Automation Concepts & Technologies, Inc. Blog

Welcome to our blog, full of IT tips and business technology best practices.

Teamwork Requires Innovative Collaboration Tools

Teamwork Requires Innovative Collaboration Tools

Collaboration is critical to the success of your organization, and in a lot of ways, productivity can’t happen without it. Some modern collaboration tools have improved operations so much that they have completely changed the workplace dynamic, making meetings easier to manage, clients easier to communicate with, and managing in-house processes in a more efficient way. It’s no surprise that the right collaboration tools can help your organization overcome just about anything.

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Google Docs Finally Adding Microsoft Office Support

Google Docs Finally Adding Microsoft Office Support

Businesses generally have to make an important choice about which brand of productivity software they will implement for day-to-day operations. Two of the heavy hitters in today’s business environment are Google and Microsoft utilizing their respective productivity solutions. While the choice of which service to work with seems exclusive, Google is making strides to break down this barrier and allow certain file types to be edited in Google Drive.

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Collaboration Is a Priority For Many Businesses

Collaboration Is a Priority For Many Businesses

Innovation takes many forms, whether it’s implementing automated solutions to ensure tasks get done or implementing new ways to get work done by your in-house staff. Collaboration is one of the ways that your business can benefit from innovation, as the right solutions can make a world of difference. We’ll discuss some of the more innovative collaboration solutions that you can implement for your business.

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How Automation Rejuvenates Productivity

How Automation Rejuvenates Productivity

There are some cases where productivity is a challenge, especially in the case where you’re being asked to work on something repetitive or monotonous. To make these tasks more bearable, automation solutions can be used. Although, depending on the purpose, they can become an integral part of your business’ productivity strategy.

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Three Keys to Proper Software Management

Three Keys to Proper Software Management

Nowadays, every company relies on some kind of software in order to properly function, so you need to ensure that this software is properly managed in order to maintain operations. While this may sound like a grand undertaking, software management is relatively simple and can be whittled down into three steps: leveraging the assets available, testing your strategies, and understanding what it is you have.

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Business Technology Continues to Shift to the Web

Business Technology Continues to Shift to the Web

Businesses today rely on so much technology that it’s impossible to think about operations without considering how technology can make them more efficient. In fact, many organizations would completely collapse without the innovations brought about as a result of technology development. One of the hottest trends over the past few years has been the shift from in-house assets to web-based assets, ranging from application access to infrastructure hosting.


We’re not talking about just using a web application like Gmail to access the Internet. Most businesses these days take advantage of some type of web-based service to keep their operations moving smoothly. They could either have a couple of applications hosted on the Internet, like Microsoft Office or the Adobe Creative Suite, or it could go as far as having the entire network infrastructure hosted in the cloud for easy access. Either way, business operations would change considerably without having access to the cloud and Internet-based solutions.

Before web-based applications became commonplace, businesses rely on applications and solutions hosted locally on a network or desktop infrastructure. Nowadays, if solutions are stored in the cloud, they can be accessed on a plethora of devices that allow for more flexibility and innovation than ever before. We’ll talk about some of the various ways that the Internet and web-connected services change the way that businesses function.

Communications
Business communications rely heavily on staying connected. Considering how the Internet is also all about connectivity, the two naturally go hand-in-hand. Businesses have access to all sorts of communication solutions, including voice and video chat, instant messaging, and email--all designed to keep your organization connected to all of your contacts and users in a way which fosters productivity.

Imagine being able to take your business’s telephone solution on the go with you simply by having a mobile application on your device. You might even already be taking advantage of mobile email solutions. It’s just one way that a constant connection to the Internet and web-based apps really help businesses stay connected while on the go.

Software Solutions
Your business relies on software to get work done, including a productivity suite of some kind. Thanks to the cloud, these solutions can be hosted online and stored in a way which allows for access via mobile devices and desktops alike. If you’re using a word processor, spreadsheet creator, or other type of software that lets you build out business documents or check information, you stand to benefit from web-based access to these applications.

Now that you don’t have to rely on constant access to a desktop to work on text files or other projects, your organization is free to pursue a method of working and operations that best suits it. This gives your employees the freedom to choose their own devices. Furthermore, access to web-based applications is often much cheaper as a whole, since you’re simply paying for access to the latest versions of each solution in a web format rather than purchasing licenses outright for your desktop workstation.

Access to Information
Perhaps one of the most important parts of Internet access for a business is the unprecedented access to important information. Businesses can investigate potential new solutions, potential clients, and competitors to create some of the most lucrative possibilities imaginable. Some might say that business lives on the web, and in this situation, it certainly does. You can perform market research, find other organizations like yourself to glean ideas from, and potentially even find new clients.

Is your business fully taking advantage of mobile technology and access to web-based solutions? Automation Concepts & Technologies, Inc. can help your organization fully implement solutions designed to improve access to important information, be it locally on your network or through a cloud-based hardware infrastructure. To learn more, reach out to us at (508) 622-5100.

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Could Your Business Use a New Telephone System?

Could Your Business Use a New Telephone System?

Telephone solutions have long been a major pain point for businesses. Smaller organizations attempt to get the most bang for their buck, especially for something as important as communications, but it’s not always so simple. How can you get the greatest return on investment from your business’ telephone solution? You can start by implementing Voice over Internet Protocol.


VoIP uses your business’ Internet connection, rather than telephone lines, to transmit your voice to the recipient, and it has the potential to completely change the way your organization operates. Here are six benefits that your business can gain from VoIP.

VoIP Provides a Lower Cost per Call
Since VoIP uses your Internet connection--or, rather, your IP address--to send calls, you’ll get more value out of your telephone network in the long run. This is especially true for long-distance calls. As long as your bandwidth can handle the additional strain, you actually save money by implementing VoIP.

VoIP Offers Mobility
When you implemented your office telephone solution, you installed lines that run directly to specific handsets for each of your employees. This makes changing numbers or moving offices a huge pain, as you would typically need to contact the telephone company to get your services transferred elsewhere. VoIP eliminates this issue entirely and provides your business with the freedom to move things around as you see fit.

VoIP Has Dynamic Features
You may have all of the traditional telephone services with your landline connection, but more advanced features are likely out of reach for you. VoIP offers plenty of features, such as voicemail transferring, video chat, instant messaging, and much more, so that you can spend your time wisely during a telephone call.

VoIP Includes Simple Telephony Solutions
While VoIP provides great additional features that you can customize as your needs see fit, you still retain access to all of the basic services that make the telephone such a great solution in the first place. You’ll still retain access to conference calling and call forwarding the same as usual, so there’s plenty of room to grow and add services as your business needs change.

VoIP Offers Great Client Interaction
Have you ever had the phone ring in your office, but you’re simply too busy to answer the call? Well, with VoIP, there’s no excuses. You can have the call transferred to specific phones or devices if it’s not answered within a certain number of rings. This improves your business’ reputation with clients.

VoIP is Reliable When You Need it Most
More than anything, VoIP can be used on multiple devices. It can be accessed through mobile devices, or on a desktop or laptop. You can even use traditional handsets if you so desire. It’s a highly customizable solution that your business can leverage to its advantage.

Automation Concepts & Technologies, Inc. can equip your business with a powerful, enterprise-grade VoIP solution designed to work for your business. To learn more, reach out to us at (508) 622-5100.

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Looking for New Productivity Software? Try Software as a Service

Looking for New Productivity Software? Try Software as a Service

Most businesses rely on software solutions in order to stay productive throughout the work day. Whether it’s a word processor, a spreadsheet builder, or simple data storage in the cloud, software is deeply ingrained in the modern business world. Shouldn’t your organization be taking advantage of it to its full extent? You can start by implementing Software as a Service.


You can think of Software as a Service like renting a house. Sure, you could go all-in and buy it in one go, but it would be an immensely expensive up-front cost. In order to make it more affordable, those purchasing a home acquire a mortgage, or simply rent the home rather than attempting to purchase it outright. These smaller, more affordable payments provide shelter in a similar manner while making it more accessible for those on a limited budget.

Here are four ways your business can take advantage of Software as a Service:

Communications
Cloud-hosted software solutions can be used to keep your organization connected via video or voice chat. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a perfect example. You can add new users and make changes to your service plan as your business grows, and you can access your telephone solution on any connected device with the application installed on it. Cloud-based messaging apps can also be used to similar effect.

Cloud-Based Email
Your business can use software as a service for your email solution, as well. Using a cloud-based email provider like Gmail or Microsoft Outlook allows you to add or remove users to your email server quickly and efficiently. Furthermore, you can expand the service at any time to accommodate growth.

Productivity Suites
The most notable use of software as a service comes from productivity suites. You might notice how services like Microsoft Office 365 and Google’s G-Suite are designed specifically “as a service.” In Microsoft’s case, you can purchase the entire Office suite at once, or you can purchase its individual parts. Better yet, you can pay for access to a cloud-based version of productivity software like Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, that is always up-to-date. This saves you plenty of money in the long run by providing continuous access to software solutions, without needing to update your license or take on additional capital expenses.

Virtualization
Basically, software as a service is a great way to virtualize and turn just about any software solution into a more efficient, scalable, consumable, and affordable form. The sky's the limit. How can your business benefit from Software as a Service offerings? To find out, reach out to Automation Concepts & Technologies, Inc. at (508) 622-5100.

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Tip of the Week: How To Put A Table Of Contents In A Google Doc

Tip of the Week: How To Put A Table Of Contents In A Google Doc

If you author a long document, having a table of contents can help your readers get the information they need fast. Here is how to insert a table of contents into a Google Doc.

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Google Pixel Is First to Come with Zero-Touch Provisioning--Will Your Favorite Be Next?

Google Pixel Is First to Come with Zero-Touch Provisioning--Will Your Favorite Be Next?

Does your business use Google’s line of Android devices for business purposes? Well, you might be happy to hear about Google’s new zero-touch solution for enterprises for their Pixel line of smartphones. If you provide smartphones for your business’ employees, you know how much of a hassle it is to set up these devices. This new zero-touch policy attempts to make a change to this.

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How To Keep Your Company Out Of The BSA’s Crosshairs

How To Keep Your Company Out Of The BSA’s Crosshairs

Let’s say that you have an employee who wants to do some good for your business and save your IT some cash on a piece of business software. They find a “free” version of it on the Internet, thinking they have found you a bargain deal. Little do you know that there is an agency out there that’s specifically looking for businesses like yours that don’t keep track of their software licensing, just to make a quick buck off of copyright infringement.

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You Need To Be Familiar With Patching Terminology

You Need To Be Familiar With Patching Terminology

Over the past several months, while watching the news or reading about business and technology, you’ve probably encountered a few words, such as ‘ransomware’ ‘exploit weakness’, and ‘security patch’. These terms are used often, and you may be confused as to what they really mean, and how they relate to you and the security of your business’ data.

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Businesses Running Outdated Software are Taking a Huge Risk, Study Finds

Businesses Running Outdated Software are Taking a Huge Risk, Study Finds

It goes without saying that businesses that don’t want to invest in the latest and greatest software solutions will be denying themselves the opportunity for more productivity and efficiency, but most of all, security will be put on the line. A new study has proven that there is a direct correlation between businesses that run older versions of out-of-date operating systems and web browsers, and organizations that suffer from data breaches.

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“The Worst” Windows Bug Discovered... and Thankfully Fixed

“The Worst” Windows Bug Discovered... and Thankfully Fixed

Microsoft has resolved what a security researcher tweeted was “the worst Windows remote code exec” in his memory. This vulnerability allowed a targeted file to implement remote code execution processes, manipulating the infected system and spreading the infection to other machines. In other word, it’s a bad problem to have. The scariest part: the attack would be triggered if a particular file were to be scanned by the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine.

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What You Should Be Mindful of Before Hosting Your Software in the Cloud

What You Should Be Mindful of Before Hosting Your Software in the Cloud

Businesses have focused on efficient utility software deployment for the better part of 30 years. Today, developers are increasingly offering software titles “as-a-service”, which gives users access to these powerful tools, via the cloud, for a consistent monthly payment. Distributing solutions through cloud technologies, be they a private cloud server or a reputable public cloud provider’s platform, can give your business considerable benefits.

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Keeping All of Your Company’s Technology Up-to-Date is a Chore... that You Can Outsource!

Keeping All of Your Company’s Technology Up-to-Date is a Chore... that You Can Outsource!

Updating your company’s software is a big responsibility that shouldn’t be overlooked. When it comes down to it, applying security patches and updates are some of the best preventative measures you can take to ensure the safety of your company’s data. Do you have a plan in place to handle all of your technology updates, or are you going about it haphazardly?

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Why You Should Read the Fine Print Before Downloading Adware

Why You Should Read the Fine Print Before Downloading Adware

Has this ever happened to you? You come across a free app online that seems interesting, entertaining, or helpful so you decide to download it? However, as soon as you click the download button you regret it as it begins to install browser toolbars, adware, and other annoying (and potentially dangerous) software onto your device? How can you keep this “crapware” from getting too out of hand, and why is it so popular in the first place?

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DroidJack Malware is Super-Effective Against Impatient Pokémon Go Users

DroidJack Malware is Super-Effective Against Impatient Pokémon Go Users

Augmented reality is a growing trend in the technology industry, and perhaps one of the best known uses of it today can be found in the extremely popular mobile device app, Pokemon Go. However, hackers have seized the opportunity to infect players who want to “catch ‘em all” with a backdoor called DroidJack - something that certainly won’t help gamers “be the very best.”

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Microsoft Now Pushing Into the Technology as a Service Market

Microsoft Now Pushing Into the Technology as a Service Market

One of Microsoft’s latest moves to appeal to business owners has been to establish a Technology as a Service program, allowing small businesses to purchase Surface products, accessories, and support by subscribing to a monthly payment plan. What’s more, when time comes to upgrade, customers can do so, although some fees may apply as dictated by the lease.

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How an Expired Software License Can Spell Trouble for Your Business

How an Expired Software License Can Spell Trouble for Your Business

Your business relies on several software solutions that are designed to help your team be as productive as possible throughout the workday. In order to use these pieces of software, users often need to have a software license or an agreement with the developers. Without these software licenses, the legitimacy of the software is questioned and your team loses valuable time to be productive.


Risks Involved with Renewing Software Licenses
It’s important that all businesses have a solid plan to approach software licensing issues. This means taking an accurate assessment of the risks that are involved with managing software license problems. Here are three of the biggest culprits:

  • Downtime: One of the most immediate issues associated with software licenses is that they can run out at any given moment, especially if you don’t take the initiative to renew them before they expire. Imagine this scenario: your team is working full-throttle to finish a project, but then the software is made unavailable because it’s no longer licensed. If this happens, your team could lose precious momentum while waiting for IT to resolve the issue. This wasted time translates to downtime, which has a negative effect on any strict budget.
  • Shadow IT: In the above scenario, let’s say that your team doesn’t want to wait for IT to resolve the issue. This may cause them to look into alternative solutions that may not be approved by management. This is what’s known as shadow IT; solutions that are implemented without the proper oversight. When this happens, infrastructures could be put at risk of being compromised, while ignoring software licensing requirements.
  • Legal issues: Employees may get the idea that they can find a illegal copy of the needed software online at a cheaper price (or free). While your employees may only be trying to help, their intentions are irrelevant, primarily because if they download a “discounted” or “free” version of a particular software on the Internet, it may not come from a legitimate source. In other words, you run the risk of your employees resolving the issue in a potentially illegal way. If your business is found to have a pirated copy of a software solutions, you could be subject to nasty fines that are easily avoidable. All it takes is an unexpected audit to completely drown your chances of success.

If your organization finds it difficult to handle software licenses, we’re here to tell you that there’s an easier way to manage your business’s mission-critical software solutions. With our remote management and maintenance solution, we can manually update your business’s crucial systems, making sure that they remain secure from potential threats. We can also arrange your software licenses in a way which lets you update them at around the same time. This way, you’ll never miss a critical update or software license renewal ever again.

For more information, give us a call at (508) 622-5100.

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About Automation Concepts & Technologies, Inc.

Automation Concepts & Technologies, Inc. strives to provide the best comprehensive IT, Computer, and Networking services to small businesses. We can handle all of your organization's technology challenges, starting with planning, implementing, and supporting the IT solutions that are critical to your growth and success. Learn More

(508) 285-5080

130 South Washington Street
North Attleboro, Massachusetts 02760