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Directive Blogs

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

Tip of the Week: You Better Test Your Backup

Data backup can be the difference between a business that fails and a business that succeeds. After all, if an organization suffers from a data loss incident so bad that it has to deploy its data backup, it wouldn’t be able to survive without it. With a data backup and disaster solution, you can ensure business continuity. But what does this kind of system need in order to succeed, and how can you make sure your organization benefits from a data backup system in place?

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What Could Possibly Be Wrong with Your Computer?

Slow computers are one of the small annoyances in an office that can implicate a much larger issue is hidden. The frustration stems from not being able to get anything done, whether it’s because the computer isn’t responding to your commands or it’s so slow that you can’t accomplish anything noteworthy in your day. Thankfully, you can take some steps to check the speed of your computer so as to take proper action when it’s not working at expected.

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Just How Important Is the Data Recovery Process?

Data recovery can make your break your business’ continuity plan, and you absolutely cannot underestimate how important this is for the future of your organization. There are countless ways your business could lose data, and if you encounter even a single one of them, your organization could be put at serious risk. We’ll take a look at operational data loss and how your organization needs to strategize data recovery.

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Getting to Know Technology: A/B Testing

The best way to attract your audience is by understanding what they want from your business. Even something as simple as changing up the color of your branding to be more inviting can be extremely helpful. This kind of process is called A/B testing, and it can help you make improvements to the way your business operates.

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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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Claim and Manage Your Business Online with Google My Business

You’ve probably noticed that when you search for a particular business using words like or similar to “near me,” Google will display three business options at the top of your search results, and then will load additional businesses once you click “More places.” Remember - people in your area that are looking for a business like yours will probably be doing exactly that. How can you make sure you are in those top three results?

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Have You Really Considered Your Maintenance Costs?

Computers need to be maintained in order to ensure that they are working as optimally as possible. It’s also known that technology solutions are prone to failure, be it from users making mistakes, deliberately ruining something in a fit of rage, or components simply failing. If you’re concerned about the wellbeing of your organization’s IT, then you need to rely on a technology specialist who can manage and maintain it.

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How To Get Rid of Those Pesky Extra Cables

Do you have cords, wires, and adapters just sitting in a cupboard or drawer, with no purpose other than taking up space? Of course you do. The average person will replace old or broken devices, and find the new devices aren’t compatible with the old cables, leaving them stuffed in a junk drawer or in a random box that they’ve kept “just in case.” Every home or business has the same scenario going on: lots of wires and cables left over from all the e-waste they have discarded over the years. If you want to get rid of your unwanted cables, here are a couple of tips on how to do so properly.

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Cloud Can Cover Most of Your Business Needs

The traditional computing structure has been under siege by cloud computing for the past several years. More businesses than ever are seeing the value in cloud-hosted applications and infrastructure, and while that may not be a huge surprise, the perceptions that the cloud can solve any of your organizational computing problems depend largely on the needs of that endeavor. Today, we will take a look at successful small business cloud strategies and tell you why they find success.

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Tip of the Week: Changing Your Network Profile

The Windows operating system has different settings for connecting to different networks. While this may seem like a minor detail, it actually can have considerable ramifications to your cybersecurity, not to mention that of your business. For this week’s tip, we’ll discuss how to use your network profile to stay secure, based on your situation.

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Tip of the Week: How to Better Manage Your Invoices

It doesn’t matter how good of a service your business provides or how incredible your customer service standards are if your business is lousy at ensuring that payments are received and processed properly. Invoices are an invaluable tool to help ensure your payments due are coming in efficiently. For this week’s tip, we’re examining how to leverage them better.

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Are You Ready to Adapt to Network Security Changes?

Humankind has always adapted and improved technology to make life easier, starting all the way back at fire and the wheel. Nowadays, our approach to making life easier through technology is centered around productivity and security - if we can accomplish more than before in the same amount of time, without worrying that it will be stolen, we’re happy.

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Three Keys to Proper Software Management

Nowadays, every company relies on some kind of software in order to properly function, so you need to ensure that this software is properly managed in order to maintain operations. While this may sound like a grand undertaking, software management is relatively simple and can be whittled down into three steps: leveraging the assets available, testing your strategies, and understanding what it is you have.

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Why You Need to Be Careful when Discarding Technology

Nothing lasts forever - especially your business’ technology. However, you shouldn’t just get rid of your old technology willy-nilly. This is mostly for two reasons: one, many of the components in our technology are really bad for the environment; two, carelessly disposing of technology is a great way to put your data at risk. In order to protect your data, you need to make sure that your old equipment is properly disposed of.

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Email Security Basics

Email is a modern classic as far as business solutions are concerned, and you’d be hard-pressed to find an office that didn’t use it in some capacity or another. However, because email is so popular, it has become a favorite attack vector of malicious users. Fortunately, there are some basic practices that will help keep your email account secure and your communications private.

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Bias Can Impact Your Business from Within

Despite what you may have heard, a bias is not an inherently bad thing. However, if not considered rationally, a bias can easily lead you to make a business decision that does more harm than good. Researchers have uncovered why we hold the biases we do, and how we might work to overcome them.

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How to Keep Your Mobile Data Safe

Oh no. You slap your pockets in a sudden panic, but you only confirm what you suddenly feared: you’ve lost your mobile device, the one with all of your business data on it. You haven’t an idea where you might have left it - all you know is that it’s just... gone.

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Power Off, or Leave It On?

At the end of the day, do you shut down your computer or do you put it into sleep mode? Depending on what you need from your device the next day, you might want to consider which option benefits you the most. Here are some of the pros and cons of both approaches so that you can pick which one best suits your situation.

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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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Are You Making Yourself Vulnerable Over Social Media?

Social media might make it easy to stay connected, but it comes with a lot of negative side-effects--particularly in regard to security for both personal and professional use. If social media isn’t used properly, it could spell trouble for your organization. How can you foster proper social media usage so that your organization doesn’t suffer from poor security practices? It all starts by spreading awareness.

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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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Can You Spot the Signs of a Malicious Link?

The Internet is notorious for being a minefield of threats, many of which lurk hidden behind innocent-looking links. In order to go about business safely, you need to be able to identify which links you can click; and, which should be skipped.

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Tip of the Week: Is Spam Ruining Your Email?

You don’t need us to tell you that it’s extremely dangerous to hand out information to just anyone that contacts your business. This is important to keep in mind, especially considering how the majority of threats can be sent via email. You’ll likely encounter situations where you need to consider whether or not to click on attachments, as you could potentially put your business at risk.

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Tech Term: What Does “Encryption” Mean?

Email is a solution that needs to be protected, lest you expose important information to any onlookers while messages are in transit. Encryption is one of the key ways you can make sure that your messages are safe, but email hasn’t always used this method to secure messages. In fact, it wasn’t until relatively recently that encryption became a staple of the major email providers.

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Ransomware Makes Backup a Necessity

Your business relies on its data to succeed, which lends itself to the fact that your organization needs to have some sort of security measures put into place to guarantee its safety. 2018 is thought to be the year of ransomware, so it stands to reason that your business should prepare to deal with it. One of the best ways to deal with ransomware is to make sure that your company has a plan to restore data affected by said ransomware.

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Is Your Password Security Up to Par?

Passwords are all over the place these days, whether they’re required to access an online account, or access the devices used to open these accounts. While both types of passwords can make for ideal security conditions, this is only the case if the passwords are strong. If your passwords can be guessed by just about anyone, can you really call it a security measure? New insights from SplashData show that passwords aren’t being considered as much as they need to be.

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Can You Trust Your Mobile Apps?

You can never know whether or not that app you just downloaded to your smartphone can expose your data or identity to risk. While Google Play and the iTunes store certainly put efforts into ensuring that users can safely browse their app stores, it’s unlikely that they can find every single malicious app out there before it infects someone’s device. Therefore, you need to consider the following measures to ensure that you don’t put your business at risk by downloading unsecure apps.

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Data Privacy is Good for Your Business, According to the National Cyber Security Alliance

January 28th marks Data Privacy Day, a day intended to raise awareness of the importance of data privacy and educate users and business owners of its benefits. Spearheaded by the National Cyber Security Alliance, there are plenty of lessons the NCSA has to share with businesses as this day puts their, and their clients’, privacy in the spotlight.

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Tip of the Week: Why You Should Reexamine Your Business Practices

As a business adopts certain “best practices,” it is important for business leaders to consider why they are adopted, and more importantly, are they really for the best? There are many problems that subscribing to false best practices can produce, and so it becomes important to identify, adjust, and resolve them.

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Keep Your End Users From Contributing to Security Issues

Insider threats contribute to a significant number of data breaches. These cases of data exposure are enabled by a member of your staff, whether they intended to harm your business or simply made an honest mistake. With so much focus directed toward the threats out in the world, sometimes we forget that the biggest dangers can be among our ranks. To make up for this, we’ll discuss a few ways to keep insider threats from doing your business too much harm.

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Tip of the Week: Need to Write an Email? Keep These 5 Steps in Mind

There are good emails, and there are bad emails. You know them when you see them, but can you write an email that’s more likely to be read and acted upon? There are a few key steps to writing them more effectively. For this week’s tip, we’ll walk you through five steps to improving your emails.

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Tip of the Week: We All Make Mistakes, but Try To Avoid These Computing Ones

Mistakes happen, especially where technology is involved. There are plenty of ways that user error can occur when using a computer--many of which are avoidable through simple preventative measures. For our tip this week, we’ll go over some behaviors to avoid when using a computer.

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Your Mouse Can Do More Than You Think

You’ve used a mouse for years, but do you know of all the neat little tricks that it’s capable of? We’ll show you just how much you can get done with your mouse.

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Security Comes In Two Parts--Don’t Neglect The Physical Half

Physical security is more or less what it sounds like: security intended to protect the physical infrastructure that houses your business and your critical data. Many of the pieces of physical security will seem very familiar, even if you didn’t know the right terms for them.

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Scammers and Skimmers Are a Bad Combination

Considering how often hackers target financial credentials like credit card numbers and expiration dates, it’s not surprising that ATMs can provide a wealth of information to them. Hackers are willing to go exceedingly far just to get their hands on these credentials--including physically altering the devices themselves to install skimmers and other technology on them. Unless you know what to look for, it can be difficult to tell if a machine has been tampered with.

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3 Ways To Improve Your Business’ Data Security

Data security, always an important topic, has been made even more urgent by the Equifax data breach and the fact that 143 million users had their personal information stolen after entrusting it (or not) to Equifax. You need to consider what would happen if your business were on the receiving end of a data breach, and prepare to handle this truly unpleasant circumstance.

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Tip of the Week: 10 Tech Practices That Make Work Better

Each worker within an organization is delegated some sort of responsibility based on their role. Managers are responsible for managing, while human resources keep all workers accountable for their responsibilities. Yet, there are multiple responsibilities designated to all employees who use technology for their everyday duties.

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How to Best Take Advantage of Data Backup

Some organizations want to better understand the process that they use to take backups of their data and restore them in the event of an emergency. This is great, because the value of being able to do so cannot (and should not) be understated. A proper data backup and disaster recovery system could be all that stands between prosperity and failure.

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On A Scale of "Um...?" To "Safe," How Well Managed Is Your Data?

Putting together your workforce is something that requires painstaking attention to detail. You found workers who are willing to work as hard as possible to further your organization’s goals. Yet, you have to remember that even the most perfect employees are still human, and that they can make mistakes and can put the organization’s data at risk. User error is a common problem, and it is one of the most important things to keep in mind while you set up your information systems.

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Keep Bring Your Own Device From Becoming Bring Your Own Disaster

Do you let your employees bring their own devices in for use on your company network or Wi-Fi connection? If so, we’re sure that they love the freedom that you provide for them, but we must warn you of the dangers that this can bring to an otherwise careful business. We’ll discuss some of the benefits, as well as the pitfalls, of allowing your employees to use personal devices in the workplace.

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Protect Your Business with Strong Network Security Practices

With the surge in the number of small and medium businesses that have fallen prey to malware and cyber criminals, there is a lot of focus of what an organization can do to prevent being a victim and how the company should handle themselves after an attack. There is another key factor to preventing cyber criminals from penetrating into your network: your employees.

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective PC Users

Security is one of the most crucial pain points of all businesses, but sometimes it can be tricky to implement solutions if you’re not sure what you specifically need. Network security isn’t easy, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be hard. If you have difficulty reinforcing a security state of mind in your office, we have good news for you; by keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be able to keep your business more secure than it would be otherwise.

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What Can You Do to Prevent Lightning From Frying Your Technology?

It doesn’t matter where your business is located--chances are you’re susceptible to thunderstorms. Lightning storms are very unforgiving, and they can lead to all sorts of problems for unprepared businesses. We’ll discuss some of the ways that your organization could be affected by a lightning storm, as well as how you can take measures to mitigate these dangers in the future.

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Tip of the Week: How to Set Your Windows Apps to Automatically Open in Full Screen

Here’s something that you might have noticed about opening Windows applications on your desktop; by default, they will generally open in a smaller window, giving you the ability to customize their size as you see fit. If you want a full size Window, it’s as easy as clicking on the maximize button in the top-right corner, but what if you didn’t want to go through this every time you open the app? There’s a solution for this, and we’ll help you find it.

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Your Employees are Your Most Important Security Feature, and Biggest Risk

Here’s a question: on a scale of one to ten, how confident are you that your employees are acting in the best interests of your organization’s network security? How confident are you that you’re setting a good example when it comes to handling your business’ security? Unfortunately, any confidence you have on this matter may be misplaced.

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Threats to Your Data Come From All Sides

Just over a third (36 percent) of businesses don’t back up business data at all, and apparently this number isn’t keeping some IT providers up at night (not the case for us). Your businesses’ data is precious, irreplaceable, and extremely expensive to lose. Let’s talk about how delicate and dangerous it is to not have it backed up.

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Common Misconceptions Concerning Business Cybersecurity

Today, we want to talk about something that not a lot of businesses would want to think about. What would happen to your organization if it were to suddenly experience a hacking attack? While security solutions can go a long way toward protecting your organization, you still want to make sure that you’re not relying solely on your security tools for protection. Rather, you should always stay vigilant, even if you don’t think something could go wrong.

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3 Tips to Get the Most From Your Data Backup

Business owners require ubiquitous access to certain information stored on their organization’s infrastructure. Thus, there’s an immediate need to safeguard this data from any sort of impending destruction. We’ll discuss ways that you can prevent the worst when it seems like your data will fall victim to a loss incident.

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Over 75% of Organizations Are Vulnerable to Hackers, Study Finds

Is your business prepared to handle all kind of online threats? A recent study shows that it probably isn’t. According to the think tank Ponemon Institute, four out of five businesses don’t have the infrastructure or security experts they need to spot and prevent incoming cyber attacks from succeeding. This is a significant statistic that can’t be ignored, especially if you want to secure your business.

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Tip of the Week: How to Keep a Facebook Friend From Viewing a Post You Don’t Want Them to See

b2ap3_thumbnail_facebook_tips_400.jpgThe advantage of Facebook is also its disadvantage: the fact that you’ve likely got a large variety of people on your friends list. While this works out great for networking, it may mean holding back on posting a personal opinion if it isolates or offends someone you’re friends with. To get around this social dilemma, Facebook allows you to hide your status from one or more friends. Here’s how to do it.

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This Hacker Stole 1.17 Billion Credentials. You Won’t Believe How Much He Sold it All For

b2ap3_thumbnail_bold_hackers_400.jpgIn a bizarre reminder of why security best practices are so critical to the world of IT, it has been reported that one of the largest collections of hacked and stolen login details are currently making the rounds in the Russian black market.

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Tip of the Week: 1GB, 2GB, 4GB or More - How Much RAM Do You Actually Need?

b2ap3_thumbnail_random_access_memory_400.jpgYou can tell when a workstation might need an upgrade if it’s slowing down, or if the machine is so absurdly slow that you can barely accomplish your daily tasks with it. One of the easiest ways you can improve the quality of your workstation is by increasing the amount of RAM.

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Tip of the Week: 4 Security Best Practices that Every Employee Needs to Adopt

b2ap3_thumbnail_security_best_practices_400.jpgSecurity is a hot-button issue for all types of businesses, but cyber security is such a complex subject that it’s difficult to jam-pack its many intricacies into one blog article. Sometimes understanding just a few ways to improve your business’s security practices can be a significant benefit for your organization.

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Tip of the Week: 5 Surefire Ways to Ruin Your Smartphone

b2ap3_thumbnail_smartphone_break_400.jpgThe best way to get the most life out of your smartphone is to take care of it. Or, you can ignore proven best practices and witness your smartphone meet its untimely demise. By not taking care of your smartphone in these five ways, you’ll be sure to doom your device.

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4 Ways to Avoid Distracted Driving While Still Being Productive With Your Phone

b2ap3_thumbnail_texting_while_driving_is_a_no_no_400.jpgBusiness owners who spend a lot of time on the road, like during a commute or on a business trip, understand how difficult it is to use smartphones while driving. Despite the fact that it’s illegal in many places, some people refuse to put down their phones and concentrate on the task at hand: driving. Doing so puts not only themselves, but everyone else on the road at risk of an accident, which can lead to expensive insurance payments and vehicle maintenance costs.

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10 Common Security Mistakes That Can Sink Your Network

b2ap3_thumbnail_mobile_security_400.jpgMost companies have to have a workforce, generally one of considerable size. Unfortunately, the more users you have, the more potential risks you run into. Of course, your workforce doesn’t collectively intend to be a security risk, but the digital world is a complicated place, with threats around every corner and malicious programs just waiting for your employed end-users to slip up. Here are ten such honest slip-ups to watch out for:

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Why Does Rebooting Your PC Take Care of So Many Issues?

b2ap3_thumbnail_what_does_a_reboot_do_400.jpgWhen you call tech support, you’re probably going to get the same response every single time: “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” There’s a reason that this happens so often, and it’s because restarting your computer is a great, low-tech way to resolve some basic issues with your system. However, it’s still good to be cautious about more serious issues that a reboot won't fix. We’ll walk you through what a reboot does, and it can be effective at fixing minor issues with your PC.

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Tip of the Week: 4 Brilliant Ways to Get More Work Done

b2ap3_thumbnail_productivity_tips_400.jpgThere are some workdays where distractions are abound and you can’t even remember what you’re supposed to be doing. In trying times like these, you need all the help you can get, just to stay focused and on task. Here are four simple adjustments to your work routine that have been proven to do wonders to increase productivity.

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Tip of the Week: Follow These 4 Best Practices to Keep Your Computer Clean

b2ap3_thumbnail_clean_your_pc_400.jpgA computer is a complex machine that demands routine maintenance and intentional caretaking. If ignored, the machine’s lifespan will be cut short. Here are four best practices that will ensure you get the most out of your PC.

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Tip of the Week: Protect Your Personal Information From Other PC Users With a Guest Account

b2ap3_thumbnail_user_browser_400.jpgHave you ever been in a situation where you have a friend who wants to use your personal computer for who-knows-what? In cases like this, you would want them to use a guest account, so as not to put your personal files at risk. Here’s how you can set it up in all commonly used Windows operating systems.

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Tip of the Week: 5 Simple Ways to Stay On Top of Network Security

b2ap3_thumbnail_network_security_practices_400.jpgSecurity is a top priority in today’s business environment, especially following high-profile hacks of notable enterprises. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that these hacks could have been prevented if both the employees and employers of these organizations followed strict security best practices for their technology. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be hard to teach your team how to properly use technology.

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Tip of the Week: 4 Ways to Not Annoy Everyone With Your Smartphone

b2ap3_thumbnail_smartphone_jerk_400.jpgThe addition of the smartphone to every consumer’s repertoire has been great for enhanced productivity and accessibility, but it’s not all bright and sunny for everyone’s favorite mobile device. While productivity might be on the rise, manners seem to be in decline, thanks to people not knowing how to properly use their smartphone in public without annoying everyone around them. Here are four smartphone etiquette tips that every device owner should keep in mind.

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Tip of the Week: How to Uninstall Unwanted Apps and Programs in Windows 10

b2ap3_thumbnail_uninstall_programs_in_windows_400.jpgOne of the most basic functions that the average Windows user should understand is how to get rid of applications and programs that are unnecessary or potentially threatening. Previous versions of Windows made users jump through hoops to get rid of their unwanted apps and programs, but Windows 10 makes it much easier to do so. In fact, there are three easy ways to eliminate your unnecessary apps and programs.

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Tip of Week: Manage Your Photo’s File Sizes to Save Disk Space

b2ap3_thumbnail_resize_images_that_you_share_400.jpgToday, just about everyone has a digital camera in their pockets, which has led to an unprecedented amount of picture taking compared to the days when photos had to be developed. Having more cameras has turned us into a more visual society, but not every amateur photographer understands how to best manage all of their photos, which causes problems.

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Tip of the Week: 3 PC Best Practices You Need to Know

b2ap3_thumbnail_pc_practices_400.jpgSometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is return to the basics. For example, you can know all of the keyboard shortcuts in the world, but that doesn’t help you properly shut down your computer. Here are three tips for every computer user who wants to make sure that they’re using PC best practices.

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2 Important Networking Trends You Must Consider

b2ap3_thumbnail_your_company_network_400.jpgOne sometimes-frustrating aspect about computer networking comes from the always-changing nature of technology. For example, let’s say that you have your network perfectly set up with everything running smoothly, then comes along some newfangled IT trend or mission-critical technology workflow that requires you to change everything. You can’t prevent this from happening, but you can stay on top of the latest IT trends so that you’re not caught off guard.

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3 Vendor Scenarios You Can Do Without

b2ap3_thumbnail_vendor_agreements_400.jpgVendors can be a hassle. You need their product or service to keep the gears of business turning, but sometimes, having to deal with vendors can be way too time-consuming. This is where our vendor management service comes in.

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The Most Dangerous Threats to Your Business Could Be Internal

b2ap3_thumbnail_insider_mistakes_400.jpgMost of the time, when it comes to cybersecurity, businesses tend to focus primarily on external threats rather than those that might be lurking in the shadows of their internal operations. Believe it or not, the most dangerous entities out there could very well be working for you, right under your nose.

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For Cyber Security Month, Take Extra Care Not to Overshare

b2ap3_thumbnail_oversharing_400.jpgOctober is Cyber Security month. We want to bring attention to this very important issue affecting every person and organization connected to the Internet. When discussing cyber security, we often talk about computer viruses and malware, but these threats are only part of the cyber security equation. It’s just as important that you, your staff, and even your family, are mindful to not overshare information online that can compromise your organization’s security and personal identities.

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Tattoo Marketing is a Thing [Video]

b2ap3_thumbnail_business_devotion_400.jpgAs a business owner, you’re proud of your company’s logo because of everything it represents. Do you love your logo enough to get it tattooed on your body? What about your staff? Would they be willing to make such a permanent commitment to their job? Yes, tattoo marketing is a real thing. What can your business learn from this bold marketing trend?

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Tip of the Week: 5 Ways to Boost Your WiFi Signal Without Spending Any Money

b2ap3_thumbnail_office_wifi_tips_400.jpgDo you want a stronger WiFi signal? Sure, we all do. Before upgrading your wireless router, first try boosting your WiFi signal by positioning your current router in different ways. Here are five ways that you can adjust your WiFi router in order to improve your signal.

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How a Spam Filtering Solution is Like the Sheriff of Your Network

b2ap3_thumbnail_ocular_patdown_400.jpgWhen it comes to the security of your company’s network, you need to have a strike plan to get you out of any potentially threatening situations. Essentially, your network needs an email security solution like a spam filter to act as a sheriff for your business.

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Tip of the Week: 5 Common Sense Tactics to Safeguard Your Online Identity

b2ap3_thumbnail_anonymous_internet_use_400.jpgThe Internet can be a dangerous place thanks to the anonymity it provides. Yet, this anonymity is limited, especially if you take part in questionable Internet browsing activities. Take, for instance, the hack of Ashley Madison, a website dedicated to cheating on one’s spouse. This July, a hacker group called the “Impact Team,” infiltrated the site and is now threatening to expose these cheaters.

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If You’re Going to Read Employee Emails, You’re Going to Have a Bad Time

b2ap3_thumbnail_angry_boss_monitoring_400.jpgFor many office workers, there seems to be some confusion concerning the privacy of employee-to-employee communications made over a company network. It is okay for an employer to go through an employee’s email or instant messaging history? Many workers may be surprised to learn that an employer is in their legal right to do so.

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Does an Unlimited PTO Policy Sound Too Good to Be True?

b2ap3_thumbnail_unlimited_vacation_time_400.jpgPaid time off is somewhat of an anomaly to the business owner. They don’t want to provide too little and destroy morale, yet they don’t want to lose capital by providing too much to their employees. It might seem strange to suggest unlimited paid time off, but according to some business owners, it might be a quality solution to this dilemma, with enough care put into its integration.

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How a Tomato Can Change Your Life! [VIDEO]

b2ap3_thumbnail_pomodoro_technique_400.jpgThe key to a productive workday may be the tomato. Not in the sense that eating more tomatoes will make you smarter; instead, we’re talking about the classic tomato-shaped cooking timer that counts down from 25 minutes. It turns out that 25-minute-tomato increments could be the most effective way to accomplish your work.

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6 Reasons Why Working from Home Just Doesn't Work

b2ap3_thumbnail_working_from_does_not_work_400.jpgThe majority of employees love the idea of working from home. Its benefits are well-known; saving on commuting expenses, freeing up office space, improving employee satisfaction, the list goes on. Yet, many employers are hesitant to allow their staff to work from home. Why is this?

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If You Sense There’s a Better Way to Do Something, You’re Probably Right

b2ap3_thumbnail_ideas_for_business_community_400.jpgHave you ever found yourself neck deep in a major business project and nothing seemed to be working? In times like these you may have thrown up your hands and said, “There must be a better way to do this!” Often times there is, and it’s in the form of new technology. Is your current IT provider familiar with the latest technologies that can make operations easier for your business?

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Look Out: Critical Microsoft Office Flaw Finally Patched

b2ap3_thumbnail_microsoft_office_vulnerability_400.jpgDoes your office practice proper maintenance and security against the latest threats, like Sandworm and CryptoWall 2.0? You should, or else your business might get a nasty holiday gift in the form of the Schannel vulnerability in Microsoft Office. This particular threat allows a hacker to take over the entire system, making it an exceptionally dangerous vulnerability that you can’t ignore. Thankfully, a patch is available to the general public, so you want to apply it as soon as possible.

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How to Put the Power Back into Your Laptop’s Battery

b2ap3_thumbnail_laptop_battery_saving_tips_400.jpgA laptop with no power can be a pain, especially when it only lasts a minimal amount of time. Sometimes it feels like you can’t operate at full capacity without leaving your laptop plugged in at all times. Thankfully, you don’t have to suffer from this, and with a little bit of troubleshooting and basic PC maintenance, you can prolong the life of your laptop’s battery significantly.

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Scam Artists Turn to ID Spoofing to Get You to Answer the Phone

b2ap3_thumbnail_phone_fraud_400.jpgWith all the attention given today to scams over the Internet, it’s easy to neglect classic scams like con artists using the phone to exploit people. You may think that you’re safe because you have a smartphone with caller ID, but thanks to new spoofing tactics, reliable defenses like caller ID can no longer be depended upon to safeguard you from telemarketer scum.

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Tip of the Week: How to Stay Sanitary with Your Technology

b2ap3_thumbnail_not_so_sanitary_keyboard_400.jpgWhether it’s warranted or not, some people are worried about the spread of the Ebola virus. Office employees should also be concerned with the many other cooties that remain on common surfaces. This points to sanitation as a primary issue, especially in public places like your office. Among many other surprising germ-transmitting mediums, like money, cats, and dogs, technology accumulates a lot of ilk which could potentially spread to the entire office… that is, if you’re not careful to nip it in the bud.

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To Understand the Hacker, You Must Become the Hacker

b2ap3_thumbnail_hacker_information_400.jpgHackers are mysterious. Not much is known about them - until they get caught, at least. But until the divine hammer of justice is brought down upon them, they will continue to stalk the shadows and wait for us to unknowingly hand over our personal information. What they don't want you to know is that they generally act according to a few particular variables, and that it is possible to avoid their pitfalls.

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Red Light, Green Light – 4 Tips for Increasing Blog Traffic

b2ap3_thumbnail_weblog_tips_400.jpgYou've just started your own small business, and your head is swimming with ideas that you want to share with the entire world. You create a blog and publish a few articles, but only get a few hits. You sigh, write another entry, and then shut down your computer for the night. This happens for a few days, which turn into weeks, and months, and something doesn't feel right to you. Why aren't you getting any viewers?

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3 Internet Dangers That Can Harm Your Kids and What You Can Do About Them!

b2ap3_thumbnail_protect_your_kids_400.jpgThe Internet is a powerful tool. Another powerful tool is the circular saw. You wouldn't give your kid a circular saw and let them use it without any supervision. In the same way, you shouldn't let your kid use the Internet unsupervised and without any training.

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Don’t Get Trapped in PowerPoint Purgatory

b2ap3_thumbnail_powerpoint_skills_400.jpgEveryone dreads presentations, but for different reasons. Some people are just afraid of public speaking, or they are just overall unorganized. In the end, well designed presentations are essential for your company's success, whether they are given to clients or to your employees. Thankfully, there are ways to minimize the stress that giving a presentation can cause. One of the best ways to prepare a presentation is to use a Microsoft PowerPoint slideshow as an aid.

However, it's very easy to fall into "PowerPoint Purgatory", a place filled with overburdened slideshows that last for hours on end. The amount of professionals who don't use PowerPoint effectively far outweigh those who do. Directive is here to help by providing you with some useful tips to make your presentations both easy for the presenter and for the audience!

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The Heartbleed Fallout

b2ap3_thumbnail_heartbleed_fallout_400.jpgLast week, the Heartbleed bug was identified as a weakness in the OpenSSL cryptographic library, potentially leaking two-thirds of the Internet's secure information from any websites utilizing this encryption style. While most major websites such as Google, Yahoo, and Facebook released patches quickly, it does little to actually remediate the problem. Your data could have been leaked over the year-plus that the vulnerability could have been accessed. There is no way to know if it has been compromised.

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You Might Be a Technology Redneck If…

b2ap3_thumbnail_technology_redneck_400.jpgNot too many years ago comedian Jeff Foxworthy became a star with his trademark "You Might Be a Redneck If..." jokes. Rednecks are an interesting breed that do things backwards because they stubbornly believe that it's the best way, and like all of us, rednecks use technology. Are you a technology redneck? Check out our redneck technology list to find out.

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3 of the Most Common Downtime Scenarios Caused by Technology

b2ap3_thumbnail_ugh_more_downtime_400.jpgWe've reached a point with technology that we're totally dependant upon it to accomplish most mission-critical business tasks. This is great for getting business done efficiently, but being dependent upon technology makes operations virtually impossible when technology fails. This is called downtime, and your business needs to be prepared for every downtime scenario possible.

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Whatever We Write, Data Protection is Still Important

b2ap3_thumbnail_data_security_best_practices_400.jpgBefore the XXII Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, there were concerns from several influential entities about the data security at the Olympics. These concerns were reported leading up to the games and on the eve of competition, the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams ran a story by reporter Richard Engel that intimated that visitors to Sochi were immediately being hacked when they signed into the public WiFi accounts provided to athletes, media, and guests of the games.

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7 Tech Etiquette Tips for the Office

b2ap3_thumbnail_7_tips_400.jpgThere seem to be some commonly unspoken rules about the appropriateness of using certain technology throughout the course of the workday. You may have an IT practices policy in your office, but for some of us, we need to infer proper times, places, and limits of our technology use. Here are some courtesy tips for tech use throughout your day at the office.

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When Basic Email Security is not Enough

b2ap3_thumbnail_lock_down_your_email_security_400.jpgYou may think that the standard security policies that come with your email account can protect you from hackers. It's an easy mistake to make, but the truth of the matter is that, if a hacker really wants access to an account, then they will employ every tactic possible to get it, which can make standard password security measures woefully inadequate.

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3 Ways to Start Marketing Your Company to Mobile Users

b2ap3_thumbnail_mobile_marketing_your_business_400.jpgYou may have realized that marketing and advertising tactics are shifting toward reaching mobile leads. Even superstar companies like Google and Facebook are delegating more marketing dollars to their mobile marketing budgets after a discovery that nearly one-fifth of Google's revenue comes from mobile searching. Here are three ways your company can start up your mobile marketing initiative.

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4 Giveaways that Your Email is Trying to Trick You

b2ap3_thumbnail_avoid_phishing400.jpgOne of the most common ways computer viruses spread is through email. Most of the malware-carrying messages are caught in your account's spam filter, so you don't have to worry about those. It's the malicious emails that make it to your inbox that you need to be mindful of, and phishing emails are by far the most dangerous.

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2 Million Passwords Stolen! Have You been Hacked?

b2ap3_thumbnail_pword400.jpgOn December 3, 2013, security company Trustwave discovered over two million stolen user passwords for popular online services like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Twitter, Yahoo, and 93,000 other websites. There's a high probability that you use one of the services affected by the hack. Is your personal information compromised?

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Watch Your @#%!ing Mouth at Work!

b2ap3_thumbnail_smdb400.jpgLanguage is one of the biggest contributors to determining office culture. For example, a workplace where the management motivates with threats will be a completely different environment than an office where encouragement is liberally applied. The allowance or forbiddance of swearing is another major indicator of your company's culture. How does the language in your office reflect your company's values?

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Don't Make These eBay Mistakes

b2ap3_thumbnail_ebay400.jpgSince 1995, eBay has become an online giant, and an obvious choice in the ecommerce industry. Buyers and sellers have taken to this online platform as a convenient solution to acquire things they want, and sell things they don't.

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3 Ways Green Technology Can Help Your Business

b2ap3_thumbnail_greengears400.jpgToday's business environment is environmentally conscious. Companies that implement green policies and use energy-saving technologies are making a positive impact on the environment. Going green is the responsible thing to do and will also positively impact your business. Here are three ways using green technology can benefit your business.

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How Do You Store Your Priceless Pictures?

b2ap3_thumbnail_cheese400.jpgIf your house was on fire and you only had one trip to rush in and rescue one item, what would it be? Most family-minded individuals would choose their photo album because it's irreplaceable. Insurance money can replace most household and personal items, but not photos. It's important to have a backup plan to keep your prized pictures safe from disasters.

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When Negative Customer Feedback Can Help Your Business

b2ap3_thumbnail_troll400.jpgAs a business owner, your business is your baby. Therefore, it's easy to take it personally when a customer says something negative about your company. It feels kind of like a stranger calling your newborn baby ugly. Don't overreact to negative opinions by overhauling your business model; you can actually use negative customer feedback to your advantage.

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