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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.

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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The Extreme Changes Businesses Have to Make to Survive COVID-19

For the months that COVID-19 has been around, everyone has done all they can to hold on to their business. They have closed down, they have closed their offices and forced their employees to work from home, they have borrowed money and scaled back or eliminated their 2020 plans. It would be nice if all that sacrifice would pay off, but the frustrating reality is that there is going to be a lot of sustained discomfort for a lot of business owners. Let’s take a look at some things small business owners should consider as they reopen their businesses. 

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Remote Monitoring and Managed IT, and the Impact it Has on Small Business

With more people than ever working from home, their ability to receive the support they need to keep their devices in top working order is crucial. As a result, many businesses have turned to managed IT service providers to maintain their employees’ computers. MSPs like us utilize a tool called remote monitoring and management software (RMM). Let’s discuss what it is and why it is so useful for managing your company’s IT. 

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These Types of Applications Can Improve Workplace Productivity

Productivity is—generally speaking—the core goal of any modern software solution. Today, we wanted to go over a few tools that can boost your productivity and efficiency right now.

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Business Growth Demands Shifts in Strategy

As an owner of a small business, there are a whole lot of issues that you have to confront every day. Besides the normal issues, there are always situations that pop up without warning. When your business is small and more easily manageable, they are easier to steer one way or another When your business starts growing rapidly, however, turning things around can get more difficult. This can turn into roadblocks to progress. Today, we will look at some of the issues that a small business owner will encounter when their business grows fast.

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Automation Will Be Key for Future Businesses

Many businesses have found it extremely hard to cope with restrictions levied by lawmakers because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has sent business owners and decision makers looking for solutions to their revenue problems. The most popular solution is to automate some of the work that was typically done by human resources to try and slice some of the demands on their capital. Today, we will tell you how automation is here to stay in business. 

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IT Can Fill In a Lot of Gaps

When the stay-at-home orders were reigning down early in March, people weren’t sure just how long precautionary measures would last. Now that a large percentage of the workforce is either out of work, just returning to work, or working from home after nearly 100 days, it has proven to be one of the most challenging periods for businesses in contemporary business history. Today, we’d like to flip the narrative a bit and talk about three technology solutions that can fix some of your business’ problems in a time when there are plenty to fix.

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How to Optimize Your IT Costs with the Help of an MSP

A business’ budget is the biggest authority over it. As a result, each business needs to spend some time adjusting their operational investments to put itself in the best position to reach its goals… a process that a managed service provider’s help can make much simpler. Let’s review some ways that an MSP can help a business get that much more out of its investment into its IT.

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Business Improvements to Consider as You Resume Operations

Businesses are now in the process of reopening. While there are sure to be growing pains and setbacks, this also provides an opportunity for these businesses to make many adjustments and improvements to how they operate. As you reignite your operations (or make the preparations to), it will help to do so with the support of modern technology and the processes it enables.

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How the Right Technology Can Help SMBs Reopen Safely

Many small businesses in the United States—most, actually—are in a catch-22 of sorts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While reopening too soon could contribute to a resurgence in infection rates, there is also a very real risk associated with reopening too late. To help avoid either scenario, the right technology solutions will prove to be indispensable.

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Remote Work Has Been Around for Longer than You’d Think

A lot of people aren’t aware that working from home is not a recent innovation. It can arguably be traced back over a million and a half years, when our ancestors would work relatively close to their dwelling places. Throughout our history, work has shifted away and back again to the remote methodology. Let’s look back through the years to see the progression of how people worked, based on the technology that was available.

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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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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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Efficient IT Goes a Long Way

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing businesses to rethink their operational strategies, many businesses have had to make a quick digital transformation. Many businesses have accomplished this before the stay-at-home orders, but with employees working from home, we thought this was the perfect time to take a look at four tools businesses can use to improve their work-from-home strategies. 

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Rethinking Your Budget for a New Reality

With the COVID-19 outbreak forcing businesses into unenviable situations, it’s probably not surprising that business owners and decision makers are looking at what expenses they need to cut in order to keep their businesses afloat. Today, we’ll discuss the trends we are seeing and how managed IT services can be a godsend in situations like this.

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Email, Banking, and Other Login Credentials of Upstate NY Users Found for Sale on the Dark Web

Our Network Operations Center (NOC) has noticed an alarmingly high number of local business accounts leaked on the Internet.

Is access to your email, your bank accounts, your website, or your social media accounts being bought and sold on the online black market? It’s more likely than you might think.

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Understanding IT Acronyms You Hear in the Office

Technology can be complicated, and it doesn’t help when all you hear is an alphabet soup of acronyms used to describe it. As professionals, this kind of jargon has become a second language to us and it is easy to forget that not everyone will recognize these acronyms. For your reference, we’ve assembled some common ones you’ll probably hear us use.

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Is Your Workforce Engaged?

Today, there is a lot to consider about how businesses handle mobility. Think about it, today it isn’t surprising when someone pulls up work-related content on their phone outside of work hours. It’s just part of their job. This shift is relatively new, and needs to be examined to see if the pros outweigh the cons for the employee, but also for the business.

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What Is a Data Lake?

Big data, or massive data sets that can be used to make inferences and reveal patterns, has become an increasingly important part of modern business and can be leveraged in many different ways. There are a few different options for storing this data available, which the use case for the data will dictate. Here, we’ll evaluate whether a “data lake” or a “data warehouse” would better suit your needs.

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A Brief Introduction to Database Management Systems

Data is one of a business’ most important assets, and as such, it needs to be kept in such a way that it remains organized and utilizable. This has led to widespread use of databases in businesses, which has necessitated the use of database management systems. Let’s take a closer look at these systems, and why they are so crucial.

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Shutting Down Your PC May Not Put a Stop to Your Processes

You’re probably familiar with a situation where your technology is on the fritz and someone says to you “Why don’t you turn it off and turn it back on?” What you have no way of knowing is that by turning it off and turning it back on, you aren’t getting the same result you would if you simply restarted the machine.

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Vendor Management Saves You Time and Money

The small businesses that rely on technology typically logs a lot of phone time with technology vendors. Decision makers that may not know more than the average person about IT can be left making important technology decisions when they think they are just making financial decisions. Today, we’re going to explain how they are different and what your next step is. 

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How to Tell When Your Technology Needs Upgrading

The curious thing about information technology is that, while it improves as any other technology would, the environment can accelerate the various changes made to it at various rates. As a result, knowing when your business needs to upgrade its technology isn’t always so cut-and-dry. To help, we’re sharing a few clear indicators that hint that the time has come.

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Defining Shadow IT and Its Risks

IT administrators are pretty particular about what software is used on the networks that they manage. This is not because we have any vested interest in the software itself, it’s because of the inherent reliability of the software they manage. They’ve tested it, they manage it, they know it. When an organization starts dealing with employee-downloaded software--especially if there is no procedure in place to report additions to IT--they can quickly lose control over the network. 

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Is HealthCare IT Improving? In a Word: Absolutely

Improvements in technology have allowed us to come a long way since the days of our ancestors, which is made exceptionally clear by our developments in the realm of healthcare. There are so many ways that healthcare providers can use information technology to their advantage, so we’ll cover a select few here.

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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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A Brief Look at Virtual Assistants

There is no doubt that you have come across the virtual assistant (or voice assistant). Whether you have it on a smartphone or you use it via a digital speaker in your home, you have probably spent some time using some type of virtual assistant. 

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It’s Time to Take Control Over Your Printers!

It’s pretty easy to ignore the printers around your office - until they run out of toner/ink, or jam, or just disappear from your network for seemingly no reason. Okay, it’s easy to ignore printers most of the time. Unfortunately, business owners do tend to ignore their printers, and this can get really expensive over time.

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Holy Moly It’s 2020: 50 Years of Technology

Today is the first day of the third decade of the 21st century. For some, it’s just another year, but for others it seems almost impossible that we’ve reached this point without floating cars and manned missions to Jupiter. Fifty years ago, some of the technology that is used in the course of doing business was simply fiction or conjecture. We thought it would be neat to take a look at some of the technological changes made since 1970.

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Taking a Short Look at Emerging Technology

New technology can be extremely exciting, but for any business, it can be kind of scary. Implementing technology that isn’t completely established is a major gamble that could have multiple negative impacts. On the other hand, sometimes early adoption of emerging technology will give a business just the boost it needs to blow past projections. Today, we will look at three emerging technologies that the small to medium-sized business will have to consider in the near future.

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Technology Concerns Heading Into 2020

For most businesses, technology has a major role in what they do. They use it in all manners of ways, but there is no question that it has become a driving force for business. As the calendar flips to a new decade, we thought that it would be good to take a look at what the 2010s brought us, and what to expect in the 2020s. 

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It is a Wonderful Life - IT Edition

Parker sat at his desk looking at a business card. He watched the snow fall lightly outside his window. He was the last person left in the office, as he typically was this time of year. He put down the business card and got up and walked over to the large pane of glass that was the only insulation from the harsh, cold wintery night. He placed his hand on the window and felt the bitter cold meet the palm of his hand. He stood there for a minute; maybe more than a minute. He began to cry. He was so angry at how things were going.

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Useful Technology Gifts to Add to Your List

During the holiday, you will often be put in a position where you need to find some useful technology for co-workers or the ones you love. Today, we take a look at four gadgets that are sure to make even the biggest technophile smile. Let’s get into it. 

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The Best Smartphones Heading Into 2020

The smartphone has become the most utilized computing device in the world. As a result, consumers are looking for the very best of them to get the functionality they demand. The current set of flagship smartphones that are available provide all types of benefits for business, for commerce, and for networking. Today, we’re going to take a look at the best phones you can buy heading into 2020. 

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Which Email Platform is Better for You, Outlook or Gmail?

Email remains an incredibly useful tool in the business setting, assisting with a wide variety of communication needs. However, in order to make the most of your emails, you need to have an email client that permits you to do so. Here, we’re pitting two major email clients against each other to see which one offers the features that best suit your business and its needs.

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Tech Term: Uptime

In managing business technology, we are always talking about downtime--how expensive downtime is, how downtime hurts productivity, how there are a multitude of separate situations that can cause downtime. That kind of doom and gloom may not get you to act, but it may just put you off. Today, instead of downtime, we thought we would talk about uptime. 

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Tip of the Week: Managing Your IT Inventory Management

IT inventory management is the process of making sure that your information technology resources are maintained to be their most effective, such as what needs to be updated, which licenses need to be renewed, and whether your resources are helping you accomplish your organizational goals. It is essentially a fancy way of saying asset management, specific to your IT - and it is a very important process for any business.

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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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Augmented Reality Advancements

There have been people talking about the oncoming AR trend for almost a decade now. Google Glass was supposed to revolutionize technology as we know it, but due to security and privacy concerns, it has never come to pass. AR is, however, a growth market and applications for the technology are growing rapidly. Today, we’ll take a look at augmented reality, and what to expect from the technology in the coming years. 

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Five Biggest Tech Myths BUSTED

Businesses rely on thought out, researched decisions in order to succeed. But what happens when the internet possesses false information, and misleads you from the truth? Today, we decided to bust some common tech myths.

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Green Technologies for Business

Green technologies just a short time ago had a reputation for being costly, rather than cost-saving. However, business owners are starting to see a multitude of benefits for going green, from cost savings to increased customer appreciation for environmental conservation.

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RFID Business Implementation

As technology advances, gadgets are invented which can be beneficial to not only our social lives but in our business practices. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is a relatively new technology which businesses have been progressively utilizing.

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A Computer Procurement Guide, Part V

We have finally reached the end of our guide to help you purchase your next computer. In the other four parts, we covered how you could identify the specifications your device would need for your intended use of it. Here, we’ll review some other assorted considerations to keep in mind as you finalize your new device.

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Lessons from the Business World for Otsego Schools Dealing with Bullying

When it comes to addressing bullying in our schools, whether it is ‘traditional’ or cyber, communication is critical to not only support victims of bullying, but also to prevent it. We’ve been following debates held by the Cooperstown PTA to discuss how to handle bullying and wanted to share our thoughts. Although bullying and cyberbullying are very tricky subjects, we feel that we can learn a lot about how schools handle these sensitive issues and share these insights with other businesses.

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Tech Terminology: The Dark Web

Deep web and dark web. What’s the difference? Perhaps you’ve been using these words interchangeably. The dark web has a reputation for being the most toxic place on the internet, and for quite a few good reasons. Today we will dive deep into the dark web and why this reputation has been formed.

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Let’s Take a Look at 50 Years of the Internet

Without a doubt, the Internet is one of humanity's most impressive inventions. 50 years ago, the predecessor to the Internet that most of the world depends on, called ARPANET, was launched. Today, we will talk about how that innovation turned into the Internet, and reorganized the way people interacted with computing systems. 

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Your IT Budget Says a Lot about Your Business

Budgeting anything can be difficult, but with many business’ organizational reliance on information systems, finding the money to get your IT initiatives off the ground can be a challenge. That hasn’t stopped the IT sector growing fast. In fact, IT spending in business is at its highest levels since 2007. Let’s take a look at how your IT budget actually helps keep your organizational technology initiatives moving forward.

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Blockchain Leads 2019’s Business Technology Trends

We are in a very interesting part of history. Technology is becoming more and more prevalent in and for every part of our lives. For the modern business, emerging technologies can mean big profits if they are implemented and utilized properly. Today, we’re going to take a look at a couple of the emerging technologies that businesses are using to enhance the long-term outlook of their endeavor.

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Tip of the Week: Using Digital Signs

If you walk into any office out there, chances are you’ll see signs on the wall indicating who is located where, as well as those that identify points of interest that visitors might need. With digital technology taking over many aspects of the office, it was a given that it would eventually impact signage. If it’s used right, digital signage can highlight important parts of your office and encourage employees to give it their all during the workday.

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How To Prepare for Literally Any Change in Your IT

Technology changes rapidly, whether we like it or not. Most of the time, that change is beneficial; you can get more done, gain more visibility, stretch your resources further, and do things you wouldn’t have thought possible (or at least affordable) a few years ago. Other times, technology changes come with the frustration of having to learn something new, develop new processes, and deal with a cavalcade of other annoyances that just make you want to go back to ‘simpler’ times. Today we’re going to talk about how to prepare you and your organization for the inevitable changes that your IT will be facing over the next few years.

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Too Many Accountants are Fielding Technology Queries

Accountants are asked a lot of questions. You’d expect as much as they manage a lot of organizational money, and can give small business owners and executives straight-forward advice about whether or not investments make sense for a company. With the recent increase in technology use for small businesses, accountants have been fielding more than financial queries, they’ve been directly asked about whether a business should implement technology. Today, we are going to explain why, regardless of the answer, your accountant is the wrong person to ask.

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Are You Putting Your Business at Risk by Neglecting Upgrades?

It’s expensive running a business, especially here in Upstate NY. For smaller businesses, sometimes making payroll or getting through the first of the month is a matter of being frugal or cutting back a little.

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Our Top 7 List of IT Myths and Wild Conspiracies

Being in IT, we’ve seen and heard it all. Between the campfire horror stories of technicians to the outlandish IT conspiracies and ‘home remedies’ that get passed around, we’ve decided to compile a list of some of our favorite IT and technology myths.

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Shadow IoT and What to Do About It

For much of the last five years, we’ve been told that the Internet of Things was going to be the most important innovation since broadband Internet was introduced. This growth, while its largely happening under the proverbial radar, is happening. There are around seven billion “smart” devices in 2019 with expectations that it will be three times that by 2025. With that many Internet-connected devices, there are bound to be some that come with vulnerabilities, whether it comes from being designed poorly or not frequently updated with modern threat definitions. Today, we’ll take a look to see if the Internet of Things should be considered a threat to your business.

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The True Power of Social Media

While it is common to consider social media just another form of entertainment or worse, an outlet for narcissistic behavior, it is for some one of the few outlets people have for their voices to be heard and listened to. A computer, tablet, smart phone and - as the IoT becomes more prevalent - even your appliances will allow average people to not only communicate with their ‘friends’, but with the world. While good social media practices are essential to many a business, we also need to recognize the power that social media brings to the people and by extension to your business.

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Getting to Know Technology: Application Programming Interface

Software runs the world, or so they say, and it’s all thanks to the ability to integrate with one-another through the use of APIs. This tech term, which stands for application programming interface, and it’s crucial to understand what these do in today’s technology environment.

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Huawei’s Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

Make no mistake about it, Huawei is one of the largest technology companies in the entire world. It employs over 200,000 people and in 2018 saw revenues of over $100 billion. Over the past few years, their devices have been pushing the boundaries of what is possible in tech all while being relatively unavailable to one of the major technology markets in the world, the United States. The fact is that outside the U.S., Huawei is a major player.

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4 Decisions You’ll Make About Your IT

Business is never quite as simple as it’s made out to be, and nowhere is this more true than with your organization’s IT. Today we will be covering some of the most important parts of your IT’s decision making that will need to be addressed, questions and concerns included, especially in regard to business-critical functions.

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What’s New with Blockchain?

Blockchain is one of the most popular emerging technologies, and it’s easy to see why. While the technology behind blockchain was once looked at as having no practical application in the workplace, it is now taking a seat front and center as a security tool for a modern business environment. Let’s take a look at what’s going on in the world of blockchain.

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Taking a Look at a Manufacturer’s IT

Manufacturing products is still a major part of the western economies; and, like other businesses, manufacturers are using information technology to fuel and manage their supply chains and business processes. We’ll take a short look at what IT manufacturers use, and how it helps them forge their business ahead.

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What Innovative Tools Will Businesses Use in 2019?

Technology is taking on a new role for the modern business. With more value placed on data, and new innovations presenting viable options for business use, technology is now front and center for many organizations. We’ll discuss four of the most emerging technologies and how businesses are beginning to use them.

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Conferencing Solutions for the Modern Business

Modern businesses have a lot more room for flexibility than in the past, particularly in regard to meetings. With the inception of conferencing solutions, organizations have access to more dynamic tools to make the most of their meetings. Determining the best one for you, though, is not easy. We’ll help you make that choice in the simplest terms possible.

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3 Transportation Technology Innovations that Will Affect Business

If your business is one that depends on transportation, you know that coordination is extremely important. With consumers’ reliance on a company’s distribution arm, today’s companies are turning old practices on their heads and utilizing a more technology-driven approach to effectively manage their company’s transportation initiatives. This technology is innovating quickly and could mean a major transformation for businesses before too long. Today, we’ll go through three innovations that are working to change how transportation-dependent companies do things.

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How to Prioritize Your Upcoming Technology Implementations

No matter how hard some organizations may try, the technology solutions that a business leverages simply aren’t meant to last forever. You may have noticed that some of your systems are less effective than they once were, and that your competition seems to be playing with a different set of rules. Sounds like it’s high time you implemented a few upgrades.

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How to Adjust Your Business for Collaboration

Collaborative work is pushing organizations forward faster today than ever before. With the use of more dynamic and option-rich technology, your organization can benefit from the improved productivity that comes from enhancing your collaborative strategies. Today, we look at some of the technologies used by organizations that prioritize collaborative work.

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Foldable Smartphones Launching in 2019

Last year saw many rumors regarding foldable screens on mobile devices, but no manufacturer has produced an OLED display flexible enough to fold in half… until now. In fact, there are many manufacturers out there that have committed themselves to producing foldable screens and devices in 2019.

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Analytics Can Fool You

Businesses today are doing more than ever to utilize the data they take in, and it shows. They are operating with more knowledge about their business, and thus are able to successfully create a usable knowledge base that, for some, will allow them to predict positive and negative market dynamics fairly accurately. After seeing how this platform can positively affect individual businesses, many other businesses are taking to the strategies. The problem that many businesses encounter, however, is that they are woefully unprepared to utilize analytics; or, they read too far into them. Today, we’ll take a look at data analytics and confront some of the problem's businesses are having.

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Using Technology to Build Your Customer Relationships

Your relationships with your customers and clients are reliant on one thing more than any other: communication. In order to optimize this communication, many businesses are leveraging technology solutions, and are enjoying a variety of operational benefits as a result. Is your business one of them?

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How to Prevent a Virtual Assistant from Compromising Your Security

Virtual assistants have a lot of promise as a productivity tool, so it only makes sense that they would begin to appear in the workplace. Unfortunately, these devices have also gained a reputation as a security risk. Whether or not you’ve considered bringing virtual assistants into your business, you need to prepare for their presence there.

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Innovations in Your Office’s Technology Can Bring Big Benefits

Technology innovation in the workplace is something that is constantly shifting and changing, depending on what’s hot at any specific time. These days, it might seem like office technology innovation is stagnating, but we assure you that it’s still constantly improving. We’ll walk you through some of our favorites to improve data accessibility and workplace productivity as a whole.

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Checking Up on Medical IT in 2019

The healthcare industry has been trying to make the jump to digital for over a decade. While many practices have been able to successfully implement electronic health record (EHR) technologies, a full digital transformation has eluded many others. Nowadays, providers are actively searching for ways to achieve measurable results with these newer technology implementations. Today, we take a look at the healthcare industry’s IT as it stands in early 2019.

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3 Reasons You Want Experts Handling Your IT

For a moment, I want you to stop and consider something: Who do you turn to when your business’ toilets suddenly stop working? Who do you call for when the lights stop working? Most likely, an expert… so if you turn to the pros for these needs, why would you do anything different for your IT?

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How to Set Up a Gmail Auto-Response

These days, our society is infamously connected, especially in the business sense. This can make it jarring to not receive a reply back from an email. While we all need a break every now and then, we also need to get back to our contacts efficiently - this is where the ‘out of office’ message in Gmail comes in.

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Tip of the Week: 3 Signs Your Server is On Its Last Legs

Your servers are some of the most important resources your business has, and they should last for many years. After a few years, however, they may begin to struggle to handle the workloads they once did; and, they often fail leaving a whole business in a lurch. To avoid this scenario, knowing the signs of a failing server can come in extraordinarily handy. Today we will go through three ways to ascertain if your server needs to replaced.

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Technology is Helping to Build Better Employee Engagement

An engaged employee will be invested in the future of your company, as well as their own future that they can see within your business. Unfortunately, research showcases that the numbers don’t look so bright for employee engagement in the workplace. According to a 2015 poll from Gallup, only about 30% of employees find themselves engaged in the workplace, while about 50% say they aren’t engaged with their work, and 20% claim to be actively disengaged by their workplace.

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Retaining Workers with Technology

The right technology can be a catalyst for change. While the right kind of change can be enough to drive innovation and push the limits of your business, the wrong kind of change--namely, employee turnover--can put a halt to productivity and force you to trace your steps back down the old, familiar path of onboarding and training. How can you use technology to retain top talent and reinforce the right message amongst your employees?

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Tip of the Week: How to Calculate the ROI of Anything

All businesses are part of their respective markets, and depending on that market, the business will implement technology solutions designed to help them best cater to their business. However, you should only implement technology that can yield a satisfactory return on investment, or ROI. We’re here to help you get the most return on your investment as possible.

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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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How Can You Find that Lost Smartphone?

One of the major aspects of smartphones is how portable they are. Thanks to them, business professionals can be productive while out of the office, no matter where they are. Unfortunately, this also means that they have more of an opportunity to lose their devices, along with the data they contain. If the device is Android-based, then you can alleviate this trouble thanks to built-in features that can help you find it.

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Why You Shouldn't Say “Humbug” to Your Security

The IT guy, Jacob left last month: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. He left without an exit interview, and he didn’t seem very pleased with the way the situation played out. You could never tell if Scrooge cared or not. His demands have never wavered. He expected perfection and when mistakes were made, they were approached as catastrophic affronts to the sustainability of the business, even if that wasn’t the reality.

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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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Five Gadgets for the Techie in Your Life

With the holiday season in full swing, finding good gifts for the technology lover in your life may actually be more frustrating than you’d think. Since there are so many options, people will often get paralysis from trying to find the right gift and end up going the gift card route. Today we will look at five great gift ideas for the technology fan in your life.

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What You Need to Know About Technology Upgrades

Even if we’d like it to last forever, business technology can’t possibly do so for a number of reasons. Due to the fact that businesses and their technology are constantly upgrading and changing, it’s almost a certainty that you’ll have to upgrade your technology at some point, whether it reaches its end-of-life event or just simply becomes obsolete for your organization. In fact, failing to update your infrastructure from time to time can have serious negative side-effects for your business.

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What To Do When You’ve Had Enough of Your Broken Technology

Chances are that you’ve dealt with the following scenario: You are working along fine and you try to open an application only to be rebuked by an error message on the screen that tells you that there is some type of critical error. You close that out hoping that it was a one-time exception, but nope, it pops up again. You think to yourself, “Why does this always happen?”

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Strategizing Your IT Leads to Better Business

Business technology continues to grow in importance for the small and medium-sized business, especially as many prepare for 2019. Where enterprise-level companies have long been using technology to bring people together and drive overall productivity, many SMBs are new to these opportunities. The availability of cloud resources, coupled with shifts in security, mobility, and other core technologies, makes it important for every organization, no matter what size, to have a comprehensive technology strategy.

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Emerging Business Technology Innovations for 2018

For those who don’t know, the term information technology is an encompassment of the technology used in the facilitation of rendering, sharing, and storing data. Any piece of technology that is used to process, keep, send, and secure digital information, is considered IT. Today, we will look at some of the emerging technologies presenting solutions for businesses and individuals, alike, heading into 2019.

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What Could Possibly Be Wrong with Your Computer?

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

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Technology Basics: Accessory

Taking care of your computer is necessary if you want to get the maximum return on investment from such an expensive piece of hardware. Granted, this can be a lot to handle, as it includes cleaning your PC regularly, keeping security at its finest, and organizing all of the information stored on it. When it all works as intended, there is an immense feeling of satisfaction. This is when it’s most effective to look at accessories.

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Emerging Technologies to Keep an Eye On

Information technology has always been a hotbed for future predictions. Whether it was Marconi’s grand plans for wireless communications or the bold prediction that every person would be carrying around a computer that fits in the palm of their hand, the future always looks bright when new technologies are considered. But, what does the immediate future of information technology hold?

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Is Election Technology Solid or Simply Antiquated

Election Day in the United States is coming up quick on November 6th. It doesn’t matter what your thoughts or opinions on U.S. politics are--the fact remains that millions of Americans will be using the technology available at polling places to cast their ballots, and if this technology isn’t secured properly, the integrity of the voting system will be at risk.

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Tip of the Week: Keep Your IT Optimized

IT management is critical to the success of your business, but it’s easier said than done. There are countless moving parts that all go into keeping your business’ IT organized. Here are three ways you can make sure IT doesn’t hold your business back from its full potential.

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OLED Is Changing the Way We Look at Things

Displays are cropping up everywhere these days, from electronic billboards to office televisions to just about any consumer electronic device. Due to the high demand for these displays, many manufacturers have turned to OLED technology to make high definition capabilities more accessible. We’ll focus on the differences between OLED displays and how they are fundamentally superior options compared to the traditional LED displays.

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Windows 10 Itself Helps Keep You Secure

Windows 10 is the most utilized operating system on PCs today. As a result, Microsoft has made it a priority to take on some of today’s most prevalent threats. We’ll go through these security features based on the state of the computer’s usage to get a better idea of how much is done to improve your security.

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Tip of the Week: 4 Ways Technology Can Benefit Businesses

The way that business is conducted today, the right technology is more of a necessity than a privilege. There are plenty of benefits that it can bring that an organization requires in order to stay competitive. For our tip, we’ll walk through a few ways that your business can be improved through the adoption of certain solutions.

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Getting Our Bearings: The State of Business Technology in 2018

At every turn, it seems as though there’s another best practice or upcoming trend to learn and implement in the realm of business technology. Are you doing all you can to keep your company up to date, relevant, and competitive? Below, we review some of 2018’s biggest IT revolutions so far.

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How to Use Your Smartphone as a Productivity Enhancer

There is no shortage of useful devices that a business could benefit from, but the most popular is undoubtedly the smartphone. As a communication tool, it is effectively unparalleled - you can use your device to conduct business and communicate from anywhere. However, this is neglecting many of the other abilities that make the smartphone a smart choice for your business productivity, especially when you’re mobile.

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Which is Best for Your Server Needs, In-House or Hosted?

A server is a necessary component of any business’ IT infrastructure, as its job is to make sure that information and policies are distributed the way they need to be across a network. Once, servers had to be on-site in order to work, there is now the option to have a cloud-hosted virtualized server. Which of these is right for your needs? Let’s do a quick comparison to find out.

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Save Money, Be Spied On?

Although we’re in the habit of discussing ways to keep your business more secure, we unfortunately have to discuss how to keep yourself more secure against a business. Walmart recently filed a patent that could potentially be used to undermine the security of everyone there, from shoppers to employees. We took the time and dug into the jargon in the patent to give you a better look at the situation.

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From the Law Office to the Courtroom: IT’s Role in Criminal Justice

With information technology touching nearly every part of modern culture, it isn’t a surprise that it is being utilized by sectors of industry where you may not expect. One of those sectors that may not register as one of the most IT-centric is the criminal justice system. This is largely because it is traditionally thought to be filled with jobs that seemingly haven’t changed much in centuries. Today, we’ll take a look at the technology that fuels today’s criminal justice system and see how municipalities and companies, alike, are benefiting from technology solutions.

 

Police

To start the journey through the legal system, we’ll start with the people whose job is defined by exercising moral authority: the police. The first thing that anyone needs to know about their investment in IT and their use of technology systems is that, since the police gets a majority of their funding from public money, IT budgets aren’t always in line with a private business’. In fact, some police departments don’t see the point in more IT when good cops are being laid off so they will deliberately cut their IT budgets in line with the budget they get from their municipality.

While IT isn’t always a priority for the police, it can be effective at providing exceptional departmental productivity gains. With the remote nature of the job, most police cars today are outfitted with laptops and Internet accessibility. This allows officers to access motor vehicle and individual information stored on useful databases, but since these machines are hardwired into a car dock, they only get a partial benefit of mobility. Innovative solutions are now being used where police are outfitted with department-owned smartphones and tablets so that officers can access relevant information from outside of their cars.

There are several parts of the job where police can benefit from new technology. Along with the in-car computer networking, and potentially mobile device networking, IT can compliment a lot of what a police officer does. The right IT solution can boost communication, augment (or completely run) operational capabilities, and effectively reduce costs by providing information faster and speeding up procedure. After all, a large percentage of effective policing has to do with having actionable information. As a result, by implementing IT solutions, the public welfare improves--which is the situation that any citizen can ask from their officers of the peace.

From a software perspective, here are three types the typical police department can’t do without:

  • Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) - An application that assists dispatchers route police resources to places of priority need.
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) -  An application that provides in-depth geographic information to provide dispatchers and officers a comprehensive view of the landscape.
  • Records Management System (RMS) - An application that provides officers with access to reliable information to assist them in their duties.

 

Lawyers

Moving on to the lawyers, we’ll find a professional that is torn between the past and the future. Many lawyers understand that IT can benefit them, but at the same time the simply don’t have time to monkey with technology that, for some, can do more harm than good. The average lawyer that works criminal cases, whether they are prosecutors, defense attorneys, or specialists, understands how to effectively utilize certain technologies to provide their clients the best service possible. After all, they deal with a lot of sensitive information, and have a responsibility to protect it.

Some of the technologies that law firms typically utilize come in the form of business-type solutions that enhance their productivity, efficiency, and data redundancy. Others, however, are best utilized by a business like a law practice. Most practices need strong collaborative systems that allow multiple people to share files, the ability to print off documents, and a central database that has access to documents. These requirements make computing solutions in the cloud a perfect fit for the modern law office. Cloud computing can offer these organizations a way to host all their necessary software, while also providing virtual hardware and redundant storage capabilities without having to pay huge upfront costs.

Lawyers typically use the following software:

  • Practice Management - An application that is designed to help lawyers and their staff manage the large quantity of work they are inundated with.
  • eDiscovery - An application that makes finding, collection, identifying, and sharing relevant information easy.
  • Video Conferencing - Lawyers are extraordinarily busy and often don’t have time for face-to-face meetings. Video conferencing helps fill the void by allowing them to meet with clients, colleagues, and staff from anywhere with an Internet connection.

 

The Court

Since its main purpose is to be a place to hear arguments, the courtroom doesn’t need all the technology that the police and lawyers use to keep things rolling efficiently along. In fact, most of the technology that is utilized in the duration of a criminal trial would be traditionally provided by the prosecution or defense. This simply isn’t so today. The courtroom of the information age is seeing a major shift, and changing the nature of litigation completely.

The biggest change to the modern courtroom is in the availability of data. Since data is now able to be securely broadcast from cloud servers to devices such as laptops and tablets, the notoriously slow court proceedings’ pace has quickened somewhat. Other technologies like wireless Internet connections and charging ports add to the connected courtroom effectiveness.

Along with the technology people bring in to the courtroom, there are major changes in the technology inside the courtroom itself, too. The modern courtroom features video displays--either in the form of a mounted screen and a LCD projector or smaller, individual screens in the jury box--to provide juries a resource to see evidence. Many courtrooms also have individual witness monitors and annotation monitors.

Since the courtroom only has a couple of static employees, software isn’t typically necessary to manage the staff or used for productivity, but some software is available. There are titles for court and case management, e-filing, and audio-visual that are all found in the modern courtroom.

Corrections

The criminal justice system ends with institutional corrections (prisons and jails) and community corrections (probation and parole). Like the other parts of the system, the corrections system has become dependant on the use of technology, especially for communication. Internet-based databases help corrections professionals track and maintain records on offender rehabilitation, while also helping provide an alternative to incarceration for nonviolent offenders. This provides the public significant cost savings, while also providing correction officers the ability to effectively monitor and manage offender probation.

Since budgetary considerations can really put a damper on the amount of acceptable innovation in corrections, the use of standard information technology is extremely important. It is making prisons and jails safer, and community corrections more effective. No better example of this than then the use of asset tracking technology through an automated offender management system.

The automated offender management system allows multiple users to access (and alter) an offender’s record simultaneously.with other users. This real-time information sharing improves efficiency, as the more information that’s available between multiple elements of the criminal justice system (and in this case, the corrections system) the better the entire system moves. Additionally, by providing real-time inmate information to corrections officers, it will reduce security risks.

 

If the technologically puerile criminal justice system is utilizing technology to improve operations, your business can, too. To see how Directive’s knowledgeable IT consultants can make technology work for your organization, call us today at 607.433.2200.

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Leave the Big Stuff Home: Productivity On the Go

Have you ever found yourself packing too many things for a short trip? What about your technology? Do you have multiple devices? The truth is that no matter the reason you are traveling, you don’t need to pack like royalty to be able to be productive while you are on the road. Today, we talk about how scaling down your technology while you travel is a solid practice.

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