Tag Archives: business

Running your business on relics? Time to think of cleaning house.

15 Sep 15
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You’re small, nimble, and don’t need the latest and greatest expensive technologies—we get that. It’s costly. It’s time consuming to research the stuff. You may not even know what exists out there. However, some of the old technology you’re still hanging onto to run your business may be costing you more money than avoiding a new purchase is worth in the long run. And you may be unwittingly blocking new profitable opportunities.

Now might be the time to embrace new technologies as you purge your office of the relics. So what are these old technologies you should think about getting rid of? Consider moving away from:

  1. Big old honkin’ desktop computers. They were once the standard, just like landlines. We all know what’s happened there. You no longer need these clunky space hogs that chain your employees to their desks. Today’s business is done on the go. Give your employees the freedom to get the job done anytime anywhere. Today’s laptops have all the power, speed and affordability that desktops had. There’s no reason not to make this change.
  2. Mobile phones for your business. To be clear: Mobile phones for your employees—yes, great. Paying for them—no, don’t. A more cost-effective and preferred route is the “Bring Your Own Device” policy. Most businesses today are doing this—and savings thousands of dollar each month. Don’t forget to protect your business with a written BYOD policy.
  3. Purchasing localized software. Used to be that businesses would buy software they needed for any old computer function: word processing, image/ graphics, accounting. These often came bundled in expensive packages along with a lot of crap they don’t need but were paying for.  If this is the way you’re still doing it, consider a move to Software as a Service (SaaS). You pay only for what you need and it’s stored on the fluffy white cloud. Many of the networks, platforms, and software you need are available as a service with more being added all the time.
  4. Using portable onsite storage exclusively. Backing up your valuable data with physical onsite storage devices has its place—external hard drives, flash drives, CD burners. They make sense for a lot of situations. But if that’s your only line of defense against data loss, you are putting a lot at risk. If a device fails or is stolen or damaged, you’re in trouble. Wise is the business owner who employs the cloud or offsite storage to back up his or her data.  There’s an efficient and cost-effective way to combine the best of both onsite and offsite data backup that will give you peace of mind.

Get in touch with TechnoAdvatange for more ways we can help your business flow with the best IT solutions.

Why and How to Get Password-Smart NOW!

18 Aug 15
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It seems the more we advance technologically and the more we rely on the security of our online accounts, the harder it gets to keep them secure. As fast as new protection is created, hackers find ways to crack the code. How to keep your passwords secure as your front line of defense? We need to be smart about it. Here are some ways:

  1. Change your flippin’ passwords! An online survey reported in a Dell Power More article found half of all passwords were more than 5 years old! A whopping 77% had not changed their password in at least one year. And even scarier, 21% use passwords they created more than 10 years ago! Come on, people.
  2. Don’t use duplicate passwords on multiple accounts. The same article states that 73% of you are doing this. You must realize that when a hacker cracks your password code, they then have access to ALL of the accounts you are “protecting” with that password.
  3. Use password management tools, like Last Pass, or those built into browsers like Chrome. Though this is not 100% safe from a hack attack (as we experienced a couple of months ago), it is still one of the best ways to add a strong layer of protection to your accounts and allow you to need only remember one master password.
  4. Be random. The more random the password, the more secure. People often create easy to use and remember passwords like Il0vemyd0g! but thieves know these patterns and can quickly generate these passwords to gain entry to your accounts. Using nonsensical passwords is a strong protection. Some password management tools like last pass will even generate them for you.
  5. Use two-step verification (aka two-factor authentication). They may be able to get past a password, but if you have two-step verification required, this means you must also provide a second bit of personal data to access your account. It might be an email or text sent to you with a code. This type of tool is good especially for sensitive accounts like banking and credit cards.
  6. Use password recovery. You’re going to need a lot of passwords if you’re the average user with 24 online accounts. And many companies will make you change your password frequently. You’re going to forget–let’s just agree to that. So use password recovery options to retrieve them. Some let you validate an account through a code sent to you via text message or a phone number you call to give personal information only you would know. Always think in terms of backup when it comes to securing your accounts.

We’ve got to be smart to outsmart our foes. It takes a little extra effort, but well worth the peace of mind knowing your precious personal data is safe. We hope these tips will give you new ways to combat the enemy.

What other tools or ideas do you have to protect your online accounts? We’d like to share those here. If you need help setting up a secure online defense, talk to us at TechnoAdvantage. We’re in the business of helping you do business smarter.

The Legal (And Smart) Way to Spy on your Competitors: Business Intelligence

04 Aug 15
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It used to be that Business Intelligence (BI) was reserved only for large corporations with IT budgets to match. But with the advent of the cloud, the growth of software-as-a-service and more competition overall, BI is now within reach for small businesses too, and they’re reaping the benefits.

One 2013 study done by Oxford Economics reported that more than half of firms having sales under $100,000 planned to use BI within three years—representing an increase of 43%. While that offers optimism, you should be careful before embarking on a BI plan. In an article published by Computer World, Gartner research stated that between 70% and 80% of business intelligence projects fail.

So take your time to find out some key indicators of its advantages for your business. Understand, first, what it means, second, what it can do for your business, and third how you can execute it successfully.

What is Business Intelligence? Sounds very James Bond, but a little less thrilling. BI is a software technology that focuses on finding trends in varied sets of data to deliver intelligence you can use to make smart business decisions. It’s facts, figures, data analysis generating reports and charts and other helpful insights you can put to work for you.

Some larger software giants like Microsoft and Intuit have developed solutions for small businesses, giving you the opportunity to leverage this market without a huge investment—and without employing a full-time data expert to use it.

Three top solutions you’ll want to explore and compare are Tableau, Birst, and QlikView. All have user-friendly platforms and each has nuances you’ll want to discover for yourself. But know that BI is an involved process no matter what software you use. So before you step into it, it’s best to define the business need you’re trying to solve, and then determine if you have the operational data required to pull from.

Ready to gather more intelligence on taking advantage of IT in your business? Contact TechnoAdvantage today!

Which Tech Tools Do You Need?

07 Apr 15
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There are two things that most business owners need: more time and more money. With the right technology in place, you can get both — and ultimately improve your bottom line. Here are 5 tech tools that can help your company grow.
Cloud-based phone system (VOIP)
Rather than investing in an expensive business phone system, why not have your incoming calls go right to your smartphone? Web-based phone systems allow callers to reach you on any device through call routing. Look for services that offer professional greetings, automated menus, voicemail to email, and local business phone numbers.
Communications hub
With so many ways to communicate nowadays, it can be difficult to keep track of where specific conversations are happening. A unified cloud communications solution will keep everything in one place. Emails, instant messages and contacts all appear in the same app interface for maximum organization and efficiency.
Online payment networks
Paper checks are the old-school way of processing business to business payments, and yet many businesses still use checks, wasting money on postage and supplies. Online payment networks offer a secure, affordable way to send, and accept money directly to and from your bank account. Because these types of payments don’t involve credit cards, you’ll save on hefty transaction and service fees, too.
Screen capture software
A picture (or video) is worth a thousand words, especially in this visual age we live in. With a good screen capture software, you can save images and videos right from your desktop. Whether you need the whole screen or just a specific segment, you can save the content you need with one click. Most operating systems have a built-in screen capture tool, but there are more specialized tools out there that allow you to edit and customize before sending.
Web conferencing service
Web conferencing is the communication tool of the future for businesses with remote workers and clients who want to reduce travel expenses. These tools enable real-time meeting collaboration, sales presentations, training sessions and more. To get the most out of your Web conferencing services, find ones that go beyond basic audio and video calls and offer extras like desktop access and webinar capabilities.
Does your business need to update its technological tools? You may be hesitant to make a switch, especially if you’ve become accustomed to your current system, but if you don’t have up-to-date solutions that can make your operations more efficient, you may be wasting ever important time and money.
Though you may recognize the need for a technology update, selecting the right tech solutions for your business isn’t always an easy task.

Let Techno Advantage be your local Indianapolis area resource for all things business technology.

We’re ready to serve you! CONTACT US

The New Look of Techno Advantage

24 Mar 15
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Have you heard the saying “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.”? Well, we’re growing and we want to share the latest news with you in today’s post.

Like many businesses, our previous website was little more than an outdated placeholder on the World Wide Web.  It wasn’t “working” for us at all.  We knew that the Techno Advantage website needed a makeover if we we’re going to keep pace with our competitors, be found online and continue to provide excellent service to our existing clients.  An informative, optimized and mobile responsive website was a critical next step. This winter, we located a talented design partner and began the planning process.

Since spring has officially arrived in Indianawe’re very excited to announce that the Techno Advantage website has a fresh new look. Everything from the navigation and images to the behind the scenes SEO infrastructure has been updated and improved.  What is SEO you ask….great question, follow this link to read the Wikipedia definition.  One of the main goals of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to improve your ranking, which was one of the driving factors behind our website remodel. We wanted to ensure that those businesses that need us could find us.  Consider this…there are, on average, ten positions on a typical search results page. The pages that fill those positions are ordered by rank. The higher your page is on the search results page, the better your click-through rate and ability to attract searchers.  Results in positions 1, 2, and 3 receive much more traffic than results down the page, and considerably more than results on deeper pages.

On the new Techno Advantage site, you’ll find well organized and helpful content, as well as blog posts right at your fingertips on a variety of topics, such as: data backup and disaster recovery, cloud computing, VoIP phone systems, and all things Microsoft.  Our blog has a new name – we’re calling it the Techno Forecast.  Get it…?  Lightning bolt logo, weather, technology…forecast.  Genius right?

We hope that you enjoy the new features of the website and promise to continue to provide useful information to help you stay on top of your technology.  You can expect to see new blogs from Techno Advantage twice per month on a variety of IT related topics.

Be sure to friend, follow, circle and link up with Techno Advantage on your favorite social media platforms!

The Cloud Explained – A Blog Series

08 Sep 14
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Have you ever wondered….just what is cloud computing anyway?

According to Wikipedia, cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network (typically the Internet). Clouds can be classified as public, private or hybrid.

Cloud computing, or in simpler shorthand just “the cloud”, focuses on maximizing the effectiveness of shared resources.  Cloud resources are usually not only shared by multiple users but are also dynamically reallocated based on demand.  This approach should maximize the use of computing power thus reducing environmental damage as well since less power, air conditioning, rackspace, etc. are required for a variety of functions. With cloud computing, multiple users can access a single server to retrieve and update their data without purchasing licenses for different applications.

Fans of cloud computing claim that it allows companies to avoid upfront infrastructure costs, and focus on projects that differentiate their businesses instead of on infrastructure.  Cloud computing allows enterprises to get their applications up and running faster, with improved manageability and less maintenance.

 

Is a move to the cloud right for you?  The term “moving to cloud” refers to an organization moving away from a traditional capital expenditure (CAPEX) model in which you buy the dedicated hardware and depreciate it over a period of time to the operational expenditure (OPEX) model which uses a shared cloud infrastructure and you pay as you use it.  Follow this link to learn more about the differences between CAPEX vs OPEX. http://www.diffen.com/difference/Capex_vs_Opex

The cloud can also help to protect your data as a back-up solution.  Each day, we create vast amounts of digital content—photos, videos, music, and documents—all of which is just a hard drive crash away from obliteration. Other data-ending events threaten, as well: You could be the victim of a fire or flood, or you may just delete data unintentionally.  But a cloud based backup service offers the advantage of securely storing your files at off-site server locations. This way, your data stays intact and available even if your local disks are stolen or your premises are hit by damage.

Did you know that Techno Advantage offers cloud back-up solutions?  Contact a Techno Pro today for more information.  Keep watching the blog for more great information on cloud computing.

 

Share your thoughts on cloud computing with us.  Love it, not sure, scared to death…we want to hear from you!

Summer Special Edition – Social Media Tools for Small Business

07 Jul 14
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Despite using all the same social networks – Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. – , each businesses marketing plan and marketing toolbox are likely quite different.  Enterprise solutions are great for the big guys, but the rest of us are in the market for something more our size.

Small businesses are eager to find valuable tools that take a lot of time and frustration out of social media marketing and that do so without costing an arm and a leg.  I think we all want tools like that, right?

Well, we put together a short list of simple, easy, cost-effective tools just for you.  Hopefully, you’ll find one or two that you can start using right away in your small scale marketing to get big results.

Powtoon – Are videos part of your social media marketing plan?  If you’re anxious to jump into video content, Powtoon can be a free way to test and see if it might work for you.  With Powtoon, you can create and edit video clips and upload straight to YouTube.

Social Mention – As a social media tracking tool, Social Mention has some neat bonus insights beyond their in-depth keyword tracking.  SocialMention tracks areas like sentiment, passion, reach and strength to not just tell you what’s being said about your search but how those reactions feel.  While you track your brand, you can also see how your sentiment changes over time.  Are your mentions positive or negative?  How will this change for month to month and week to week?

Canva – This graphic design app has an incredibly intuitive drag and drop interface, and the tooltips and templates make it ideal for beginner designers.  Everything is free unless you choose to use something from Canva’s library of stock photos.  Use this tool to design graphics for your social sites.

Buffer – Use Buffer to create a queue of the content you curate and send it out on a regular schedule to your various timelines.  It’s simple and easy to use and the intuitive analytics on each post make it a breeze to see which posts performed best.

Tweetdeck – Now owned by Twitter, Tweetdeck is one of the most popular tools for complete twitter management.  Tweetdeck lets you track, organize and engage with your followers through a customizable dashboard where you can quickly see at a glance the activity from different lists, followers, hashtags and more.

Of course, none of this social media effort will be worthwhile without a solid technology infrastructure in place.   Don’t let technical difficulties stand in your way.  A Monitoring Service Plan from Techno Advantage will help ensure you don’t miss out on any valuable social marketing time.  Check out our Monitoring Service Plan options here.

We are growing our social media presence and we would love it if you could take a second to like, follow, and circle Techno Advantage.   Go on…use the buttons below!

 

Feeling Overwhelmed by Technology?

23 Jun 14
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If so, well…..you’re not alone.  Many small business owners feel they have very little resources to help them navigate the vast tech landscape, according to a recent study.

The report, from Brother International Corporation and non-profit SCORE was conducted by Wakefield Research and covered 500 small business owners with fewer than 100 employees.  It revealed that 64 percent of small business owners still feel “overwhelmed” when it comes to technology.

Small business owners feel they have no one to turn to for tech guidance.  The majority have no dedicated IT support.  In fact, the study shows that 59 percent of those surveyed said there are “insufficient resources” available in small business communities to help them.

 

The team at Techno Advantage prides itself on being a top quality, outsourced, on-call IT department.  We are constantly looking for ways to serve and educate busy small business owners on IT related matters.

To help you feel less overwhelmed, here are 5 Tech Tidbits for small business:

1.Don’t scrimp on technology

Your business relies on your communication channels not breaking down.  Computer and network glitches can cost you financially.  Hone your business processes to understand the technology you do and don’t need and then get a second opinion.

2. Get in the cloud

Data space can be a huge issue for small businesses.  But you don’t need to purchase expensive kits to get around this.  Many small businesses are opting to outsource data storage or choosing to use a free service.

3. Make sure you’re mobile

Business won’t wait for you to be back in the office.  Smartphone and tablet are rapidly overtaking desktop use in the workplace.  The workforce is more mobile than ever and your business practice needs to reflect this.  Ensure you are contactable and can do your transactions on the run.

4. Security is key to tech success

Have a strong password policy and know what data needs protecting.

5. Get the right support

Don’t outsource your tech to someone you can’t get hold of in the middle of the night.

The team at Techno Advantage wants to be your small business IT resource and partner (yes, even in the middle of the night).  If you’re one of the many small business owners who feels overwhelmed by technology, why wait?

Call and speak to Jay and his team now!