Branding: who you are, what you offer, and why you’re different. This is the most important aspect of any business, and perhaps even more important for those of a more modest size. A professional business brand not only distinguishes your business from competition in a highly saturated market, but is the initial signifier of what your customer can expect; therefore, cannot just be haphazardly thrown together. Appropriate investment, both temporal and monetary, is crucial in regards to branding. Hesitation with this strategy can be common in small businesses where focus on other aspects of growing the business might be tempting and other tasks may be seen as a priority. Nevertheless, branding needs to refrain from being seen as a second thought and be at the forefront of any business’ development. Customers have a multitude of options in this day and age, and you want to be able to make a… Read more!
Microsoft developed a cloud platform meant to provide scalable IT infrastructure designed to handle the needs of enterprise business operations. However, the same cloud platform that was designed for enterprise clients is now available for use by businesses of all sizes. The most important services directly affecting small and medium sized businesses are Office 365, Hosted Exchange and Microsoft Azure. Office 365 offers clients the traditional Microsoft Office suite of applications inside a cloud environment which expands the collaboration capability. Office 365 improves collaboration within an organization through SharePoint and OneDrive. These additions to the Office suite make it easy for businesses to develop solutions tailored to their needs outside of any management software they are currently using. SharePoint can help automate business processes while OneDrive provides anytime access to documents and allow users to share documents with people inside and outside their organization. Hosted Exchange offers businesses the opportunity… Read more!
The number one way for small businesses to reduce their operating costs is to improve the communication between their internal personnel and departments. Most businesses try to streamline their systems but do not clearly understand what they must accomplish in order to do this and often times are led astray because they have misconceptions about how software they have purchased is actually being used. Rather than working on something abstract a business can streamline its systems by simply focusing on communication. Start by drawing the business from the customer’s experience pretending computers do not exist. Define every piece of information and the paper that would have to pass between departments for the system to work. After the entire system is defined using paper begin applying the technology the company is currently using to each point of communication. If the company cannot identify what is being used for a particular point… Read more!
The biggest mistakes surrounding cloud computing deployments stem from improper planning. The greatest advantage cloud computing provides a business is scalability. Scalability can only be achieved if there is a clear plan for scaling services up and down. Developing a scalable model starts with mapping each individual position based on the organizational chart. A list of tools or programs required for each position should be created to determine what cloud services are needed for each individual. This map gives the business a clear path for adding and removing individual employees as well as a per head cost of employees based on position. The next step is to determine what type of collaborative tools the business should deploy. In order to determine collaborative tools the organizational chart should be used to map out who needs to share data. Once the data sharing map is completed a business can determine which cloud… Read more!
CryptoLocker is one of the more infamous malware attacks currently referred to by the general category of Ransomware. Ransomware is a Trojan style virus that infects a computer and encrypts all of the documents and data it can locate that appear to be of any value. The virus will work its way through the computer’s hard drive as well as any connected drives it can locate which can include a company’s server files if the drive is connected to the infected device. These types of viruses have existed since the late eighties, but regained prominence in 2013 with the introduction of bitcoin to the ransom formula. After the ransomware encrypts the user’s files they are then prompted to pay a fee in order to obtain the decryption keys from the attacker. Often the attack will use scare tactics such as a warning from a law enforcement agency to try and… Read more!
WordPress has become one of the most popular platforms for building and managing websites because of the simplicity of the database, dashboard interface and easily interchangeable plugins. Unfortunately, the simplification of such a complex process has left consumers with a false sense of security about the inner workings of their website. In order to develop and maintain a successful WordPress site there are a few considerations a consumer should understand. The most important aspects of setting up and designing a WordPress site are the version of WordPress, the theme and the plugins which act as the foundation for the look, feel and functionality of the actual site. WordPress itself is an open source content management system, themes are program files that work to create the user interface without altering the underlying code and plugins are prepackaged bits of software that expand the functionality of the site. All three of these… Read more!
Why Should You Consider a Website Redesign? Our top 5 reasons you may need an update to your website… Your site is difficult to navigate. Is it hard to locate information on your website? If it is difficult for you, imagine your users’ experience. An easy to navigate site engages your users and allows them to easily get the information they are looking for. Your website is not responsive. Everyone uses their smartphone to search for seemingly everything. If your website is not responsive it will not appear correctly on mobile devices. Your website looks outdated. Your website is often the first impression people have of your business—use it to present your best image. An up to date website provides instant credibility to potential customers. You website is text heavy, or filled with outdated information. People navigate the internet very quickly, and they are not likely to stay on one… Read more!
Does your business have a website? If the answer is no, these are our top 5 reasons you need one… 1. Your website is always available (even when you are not).Your website is available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. A website allows potential customers to research you even in off hours, and a contact page gives them the ability to request additional information at any time. 2. A website address is often easier to remember than a phone number or physical address. A website gives potential customers the easiest way possible to find you. 3. Establish your business as a resource. If you have a product, or offer a service, the content on your website can help establish your business as an authority. 4. Everyone expects your business to have a website. The internet is often the first place people go to find information. Without a web presence your business… Read more!
Over the past few weeks net neutrality has become a topic of great debate. I was recently asked to explain the issue for a friend who has only heard the sound bites on the news about the government trying to “take over the internet.” For those of you still unclear on exactly what net neutrality is, I will use an analogy of the road system because it is easier to follow. Imagine if the road system throughout the United States had been built by private companies instead of the government from the beginning. Every road is privately owned and every road is a toll road. The owners of the roadways use the toll paid by travelers to pay for upgrades, maintenance and profit. As the years go by large delivery companies emerge who deliver goods by truck to their end users. These companies use the roadways more than others because… Read more!
There is a fundamental difference between software that actually works versus software that people find a way to make work. Software people find a way to make work is one of the most frequently occurring themes we see in businesses, and oftentimes one of the most hindering to productivity. Software should improve some aspect of the communication and data organization of a business. When programs are configured correctly, and the proper training is provided, the results can be magical. Unfortunately, for many companies the reality is the configuration was not complete, the training fell short and a new version of the software is necessary to function properly. When employees find a way to make software work it often chokes the growth of a company, and results in confusion that may become catastrophic. The best employees are problem solvers who believe in the company they work for, and want to find… Read more!