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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.

Have You Ever Considered What a Ransomware Attack Would Do to Your Customers?

It can be too easy to look at ransomware as a business problem. After all, it attacks businesses, locking down their data for ransom, often selling it or spreading it, and sometimes altering it for the business if returning it at all. It can be too easy to overlook another impacted target in all the mess.

What happens to the people whose data a business has collected and uses?

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How You Can Protect Yourself from the Aftershocks of Microsoft’s Security Issues

Microsoft's cybersecurity vulnerabilities have been making headlines recently. These lapses in security are causing concern for customers worldwide. The impact of these vulnerabilities is far-reaching. It affects network security and increases the risk of data breaches, causing somewhat of a ripple effect.

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Professional Services IT Has Come a Long Way

Professional services make up a significant portion of the business landscape. They can be broadly defined as any organization with trained professionals at the center offering a service of note. The most common professionals under this umbrella term are lawyers, agents, consultants, and others who help businesses in their day-to-day operations. Let’s explore some of the technology that fuels professional service providers.

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3 Pros and Cons of Artificial Intelligence for Small Businesses

More small and medium-sized businesses than ever are seeing AI's potential to transform their operations. However, like any technology, AI has its own set of pros and cons. Let's discuss three major advantages and drawbacks you can expect if using it in your business. Hopefully, it helps you make an informed decision about adopting AI.

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Which Leadership Style Do You Tend to Use in Your Business?

Leadership can take many forms. As a leader in your own company, it can pay to understand what form of leadership you tend to express when working with your team. Let’s review some leadership styles to see if anything resonates.

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How to Choose the Right Security Cameras for Your Business

So, you’re thinking about adding to your business’ security with a camera system. This is an excellent course of action for any business to take—provided that it is approached thoughtfully and with discretion. There are many, many options out there, after all, which only makes it more challenging to make the right choice. 

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Are You a Tech Support Roadblock?

This goes out to all the business owners, managers, department heads, and other leaders in the workplace who have to field user complaints and issues.

Being in this position can be hard, because you often have to say no. No, we can’t change the timeline or increase the budget for this project. No, we can’t do XYZ that way because it would break compliance. No, we can’t get new hardware/software in until we get it approved in the budget. Repeat ad nauseam.

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The Right IT Company Can Take Your Business to the Next Level

With technology being so important for all businesses in at least some capacity, it’s no small wonder that effectively using it (and having someone on-hand to manage it all) is tremendously valuable for any company. This is where a managed service provider (MSP) can be helpful, even for businesses that have a dedicated IT department. All small businesses benefit from working with an MSP.

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Cybersecurity Needs to Be a Priority for Everyone… Especially Your Business

How often does your company take it upon itself to ensure that those working for its success—your employees—are kept up to speed on cybersecurity? If your approach is to have your team sit in a room and watch a presentation once a year, it’s time to reconsider your training strategy. Let’s talk about the impact that proper cybersecurity training can have, and who tends to have access to it.

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Are Managed Services Really That Big a Deal? Yes: Here’s Why

The cloud has enabled managed IT service providers, or MSPs, to fill a uniquely shaped void in many companies’ business models. Working with a managed service provider can make up for all of the traditional challenges of technology maintenance and management while also affording you unique opportunities to reduce costs, minimize waste, and maximize productivity.

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Tip of the Week: Improving Your Relationship With Your Employees

It shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that the better your relationship is with your employees, the more your business will benefit. Despite this, many businesses today lack trust between their organizational levels. Let’s go over a few simple tips that you can use to help maintain positive feelings amongst your team.

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You Aren’t Wrong When You Say IT is Complicated

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

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

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Why You Need to Concern Yourself with Your Business’ Cybersecurity Compliance

Regardless of your industry, there are going to be certain regulatory standards that you will be responsible for upholding. Many of these standards will be related in some way to your cybersecurity. Let’s talk about some of these cybersecurity standards, and why compliance is so critical for your business.

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Why Your Business Needs Cyber Insurance (and What to Look For)

We get it—nobody likes to think about the prospect of being impacted by a cybersecurity incident, but it’s like any other unpleasant event in that it is best to prepare for it. In fact, today’s businesses can invest in a cyber insurance policy to help prepare for such an eventuality.

Let’s go over some of the ins and outs of cyber insurance so that you are prepared to make the best choice of provider for your business.

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Creating a Cloud Strategy is Easy as 1-2-3

So, you want to utilize cloud computing for your business. Making that decision is a good start, but now you need to figure out how the cloud will help accomplish the goals you’ve set for your business. You need to develop a cloud strategy.

Fortunately, we can help.

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Business Technology Concepts to Look Out for in 2023

The business world is always ebbing and flowing with new concepts, ideas, and strategies in the  attempt to innovate. The more technology can be used to do things that help a business run, the more processes can be automated bringing a layer of efficiency that isn’t possible without it. Let’s take a brief look at some of the technology trends that small businesses will be confronted with in 2023. 

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What Businesses Need to Do to Follow New York’s SHIELD Law

With no unifying federal law that aims to protect data security, individual states—including our home state of New York—have had to take it upon themselves to create such privacy laws.

Here in the Empire State, that law is the SHIELD Act.

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Directive Can Ensure Your Business Follows the New York SHIELD Act

Not long ago, we shared some information about the New York SHIELD Act—Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security—and what it has changed in terms of business cybersecurity preparedness across the board. This time, we wanted to discuss all that we’ll do to ensure that your business remains compliant with this relatively new law.

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Is it Worth Pushing for a Return to Office?

Now, you may or may not have already made the transition back to the office, and this really applies more to those who haven’t yet. However, even those who have may find some utility here—specifically, in determining if a push to a full return to office was the right move.

Let’s explore how today’s employees may react to the news that remote work will no longer be an option.

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Digital Security Cameras for Business Use

A quality surveillance system can help you keep an eye on your business when you aren’t there—a critical responsibility that warrants some serious deliberation if it is to be approached. With so many considerations to make, it is important to make sure that you are balancing your needs with the systems available to you. 

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Computer Parts and Hardware are Getting Harder to Get!

Prices are going up and it’s taking longer to get the hardware you might need for your business. Here are some things that might help. Prices are going up and it’s taking longer to get the hardware you might need for your business. Here are some things that might help.

The latest obstacle for small businesses isn’t exactly new, it’s been a growing issue since the start of the pandemic, but it’s definitely catching up to local businesses in a big way now; the global chip shortage.

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When is It Time to Automate Some of My Business Processes?

Automation has been a business buzzword for some time now, and was a key facet for many businesses remaining open through the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, it seems like there’s no reason for it not to remain in use from this point on. Let’s examine a few ways that automation can and likely will be used moving forward.

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Can Your Computer Support Consultant Answer These 3 Questions Correctly?

There is a massive difference between being able to fix a broken computer and managing the IT for an entire business. It’s critical that the person/people/company managing your IT understands the reason you have IT in the first place.

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The Small Business Guide for Preparing for Disaster

tornado

It's the start of the 2011 hurricane season, and with Hurricane Irene making contact with Atlantic coastlines this week, it certainly doesn't hurt to make sure your business is prepared for a disaster. Even if you are lucky enough to not be affected by these devastating storms, there are plenty of opportunities for nature to cause havoc on our way of life. It's never to late to put together a Disaster Recovery Plan (alternatively known as a Business Continuity Plan) in case a natural (or otherwise) disaster were to occur for you. Nobody wants to think a disaster might happen, but it isn't impossible. Here are a few steps small businesses can take to become better prepared.

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Are You Using Your Website To Communicate Effectively?

The pandemic changed how businesses interact with their customers, particularly regarding communication. As customers have grown used to and have come to expect to find solutions to their problems online, the question is, does your website help or hinder your customers? Here are some steps you can take to ensure your customers have a great user experience.

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Cybersecurity Helps Keep Your Law Firm’s Data from Being Distributed Pro Bono

It can be too easy to overlook the importance of technology and its security, particularly in industries that are deeply steeped in tradition, regardless of how crucial that security may seem when actually considered. Just consider the modern law firm, where technology, data, and the security of such is paramount.

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A Company’s Boss Needs to Take the Lead on Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is critically important to businesses of all sizes, which means that all businesses need to put forth a concerted effort to ensure their security is locked down. This, in turn, will require someone to take point on developing a cybersecurity-focused internal culture.

Who better to do this than the boss?

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3 Ways to Improve Communication In Your Small Business

When we say “improve communications” you probably are expecting an article about telephone systems or which video conferencing platform works the best. Normally, you’d be right, but today we decided to briefly go over four ways that you can foster better communications between management and their employees inside of your business.

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Counting the Reasons for the 3-2-1 Data Backup Rule

I hope I don’t have to tell you how important your business’ data is to its continued survival, just as I hope I don’t need to explain why this makes this data a priority to protect, regardless of your business’ size. What I do want to explain is the concept of the 3-2-1 Rule and how it pertains to your data backup, and why we would recommend that one for your business’ purposes.

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Small Businesses Can Rely On Managed IT Services for Key Improvements

What makes a small to medium-sized business so different from a large, enterprise-sized one? The amount of people and moving parts, of course, but if you really consider it, there isn’t all that much. This is why when looking to control your small business’ IT support costs, choosing managed IT services is a good option. This month, we thought we’d take a look at some of the other benefits managed IT can bring your organization:

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Reconsidering IT Principles Can Help Push Business Forward

It isn’t often that you’ll hear a managed service provider say something like, “There’s no school like the old school.” In many ways, however, the basic principles of a solid business IT strategy haven’t changed all that much… despite the momentous changes that we’ve witnessed in terms of the technology we use. Let’s consider some of these principles, and how they’ve changed over time (if at all).

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Good Practices Often Yield Good Results

If you are a frequent reader of our blog, you will notice that “best practices” is a term that is used generously. That is because there are certain ways to go about things when you are working with technology. Today, we wanted to go over what the term actually means and why they are important when managing your business. 

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Small Business Trends for 2021

It's no secret that small businesses are facing one of the toughest periods in decades. The COVID-19 pandemic and many other issues have made them change the way they approach operations, sales, and other aspects of their businesses. Today, they need to explore more strategies that can support customers who also have had to adapt. Today, we’ll talk about a couple of the trends we expect to see in IT in 2021. 

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Social Media Is A Tool For Any Sized Business

Nowadays, social media companies have a lot of power and influence, which is part of the reason that so many of today’s largest businesses have adopted social media as a critical promotional tool. With the average person spending about two hours and 24 minutes on social media and messaging applications per day, this makes social media a clear opportunity for any sized business to embrace. Let’s consider a few ways this can be accomplished for these different businesses.

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How Businesses Can Use AI to Their Benefit

As technology has become smarter, artificial intelligence has evolved into a more and more applicable solution that businesses of all sizes can use. Let’s take a few minutes to consider the various ways in which AI can be used to support businesses.

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It’s Time You Gave VoIP Another Look

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

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Businesses Need to Use Automation to Adapt

Let’s be real. For most small businesses during this period, it’s been extremely difficult.  If you were somehow able to sustain operations during this time, you most likely had to make some serious alterations to the way that you normally do things. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the technologies that you probably already have, and how you can change the way you use them to benefit your business as concerns spike over COVID-19. 

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Considering Point of Sale Technology

Point of sale software and solutions have long offered massive benefits to businesses, with these benefits growing as the technology has advanced. Let’s look at how the POS system has developed over the years to offer the business utilities and benefits that it does today.

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Three Services Your Business Needs, Post-Coronavirus

As businesses slowly open up, they’re finding that their customers and staff have begun to expect certain levels of interactions in response to the coronavirus. When it comes to keeping your business competitive, you need to embrace the clear delineation between how businesses operated pre- and post-coronavirus. What was once temporary has become the new normal. The question is, are you still running your business using the old business model?

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Cybersecurity Takes Effort at 3 Levels

The way people talk about cybersecurity, it’s as if it is something like a television or a new phone: something you can just buy. That’s not the truth. When you are seriously looking at how you can keep unwanted entities off your network, while having control over what you do with your technology, you need to look at it as three levels of security.

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What Are the Most Important IT Solutions for an SMB?

While all a business’ technology solutions are important, some are bound to take priority over the others, especially when certain ones become an industry-wide focus. A recent survey evaluated the top concerns of small-to-medium-sized businesses for the coming year. The results of the survey identified a few telling trends regarding the priorities that SMBs hold now, and for good reason.

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Business Continuity Planning is Your Greatest Tool

Disasters, at least in the business sense, have long been underestimated. While you always, always, hear about disasters that are often seen, there are some (as we are witnessing now) that can go under the radar until they strike. Regardless of the nature of the disaster, however, you need to be prepared to continue both your operations and your communications to some degree.

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Technologies that Small Businesses Should Be Using

As time passes and technology is developed, a lot of the processes that businesses rely on become more efficient and stand to deliver greater benefits to the organizations that use them. These benefits are accessible to businesses of all sizes, including small businesses. Let’s go over a few small business needs, and how technology can assist with them.

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Why Your Business Needs a Social Media Presence Right Now

Businesses around the world now find themselves in a situation unlike what most have ever seen. With so many trying to keep their distance from one another, many workplaces have deemed it necessary to close down for the time being or to operate remotely in order to reduce the risk they present to their clients and customers… but it isn’t as though these clients and customers are going to expect radio silence from these businesses.

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Cutting Costs Doesn’t Mean Sacrificing Support

If you’re trying to minimize your operating costs to improve your budget, it is important to keep in mind that sacrifice isn’t your only option. Instead, you also have the option of streamlining and minimizing some of your larger expenses by enlisting a managed services provider and the more sustainable business model we adhere to.

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Six Things to Consider When Moving Your Business

When you move your business into a new workspace, it can be one of the most exciting times for both you and your staff. It isn’t easy, of course, but today we thought that we would give you a short list of considerations that you should take in order to make this process go smoothly.

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What NY Businesses Need to Know About the SHIELD Act

On July 26, 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security (or SHIELD) Act into law. With the passing of this law, businesses with operations in New York now must put certain safeguards in place to help protect the private information disclosed to them by New York residents.

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Major SMB Tech Trends

All businesses demand a certain amount of technology in order to push their organizational profitability forward. Whether they invest in tried-and-true technologies or they use their capital a little more innovatively, really depends on how decision makers’ forecasts of those investments help the organization become more productive or efficient. Today, we will look at five of the most important technology trends for SMBs in 2020.

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Your Business Processes Are Everything

The word “procedure” can easily be perceived in a negative light nowadays. It just sounds so… rote… compared to the exciting and dynamic buzzwords that so many “thought-leading, influencing, social media innovators” today toss around. Now, we don’t mean to disparage these personalities - we just want to emphasize that these innovations rely on a foundation to support them, and these foundations are based on business procedures and processes.

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The Ultimate Social Media Rig (Updated May 2014)

Recently, I was asked to speak at a breakout session called "Jumpstart Social Media for your IT Business" at the ConnectWise PSA 2009 Partner Summit. What a great event, we learned so much for our MSP practice, we are still implementing! Some of the power point slides from the breakout show our Project Plan for rolling out our "Ultimate Social Media Rig". We promised to get the project plan posted on the site. Rather than post just screen shots, we made it easier for you to get started and typed it up too, copy/paste ftw.

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What Does It Mean to Plan for the Worst?

You don’t need to be repeatedly told just how important risk management is. If you did, you probably wouldn’t have made it this far. One problem you see from business owners today is that while they understand just how many problems there are--and which ones they need to find solutions for first--they want to grow their company so fast that they overlook potential problems and end up hurting their business as a result. This month, we thought we would talk a little bit about contingency planning and how, if it is done right, it can have a marked effect on your business’ ability to carry-on after a problematic event. 

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Current Small Business IT Trends

Technology is trending, there’s no doubt about that, but if you are a decision maker at a small business, technology solutions aren’t typically developed for your business in mind. As a result, it can often be difficult for the SMB to get tools that are scalable enough to make sense for them, while also getting powerful options that will actually work to improve some part of the business. This month, we’ll take a look at three trending technologies that small businesses are starting to use regularly. 

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

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

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Tip of the Week: Extend Your IT Budget

Budgeting for your technology can be pretty difficult. You never really know when some problem is going to present itself and cost your business an arm and a leg. Since you can’t always see what’s coming, saving money when you can is important. Let’s take a look at a few ways that you can save money on your business’ IT.

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Five Reasons Managed Services Even Work Well for Small Businesses

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

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Oneonta Businesses Need to Train Staff on Cybersecurity Best Practices

As much as your employees are some of your greatest assets, they also have the potential to be some of the biggest security risks that your business can encounter. To help mitigate these risks, you need to make sure your employees are trained to recognize threats and respond appropriately.

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Technology Small Businesses Should Be Investing In

As small businesses have to do more with less, they’ve been increasingly looking to technology to fill the gaps. The problem is that many small businesses feel like the big tech companies don’t understand their needs. If you feel like the technology options you have at your disposal don’t necessarily fit your business’ needs, consider that these robust solutions have all the functionality that you need to manage your own business processes. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the enterprise technology SMBs are using to move their businesses forward and some of the considerations you may need to make to leverage a software solution that doesn’t seem like it fits.

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IT Consulting Brings Clarity

In today’s competitive business environment, you need all the help you can get. One of the biggest advantages you can achieve for your business is to take advantage of a trusted and reliable managed IT provider that can give your organization advice on how to navigate the murky waters of the technology world.

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Tip of the Week: How to Improve Your Internal Collaboration

For any business to be successful, its inner workings need to be able to work together seamlessly, each with a defined role and purpose. While we usually stick to talking about how to make your IT more collaborative, we’re devoting this week’s tip to ensuring that your employees are also capable of effective collaboration while using these solutions.

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Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Need to Prioritize Data Management

For the small business, being more efficient with resources can make a massive difference. In fact, it can be the difference between organizational sustainability and organizational failure. The bottom line is that, no matter how big or small they are, today’s businesses need to be smarter to compete. As a result, some businesses have begun to utilize data management platforms (DMP) in order to put themselves in a better position to understand their business, their market, and their customers. Let’s take a look at the DMP, and how it works to help businesses like yours be more effective.

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Work Smarter, Not Harder

turtle

Want to get more done in a days time? We all do. If you are a business owner, it is likely you'd love to see your employees get more accomplished during the course of the day. There is a lot that can be done to make your time more efficient (that is an industry all on its own!), but one very frustrating cause of lost productivity is faulty technology. The most overlooked culprit? Slow computers!

Hit the jump to see our analysis of what workstation slowness can cost your company.

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How IT Benefits a Small Business’ Growth Potential

When we discuss our service offerings, we understand that it can all seem like a little much, especially to the small business that - up to this point - has never needed all these fancy solutions to operate effectively. However, there are a few considerations that the business this scenario applies to needs to account for. For instance, is it certain that these solutions are unnecessary?

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Tip of the Week: How Small Business Goes About Utilizing Technology

No matter how big a business is, it has to leverage at least some IT in order to be efficient. Unfortunately, some organizations are reluctant to implement new technology if they don’t seem to need it immediately. What these businesses don’t know is that the reason they typically don’t implement new solutions--saving money--is in direct conflict with what the solutions are designed to do in the first place.

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Small Businesses Using Emerging Technologies to Get Ahead

If your business uses technology to be more productive and efficient, you know that as soon as you buy a piece of new technology, there is another one right behind it that has more power, or better features. This is true for consumers as well. This constant innovation is what has made technology a viable option for many small businesses. After all, if computers hadn’t been innovated on constantly, they’d still be the size of a room (or wouldn’t exist at all).

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What Effect Could Artificial Intelligence Have On Your Business?

Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more accessible to businesses of all sizes. In fact, it is swiftly becoming apparent that businesses that aren’t actively considering how to leverage AI in their processes are doing themselves a disservice.

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A Look Ahead: SMB Technology for 2018

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.

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House of Representatives Makes Moves to Support Small Business

Without competition, there would not be businesses. However, this competition needs to be fair in order for small businesses to embrace new opportunities that arise. A U.S. bill that allows for both of these goals has passed in the House of Representatives and will be voted on in the Senate.

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Small Business Bill Promotes Technology Use

In order for small businesses to remain competitive in this economy, there has to be the opportunity for them to participate as a viable competitor. This is the goal of a United States bill that has passed through the House of Representatives and is moving forward to be voted on by the Senate.

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Unpaid Invoices are a Major Problem For SMBs

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.

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Net Neutrality Still Needs Your Help!

December 14th is the last day that our government representatives can vote whether or not to continue the Internet’s protection under the net neutrality rules established in 2015. Without these rules in place, your data can be analyzed by your Internet service provider, and they are free to act on that knowledge and manipulate your Internet in support of their own interests.

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Your Company Social Media Policy Part 2

social media definitionLast time we wrote about the importance of having a social media policy for your business.  Let's go over some of the things you'll want to cover in your social media policy.

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What Office 365 Can Do for Oneonta Small Businesses

microsoft icon

At the beginning of the month, Microsoft officially launched Office 365. What makes this Office different from the other Office suites that Microsoft has released is that Office 365 doesn't run on your computer, it runs on a cloud server. All of your data is stored securely in the cloud on Microsoft's servers. This is great for smaller Oneonta businesses that need to access their files from anywhere but don't currently have the infrastructure in-house to make it happen.

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What is Desktop Virtualization?

computer, laptop, and smartphoneDesktop virtualization is a method in which one machine can run more than one Operating System at the same time regardless of architecture requirements. There are two models of Desktop Virtualization that will be discussed here: Local Virtualization and the Client/Server Virtualization Model.

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Virtualization Simplified

man overwhelmed by servers

Controlling and managing a big network with multiple servers is no small endeavor, especially keeping them maintained. On top of that, software licenses, warranties, user permissions, and security all need to be managed and controlled. As your business expands, you may need more servers in order to perform certain tasks ranging from email, file distribution, specialized software, and security management of various levels. Pretty soon your server room is beginning to look like a cramped mini data center and you need to worry about controlling the heat and maintaining multiple high-priority, mission critical machines. There's got to be a better way, right?

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Understanding the True Cost of Downtime for Upstate New York Businesses

frustrated businessman

In today's IT industry, downtime can have a huge impact on your company's bottom line. When system downtime occurs, whether it affects an individual employee or the entire company, it means lost money. The definition of the term "downtime" is very ambiguous, although at Directive we consider any issue where an employee can't do their job properly due to technology not being available to be downtime. Even though an application may be up and running, it is essentially "down" to a user if the application can't be used no matter the reason.

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Understanding the Costs of Data

scattered money

If you've been using computers for a while, then there has probably been at least one point in your life that you've lost data. Maybe it was something you were working on when your computer crashed, or maybe a disk failure wiped out some data. Does this bring back memories of frustration and angst?

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Simple Math: Less Focus on IT Equals More Focus on Your Business

2 + 2 chalkboard

You are an expert in your field, right? Whether you sell a product or commit to a batch of service offerings, you know your job and you know it well. We're guessing you have some great employees who know their job well too, right? You hired them because of their drive, interest, and possibly knowledge in the field (or you spend plenty of time teaching and training them). So when someone's computer goes down, why should they waste their time trying to fix it?

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Save Often. Save Often. Save Often.

lightning strike

I'm sure nobody has missed out on any of the storms happening here in New York. Even our lights have been flickering. Mother nature can be cruel to your IT; a well-placed bolt of lightning can do plenty of damage. Of course, we always recommend quality UPS systems to our clients to protect their most valuable tech, and good surge protectors for everything else (not power strips, mind you, they aren't the same). Regardless, whether there's a risk of the power going out or not, it's important to save often and keep your files backed up. Here's a few tips after the jump.

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Running Business on the Road

person's desk set up on beach

Business owners and executives aren't always chained to their desk. Sometimes opportunities take you out of the office, out of town, and on the road. Traveling to vendor shows, conferences, training, expos, or even hitting the greens for a few days doesn't mean you need to be totally inaccessible. It's becoming increasingly simple to for the traveling business person to stay connected and get things done even when not at the office.

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Remote Support Improves Everything

person on headset

For some small businesses around Upstate New York, administrative IT tasks and computer support are done the old fashioned way; either over the phone or on-premise. These traditional methods are a major waste of time and money, and can lead to plenty of unproductive behavior very quickly.  Today we're going to examine how remote technical support can benefit businesses.

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Protecting your Data from Disaster

broken drive"As a business owner, when should I worry about implementing data backup for my company?" The answer comes in the form of another question, "How much do you value your business?"

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Process Deals Faster with Electronic Signatures

sign here on piece of paper

Has waiting on a signature ever brought a project to a halt?  A major way to simplify the signing process and get those contacts and other documents signed and delivered faster is by utilizing e-signature technology.

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Microsoft Office 365 - Your Office in the Clouds

microsoft office logo

Microsoft Office still holds a very strong position in the small business world despite some serious competition from Google, who boasts having their software package hosted online.  The latest incarnation of the Microsoft Office suite, named Office 365, is designed to rival Google's offering. Today we're going to talk about Microsoft's hosted productivity software and see what the pros and cons are for small businesses.

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Managed IT Services: How do they Impact Upstate New York Small Businesses?

managed services businessman

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?

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Looking to Advertise? Try Facebook

facebook logo

Facebook, the enormous social network that shouldn't need an introduction for anybody, has been a fantastic way for small businesses (and major corporations and brands, and just about anyone else) to promote themselves. If you haven't established your company on Facebook (which is free, by the way), a new offer from the social network might help sweeten the deal.

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Let's Talk Tablets

person using tablet

Tablets are definitely becoming a staple in the consumer electronics world. For the longest time, the tablet PC was an expensive, clunky device that just didn't wow consumers. Some businesses had adopted tablets back in the day, but they were difficult to use, hard to support, and they simply didn't perform for the price tag. However, like many consumer electronics, Apple reinvigorated the tablet market with the original iPad, and now it would seem tablets are here to stay. The question is, are they right for businesses?

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Leave IT to the Professionals

person using laptop holding hammerFor small and medium businesses, attempting to fix your own computer issues can do more harm than good. It may seem like having to pay for IT services is an unnecessary expense, especially when you have a somewhat tech savvy employee who seems to know what they are doing. It may be an expense now, but it will save you thousands of dollars in time and money in the long run.

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Is your Company's Internet Connection a Bottleneck on Productivity: Part 2

computer cords

Last time, we blogged about whether or not social media and personal Internet use was a bottleneck for employee productivity. Let's not look at the Internet as a fundamental time-waster or a necessary evil. After all, the Internet has changed the way companies do business. This time we're going to investigate if your Internet is keeping up with your company.

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Is Virtualization Right for your Upstate New York Small Business?

server virtualizationServer Virtualization has been around for a while but has quickly become more popular for small businesses due to the long-term costs saved when your servers are virtualized. What exactly is server virtualization and how can it benefit Upstate New York businesses?

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How Upstate New York Small Businesses Reduce Computer Issues with the Bridge Metaphor

bridge

Does it seem like every day your network is suffering from a different issue? How about the same old issues that keep coming back? Think about how much time is wasted every day while you and your employees have to cope with viruses, malware, and oddball technology issues. What if we told you there is an easy solution that will eliminate 99% of these problems?

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Has Mobility Changed Your Upstate New York Business?

guy using tabletTechnology is changing quickly and businesses are seeing a wide variety of options replacing traditional IT methodology that is driving change and productivity to businesses of all sizes. It's getting easier to take work with you with mobile devices and hosted services, but are these just expensive new toys or do they provide serious benefits to businesses?

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Google's Goal: 99.98% Uptime

Google logo

You are running a business. You don't want downtime, you want your email to be as reliable as the sunrise. Google Apps has been adjusting their service level agreements over the years to accommodate to the high demands of the millions of businesses that use their productivity software each day.

 

Before we talk about that though, I wanted to share an announcement Google recently had. In 2010, the Gmail email service, which provides both free consumer and business email services globally, was available 99.984% of the time. That means about seven minutes of downtime per month on average was experienced in 2010. According to Google, the seven minute average comes from a lot of tiny delays that normally consisted of a few seconds a shot. Most users experienced no issues, and in the rare case they did, a few seconds of delay is pretty easy to miss.

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Going Green for Small Businesses

recycle symbol

Today, small businesses that go green and take action towards reducing energy consumption, waste production, and apply sustainability concepts benefit from a lower cost of day-to-day business. Being green looks great for investors, employees, and consumers alike and can contribute to press and media attention. That sounds great, right? Unfortunately, like most things, going green isn't something you can do over night. It takes time, dedication, and sometimes, a little bit of investment. Hit the jump for some tips to go green with your business.

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Employee Training - Businesses Can't Afford Not To

4 employees sitting at table during meeting

As a business owner, if you've ever looked into training seminars, you've probably been taken back by the price. Your industry likely has a whole slew of organizations dedicated to business training, and there are often training courses on specific software packages you use in your day-to-day line of business. Your employees may know full-well how to do their job, but are they doing it as effectively as possible in order to drive business forward?

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Disaster Recovery and Why it Matters to Upstate New York Businesses

life preserver

When you mention the term 'disaster recovery,' most people think about the big ground-shattering events like earthquakes, fires, floods, tropical storms, etc. While these natural events are certainly disasters and devastating in their own right, smaller things can constitute as a disaster for your business, and they aren't seasonal.

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Desktop Virtualization: Does it Work for Upstate New York Businesses?

desktop virtualization graphic

Businesses these days depend on having reliable, fast desktop computers. The trouble is, these high-end desktops offer plenty of resources that never get touched, making them underutilized. Huge hard drives and extremely fast CPUs mean each desktop has more capabilities than most users will ever tap into.

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Cloud Computing - What does it mean for Businesses?

sky with clouds

You've probably heard of cloud technology. All the big names in the technology industry are talking about it; but for a lot of people, it's still just a buzz word. Microsoft has been pushing the idea of a cloud for a while, with a couple sitting at an airport waiting for a layover, with the end result being that the cloud ceases their boredom by letting them stream movies from home. What exactly is the cloud and why does it matter for businesses?

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Business Owners: Swap your Desktop with a Laptop

person typing on laptop

Small business owners are discovering they don't need to be chained to their desk to use their computer, and are finding it much easier to be productive with the ability to take their workstation with them where ever they go. The concept isn't new, but the trend hasn't caught on for a lot of small businesses. Business owners who have ditched their desktop for a laptop have a whole world of benefits. Let's take a look at what some of those benefits are.

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Biggest Security Risk: Not Assessing Issues

checklist all checked off

Let's get theoretical here. Let's say your friend Hank suffers from chest pain. It could be nothing, but chest pain isn't something you want to mess around with, so you suggest that Hank goes to a doctor to get it checked out. There are certain things in life you don't just let happen without getting an assessment to make sure they don't turn into bigger issues, right? Your business's IT security is one of those things.

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Are Upstate New York Small Businesses at Risk?

ninja / thief holding laptop

2011 has been a busy year for security experts worldwide. Major corporations have been reporting harmful attacks by hackers. So far, technology news site CNET has reported over 80 known major hacks since March that have been publicized. The publication of these hacks is inevitable, especially when user-data, contact information, and credit card information is at risk, and that publication can easily cause a PR disaster which can take loads of time and money to rectify (and in some cases, just can't be rectified). The big questions are who is at risk, are Upstate New York small businesses at risk, and what kinds of IT solutions need to be deployed to prevent data-theft and other intrusions.

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