What would happen if your business operations were suddenly shut down for a period? What protections do you have in place to prevent this from happening? Your organization’s capability to continue operations - otherwise known as its business continuity - requires you to take some proactive steps and to properly plan for possible disasters. Recovering from a disaster is no longer good enough, you need to be able to operate through a possible disaster.
Automation Concepts & Technologies, Inc. Blog
How concerned are you with your business' cybersecurity? When you envision your business in the future, do you see yourself constantly fighting cyberattacks, or paying ransom? Hopefully not, but what if cybersecurity turns into one of the most difficult parts to maintaining a steady business? Today, we will look into the future and hypothesize what your business may need to do to defend against cybercriminals.
For the small business looking to transform both their communications system and their IT budget, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a great solution. VoIP can deliver clear and reliable calling services that some landline services simply don’t offer. We take a look at VoIP’s more interesting features in this week’s blog.
Thanks to the increasing capabilities of modern computing networks, businesses have been able to experience enhanced productivity. One such capability, cloud computing, has allowed businesses to reach outside of their physical location to conduct their operations. Here, we’ll review some of cloud computing’s other benefits.
Productivity is always going to be a big issue in the workplace. While you want to encourage your employees to get work done, you don’t want to be too overbearing, as it could have the exact opposite of your desired effect. How can you make sure that your employees are staying on-task and focused on their goals? You can take the first step by understanding their motivations and long-term goals.
While each business today features its own balance of company culture and processes, there are certain varieties of software that all companies in operation today should be leveraging. Here, we’ll go over what these solutions are, and how they can benefit you.
Technology has forever changed the culture of some office environments, for better or worse. While we tend to err on the side of implementing IT as being worth the risk, it’s always best to go into implementing a new technology solution with the thought of not just how it will affect operations, but how it might influence your organization’s company culture. We’ll go into detail about ways that implementing a new IT solution might affect the way your staff interact with each other, as well as what you should look out for when implementing such solutions.
The difference in today’s mobile devices and those that came years before used to be staggering, but in recent years, the differences in power and functionality have started to wane. Manufacturers have begun to roll out devices with only minor changes in power, but with exorbitant increases in cost. For the first time, in 4Q of 2017, the smartphone saw stagnation, and we’ll try to get to the root of it.
It’s not unusual for people to try and predict what the future will look like, but too many times when people try and predict what will happen in the future, the reality of what is happening today isn’t taken into account. Imagining the workplace (and workforce) of the future requires we look at where we are today, the pace of change, and what changes are expected. It may not go the way you envision, but the more empirical data you use to model what the future looks like, the less disappointed you’ll be when your imaginary benchmarks aren’t met.
The office is a workplace, so it most likely isn’t a place that is often associated with fun and games. However, different aspects of games have been shown to provide significant benefits when introduced into the professional environment. Today, we’ll explore some of the ways that a little frivolity may benefit your office.
The average business relies on several technology solutions that make maintaining a network infrastructure more challenging. Eventually, it gets to the point where technology becomes difficult to maintain without the help of an on-site IT department. Unfortunately, small businesses often have trouble supporting their infrastructures, as they don’t have the funds to hire and maintain an internal IT department. What’s the best way for a smaller organization to keep their technology in working order?
Managed IT maintenance is the ideal solution for small organizations for several reasons. For one, it’s simply more efficient and less reactive than a break-fix IT provider. Instead of only resolving problems when they happen, you can instead prevent them all together, before they cause a lot of frustrations and downtime. Here are some ways that managed IT can help your business effectively care for technology.
If you hire more employees, this means that you have more users to provide software to. If you’re not careful, this can lead to unexpected costs associated with software licensing and other accounts. This also leads to having more devices to secure and more employees accessing your network. The idea here is that the more technology you have in your infrastructure, the more work you have on your hands. Automation Concepts & Technologies, Inc. can help your business ensure flexibility no matter how many employees or services your organization needs.
Assisting with In-House Maintenance
Assuming you have an IT department on-hand for your small business, it’s likely a small group of IT technicians whose sole responsibility is either general upkeep or implementing new solutions. However, their workload is likely to be too much for both--it’s generally only one or the other. Outsourcing your technology maintenance and management can be a great way to make sure that all responsibilities are fulfilled, regardless of the workload. For example, we could act as a help desk while your in-house team manages a critical project, or vice-versa. This helps to create success in the workplace regardless of how much work has piled up.
Managing Your Vendors
There are several vendors that you work with to find products to suit your business, and all of these products require some sort of service at some point. For example, you might need to reach out to your vendors in order to procure new hardware or software for your business. It can be costly, time-consuming, and frustrating to constantly reach out to your vendors, which is why Automation Concepts & Technologies, Inc. offers vendor management. We take multiple points of contact and consolidate it into one, making it simple and easy for you to reach out for assistance.
Generally Improving Operational Efficiency
A managed service provider can improve the way that your business functions on multiple levels. There’s something to be said about having hands-off IT maintenance to keep your business running as smoothly as possible. We firmly believe that you should remain focused on running your business instead of running your technology, so why not let us take the responsibility off your shoulders? To learn more about how you can make your technology work for you, reach out to us at (508) 622-5100.
There has been a lot of buzz about the term net neutrality in the news, on social media, and around the water cooler lately. The FCC is preparing to end net neutrality on December 14th, 2017, and it’s causing a major stir. From activist groups encouraging people to call congress with their concerns, to headlines exclaiming that the Internet as we know it is dying, there is a lot to sift through to really understand what the stakes are. Our goal is to make sense of net neutrality without the sensationalism, and explain how it can affect small business owners.
When your business experiences an IT outage, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? A typical response (after expressing frustration) is, “How long until operations resume?” An answer to this question isn’t always obvious, which leads to another question, “Why did my system go down in the first place?” Being able to quickly and accurately ascertain what’s behind an IT outage is a responsibility that every business should have handled, yet implementing such a procedure is often overlooked until it’s too late.
IT security is a major pain point for all businesses in all industries. Is your organization doing a good enough job at keeping your data safe? The reality of the situation is that the majority of threats make it through the tiniest of vulnerabilities, even those that seem to be benign. By understanding a concept called the 80/20 rule, you might be able to better address your business’s network security weaknesses.
Business is a fickle thing, as acquisitions can be the end of both major and minor vendors. This can also lead to the untimely demise of some of your partnerships with these companies. Take, for example, a recent acquisition by Fitbit, which acquired a former Kickstarter project Pebble, showing the world that these types of acquisitions can be major problems for consumers.
There is no question that, by now, you have heard of the cloud. The computing method has grown to be an essential component for any business to consider. But what does “the cloud” actually refer to, and what must a business owner consider as they select a solution for their needs?
As technology advances and allows for common pain points to be corrected, many of today’s most well-known entities will adopt new solutions to ease the experience of their customers and clients. Take, for example, eBay. The famous reselling site has been taking steps to install an assortment of new features to improve its customers’ experience.
For many workers, driving to and from the office is a way of life. In view of this, many have commuted for so long that they can’t imagine life without this daily drive. Despite commuting being the norm, employers and employees alike will gain substantial benefits by ditching the practice altogether. Today’s technology puts this goal within reach.
In a world where businesses either pride themselves on their security solutions, or have woefully unsecured networks, you need to understand that one of the most common threats to sensitive corporate data comes from within your organization. User error is the leading cause of data loss and security-related problems, although, it’s important to remember that they often have good intentions that may result in an unfortunate outcome.
One way this happens is with what’s called shadow IT. This is the implementation of technology solutions that may not be sanctioned by your organization’s IT department. For example, an employee might choose to download a free antivirus if they see that their workstation’s antivirus software license has expired. Or, if they don’t have a word processing solution, they may look for alternatives on the Internet. While they may have only good intentions when implementing the solution, this can lead to several security discrepancies that could put your data at risk.
Another way that this might happen is when an employee is working hard on a project in order to meet a deadline, but the software license expires and they are no longer able to access the tools they need to continue working. Rather than go through the proper channels (especially if IT is bogged-down with work, and is unresponsive to urgent requests), the employee might choose to take matters into their own hands and find a solution that works. The employee can now get back to doing their job, but they’ve just implemented shadow IT, which is a major red flag for businesses.
When it comes to shadow IT, the primary concern is the source of the solution. Where did the software that your employee found come from? Depending on what exactly they downloaded, it could be a seemingly-benign open-source software from a reputable website. However, if they found it on some ad-encrusted sketchy corner of the Internet, you might be in trouble. Freeware is often exploited by hackers to spread their influence, knowing full well that people will download it and use it, rather than pay for a software license from a reputable vendor.
The best way to prevent shadow IT is to control the permissions that you provide for your employees on their workstations. Downloading a new software solution often requires administrator permission, so when you remove these permissions from a workstation, you’re forcing the employee to go through the proper channels when requesting a new software to work with. It also helps to educate your employees on how to use the technology solutions your business has adopted--as another reason why they might choose to use something different could be the fact that they’re unfamiliar using other applications.
In general, having a responsive IT department can minimize the trouble that your team has with its IT solutions can be a great deterrent for shadow IT. When they don’t run into hiccups, and they are comfortable using your business’s technology solutions, they won’t feel the need to implement additional solutions that can put your company’s data at risk.
To learn more about shadow IT, and the threats that it poses for your business, reach out to us at (508) 622-5100.
When money is tight and you start feeling down about your financial situation, it’s important to keep the big picture in mind. This can be done by reviewing your net worth. Plus, if you go so far as to track your net worth, then you’ll constantly have this big picture before you. This will help you to worry less and allow you to better focus on your goals.