Today is Christmas day. In normal years, you would be bundling up to go to visit family and friends or preparing to host them.
We’re getting close to the end of 2020. Finally? Has it been a long year for you? Has it gone by really fast? I think every other day I have a different opinion about it.
Either way, it’s time to look at 2021. A fresh start, a clean slate. I think if there is one big mindset all business owners and C-levels need to take into consideration for 2021, it’s their people.
Unfortunately, we are not yet rid of the concern of COVID-19 and the impact that it has had on business survivability. With “business as usual” requiring a few drastic adjustments to continue, it is important that small businesses are able and willing to embrace these changes. Research conducted by Salesforce presented in their fourth Small & Medium Business Trends Report shows that many businesses are seeing the importance of these changes.
While it’s hard to say anything positive about the COVID-19 pandemic, it has given many business owners the motivation to pick up a few more technical skills. Many have sought to improve their own grasp on the software, marketing, and telecommunications that their business relies on each day. As these business owners have done so, they have often turned to a very popular resource: YouTube.
The world isn’t the same as it was at this time last year. With months of question marks surrounding business, and with more people than ever searching for their place, companies have had to make some operational concessions that, if we were to assess the situation today, don’t seem to be going anywhere, anytime soon.
If you haven’t kept your most up-to-date policies and procedures written down somewhere, you absolutely must correct this as soon as possible. A written guide to your business’ policies and procedures is crucial, as it is intended to give your team a resource to turn to for an answer to any questions concerning their employment. Let’s go over some things you must include in your written employee handbook.
Whether your business is just starting to open up, or your staff is diligently working remotely, the effects of COVID-19 are going to be long lasting for most businesses. For those of us who were lucky enough to get our employees situated and productive without putting them at risk, we’ve started to see the value in having the infrastructure to allow for remote access.
It’s incredible how working from home has become the new normal. Just a short time ago most business owners wouldn’t have batted an eye at shutting down the dreams of remote work, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they were forced to adjust the way they looked at the situation. Employees in several industries have been working from home ever since. Now that most places have begun to re-open, we thought we would remind you that there are actually some benefits to coming to the office.
A lot has been made about the newly-remote workforce that has been doing their best during the COVID-19 pandemic. One issue that many ignore is burnout. Sure, it happens in the office too, but there is something unsettling about getting up and going to work walking distance from your bed. Today, we will take a look at at-home worker burnout and give you a few tips to help you keep from suffering the same fate.
“Stuff” happens. While this may not be the kind of thing you want to consider in terms of your business’ operations, it is something that must be done if you want to be prepared for the moment when all of that “stuff” hits the fan (as so many businesses are now learning firsthand). We wanted to share a few best practices and tips to help you stay positive during this, and other, serious crises.
While COVID-19 has largely dominated the public awareness and created huge shifts and interruptions to businesses of all sizes, small businesses have clearly been impacted the most--essential and non-essential businesses alike. Of course, this doesn’t mean that large enterprises and corporations aren’t also affected. The difference is, these enterprises and corporations are sometimes better equipped to do something about it… which many have.
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.
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.
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.
The small businesses that rely on technology typically logs a lot of phone time with technology vendors. Decision makers that may not know more than the average person about IT can be left making important technology decisions when they think they are just making financial decisions. Today, we’re going to explain how they are different and what your next step is.
We’ve all heard the title CEO before, business shorthand for Chief Executive Officer. In fact, it may be a title that you hold yourself. While the CEO of a company is undoubtedly important, it is crucial to consider what other c-level roles should also be filled. As a technology-centric company, we often consider roles like the CIO, the CTO, and soon enough, the CDO to be just as important.
How often do you find a message in your SMS inbox that has clearly come from a business, but you almost have to wonder, simply because the incoming number seems to be randomized? Google has taken notice of this challenge, and so has rolled out a means for businesses to confirm that they are in fact the ones sending a particular message.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solutions famously offer businesses some significant cost savings. While this may be the extent of many people’s understanding of its value, VoIP actually has a lot more to offer. That’s why we wanted to go over just a few of its benefits - to provide a bit of insight into what makes VoIP such a great choice for today’s organizations.
Today is the first day of the third decade of the 21st century. For some, it’s just another year, but for others it seems almost impossible that we’ve reached this point without floating cars and manned missions to Jupiter. Fifty years ago, some of the technology that is used in the course of doing business was simply fiction or conjecture. We thought it would be neat to take a look at some of the technological changes made since 1970.
How concerned are you with your business' cybersecurity? When you envision your business in the future, do you see yourself constantly fighting cyberattacks, or paying ransom? Hopefully not, but what if cybersecurity turns into one of the most difficult parts to maintaining a steady business? Today, we will look into the future and hypothesize what your business may need to do to defend against cybercriminals.
For the small business looking to transform both their communications system and their IT budget, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a great solution. VoIP can deliver clear and reliable calling services that some landline services simply don’t offer. We take a look at VoIP’s more interesting features in this week’s blog.
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.
Thanks to the increasing capabilities of modern computing networks, businesses have been able to experience enhanced productivity. One such capability, cloud computing, has allowed businesses to reach outside of their physical location to conduct their operations. Here, we’ll review some of cloud computing’s other benefits.
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.
Productivity is always going to be a big issue in the workplace. While you want to encourage your employees to get work done, you don’t want to be too overbearing, as it could have the exact opposite of your desired effect. How can you make sure that your employees are staying on-task and focused on their goals? You can take the first step by understanding their motivations and long-term goals.
While each business today features its own balance of company culture and processes, there are certain varieties of software that all companies in operation today should be leveraging. Here, we’ll go over what these solutions are, and how they can benefit you.
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.
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.
Now that we’re halfway through the new year, how well have you kept up your New Year’s resolutions? If it isn’t well, don’t worry - you can make or adapt them at any time. This loophole even includes any resolutions you may have set for your business operations this year. So, let’s call this a do-over regarding your IT improvement resolutions.
Modern businesses have a lot more room for flexibility than in the past, particularly in regard to meetings. With the inception of conferencing solutions, organizations have access to more dynamic tools to make the most of their meetings. Determining the best one for you, though, is not easy. We’ll help you make that choice in the simplest terms possible.
Between you and me, how is your business doing financially? If you answered with something along the lines of “not great,” you are certainly not alone. Cash flow is an issue for businesses all around the world, as a recent report from Intuit makes all too clear.
The funny thing about entrepreneurs is that they have to be very detail-oriented in order to find any modicum of success. This often leads them to inevitably becoming controlling people overall. For years the technology has been present to utilize remote workers, but only recently has the practice become commonplace. This is largely because businesses have begun to seriously consider reducing costs as a strategy to gain profits.
There is always going to be user error in the workplace. Even the best workers make mistakes sometimes. You naturally want to reduce these occurrences as often as possible, but for the purposes of training and whatnot, you want to assume the worst: that any worker, even the most dedicated veteran, could potentially make a business-ending mistake. Thankfully, there are ways you can make sure this doesn’t happen for your business.
Server units--you’ll find them in most offices out there, but they are all used for different purposes. Since well-maintained data is so essential to the success of many organizations, it’s important to keep your server units in proper working order. Today we’ll discuss the best ways to make sure your servers are in peak performance.
The way that business is conducted today, the right technology is more of a necessity than a privilege. There are plenty of benefits that it can bring that an organization requires in order to stay competitive. For our tip, we’ll walk through a few ways that your business can be improved through the adoption of certain solutions.
A solid business decision needs to be based on more than just a gut feeling. It takes quantifiable data to choose the right path for your company, leveraged in a process known as business analytics. Today, we’ll explore this process, as well as discuss a few ways you can use it to your advantage.
At every turn, it seems as though there’s another best practice or upcoming trend to learn and implement in the realm of business technology. Are you doing all you can to keep your company up to date, relevant, and competitive? Below, we review some of 2018’s biggest IT revolutions so far.
The difference in today’s mobile devices and those that came years before used to be staggering, but in recent years, the differences in power and functionality have started to wane. Manufacturers have begun to roll out devices with only minor changes in power, but with exorbitant increases in cost. For the first time, in 4Q of 2017, the smartphone saw stagnation, and we’ll try to get to the root of it.
Running a business is never easy. There are so many moving parts to juggle and decisions to prioritize, it can be easy to skip over key steps on the path to success. While good business savvy is obviously a key requirement for this success to happen, there are certain things that can be done to give your business an extra push in the right direction. Today, we’ll go over three such seeds of success.
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.
When security and efficiency are some of the biggest benefits to updated information technology, it sounds that IT is something that a governing body should prioritize internally. However, many governments have trouble doing so, oftentimes to their own detriment. Why is that, and what can a business learn from this phenomenon?
The average business relies on several technology solutions that make maintaining a network infrastructure more challenging. Eventually, it gets to the point where technology becomes difficult to maintain without the help of an on-site IT department. Unfortunately, small businesses often have trouble supporting their infrastructures, as they don’t have the funds to hire and maintain an internal IT department. What’s the best way for a smaller organization to keep their technology in working order?
In today’s political, social, and economic environment, information is more valuable than ever. However, this increased importance, paired with the speed that data can be dispersed via the Internet, has enabled many to use false information to manipulate the general public into agreeing with their views and acting upon them.
Black Friday: it’s the name given to the unofficial first day of the holiday shopping season, and is associated with the generally unparalleled deals on consumer products. Many consumers use this day’s incredible deals to justify spending their day buying (and often fighting over) a limited amount of goods. However, have you ever considered that Black Friday can also be a good day to both advance your B2B operations and take advantage of some deals yourself?
In order to function properly, any business will need to procure certain pieces of equipment. Some of this equipment will be specialized to the business’ purpose, while some will be the sort that may be more commonly found in offices everywhere. This equipment must be procured from somewhere, and this is where vendors come in--but who in your organization is responsible for your vendor management?
The more users on your network, the more risk that user error could create a costly mistake for your infrastructure. While untrained employees could certainly ignore security policies, the greatest risk to your organization is an unexpected one. Research has proven that your company’s CEO, as well as other C-suite employees, hold one of the greatest risks for your business’ security.
When your business experiences an IT outage, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? A typical response (after expressing frustration) is, “How long until operations resume?” An answer to this question isn’t always obvious, which leads to another question, “Why did my system go down in the first place?” Being able to quickly and accurately ascertain what’s behind an IT outage is a responsibility that every business should have handled, yet implementing such a procedure is often overlooked until it’s too late.
IBM is perhaps one of the best known technology companies out there, but do you know all of the details about Big Blue’s legacy? IBM has built itself a reputation for pursuing advances in innovation and revolutionizing the way that businesses utilize computing, all the way back to its inception 100 years ago.
A business requires talent to be an effective asset to a community, but finding top talent can be difficult and frustrating. It often requires a business to look beyond their local market for talent and it also considers non-traditional avenues of talent such as outsourcing. The one solution to your organization’s talent deficit is often ignored: Internships.
Moving your office is a difficult task. Moving furniture, personal objects, and technology can be a hassle that you don’t even want to think about. There’s nothing easy about moving your office’s technology to a new location, and we’re not going to let you do it alone!
Every business owner understands that having a good reputation is paramount toward their success. Yet, some business owners may not fully grasp just how much the Internet influences their company’s reputation in today’s business environment. In order to find out what the people of the Internet are saying about your business, you have to manage your company’s online reputation.
Most modern businesses need access to crucial parts of their infrastructure in order to keep operations moving forward. For example, your building’s electricity is necessary to power your technology, and without an Internet connection, you could be losing out on hours of potential productivity. What can you do to minimize downtime and make the best out of a bad situation?
There 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.
There was a time when the cloud was considered nothing more than a novelty, but now that most serious businesses are taking full advantage of cloud computing, it’s time that you consider it a viable option for your organization. For those who are unfamiliar with cloud computing, though, you want to make sure that you properly plan out the process of moving to the cloud. When it comes to remodeling your IT infrastructure around the cloud, doing so can save you a lot of pain.
You’re a small business, and as such, you need technology in order to keep your operations moving forward. Many organizations will refer to their services and products as “enterprise-level,” as if there’s a certain draw to them that wouldn’t ordinarily be there. Here’s what this term means, not just for larger businesses, but for your SMB.
For your business’s IT, it’s important to consider both the short-term and long-term benefits of new technology solutions. However, which of these offers the greatest return-on-investment in terms of profitability and workplace efficiency? Some might argue that short-term IT (think break-fix IT) is more in line with a business’s immediate needs, while long-term IT (i.e. managed IT) considers longevity and proactive thought.
Technology changes constantly, and as such it can be difficult to change and adapt to new trends in the industry. Cloud services are making the implementation of scalable solutions somewhat easier, but often times integrating cloud solutions is forgotten by business owners who don’t really know what the cloud can offer their organization.
When it comes to your business’s data security, there can be no room for error. October is Cyber Security Month, so there’s no better time to ensure that your business is taking all of the proper precautions to maximize security protocol. However, there’s an often-forgotten aspect of cybersecurity called employee risk management, and it’s more complex than you might think.
Cloud computing is already heavily utilized in the business world. Companies that were looking to add mobility, collaborative capacities, and overall flexibility, have rolled out cloud computing platforms for their business and it’s resulted in quite a few benefits. In fact, according to a 2014 survey, about 70 percent of enterprise-level companies have instituted some sort of IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS solution. As more companies implement cloud solutions for critical business functions, owners of smaller businesses are asking us the inevitable question, “Is the cloud right for my business?”
“Do you think this is a game?” In the past, a boss may have used this line to criticize an employee for not taking their job seriously. However, in today’s more creative work environments, many companies are using game mechanics to achieve their goals. This business strategy is called gamification, and it’s the most fun way to get work done.
When it seems like every idea has already been patented or brought to fruition, that’s a key indicator that innovation in your company is lacking. Traditionally, advancements in business technology have driven innovation for companies. If your company’s innovation well is running dry, then there are measures that your business can take to become more innovative.
We all like to think that our businesses are the most influential in our chosen field. However, the true scope of how true this is, lies not only in your expertise, but also with your clients. If they aren’t satisfied, you can be sure that this fact will reflect itself in your sales figures.
We all like to think that our businesses are the most influential in our chosen field. However, the true scope of how true this is, lies not only in your expertise, but also with your clients. If they aren’t satisfied, you can be sure that this fact will reflect itself in your sales figures.
In a world where time is a luxury that the average business owner lacks, it can be burdensome to come up with new technology initiatives. The main issue that this presents is that it can be difficult to improve your operations if your technology’s growth is stunted. Stagnate technology deployment can be detrimental to your business’s success.
Just because something is brand new doesn’t mean that there’s a market for it. Just look at Windows 8 to see what we’re talking about. It might have been a brand new operating system when it first came out, but it didn’t really take to users, who preferred the familiar feel of Windows 7. How do business owners suspect Windows 10 will affect the business world?
When you first considered starting your own business, you thought nothing could possibly go wrong. You had so much hope for the future. But, things are a lot more complicated than that. You start to think the worst - your business is failing, and you don’t know what to do about it. When times get hard, do you throw in the towel, or persevere?
Big data is changing the way that the world works. Businesses are looking at big data to discover new trends in various industries. Additionally, big data is being applied to maintain the health of both humans and the environment, including the endangered rainforests.
Cloud computing is everywhere, yet there are still plenty of businesses that haven’t migrated to the cloud or adopted cloud services. In many cases, this is due to business owners and IT departments not being on the same page when it comes to cloud computing.
Facebook has come a long way. Originally designed as a networking tool to be exclusively used by college students, Facebook now has 1.44 billion active users, making it the world’s largest social network. Today, businesses take Facebook seriously and utilize it for their marketing initiatives. However, it’s still viewed as a time-waster by many office managers who restrict or ban employees from accessing it.
All business owners understand that in order to stay competitive, their team must work as hard as they possibly can. Unfortunately, however, that’s not how human physiology works. Everyone needs a break now and again, and the office is no different. Remember elementary school, when you would curl up with a blanket and get some sleep during naptime? It turns out this might be a viable option in the office, too.
If something debilitating were to happen to you, could your business carry on? This isn’t a pleasant scenario to think about, but it’s absolutely necessary to have a contingency plan in place for reasons like this. Also known as a business succession plan, if you have a plan in place, then you don’t have to worry about what the future holds, at least, for your business.
Big data analytics might be changing the way businesses look at data, but how much can be changed without a deeper understanding of what causes these trends? Your business model has everything to gain from understanding why and how big data trends come to be. In essence, understanding how the trends behind big data work is arguably more important than the statistics of big data itself.
Paid 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.
Every business has competition at some level. It’s tempting to ignore your competition (it may even be hard to speak their name), but there’s great value that comes with watching them closely; namely, you can learn from what they do in order to improve upon your own product or service.
The open office is convenient for a number of reasons. It is far more space-efficient, and it makes collaboration easier among coworkers. However, did you know that the open office can make people worse at their jobs? In 2002, a study in the journal Environment and Behavior tracked employees as they were moved from a private office to the open office, and the results were less than desirable.
When you send a subordinate an email, you likely expect that they will read it and comply with the message. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen and messages, especially in organizations where email is used as the main form of communication between departments, slip through the cracks. To remedy lost correspondence, consider setting up an email archive.
There are a number of disasters which could hamper your business’s continuity, but the most dangerous ones occur when you least expect it. Despite this, it’s not always clear that your business needs a data backup and disaster recovery solution until it’s too late. You stand to lose everything your business has worked so hard for by ignoring potential threats, many of which can be prevented by simple proactive measures.
Before investing in a solution for your business, it’s important to understand what you’re getting into. Sometimes it can be difficult, especially with all of the jargon floating around. In fact, an excessive amount of this “geekspeak” can intimidate prospective clients, and maybe even frighten away a sale. While it’s avoided as much as possible, it sometimes can’t be helped, and some business owners are still lost on certain sayings or acronyms.
You have a system in place to remind yourself of when to pay your bills. Otherwise, bills would go unpaid, essential services would be cut off, and your credit rating would plunge. However, not everyone has a system in place to renew their software licenses, which could lead to consequences that are just as dire.
What’s so special about a physical signature created with pen and paper? If it’s an autograph from your favorite celebrity, then you’ve got something special. Other than that, there’s no reason why an electronic signature can’t get the job done in today’s hi-tech business world.
Once upon a time, in a land not much different from this one, there lived a business owner. His name was Scrooge. He wasn’t an unlikable fellow; jolly and cheerful at any glance, his smile could light up the darkness in anyone’s life. Yet, when the winter months arrived, and a chilled wind blew across the land, so too did a fell gust freeze his heart. It was time to figure out why his systems were hacked (again), and he knew it would be an expensive endeavor. How he hated managing his 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.
When a dining establishment goes out of business, it usually doesn’t make the news. After all, running a restaurant is a risky endeavor. However, for one Washington D.C. eatery, it’s blaming its failure a Google Places mishap, which makes you think twice about how important it is for your business to have its online information properly displayed.
Automation is an increasingly sought-after convenience in the workplace, especially when it comes to repetitive tasks. Some professionals foresee a world which has fully automated assembly lines, but most are only concerned about what this can do for their assets. Instead of freeing up menial positions for others to take on more meaningful existences, could automation destroy these jobs completely?
Here's a scenario: Tom's computer is acting up and getting a blue screen error a couple times a day. Obviously this is a problem because it drastically cuts into Tom's efficiency. Tom is a smart guy though, so his manager asks him to see if he can fix it before calling support and putting in a ticket. After all, tech support costs money. Tom spends about 4 hours across the next few days researching the issue, attempting a few things, and finally fixes it. Way to go Tom! You just saved the company money... or did you?
One of the questions we get fairly often is what are the benefits for a small business switching to a managed IT service as opposed to a break-fix-style relationship. When a new client calls upon us to resolve an issue or organize an IT project we talk to them about our proactive managed services, and often we get a reply like "Well we love your service, but we'll just call you when something is broke." Managed services offer a lot of stability and benefits for small businesses. What exactly can switching to a proactive managed services agreement with your IT provider do for your business?
Netflix unexpectedly announced a split between their two offerings, DVD-by-Mail and their streaming service into two separate services. This is surprising as Netflix has continued to grow in popularity and profits every quarter. Why fix what isn't broke? After all, the streaming portion of Netflix claims about 20% of North America's bandwidth during peak hours, which is certainly saying something. Is there something for small businesses to learn from Netflix?