Looking for simple ways to improve meetings? Technology can help.

Looking for simple ways to improve meetings? Technology can help.

Looking for simple ways to improve meetings?

Technology can help.

Modern technology can improve so many different facets of your business. But in some cases, these areas might not be so obvious. In other words, you and your team are so accustomed to the status quo that you don’t even think of other possibilities… like your meetings for one.

Incorporate the tiniest amount of technology into your meetings, and you can easily increase productivity, improve engagement, and maximize collaboration. Here are a few quick ideas to help you and your team make the most out of all those meetings.

Apps

Apps aren’t just for building magical kingdoms and swiping to the left for hours. Apps can also be used to pull off more effective meetings. With the right set of meeting apps at your team’s side, you can schedule sessions (Calendly, Appointlet, NeedToMeet), track minutes (Team Meeting Timer, Lucid, Less Meeting), build agendas (Minute), jot down notes (Cisco Spark), share files (Dropbox), and so much more. Apps like these will help you and your team get on the same page and stay there.

Big Screens

Who doesn’t like a big screen? Throw one of these bad boys into your next meeting, and you’ll notice the engagement levels shoot through the roof. But it can’t be just any big screen… it needs to be a touchscreen, write-all-over, connect-to-business-applications kind of big screen. In other words, something like a Mondopad. Use this gadget like you would a whiteboard but also do things like video conference and screen share.

Phones, Laptops, and Tablets

Most people think it’s a terrible, terrible thing to use a phone or other connected device during a meeting… but why? Maybe back in the day this was looked upon as a business Faux Pas, but nowadays, it should be considered something relatively normal. Allow people to bring their devices into a meeting so they can take notes, schedule activities for later, and manage their time more effectively. Otherwise, you’re limiting their abilities simply because someone at some point told you to do it.

Tech terms to know in the modern business world

Tech terms to know in the modern business world

Tech terms to know in the modern business world

Tech terms are everywhere, and it seems like everyone uses them nonstop. But do they actually know what they mean …? Do you…?

If not, here are a few tech terms every modern business professional should be familiar with. Learn what each term means and pick up a few conversation starters in the process.

Cloud Computing

When you store your data within a remote or offsite server, you rely on the cloud to handle business. This usually means you can access your data from any location or with any connected device. It improves your flexibility and makes your business more mobile.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A VPN gives you and your staff the ability to access your private business server using a public network. In other words, you can work and send information using any internet connection, as if your computer was directly connected to the private network. This is highly recommended if you have remote employees.

Keyword

A keyword is what people use to search for something on the internet. It isn’t always one word, and it can be as generic or as a specific as you need it to be. This word or phrase should sum up the gist of your webpage and help people find your site easier.

Vector

A vector can be many things, but here, it’s a graphic. These graphics are made up of “paths” rather than pixels, making them easy to work with. A designer can cut these images out with little hassle and use them within a design. Typically, vectors seem more “cartoonish” in nature.

Hot Spot

At this point, most everyone should know what a hot spot is but just in case… A hot spot is simply an area that provides internet access, typically found in places like a coffee shop, airport, hotel, or college campus. It isn’t always free, and sometimes it’s password-protected.

UX

UX stands for user experience. When you have a good UX, it normally means you have a pretty solid website (or app). In others, people enjoy being on your site (or app). It’s easy to get to, easy to maneuver through, and nice to look at.

I.T.

Information technology is the long-winded version of I.T. This term encompasses your network and all the hardware within it that stores, sends, and receives data.

Managed Services Providers (MSPs)

A Managed Services Provider is basically an I.T. company that proactively maintains and monitors your network, hardware, and technology infrastructure as a whole. Traditional I.T. companies use the Break-Fix model (Your computer breaks, you call the company, and they come and fix it). On the other hand, MSPs regularly update and manage all aspects of your technology to fix issues before they even happen.

Great apps to track down a lost or stolen phone

Great apps to track down a lost or stolen phone

Great apps to track down a lost or stolen phone

Smartphone have become an essential part of our everyday lives. Not only because it’s a collection of apps, photos, messages, and contacts that make up his or her digital life, but it’s also a large chunk of money… anywhere from $200 – $1200!

Because of this, losing a phone can be an awfully traumatic experience. You’re forced to start over from scratch and invest another portion of your savings into something that might just be lost or stolen a few months from now.

However, there is a way to fight back against lost or stolen phones, and it all starts with a phone-finding, anti-theft application. Here are a few to get you headed in the right direction.

Prey

With Prey, a stolen or lost phone has the potential to be recovered. This phone-finding, anti-theft application gives you the ability to take photos and lock your device remotely. This means that hypothetically you could take a photo of the thief with your phone’s camera and then keep them out of your phone and away from your data with remote locking.

Prey also allows you to wipe your data remotely (if it comes to that) and retrieve data stuck on your phone, like messages and call logs. Receive the location of your phone, determine if there are any Wi-Fi hotspots nearby, and take screenshots of what the thief is doing on your phone.

Avast Anti-Theft

Avast has a lot of the same capabilities as Prey. You can remotely lock your phone and wipe its data. You can receive screenshots, retrieve data, and learn about the surrounding Wi-Fi. One interesting feature Avast has, though, that Prey does not is that you can activate a loud siren. And the siren will only get louder if the thief tries to turn it down.

Another interesting feature is its SIM-Card-Change Notification. If the thief slips a new SIM Card into your phone, you’ll receive a message with the phone’s new number and location.

Lookout

Lookout is also very similar to Avast and Prey. It has the same basic phone-finding, anti-theft features that the two previous applications encompass. However, Lookout differs because it incorporates features such as Identity Monitoring and Threat Protection. So, not only will the app help protect you from identity theft, but it will also work to protect your device from known cyber threats.

And to keep things even more safe and secure for you, Lookout will send you reports on recent data breaches and backup your mobile data in the process.

Cerberus

Cerberus is slightly more intense than the other apps previously mentioned. In fact, a film student based in Amsterdam recently used this app to create a documentary on where stolen phones go. With this app, he was able to setup custom alerts, listen to phone conversations, turn on the camera, read messages, and track the phone’s location. Cerberus will also backup your data and give you the option to remotely lock your device, wipe its contents, and retrieve data.

Interested in learning more about keeping your mobile devices safe and secured? Give us a call today!

Our I.T. experts would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

4 reasons your business will get hacked

4 reasons your business will get hacked

4 reasons your business will get hacked

Businesses get hacked all the time. At this point, we expect hackings to happen. But… this doesn’t mean we necessarily accept them or that we forgive a business when they become a victim of a data breach or fall upon a security misfortune.

This being said, it’s important to know what will get your business hacked, so you can avoid these things at all costs. Here are a few things that will most certainly throw your business into a world of hacking.

You arent training your people.

Usually, technology is pretty smart, and for the most part, it can keep hackers out. It’s the people using the technology who aren’t so smart. They’re the ones who allow hackers to slip through, and oftentimes, it’s the direct result of a social engineering attack.

These attacks can play out any number of ways – through your inbox, in person, over the phone, through the mail – but the end goal typically involves someone giving away sensitive data. This can be anything from credit card numbers and login credentials to passwords and personal information.

Whatever the case might be, it’s all preventable with just a little training. If you fail to train your employees on the ins and outs of social engineering, then your company will pay for it with its data, reputation, and, quite possibly, its future.

You dont have policies.

Cyber security doesn’t just entail a handful of monitoring and prevention tools bundled together to create a layered security solution. That’s way too simple. In reality, cyber security involves much more, and you can thank the human element for that.

If you’re serious about that whole not-being-hacked thing, then you need to create detailed policies that actually help you do that whole not-being-hacked thing. These policies should address issues such as passwords, internal updates, external access, hiring and firing, and training. The more bases you cover, the better off your business will be.

You do have policies, but you don’t implement them.

If you go through the hassle of creating policies, then you might as well follow them. More often than not, companies will create security policies but they won’t stick to them. They rarely train new hires on them; they forget to update them, and they never discipline employees for failing to follow them.

There’s no point in having policies if you don’t stick with them. Create. Implement. Update. Then regulate.

You dont change.

Things change over time, including cyber threats. This means, that your cyber security policies, strategy, education, and tools should change over time, as well.

If you remain stationary, you really aren’t remaining stationary. This is because while everything else is progressing and evolving, you are not. You are falling behind. You are not remaining stationary because you are becoming less and less modern, less and less of a competitor, and less and less of a challenge to hack.

Never stop learning and always keep your business at least one step ahead of the threats.

Has your business experienced a cyber-attack firsthand? Do you worry about whether or not your business is secure enough to withstand a cyber-attack? If so, then give us a call today to schedule your no-cost security assessment. Our security experts are looking forward to your call!

What it Costs to Hire an IT Professional

What it Costs to Hire an IT Professional

You’ve probably thought about hiring an IT person at some point, and for good reason. The business world is becoming so reliant on technology that any network slowness or downtime can really impact your team’s efficiency, your client satisfaction, and your overall bottom line. But since technology is so precious (and expensive), the cost of hiring your own in-house IT person is a lot more than just the agreed upon salary.

So if you’re looking to hire your own IT person, listen up!

Cost

It’s important to keep in mind that there are several different job titles for IT professionals, so salaries will vary depending on the level of experience required. Small and medium sized businesses who do not currently have an IT department will start by hiring an entry level Computer/Network support technician.

According to payscale.com, the national average salary for a Computer-Network Support Technician is around $42,000 a year, or $18.03 an hour. So now that you have an idea of how much the salary is, let’s talk about everything else you’ll need.

Your new IT professional is going to need a real badass computer (most likely with several monitors) that can efficiently run all of the software needed to maintain your network. Speaking of software, you will definitely need to invest in network diagnostic tools and the most up-to-date security programs.

If you have multiple locations, they will most likely need a cell phone with a data plan and most likely a vehicle expense account or a company car. We haven’t even talked about benefits and worker compensation yet.

Where the Managed Service Provider comes in

As you can see, hiring an IT professional isn’t cheap. One person might not even be enough if you’re a larger business or if your business runs 24 hours a day (IT guys need to sleep too). So what’s the solution?

Managed Service Providers (MSPs). Think about it. Why hire an individual person to handle all of your technology needs when you can bring on an entire IT company for the same price, if not cheaper?

Managed Service Providers will not only have the skill and talent to keep your technology safe and up- to-date, but they will also have all of the resources needed to ensure all your hardware and software is running efficiently. Whether you have multiple locations or staff that works after-hours, a Managed Service Provider will give you piece of mind, so you can focus on what’s most important, running your business.

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If you’re interested in learning whether or not managed services is right for your business, then give us a call today to schedule a private briefing with one of our technology consultants.