reference and checking.

Through biometrics, even when an admin who is in charge of the system plans to cheat the system, he needs to figure out whose fingerprints are for which IDs and how would these ghosts come to work to record the time for payroll purposes. If the admin wants to use his fingers, the system will catch him even faster. The ghost needs to clock at the right time with the correct biometrics, and any edit on the attendance data will be highlighted accordingly to prevent data mishandling.

See, biometrics is indeed a simple solution to this problem.

If you think that this Ghost Employee phenomenon wouldn't affect your company, think again. Unless you have installed protection such as biometrics systems in place, no one is safe. And be wary of the people who are against the system because they might have something up their sleeves for quite some time.

Contact us at www.fingertec.com for biometrics solutions and cloud-based time attendance at www.timetecta.com