Nonprofits typically rely on the funding provided to them by grants in order to operate. Fortunately, there are many grants out there for the nonprofit to take advantage of, many based on the cause the nonprofit works towards and many intended to support the use of technology by these organizations. Let’s explore what makes IT so critical and impactful for the nonprofit, and where technology grants may be found.
There’s no denying that productivity is one of the primary goals of any business nowadays, with countless examinations into the concept of productivity, theories on how to maximize it, and methods to promote it in the workplace. Today, we wanted to take one of these theories and explore it so that you can perhaps capitalize on it yourself.
If your business uses Google Apps, then there is a good chance that you have some sort of integration set up with other services. If you grant permissions to other applications or programs to access and use Google Drive, you should know that you have some power over these permissions, and it’s incredibly important that you understand what permissions you are granting.
QR codes have cemented themselves as one of the most common technologies used to direct people to important resources or information about goods or services provided by an organization or company. You see them on menus in restaurants, instruction booklets, and even on business cards. How can you make QR codes for your business?
Modern spreadsheet programs, like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, carry a plethora of functions under the surface that—if used correctly—can take their utility to another level. For instance, the cells in your spreadsheets can be turned into dropdown menus. Let’s go over how to do so in both Excel and Sheets.
Have you ever wondered why it sometimes takes longer than you might expect for certain tasks to be accomplished with your business’ network? It turns out that technology is far from a simple thing, and small issues can seriously derail productivity and efficiency of complex information systems, one of which is the notorious network bottleneck. How can you identify and rectify this issue for your network?
The workplace is, fittingly, a place for work to be done. While there are a lot of factors that can contribute to a person’s day-to-day productivity, having a space that is conducive to accomplishing their work tasks can be seen as essential. Let’s go over how you can design a workspace that does just that:
Maintaining a standard of consistent productivity can be difficult. This is doubly true if there is constant distraction. For many workers, handling these distractions is work in itself. When trying to maximize productivity it is important to undertake actions that support that goal, and when there are a lot of consistent distractions, it is useful to have a baseline of knowledge on how to do just that. Let’s take a look at five solid tips to help you maintain productivity.
Microsoft Word is one of the most utilized platforms in business today because it delivers the results that organizations need. Unfortunately for some of these businesses, their employees may not be as proficient with Word as they need to be. Today, we thought we would provide a few quick tips about using Microsoft Word that you can share. Let’s take a look:
Two-factor authentication is commonplace in the office environment, but it’s not commonplace enough, if you ask us. Too many organizations pass on it, placing their security at risk for no good reason. While the methods might vary, the benefits of two-factor authentication are too good to ignore. We’ll walk you through how to set up two-factor authentication for three of the most common accounts in the business environment: Microsoft, Google, and Apple.
In a recent post, we talked about the various image formats you should use when sharing images over email or online. The goal is to generate an image (or images) that are the smallest file size possible to make them easy to share and quick to download, without reducing the overall quality of the image.
Whether you are sharing them online, emailing them to a colleague, or putting them on your own website, it’s important to understand a few basics when it comes to image files and sizes. This guide will hopefully save you a lot of hassle when trying to email large images, update your website, and use social media, whether it be for your own personal use or for your business.
For the business seeking out a comprehensive cloud-based content management and collaboration solution, Google Drive is an option that warrants serious consideration. While we don’t want to recommend it over another one of your options, per se, we did want to provide a brief beginner’s guide to putting it to use. That way, any business that does elect to adopt Google Drive—and the associated solutions it comes with—has more information going in.
As the country continues to embrace remote work and distance learning, the digital divide has become more apparent. In fact, according to a Newsday article, New York State ranks 26th in the nation in regards to the percentage of households with school children not having broadband access, any internet access, or computers. The digital divide has been ongoing for decades, but it has taken the pandemic to finally put the focus on it and bring it top of mind.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ve seen us reference a phishing attack. Whether you are being asked by some supposed Nigerian prince to fork over money or you are getting an email by what seems to be your bank that directs you to download an attachment, you are probably a potential victim of a phishing scam. The difference between being a potential victim and a victim is knowing how to identify it. Today, we’ll give you five ways to identify a phishing message so that you—or your company—won’t be scammed.
While email is an indispensably useful tool in the office, it can quickly become a time-sink if finding the right messages to read and respond to becomes an overbearing responsibility. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to remedy this that, after spending some time learning about the full capabilities of your email platform, can once again make your email the useful tool it is meant to be.
Wherever there is money, there are scammers. So it may not be a big surprise that scammers are out en masse trying to get between you and your federally mandated stimulus money. It’s bad enough that we’ve already seen a couple of phishing scams using the COVID-19 pandemic that are designed to help hackers get into accounts they have no business in, now that these scammers know that people are getting cash, the scams are kicked up a notch.
With the COVID-19 pandemic causing businesses to rethink their operational strategies, many businesses have had to make a quick digital transformation. Many businesses have accomplished this before the stay-at-home orders, but with employees working from home, we thought this was the perfect time to take a look at four tools businesses can use to improve their work-from-home strategies.
As unfortunate as it is to hear, science has pretty definitely kyboshed the notion that multitasking works. However, while multitasking may not actually have any true benefits to productivity, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any ways to accomplish more in less time. Today, we’ll give you a better option than multitasking, a process known as parallelism.
One of the major aspects of smartphones is how portable they are. Thanks to them, business professionals can be productive while out of the office, no matter where they are. Unfortunately, this also means that they have more of an opportunity to lose their devices, along with the data they contain. If the device is Android-based, then you can alleviate this trouble thanks to built-in features that can help you find it.
Whenever a major holiday is coming up, you’re likely confronted with multiple reminders of it in your daily lives. You may see commercials on TV, receive emails from companies, get flyers in the mail. You’ll see specialized packaging for brands you buy every day that reflects the upcoming holiday. It makes sense why companies are doing this - holidays celebrated by the general population give a business an excuse to get in contact with the consumer. And, this often leads to an uptick in sales.
You can do the same for your small business. The key to succeeding with holiday marketing is framing your marketing correctly in terms of your language and the imagery you use.
In the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, the titular characters decided to leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind them, so they could find their way back home. While this strategy didn’t work out very well for the siblings, the same concept is used in computing today. We even refer to it as breadcrumb navigation in honor of the German fairy tale.
Are your employees putting your organization’s security at risk due to poor email practices? This is a question that all business owners need to consider--especially if you deal in sensitive information. We recommend that all businesses utilize a two-pronged approach to email security, including both technology measures to secure communications on the technical side and training to secure on the human side.
Most modern businesses depend on technology in at least some capacity, whether it’s for productivity, efficiency, or even security purposes. Without access to important data and applications, your business is a shell of its former glory. This is why it’s so important for businesses like yours to implement managed IT services. It certainly beats having untrained employees maintain your crucial computing systems!
With all of the debate going on as to whether the left or right TWIX is superior in the media today, we decided to settle this for ourselves. The conclusion is that the Twix Cookie dessert recipe we had today is in fact the top Twix! Don’t get us wrong, the real-deal candybar is great... BUT when you don’t have to choose a side, start a debate, lose friends AND you get the entire gooey cookie to yourself; is there really a comparison?
Find out for yourself with the recipe below and let us know what part of the cookie was your favorite!
It is no secret that security is an absolutely crucial part of computing in the modern era. Data can very fairly be called the most valuable currency today, which means it needs to be protected. One way to do this is through the use of encryption keys. In this Tech Term, we’ll go over how these keys can protect your data, and how they do so.
You’ve probably noticed that when you search for a particular business using words like or similar to “near me,” Google will display three business options at the top of your search results, and then will load additional businesses once you click “More places.” Remember - people in your area that are looking for a business like yours will probably be doing exactly that. How can you make sure you are in those top three results?
If you use Facebook, you likely have a lot of personal information stored there. If you use it for your business, then your professional reputation also partially relies on what you put into the social network. If you aren’t protecting your Facebook account, you could be at risk for identity theft or worse. That’s why using two-factor authentication on your social media accounts is becoming more important than ever.
GDPR was introduced by the European Union, but it applies to businesses all over the world, especially if you could potentially collect personal data from a person residing within the EU. We feel, as a business, it’s important to safeguard personal data of your prospects and customers, and think the GDPR is a big step in the right direction to provide transparency and understanding to your users.
At Directive, we live, speak, and breathe technology and our office is filled with the latest and greatest. However, when you use the latest and greatest, something has to happen to the old and broken. Electronic Waste (eWaste) is becoming an increasing environmental problem as we dump millions of unused products into landfills. Directive, as an industry leader, doesn’t send our old tech to the dump, we recycle it... and encourage that you do too!
How does your business handle its on-premise, physical data backups? This is a question that you don’t necessarily have to ask yourself under pressure of a looming data loss incident. Despite the cloud being the clear victor in terms of restoration and reliability, physical data backup is still an important part of the business continuity process. In the worst-case scenario, a physical backup can be helpful for getting back on track.
If there is one thing that you can always count on from your business’ technology, it’s that it will inevitably fail at some point in the future. Therefore, your business should have a plan to keep this from happening at all costs. It’s understandable that you would want to make sure that your needs are properly evaluated both now and in the future. To this end, a technology assessment is incredibly helpful.
Data backup is one of the most critical parts of protecting your business, but there are a lot of moving parts that need to be considered before implementing a solution. For example, did you know that data backup and disaster recovery are two different things completely? While they may both be involved in the business continuity process, the two represent equally important, yet disparate, parts.
Does your business have trouble with managing and maintaining your technology? If so, you’re not alone. Many small businesses struggle with even the most basic elements of IT maintenance. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just take this responsibility and shift it off of your employees? The best way to approach technology maintenance is to implement managed IT services.
Spring seems to be the natural time, after what are commonly dreary winter months, to revitalize and refresh your environment - why shouldn’t your business be included? Not only does it help your operations, a clean environment also has many direct benefits for your employees. Let’s review the effects of keeping your business, and its technology, in order.
Every business needs technology support. This statement is more true today than it has ever been before. As your organization adds new technology to its infrastructure, it will naturally grow more complex and difficult to maintain. Thankfully, you don’t necessarily have to go about this alone. By working with an outsourced third party, your business can take advantage of all kinds of great solutions for a fraction of the cost.
How much does your business rely on technology to keep your organization running forward? As business technology becomes more complex, it’s becoming increasingly popular for organizations to have their own internal IT departments to manage and maintain it. Yet, small businesses don’t often have the necessary funds for such a feat. How can your company afford quality IT service? You can start by pursuing managed IT solutions from a managed service provider.
Internal communications are remarkably important for a business with multiple moving parts. In a world with many choices for communication, how does your company keep in touch? We’ve put together five great ways that your company can take advantage of today’s networking technology to create an infrastructure meant to help your employees stay connected to one another and promote organizational cooperation.
The average business relies on several technology solutions that make maintaining a network infrastructure more challenging. Eventually, it gets to the point where technology becomes difficult to maintain without the help of an on-site IT department. Unfortunately, small businesses often have trouble supporting their infrastructures, as they don’t have the funds to hire and maintain an internal IT department. What’s the best way for a smaller organization to keep their technology in working order?
Communication is one of the cornerstones on which your business functions, and without it, you will find that going about your daily duties is considerably more difficult. Communication is one of the many ways your organization accomplishes both major and minor tasks, so you want to pay especially close attention to how your business handles phone calls, email, and even mobile devices--both in and out of the office.
There are some facets to IT that are universally accepted as important, such as security. However, there are also others that create some conflicting opinions between management and IT personnel. When surveyed, business leaders and IT management held vastly different opinions as to the importance of various IT tasks. Is there a way to unify these priorities?
How does your business manage its technology solutions? If you have an in-house IT department, you might think that you have a better shot at keeping your business safe from a hard drive failure, but this is only if your IT department isn’t already overwhelmed with work. You might find that implementing new solutions is tricky, which wastes time and resources on your part. What’s the small business to do?
Your data is one of the most important assets at your business’ disposal. It’s really indispensable. Not only are large amounts of it the result of successful operations, it also can help your organization better understand the intricacies of its own operations, and where you want it to go in the future. Does your business have a process for collecting, storing, and sorting vital data so that your organization can figure out where to go next?
How does your organization manage its IT? For some businesses, it’s not an easy choice or even a remotely affordable one. Some companies are forced to endure subpar services from break-fix IT providers that don’t necessarily have the tools available to prevent issues from happening. Others try to prevent issues from evolving into major concerns. These others are the organizations that have the right idea behind technology maintenance.
Considering the recent weather events in the Southern United States, it only seems prudent to address a few considerations that may not be the first to come to mind when making business arrangements for such occurrences. For instance, what are the expectations that employees are held to in the case of a weather disaster?
The modern small business will face several challenges in 2018. The world is changing, and with it, so is business. For many small businesses, this can either be looked on as the opportunity they’ve been waiting for, or, it can be viewed as the beginning of the end. No matter what situations you are faced with this year, understanding what problems your business faces, and how to solve them is imperative to your small business’ success.
It’s no industry secret that one of the most important pieces of IT any business should have is a data backup solution. However, this is like saying that every business should have a plant: the type of plant, and (by extension) the type of data backup, matters. You want a data backup that is more like a peace lily or a cactus, hardy and resilient, and less like a basil plant or orchid, high-maintenance and requiring very specific conditions to prosper.
With the growing popularity of Cyber Monday sales and explosion of all types of eCommerce, employees are more than likely tempted to shop during work hours. There are a lot of promotions exclusively available to online shoppers that take place during a business’ hour of operations. Many companies allow occasional use of company time for personal use. However, some employees are going to take advantage of this generosity and abuse the privilege.
The holidays are a time when everyone questions whether they will be able to spend their time at home with their families, or be stuck at the office trying to beat a nasty deadline. The increase in mobile technology hasn’t made getting away from work any easier, but it has made it easier to work away from the office. Since this constant How can you achieve a precious work/life balance for your workplace duties?
IT maintenance is something of a sensitive topic for some organizations. While most understand that it needs to be done, they often don’t have the resources to make it happen, either due to a limited budget or timeframe. How does your business handle IT maintenance? If your organization is having troubles managing its annual technology budget, or if you are consistently experiencing profit-sapping downtime, consider managed IT services the answer to your problems.
Most businesses rely on software solutions in order to stay productive throughout the work day. Whether it’s a word processor, a spreadsheet builder, or simple data storage in the cloud, software is deeply ingrained in the modern business world. Shouldn’t your organization be taking advantage of it to its full extent? You can start by implementing Software as a Service.
Most people don’t think to try and print something out from their smartphone--particularly because it’s such a new concept. With smartphones quickly becoming just as fast as desktops from just ten years ago, it shouldn’t be such a stretch to suggest printing from them. Thanks to the cloud, you can use your Android smartphone to print something directly from the device.
If you’ve ever managed a major IT project, you’re probably well acquainted with Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Every project is going to have some rough patches. The key to overcoming these challenges lays not with the execution of the plan, but with the preparation. Here are four things to consider when you’re planning your next long-term IT project.
“The good old days” usually refer to times long past, where things were more simple. Businesses a few decades ago didn’t have much complex technology in their office, but nowadays organizations have multiple server units and plenty of workstations--all of which need more maintenance than ever before. What’s the best way for your organization to approach IT maintenance?
Wouldn’t it be great to have a fully-trained and certified staff of IT professionals sitting in the corner of your office, keeping your technology in line? Unfortunately, small businesses often don’t have the budget required to hire an internal IT department filled with security analysts and network technicians. Even if they do, they don’t have the workforce to handle all of the responsibilities of a full IT department. What’s the best way to handle your organization’s IT?
Small and medium-sized businesses have increasingly turned to SaaS, or Software as a Service, to access the tools and resources they need to complete their objectives. Rather than maintaining a solution in-house, SaaS is delivered as a web application or through the cloud. However, not all SaaS solutions deliver the same functionality.
If you have an in-house IT specialist, they are very likely the unsung hero of the office. Working behind the scenes to ensure the solutions you rely on are functioning, their efforts also enable you to improve and drive your business forward. However, many technicians can find themselves fighting an uphill battle against overload.
Communications are crucial for any business. Whether you own a restaurant, a junkyard, or a corporation that is looking to go public, communications are a base line item on any business’ long term plan. Communication drives sales, collaboration, and the support of your offerings. Are you leveraging the best communications technology for your needs?
Who would you rather hire--an employee who comes in late, after your systems have encountered an issue, and takes twice as long to fix them as he said, or an employee who was ahead of the game, and managed to avoid issues before they influenced your business? This scenario is precisely the same one that you encounter when you weigh a break/fix IT provider against a managed service provider.
Few organizations take business continuity planning as serious as financial organizations do. The Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as the organizations they oversee, depend heavily on technology for their daily operations. For these establishments, a severe data loss event or significant downtime has the potential to cripple the economy, depending on the severity. As such, they require all of the institutions that they have jurisdiction over to meet certain business continuity benchmarks.
Technology maintenance and management is one of the major pain points of all businesses, but it comes more easily to large organizations that have large budgets. Unfortunately, small organizations are often left out, placing such an important aspect of managing their business on the back burner. How, then, can you take advantage of proactive IT maintenance without breaking your budget?
How does your business maintain its critical technology assets? Organizations with limited budgets and workforces often resort to forsaking technology support entirely, only getting the help they need when something goes wrong. This is called break-fix IT, and it can become a major detriment to your organization in the long run if left unchecked. Thankfully, there’s a simple solution, and it doesn’t involve hiring in-house technicians or breaking your budget.
Whenever you install software on your computer, you agree to certain terms put in place by the developer or vendor. Even free software, such as Google Chrome and Firefox, have terms that the end-user opts into during installation. One of the most important terms business owners need to be aware of are those that pertain to software licenses; if you aren’t, someone else will be.
It’s a far too common scene in businesses: an employee is working on an important project when their workstation starts acting up. Flustered, they call in the IT department, but they won’t be able to make it up to them for an hour at least. So, what’s a worker to do? Just sit there and wait? With a Help Desk solution, this wouldn't be an issue.
Uh oh, your PC or laptop is starting to act up again. If it’s been checked for software problems, you’re most likely dealing with an issue with the hardware. Looks like it's time for a trip to the repair shop--but before you go, you need to make a few preparations. Here are the five things you need to consider before taking your computer in for repair.
Business owners require ubiquitous access to certain information stored on their organization’s infrastructure. Thus, there’s an immediate need to safeguard this data from any sort of impending destruction. We’ll discuss ways that you can prevent the worst when it seems like your data will fall victim to a loss incident.
In February, the New York State Office of the Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Spectrum-Time Warner Cable and its parent company, Charter Communications, alleging that the company has been systematically defrauding customers since 2012 by promising and charging for Internet speeds that it knew it couldn’t offer. This case of fraud raises an important question, “How do you know if you’re really getting the Internet speed you’re paying for?”
When your technology breaks down, can you rely on your IT provider to be there in a moment’s notice? What if you need someone to talk you through a troubleshooting procedure? During the weekday you expect them to be available, but what if you’re burning the candle at both ends over a weekend to finish an important project? Furthermore, your office might be closed, but your IT infrastructure still needs to be attended to.
Let’s say you get a bill in the mail for technology support, but you don’t necessarily know why you got it. Pretty troubling, right? Clearly someone in your organization isn’t privy about the proper method of getting help for their technology, but if you regularly work with a break-fix IT provider, this kind of correspondence (and cost) is unavoidable. Thankfully, there’s a simple solution to make sure that something like this doesn’t happen again.
You’re in the middle of a project when your computer starts acting up. You smack it around a little bit to see if that has any effect, but it only makes the problem worse. Suddenly, there’s a blue screen and you have no clue what to do. What happened to your data? What will happen to your project? What will you do about the workstation replacement? Read on to find out.
If your PC isn't performing as well as it used to, then it's in your best interest to troubleshoot the issues and find out why. If ignored, these issues will quickly develop into major problems that cause downtime. In a worst-case scenario, you'll experience a hard drive failure and lose valuable data.
By now, you've heard about the many advantages of hosting your data and applications in the cloud. To take advantage of these money-saving benefits, you'll want to select the right cloud provider to host and manage your data. Otherwise, you may end up with poor support and disappointing service.
To help you pick the right hosting provider, you first need to familiarize yourself with your options. Here's a walkthrough of what you need to look for.
It’s no secret that one of the best ways to improve your business’s operations is by investing in quality technology solutions. However, as is the case with any type of organizational spending, IT expenditures are subject to change. After a brief hiatus, Gartner predicts that next year will be another big year in which organizations invest heavily in new technology and IT systems.
Every business from any industry probably has servers that hold important and sensitive data. However, not all organizations have the assets and skills necessary to manage and maintain these complex pieces of hardware. In particular, small businesses struggle with this aspect of running an in-house server, but there’s another option--an outsourced server hosting service from a third-party provider.
When a business finds new software solutions that can effectively replace their older, less efficient systems, applications can often go unused for extended periods of time. However, these unnecessary apps can waste time and money for your business, which can add up quickly. In fact, as much as 38 percent of enterprise applications are wasting away on organizations’ networks.
If you have an internal IT department, chances are that they’re functioning in a similar manner to a help desk team. They provide technology support for your less-adept employees, or those who encounter errors that they’re unable to resolve. Chances are that your IT department could use a hand every now and then, so here are a few ways you can lighten their help desk workload to free up time for more efficient purposes.
Data backup is a critical component of a business continuity plan, but there are many businesses that fail to understand why data backup is important, as well as what it entails. We want to clear up some facts about how data backup is important, and why you need it for your business. Only with a thorough understanding of how your data backup saves your infrastructure can you effectively use it for business continuity.
Since the invention of laptops, “the workplace” has become a phrase that may describe many more places than the office your business is established in, as mobile computers encourage taking your productivity with you by their very nature. However, this “productivity anywhere” feature does not come without its dangers to the poor laptop.
Have you ever tried describing a PC issue on the phone to tech support, and you get nowhere because you’re having such a difficult time describing the problem? To be sure, this is a frustrating experience. By taking a screenshot, you can send an image of the exact problem you’re experiencing, which will really help clear things up.
Taking a screenshot is as easy as using the right keystrokes. Here’s how you do it.
Computers can feel one dimensional, requiring the user to read and type. Humans don’t naturally interact like this. We communicate best with our voices and our ears. One day, our PCs will have artificial intelligence and we will be able to communicate with them as if we were talking to a person. Until this technology becomes mainstream, these two audio features will have to make do.
There are a lot of ways to boost your productivity in the workplace, but sometimes it can be as simple as not working. According to a study by Julia Gifford of Draugiem Group, it’s not about what workers do to get ahead of the curve, but what they don’t do that sets them apart from others around them.
We’ve all sent emails at some point that were either better left unsent, or were intended for a different recipient. With Gmail’s new Undo Send feature, you now have the power to transcend the depths of time and space to take back your thoughts… within approximately 30 seconds, that is. It’s a race against time. Are you up to the challenge?
If you’re an Android enthusiast, you’re aware that Google issued an upgrade to the operating system known as Android 5.0, Lollipop. In addition to a significant graphics overhaul and some functionality changes, one potential issue might have flown under your radar in the form of your Android’s alarm clock application.
Have you ever been browsing the Internet, only to lose your connection and be stuck without access to an article mid-sentence? This is a common dilemma for the average PC user that uses an unstable WiFi connection. Thankfully, so long as you aren’t viewing a constantly updating page like Facebook, you have the option to view your browser’s cached pages. Here’s how you can do it in Google Chrome.
Let’s face it; sometimes you need a bird’s eye view of your Microsoft Word document that a single page can’t provide you with. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could view multiple pages and take everything into perspective? Well, as it turns out, you can. In fact, you can view up to eight pages at once by following this simple procedure.
As a business owner, you walk a fine line between boss and friend. While you want to be approachable and have a company culture that’s friendly, you can’t have your employees be your closest friends. Being too close to your staff will blur your authority, breed favoritism, and make it difficult to fire people; but not being friendly will make for a cold working environment. How do you manage this social dynamic?