`

Paperless in 2017 is not a Pipedream

Since the dawn of personal computers paperless has been promised, but never fulfilled.  For many paperless is a pipedream that might never happen, but in 2017 It’s becoming a reality for many businesses.  A paperless environment requires many pieces of technology employed effectively to happen.  While going green has never been this easy, it does take a concerted conscious effort to achieve a truly paper free environment.

Why Everyone Needs Encryption

Why Everyone Needs Encryption

Encryption is often considered something that only large corporations need.  Very often we take security for granted and don’t protect sensitive information.  In our previous articles, we covered the importance of encryption when transmitting information.  However, this is only one area of encryption. The encryption of digital files, and securing of computers and devices are equally as important. 

Good computer support should be at the heart of every small business

Establishing and operating a small business is never easy. It is also costly and involves making lots of challenging budgetary decisions. One of the most vital parts of the small business budget however, is the computer support allocation. Revenue spent on computer support assures the smooth running of day-to-day business.


Quality Hardware Support


Most small businesses do not have an employee who is proficient at keeping hardware serviced and in workable condition. This includes proper care of servers, as well as networks. The server needs to be kept neat and at a proper room temperature, while networks require a variety of protections, such as a firewall and spam filters, among other things. Computer support technicians can easily stay on top of this. Many Small businesses quickly outpace their ability to service their own equipment and systems.  As companies add employees complexity of systems and technology needs change.  When your company is too small to have an IT support staff on the payroll a managed service provider is a good bridge.  

Keep Software Updated

Small businesses require software upgrades every now and then. Unfortunately, new software often simply will not run at all when the system has not been upgraded. Some systems will update themselves sporadically, but that is not to be depended upon in a professional working environment. If a small business does not perform periodic, regular software upgrades, then they could leave themselves vulnerable to security attacks.

Cyber security


Hacking has become more sophisticated these days. It's becoming easier for criminals to enter and obtain secretive information from unsuspecting individuals and corporations. Needless to say, this could have fatal consequences for a small business if customer's personal data is exposed. It's key to have an IT professional keep an antivirus program running that combats adware and spyware.

Maintain a backup of company data


No one likes to contemplate it, but total systemic crashes have happened to companies in the past. This is absolutely devastating if the company data has not been properly backed up. There's no second chance and that is why this is a tough mistake to make. Take heart; this never needs to happen as long as there is a top-quality computer technical professional who is engaged in regular systemic backups. It's necessary to the health of the company and its long-term prospects.


Employee Computer Training


Sometimes, employees are simply not as "tech-savvy" as they could be. This is normally due to lack of instruction and simple intermittent training sessions. IT professionals can easily handle this kind of company guidance, which can be given at regular, short company-wide meetings. When employees feel they are lacking in technical knowledge, it causes them to feel insecure about their job performance. Regular training helps to keep employees feeling competent and knowledgeable on the job. The employee is happy and the company is productive.

It is easy to see how proper, professional computer support is the lifeblood of small business. Tech support is necessary to keep hardware serviced and software updated at regular intervals. In this day of unsuspected hackings, proper cyber security and maintenance of a company data backup system are essential. Finally, at times it is helpful to have employee computer trainings to keep a company up-to-date and sharper than the competition.

Technology Every Salesperson Needs in Their Arsenal

Modern technology has made it much easier for the on the road salesperson to stay connected with their home office.  It ensures that your virtual office has the same kind of access that your main office does.  

Soft Phones

softphones are the new office phone.  when you hit the road selling, it pays to have the ability to get phone calls and voicemails and also make calls as if you are in the office.  With softphone software and a voip phone system you make that happen.  simply download the app and configure the system to use with your existing phone.  The application virtualizes your phone extension in your office on your smart phone.  The advantage to using this technology is that when you make a call from dubai or san francisco it will look like you are call from your office in lancaster, pa.  

Chat Collaboration Software

keeping track of your team and staying on top of company news sometimes takes technology quicker than email, and more efficient than phone calls.  Chat Software can come from a variety of vendors and is ubiquitous. depending on the type of business and team you have the right answer can be as simple as facebook messenger or as complex as your own hosted rocket.chat. 

VPN

VPNs are the best way to work remotely while on the road.  you have the ability to access the home office network as if you were there. being on the road and having access to everything back at the office makes sharing and access documents much simpler. For companies that are concerned about security, it is a good way to ensure proper precautions are taken to reduce the chance of your company data getting released accidentally, and put's you in charge of keep your company secrets, not some faceless corporation.  

Cloud Storage

Let's face it faxes are dying if not dead already, and many companies today don't even have a fax. let alone most consumers.  Cloud storage, and emails are the replacement.  need to pull a company for or letterhead while on the road?  Get it right from your cloud drive.  working with your team to put together a quote? create a shared folder to access all the project documentation.  Working with a company stuck in the 1980's that still send faxes? no problem have your cloud storage server receive all faxes.  Once it is stored on the cloud you can easily add it your CRM, ERP or Accounting system.  Cloud storage can also be used to back up your computer system to facillitate faster restorations if your computer ends up dying or getting damaged,  it also allows you to sync information between devices, you can access documents on the fly with your smartphone or tablet.  

Cloud based CRM

CRM is essential for keep track of contacts.  and having access to them on the road makes it so much easier.  there are hundreds of cloud based crm systems.  Some are open source and some are proprietary,  the best one for you is the one that makes you sell better.  an IT Solutions Company can help you implement one and make sure you always have access to it. CRM systems are typically contact based or company based.   Choosing the right style of CRM is highly dependent on how you do your sales.  In in a contact based system the data is organized arround the contact.  these system are typically best when the business is not as important as the individuals within the business.  However once you want to track business or organization metrics it becomes clumsy and a business centric CRM system starts making more sense.   In a future article we will be covering both systems in depth.  

Project Management Software for Small Business

Project Management Software for Small Business

Small businesses have to track more information than they ever have before.  Keeping information centralized is crucial for continued success.  Many businesses have experienced issues when experienced employees leave suddenly the loss of important system, or  client information can be devastating.  lost business opportunities, increased costs, or customer risks are all possibilities when information isn't shared, and employees are not cross trained

IT Consulting Companies Can Shrink Your Small Business Costs

Hiring an IT consulting company as a small business can seem like an expensive option, but a good Tech company can help you reduce your expenses, and drive more profits your way.  Technology is rapidly growing in complexity and managing the whole system from phone systems to automated backups can be a time consuming affair, and every hour a small business spends on supportings it's own computers and networks, is a hour it's people aren't spending on their customers.  TIme is valuable, and so is a system that works for you.

Leverage Technology in Your Small Business Team

Leverage Technology in Your Small Business Team

Technology can be extremely frustrating, especially when you don't have time to mess around with complicated set ups, or the budget to hire in house IT staff.  when working correctly, Technology can be leveraged in small teams to improve collaboration, communication, productivity, and increase sales.  The key is to successfully navigate the maze of tech offerings to get the most out of your budget.  

Amazing Free Software for Small Businesses in Lancaster Pa

Lancaster County is covered with small businesses. From farm stands in the countryside to painters and sculptors in Lancaster City, from family farms to high tech and software companies; we have it all.  The one thing all these small businesses have in common is the need to get things done. Quickly, efficiently and without a huge investment in technology before you even get started. There are hundreds of free software applications out there to help you out.

Development Servers on a Budget

developer-working.png

Say you want to learn and expand on your development skills,  what is a good development platform?  one thing you can do is to set up xampp or similar virtual server and develop locally on your machine.  the downside is it ignores many of the complexities of setting up a server and networking, and has some limitations as far as accessing remotely and doing penetration testing.  It's great for some limited applications, but not for general purpose development.  You can use a shared hosting server, but there are some drawbacks in that you don't have access to the entire server configuration. Another option is spinning up an ec2 or droplet or similar vps,  It's fairly low cost only about $10 per month for a basic virtual private server, and it allows for playing with the full stack plus networking, but the cost can slowly add up and if you have multiple servers at the same time it can add up quickly.  

This brings us to a great alternative, a physical server.  new servers can cost over a thousand dollars easily, but the used market is full of decent servers for a few hundred dollars that are a few years old, but more than enough to handle development needs.  

A great bare metal operating system to use is proxmox, a free, opensource, debian based system. It allows for server virtualization, and is handled with a gui interface that can be accessed through the browser.  spinning up a virtual server is easy and straightforward.  resources can be dynamically modified, and snapshots, and backups are integrated into the system.

When set up with multiple physical servers proxmox can be set up in high availability clusters, giving it an excellent choice for moving towards production.  within the proxmox interface many of the networking features can be set up and coordinated.  you can load both linux and windows systems.  by networking two proxmox servers together in a cluster, with each server as a proxmox node, you can manage both of them within the same interface.