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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.

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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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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5 Inbound Marketing Methods Businesses Should Be Using

Marketing has two umbrella classification that most methods fall under, inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Here are five inbound marketing methods that we recommend using to market your business!

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Marketing for Those with Little Time

Marketing is an integral part of the business process. If your business isn’t allocating any time to marketing, then your business isn’t growing. However, if you allocate too much time to marketing, you take time away from other aspects of the business process. You can escape this trap by utilizing your time marketing effectively and efficiently.   

Here are 4 ways you can optimize your marketing to save time!

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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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Save Time By Automating These 7 Things in Your Marketing & Sales Efforts

Automation has always been something that is important to us. Fortunately, it’s easier than you think to automate away many of your routine marketing and sales processes, freeing up time and allowing your team to focus on serving customers and closing sales.

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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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6 Steps in Building a Solid Web Presence

So, you have a brand new website that offers some pretty outstanding products/services, and now you have the expectation that it is going to sell, sell, sell. Great products, after all, are the best marketing you can have. Let me tell you first so you don’t have to hear it from someone else…that is not enough.

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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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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.

 

Police

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.

 

Lawyers

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.

Corrections

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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Using the Right Communication Tools Can Bolster Productivity

Productivity is a major consideration in any business environment - that’s largely why so many solutions designed for a business’ use focus on increasing productivity as much as possible. One method of doing so that many businesses have found effective is the adoption of Unified Communication and Collaboration solutions.

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The Protection of Data Is Best with BDR

Data backup is a critical part of any business endeavor, because if you don’t have one all of your hard work could be taken away in an instant. It’s not great to think about, but your business’ infrastructure could be put at risk of sudden annihilation. With so much at risk, what is the best way to approach managing your data? There are a lot of options out there, but there is only one that will allow your organization to get back in action following a crippling data loss incident.

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Managed IT Services Is a Solid Solution for Saving Money

How much money does your business waste on managing its technology solutions? You might be surprised by the answer to this question. Depending on the way that your organization takes advantage of technology, you’ll have different needs than other businesses, but no matter what kind of organization you manage, it’s critical that you try to get the best return on investment for your solutions.

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Which Management Software Is Right for Your Business?

On the surface, you might think that customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) are the same exact thing. However, they both have very specific niches for a business--particularly when it comes to managing organizational assets and interactions with consumers. Here are some of the specific situations in which you’ll find these solutions helpful.

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Mobile Computing Works to Boost Productivity

Mobile technology is allowing businesses to make great strides in the way that they conduct their operations, but one of the key reasons why it has been so helpful is that it decreases their costs considerably. Thanks to developments in the way that mobile technology works, it can be fit into pretty much any business model, all the while improving your return on investment for your expensive technology solutions.

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Can You Stay Compliant While Using the Cloud?

One of the inevitabilities of working with the cloud is that you have to face a tough question; what kind of compliance requirements are there for cloud-based data? If you’re storing data for your business in a cloud-based environment, it becomes your responsibility to know where and how this data is stored--particularly if you’re not the one doing the actual cloud hosting. How do you maintain compliance when you seemingly have so little control over how your computing platform is managed and maintained?

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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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Should You Be Concerned About Cloud Security?

If you think that working with the cloud doesn’t have risks, think again. It’s inevitable that you’ll face security compliance concerns when it comes to your cloud-based data. If your organization has data stored in a cloud-based environment, you’ll want to pay particularly close attention to how compliance laws affect the way that you access and store this information. How can you make sure that your cloud-based data isn’t in violation of some cloud compliance laws?

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Today’s Students Depend Heavily on Technology

Technology has changed the way that a lot of different industries approach operations, and academia is no different. Depending on the type of student, however, the use of technology differs and varies considerably. We’ll discuss how those in education take advantage of technology in ways that may have seemed so far away just a few decades ago.

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Smart Technology: An Update

The term “smart technology” has been around for a while. There are now millions of products that are now “connected”. They include smart forks, smart tortilla makers, and most inexplicably, a smart egg tracker; and, that’s only in the kitchen. For most people, the smart tech that they are considering is that of Internet-connected devices that actually have some day-to-day practical utility. Today, we will look at some sectors of the smart technology industry that are making great headway as we speed toward a ubiquitously-connected future.

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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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CPT: Celebrating Our Troops with an Outdoor BBQ [VIDEO]

This week’s meal was a bit different from our usual Crock-pot Thursdays. To celebrate the upcoming holiday (thank you to our troops!), the team gathered to enjoy a feast of American staples like cheeseburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, macaroni salad, and more, with strawberry shortcakes for dessert. Thankfully, we lucked out and were able to sit outside while enjoying the beautiful weather. The plethora of food quickly dwindled as plates were piled high. But, we still managed to have leftovers the next day!

Watch the video below to see the delicious food and hear what the Directive team is doing to celebrate this holiday/long weekend.

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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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CPT: It’s pronounced "tuh" + "HEE" + "nee" Chicken! [VIDEO]

After the Directive team learned how to pronounce today’s crock-pot recipe, tahini marinated chicken thighs with cucumber/tomato salad, everyone went back for seconds! The first time of the year I was able to grill our meal on the deck was a success, and gave us a real taste of summer. What is more “summer” than grilled chicken?? The cucumber/tomato salad was also a hit and the fresh mint that was included had the entire office smelling fresh. Although some team-members had their doubts about today’s meal while seeing it prepped, no one had any complaints when it was served! What is your favorite summer recipe? Check out this recipe and our video and let us know what you think!

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What Effect Does Available Streaming Have on Your Employee’s Productivity?

Business owners know that streaming in the office can be a considerable detriment to productivity, but the type of media that is being streamed can play a large role in whether or not the workplace is enhanced or affected adversely by it. How does your organization approach streaming? Depending on its policies, you might want to change the way that you approach this touchy subject.

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Medical IT: How Is HITECH Doing?

Compliance laws regarding the storage and dispersion of healthcare records were implemented with the intended purpose of urging healthcare providers to better take care of their patients’ personal information, but how effective are they? Unfortunately, there are many providers that have failed to meet the standards for the HIPAA and HITECH compliance laws, and it has brought a hefty price tag along with it.

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Automating Maintenance Saves Organizations More than Just Time

How much time does your business spend every day on issuing patches and security updates? How about basic maintenance and management practices that leave your network technicians tied up for hours on end? Thanks to automation, these menial tasks that take a considerable amount of time and resources can be simplified and offer a great return on investment.

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Hackers Prey on Social Media Users

Social media has been an emerging technology in recent years, and has produced many threats. Hackers have learned that they can take advantage of these communication mediums to launch dangerous new attacks on unsuspecting users. With enough ingenuity on a hacker’s part, they can potentially steal the identity of a social media user. Here are some of the best ways that your organization can combat identity theft through social media.

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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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FinTech is Improving and It’s a Good Thing for Consumers

As financial services have become a much bigger percentage of the economy in the United States, more interest, and capital, is being poured into improving financial services technology. Known as FinTech, there have been many great recent innovations that provide better information, opportunities, and ultimately returns for investors. This month, we take a look at what the FinTech industry is trying to do, and the effects it has on investors, and the economy as a whole.

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Varieties of Smart Tech to Consider

How often do you see smart technology in headlines? The term is thrown around a lot, and it’s because there are countless products circulating in both the consumer and business environments. These connected devices range from smart forks to smart cars, so you can imagine that there are a fair number of useful (as well as useless) applications of this technology. How has it changed in recent months, and what will smart technology look like in the future?

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Solid Communications Provide Businesses with Strong Collaboration Options

Is there anything more important to your business’ success than communication? If you’re not ready to communicate, it becomes difficult to collaborate and make strides on major projects. Thankfully, like many topics in business, technology allows for more effective communication and collaboration than ever before. Let’s take a moment to review some of the best technologies to streamline communication in the office.

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Data Analysis is Becoming a Major Factor for Small Businesses

Data has always been important, but more recent trends have placed emphasis on using it to make important, educated decisions regarding the future of your organization. This month, we want to take a concentrated look at the data revolution and how your data has become a commodity. Just how much value is there in an individual’s data, and what does this mean for the future of computing?

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5G Improves Upon What 3G and 4G Established

You might see 3G and 4G on your mobile devices and wonder what it all means. If so, we have an answer for you, and just in time for a brand-new iteration: 5G. With this new technology on its way, it’s time to take a look at what exactly 5G should be capable of, and how it can differentiate itself from its predecessors.

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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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The Benefits of Centralizing Your Data and Infrastructure

Technology helps businesses of all kinds keep their operations running soundly, but depending on the way that it’s managed, it could have detrimental effects on your company. For example, if you have all kinds of solutions hosted on specific servers or workstations, you’re keeping them from being accessed by devices that aren’t connected to that specific network. Wouldn’t it be better if everything was centralized so that all of it could be accessed at a glance?

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Hosted Utility Computing Allows Businesses to Centralize Their IT

Your business relies on technology to ensure operations proceed smoothly, but the way that it’s managed can have a major impact on the way your company functions. Think about it like this: if you have software solutions hosted on different computers, but not in any centralized location, only those computers will be able to use these solutions--potentially hampering your staff’s ability to be productive. How can you make sure that this doesn’t become a major problem?

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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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CPT: Would You Tell Us About Your First Time? [VIDEO]

There is a first time for everything. And there is no other feeling that can top the very first time you tried something. It is a lasting impression that is hard to compare. So, when we ask you when was the first time you…

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A New Perspective on Ransomware

We are going to switch things up a bit and walk you through a retelling of a ransomware attack through the eyes of a business owner. Usually when we talk about these types of threats, we approach it from our perspective and talk about what you should do to prepare and what the threats are, but we wanted to try to show you what an event like this could feel like, for you, in your position, and in your own eyes. We hope that this will raise awareness of how crippling an event like this can be on your company, and we hope you let us know if this perspective helps you, your colleagues, and your staff get a more personal sense of what ransomware can do. Enjoy!

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World Backup Day Highlights the Importance of Backup Practices

March 31, 2018 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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Leveraging Content Marketing in a B2B Strategy

When engaging in business-to-business marketing, your content plays a huge role in your success. Whether you’re creating social media content, blogging, creating articles for your web pages, creating newsletter content, or even working an in-person event, you need to make sure your content is effectively benefitting your marketing.

We’re here to help, so we’ve compiled some key considerations to make as you shape your content marketing strategy through each of the above tactics.

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What the Future Holds for Ransomware

Ransomware is a growing problem for businesses, being one of the most difficult threats to remove from an infrastructure. Not only is it easy to spread, but difficult to avoid as a whole. How can your organization prepare for this threat? It starts by being mindful of how ransomware is spread and how your employees react to it, both now and in the future.

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Security Questions about the Internet of Things

We often talk about how the Internet of Things can create security issues in businesses if not properly handled. While there are some very real threats that can be posed by the IoT in the workplace, there is no denying that it can also serve some very real utility there as well.

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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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The Value Managed IT Services Gives Your Business

Whether you’re just a small business looking to get operations moving in your chosen location, or you’re an enterprise with multiple offices across the country, one thing is universally the same: you need IT support in some capacity. As more technology is added to networks of all sizes and complexities, the need to manage this technology improves. Thankfully, you don’t necessarily have to go at it alone--you have third-party outsourcing at your disposal, which can save you both time and money in the long run.

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CPT: We Struck Gold With Our St. Paddy’s Crock-Pot Thursday!

On a day where everybody is Irish, of course we are going to have corned beef, cabbage and potatoes. However, this braised brisket recipe is sure to make you green with envy! Our dessert was mint chocolate chip cookies that were as green as the Emerald Isle! A feast this plentiful, was sure to have made St. Patrick proud. Sláinte, in other words "Cheers!”

Try your luck with the recipes below!

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Do You Know the Real Value of Your IT?

How much value does your company get from its technological assets? This might seem like a simple question, but it doesn’t have a simple answer. You can implement the latest and greatest solutions, but you don’t necessarily gain value from them, or as much as similar organizations in your field. With businesses aiming to cut costs and secure a profitable future, how can you make sure that IT is providing value to your organization?

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