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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.

How to Capture the Leads Your Business Needs

Generating and capitalizing on digital leads is crucial for business success. A well-thought-out strategy to attract leads through websites, emails, and social media can significantly enhance a company's ability to create a good customer experience and grow its business. This month, we’ll examine this element of a business and give you a step-by-step guide to getting the most out of your digital marketing efforts. 

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How Much Does Modern Workplace Culture Rely on IT?

Today, IT is important for many things. It's not just a small part of a company… but how deeply is IT woven into modern workplace culture? Let's delve into how technology and culture coalesce in today's businesses.

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You Don’t Have a Business Continuity Plan without Backup

Every organization faces operational challenges at some point. Numerous factors can lead to downtime, making a comprehensive data backup plan essential. This month's newsletter dives into the concept of business continuity and underscores the pivotal role of data backup within it.

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How to Manage Change in Your Business Without Burning Out

Change is inevitable, especially in the dynamic world of business, where it is the driving force behind growth and innovation. Yet managing change can be a daunting task. It requires strategic planning, effective communication, and strong leadership.

This is where change management optimization comes into play. It's about refining your approach to change, making it more efficient and successful… particularly when it involves your IT and related processes.

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Are Businesses Really Considering the Four-Day Workweek?

There has been a lot of talk about ways to get more productivity from your staff. One idea floated a few years ago was reducing the number of days people work to four. Now, if you think, “How does working one less day improve worker productivity?” you aren’t alone. This week, we will take a look at the benefits of a four-day workweek.

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Small Businesses Should Be Using These 5 IT Tools

Information technology offers businesses of all sizes significant benefits, very much including small and medium-sized organizations. Let’s go through five modern tools that offer this kind of inclusive utility to the point that we see them as essential for successful business operations today.

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

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

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Three of the Biggest Security Solutions You Might Not Be Using

Your typical IT professional might suggest some common methods of network security like implementing better preventative measures, like firewalls and antivirus. However, there is more that goes into network security—far more. If you’re not careful, you could accidentally miss some of these three security solutions and expose your business to potential threats. But we’re not about to let that happen!

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What Kind of Mindset Should a Remote Worker Have?

Mindset is important regardless of what someone is doing, but it plays an especially important part in the workplace. This only becomes more true when that workplace is distributed, and work is actually done in the worker’s home.

Let’s go into the kind of perspective you want to encourage in your team as they utilize remote work.

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Public, Private, or Hybrid? Choosing the Best Cloud Solution for Your SMB

The cloud is a remarkable innovation that businesses of all industries and sizes can utilize to scale growth and operations. How you use the cloud, though, will change depending on your company's specific pain points and requirements. How can you invest in a cloud solution that ticks all your boxes? It starts with assessing whether you want to utilize a public, private, or hybrid cloud infrastructure.

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Why You Need to Use a Surge Protector, Not a Power Strip

It’s easy to look at a power strip and a surge protector and question if there’s anything that actually makes them different. After all, they both give you extra plugs, right?

Yes, but there’s more to it than just that. Let’s review some of the important differences between the two that make one a far better choice for your business’ power delivery needs.

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AI and Work in 2023 and Beyond: A Retrospective

2023 was a banner year for artificial intelligence, with the technology exploding into the mainstream and being more accessible by the public than ever before. Let’s explore how what we’ve seen in the past year in terms of AI has changed things for workers and workplaces everywhere.

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How to Set Business Resolutions You’ll Be Motivated to Keep

Happy New Year! It’s officially that time when we all make resolutions meant to help improve ourselves, so why not include your business? Better yet, why not make business resolutions that you’re more likely to keep?

Let’s explore some of the ways that you can design your business’ resolutions to maximize the likelihood that you’ll keep them and benefit from them in the long term.

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Maybe Don’t Ask Your Staff to Return to In-Office Work (You’ll See Why)

Do you remember a couple of years back when remote work went from being a privilege to the norm? It’s been a while since then, but many businesses have adopted hybrid or full remote operations, and as such, they are able to retain a semblance of normalcy even without the return of in-office work.

Some businesses have managed to get back to the state they were in prior to the pandemic, but there is a reason why a lot of businesses are not pushing the issue. Let’s go over some of them, and why forcing the issue with your employees is not necessarily a good idea.

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Password Management Matters Everywhere… Even the North Pole

We have the pleasure of working with many businesses, some of whom take more advantage of our remote services than others. We wanted to take a few moments to discuss one of our more discreet client organizations and a challenge we helped them resolve. Hopefully, sharing this won’t land us on the naughty list.

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Grow Your Business with Managed IT Services

Across the board, modern businesses rely on no small amount of technology to support their operations, making it key that you, one, have the technology your operations require, and two, have the means to keep this technology operational. Fortunately, managed services help you by providing both. Let’s review what managed services are, and how they work.

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It’s Time to Plan Next Year’s Budget, so Consider Managed IT Services

As we’re in the midst of Q3 of 2023, common wisdom says that now is about the time that small businesses should be planning their budgets for the next fiscal year. As such, if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to give managed IT services some serious consideration.

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How to Judge the Value Cloud Computing Can Deliver

While one of the big selling points of the cloud has always been how cost-effective it can be, it is important to remember that this isn’t always the case. There are situations where the value that a business gets from the cloud isn’t really worth the price of admission. Let’s take a few moments to break down how you can evaluate the value that the cloud can offer you, and how to use this data to your advantage.

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Your Team’s Experience at Work Matters, and IT Can Help Improve It

When you consider your business’ investments, you probably think about things like the hardware your team uses and the software this hardware supports. You might think about the furniture you’ve purchased to outfit your office. However, one often overlooked—but incredibly important—element that needs some level of investment is your employee satisfaction.

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Understanding the Five Levels of Delegation

As the boss, you’re in a position to offload many of your business’ responsibilities to your employees. That’s more or less why you have employees in the first place. However, there’s more than one way that you can delegate tasks, depending on your personal style of management and the work style of each of your employees.

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The Pitfalls of Procrastination: How to Beat It, in the Long Term

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been picking apart procrastination as a concept and how it tends to manifest. To wrap up our discussion, we wanted to share a few ways that you might be able to greatly reduce your and your team’s tendencies to procrastinate so that more can be accomplished.

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The Pitfalls of Procrastination: How to Beat It, in the Short-Term

We’ve been examining the concept and phenomenon known as procrastination in recent weeks, touching on why we do it and how it often manifests itself in business processes. For our final few parts, we’ll be focusing on how you can stop procrastinating by utilizing both quicker, short-term tactics and long-term, sustained changes. Let’s start with some short-term tactics.

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The Pitfalls of Procrastination: What Kind of Procrastinator are You?

We recently started to pick apart the concept of procrastination as a means of understanding it better, and potentially, getting better at not doing it. Last time, we touched on a few ways that procrastination can potentially manifest, so it only made sense to us that we would continue pulling that thread and try to help you identify how you tend to procrastinate more specifically.

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How You Can Make Sense of Your Priorities with an Eisenhower Matrix

If your time is anything like mine, you often find it taken up by task after task, with all these responsibilities fighting for your attention. You’ve probably found yourself staring at your to-do list, trying to figure out what to tackle next, more times than you’d care to admit.

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The Pitfalls of Procrastination: What is It, and Why Do We Do It?

“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” It’s timeless advice, as well as some of the easiest and most tempting advice to ignore. Procrastination is one of those things that we all assume we understand, but we wanted to take a bit of time to explore it in greater detail…and figure out how we can all work to resist it.

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Does Your IT Staff Have These Important Certifications?

Information technology is a constantly changing industry, with practices shifting all the time. As a result, anyone you have working on your company’s IT should be actively seeking out various certifications to confirm that they are keeping up on modern trends and standards. To help you accomplish this, we’ve put together a brief list of valuable IT certifications that your IT personnel—whether they’re in-house employees or outsourced professionals—should have.

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Is Remote Work Really That Much Greener, In the Long Run?

One of the biggest arguments for remote work is that it poses environmental benefits, but how much truth is there to this statement? Today, we want to dive into the details and see if there is actually a solid benefit to working remotely—for the environment, at least. The answer might surprise you.

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An Organized Workspace Has Major Benefits

Every office has that one person that doesn’t seem to care that they are working in a room with other people. You know the type: They have day-old food on their desk. There are papers and other unnecessary items strewn about the desktop. Things are sticky and smell strange. The funny part is they seem comfortable with that mess. They may be the only one that is. In this week’s blog, we discuss the benefits of keeping your workspace clean.

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How You Spend Your Business’ Money Matters

Your decisions with capital will bleed into every part of your organization, so it’s crucial that you are able to determine the difference between capital expenses and operational expenses. When you know what each of these accomplish, you can do more with the same amount of capital.

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Is Your Business Being Held Back By All Those Meetings? Research Says Yes

Meetings are a common hold-up for getting things done in the office, an idea that is certainly not unfounded. Research supports the premise that meetings impact productivity. Let’s consider what the numbers say and how you can work to ensure meetings don’t influence your company’s productivity in a negative way.

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Why You Want Critical Thinking Behind Your IT Management

Critical thinking skills are universally useful to have, particularly in the business setting, and especially when it comes to your business’ information technology management. Let’s discuss how these skills benefit your business, and how you can work to foster them.

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Remote Work Needs to Be Secure Work…Here’s What You Can Do

Remote work has seen unprecedented adoption in the past few years. While we’re all for the benefits that this trend brings, it is critical that any business that embraces remote or hybrid work does so securely.

Let’s discuss a few measures that your business can and should implement to achieve this security.

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How to Solve Procedural Problems in Your Business

For all the benefits that remote work offers, it does come with some challenges. Fortunately, there are different strategies that can be applied to help overcome them. Let’s break down something called structured problem solving, and how equipping your team members appropriately can help you with it.

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What Should You Expect out of Artificial Intelligence?

AI has been a hot topic in recent months and years, which only makes sense. Not only has it been used in more public applications, but it has also caused a bit of controversy as it seems to “compete” with people. Back in September, art made by using an artificially intelligent platform caused a stir by winning an art competition, and workplace fears of a computer taking one’s job have seemingly become more well-founded than ever.

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Patience is a Virtue…Especially Amongst Your Team

Most people are capable of productivity, but sometimes it can come a bit harder for some than for others. If you find your staff have difficulty with consistency and productivity, we aren’t here to tell you methods for increasing their productivity; rather, we want to introduce a concept that is often overlooked when trying to get the most out of your team, and is a trait often found in the most productive people, and that is patience.

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In Battle Employee vs. AI, Everyone Can Be a Winner

For many years now, there’s been a bit of a fear of AI—artificial intelligence—in the workplace, all while it has been put into practical use more and more often in many businesses. This all ties back to the work of Alan Turing, who (amongst his accomplishments in computing) created what we know as the Turing Test as a means of gauging how intelligent a computer is. 

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How to Safely Adjust Your IT Budget in Tough Times

When times get tough, businesses are pretty quick to start cutting costs wherever they can…and frequently, the business’ IT is the first thing to hit the chopping block.

While we contend that IT is the last thing you want to cut back on when times are tough, you may not have a choice. Therefore, we wanted to take a few moments to explore how you can resist some of these cuts—and if not, what you need to prioritize.

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How to Develop a Security Strategy that Fits Your Business’ Needs

Today’s businesses need to be prepared for threats of all kinds…that’s unfortunately just fact. Modern cyberattacks are not only getting more effective, they’re also able to be a lot less discerning about who they target. This creates exponentially more risk for businesses of all sizes. Let’s go over how you can develop a cybersecurity strategy that helps temper this risk a bit.

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Consider a Switch to VoIP this Year

The telephone, as a technology, has been around for quite a while, more or less serving businesses for that entire time. Of course, we’ve seen quite a few advancements in telephony over the years, which has helped it to remain a cornerstone of modern business communications to this day in the form of Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.

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

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

Fortunately, we can help.

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How to Manage a Hot Desking Workplace

Hot desking—the workplace organization method wherein there are no assigned workstations—has an assortment of pros and cons to it, but many companies are finding the more fiscal benefits to be worth the trade-offs. Let’s explore some of the pros and cons of hot desking, and go over a few tips and strategies that will help if you choose to implement it. 

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Could You Soon Have a Four-Day Workweek?

The idea of a four-day workweek has been popular for some time now, to the point where it is actively being tested in practical settings. Let’s discuss how successful this approach has been (spoiler alert: it’s been quite successful indeed).

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Technology Gives You Near-Ubiquitous Access to Employees. Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Use It

Have you ever gotten a message that just makes your heart sink in your chest? Like, your dread piques the moment you see it? Chances are pretty good that your team members feel that way whenever you send them a particular message, particularly during certain times. Let’s consider why this may be the case, and how you can better manage your communications to more effectively communicate with your team.

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The Haunting of North Shore Software

The following story and events are true, however, to protect the families of the innocent, all names have been changed. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or businesses, is purely coincidental. Enjoy and happy Halloween!

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One Hidden Benefit of Managed IT Services

We hate to be the bad guy, but we’re certain that you cannot multitask nearly as well as you think you can. Multitasking is just not how the human brain works, and whether or not you believe in the psychology of it, we think you stand to benefit by outsourcing some of the tasks on your plate to a managed service provider.

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Protecting Your Data is Easier Through Network Segmentation

As Miguel de Cervantes wrote in Don Quixote, “...is the part of a wise man to keep himself today for tomorrow, and not venture all his eggs in one basket.” It was wise advice then, and it’s wise advice now—especially when it comes to your business’ network and your data security.

Let’s explore the concept of network segmentation, and how it can help to protect your business.

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What Can Businesses Expect in 2023?

2023 is right around the corner, and if the past few years are any indication, it will be rife with challenges for businesses to overcome. Let’s consider some of these challenges, and what technologies can help minimize or even eliminate them.

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How to Select the Collaboration Tool That’s Right for Your Needs

Nowadays, the better your employees collaborate, the better your offering is going to be. This means getting the collaboration tools needed to make it simple for your staff to work together to create something great is critical. This month, we take a minute to discuss some of the problems businesses have with collaboration and how you can circumvent these challenges. 

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4 Steps to Better Solve Employee Burnout

It doesn’t matter if your workplace is your typical office space or if it is remote. There will always be factors that can contribute to burnout. These struggles are not exclusive to the location of the office, and if left unchecked they can impact work performance, productivity, mental health, and so on. It’s important that you have coping mechanisms and strategies in place to address burnout before it becomes too severe to counter.

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Debunking the Myth of Quiet Quitting (and Why It Might Be Confusing)

Quiet quitting…it’s a buzzword that many might misunderstand that has seen increasing virality on social media. Let’s take a few moments to honestly evaluate what quiet quitting really means, and what it means for your business.

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Emotions Can Run High in the Workplace… Here’s How to Manage Yours

The average person will spend an estimated one-third of their life at work. One third. That’s a lot of time, providing plenty of opportunity to accumulate stress. Over time, these emotions could potentially overwhelm your employees and lead to a breakdown. This is, naturally, harmful to your business, so let’s explore some strategies you can share with your team to help them deal with their workday stresses.

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Hybrid Work Practices are Altering How Office Space is Used

Many businesses, seeking to balance the positives brought by remote work to the value that in-person, face-to-face operations have to offer, have leaned into hybrid work practices. This has led to many reconsidering how their office space is set up. Let’s dive into how these considerations are now shaping the workplace.

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What Today’s Business Leaders Need to Know About IT

Look, I’m not going to pretend that the executive level of any size of business doesn’t already have plenty on its plate. Having said that, it is important that a business’ top dogs are on the same page as its IT team members. Let’s run through the different points that this relationship should focus on for your operational benefit.

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How to Manage Your Remote Team Members

Remote work remains a fundamental approach to workplace operations right now. While this has led to great opportunities, remote work adds a new level of complexity to managing your employees. Let’s go over a few practices that can help make this management simpler and more effective.

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Burnout is a Serious Threat to Your Business’ Cybersecurity

Chances are pretty good that, by this point, you’ve heard of burnout—maybe you’ve even suffered from it before yourself—but, just in case you’re a remarkably lucky human being, it’s the phenomenon where your employees become disengaged to the point where their performance suffers. While this isn’t good in any facet of your business, it can be especially damaging in terms of your security.

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Why Virtual Workstations Might Be a Good Choice for Your Company

When you virtualize a software solution, you are essentially storing it in an online environment where it can live. In other words, it remains in the cloud and is accessed through the Internet. This approach is helpful for many businesses, so why not flip this concept on its head and give hardware virtualization a shot? You might find that virtual workstations, for example, offer many benefits that can help your company be more productive and efficient.

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How to Take Advantage of Zero-Trust in Your Business

Considering what today’s cyberthreat environment looks like, more and more rigorous cybersecurity is strictly needed. One means that businesses have to accomplish this is a cybersecurity practice known as a zero-trust model.

Let’s go over what zero-trust entails, and how to put it in place.

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Is it Worth Pushing for a Return to Office?

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

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

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Why there Always Seems to Be a Tech Boom in Struggling Economies

As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. This is clearly demonstrated in the perceptible phenomenon of technology advancement and innovation being boosted in tough economic times. Let’s dive into why this is the case.

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How do Managed Services Stack Up to Break/Fix Services in Price?

Outsourced IT is a great option for the modern small business, and no matter where your shortcomings lie in managing technology, we are confident you can find value in the service. Whether you need a full-fledged IT department or someone to help implement new solutions, we’ve got you covered, and for the right price point, too! Let’s take a look at some of the trends you can expect from managed IT, as well as how they influence the costs compared to those of the traditional break-fix model.

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Tip of the Week: How to Manage People Better by Using Technology

When all is said and done, being a manager is a far different experience than being an employee. So, when you promote one of your team members to this position—or perhaps you’ve recently been promoted to management yourself—it is important that a few practices are incorporated into their new workflow. Let’s go over these practices, and how the right IT can help.

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5 Reasons Why You Need Managed IT

When it comes to your technology, you can never be too careful. It’s critical that you look at your IT infrastructure as an investment, and one that will save you countless hours and considerable sums of money if you take proper care of it. Here are five reasons your business should prioritize proactive IT maintenance over reactive, or break-fix, IT maintenance.

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Is the Four-Day Workweek an Option for Your Business?

The workspace is changing in spades these days, with remote work—once a taboo topic in some offices—being commonplace, along with resignations in the face of a return to the office becoming more of a regular occurrence. Employees want more control over their work schedule so they can balance their personal responsibilities with their professional. A shorter workweek might be the key to making this happen.

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Digital Security Cameras for Business Use

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

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As Remote Work Continues, Zero-Trust Security is Paramount

With many people continuing to work remotely to some extent, it would be irresponsible not to acknowledge that remote work can introduce a level of risk to an organization’s cybersecurity. This makes it all the more important that this security is locked down. Let’s discuss the concept behind zero-trust security, and why it is becoming the benchmark that organizations of all sizes should meet.

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Are Employees Leaving Because They Might Have to Go Back to the Office?

The past several years have brought about a shift in the workforce, and it’s not one that anyone could have seen coming. More people than ever before are leaving their jobs. How can you keep your employees engaged so they have a minimal chance of leaving their position within your company?

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How to Ensure Your Business Survives a Disaster

It doesn’t matter where your business is located; whether it’s a tornado that rolls through your city, a structural fire that renders your office uninhabitable, or a freak snowstorm that brings down power lines or grinds travel to a halt, you’ll want to be ready for it all. We’ll go over what kinds of solutions your business can implement to ensure that no disaster, be it natural or artificial, like a cyberattack, puts a stop to your operations.

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How To Design a Workspace with Productivity in Mind

The workplace is, fittingly, a place for work to be done. While there are a lot of factors that can contribute to a person’s day-to-day productivity, having a space that is conducive to accomplishing their work tasks can be seen as essential. Let’s go over how you can design a workspace that does just that:

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Are Your Collaboration Tools Actually Isolating Your Employees?

Many businesses were very suddenly introduced to the capabilities of modern collaboration tools, as… circumstances forced them to either go remote or cease operations for an unknown amount of time. However, while collaboration tools were suddenly a requisite for work, could these tools now be responsible for isolating your team members from one another?

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Smart Businesses Encourage Their Staff to Get Computer Support

This one is for all of the business owners, C-level executives, directors, and office managers throughout Otsego, Delaware, and Chenango county. I think your intentions are pure, but you might be doing something at work each and every day that is the equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot.

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With a Managed Service Provider, Every Day is Backup Day

Tomorrow, March 31st, is the official World Backup Day, a day intended to remind us all of the importance of taking backups for the sake of data continuity. While this kind of day can be a valuable reminder of a critical best practice, we contend that your awareness of your backup (and the associated maintenance of it) should not be limited to a single day.

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As a Boss, Can I Monitor My Employees Through Their Webcams?

One of the great obstacles many businesses have to remote work is the fact that, well, the team will be remote—not in the office, safely under supervision. This has led many to consider using the webcams installed in their employees’ devices to keep tabs on them. Let’s explore the idea of monitoring your team, and why it probably isn’t a good one.

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Tip of the Week: Why Your Team is Resistant to IT (or Any) Change

Change, whether you’re referring to that of your technology or any other business process, is often a point of contention between management and the rest of the business. Let’s explore this resistance to change that so many feel, and how you can help them overcome it

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Take a Long Look at Your Cybersecurity

Gauging the effectiveness of your cybersecurity can be a bit of a daunting task, especially when asking if it could make a major difference in protecting your organization’s network infrastructure. If you want to track and measure your business’ cybersecurity preparedness, here are four steps to help you perform an evaluation.

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Calculate and Control Your Carbon Footprint

You’ve probably heard people talk about a business’ carbon footprint. You even might think you have a good idea of what your business’ footprint is. With global climate change evident by the rising temperature of the planet, having an idea of what effect your business’ environmental impact has is not only good for the planet, it can help avoid risk or even save you money. There are a lot of factors that go into determining your carbon footprint and many of them you may not consider. Today, we will go through how to calculate your business’ carbon footprint and what you can do to reduce it.

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Will Businesses Still Have Departments Going Forward?

Sales. HR. Customer Service. IT. Accounting. Management. These different business departments have (for the most part) been categorized and compartmentalized for decades, cooperating to some extent but largely operating independently of one another. The question is, will this remain to be the case, with so many people now working remotely and communicating with their teammates as needed? Let’s try to make a few predictions as to the future of the departments we are all so familiar with.

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After Another Year of Working from Home, How Does Remote Security Look?

Many, many companies have adopted remote work policies and practices since the COVID-19 pandemic forced most to downsize (if not cease outright) on-site operations about two years ago. Now, as we enter 2022, it seems a good time to reexamine the security that we have protecting our businesses and the workers currently operating remotely.

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What We Can Learn from the Facebook Outage

We’re all aware of the outage that Facebook experienced a few weeks before it announced its Meta rebrand, which prevented users around the world from accessing the services that the social media giant provides. While it may not sound like a huge deal that people couldn’t share their thoughts with one another for a short time, the ramifications stretched far beyond the inability to scroll through a Newsfeed.

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Have You Bitten Off More Software Than You Can Chew?

While we certainly have a lot to say about the benefits of the right IT solutions, even we can acknowledge that there is a point of diminishing returns. So, how much technology is too much technology, specifically in terms of the software your team relies on? Let’s explore some of the warning signs.

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A Hard Look at a Four-Day Workweek

When you think about the workweek, there’s a good chance that some iteration of the 40-hour week, broken into 9-to-5 shifts on the weekdays is what comes to mind. It’s just the way things are done. However, this may not be a good thing. Let’s consider the origins of our modern work schedule, and how changing it could provide us all with some serious benefits.

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How to Tell If Your IT Training is Insufficient

While the right IT solutions can be a major benefit to your business and its processes, this will only be the case if your team members are trained to use them correctly. Let’s go over some of the training that you need to prioritize in order to ensure your team is ready to use your technology the way it should be used.

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