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Directive Blogs

Directive has been serving the Oneonta area since 1993, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Tip of the Week: Email Signature Strategy

The email signature is an often-overlooked opportunity for an organization to appear that much more professional. Here, we’ll look into how to set up your email signature in Gmail.

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How to Leverage Parallelism to Up Your Productivity

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.

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Reduce Your Technology Headaches Go with Managed IT

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.

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How Can You Find that Lost Smartphone?

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.

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How to Frame Your Marketing Around Major Holidays

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.

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Tech Term: Virtualization

There are plenty of topics we reference frequently that may seem a little advanced or complicated at first but are actually pretty simple concepts. Take, for example, virtualization. For today’s tech term, we’ll take a clearer look at this method of computing.

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Tech Term: Encryption Key

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.

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CPT: When Faced With a Choice, We Have Twix Up Our Sleeve! [Video]

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!

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Have You Tried Google’s Cloud Printing?

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.

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Getting Back to Basics with Data Backup

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.

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How to Keep IT and the Rest of Your Staff on the Same Side

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?

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How to Go About a Technology Needs Assessment

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.

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How to Best Utilize a Physical Backup

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.

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5 Ways to Make IT Security Top of Mind

The most significant resource any business has is their team. Yes, unfortunately, many companies view their staff as disposable cogs, to be worn down and tossed once every ounce of passion for their job has been drained away. Some of these businesses even manage to turn a profit.

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Getting to Know Technology: Plug-In

The Internet is an amazing tool in and of itself, but like many tools, it can sometimes work better if other tools are used alongside it. These additional tools are called plug-ins. Here, we’ll discuss what a plug-in is, and how they all help us use the Internet a little better.

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Facebook Makes Two-Factor Authentication Easier

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.

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What Makes Managed Services Worth It?

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!

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Your Emails Won’t Be Secure Without these Safeguards

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.

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Getting to Know Technology: Breadcrumbs

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.

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Tutorial: Master the Art of the Mail Merge, Part 2

laptop mail

Last time we spoke about creating your contact list in Excel when performing a mail merge. Of course, you can also use your Outlook contacts, and if you are running any sort of CRM software it is pretty likely it exports its own spreadsheet that can be used in a mail merge. Let's go over how to perform a mail merge now that you have your list.

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The Small Business Guide for Preparing for Disaster

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It's the start of the 2011 hurricane season, and with Hurricane Irene making contact with Atlantic coastlines this week, it certainly doesn't hurt to make sure your business is prepared for a disaster. Even if you are lucky enough to not be affected by these devastating storms, there are plenty of opportunities for nature to cause havoc on our way of life. It's never to late to put together a Disaster Recovery Plan (alternatively known as a Business Continuity Plan) in case a natural (or otherwise) disaster were to occur for you. Nobody wants to think a disaster might happen, but it isn't impossible. Here are a few steps small businesses can take to become better prepared.

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Save Often. Save Often. Save Often.

lightning strike

I'm sure nobody has missed out on any of the storms happening here in New York. Even our lights have been flickering. Mother nature can be cruel to your IT; a well-placed bolt of lightning can do plenty of damage. Of course, we always recommend quality UPS systems to our clients to protect their most valuable tech, and good surge protectors for everything else (not power strips, mind you, they aren't the same). Regardless, whether there's a risk of the power going out or not, it's important to save often and keep your files backed up. Here's a few tips after the jump.

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Save Money by Switching to LCD Monitors

computer depicting warning sign

Computer equipment is expensive, but most people don't even think about the costs it takes to run an entire office worth of tech.  Modern hardware is becoming more and more energy efficient, but older equipment can take a lot of electricity to run (not to mention the maintenance of keeping things running smoothly.  One of the biggest energy hogs in an office these days are old CRT monitors.

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Quick Tips - Master the Windows 7 Taskbar

windows 7 icon

Want to look like a PC Pro and get more done faster? With these simple tips, you'll have the skills to impress your co-workers with a few keystrokes. The Windows 7 Taskbar is the menu bar that stretches along (typically) the bottom of your screen. These are some lesser-known productivity tips to streamline your Windows 7 experience.

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Microsoft OneNote: Your Desktop's Productivity Swiss Army Knife

onenote screenshot

Microsoft's OneNote is often seen as one of the extra applications that is bundled in with several Microsoft Office packages.  In this article, We'll introduce OneNote, and show off some neat things it's used for, and how it can make your life easier.  OneNote has a whole slew of neat features that you can take advantage of, which we'll cover in the article as well.

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Going Green for Small Businesses

recycle symbol

Today, small businesses that go green and take action towards reducing energy consumption, waste production, and apply sustainability concepts benefit from a lower cost of day-to-day business. Being green looks great for investors, employees, and consumers alike and can contribute to press and media attention. That sounds great, right? Unfortunately, like most things, going green isn't something you can do over night. It takes time, dedication, and sometimes, a little bit of investment. Hit the jump for some tips to go green with your business.

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Back up your Outlook Email

envelope with @ sign inside

If you don't have an Exchange Server, it's likely that your email isn't being backed up.  Fortunately, with Microsoft Outlook, it's not very difficult to create a copy of your email, contacts, calendar, and other Outlook data. While this isn't a complete backup solution, you can at least take the current state of your Outlook data and store it elsewhere for safe keeping in the event of data loss or a hardware malfunction that causes you to lose your precious data.

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How to Covert PDFs to Word Documents

b2ap3_thumbnail_pdfword400.jpgHave you ever been frustrated by not being able to edit information locked up inside of a PDF? Now, with Microsoft Word 2013, the issue is resolved, making it super easy to edit text, tables, and graphics within a PDF file.

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Claim and Manage Your Business Online with Google My Business

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?

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You Can’t Afford to Overlook These 3 Benefits of Server Hosting

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.

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3 Ways to Give Your IT Department the Boost They Need

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.

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Let’s Clear Up Some Major Misconceptions About Data Backup

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.

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How Unused Applications May Be Hurting Your Budget

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.

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What’s Driving the $3.49 Trillion Global IT Industry?

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.

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3 Benefits to Managed IT that Are Too Good to Ignore

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.

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Want the Best IT Support? You Need Exceptional Availability

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.

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How to Get "All You Can Eat” IT Support Without Overspending

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.

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Equipping Employees to Resolve Their PC Issues Has Never Been Easier

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.

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3 Tips to Get the Most From Your Data Backup

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.

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How Software License Mismanagement Can Hurt Your Bottom Line

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.

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Are You Frustrated with Business Technology? Managed IT Can Help

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.

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Maintaining Your IT Is Easier With An MSP

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?

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What Makes Managed IT the Best Option?

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.

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Tips on Business Continuity Planning from Financial Institutions

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.

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Useful Tips for Project Management

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.

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Remote Maintenance Makes Technology Management So Much Easier

“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?

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Can Your Business Succeed with Its Current Communications?

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?

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4 Tips That Can Help Your Business Better Manage IT Projects

Have you ever tried to manage a major IT project yourself? If you have, you know that it’s a huge time sink and that there’s a lot involved with the process. We’ll discuss four of the best ways that you can save time and resources while managing your latest technology implementation project.

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Here’s How We Help You Avoid Tech Trouble

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?

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Looking for New Productivity Software? Try Software as a Service

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.

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Get Your Staff to Stop Shopping and Start Working

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.

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Keep Work from Interfering with Your Home Life

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?

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The Value of Outsourced IT

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.

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Warehousing Your Organization's Data Can Bring Serious Benefits

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?

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Managed IT Delivers Some Serious Value

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.

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Small Businesses Face Challenges in 2018

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.

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Do You Have a Unified Strategy to Your Business' Communications

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.

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Managed IT Services Present Opportunities

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?

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MSPs Face Many of the Same Problems Your Business Faces

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?

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Strong Internal Communications Can Bring Major Benefits

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.

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4 Ways a Managed Service Provider Can Help Your Business

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.

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Managed IT Services Provide Good Value for SMBs

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.

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Spring Cleaning Your Business and Its Technology

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.

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What You Need to Know About Data Recovery

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.

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Tips to Search the Web like a Pro, Part 2

b2ap3_thumbnail_mastery400.jpgLast week, we shared four tips to help you search the web and find anything that you're looking for. In part 2, we will take a look at additional search tools that will help you refine your searches so you can become a search master!

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Are You Ready for the GDPR? [FREE DOWNLOAD]

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.

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Recycling eWaste is Easier Than Ever

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!

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Tip of the Week: Organize Your Microsoft Outlook Contact List

microsoft outlookWhat's your Microsoft Outlook contact list looking like these days? For many busy business owners, their email contacts list is jumbled and unorganized, making it difficult to do something simple like locate needed information. Here are a few tips to help you better organize your Outlook contacts so that you can quickly find what you're looking for.

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Preventing Productivity Loss After a Natural Disaster

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?

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Selecting the Best Software as a Service For Your Business

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.

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How To Keep Your IT Technicians From Having A Bad Time

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.

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5 Steps to Take Before Going to a Computer Repair Shop

Fotolia 98669974 SUh 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.

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Is Spectrum-Time Warner Cable Ripping You Off? How to Make Sure You're Getting the Internet Speed You're Paying For

Fotolia 49622659 SIn 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?”

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4 Symptoms of Hard Drive Failure and What You Can Do to Fix It

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.

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How to Choose the Right Hosting Provider for Your Data Needs

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.

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How to recover your laptop from a nasty spill!

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.

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Tip of the Week: What it Takes to Prepare and Deliver a Dynamic Presentation, Part 2

b2ap3_thumbnail_public_speaking_tips_400.jpgFor last week’s tip, we gave helpful advice about how to prepare for a presentation; tips like, how to develop your idea, how to size up your audience, and the importance of rehearsing. For this week’s tip, we’ll go over what it takes to deliver a presentation that’s both effective and memorable.

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Tip of the Week: 4 Sure-Fire Ways to Improve Customer Service [VIDEO]

b2ap3_thumbnail_customer_service_400.jpgThe Internet gives customers a platform to be heard like never before. A customer’s opinion of your business dealings, when amplified online, can make or break your company. This reality requires modern enterprises to take customer service very seriously, which is easier said than done.

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Tip of the Week: Use Screenshots to Better Communicate PC Problems

b2ap3_thumbnail_screenshots_400.jpgHave 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.

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Tip of the Week: A Clever Way to Make Your Computer Talk to Itself

b2ap3_thumbnail_talking_computer_400.jpgComputers 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.

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Tip of the Week: 52 Minutes On and 17 Off Maximizes Your Productivity Potential

b2ap3_thumbnail_your_productivity_400.jpgThere 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.

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Tip of the Week: Enable Gmail’s New Undo Send Feature to “Time Travel”

b2ap3_thumbnail_gmail_undo_send_400.jpgWe’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?

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Tip of the Week: How to Remove Excessive Bloatware on Your Android Device


b2ap3_thumbnail_software_bloatware_400.jpgSmartphones are filled with all sorts of nifty apps. In fact, some of the most useful applications come pre installed on the device. However, not all apps are worth your time. These unwanted applications are called “bloatware,” and can impede the device’s ability to perform to your specifications.

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Tip of the Week: Practical Ways to Make Your Smartphone Distraction-Free

b2ap3_thumbnail_no_distraction_celly_400.jpgMobile devices like smartphones and tablets are marketed as powerful productivity tools. However, some workers may find their device’s time-wasting apps to be more of a distraction than an aid to productivity. What’s a distracted smartphone owner to do?

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Tip of the Week: Use Ctrl+F to Become a Search Master

b2ap3_thumbnail_find_what_you_want_400.jpgWith an endless amount of content available on the World Wide Web, a person who’s skilled at Internet searching is a valuable asset to any company. Knowing how to use search engines like Google is a huge help, but there’s another tool that allows you to narrow down a search even further: Ctrl+F.

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Tip of the Week: Don’t Lose Sleep Over Lollipop’s Alarm Clock Bug

b2ap3_thumbnail_android_alarm_clock_400.jpgIf 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.

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Tip of the Week: No Internet? You Can Still View Cached Web Pages in Chrome

b2ap3_thumbnail_chrome_cache_400.jpgHave 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.

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Tip of the Week: View Multiple Pages at Once in Microsoft Word

b2ap3_thumbnail_microsoft_word_400.jpgLet’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.

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Tip of the Week: Don’t Let Work Ruin Your Friendships, or Friendships Ruin Your Work

b2ap3_thumbnail_be_the_boss_400.jpgAs 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?

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Tip of the Week: Engage Your Workforce to Improve Employee Retention

b2ap3_thumbnail_bad_leadership_400.jpgThe leaders of today’s business world are staring down a problem unlike anything they’ve seen before; their workforce, or rather, engaging them in their work. A study by Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends shows that a meager 13 percent of employees in the world are legitimately engaged in their work. That’s a pretty small percentage, and to make matters worse, over a quarter of the world’s workforce are disengaged to the point their negativity will impact others.

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Tip of the Week: How to Change the Size of Your Desktop Icons

b2ap3_thumbnail_desktop_icons_400.jpgThere seem to be thousands of different ways a user can customize their desktop experience. Almost every nook and cranny of a system can be adjusted, even right down to the icons on your desktop. For this week’s tip, we’ll show you how to adjust the size of your desktop icons.

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Tip of the Week: How to Freeze Excel Rows and Columns

b2ap3_thumbnail_microsoft_excel_400.jpgModern office workers spend lots of time entering data and crunching numbers with Microsoft Excel. Therefore, it’s essential that Excel users know how to best navigate a spreadsheet. One of the best ways to make Excel easier to use is by freezing its rows and columns.

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Tip of the Week: Improve Productivity By Napping at Work, Seriously

b2ap3_thumbnail_nap_at_work_400.jpgAll business owners understand that in order to stay competitive, their team must work as hard as they possibly can. Unfortunately, however, that’s not how human physiology works. Everyone needs a break now and again, and the office is no different. Remember elementary school, when you would curl up with a blanket and get some sleep during naptime? It turns out this might be a viable option in the office, too.

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Tip of the Week: Free Up Storage Space in Google Drive

b2ap3_thumbnail_googledrive_400.jpgIf you use Google Drive, you might notice that your storage fills up faster than you’d like, especially if you haven’t upgraded to get more storage. This can be devastating, and it can prevent you from storing important files when you need to most. Yet, you might not want to upgrade to more storage. What can you do to make the most out of your current data storage plan?

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Tip of the Week: 3 Surprising Uses For Your Mouse Scroll Wheel

b2ap3_thumbnail_mouse_tips_400.jpgNot everyone has traded in their trusty computer mouse for a fancy new touchscreen. If someone gives you a hard time for still using a mouse, tell them about these three cool scroll-wheel features that can only be done with a mouse.

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Tip of the Week: How to Set Up a Business Succession Plan

b2ap3_thumbnail_death_of_your_business_400.jpgIf something debilitating were to happen to you, could your business carry on? This isn’t a pleasant scenario to think about, but it’s absolutely necessary to have a contingency plan in place for reasons like this. Also known as a business succession plan, if you have a plan in place, then you don’t have to worry about what the future holds, at least, for your business.

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Tip of the Week: 3 Ways to Improve Your Android’s Battery Life

b2ap3_thumbnail_android_battery_400.jpgWe all know how useful smartphones are, especially when you’re in a pinch and need to access the Internet. However, you can’t take advantage of any of these sweet features if your battery dies out within four hours of a full charge. This might be an extreme case, but the point stands that there’s a ton of stuff draining your battery when you don’t want it to.

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Tip of the Week: 3 Ways to Improve Your iPhone’s Battery Life

b2ap3_thumbnail_iphone_battery_400.jpgThere are plenty of business owners out there who rely on their iPhone to stay connected to the office at all times. With so much use, your iPhone’s battery won’t last long; especially considering the incredible amount of applications that are being used on a regular basis. As you might imagine, a dead phone is practically useless. How can you boost the efficiency of its battery life?

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Tip of the Week: A Step-By-Step Guide to Broadcasting WiFi From Your Android Device

b2ap3_thumbnail_android_wifi_hot_spot_400.jpgWe all know how touchy WiFi can be, especially when you need it most. A shoddy wireless signal can be especially troublesome if you have tasks that need to be completed, and you need a WiFi connection to complete them. Instead of getting all flustered and calling your ISP, try using your Android smartphone as a mobile hotspot.

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Tip of the Week: How to Prevent Your Mobile Data from Leaking Away

b2ap3_thumbnail_mobile_data_eats_money_400.jpgWith more businesses moving toward Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) than ever before, the workforce grows more mobile by the day. These workers generally need a network connection in order to access important data and applications that are crucial to their day-to-day responsibilities. One way to do this is to use your service provider’s mobile data plan, but this can be both expensive and draining when used excessively.

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