If there is one thing most small businesses can agree on is that time equals money. Small business owners are in a position where they have to be a jack-of-all-trades, often spending most of their day wearing different hats. This is the nature of the small business and while expected is not always the best use of time. In order for a small business to be successful and remain competitive in an industry, there must be designated time for the owner to focus on growing and building the business. In many cases small businesses fail as a result of being unable to handle emergencies or other situations that are simply beyond the control and expertise of the owner. Leveraging Managed IT Services can help.
Any business that relies on technology, which covers almost every business operating today, can benefit from managed services. Managed services providers understand that not every business has the ability to pay for an internal IT department which can be very expensive yet necessary to ensure all aspects of technology are supported. Without this backup, many small businesses find themselves in a position where they have to foot a very expensive bill to recover from a disaster or emergency. In other situations, using out-of-date or ineffective technology is simply a waste of both time and money on the part of the small business.
Here we look at how small businesses can make the most of their time and money by hiring a managed services provider.
- Focus on running the business- One of the major benefits of outsourcing your technology needs is that the owner and employees of the company can focus 100% on their individual duties to keep the business moving in the right direction. This is the most valuable use of time for all parties involved, instead of hours or even days lost when trying to deal with technological issues that in house employees are not trained to handle.
- Offer expert advise – There are many small businesses that simply do not know what they need to improve the functionality of their business. The old adage, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” does not apply in all cases. By consulting with a managed services provider you may discover areas of your business which can be improved that you previously thought were working “just fine”. Expert advice may be able to help you improve the efficiency of your business while positioning you better within the industry.
- Support when you need it – Managed IT Services Providers are not only there in the event of an emergency or recovery, but also provide monitoring which can invaluable in preventing problems before they can impact the business.
It is important for every small business to carefully examine their technical needs in order to see what services will be most beneficial to the company. Managed IT Services Providers can offer services that not only reduce technology costs over time but also improves functionality which in turn saves time. When this balance is achieved a small business is in the perfect position to thrive and grow.
Click here to learn how Trinity Worldwide Technologies, LLC can help you save time and money with our Managed IT Services for your business in Marlboro, NJ and surrounding cities.
You may have been pondering whether or not it’s a good idea for your business to spend the time and money needed to develop and implement a mobile app for your business.
Does a mobile app even make sense for your business? What would it cost? Who’s going to update it? These and many other questions need answers before you can really make an informed decision. Let’s look at some of what you need to know.
The Pros and Cons of developing a mobile app for your business
- More than 50 percent of adult Americans are using smartphone technology
- Keeps your brand prominent in the marketplace
- Increases customer retention and loyalty, as the app is always in front of them
- Users spend more time on apps
- Usually load faster than mobile sites
- Available offline, though they would need to login to purchase, or perform any other action.
- A mobile app needs to be made for each platform, iPhone, Android, Windows, or any other platform
- Mobile apps require ongoing care, both as regard fresh content as well as technology updates
- Not as easy to optimize as a mobile website
- Mobile ads may well serve the purpose
- Can be wildly expensive! While there are some Do It Yourself solutions, they are minimal in functionality and hard to update.
We all know that there are as many uses for an app than you could ever imagine, but some are better than others. Here is an example of how apps were developed in the health care market. Making sure your app is useful and not a mere novelty will go a long way toward helping you make your decision.
While it’s pretty much a given that you need a mobile version of your website, the question of whether or not you need to shell out what could be big bucks for an app is one you need to look at carefully.
Take the time to weigh the pros and cons for your business before you leap into developing a mobile app!
When your workers log onto their computers, do they automatically, by entering one password and login name, gain access to all of your business’ software systems? Does their single login allow them to access the company’s Intranet, their e-mail systems and your company’s sales data? If so, your company’s software systems operate under a single sign-on system.
There are several versions of single sign-on systems. Under a Kerberos-based system, workers must supply their login names and passwords when signing onto their computers. After this, they get a Kerberos ticket that gives them access to email clients, editing software and other systems. This happens because the Kerberos ticket supplies the user’s credentials to each new system that the user tries to access. This prevents workers from having to re-enter their passwords and login names each time.
The main benefit of single sign-on is that workers don’t have to constantly enter passwords and logins every time they need to access a new software system. Not only does this prevent password fatigue for your company’s employees, it also saves time. Employees don’t have to stop working to enter their passwords throughout the day. Single sign-on might also save your company IT costs; your IT department won’t be swamped with as many calls from employees struggling to remember their passwords and login names throughout the day.
Of course, there is some risk to single sign-on. A hacker can gain access to your company’s software systems more easily if you rely on single sign-on. This is why it’s important for your company to tie single sign-on to authentication methods such as smart cards or one-time password tokens. As with all forms of electronic security, then, single sign-on isn’t perfect. You’ll have to take a close look at your company to determine whether this system is right for your business and your employees.
Have you ever re-opened one of your Excel spreadsheets only to find that you’ve forgotten what half the formulas in it stand for? Have you ever opened a spreadsheet only to find yourself asking, “What, exactly, was I up to here?” Well, you can prevent this from happening by adding comments directly to the formula cell in a spreadsheet.
Jogging your memory
The tech Web site Lifehacker explains how to do this. You’ll simply have to access Excel’s N() function. To use this function, add a plus sign after your formula. You can then write out your comment in quotes inside the function.
Why do it
Now, whenever you click on that cell, both your formula and your comment will appear. Doing this can save you plenty of time when poring over a half-finished Excel spreadsheet. You won’t have to wrack your brain trying to remember what you were trying to accomplish.
This function is available in Excel 2013 and earlier versions. If you have Excel don’t be shy about using it. You might be surprised at how much more productive you can be.
Have you been debating whether it’s time to upgrade to Word 2013? PC World says it’s time to stop dithering. The new version of Word is packed with features that can make you and your employees more productive than ever. Maybe you like that current version of Word that you’re using. That’s fine. But before you decide to stick with it, consider these nifty new features that come with Word 2013.
A better design tab
The first reason to upgrade to Word 2013? PC World points to the program’s new and improved design tab. Word 2013 lets users choose from a wide variety of themes, colors and fonts. And if you find a certain combination that you’d like to use all the time, you can click the “Set as Default” option to return these themes every time you create a new document. Microsoft Word 2013 also allows users to preview a document style before they apply it to the entire document.
A better reading experience
Maybe you use Word more often to read documents than to create them. If so, Word 2013 comes with a new Read feature that makes reading Word documents more pleasant than ever. First, the Read feature automatically resizes Word documents so that they fill your entire screen. Secondly, Read provides on-screen arrows that let you flip through pages or swipe the screen from either edge of the display if you’re using a touch-screen monitor. You can also click on images, charts or tables in Read mode to make them bigger, and easier to read.
Word 2013 makes editing and reading PDF documents an easier task, too. First, Word 2013 can open any PDF document. But that’s just the beginning. The program also allows you to edit PDF documents without bringing in a third-party application. According to PC World, you can also move images around a PDF document and edit any information contained in a table. For anyone who works with PDFs often, this is an amazing new feature.
We would all like to think that we’re clever enough to detect phishing e-mails in our inboxes. Some of them are easy to spot. But the scam artists behind phishing e-mails are getting better. And that means that they’re netting some high-profile victims. For instance, as Slate recently reported, a particularly sneaky phishing e-mail recently caused a lot of trouble for the Associated Press, the country’s biggest provider of wire-service news.
Syrian Electronic Army
Earlier this year, a group calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army hacked into the Twitter account of the AP and posted a message stating that President Obama had been seriously injured in an explosion at the White House. This Tweet was false, of course. But that didn’t stop the stock market from taking a big plunge. And it shows, too, that even the savviest among us have to be on guard from sophisticated phishing attacks.
The Syrian Electronic Army hacked the AP Twitter account through a process known as spear-phishing. As Slate explains, this involves sending specific recipients e-mail messages that look legitimate. In the case of the AP hack, the group sent a message to AP staffers containing a link to what looked like a Washington Post news story. The message looked professional enough that it tricked some AP staffers into clicking on it, the first step in giving members of the Syrian Electronic Army control over the AP’s Twitter account.
It’s easy to poke fun at the AP for getting hacked. But the truth is, no one is safe from the more sophisticated con artists behind the newest phishing attacks. These scammers no longer send phishing e-mails about Nigerian princes. Instead, they send messages that look like they’re coming from people we know. The lesson here? You need to be constantly vigilant if you want to protect yourself from today’s trickiest online scammers.
No one is perfect. We all have bad habits. Some of us smoke. Some eat in our cars. Some write e-mail messages in all capital letters. Here’s the good news, though. When it comes to technology, it’s relatively simple to identify our bad habits and break them. PCWorld magazine recently ran a list of the most common bad tech habits. Took a look at these tech mistakes. Do you suffer from any of these bad tech habits?
Some of the worst tech bad habits identified by PCWorld make you an easy target for thieves. For instance, do you ever leave your smart phones or tablets sitting at your booth in the coffee shop while you run back to the counter to get another shortbread cookie? Leaving your devices unattended and in plain sight can make it easy for criminals to quickly snatch them and disappear. Or what if you spend all your waking minutes staring at your smart phone screen without taking notice of your surroundings? This bad tech habit can hurt, too. While you’re staring at your screen, you don’t notice that suspicious guy walking close to you. Before you know it, the guy’s popped you in the face, grabbed your smart phone and run away.
Hurting Your Health
Bad tech habits can damage your health, too. Maybe you sit all day hunched in front your computer. This bad posture can lead to serious back pain. It can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome. The solution here? Sit up straight, take frequent computing breaks and purchase a comfortable chair that places less strain on your back. Speaking of breaks, another bad tech habit is not taking any. As PCWorld says, your can hurt your eyes, strain your back and blur your thought processes if you insist on spending the entire work day focusing on your computer screen. Remember to take regular breaks to keep yourself healthy.
What happens if your computer suffers a sudden hard-drive crash? Will you lose your important files? If you suffer from the bad tech habit of not backing up your files, you probably will. And do you reuse the same passwords frequently at several different Web sites? This tech habit can open you to a world of pain should someone crack that go-to password. Now, instead of gaining access to your personal information on one site, this cyber criminal can gain access to it on several. Finally, do you ignore the updates that publishers create for the software that you most frequently use? Don’t. Ignoring these updates can leave you vulnerable to hacks and keep you from fully enjoying your software.
Here’s an interesting fact: In 2012, companies with just one to 250 employees — what we commonly think of as small businesses — were the victims in more than 30 percent of all cyber attacks. Entrepreneur Magazine cites this statistic, taken from the 2013 Internet Security Threat Report from Symantec, to prove a point: Even small businesses need a cybersecurity plan.
Anti-Virus Software Matters
The Entrepreneur story says that the first step in any cybersecurity plan is anti-virus software. As the story says, this software is a must for small business owners. Anti-virus software isn’t perfect, and especially clever viruses can slip past it, but businesses that don’t have any anti-virus protection are setting themselves up for a massive hack.
Next, small businesses should make sure that their employees understand how important it is to delete e-mail messages that seem suspicious, whether sent by known or unknown senders. Businesses should also remind their employees to never click on the links contained in these suspicious e-mail messages. Not all employees will listen or remember. But many will.
Entrepreneur also recommends that small businesses use firewalls to protect their inbound and outbound network traffic. Firewalls can keep hackers from tapping into a small business’ network. Firewalls can also block employees from accessing potentially dangerous Web sites.