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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.

It’s Time to Plan Next Year’s Budget, so Consider Managed IT Services

As we’re in the midst of Q3 of 2023, common wisdom says that now is about the time that small businesses should be planning their budgets for the next fiscal year. As such, if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to give managed IT services some serious consideration.

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The Best Oneonta Business Telephone Systems

This is a comprehensive guide for businesses in Otsego County on picking a reliable, capable phone system. The truth is, businesses throughout Oneonta and the surrounding area have been at a bit of a disadvantage over the years, as local telecom providers haven’t been keeping up with modern technology, and the alternative options are geared towards residential use.

Let’s explore the latest trends, features, cost savings, and benefits of modern phone systems, to ensure that your business gets a solution that helps you stay ahead of the competition.

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You Aren’t Wrong When You Say IT is Complicated

I was meeting with an old colleague the other day. We met over Microsoft Teams to just check in and see how they were doing—no real itinerary, just to check in with a familiar face that I haven’t personally talked to in a few years. They had a little trouble getting into Microsoft Teams, since they were used to Zoom. I patiently smiled and helped them through it, and told them “No worries, it’s always the little differences that complicate things!”

At the time, I said this just to be empathetic. At first, the nerdy computer-geek part of my brain told me that the process to get into a Zoom meeting vs a Teams meeting, from their perspective, is exactly the same. But after the call, I really thought about this small interaction, and you know what? Things have gotten complicated.

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What is a BDR and Why Does Your Organization Need One?

Data backup always sounds like a simple process, but if you truly want to rely on your backup, it needs to be absolutely infallible. That is the objective behind an IT appliance known as the BDR, which stands for Backup and Disaster Recovery.

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ALERT: Critical Security Flaw in Samsung Smartphone Modems

Google's Project Zero, a team of security analysts employed by Google who are tasked with finding zero-day vulnerabilities, has found critical security flaws in Samsung modems (used in smartphones and other communication devices). This flaw could enable hackers to remotely gain access to vulnerable devices without any intervention from you, the user.

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Patience is a Virtue…Especially Amongst Your Team, Part 2

Our blog last week covered how patience is an important part of the most successful and productive employees’ arsenal. This week, we want to cover how you can help your employees be more patient. If you know someone in your office who could take things down a notch, this is just the blog for you with four suggestions that might do the trick.

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Who Handles the IT at Your Company? Are They Doing These Critical Tasks?

Depending on the size and complexity of your organization, managing technology can easily become a full-time job. If you are only calling a technician when you are dealing with a computer issue, then you might be sitting on a ticking time bomb. Whether you have internal staff responsible for managing your IT, or you rely on a third-party, you’ll want to make sure the following tasks are getting done.

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How to Develop a Security Strategy that Fits Your Business’ Needs

Today’s businesses need to be prepared for threats of all kinds…that’s unfortunately just fact. Modern cyberattacks are not only getting more effective, they’re also able to be a lot less discerning about who they target. This creates exponentially more risk for businesses of all sizes. Let’s go over how you can develop a cybersecurity strategy that helps temper this risk a bit.

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IT Costs are Rising on a Global Scale…Here’s Why

No matter how big your business is, you’ll always have technology expenses. It’s just a fact of the current workplace, and your profits will be inexorably tied to how well your IT works for you. Furthermore, the more IT costs rise, the more impact small and medium-sized businesses will feel from them. Today, we wanted to address this issue and how you can minimize the frustrations that stem from seemingly uncontrollable technology costs.

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ALERT: SFCU Members are Being Targeted by a Phishing Scam in Oneonta

Central NY residents who use Sidney Federal Credit Union have been seeing a rash of phishing scams that could put their information and their money at risk. Here’s what we know so far, and how to protect yourself from this targeted scam.

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IT Wasn’t Always This Way: Let’s Look Back in Time When Technology Was “Simpler”

Who doesn’t love nostalgia? Throughout history, people have always looked back at the “good old days” and we wanted to explore some of the weird and wacky technologies and trends that didn’t quite stick the landing for the long run, and some that ended up unintentionally paving the way.

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How to Choose the Best Support Company For Your Business

If your business has five or more computers, or an expensive server, then you need access to a professional who can provide technical support. There is a huge difference between a local guy who can fix a computer and a professional who understands the intricacies of a business network—think of it like asking your pizza delivery guy to serve your entire extended family a Thanksgiving dinner.

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What Every Business Owner Needs to Know About Security Training

The effectiveness of your business’ IT security is largely contingent on how your IT operates. As a result, it is extremely important to ensure that your staff understands the role they play in protecting your business’ assets. This month, we discuss what you should prioritize when putting together a security training platform; an essential part of any business’ attempts to keep their IT secure. 

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Your Marketing Needs Client Reviews to Back it Up

Recently, Google has updated its requirements to run local ads from 1 review to 5 reviews. If you’ve been neglecting collecting reviews, now is the time to start, as they increase the value of your marketing efforts.

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How to Set Up a Keeper Account

Here at Directive, we’re big fans of the Keeper password management tool—so much so, that we’re sharing how you can use it to manage and clean up your personal passwords. We’ll start by telling you how to set it up and get started.

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The Ultimate Remote Setup for Users with Work-Provided Laptops

Working from home isn’t as simple as it sounds for many users. There are a lot of things to consider, ranging from comfort to security. Considering that a lot of people first started to think about working from home two years ago under duress, it’s worth looking at your current situation and determining how you can improve it.

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How to Optimize Your Google Business Profile: Part 1

When it comes to your business’ visibility online, your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy plays an absolutely critical role. While SEO is influenced by a lot of different factors, we wanted to focus on one way you can boost it: your Google Business profile.

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What To Do When Your Remote Workforce Needs Computer Repair

For many businesses (and employees), remote work has been a godsend, while proving its value and efficacy as a viable means of productivity… particularly when certain health crises make gathering in the office an unsafe prospect. Recently, businesses have adopted somewhat-hybridized approaches to their work processes. While this is clearly a wise move for the business, it also opens the door for some otherwise unprecedented challenges.

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Five Key Questions to Ask when Seeking Out a Computer Consultant

Businesses around central New York have a few options available to them when it comes to their IT needs. However, in order to receive the best services and support for them, they need to select the right provider. While we are admittedly biased, we wanted to share some of the questions that we would ask any IT or computer consultant we’d work with and trust with our network.

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Slow or Broken Computer? Get it Repaired Now. Here’s Why

Let’s get right to it: if your computer has something wrong with it, it is going to get in your way. It’s going to be slower, it’s going to crash, it’s going to stop you from being productive. That’s just the start of it, too.

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How Apple's Mail Privacy Protection May Impact Your MailChimp

Apple’s release of iOS 15 and macOS Monterey will offer a new feature called Mail Privacy Protection. If an Apple Mail user enables this feature, it will limit the ability for marketing software providers, like Mailchimp, to accurately determine the following:

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Businesses Have Access to These 3 Powerful Communications Tools

What kinds of communication tools does your business utilize on a daily basis? Chances are that your communication infrastructure can benefit from some of the latest and greatest solutions on the market. Communication is one aspect of your business that you definitely do not want to skimp on, as failing to implement the proper tools can bleed into other aspects of your organization, including operations and, in return, your bottom line.

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Need a Reason to Invest in RMM? Here’s Four

It is undeniable that businesses have increasingly been relying on technology. The past year has been especially digital as millions of people were working remotely. Many of these people required some type of technology support. Today, we are going to discuss how companies like ours were able to provide comprehensive IT support to so many people while they worked from home.

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World Backup Day Highlights the Importance of Backup Practices

March 31 is World Backup Day. Data is a commodity, but unlike other commodities--it can be replicated without hurting its value. As a result, data backup has become a critical need for the modern business. World Backup Day has been created to remind people to protect their assets by backing up their files.

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VoIP Significantly Improves Business Communications in Multiple Ways

With all the communication tools that businesses use today, there still is no more important option than the telephone system. Unfortunately for small businesses, the telephone system can be expensive and hard to manage. However, there is a way for you to get a fully featured telephone service with some of the most important tools your business needs, at a fraction of the price you currently pay for your enterprise telephone system.

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How To Find Qualified Leads

The top question many businesses ask is how to find qualified leads. In today’s marketplace, having a website, and expecting the dollars to roll in is a fool’s errand. There is more competition than ever before, and business owners are less likely to seek out new ways to spend money. You need to put yourself in front of them.

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Document Your IT Infrastructure

Quick, off the top of your head, how many network switches are in use at your office? How many wireless access points? How many routers are past their warranty or no longer getting support?

That’s not a question most business owners are asked on a regular basis, and we don’t really expect you to be able to rattle off the answers. You should have all of that information documented though.

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Your Success Comes Down to Your People

We’re getting close to the end of 2020. Finally? Has it been a long year for you? Has it gone by really fast? I think every other day I have a different opinion about it.

Either way, it’s time to look at 2021. A fresh start, a clean slate. I think if there is one big mindset all business owners and C-levels need to take into consideration for 2021, it’s their people.

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Maintaining a Work-Life Balance is Crucial When Working from Home

With all that has gone on in terms of the coronavirus pandemic, it is little wonder that many businesses have suddenly changed their tune concerning the use of remote work. However, some workers are in a bit of a crisis as they try to adapt to their new work environment: suddenly, the place they would go at the end of the day to recover is the same place where work must now be done. This shift has led to a not-insignificant amount of stress and mental fatigue.

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Employees Can Be Your Business’ Best (or Worst) Defense Policy

Many businesses believe that if they only had the right security tool, they would be secure from cyberattacks. What they don’t realize is that even the best IT security software and hardware can immediately fall apart if your staff isn’t trained to understand certain security risks. Take a moment to discover how to turn your team into a valuable security resource, and prevent them from being a security liability.

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It’s Time You Gave VoIP Another Look

As we continue to adapt to a post-coronavirus world, one of the biggest issues facing businesses is their ability to communicate with their customers and team. As social distancing has reduced face-to-face interactions, many businesses are turning to digital solutions like VoIP to communicate effectively.  

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Lessons Learned From Chenango County’s Ransomware Attack

Dangerous cyberthreats don’t just affect major businesses—they are just as likely to hit close to home.

In fact, just two weeks ago, a ransomware attack left half of the computers operated by Chenango County held hostage by hackers, who demanded $90,000 to surrender access to the files. Learn how Chenango County was able to say “No” and recover their data.

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How to Use a Second Monitor on Your Laptop or Chromebook

If you’ve been mostly working from a laptop these last few months, you’re probably noticing that it’s a little harder to be as productive with only one screen, especially if you were used to having two at the office. If you’ve already looked into getting a second screen for your laptop, but your laptop doesn’t have a port, you aren’t actually out of luck!

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Extend the Effectiveness of Your Wireless Network

Your business wireless connection is an increasingly important consideration, which means it needs to be installed and supported thoughtfully. Today, we will tell you a little bit about Wi-Fi and how to get the best performance out of your business’ wireless network.

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How To Have a Better Remote Work Experience

The benefits of having the ability to work remotely certainly outweigh the alternative, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work through some of the drawbacks. Doing so will make your remote work experience the best it can be. Here are three tips to keep you engaged and productive while you work remotely.

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Unify Your Communications and Improve Efficiency

Cloud computing is as popular as ever with 80 percent of businesses now using some form of it. Today, you can get about any type of business computing in the cloud, but one of the most valuable solutions that most businesses can use is found in the communications sector. This month we’ll talk a little bit about how a hosted VoIP platform can be one of the most useful solutions for your business. 

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How Should IT Be Used as Employees Return to Workplaces?

Many workplaces have started the processes necessary to safely return their employees to typical operations. However, this is going to involve no small amount of preparation in terms of your business’ technology and proactive planning. Let’s consider the different approaches that you could take as you resume operations in a way that helps protect your team while still enabling work to be done.

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What Your Business Can Learn From the Recent Twitter Social Engineering Hack

This may be an uncomfortable truth when it comes to data security: the weakest link to keeping your data secure will be your employees. As social media giant Twitter recently discovered, despite the best technical security measures you have in place, all it takes is a break in protocol to place your client’s data and your business’ reputation at risk.

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What to Do If Your Business Can’t Work Remotely?

We often discuss the “new normal” for businesses post-coronavirus and focus on the need for organizations to update their businesses to continue to complete and, most importantly, remain operational during the lockdown, most notably remote workers. However, the reality is there are many businesses that can’t readily take advantage of a remote workforce, due to the nature of their business. Here are some tips to help your business thrive, even if you aren’t able to take advantage of remote work.

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Remote Monitoring and Managed IT, and the Impact it Has on Small Business

With more people than ever working from home, their ability to receive the support they need to keep their devices in top working order is crucial. As a result, many businesses have turned to managed IT service providers to maintain their employees’ computers. MSPs like us utilize a tool called remote monitoring and management software (RMM). Let’s discuss what it is and why it is so useful for managing your company’s IT. 

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What Your IT Documentation Needs to Include, and Why

It is important that you have a handle on the technology that your business utilizes, which will require you to maintain comprehensive documentation regarding it and its support. Here, we’ll go through what a managed service provider includes in this documentation, as well as how it is used.

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Test Your Backup!

Your data is vital for your organization’s continuity. Your data consists of everything from your company documents, accounting records, client contact information, prospects and leads, procedures, and everything else needed for you to keep operations running smoothly. That’s why all businesses need a solid backup solution that is monitored and tested regularly.

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How Can I Use SEO to Help My Business' Website Rank Better?

Is your business website not generating as many leads as you hoped? Chances are your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is focused on what keywords are and not what they do. Keywords are a starting point for SEO, not the end, and certainly not the only factor in making SEO work for your business. Here are four tips to help you better understand how to use SEO as part of your business Marketing Plan.

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I Didn’t Realize How Much I Needed This: Color-Coded Chrome Tabs

Google Chrome is rolling out a neat little update for everyone over the next week (it may already be out for some users by the time this posts). It’s a feature that I know I’m personally going to love, and I didn’t even realize how badly I needed it until now.

Let’s take a look!

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Zoom Addresses Security Shortcomings, But Users Should Always be Careful

Remote workers have an increasing number of tools to allow them to remain productive as COVID-19 concerns force them out of their office due to social distancing requirements. Yet many newly remote workers are finding unexpected problems in their new world as they adopt new technologies such as Zoom. Take a moment to learn how to keep your Zoom meetings safe and give your remote workers the tools they need to remain productive.

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The Definitive Guide on Password Best Practices

Protecting your online accounts, your data, and your customers’ information is now more important than ever. Industry and state-mandated compliances are now forcing businesses to tighten their cybersecurity, and it’s critical that every human being on the Internet take their own personal security seriously. This guide is designed to provide the best practices for strong passwords.

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If Your Business Isn’t Considered ‘Essential’ You Need to do This

New York State, along with many others, have mandated a stay at home order as part of their social distancing policy. As such, most businesses have to close in response to the coronavirus crisis. There are, however, 12 business sectors which are exempt from this order, and can remain open because they are considered essential. Do you know if your business is considered essential? Read on to learn more.

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What You Need to Know to Manage a Remote Workforce

There are many reasons that your team may want (or need) to work from home, and there are many reasons to allow them to do so. A 2019 survey by OwlLabs indicated that 71 percent of remote workers are happy with their job (as compared to 55 percent of on-site workers); remote workers responded that they are 13   percent more likely than onsite workers to stay in their current job for five more years than onsite workers will; and when respondents claimed to be working longer than 40 hours per week, onsite workers were doing so out of necessity, while remote workers did so out of desire and enjoyment.

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The Employee’s Guide to Working Remotely

It’s not uncommon where a situation arises and you will find yourself working from home. To make this work, it is important that you keep a few additional issues in mind so that you can make the most of it. We have put together a few simple best practices that you should keep in mind as you operate remotely.

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Social Engineering Lessons from an Oneonta Grandmother

Cybercriminals use nasty tricks to gain the confidence of their victims. They often use trust to fool users into providing their passwords or downloading malicious software. We’ve recently seen this happen with local Otsego county residents. First, let’s take a look at what social engineering is.

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HIPPA and the End of Windows 7

Back in January, Windows 7 reached end-of-life. This doesn’t cause your Windows 7 computer to stop working. However, without support and updates, Windows 7 will slowly, but surely, develop security holes. Any software unable to be updated is by default HIPAA non-compliant and that includes any computer still using Windows 7.

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Protect Your Network and Keep Your People Productive with a Firewall and Content Filtering

In today’s 24/7 always-online business environment, it is unrealistic to expect your team to spend 8 hours in front of a computer and not access their personal email or click on a non-work-related link. It happens every day. What also happens every day is that an SMB finds its network compromised by malware or a loss of productivity due to a lack of focus.

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Managing Your Business and Remote Workforce During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Companies around the world have or are finding the need to send their workers home to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. For many business owners, managing your staff remotely is a brand new paradigm. Here’s what you need to know.

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Email, Banking, and Other Login Credentials of Upstate NY Users Found for Sale on the Dark Web

Our Network Operations Center (NOC) has noticed an alarmingly high number of local business accounts leaked on the Internet.

Is access to your email, your bank accounts, your website, or your social media accounts being bought and sold on the online black market? It’s more likely than you might think.

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In the Age of Coronavirus, Now’s the Time to Reconsider Telework

New York State recently mandated a stay in place order, requiring only essential businesses remain open and all others have their employees stay at home. The goal is to reduce the spread of coronavirus, by increasing social distancing. The best way to do this is by having fewer employees physically in the office. For telecommuting to be successful you need to have a plan in place before you need to use it. Here are 5 steps to allow your employees to work from home in the age of coronavirus.

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5 Excuses Business' Should Stop Using When it Comes to Social Media


As the owner of a business, one of your number one tasks is to grow your business. Simply put, without the revenue new contacts bring in, you’ll likely grow stagnant. While word of mouth is great, there is a limit to how many people you can meet. You have to market, advertise and promote your business to reach a wider audience. In terms of reach, social media can provide access to a nearly unlimited source of leads.

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Digital Wallets In the Age Of Coronavirus

New York State recently joined a number of other states in prohibiting businesses from enacting a cash-free policy. A cash-free policy means a business can refuse to accept cash or even charge a ‘service’ fee for taking cash. There was significant pushback against businesses having no cash policies and the measure failed. However, as the world focuses on hygiene, specifically hand-washing or avoiding shaking hands, reducing the exchange of cash could be seen as a good thing. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider the benefits of a cash-free environment.

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3 Reasons Your Business will Benefit from an IT Assessment

Are your security safeguards up to snuff? If a disaster were to happen, would you be able to recover your data and bounce back? Does your team understand and implement best practices when it comes to protecting your customer data? Do you know if any software you are running is about to reach end-of-life? If you’re not sure, then it’s time for an IT Assessment. Don’t think your organization needs it? Here are three benefits an IT Assessment can provide your business.

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For Earth Day, Properly Dispose of All Your Electronics

April 22nd is Earth Day, which began 50 years ago as a means to hold businesses and corporations accountable for the damage that their highly industrialized pollution was introducing into the world. As the digital age has introduced a new environmental concern, it only seems prudent to address the challenge we face today: e-waste.

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5 Digital Marketing Trends to Look Out For in 2020

The world is ever-changing and the marketing world isn’t exempted from that steady change. To keep your marketing up-to-date, we’ve summarized five digital marketing trends that will be key in 2020. Let's look ahead!

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Narrowing Your Marketing Focus

When you market your business’ services you want to make sure you are marketing effectively! With too broad a target market, you could be wasting your marketing efforts. You want to narrow your marketing focus - so try target marketing. By doing this you will be breaking your marketing into groups. Then you will narrow those groups down, to those that would need your product or services the most. 

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Why We’re Just Waiting for Break/Fix IT Services to Go Away

As much as we hate to admit it, the first thing that many people still think of when they hear the term “tech support” is the experience that comes with an antiquated approach to technology services: the break/fix method. Fortunately for us, we are seeing many businesses make the better decision, and turn to the clearly superior option, managed IT.

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Practice Healthy Password Habits on Everything

Your cybersecurity is only as strong as your weakest link, and in many cases, that starts with your passwords. As the Internet of Things continues to become more ubiquitous in our homes and businesses, we risk exposing our private lives to the public-at-large.  When we don’t manage our ‘always connected’ devices, we may be placing the security of our businesses and homes at risk.

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Windows 10 Search Function is Broken

Microsoft is currently working on a bug that is occuring in various builds of Windows 10 that prevents users from using the built in search function on the start bar.

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7 Critical Factors to Consider When Choosing IT Solutions

If your job is running a business, it’s pretty likely that making time to fully compare and understand every piece of business technology just isn’t in the cards. Even if you are pretty comfortable around computers and networking equipment, there are a lot of solutions out there, each with a big list of pros and cons. Finding exactly what you need can be challenging, time consuming, and cost you a lot of time and money if it doesn’t quite fit in with what you already have in place.

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Spend Smartly… Invest in an MSP

While it is true that many small and medium-sized businesses don’t have access to the resources enterprise-level businesses do, they don’t have to find themselves on the outside looking in. By partnering with an MSP, SMBs can have access to the same IT resources as larger organizations at a price that is within their reach.

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5 Tips for Social Media Marketing Success

Social media is not only one of the main drivers of traffic to your site, but it is also a primary tool for the marketing of your business. Social media is particularly valuable to smaller businesses, as it can level the playing field in regards to the ability to communicate with an audience. Unsure of how to find the time to set up, customize and develop an effective social media plan for your business? Now’s the time for The Ultimate Social Media Rig.

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Disney+ Hacked Within Days of Launching. Here’s What SMBs Can Learn From This

Disney+, Disney’s new Netflix-like streaming service launched with a lot of fanfare on November 12th. The service promises to offer Disney’s massive library of shows and movies, including content from all of the franchises the company has been buying up over the last decade. Unfortunately, many thousands of subscribers have come to find their credentials stolen, and the House of Mouse isn’t exactly giving anyone a clear answer.

This leads to the question, how would your business handle a data breach?

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Does Your IT Provider Practice Good Cyberhygiene?

I have a confession to make: it’s actually a pretty trying time to be in the IT business right now. A year ago, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement for IT and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) about an increased risk of being targeted by cybercriminals.

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An MSP is Helpful... Even if You Aren’t Ready for Full Managed Services

We spend a lot of time talking about managed IT services. That’s where you pay a monthly contract to have your technology taken care of for you. There are a lot of pros to this, especially for a business that values uptime and efficiency... but sometimes, you just need that certain computer working, and signing another contract isn’t in the cards. We get it. Here’s how we can still help.

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Your Business Can be Cyberbullied

While the issue of cyberbullying is often associated with young people, in reality it is a phenomenon which transcends age, gender, and class. The 24/7 online, anonymous, and always available without respite virtual environment has changed not only how we communicate with each other, but the mores of society - including the business world.

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Oneonta Employers Should Look to Local Schools for Prospects

Every summer, there is a new crop of recent graduates seeking employment opportunities. This is especially true here in Oneonta. Area businesses should be paying close attention to these young graduates and trying to entice them into employment, as they are likely to have fostered precisely the skills these businesses are seeking.

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CPT: White Cheese Sauce

Looking for a great sauce to compliment your steak or chicken? Then do we have a recipe for you!

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Lessons from the Business World for Otsego Schools Dealing with Bullying

When it comes to addressing bullying in our schools, whether it is ‘traditional’ or cyber, communication is critical to not only support victims of bullying, but also to prevent it. We’ve been following debates held by the Cooperstown PTA to discuss how to handle bullying and wanted to share our thoughts. Although bullying and cyberbullying are very tricky subjects, we feel that we can learn a lot about how schools handle these sensitive issues and share these insights with other businesses.

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Five Reasons Managed Services Even Work Well for Small Businesses

Consider something for a moment: aside from their size and the resources at their disposal, what makes a small to medium-sized business so different from a large, enterprise-sized one? If you really consider it, there isn’t all that much. This is why many SMBs have turned to managed services… to receive IT support comparable to what the large businesses get.

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4 Reasons You Should Implement Company Lunches

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” – Luciano Pavarotti

While breakfast is commonly known as the most important meal of the day, lunch can be an influential part of the workday, especially where team building and morale is concerned. Here at Directive, we’ve long used our Crock-Pot Thursday lunches as a means of creating a more cohesive team.

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Should You Be Holding Your Staff Accountable for Failed Phishing Tests?

It can be a real head-scratcher when one of your otherwise well-performing employees routinely falls for the simulated phishing attacks that you roll out as a part of your cybersecurity awareness strategy. For all intents and purposes, the person is a great employee, but when it comes to acting with caution, they fail. If you’ve made a point to prioritize your staff’s working knowledge of phishing attacks, do you replace this employee? We’ll take a look at it today.

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In Cybersecurity It’s Fool Me Once, Shame on Me

In the course of doing business everyone has their own specific responsibilities. One overarching responsibility that all employees need to have today is a keen eye for detail. The health of a business depends on it. A staff’s failure to properly shoulder their load of security can have an immensely negative result for both the employee and the company. Today, we’re going to explain that when your organization gets breached by hackers, that fault is largely found in the mirror. 

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Tip of the Week: Using Digital Signs

If you walk into any office out there, chances are you’ll see signs on the wall indicating who is located where, as well as those that identify points of interest that visitors might need. With digital technology taking over many aspects of the office, it was a given that it would eventually impact signage. If it’s used right, digital signage can highlight important parts of your office and encourage employees to give it their all during the workday.

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Tip of the Week: Extremely Useful Tips

All Windows machines are capable of leveraging built-in shortcuts. While it might sound ludicrous, using keyboard shortcuts can eliminate the eight days that the average employee spends every year moving between the keyboard and mouse. Shocking, right? Keyboard shortcuts let you retake all of that lost time and use it to be more productive.

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Wow That’s a Lot of Money - Otsego County Residents Lost Nearly $70k to Scammers So Far This Year

According to the New York State Police, Otsego County residents have been experiencing and falling victim to a slew of scams that have resulted in the reported loss of nearly $70,000 so far in 2019.

Let’s take a look and talk about how you can protect yourself and inform your friends, family, and coworkers of this threat that is definitely feeling too close to home for many of us.

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There’s a Wealth of Young Talent in Oneonta... Here’s How to Keep Them Around

Here in Oneonta, we have not one, but two institutions of higher education… which means we have quite a bit of talent being developed locally. In 2016, 2,003 degrees were awarded by our local universities - and one of the most popular majors, Business & Managerial Economics, provides a resource that can assist in making educated business decisions. It only makes sense that businesses around Oneonta would want to keep this kind of talent around.

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Oneonta Businesses Shouldn’t Write Off Older Workers

Let me ask you something… how would you describe your ideal employee? Many people would rattle off a list of qualifications and personality traits - dedicated, focused, and experienced - with little issue, but seem to never be satisfied with the experience level of their young applicants. However, another group could make a great source of promising candidates: older workers.

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Invest in Your Business By Investing in Your Staff

It only makes sense that you would want your staff to know what they are doing as they tackle their daily work responsibilities - otherwise, there isn’t really the chance for very much work to be done. This is why training your staff is so important - it’s practically a prerequisite for productivity.

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How to Properly Handle the Stars and Stripes

Old Glory, the Stars and Stripes, the Star Spangled Banner… whatever you call it, the flag of the United States of America is a symbol of this country’s history and its current unity. As such, there are proper ways to handle it… and many, many ways for it to be mishandled. Here, we’ve taken the liberty of outlining the proper etiquette for handling the flag, and how to properly dispose of it if necessary.

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You’re Training the Business’ Future, Not Your Replacement

Planning for your business’ future is a critical activity to carry out, and we aren’t just talking about next quarter. You need to be sure that you are ready to accept that today’s status quo  isn’t permanent. Your business or your position should grow, which means that you and your employees are going to need to embrace more responsibility and authority, exploring different roles.

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Big-Business Solutions Also Apply to Oneonta Small Businesses

Enterprise businesses have historically had access to bigger and better technology solutions than their small to medium-sized counterparts, their sheer size allowing them to bulldoze any potential competitors who weren’t of their size or larger. However, with the changes to technology that we have seen, business opportunities for SMBs have become more accessible and affordable. This allows more businesses of all sizes, but particularly SMBs, to embrace solutions that can drive them to success.

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Why Oneonta Businesses Need Enterprise Cybersecurity

If you run a small business in Oneonta, you might assume that you don’t need to worry about the threat of a cyberattack. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

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reCAPTCHA: The First Line of Defense

Security is paramount. These days, hackers are aggressive and relentless when it comes to using exploits to test your security. So much so that even when applying multiple layers of protection across a site, the server, and keeping everything patched, threats can sneak in. This is why it is critical to have a first line of defense; in this case, a CAPTCHA.

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Putting The Social in Social Media

Recently, we have been sharing insights on some best practices regarding social media. This time, we’re going to discuss the primary function of social media: engagement. Engagement is simply how you interact with your audience and whether or not you are able to develop a relationship with them. Engagement is also one of the most important and resource-consuming aspects of using social media as a tool for marketing and the promotion of your services.

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Investigating the Value of Managed IT Services

Managed IT services can present a lot of benefits for small businesses. Since not many smaller businesses can afford to staff expert IT technicians, managed IT services are an attractive alternative that allows an organization to get the IT support and management they need to keep their business running efficiently. Today, we’ll go over all the benefits a managed service provider can present a small business,and just how a MSP delivers significant returns on your IT support investments.

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October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

It’s October, and time again for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to bring extra attention to the issue of security. This year there is a focus on the personal and professional interactions that intersect in the virtual space. The more these two worlds become connected, the more likely the possibility of a hacker gaining access to one or both worlds, using access they acquired from one or the other.

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How to Ensure Your Business is Hurricane-Ready

As headlines shout about Hurricane Florence approaching the East Coast later this week, with Helene and Isaac also stirring in the Atlantic Ocean, it seems as good a time as any to discuss preparing your business for hurricane season; and, really any adverse weather effects that could negatively influence your business. Preparing your business for events like these is key to its survival, making it crucial that you know what your responsibilities are when awaiting a potentially devastating event such as a hurricane.

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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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What Exactly Do We Mean by “Managed” Services?

Managed services - what are they? The short answer, other people managing the IT systems that you rely on every day to be productive and accomplish your tasks. In essence, they are a freedom from dealing with the troublesome and time-consuming parts of leveraging technology. You may have heard this much about managed services before, but have never been given a deeper understanding of what they entail. That is precisely what we aim to accomplish below.

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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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From the Law Office to the Courtroom: IT’s Role in Criminal Justice

With information technology touching nearly every part of modern culture, it isn’t a surprise that it is being utilized by sectors of industry where you may not expect. One of those sectors that may not register as one of the most IT-centric is the criminal justice system. This is largely because it is traditionally thought to be filled with jobs that seemingly haven’t changed much in centuries. Today, we’ll take a look at the technology that fuels today’s criminal justice system and see how municipalities and companies, alike, are benefiting from technology solutions.



To start the journey through the legal system, we’ll start with the people whose job is defined by exercising moral authority: the police. The first thing that anyone needs to know about their investment in IT and their use of technology systems is that, since the police gets a majority of their funding from public money, IT budgets aren’t always in line with a private business’. In fact, some police departments don’t see the point in more IT when good cops are being laid off so they will deliberately cut their IT budgets in line with the budget they get from their municipality.

While IT isn’t always a priority for the police, it can be effective at providing exceptional departmental productivity gains. With the remote nature of the job, most police cars today are outfitted with laptops and Internet accessibility. This allows officers to access motor vehicle and individual information stored on useful databases, but since these machines are hardwired into a car dock, they only get a partial benefit of mobility. Innovative solutions are now being used where police are outfitted with department-owned smartphones and tablets so that officers can access relevant information from outside of their cars.

There are several parts of the job where police can benefit from new technology. Along with the in-car computer networking, and potentially mobile device networking, IT can compliment a lot of what a police officer does. The right IT solution can boost communication, augment (or completely run) operational capabilities, and effectively reduce costs by providing information faster and speeding up procedure. After all, a large percentage of effective policing has to do with having actionable information. As a result, by implementing IT solutions, the public welfare improves--which is the situation that any citizen can ask from their officers of the peace.

From a software perspective, here are three types the typical police department can’t do without:

  • Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) - An application that assists dispatchers route police resources to places of priority need.
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) -  An application that provides in-depth geographic information to provide dispatchers and officers a comprehensive view of the landscape.
  • Records Management System (RMS) - An application that provides officers with access to reliable information to assist them in their duties.



Moving on to the lawyers, we’ll find a professional that is torn between the past and the future. Many lawyers understand that IT can benefit them, but at the same time the simply don’t have time to monkey with technology that, for some, can do more harm than good. The average lawyer that works criminal cases, whether they are prosecutors, defense attorneys, or specialists, understands how to effectively utilize certain technologies to provide their clients the best service possible. After all, they deal with a lot of sensitive information, and have a responsibility to protect it.

Some of the technologies that law firms typically utilize come in the form of business-type solutions that enhance their productivity, efficiency, and data redundancy. Others, however, are best utilized by a business like a law practice. Most practices need strong collaborative systems that allow multiple people to share files, the ability to print off documents, and a central database that has access to documents. These requirements make computing solutions in the cloud a perfect fit for the modern law office. Cloud computing can offer these organizations a way to host all their necessary software, while also providing virtual hardware and redundant storage capabilities without having to pay huge upfront costs.

Lawyers typically use the following software:

  • Practice Management - An application that is designed to help lawyers and their staff manage the large quantity of work they are inundated with.
  • eDiscovery - An application that makes finding, collection, identifying, and sharing relevant information easy.
  • Video Conferencing - Lawyers are extraordinarily busy and often don’t have time for face-to-face meetings. Video conferencing helps fill the void by allowing them to meet with clients, colleagues, and staff from anywhere with an Internet connection.


The Court

Since its main purpose is to be a place to hear arguments, the courtroom doesn’t need all the technology that the police and lawyers use to keep things rolling efficiently along. In fact, most of the technology that is utilized in the duration of a criminal trial would be traditionally provided by the prosecution or defense. This simply isn’t so today. The courtroom of the information age is seeing a major shift, and changing the nature of litigation completely.

The biggest change to the modern courtroom is in the availability of data. Since data is now able to be securely broadcast from cloud servers to devices such as laptops and tablets, the notoriously slow court proceedings’ pace has quickened somewhat. Other technologies like wireless Internet connections and charging ports add to the connected courtroom effectiveness.

Along with the technology people bring in to the courtroom, there are major changes in the technology inside the courtroom itself, too. The modern courtroom features video displays--either in the form of a mounted screen and a LCD projector or smaller, individual screens in the jury box--to provide juries a resource to see evidence. Many courtrooms also have individual witness monitors and annotation monitors.

Since the courtroom only has a couple of static employees, software isn’t typically necessary to manage the staff or used for productivity, but some software is available. There are titles for court and case management, e-filing, and audio-visual that are all found in the modern courtroom.


The criminal justice system ends with institutional corrections (prisons and jails) and community corrections (probation and parole). Like the other parts of the system, the corrections system has become dependant on the use of technology, especially for communication. Internet-based databases help corrections professionals track and maintain records on offender rehabilitation, while also helping provide an alternative to incarceration for nonviolent offenders. This provides the public significant cost savings, while also providing correction officers the ability to effectively monitor and manage offender probation.

Since budgetary considerations can really put a damper on the amount of acceptable innovation in corrections, the use of standard information technology is extremely important. It is making prisons and jails safer, and community corrections more effective. No better example of this than then the use of asset tracking technology through an automated offender management system.

The automated offender management system allows multiple users to access (and alter) an offender’s record simultaneously.with other users. This real-time information sharing improves efficiency, as the more information that’s available between multiple elements of the criminal justice system (and in this case, the corrections system) the better the entire system moves. Additionally, by providing real-time inmate information to corrections officers, it will reduce security risks.


If the technologically puerile criminal justice system is utilizing technology to improve operations, your business can, too. To see how Directive’s knowledgeable IT consultants can make technology work for your organization, call us today at 607.433.2200.

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Is Your Password Policy A Security Risk?

With every successful intrusion and theft of data, the images of hackers as criminal masterminds and unstoppable forces of technology gone awry grow. In fact, there’s an increasing narrative that hackers are everywhere, just waiting to use their mad ‘skillz’ to steal your credit card information and buy their limited edition dolls, sorry, “action figures.” Worse, they’re just waiting to hold your data hostage and extort ransom from your business.

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Credit Card Skimmers Are a Real Threat - Be On The Lookout

If you thought that small town Oneonta wasn’t at risk of cybersecurity attacks and scams that you see in the headlines, you might want to think again. Most of the time, smaller businesses (especially around upstate New York) feel that they’re not a viable target for cybercriminals. After all, these kinds of issues are just concerns for bigger companies in larger cities, they surely don’t happen here, in Oneonta... right?

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The Monopoly of ISPs

Many of those in favor to end net neutrality focused not on the issues of technology, but on the principles of the 'invisible hand,' otherwise known as the free market. Their argument, as espoused by Ajit Pai, is that regulation - particularly that of net neutrality - stifled innovation, and it’s that lack of variation which is the cause of so many of us being stuck with crummy internet options. In fact, Mr. Pai has a valid point, states and countries with multiple ISP services, do seem to have better outcomes for their customers. The problem is most of us don’t live in those places and don’t have many, if any, choices but one or two.

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