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Small Business

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.  

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.

Small Business Technology Trends for the Next 12 Months

Small Business Technology Trends for the Next 12 Months

If you run a small business, now is the right time to assess your technology needs. Forward-thinking small business owners know they need to stay on top of new technologies to stay competitive. We will look at 3 technologies that are making there way into the small bussness – employee-owned mobile devices, cloud storage and big data marketing – and explore how they can have an impact on your business in over the next year.

Instead of conceptualizing IT as an independent business necessity, more executives will begin to see the value of using IT as an integrated, strategic business driver. Leadership will ask more thoughtful questions about their IT function: What are we doing? Why are we doing it? What is working? Why? What is not? Why? As the IT industry continues to mature and evolve, this business segment will join operations, human resources, sales, marketing, finance and administration as a core business function.

Secure Email, The Who and The What

Secure Email, The Who and The What

Secure e-mail, encrypted so no one out side the intended recipient can read it, has been strictly the stuff of big companies for many years. But just like everything else these days, e-mail security has become simpler, more Web-based. Dozens of firms are offering options for sending and receiving secure messages.

Encrypted e-mail will almost certainly never replace open e-mail, it is too cumbersome and expensive. But even tiny companies need to protect critical info like tax returns, independent contractor IRS 1099-Misc forms, and human resources data, and personal health information. This security burden will only grow. Not only are federal security officials requiring stringent new rules for sending and receiving employee information, but Hipaa also requires healthcare providers to secure all personal health information.

Click the link to see a list of some of the secure email providers.

Remote desktop is, by default, not HIPAA compliant

With today's workload, long hours, and pressure to get more done in less time, remote access to your work computer can be a life saver. The remote access we will be discussing in this article is accessing your work desktop, files, printers, and applications. There are a number of options, some are better than others.

HIPAA says the following about remote access:

Any access from the Internet or a remote location must be encrypted. This means healthcare information going across the Internet cannot be read until it reaches the authenticated user on the other end where is it decrypted.
Passwords should be stored in a central, manageable location like a managed firewall or windows server.
Remote access is tracked and attempts to connect are also logged.
Login and Password are sent as encrypted data.
Unlimited attempts to guess or crack a password are stopped by the VPN device.

There are a number of solutions that are HIPAA compliant out of the box. If you use logmein for your remote access you can stop reading, logmein achieves all of the above. VNC and TeamViewer can be configured to be HIPAA compliant with some changes to there default installation. 

But what about multiple office access, and the convenience of the Microsoft solution Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)? Citrix is an "upgraded" fuller featured version of remote desktop and does not need VPN or the overhead of RDP.

RDP between offices or from home to the office by itself is NOT HIPAA compliant, it fails on 1, 4, and 5 above. However, it can be HIPAA compliant, PCI compliant, and accepted as Standard Business Security if you use RDP across a virtual private network (VPN).

So how can a healthcare facility allow remote access without violating HIPAA, PCI, and other security standards?

We recommend installing a firewall, in particular a Sonicwall Firewall. The Sonicwall line of firewalls come with an SSL VPN, which is a secure way to create an encrypted connection to your office network before initiating a remote desktop connection. Sonicwalls are affordable for almost any business starting at about $800.00. We also offer Basic Sonicwall monitoring that stores logs offsite, sends reports, and sends alerts for threats.

Sonicwall’s SSL VPN feature provides easy access to work on data from any Internet enabled Windows PC by downloading a small SSL VPN client. For Physicians who need to access sensitive data from multiple locations in a hurry this product fits the bill perfectly.

If your practice is at risk, please contact us. We offer a free initial consultation and can offer a total HIPAA compliance package.