print management solution

4 Ways Managed Print Services Help Your Business

Every business owner relies on computers and the World Wide Web.

While you may rely on computer systems and the Internet to conduct the majority of your business, paperwork – printed documents – are still a necessity. While it is a necessity, that paperwork can sure pile up, and it can be difficult to sort through. So, how can you keep your desk clutter-free and keep that paperwork in order? With managed print services, of course.

Not sure what managed print services are? Wondering how they can help you? Keep reading to find out four very beneficial reasons what managed print services are and how they can help your business.

What Is Managed Print Services?

The definition of managed print services is simple and straightforward: It is the management of document output. In detail, this service monitors and maintains the mechanisms that are used for printing documents, ensures that the documents are kept in an orderly fashion and maintains proper output.

Four Benefits of Managed Print Services

There are several benefits that a business can reap by taking advantage of managed print services. Here is a look at four of those leading benefits.

  1. Time Management: In the business world, money is time, and the more time you spend searching for documents, the more money you lose. Thanks to managed print services, you won’t have to waste any more time sifting through piles of paperwork. This service will file, index and tag each and every document in your database, which will significantly minimize the amount of time you have to spend searching for documents – and that translates into more money in your pocket.
  2. Increased Security: You will never have to worry about sensitive information getting into the wrong hands, thanks to managed print services. All of those sheets of paper that include your and your clients’ information won’t be sitting around, waiting for someone else to scoop them up and use them in the wrong way.
  3. Easy Sharing: While you don’t want paperwork falling into the wrong hands, there are times that you need to share it. Should you need to share documents with co-workers, managed print services will allow you to do so easily and safely.
  4. Boost Efficiency: No longer will you or your staff have to sift through piles of paperwork. Thanks to managed print services, your business will become much more efficient. You and your coworkers will be able to easily locate documents, which means that you will be able to provide better service to your costumers.

Given these benefits, it’s easy to see why managed print services can benefit your business. So, what are you waiting for? Boost your business and your success by signing up for this invaluable service today! Contact us to find out more about managed print services and how they can specifically help your business.

email tips

5 Tips For Using Your Email More Efficiently

Organization is the key to stress-free living. Clearing clutter from your closets, drawers and workspace makes life more productive and enjoyable. This philosophy should spill over into the digital world, starting with arranging your email to work more efficiently for you. We have 5 tips to get you started on using your email more efficiently.

Tip # 1: Respond Immediately

If you’re in the habit of reading all your emails, then gong back and responding, you need to stop. This is a bad habit because a) it eats up valuable time, since you’ll likely have to read each one a second time in order to respond b) once messages are marked as “read”, you’re likely to forget about a few of them. This, or they will get mixed up with the ones you have already responded to and get overlooked. The best way to proceed is to read it, and answer it, immediately. This method is much more effective and will keep messages organized.

Tip #2: Manage Notifications

We all have several social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook or other outlets we subscribe to such as YouTube. When you set these up, you need to see how they have your notifications laid out. Chances are you’re getting an email notification every time a friend mentions you, each time a new video premieres, or when one of the celebs you follow on Twitter makes a tweet. If these are clogging up your mailbox, take a few minutes to change their notification settings, instead of wasting time deleting them every day.

Tip #3: Unsubscribe

Piggybacking on the notification management, take the time one day to sit down and unsubscribe. Get rid of newsletters, professional subscriptions, YouTube channels or anything else that you truly do not follow every day. They seemed like a good idea at the time, but they are just causing unnecessary clutter if you’re not reading them daily.

Tip #4: Create an Auto-Signature

Most email systems have an auto-signature function that is attached to your messages. Include items such as your name, contact information, company name, title and a short description of your company name of no more than five words. Consider including functional links to your website, online portfolio or blog. This will save you time with each email you send.

Tip #5: Use Labels and Create Folders For Organization

If you receive emails that cannot be answered immediately or need follow-ups, create folders with useful labels to keep things organized. If you’re working on a project, make a folder with the project name. Other suggestions are labels like “networking”, when you’re corresponding with a colleague, and be sure to archive as many emails as you can, so you have records of your correspondence. Archiving is also helpful if you need to contact someone in the future, or you need to remember details of a conversation. It can be your protection, if you’re accused of not taking actions or reaching out to an associate, when you actually did.

print management

4 Reasons You Need a Print Management System

Businesses in every industry are on the look out for ways to reduce costs and increase revenue – it’s how successful businesses grow! Extremely small businesses get by with their little all-in-one printer, copier, and scanner. As you grow, you probably start adding more printers and devices to your network to accommodate increased output and more employees. Before you know it, printing costs can become a costly line item in your budget. Print management can help reduce your printing expenses while providing a number of advantages to increase productivity at the same time. Here are 4 reasons you need a print management system:

  1. Reduce paper consumption.

A print management system will help your organization reduce the amount of paper you consume. You can look at which employee or group of employees are printing the most, and even regulate the amount of printing permitted by employee or group. There are many things you really do need to print – we’re not suggesting you avoid printing those things. But let’s face it; some employees will print every email (work related or not!), word document, and web page they view if their printing habits aren’t reeled in. Using less paper is good for the environment… and your bottom line.

  1. Migrate to energy efficient solutions.

The cost of energy is a commonly overlooked expense when it comes to evaluating what your print output costs. With a print management solution, you’ll learn about more energy efficient solutions and devices that can handle your print output needs better with less effort. As older, energy-hogging devices are replaced with more efficient devices, you’ll start to see your energy costs decrease.

  1. Integrate all of your devices.

In many businesses, printers, copiers, and fax machines are just purchased from the store and connected wherever you find a spot in the office. If you’re lucky, every employee has access to every device they need from their workstations, but in some cases – employees may have to email documents to another employee who has access to the device he or she needs to use. It can get really inefficient – really fast. A print management solution will integrate all of your devices so they can be used by anyone in your office. This not only makes it easier to use the devices when needed, but gives you more control of your total printing expense.

  1. Remote monitoring and automatic supply replenishment.

How many times do you try to use your printer or copier – only to find it’s out of ink? And, how many of those times do you also discover there is no more ink in the supply cabinet to replace it with? A print management solution puts a stop to this frustration, too. Through remote monitoring of your devices, toner, ink, and cartridges can be automatically reordered before you even know they’re empty – so you’ll always have the gear you need to operate your devices.

 

Do you wish you had a print management solution? Give us a call and we’ll talk to you about how to get started or let you know what other benefits you would experience unique to your business.

 

How Data Backup Can Save You From Business Failure

A smart business goes to great lengths to secure its network. You may think you’re safe
because you’ve invested in firewalls, antivirus software, and purchased cyber insurance. This
is a great start, but you’re not done yet. Nothing is 100% infallible, which is why you must
backup your data, no matter how large or small your company.

What Can Happen to Cause Data Loss?

Even with the best security systems in place, you are always vulnerable to many possible
scenarios: Hackers can penetrate your firewall, an employee can make an error resulting in
loss of information, natural causes like flood or fire can wreak havoc, your hard drive could
suffer other damage, and there may even sabotage by a disloyal employee. All of these
situations can result in loss of data.

How Will This Affect My Business?

Loss of data can translate into loss of profit for your business. If it can be recovered, it will
take up valuable time, with a minimum average of six hours to do so. But if your laptop is
stolen, for example, with no backup, this is permanent loss, which will be a major setback. If
an employee or business owner can’t access their computer while data is being recovered,
productivity is reduced, which equals loss of revenue. Plus there is the cost involved with the
recovery itself, if it can’t be done by someone in-house.

Depending on how severe the loss, studies have shown that companies that have a computer
outage beyond ten days will not ever completely recover, and half will be out of business in
the next five years. There is the chance you will lose customers, and the potential to be sued
if a client’s information is compromised. Most of all, your reputation will be damaged, which is
everything in the business world.

What is the Best Way to Backup My Business’s Data?

There is more than one option available but data backup can be done on and off the
premises. If you’re a smaller mom-and-pop type establishment, you can use flash drives,
CDs or another computer’s network drive, as a few examples. Larger businesses may want
to use a combination of on- and off-premises data backup systems. An off-site data center or
IT management service is a great way to protect your information, as well as cloud-backup
services. The cloud is usually the most affordable because it tends to have different levels of
protection, so you can purchase what you can afford.

What Needs to Be Backed Up?

The safest avenue to take is backing up everything, including: applications, software,
operating systems, eCommerce sites, and all customer information. If you don’t have a lot of
time or have a small budget to work with, decide what is the most important information
necessary to run your business, and start with that. Experts recommend backing up every
day, including the weekends, and do a weekly check to be certain your backup is working
correctly.

new website

Introducing… Our New Website!

As you may have noticed, we’ve got a brand new website! We’ve recently partnered with TriDigital Marketing, and our collaboration has brought about some exciting changes.

Our website is both informative and aesthetically appealing.

So, go ahead and explore the site!

 

On our home page, you’ll discover:

  • How you can get the results you want for your business
  • How you can get the most out of your office equipment
  • How you can take steps to grow and expand your business
  • How you can collaborate more effectively

 

On our “How We Do It” page, you’ll discover our unique process:

  • How we identify problems and opportunities
  • How we help you plan for success
  • How we implement your solutions
  • How we help you achieve your goals

 

On our “Services” page, you’ll learn more about the services we provide, including:

  • Backup and disaster recovery
  • Print management
  • Cloud Computing
  • Flat-rate IT
  • Virtualization
  • Network security
  • Professional services
  • VoiP

 

You can also browse our resource library or view our testimonials, and you can expect more blog posts in the near future.

 

And, of course, if you need to get in touch with us or if you’d like to chat, feel free to reach out to us on our “Contact Us” page.

 

Check out our website and let us know your feedback in the comments below – we’d really appreciate it!

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Why Your Email System May Not Cut It

Email plays a big role in the way people do business. Whether you work from a fixed location at an office desk or from a mobile device on the go, the kind of email you use can define your level of productivity. Are you sure that the email system you are using is the right one for you?

Whether you work from an office or are productive while on the go, email most likely plays a big factor in the way you go about your business. Unbeknownst to many, some types of email systems have certain limitations that by extension can also limit the level of productivity of your business, and especially for people in the organization who must also work while out in the field.

One major issue for many people is synchronicity. Many people need their emails to be accessible on their mobile phones, PDAs, or other mobile devices, and they need them to be properly synchronized with their desktop workstations. The need to constantly update conversations and email threads from mobile devices to desktops with certain types of email can prove to be tedious and unproductive– and some email system types don’t include this ability at all.

Depending on the way you use your email, especially when on the go, having full access and full control of your account can define how productive you and others in your organization can be. Besides providing a much better degree of synchronization and integration with mobile devices, certain types of email systems also have features for sharing and collaboration features that allow you to set schedules and share files from your mailbox, as well as central storage for emails that allows you to access your account seamlessly with any mobile device, regardless of where you are located.

Of course, having a full-featured email system might not be best for everyone. The key is to know whether adapting a more bare-bones system is cost-effective for your business (especially in the long run). Sometimes the top of the line may be needed, and sometimes all you need is a bit of tweaking on your less fully featured system. Not sure which is best? Call us and we’ll be glad to sit down with you and assess what kind of email system is best suited for you and your business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
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Monitor and manage your reputation online using these online tools

Someone, somewhere could be talking about you or your company, anddepending on what’s being saidit can be either helpful or damaging to you or your business. This is of special concern in the online world, as the proliferation of websites and social media tools make it easy to share opinions with the world. In this article we point you to tools and online resources to help monitor and manage what’s being said about you or your businessand thereby build or defend your reputation.

Besides your own eyes and ears, there are plenty of toolsfor free or for a priceavailable to help you monitor your presence online. The simplest of these is your familiar search engines such as Google or Bing. By simply searching online, you can find where your name or your company’s name appears in various websites. With Google in particular, you can set up “alerts” which will email you when a specific word or term appears in their website index.

What words or terms should you use? Start with your name, or your company name, then try the name of your products and/or services, and maybe even the names of your employees, directors, and other stakeholders. It might also be helpful to search for the competition as well. As results come in you can refine your search by expanding or narrowing the scope of terms you would like to search or be alerted on. If you want to be able to search across all different search engines and not just one or two, you can use Monitor This.

Next you can use specialized website or social media monitoring tools to search only specific sites or services as opposed to the entire Internet. One example is Greplin, which allows you to search all of your accounts or accounts that you own. This is very helpful to be able to execute highly filtered searches on specific information in your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, or your blog. Another option is Rollyo, which allows you to set up your own specialized search engines that cull content from public or open websites of your choosing.

Other more generalized tools include RSS feed readers—which allow you to consume news or information feeds from news sites or blogs. Examples include Newsgator.com, Bloglines.com, Google Reader or Pluck.com. Other generalized tools include those that monitor specific newsgroups or message boards like BoardReader.com, ForumFind.com, Big-Boards.com, BoardTracker.com, iVillage, Yahoo Message Boards, and MSN Money. Still others track changes to content of specific sites (Copernic Tracker, Website Watcher and WatchThatPage.com), as well as their domain information (DomainTools.com and BetterWhois.com).

The really interesting new services actually give you an explicit idea of the status of your reputationespecially if you are a relatively well known name or your business has an established brand. In this category are sites like Amplicate, which monitors general feelings or impressions about brands, businesses, or services; Klout, which tries to measure the influence of individuals based on their social interactions; and SendLove.to, which focuses on celebrities and media personalities.

There are literally dozens more tools you can use to monitor and manage your reputation online. To find out more, a great resource is here at the Duct Tape Marketing blog. If you have any additional suggestions, feel free to let us know!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
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Cloud Email Using Google Apps and Microsoft Office

For companies interested in trying out cloud-based services, email maybe something worth trying. Here’s a breakdown of two options from two industry giants that may be worth considering.

Google Apps
Google Apps is a service from Google that started in 2006, with the introduction of Gmail—a hosted email service, and which later incorporated other apps such as Google Calendar, Groups, Talk, Docs and Sites. Google Apps allow customers an independently customizable version of these Google products under their own domain name. The entry level option is free, but the package offered for Businesses is a paid service with an annual fee per user and additional storage space.

  1. Storage. Gmail, Google Apps’ email service starts with a sizable 7GB of free storage. Business users get 25GB. Bear in mind however that this storage space is shared with any data you have in other Google properties such as Picasa Web Album and Google Docs. Extra space can be bought however starting with USD $5 per year for an extra 20GB of storage. E-mail attachment sizes are limited to 25MB.
  2. Calendaring and Task Management. Gmail can be integrated with the overall excellent Google Calendar application. Google Calendar allows you to easily share personal calendars with colleagues, or create shared calendars used by groups of people (such as a calendar to track meeting room reservations, marketing events and others). Google Calendar also offers a built-in, but somewhat underpowered task management tool. Tasks can readily be added with due dates, but not readily shared or cannot be nested or linked with other tasks.
  3. Spam filtering, security and reliability. Gmail’s spam filtering features a community-driven system. Email tagged as spam by users help identifies similar messages as Spam for all other Gmail users. Generally the system works well, although some have complained that it can get over aggressive in its filters. In terms of security and reliabilityGmail has been criticized in the past with showing ads in its free Gmail service that display based on key words in the user’s messagespotentially violating their privacy. Its paid service offers however the option of disable these ads. Reliability is generally good with very few, but widely publicized disruptions in service.
  4. Usability. Gmail offers a host of unique usability enhancements that make it different from most other mail services. For one for a web app it loads really fast, as Google has been known to studiously optimize web page loading performance for their products. Another is that it offers a threaded view of messages by default. It also uses a starring/labeling system to tag and segregate messages instead of using folders. Another interesting enhancement done recently is the ability to sort messages by “importance” where it learns based on your usage over time what email messages it thinks you think are important.
  5. Mobile access. Gmail offers a version optimized for mobile devices, as well as support for a variety of devices for their native mail applications such as iOS and Android.

Overall Gmail is a solid mature choice if you are thinking of moving email to the cloud and are not afraid of being on the bleeding edge of cloud services and technology.

Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft Office 365, like Google Apps, offers a host of applications such as online versions of productivity tools which we all already know and use such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Most however work best when they are used in conjunction with your desktop-installed Office applications. Focusing on email, Office 365 offers a Hosted Exchange service, which transforms the mature, business-proven on-premise application to an on-demand service. Compared to Google Apps, it is quite newbeing introduced only last June this year, although its suite of products in an alternate form has been around for much earlier.

  1. Storage. Microsoft’s Hosted Exchange email service gives users 25GB of storage. Attachment file sizes are limited to 35MB. Additional storage can be purchased for $2.5 per GB per user per month.
  2. Calendaring and Task Management. Exchange integrates a mature feature set for personal productivity including calendaring, resource management, and task management. As an example tasks can be grouped, color coded and easily sorted. Emails can be converted as tasks and so on.
  3. Spam filtering, security and reliability. This is an area where perhaps Microsoft easily outshines Google with Exchange’s roots as an enterprise-class application. It offers spam protection, antivirus and others via Microsoft’s Forefore Online Protection for Exchange technology. It offers other features such as more full features user management, identity access management, mail archiving, etc. If you are in a highly regulated industry like financial services or healthcare these features may be essential for your business.
  4. Usability. While the web apps of Office 365 is not as fast loading or as slick as Google, it does offer familiarity. Modeled after their desktop brethren, or directly integrating with themthey offer a smoother migration experience for users specially if they have been weaned on Outlook.
  5. Mobile access. Like Gmail Microsoft made sure to support a variety of devices on launch, as well as integration with a variety of devicesspecially enterprise stalwarts like Blackberry mobile phones.

Overall Office 365 is a solid choice if you are thinking of moving email to the cloud but may be hesitant with changing the apps your users already know and use. Also if you are a business with strict policies related to security and compliancethis service may be something your auditors and IT people may be more comfortable with.

Interested in learning more? Can’t decide which to try? Let us know and find out how we can help get you the right balance between your existing IT systems and infrastructure and the cloud.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
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How Social Networks Help Small Businesses have a Bigger Voice

Smaller businesses usually face the difficulty of having their voices heard in the market today. While traditional marketing and advertising methods cost a lot more than many of these firms can afford, an effective alternative has arisen that is both efficient and cost-effective: marketing through social networking.

One of the most difficult challenges smaller businesses face is having a bigger presence in the market. While many of these companies offer good, quality services at much more affordable rates, they are many times overshadowed by larger firms that have bigger budgets to spend on marketing, advertising, and the like.

Things have changed, though, with the advent of social networking. What was once a simple, social, get-to-know-each-other tool between people on the internet has now evolved into a tool that small businesses can take advantage of in order to get their voices heard.

The gist of social networking for business is the simple concept of reaching potentially millions of people at a mere fraction of what is normally spent on advertising and traditional marketing. The wide reach of social media allows businesses to find their voices and showcase what they can do. The playing field then moves from an unfair balance of advertising budgets to a battle of service quality and value for money, as it should be and many smaller firms can compete effectively in this arena.

There are many ways to tap into the social networking phenomenon to boost your online presence and aid in your marketing. If you are interested in knowing more about this, please contact us and we’ll be glad to assist you in developing strategies that fit your specific requirements and needs.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
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Cheap Firewalls: In the End, You Get What You Pay For

Part of establishing a proper security cordon around your business data is having the right hardware like a router/firewall to get the job done, and done well. Resorting to cheap and basic equipment might cut it for simple personal or home use, but it’s not ideal for business applications.

In business, protecting important information and data is paramount. This is why it is recommended for any sort of business to invest in a security system that will prevent any cyber-attacks that might be launched against you.

Unfortunately, though, it’s lost on many that a security system is not just made up of one single thing software, better staff, better hardware, et cetera. A good and solid security system is composed of several factors working together to create a virtual chain that envelops your business and keeps it safe.

And one of the most underestimated links in this chain is the router/firewall. Many businesses are content using the most basic and cheapest option available on the market, without realizing that their security chain is only as strong as its weakest link. And if you make do with a cheap router/firewall, odds are you’ll get what you pay for not much.

While basic routers might work fine for homes or individual users, it is a much different scenario when it comes to business operations where basic just doesn’t cut it. Plus, there’s more at stake with business data, so why take the risk with cheap routers that lack the proper security features?

With viruses, malware, and the cyber thieves behind them continuing to grow and evolve, it is important that you understand what it takes to protect your system and your data – and invest in the best solution. Remember that it can take only one incident, one infiltration, to bring your whole business down.

We realize that every system is different and every business has its own specific needs, so if you want to know more about getting the right router/firewall for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.