The way that an organization handles risk is a big deal. Despite being born out of opportunity, opening a business itself can be looked on by many a major risk. As a result, every business should be looking to manage their risk. Today, we take a look at the role risk plays in business, and how IT, for all its benefits, carries with it some risk.
The act of “yak shaving,” also known as “bikeshedding,” is a specific kind of procrastination that can hold you back from getting the most out of your workday. This week’s tip is dedicated to explaining what this nonsensical phrase means and why it’s beneficial to keep your employees on track.
In order to build a profitable business, productivity has to remain consistent. If your business offers a service, and you are having a hard time managing all its moving parts, professional services automation (PSA) software may be right for you. Today, we will give a quick overview of what exactly a PSA is, and how it can serve as an extremely useful tool for businesses who operate in the professional services space.
Chances are that if you are a business owner that has been in business for a decade you’ve seen how emerging technologies have changed the face of business. Technologies like cloud computing have opened up opportunities for many businesses to get the powerful computing infrastructures they need without massive upfront costs. As this trend continues, the IT services has begun to move past core IT management and support and onto providing real solutions for the modern business. Today, we will look at how the Managed Service Provider (MSP) is at the forefront of a data revolution that has no end in sight.
Business technology continues to grow in importance for the small and medium-sized business, especially as many prepare for 2019. Where enterprise-level companies have long been using technology to bring people together and drive overall productivity, many SMBs are new to these opportunities. The availability of cloud resources, coupled with shifts in security, mobility, and other core technologies, makes it important for every organization, no matter what size, to have a comprehensive technology strategy.
Any project manager will tell you that there are countless issues that can get in the way of a successful implementation. To nobody’s surprise, business technology can aid project management by streamlining operations and making the entire process much easier for everyone involved. We’ll dig into the details about how project management software and value-based managed IT services can help you complete projects on-time and on-budget.
Fellow business owners, do you ever feel like you need to walk around on eggshells when it comes time to implement a new process or policy with your employees? Does it seem like your staff fights back tooth and nail when there is any technology change or IT restriction? You aren’t alone.
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?
The office is a workplace, so it most likely isn’t a place that is often associated with fun and games. However, different aspects of games have been shown to provide significant benefits when introduced into the professional environment. Today, we’ll explore some of the ways that a little frivolity may benefit your office.
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.
It’s no secret that a business owner has more than enough to deal with, regardless of that business’ size.
Whether the business has 10 employees or 100, the business owner has to deal with the stress of managing the minutiae of everyday operations, along with any other issues that may pop up. As one might assume, financial concerns can contribute considerably to that stress.
Internal communications are remarkably important for a business with multiple moving parts. In a world with many choices for communication, how does your company keep in touch? We’ve put together five great ways that your company can take advantage of today’s networking technology to create an infrastructure meant to help your employees stay connected to one another and promote organizational cooperation.
The Internet of Things is everywhere, which means that potential security risks are also everywhere. Your business needs to take the risks presented by the IoT into account and prepare accordingly.
2017 was filled with security issues ranging from threats and small attacks to major security breaches. You can learn a lot from the misfortunes of other ill-prepared organizations about how to prepare for and handle cybersecurity issues. This week’s tip is dedicated to learning a bit from some of the security problems that may have flown over your radar last year.
An IT project manager is an important part of any new technology initiative in your workplace. Therefore, you should be looking for specific requirements when finding a project manager for your latest project implementation. Here are some specific traits that your business should look for in an IT project manager.
Technology has become more commonplace in offices and homes all around the world, and you might find yourself replacing it more often than previously thought. This leads to an awful lot of waste that can accumulate in your office, be it an extra smartphone, desktop, or something as simple as a random, non-functional hard drive. However, getting rid of your old, unnecessary tech isn’t as simple as throwing paper into a recycling bin, and it shows in the amount of e-waste that infects the world every day.
Using pirated software or abusing your software licenses for your business is heavily frowned upon. However, many software companies, in an attempt to protect their products, have unleashed a practice that can actually reward those who let it happen in the first place.
Your business either has a sound plan to manage its IT maintenance, or it does not. There is no middle ground here. Either you have an internal team dedicated to maintaining your IT infrastructure, or it’s not being taken care of as well as it should be. Even if you do have an internal team, you might notice that they simply don’t have time on their hands to handle all of their responsibilities. We’re here to introduce you to one of the most notable ways of keeping your technology in proper working order: managed IT services.
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.
The modern small business will face several challenges in 2018. The world is changing, and with it, so is business. For many small businesses, this can either be looked on as the opportunity they’ve been waiting for, or, it can be viewed as the beginning of the end. No matter what situations you are faced with this year, understanding what problems your business faces, and how to solve them is imperative to your small business’ success.
While many different people open businesses, the primary reason that they all do so is to make money. A positive cash flow is essential if the business is to generate funds that support a cause or provide a decent living. However, to collect this cash flow, a business must have their invoices returned. As it happens, this doesn’t often occur in a timely manner.
Vince Lombardi, one of the most successful head coaches in NFL history, once said “If you are five minutes early, you are already ten minutes late.” Although it wasn’t its intended use, this quotation can easily apply to technology. The tech industry is constantly changing, improving, and innovating. Adapting to changes is something all businesses must do to thrive, small and medium businesses included.
How many emails does your organization receive every day? Chances are that you can’t find time in your day-to-day operations to maintain and manage your email solution as well as you’d like, and in a world where threats to your organization’s network lurk around every corner, you can never be too careful. How can you make sure that you’re taking proper care of your business’s email infrastructure, without sacrificing the time and manpower required to do so?
Entrepreneurs enjoy an almost mythical standing in the business world as visionary leaders risking everything on an idea that, if successful, pays off in a big way. Yet, few understand the role of the intrapreneur; those who have equally big ideas, but operate in the context of established companies. Your business likely has dynamic intrapreneurs in your midst, but how do you make sure their voices are heard?
Regardless of how your business’s administration is set up, you should be aware that anyone in a position of authority must have a basic understanding of how IT, and its related responsibilities, functions for your business. Here are four ways that you can learn more about how IT works within your organization.
As a business owner, you walk a fine line between boss and friend. While you want to be approachable and have a company culture that’s friendly, you can’t have your employees be your closest friends. Being too close to your staff will blur your authority, breed favoritism, and make it difficult to fire people; but not being friendly will make for a cold working environment. How do you manage this social dynamic?
Business owners primarily concentrate more on the digital effects of hacking rather than the physical side of it. After all, hacking some code through a network can’t harm you or anybody else in the real world, right? Wrong. As shown by a recent hack in Germany, ignoring network security can be a dangerous gambit.
If you’re looking to save some money on IT, outsourcing your company’s IT services is a simple and effective method. This concept has grown tremendously over the past several years, and the saved expenses are one of its biggest attractions. However, businesses sometimes decide that it might be time to backsource their IT.
We offer a handy IT service called vendor management. This is where we resolve technology issues on behalf of your business by coordinating with vendors to provide a fix, even if it lies outside the realms of our expertise. You may not realize it, but you actually use vendor management services for other everyday aspects of your life.
Can you tell the difference between the two words, Internet and Intranet? The difference is much more than simply two letters. Both are valuable marketing tools, particularly for small businesses, but what exactly differentiates them from each other? The key to understanding this is a simple English lesson.
Trivia time! Do you know what device was invented in 1892 that changed the face of offices around the world? If you guessed the fax machine then you're close, but you need to think further ahead by almost 50 years (the first fax machine was patented in 1843 by Alexander Bain). More influential than even the fax machine is the file cabinet, established in 1892.
It's no surprise that technology is taking over our lives. It's everywhere; from the workplace to every inch of our homes, new technology exists where it wouldn't have twenty years ago. Bluetooth-connected kitchen appliances allow their owners to turn them on and off from a distance. Cars can connect to the Internet. Google has produced glasses that allow you to browse the Internet. There are tons of innovative, new inventions that have had a huge impact on the way small business owners manage their workplaces, but nothing can compare to the significance of being able to receive text files from anywhere in the world via email and fax.
Just because you have an IT technician on staff, doesn't mean your technology needs are 100% covered. The people making up your IT department are just that, people, and because they are people, having reliable coverage can be difficult. Outsourcing your IT department is the perfect way to get the extra coverage your business needs, especially when your IT team can't be there for you.
Whenever you hire a new employee, you essentially incorporate their social network into the networking reach of your business. With this reality in mind (along with the measurable influence of an employee's use of social media) you have to ask yourself, "Is a connected employee more valuable than a non-connected employee?"
As the top American collegiate men's and women's basketball teams are poised to take the court to decide national champions in 2014 NCAA tournament, local businesses are in a competition of their own; to turn a profit. There are three ways your business and your favorite team share a similar path to success.
When it comes to working from home, everybody wins! In our last article, we looked at how employees win because working from home saves them time and money from commuting. Employers are another group that benefits because working from home makes doing business more productive and more efficient.
One of the best ways to leverage technology in order to make your business more profitable is to take advantage of the latest trends. 2014 presents business owners with dynamic new trends that are improving operations and providing the competitive edge. Over the next week we will highlight three of the most important trends that your business can take advantage of, beginning with Business Intelligence Analytics.
Expenses from running a business can add up quickly. We want to help by sharing six easy things you can do that will save you money and improve your workplace. Even though these two goals may seem diametrically opposed, we have found that they can work together in a synchronized harmony!
As technology keeps leading us into the future, it can be easy to lose sight of traditional leadership methods. Since the newest gadgets are so appealing, it's tempting to have technology automate our decision making as a crutch. Can technology really replace the old school business leadership practices?
Businesses that are aggressive will grow quickly, and in the same way, businesses that have an aggressive continuity plan will survive the worst disasters. You need to aggressively be prepared for any disaster, even the scenarios that leave your company without computers.
If you've never taken advantage of remote support to remedy an IT problem, then you're likely doing IT support the hard way by having a technician physically take care of every issue. While it's always nice to chat with your friendly tech, you may be able to save yourself a whole lot of time and money by taking care of the issue with remote support.
Language 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?
The importance of backing up your company's data cannot be stressed enough. Data is your business' most valuable asset, as evidenced by the fact that companies unable to access their data for ten days after a major disaster (like Hurricane Sandy that hit the mid atlantic and northeast U.S) will not survive the next fiscal year. Here's how to protect your business with data backup.
Thanks to cloud computing technology, many businesses are taking advantage of having a mobile workforce by allowing their staff to work from home. Working from home can be beneficial by making workers more productive, saving employees' time and money from commuting, and increasing worker satisfaction, but how can you know for sure if work is really getting done?
Have you been frustrated with your employees lately? Maybe they aren't getting projects done on time, or aren't producing at a very high quality. Have you ever considered that you have substantial control over their job performance? People only work if they are motivated to do so. Here are six ways to motivate your employees.
As your company grows and enters into more competitive markets, your ability to access reliable and accurate data is of the utmost importance. Ginni Rometty; CEO, president, and chair of IBM, shared her insight on data management in her speech on October 2nd at the IBM InterConnect 2013 event. Here are three benefits of successful data management according to Rometty.
If your business has never experienced a major computer problem, then it's easy to underestimate just how damaging downtime can be. This conclusion can be drawn from a recent survey of small business owners, where 65% estimated they would only lose $500 if their company's network went down for a day. In reality, downtime is much more costly than $500.
The way you treat customers, handle their feedback, and serve their needs can be the most powerful selling point of your business. Customer satisfaction comes down to the way customers feel after they've made a purchase. Your customer service policy can either make or break your business. Here's how to bulletproof your customer service policy.
What would happen if your business experienced a disaster and your sensitive information was erased? If you don't have a business continuity plan in place that includes data backup and recovery, then it's highly unlikely your company will survive. To protect your business, you will want to consider and choose one of these three backup solutions.
In a recent survey of small businesses, only 13% of respondents believed themselves to be susceptible to a disaster resulting in data loss. That means 87% of small businesses must be located in a fortress where they are protected from every natural disaster--yeah right! No business is immune from disaster; therefore, every company needs a disaster plan.
The latest trend in business technology is employees bringing in their personal devices to work. This trend is commonly referred to as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), and it's presenting businesses with both new opportunities and challenges. We will breakdown BYOD into 2 parts; benefits and risks. In part 1, we will look at five benefits of BYOD.
As a business owner, your position of leadership is crucial to the success of your company. If you've been appointed a leadership role, you are undoubtedly making key decisions and setting the tone of your office culture. You want to be a leader worth following.
When your network's security is doing its job and keeping your business safe, it's easy to not think about it because you don't feel the heat from any threats. Just because you're not feeling the heat, however, doesn't mean you're out of the kitchen. Even if you enjoy strong security, you will still need to perform regular security maintenances.
Backing up your company's data is critical when it comes to keeping operations going after a disaster. Data backup is an important operating expense that you can't afford to skip out on, but if you're looking to cut back on the cost of your data backup service, then you should consider the 80/20 Rule.
Your IT infrastructure is a lot like a puzzle. There are many pieces of technology that connect to form one big solution. If just one piece of the puzzle is missing, then the picture is incomplete and the solution will not work properly. Good thing we're great at piecing together IT puzzles!
It's convenient to have an in-house IT technician. If your computer freezes up, you can call the IT department and they will swoop in and save the day. This is how in-house IT is supposed to work, but it's hard to hire anyone that's 100% reliable. We think it's actually more advantageous to outsource your IT; here are 5 reasons why.
Before the cloud, team collaboration looked like users attaching their projects to e-mails that explained what edits needed to be made. The cloud has improved office workflow that boosts business productivity. No longer are users limited so that only one person can edit an open file at a time.
As 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.
Managed IT services are designed to be an affordable solution to keep an organization's IT infrastructure running smoothly and minimize expensive downtime. To help you better understand how managed IT services can save your business money, let's look at five modern IT methods that our IT services are founded upon.
Outsourcing jobs is never a safe topic to bring up in a group discussion. If you mention "outsourcing," be prepared to hear nationalistic rhetoric followed by, "They took our jobs!" When outsourcing is done right, it can save your business money, and when you outsource IT services with us, you can rest easy knowing where the work is going.
Upgrading your network and shopping for new technology can be a daunting task. Technology is expensive and it's an investment that will help your business grow, but that's only if you purchase what you need. A poor technology purchase can actually be a budget buster. To maximize your new technology purchases, it's worth it to partner with IT professionals.
How long has it been since you last had a comprehensive assessment of your company's technology situation? If it's been more than a year since your last technology assessment, or if you have never had one, then you may be missing out on some great money-saving solutions. You can discover these solutions with a business review.
When you break down our IT Company, you will discover that we are about more than just computers. In fact, everything we do with technology is basically one big effort to help your business perform better and save you money!
You wouldn't make a major technology purchase without first researching it. A person who gives you advice is essentially putting their reputation on the line. When it comes to technology and our IT services, we will confidently offer you our expert advice in order to help provide you with the best solution possible. In business, this is called a guarantee!
When your technology breaks, your business goes to a bad place called Downtime. It's a place where productivity comes crashing to a halt, revenue is no longer generated, and repair bills mount. You don't want to go to Downtime. The solution to prevent downtime is to have your technology professionally managed.
An IT service company specializing in solutions does several things well. A business that's solution-oriented won't easily take "no" for an answer. Finding solutions means moving mountains for clients and providing service that goes above and beyond. One may think that we only fix computers, but our solutions-approach to service means that we do so much more!
You don't need us to tell you that running a small business has its inherent difficulties. There are all types of factors that could literally destroy everything that the hardworking people in your organization have accomplished. The problem is that these situations aren't limited to just disasters such as flood or fire. Below are three factors that may wreak havoc with your small business in 2013.
Many businesses are migrating their computing needs over to the cloud. In a worldwide survey, Gartner found that 60% of businesses have increased their budgets for cloud services through 2014. Yet, cloud computing may not be right for every business. For companies that would like cloud services, but may have cloud anxiety, going with a private cloud is a valid option.
As your business grows, so does the need to expand your network. If your IT infrastructure is not meeting your company's growing needs, then shopping for a new server is in your future. Servers are highly configurable and customizable to meet the specific needs of your business. Here are 4 things to consider when shopping for a new server.
When you hear the phrase, "The machines are taking over," you may think of science fiction stories where robots become self-aware and enslave humanity. You may not have realized it, but the machines have already taken over; not with a violent uprising, but through what's called the Internet of Things (IoT).
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a communication tool designed for business. VoIP takes advantage of your Internet connection to dramatically reduce your phone bill, sometimes by as much as 80% compared to traditional long distance plans. VoIP also comes with unique features to that will assist your company in customer service and employee training.
There are many challenging aspects that come with running a business, but which aspect is the most difficult? According to a 2012 survey of small business owners by The National Federation of Independent Businesses, managing costs is the most difficult responsibility. We can help; our managed IT services turn technology into a predictable expense.
Everything feels extra difficult for small businesses. Technology makes things easier; yet technology costs money, and the lack of money tends to be at the root of every problem for businesses of all sizes. Big businesses can afford the best technology, which is one reason they do so well. We level the playing field by making big business solutions affordable.
Having an IT infrastructure that works properly is the goal for every IT department. While it’s nice to have all of your technology in working order, this is just one part of the successful business/technology equation. Having your IT network properly designed to meet the needs of your business will maximize your productivity and make your technology work for you!
As a business, you do things differently than the mild-mannered consumer. Like paying bills, it’s not like a business can sit down for half an hour every month, write a few checks, and then be done with it. Businesses have employees whose major duty is paying bills. Technology is the same way, and businesses have different technology needs than consumers.
Managing your business is demanding. Staying on top of your employees, your inventory, shipments, payroll, and a hundred other things can be draining to say the least. The last thing you need is to add to your leadership burden. Let us manage your technology vendors for you! Our vendor management service will relieve you from these three management stresses.
In part one of Vanity IT, we covered the numerous high-powered handsets that are on the market and available for users to add a degree of productivity that had been simply unavailable before. While smartphones are the most used mobile device by far, many people are looking to the larger devices to accomplish tasks on the go. Some companies are beginning to issue devices to their employees in a concerted effort to take advantage of the flexibility that these larger mobile devices give them.
Many small businesses are switching their phone systems to Voice over Internet Protocol and seeing dramatic savings over traditional phone plans, especially when it comes to long distance charges. Once the switch to VoIP is made, small businesses are discovering there are more benefits to VoIP that make their business appear bigger and more professional!
Have you ever felt like your long commute is draining the life out of you? If you commute long distances to work, then there may be something to the phrase, “My commute is killing me.” Research has shown commuters die younger than those who live closer to their work. This is yet another reason to work from home.
Cloud computing is a hot business technology. Research firm Gartner surveyed businesses worldwide and found that 60% have increased their budgets for cloud services through 2014. Gartner also predicts that the cloud services market will increase 18.5% this year. Are you looking to migrate over to the cloud? Here are a few considerations before your business goes cloud crazy.
Is it time for a new computer? If so, you are going to want to consider the differences between a workstation and a PC. You will want to purchase a computer that is powerful enough to meet your needs, yet you do not want to overpay for equipment that is heftier than you need it to be. Here are some features to consider when computer shopping.
Have you ever felt like your business is missing out on a big opportunity simply because you are unaware of it? In order to see a hidden opportunity, you need a fresh set of eyes. You need the help of an expert who knows what to look for, and you need regular input. This is exactly why we offer business technology reviews.
Your electricity bill is the worst. This is because you know that it could be smaller if you only made a few adjustments to how you run the office. Little tricks like turning your lights off will save you money, but to really make a dramatic cut to your bill, you can virtualize your servers.
There are many advantages that come with switching your company's traditional phone system to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VoIP uses the Internet to handle all of your communication needs; this can streamline your communications and save you 50-70% compared to a traditional phone plan. Not only can VoIP save your business operating costs, it can also make your company more efficient.
As an IT company, we get excited about the newest computer hardware and software. We try to convince everybody that upgrades are great, but some people cannot be shaken from their devotion to what is familiar and refuse to upgrade their tech. In our experience, here are the three biggest reasons why upgrades are avoided.
Typically, the only way that spaghetti improves the office is by providing a low cost meal during a lunch break. As it turns out, spaghetti can be used as more than lunch; spaghetti charts are a great productivity tool that can improve your workflow, eliminate transport waste, and save you money.
We are not guaranteed a life without problems. Problems will happen and your plans will be ruined (okay, it's not ALWAYS that bad!). While you can't totally eliminate problems from life, you can greatly reduce them by being proactive. This proactive problem solving approach also works great with technology!
Computers have been designed to be easy and intuitive to use. Just about anybody can figure out how to open files and browse the Internet, but PCs are still complicated machines that require technical knowledge to fix and maintain. When it comes to the technical stuff, it's better to leave it to the pros.
Procrastinators of the world unite... tomorrow! Many people who feel the constant and crushing pressure of deadlines, and who have a habit of being late with deadlines, would identify themselves as procrastinators. Stanford professor John Perry has discovered a method to use procrastination as a tool to get more done, he calls this structured procrastination.
Many tech-savvy professionals have labeled tablets merely "content consumption" devices. This may have been true initially, but now with the productivity applications that have been developed using cloud computing, tablets can now be used to do more than just watch videos and surf the web. In this respect, the mobile computing revolution has finally made it to the workplace. Employers and employees alike are beginning to utilize mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones as a compliment to their standard office technology to improve productivity.
Your computer network is vital to your business continuity. Every component plays an important role, but it is your server that is the heart of your network, pumping data to all of your company's computers. You take care of your heart, are you taking care of your server?
Remember being told as a kid that, "Nobody likes a know-it-all?" As an adult, while it is still true that nobody likes a braggart, it turns out that everybody loves an expert! Every professional is an expert within their field; and whenever a problem crops up that you may not be a know-it-all in, then you call in another expert.
Despite having more paperless solutions at our disposal, it looks like offices will always have the need for a printer. Maybe you are not quite ready to take the great paperless leap, but you can reduce the amount of resources and power consumed from using your printers with the help of a print server solution.
Business growth is a double edged sword. It is great that you are increasing revenue, but you now have to deal with growing pains. These growing pains are often felt with your technology. Is your network cobbled together with random computers and your wires are one big tangle ball? Directive can help relieve these IT growing pains with network mapping.
Since the dawn of technical support, it has been a running cliche that when you need to call customer service, especially technical support, you are going to wait. And wait. It starts with a clunky automated phone system that sends you in circles, followed by a triathlon of phone hand offs where you answer a bunch of basic questions repetitively. Pretty annoying, right?
At some point or another you will be asked to present information to a crowd of people. Whether you have to give a presentation about how you can best profit from a bake sale for your local PTA or you're presenting a sales pitch to potential investors, vendors, or clients; using advances in presentation technology and methodology to your advantage can help you make a strong first impression and more importantly, a lasting one. Below are some presentation services that can be used to enhance the content of your demonstration.
You are confident that your employees are good at problem solving, this is why you hired them. Your staff may even thrive on finding solutions with limited resources and keeping operations within budget. It is wonderful that you have surrounded yourself with skillful people, but using your bright staff to fix an IT problem may hurt your business in the long run.
Studies have shown that fatigue-related productivity losses and workplace accidents can be extremely detrimental to a company's production, and ultimately, its bottom line. In fact, a 2010 study done by internationally-renowned fatigue management expert Dr. Mark Rosekind and his colleagues found that fatigue-related losses at four U.S. corporations they surveyed totaled about $2,000 per employee annually. There are some options open to an employer to make certain that he or she gets the highest level of productivity from his or her employees.
Every business is striving to grow, but with growth comes new challenges like hiring new staff. If you have a growing business model, then you likely achieved this by adopting smooth procedures. The same principle applies to growing your staff; and with solid on boarding procedures in place, you can get more performance out of your staff.