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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.

Do You Know the Real Value of Your IT?

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

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Small Business Communication Options to Boost Productivity

Miscommunication is something that plagues even the best, most organized organizations. Small businesses might be more tight-knit than your traditional enterprise, but humans are prone to miscommunication, and can be a major problem. We can help your business improve the way that it communicates and collaborates, and it all starts by considering how you can eliminate miscommunication in your office.

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Outsourced Project Management: A Good Option for Small Businesses

Small businesses often have to rely on different means to achieve the same level of project management as enterprises. This is due to the demands of project management being significantly different in scope, but also the way that your company implements new technology solutions. Instead of worrying about the specifics of project management, you can outsource these responsibilities to a managed service provider.

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Small Businesses Face Challenges in 2018

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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Run a Small Business? Here’s Why You Need an IT Consultant

The concept of deferring to an expert is not new, especially in terms of running a business. If your business encounters a problem in its plumbing, you call in a plumber. When it comes to your business’ IT solutions, there are professionals who can help with issues there as well: IT consultants.

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Mobile Technology Trends Present a Major Challenge for Business Owners

The small business is under siege. Many small business owners do what they can to compete, but it seems like there is no solution for their revenue woes, as larger organizations are able to attract a larger part of the market share. This has been the case for some time, but there are market forces at work today that make it even more difficult for businesses to contend with competitors that have more resources.

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The 6 Most Common Technology Issues Faced By SMBs

While news sources might lead the layman to believe that most issues facing the typical SMB come from cyber criminals lurking online, the reality is far less dramatic. However, this misconception makes these issues no less serious, and still things to prepare for. Let’s review some of the most common causes of technological issues in the office environment.

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Having a Network that’s Tested Guarantees You’ll Overcome Any Disaster

Does your SMB have an internal IT department? Chances are that it is a major pain point for your organization, and even if you do have one, it might be bogged down with so much work that mistakes can happen and threats can slip through the cracks. Sometimes the best way to protect your network is to know where and how threats manage to get there in the first place.

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Why SMBs Need to Move Away from On-Premises Computing

b2ap3_thumbnail_cloud_server_400.jpgMost small and medium-sized businesses aren’t new to IT. For the past 15 years or so, SMBs have been attempting to keep up with their larger competitors through the implementation of technology systems. They’ve instituted computing systems from servers to workstations to mobile devices, peripheral technologies like fax machines and copiers, “state of the art” networking technology, and all other sorts of tech, just trying to keep a leg up on their competition.

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Why We’re Cautiously Optimistic about Using Mobile Devices at Work

b2ap3_thumbnail_mobile_device_management_400.jpgAs expected, mobile technology is a consistent part of daily business operations for many companies around the world. Employees love taking advantage of the mobility these devices offer, making their home office just as useful as their in-house workstation. However, a mobile device management solution needs to be strictly adhered to in order to optimize security and guarantee that a stray smartphone doesn’t expose your data to unexpected eyes.

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Tip of the Week: 3 Easy Ways to Connect Your Business with Your Community

b2ap3_thumbnail_is_your_community_involved_400.jpgIt’s important for a business to be connected with their community. Even if you have a global market, it’s still important to invest in the city you’re headquartered in. It’s where you and your employees live, and if you can build relationships and connect with other organizations in your community, only good things can come from it.

Here are three easy ways your business can become more involved and respected within your community.

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New Leadership at Microsoft can Change the Tech World

b2ap3_thumbnail_Satya_Nadella_CEO_400.jpgThe CEO baton at Microsoft has been passed from Steve Ballmer to Satya Nadella, making Nadella the third CEO in Microsoft's well-publicized history. You may not think that this will have an impact on your business, but considering how intertwined Microsoft is with the the global economy, you may be surprised to learn that this move will affect your company.

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6 Ways to Step it Up While Spending Down

b2ap3_thumbnail_save_money_with_technology_400.jpgExpenses 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!

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3 Ways to Start Marketing Your Company to Mobile Users

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

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The Holidays Don’t Always Bring Joy to Small Business Owners

b2ap3_thumbnail_pout400.jpgFor most small business owners, your average week includes several moments where you look at your expense sheet and search for ways to cut costs and improve the profitability, and thus, the sustainability of your company. Around the holidays, when business picks up for everyone, some small businesses run into problems that stunt their net profitability. The inability to spend the money that larger companies can, will often result in handcuffing a business' ability to compete.

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When Negative Customer Feedback Can Help Your Business

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

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3 Ways We Help Assess Your Assets

b2ap3_thumbnail_asset400.jpgUpgrading 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.

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5 Business Technology Trends

b2ap3_thumbnail_trends4002.jpgIn a recent economics survey of small to medium-sized businesses by Oxford University, it was discovered that two-thirds of companies believe that technology is the key to transforming their business in order to "achieve longevity and sustainable growth." This survey reveals a lot about how businesses worldwide feel about technology. Does your business identify with any these trends?

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3 Relevant Concerns for Small Businesses

b2ap3_thumbnail_bigdoor400.jpgYou 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.

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Big Business Solutions for the Small Guy

b2ap3_thumbnail_bigbusiness400.jpgEverything 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.

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Leave a Big Business Impression with VoIP

b2ap3_thumbnail_VOIP400.jpgMany 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!

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Hello Computer

b2ap3_thumbnail_FutureAhead400.jpgEvery generation improves the technology of the previous generation. Sometimes technology can improve at such a rapid rate that it can make other technologies obsolete. It takes a bit of know how to determine which technologies will last and which ones are just fads. We are here to help you make sense of all of these rapid changes.

 

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Use Spaghetti to Improve Workflow

b2ap3_thumbnail_SpaghettiChart400.jpgTypically, 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.

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How to Catch PC Issues and Prevent Problems

b2ap3_thumbnail_notnowwhen.jpgWe 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!

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Leave PC Maintenance to the Pros

b2ap3_thumbnail_ComputerIT400.jpgComputers 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.

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Structured Procrastination: Get Everything Done, Eventually

b2ap3_thumbnail_NowOrLater400.jpgProcrastinators 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.

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Collect So You Don’t Pay

b2ap3_thumbnail_Collect400.jpgEvery enterprise, whether it is a successful one or not, has to deal with its fair share of adversity. One of the most rampant difficulties a business is forced to deal with is the necessary ability to secure prompt payment for the goods and services it provides its customers. For small and medium-sized businesses, or even one-man bands, they likely do not have the deep pockets many larger organizations have. Not being able to timely collect income can make sustaining business operations all but impossible. With remote payment applications that are now available for mobile devices, collecting crucial revenue at a mobile point-of-sale is making collecting that is money easier.

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3 Security Issues that Put Your Business at Risk!

b2ap3_thumbnail_Security400.jpgEverybody has a weakness; Superman has Kryptonite, the Wicked Witch of the West had water, and the Death Star had a womprat-sized exhaust port. Character weaknesses make for solid storylines because they drive conflict. Your company has its own set of vulnerabilities that you may not know about, and unlike stories, conflict in business is not a good thing. Here are a few of the lesser known IT weaknesses, and what you can do to resolve them.

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Streamline Printing with a Print Server Solution

b2ap3_thumbnail_printer400.jpgDespite 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.

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Map Out Your Network’s Growing Pains

Mapping Out NetworksBusiness 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.

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The Popularity of the Fax Machine

b2ap3_thumbnail_faxmachine400.jpgIt always feels a bit peculiar to come across a fax machine still being used in the modern office. With all of our digital advancements, the fax machine should have gone the way of the floppy disk. Contrary to common sense, it is estimated that there are 131 million fax machines still in operation around the world.

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Improve Business Communication with These 10 VoIP Features

b2ap3_thumbnail_voip-introduction400.jpgIn business, you will gladly take every advantage that you can in regards to communications. This is because better communications will positively impact everything you do. Switching your phones system from a traditional carrier to a Voice over IP (VoIP) internet solution will not only give your business a communications edge, but also save you 50-70% on your phone bill.

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DIY IT Repair Hinders Business Growth

b2ap3_thumbnail_littlemanonkeyboard.jpgYou 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.

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Calculate Your Downtime

a1sx2_Original1_coinclock.jpgDoes it sometimes feel that business is going well, yet your bottom line is taking a hit? If time is money, then downtime is anti-money, and downtime may be your biggest budget buster. To help you determine exactly how much your IT downtime is costing you, we have two mathematical formulas you can apply to your business.

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Connecting Home and Office

a1sx2_Original1_girlworkingathome.jpgIn a 2012 Wrike.com surveyed 1,074 workers, 83% of respondents reported working at home for at least part of the workday. Chances are, you have employees working at home, and they are loving it! In fact, employees enjoy working at home so much 78% would forgo free meals, and 25% would accept a reduction in salary, just for the opportunity to work at home!
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The Fall of the Mighty Fax Machine

a1sx2_Original1_smokingfaxmachine.jpgIf Back to the Future's Marty McFly time traveled to the modern office, he would probably feel a little disoriented. He would see employees squinting at little televisions, mobile devices right out of Star Trek, and no rows of file cabinets. Then Marty would notice a fax machine and feel right at home, because fax machines have been around forever.

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5 Factors When Shopping for Upstate New York IT Support

nametag Are you looking for a new computer service provider? Deciding on a company to handle your technology is a choice that carries a little more weight than let's say, switching your cable provider. You are essentially giving this new computer company access to all of your company's sensitive information. No pressure!

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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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5 Tips to Keep in Mind When Building Success

Success is what you make of it, and everybody has a different definition of what success is. Whether your goals are to revolutionize your industry or simply earn enough to provide for yourself and your family, building success is a step by step process.

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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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5 Tips for Saving Money on your IT

piggy bank on calculatorSaving a little on your technology can go a long ways, but cutting too many corners can lead to additional problems and expensive downtime. Here are a few ways you can cut costs without creating long term issues.

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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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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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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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Do Employees Work Better from Home?

Technology today makes it easy for businesses to let employees work from home. Offering secure remote access gives employees the flexibility to work on the road, at events, or from home as if they were at their desks in the office. Is this good for small 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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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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Cut Down on Cost of Business Overhead with these 5 Solutions

Business owners, this one is definitely for you. You've probably experienced the fact that shaving expenses here and there can lead to more flexibility and long-term savings, but at what cost? Are you limiting your company by nixing those extra services and costs? Sometimes you can get more and still save money. Let's look at a few ways Upstate New York businesses can do just that.

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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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Answer Your Office Phone from Home with VoIP

business phone

There has been a growing trend where businesses are allowing more employees to work from home or other remote locations. Technology makes this possibly by letting users remote into their work environment securely as if they were sitting at their desk at the office. VoIP phone solutions can even bring the worker's office phone to them, no matter where they are.

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How Network Monitoring Reduces Tech Support Costs

At Directive, we hate seeing our clients suffer from slow computers, bogged down networks, and other computer issues that prevent work from happening seamlessly. That's why we are so passionate about proactively safeguarding your network BEFORE issues happen, in order to prevent expensive downtime.

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Data Backup: An IT Consultant's Nightmare

man upset with phone call

Is staying in business important to your company?

We don't want to be sensationalistic here, but there is a serious real-world link between data loss and staying in business. Let's look at some statistics.

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5 Ways to Slash IT Costs

bar graph x-ing out extra costs

Nobody wants to spend more than they have to, especially when it comes to those necessary evils like bills, utilities, insurance, and the general costs of keeping things running smoothly. At Directive, our goal is to provide outstanding enterprise-level solutions for small business prices. Let's talk about a few ways to cut long term IT costs.

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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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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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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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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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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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7 Reasons Upstate New York Businesses Should Switch to VoIP

rotary phone

Voice Over IP phone systems add a lot of great features that businesses can take advantage of, and are improving the way companies are using their voice communication. Besides the fact that supporting older analogue phone systems is becoming increasingly harder as technology carries us forward, here are 7 reasons why Upstate New York businesses should switch over to voice over IP.

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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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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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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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The Pitfalls of Letting your Employees Do Their Own Tech Support

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?

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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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6 Security Policies Upstate New York Businesses Should Consider

Security is an important aspect to a company's continuity, and while portions of business security involve things like anti-virus and firewalls, other aspects of security can't be handled by a piece of equipment. In these cases, your organization needs to create security policies, and keep them up to date as the company grows and changes. There are many policies and sub policies that are necessary for any organization that, if non-existent, can cause chaos down the road.

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Are Upstate New York Businesses Pirating Software

pirate using laptop

Software is expensive, especially business critical software. On top of that, as a small business expands, more software licenses need to be purchased for new employees. Organizations such as the Software & Information Industry Association and the Business Software Alliance are always looking for businesses that are guilty of stealing software, and businesses that get busted get hefty fines exponentially higher than the price of the software licenses.

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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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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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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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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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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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What Office 365 Can Do for Oneonta Small Businesses

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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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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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4 Benefits of Server Virtualization

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Virtualization isn't new for small businesses, some companies have been enjoying the benefits of server virtualization for many years. However, the concept is new to other growing organizations. Virtualization allows you to consolidate the number of servers you have in your company using one of several virtualization packages. Let's take a look at a few major reasons to consider server virtualization.

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Manage Technology Like you Manage People

For a small or midsize business, technology budgets are naturally fairly slim. It goes without saying that a company needs to get the best bang for their buck with their IT infrastructure, and it's not uncommon to see workstations and other devices still in play years after their prime. This leads to underperforming technology, which in turn, limits what your bottom line can accomplish (remember, your team is only as good as your worst player). Some small businesses are approaching technology in ways that would normally be reserved for HR's interactions with employees, but they are finding that this can improve performance.

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Business Owners: Swap your Desktop with a Laptop

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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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After the PC

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We're in an interesting era. Consumer electronics have been changing the way we communicate, socialize, and get things done. We've all experienced a recent huge evolution in the communication world with the explosion of mobile phones, with more than 4.6 billion mobile subscribers worldwide. Our technology is getting smaller and much more capable, but does that mean we'll be moving away from the typical computer-and-desk to get most of our work done?

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Process Deals Faster with Electronic Signatures

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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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5 Benefits of the Paperless Office

At many businesses, if you look in the waste bin or the recycle bin, you'll probably find a lot of paper. Paper is one of the most common waste products at businesses and as such is also one of the biggest sustainability opportunities for businesses large and small. The environmental benefits are great, but going paperless has some huge benefits for small businesses beyond being green.

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7 Ways to Save Money with your IT Infrastructure

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Who isn't looking to spend a little less or get more out of their current investments? The costs of day to day business for small businesses need to be within budget, but you still need to give your staff the tools they need to get the job done. Here are some tips for cutting costs without making big sacrifices.

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Telecommuting: Good or Bad for Businesses?

Telecommuting (also known as working remotely) is where some or all of your staff have the flexibility to work in the location of their choosing (and in some cases, the hours that they choose). Not to be confused with freelancing, telecommuters are dedicated employees who work under a management style geared towards the final results (as opposed to how the work gets done). While telecommuting isn't for everybody, it is often practiced. Microsoft is well known for having certain positions where the employee spends most of their day in a coffee shop working remotely, and that trend certainly doesn't stop with the big M.

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Going Green for Small Businesses

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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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Work Smarter, Not Harder

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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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A Lesson in Security

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As you may know, Sony's online gaming service, the Playstation Network, has been getting a lot of media coverage lately due to a major attack by hackers last month.  Sony is a massive global company with billions of dollars and stockholders and spans multiple industries, but even a giant can teach us all a lesson that relates to our comparably small-fry organizations.

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5 Big IT mistakes that will bite you sooner or later

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We'd really like to gear this conversation towards the other Oneonta business owners out there who might not have a solid plan when it comes to IT & Computer Support.  At DirectiveSHORT, we deal with a lot of the same business-related issues that our clients do.  Marketing, driving the business forward, taxes, internal policies, you name it.  Believe it or not, we also have our own IT infrastructure that needs to be kept up and maintained.  We see the same kinds of expenses (after all, working on our OWN technology internally is time our techs could be doing their jobs).  We've put together a few big mistakes that we've seen businesses make that take much less effort to prevent than they do to fix later on when it is too late.

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Microsoft Office 365 - Your Office in the Clouds

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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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Google's Goal: 99.98% Uptime

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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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Save Often. Save Often. Save Often.

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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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5 Things your IT Company can (or should!) be able to help your Business with.

Believe it or not, IT companies like DirectiveSHORT work a lot like other businesses.  We have many of the same needs in our business; from accounting to organizing data to marketing ourselves.  As an IT company, yes, we can manage your workstations, servers, and network, but there are other solutions we have up our sleeves that our clients can take advantage of, that just make sense for an IT company to provide, no matter what.

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No New Clients? Catching Our Breath

What a weird post this is going to be. We've recently launched a software application called JoomConnect. It's been having some great success. It's in part responsible for bringing a lot of work to our small company bringing our staff from 9 to 17 strong in a very short time (7 of them in 60 days). It's been awesome and we've been training and getting everyone up to speed. We have been super impressed with the new members of our team and we'll be introducing them shortly (soon as we can catch our breath).

 

We are working for some of the industry greats, like ConnectWise, HTG Peer Groups and many incredible IT/MSP Partners that have adopted JoomConnect for use in their businesses as well as our awesome local clientele.

 

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Chris Chase
Jason & Russel thanks for the re-enforcement and the kind words Stuart, we can't wait either. We are excited to see you grow and... Read More
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 05:08
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Your Company's Social Media Policy

The time to implement a social media policy is now. Your social media policy outlines for employees your companies guidelines or principles for communicating in the online world.  Your company should have a communications policy in place that spell out your expectations for phone and email, it’s important that you add social media and online site usage to this policy.

 

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14 Tips to Work Your Social Media Rig

Directive has had the pleasure of working with David Mann for over 10 years. David owns Alta Log Homes in Upstate NY. Alta is a leading manufacturer of Log Homes. David is an expert in building Green, Energy Star dream homes and a great guy. His website is http://www.altaloghomes.com. We set him up with the Ultimate Social Media Rig a few months ago along with some coaching services to get him started. He's been pretty religious about posting and using it. He sent me an email asking what recommendations I'd have to get more out of it now that he's "warmed up" and has a little more experience with Social Media.

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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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