Is Your Business Losing Money Because Employees Can’t Use Tech?

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Shiny new tech can be exciting! It promises increased efficiency, happier employees, and a competitive edge. It’s also necessary to stay competitive in today’s technology-driven business world.

But that promise can turn into a financial nightmare if you neglect two important things. These are employee training and change management. You can end up losing money simply because employees can’t use their technology.

When employees have trouble using their business tools, productivity drops. Mistakes can be made, and customer service can fall. Read on for common staff technology issues as well as the solutions.

Lack of Technology Training

Imagine investing in a top-of-the-line CRM system, then you see your sales team floundering instead of excelling. You were expecting the CRM to make their jobs easier, but they can’t find key features, struggle with data entry, and miss deadlines.

Why? Because they haven’t been properly trained on the new software. This scenario plays out in countless businesses. It leads to the following costs:

Lost Productivity

Employees fumbling with unfamiliar tech lose valuable work time. Imagine the lost sales opportunities if your team can’t process orders or can’t generate reports due to inadequate training on the new CRM.

Costly Errors

Confusion and frustration lead to mistakes. Inaccurate data entered into the new system requires time and money to fix. This impacts budgets and potentially damages client relationships.

Demotivation and Resistance

Struggling with a new system is demoralizing. Untrained employees might resist using it altogether. They can cling to outdated (but familiar) methods. This hinders adoption and negates the benefits of the new tech.

Failing to Manage the Change

New technology disrupts workflows. Without proper change management, employees feel overwhelmed and insecure. Change management is looking at the “human” side of change. It’s about helping employees understand why things are changing as well as providing training, support, and other engagement. The goal is to help them transition successfully.

Organizations using change management are 67% more likely to achieve desired project outcomes.

When companies neglect change management, the following can happen.

Low Morale

Change can be stressful. Employees can feel lost and undervalued, especially due to a lack of clear communication and support during the transition. This can lead to low morale and a negative work environment.

Shadow IT

Employees may feel the new system isn’t meeting their needs. This can cause them to resort to using unauthorized tools (shadow IT). This creates security risks and undermines the investment in the new technology.

Resistance to Future Improvements

A negative experience with a tech rollout can make employees wary of future changes. This can hinder innovation as well as make it difficult for the company to adapt to evolving market trends. Without change management, employees tend to get “change fatigue.” This can make them less productive.

Building a Bridge to Success

The key to unlocking the true value of new technology? It lies in effective training and change management. Here’s how to avoid the negative costs and get the full benefits from your tech.

Invest in Comprehensive Training

Don’t treat training as an afterthought. Yes, some tools say they’re easy to use, but people have different tech literacy levels. Some may pick up things quickly, but many don’t. There’s no replacement for targeted training on a business application.

Develop a tailored training program that goes beyond basic features. Include video tutorials, hands-on workshops, and ongoing support resources. This helps everyone feel comfortable using the new tools.

Focus on User Adoption, Not Just Features

Training shouldn’t just explain how the software works. It should focus on how the new system will benefit employees in their daily tasks as well as improve
workflow efficiency. If employees don’t adopt the tech well, you don’t see its full benefits.

Embrace Change Management

Communicate the “why” behind the change. Explain how the new technology will make everyone’s jobs easier as well as ultimately benefit the company as a whole. Encourage open communication and address concerns throughout the transition.

The Takeaway

New technology is a powerful tool, but it’s only as valuable as its users. Prioritize employee training and change management. This will help you bridge the gap between a shiny new system and a real return on investment.

Happy, well-trained employees using the right tools are your secret weapon. They can help you maximize efficiency, boost morale, and stay ahead of the curve. Don’t let a lack of training turn your tech upgrade into a financial drain.

Need Help With Technology Training?

Efficiency and productivity improvements are the goals of most technology transformations. We can help you meet your tech goals with staff training. We can tailor training and support to your needs, as well as helping your team excel with new tech and existing tools.

Are you ready to discuss a tailored tech training plan for your staff?

Contact us today to learn more.

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Smart Tactics to Reduce Cloud Waste at Your Business

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Cloud computing has revolutionized the way businesses operate. It offers scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency. But cloud services also come with a downside: cloud waste.

Cloud waste is the unnecessary spending of resources and money on cloud services. These services are often not fully utilized or optimized. About 32% of cloud spending is wasted. This can lead to budget concerns as spending
skyrockets.

But that figure also holds opportunity. It means that you can reduce nearly a third of cloud spending by optimizing how you use cloud tools.

So, how can you reduce cloud waste at your business and save money? Here are some smart tactics to consider.

Conduct a Comprehensive Cloud Audit

Before implementing any cost-cutting strategies, conduct an audit. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of your current cloud usage. Conducting a comprehensive cloud audit allows you to identify:

  • Underutilized resources
  • Overprovisioned instances
  • Unnecessary services

Use cloud management tools to generate reports. Look at usage patterns, costs, and performance metrics. This initial assessment forms the foundation for implementing effective waste reduction tactics.

Put in Place Right-Sizing Strategies

Right-sizing involves matching your cloud resources to the actual demands of your workloads. Many businesses fall into the trap of overprovisioning. This means securing more user licenses or features than they need. This leads to increased costs and unnecessary waste.

Analyze your workload requirements and resize instances accordingly. Use tools provided by your cloud service provider. These tools can identify and adjust the capacity of instances. This ensures that you only pay for the resources you truly need.

Use Reserved Instances and Savings Plans

Cloud providers offer cost-saving options like Reserved Instances (RIs) and Savings Plans. These allow businesses to commit to a specific amount of usage. This is in exchange for discounted rates. By leveraging these options, you can significantly reduce your cloud costs over time.

Carefully analyze your workload and usage patterns. Then, determine the most cost-effective reserved capacity or savings plan. Find a plan that aligns with your business’s long-term goals.

Install Automated Scaling Policies

Dynamic workloads have a need for dynamic resource allocation. Install automated scaling policies. These ensure that your infrastructure scales up or down based on demand. This optimizes performance. It also prevents overprovisioning during periods of low activity.

Cloud services enable you to set predefined policies for scaling. Examples are AWS Auto Scaling and Autoscale in Azure. These features help ensure efficient resource utilization without manual intervention.

Track and Optimize Storage

Storage costs can accumulate quickly. This is especially true when data is not regularly reviewed and archived. Estimate your storage needs. Then, put in place lifecycle policies to automatically downsize lesser-used data such as transitioning less frequently accessed data to lower-cost storage options.

Regularly review and delete unnecessary data to free up storage space. Adopt a proactive approach to storage management. This can help you significantly reduce costs associated with data storage.

Schedule Your Cloud Resources

Schedule your cloud resources to run only when you need them. For example, turn off development, testing, or staging environments during nights and weekends. Or scale down your production environment during off-peak hours.

Use available tools to automate the scheduling of your cloud resources. Base this on automated rules and policies that you define.

Delete Unused or Orphaned Cloud Resources

Sometimes, you may forget or neglect to delete cloud resources. Resources that you no longer need or use. This can include:

  • Snapshots
  • Backups
  • Volumes
  • Load balancers
  • IP addresses
  • Unused accounts

These resources can accumulate over time and incur unnecessary costs. To avoid this, you should regularly audit your cloud environment. Delete any unused or orphaned resources your business is not using. You can often use cloud provider tools to find and remove these.

Weed Out Duplicate Services

Different departments in the same organization may be using duplicate services. Marketing may use one task management app, while Sales uses a different one. Centralize cloud resources and remove duplicate tools.

Having everyone use the same cloud tool for the same function can save money as well as enhance collaboration, reporting, and data integration.

Embrace Serverless Architecture

Serverless computing allows businesses to run applications without managing the underlying infrastructure. You pay only for the actual compute resources used for your processes. This eliminates the need for provisioning and maintaining servers. Which reduces both operational complexity and costs. Consider migrating suitable workloads to a serverless model. This can help you optimize resource use and cut cloud waste.

Schedule a Cloud Optimization Assessment Today!

By following these smart tactics, you can reduce cloud waste at your business as well as optimize your cloud spending. This helps you save money. You can also improve operational efficiency and environmental sustainability.

Are you struggling with expanding cloud costs? Need help identifying and removing cloud waste? Our team of cloud experts can help you.

Contact us today to schedule your assessment.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

How Small Businesses Can Approach Workforce Technology Modernization

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Technology plays a pivotal role in driving efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness. For small businesses, workforce technology modernization is both an opportunity and a challenge.

Embracing modern technology can empower small businesses. It can help them thrive in a digital era. Yet many of them don’t keep up with modernization. For example, over 30% of small businesses haven’t upgraded systems in 4+ years.

Some of the reasons SMBs don’t upgrade their tech include:

  • Limited funding
  • Unsure how to modernize technology
  • Stuck in the “old way is fine” mentality

The benefits of upgrading technology are many. One study found the following. That 45% of businesses modernizing tech saw improved ROI for IT investments. Other important benefits include improved employee retention and decreased cybersecurity risk. Not to mention the productivity and time-saving advantages.

Is your small business looking to modernize its workforce technology? Here are some steps to get you started.

Assess Your Current Technology Landscape

The first step in any technology modernization initiative is to conduct an assessment. You need to fully understand your current technological infrastructure. Identify existing strengths and weaknesses. As well as outdated systems and areas where technology could enhance business processes. Understanding your starting point is crucial. It helps in developing a targeted and effective modernization strategy.

Align Technology Goals with Business Objectives

Technology should not be an isolated component. But rather, a strategic enabler aligned with your business goals. Clearly define how technology can support and enhance your business objectives. Whether it’s improving customer engagement. Or streamlining internal processes and expanding market reach. Ensure that your technology modernization efforts align with your overarching business vision.

Focus on Cloud Adoption

The cloud has emerged as a game-changer for businesses of all sizes. Embracing cloud technologies can offer small businesses several benefits. These include scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.

Consider migrating key applications and data to cloud platforms. This can enhance accessibility, collaboration, and data security. Cloud solutions can also simplify software updates and maintenance. This frees up resources for other strategic initiatives.

Invest in Collaborative Tools

Effective communication and collaboration are essential for small businesses. Invest in collaborative tools and platforms. These ease seamless interaction among team members, regardless of their physical location. Examples are video conferencing, project management, and document-sharing tools. These tools can enhance teamwork and productivity. This fosters a cohesive work environment even in remote or hybrid setups.

Look at Cybersecurity Measures

There is an increasing prevalence of cyber threats. So, cybersecurity should be a top priority for small businesses undergoing technology modernization. Put in place robust cybersecurity measures. Focus on protecting sensitive data and customer information. As well as your critical business assets.

Cybersecurity measures include:

  • Firewalls
  • Antivirus software
  • Regular security updates
  • Employee training
  • Threat identification & response

Embrace Mobile-Friendly Solutions

In a world where mobility is paramount, adopting mobile-friendly solutions is key. Ensure that you’ve optimized business applications and platforms for mobile use. This allows employees to work efficiently from various devices. This enhances flexibility. It also accommodates the evolving expectations of the workforce. Employees value the ability to work on the go.

Look at Remote Work Options

The global shift towards remote work has accelerated. Small businesses should prepare to embrace flexible work arrangements. Modernize your technology infrastructure to support remote work options. These provide employees with the tools and connectivity they need. As well as helping them maintain productivity outside of the traditional office environment.

Consider Automation for Efficiency

Automation can significantly improve operational efficiency for small businesses. Identify repetitive, time-consuming tasks. These can often be automated to streamline workflows. Look at things like customer service chatbots and automated invoicing systems. Embracing automation can free up valuable human resources. As well as reduce the risk of errors in routine tasks.

Provide Ongoing Training and Support

Introducing new technologies requires commitment. A commitment to ongoing training and support for your workforce. Ensure that employees have the necessary skills to leverage the new tools effectively. This may involve providing training sessions. As well as creating user-friendly guides. And offering a support system to address any issues that may arise during the transition.

Watch and Adapt to Evolving Technologies

Technology is a dynamic field. Staying ahead requires a commitment to watching and adapting to emerging trends. Regularly assess the technology landscape. Work with your IT provider. We’ll help you identify new solutions that could benefit your business. A proactive approach to staying current ensures your small business remains competitive.

Need Help Upgrading Your Workforce Technology?

Workforce technology modernization is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. It’s a strategic journey that requires careful planning. As well as alignment with business objectives. By embracing these practical strategies, small businesses can leverage technology. And use it to enhance their operational capabilities. They also position themselves for sustained success in the digital age.

Need help with workforce technology modernization? Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Why Your Business Should Choose Exchange Online Over Traditional POP/IMAP Email

Overview

In today’s digital world, email is the backbone of business communication. While traditional POP/IMAP email services have served us well, the demands of modern business require more robust, secure, and integrated solutions. Enter Exchange Online—Microsoft's premier email solution designed to meet the needs of contemporary businesses. If you're still on the fence about upgrading from traditional POP/IMAP email, this blog post is here to highlight why Exchange Online is the smarter choice for your business.

1. Storage

Traditional POP/IMAP email: Laura’s design studio uses traditional POP/IMAP email and often struggles with limited email storage, leading to frequent archiving and deleting important emails to free up space.

Exchange Online: Paul’s design studio uses Exchange Online, benefiting from large mailbox sizes that accommodate extensive email storage. Paul and his team never have to worry about running out of space, allowing them to focus on their creative projects without interruptions.

2. Sync Capabilities

Traditional POP/IMAP email: Bob’s sales team uses traditional POP/IMAP email and faces issues with syncing emails across multiple devices. Bob often misses important emails when switching between his phone, tablet, and laptop.

Exchange Online: Lisa’s sales team uses Exchange Online, which offers seamless synchronization across all devices. Lisa and her team can access the latest emails, calendar events, and contacts from any device, ensuring they stay connected and productive wherever they are.

3. Security

Traditional POP/IMAP email: Mike’s tech company uses traditional POP/IMAP email and occasionally deals with phishing attacks that bypass basic protections, putting sensitive company data at risk.

Exchange Online: Karen’s tech company uses Exchange Online, which provides advanced anti-phishing and anti-malware tools. These features significantly reduce security threats, ensuring that the company’s confidential information remains secure.

4. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Traditional POP/IMAP email: Emma’s financial consulting firm uses traditional POP/IMAP email. When employees work remotely, they log in using just a password, which can be easily compromised if their passwords are compromised with modern Cyber threats.

Exchange Online: John’s financial consulting firm uses Exchange Online, which includes Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). With MFA, employees must verify their identity using a second form of authentication, such as a text message or an authentication app on their phone. This extra layer of security ensures that even if passwords are compromised, unauthorized access to sensitive financial data is prevented, providing peace of mind for both the firm and its clients.

5. Automated Backups

Traditional POP/IMAP email: Nora’s consulting firm uses traditional POP/IMAP email and struggles to keep up with manual backups. They occasionally lose important emails when backups are missed or corrupted.

Exchange Online: James’s consulting firm uses Exchange Online, benefiting from automated backups and cloud storage. This ensures their email data is always safe and easily recoverable, allowing Nora and her team to focus on their work without worrying about data loss.

6. Peace of Mind for the Business Owner

Traditional POP/IMAP email: Tim’s plumbing business has multiple branches and uses traditional POP/IMAP email. Tim constantly deals with email downtime, security breaches, and syncing problems between branches, causing him stress and distractions from managing his business.

Exchange Online: Megan’s plumbing business, also with multiple branches, uses Exchange Online, which offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee, advanced security measures, and seamless synchronization. These features give Megan peace of mind, knowing that her email system is reliable and secure across all branches. This allows her to focus on expanding her business without the constant worry of email issues.

Conclusion

While traditional POP/IMAP email services might seem cost-effective initially, the long-term benefits of Exchange Online far outweigh the investment. From advanced security and reliability to seamless integration and scalability, Exchange Online is designed to meet the demands of modern businesses. Make the smart choice for your business—upgrade to Exchange Online and experience the difference it can make in your daily operations and overall productivity.

If you’re ready to take your business email to the next level, contact us today to learn more about Exchange Online and how it can benefit your organization.

These 18 Sustainable Tech Habits Are a Win for Your Bottom Line

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In today’s world, sustainability isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a necessity. Businesses around the globe are increasingly embracing eco-friendly practices. This isn’t only for the positive impact on the environment. It’s also for the benefits they can bring to the bottom line.

Sustainable technology habits are not only about reducing your carbon footprint. They’re also about improving efficiency, cutting costs, and attracting environmentally conscious customers.

“Going green” can mean saving more dollars, besides helping the planet. Below, we’ll explore several sustainable tech habits you can adopt. These are not only good for the environment but also a win for your business’s bottom line.

1. Energy-Efficient Hardware and Appliances

Investing in energy-efficient hardware and appliances can lead to significant cost savings. Especially in the long run. Energy-efficient devices consume less electricity, resulting in lower utility bills.

Consider upgrading to Energy Star-rated equipment. And using LED lighting to reduce your energy consumption. It may surprise you how fast your electric bill goes down after replacing lightbulbs.

2. Virtualization and Cloud Computing

Virtualization and cloud computing solutions can help you optimize your IT infrastructure. By consolidating servers and resources, you can reduce the number of physical devices. This leads to lower energy consumption and reduced hardware maintenance costs.

3. Remote Work and Telecommuting

Embrace remote work and telecommuting. This reduces the need for office space. It also cuts down on commuting-related emissions. Employees who work remotely also report increased job satisfaction and productivity. Both of which can positively impact your bottom line.

4. Renewable Energy Sources

Consider transitioning to renewable energy sources like solar or wind power. The initial investment may be significant. But renewable energy can lead to big savings on electricity costs. Additionally, it demonstrates your commitment to sustainability, which can attract eco-conscious customers.

5. E-Waste Recycling Programs

Put in place e-waste recycling programs. These help you properly dispose of outdated or non-functioning electronic equipment. Many electronics can be refurbished, resold, or recycled. This reduces waste and potentially generates revenue through resale.

6. Optimize Data Centers

Data centers are notorious for their high energy consumption. Optimize your data center by doing things like:

  • Using energy-efficient servers
  • Implementing efficient cooling systems
  • Consolidating data storage to reduce power usage

7. Green Web Hosting

Choose a web hosting provider that uses renewable energy for their data centers. This reduces your website’s carbon footprint. It can also lead to improved website performance and uptime.

8. Paperless Office

Transitioning to a paperless office can save money on paper, ink, and storage costs. Use digital documents, electronic signatures, and cloud storage solutions to reduce paper usage.

Office workers spend about 6 hours a week searching for paper documents. Digitizing files allows for keyword searching. This reduces those wasted hours and improves productivity.

9. Eco-Friendly Office Supplies

Buy eco-friendly office supplies. This includes recycled paper, biodegradable pens, and reusable office products. These sustainable choices can reduce your office expenses. They also show your commitment to environmental responsibility.

10. Software Optimization

Regularly update and optimize your software to reduce system resource usage. Unnecessary background processes and inefficient code can strain your hardware. As well as increase energy consumption.

11. Remote Monitoring and Control

Install remote monitoring and control systems to manage your facility’s energy usage. This technology allows you to adjust heating, cooling, and lighting remotely. This reduces energy waste. Smart thermostats are very affordable now. That makes this an easy energy energy-efficient win.

12. Green Transportation Policies

Promote green transportation policies for employees. These might include:

  • Carpooling
  • Biking
  • Using public transportation

Incentives like subsidies for eco-friendly commuting options can help. They promote the reduction of transportation costs for your team.

13. Sustainable Data Practices

Adopt sustainable data practices by cleaning and organizing your databases. The goal is to remove redundant or outdated information. Efficient data management reduces storage requirements and enhances data processing speed.

14. Green IT Certification

Consider pursuing green IT certifications. Such as the ISO 14001 or the Green Business Bureau certification. These certifications can improve your environmental standing and boost your company’s reputation.

15. Employee Education and Engagement

Educate your employees about sustainable tech habits. Encourage their participation in eco-friendly initiatives. Engaged employees can help identify more cost-saving opportunities.

16. Supply Chain Sustainability

Collaborate with suppliers and partners committed to sustainability. Sustainable sourcing and procurement practices can lead to cost reductions. As well as a more resilient supply chain.

17. Lifecycle Assessments

Conduct lifecycle assessments of your products and services. This helps you identify areas where you can make environmental and cost improvements. This process can help you optimize your offerings and reduce waste.

18. Green Marketing

Leverage your sustainability efforts as a selling point in your marketing campaigns. Customers are increasingly seeking out eco-conscious businesses. Promoting your sustainability can help you stand out from the competition. It can lead to increased brand loyalty and sales.

Get Help Going Green to Save Money & Help the Planet

Sustainable tech habits are not just about being environmentally responsible. They can also help your bottom line. The world has become increasingly aware of the importance of environmental responsibility. Embracing these sustainable tech habits can be a win-win for your business and the planet.

We can help you put together a sustainable tech roadmap that makes sense. Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

These 5 Small Business Tech Trends Can Fuel Your Growth

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In today’s ever-evolving digital landscape, small businesses have more opportunities than ever. Many of these call for leveraging technology to their advantage. Embracing the right tech trends can help businesses compete. It enables them to streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, and fuel growth.

But it can be confusing knowing which routes to take. Most small businesses need to choose the route that is going to bring the biggest return.

Below, we’ll explore five small business tech trends. These trends have the potential to drive success. As well as propel your business forward in an increasingly competitive market.

1. Cloud Computing: Expanding Possibilities

Cloud computing has emerged as a game-changer for businesses of all sizes. And some believe small businesses are among the most benefitted. 82% of small to medium businesses report reduced costs after adopting cloud tools.

The cloud offers many benefits. It’s a cost-effective and scalable solution for data storage, software access, and collaboration. By migrating to the cloud, small businesses can save. They cut the need for on-premises infrastructure. This reduces maintenance costs and gives enhanced flexibility.

Also, cloud-based tools and platforms enable teams to work remotely. This can promote collaboration and improve productivity. Working in the cloud offers access to real-time data and apps from any location. This enables small businesses to make informed decisions faster. They can also respond to market changes with agility.

2. Artificial Intelligence: Automating Efficiency

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionized the way businesses operate. This year alone, ChatGPT has completely transformed many business apps. We cannot overstate AI’s potential benefits for small businesses.

AI-powered tools and algorithms can automate routine tasks. Such as data entry, customer service, and inventory management. This frees up valuable time for employees to focus on higher-value activities.

Chatbots, for instance, enable small businesses to provide 24/7 customer support. All without the need for more staff or paying overtime hours.

AI also empowers businesses to gain actionable insights from vast amounts of data. This helps them optimize processes, personalize marketing strategies, and enhance customer experiences.

Embracing AI technologies can give small businesses a competitive edge. It does this by boosting efficiency, reducing costs, and improving decision-making.

3. E-commerce and Mobile Commerce: Expanding Reach

The rise of e-commerce and mobile commerce has opened up new avenues for small businesses. They can now easily reach a global audience. Using websites and apps, companies can sell anywhere at any time.

It’s easier than ever to put up a secure payment gateway and take payments online. These “plug-and-play” e-commerce sites and apps can create a seamless user experience. This allows small businesses to build trust and encourage repeat purchases.

Businesses can easily understand customer preferences by leveraging data analytics. They can also optimize inventory management and personalize marketing campaigns.

By embracing e-commerce and mobile commerce, small businesses can grow quickly. They can extend their reach beyond geographical boundaries. As well as tap into new markets, thereby fueling growth opportunities.

4. Data Security: Safeguarding Trust

As businesses increasingly rely on digital technologies, data security becomes paramount. Small businesses are just as vulnerable to cyber threats as larger enterprises. This makes it essential to prioritize data security measures.

46% of all data breaches impact businesses with less than 1,000 employees.

It’s important to put robust cybersecurity practices in place. This includes things like:

  • Encryption
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Regular data backups
  • Endpoint protection
  • Identity and access management
  • Advanced threat protection

Additionally, two more tactics to proactively manage risks include:

  • Staying informed about emerging threats
  • Investing in employee training

Customers value businesses that focus on their data security. A strong security posture can instill trust and confidence. This leads to long-term customer loyalty and positive brand reputation.

5. Automation and Workflow Integration: Streamlining Operations

Automating business processes can significantly streamline operations. When small businesses integrate workflows they save time and money. Workflow automation eliminates repetitive manual tasks. It also reduces human error and enhances efficiency.

Think about integrating various systems and applications. Such as customer relationship management (CRM), project management, and accounting software. Integration can end silos and ensure seamless information flow across different departments.

Other benefits include:

  • Enabling better coordination
  • Fostering collaboration
  • Optimizing resource allocation
  • Improving productivity
  • Enhancing customer satisfaction

Small businesses that leverage automation and workflow integration gain a competitive advantage. They operate more efficiently and deliver superior experiences to their customers.

Take an Important Step Toward Digital Growth

In today’s digital era, small businesses have a ton of tech tools and trends at their disposal. But it takes guidance to know what to do and how to do it.

While embracing cloud computing, AI, e-commerce, data security, and automation can help. To stay competitive small businesses need a clear and affordable path. One that makes sense for their business goals.

We can be your digital transformation guide.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat about tech solutions to fuel your growth.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Navigating the Deceptive Waters of Email Impersonation in Outlook

Introduction

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital security, email impersonation stands out as a particularly insidious threat. This blog post delves into the world of email impersonation, focusing on its manifestation in Microsoft Outlook, and provides practical tips for users to safeguard themselves against these deceptive attacks.

Understanding Email Impersonation in Outlook:

Email impersonation isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a real and present danger in our inboxes. From display name spoofing, where attackers hide behind familiar names, to more sophisticated domain spoofing tactics, the methods are varied and increasingly cunning. We’ll explore these techniques, ranging from the use of lookalike domains to compromised accounts, and even the cunning reply-to manipulations.

Red Flags in Your Inbox:

But how do you spot these digital wolves in sheep’s clothing? The key lies in vigilance and knowledge. This section of the blog will guide you through the telltale signs of impersonation attempts:

  • Mismatched email addresses
  • Requests that set off alarm bells
  • The Trojan horses of email: attachments and links
  • The devil in the details: spelling and grammar
  • Signature discrepancies
  • Suspicious requests for sensitive information

Fortifying Your Digital Defenses:

Awareness is only the first step; action is equally crucial. We’ll cover essential strategies to reinforce your digital defenses:

  • The power of educating your team
  • The shield of email authentication protocols
  • Advanced security features in Outlook
  • The necessity of regular updates and patches
  • The importance of double-checking: When in doubt, reach out!

 

Below is a great example of an impersonation email:

 

From: Jane Doe janedoe.manager@gmail.com
To: John Smith john.smith@companydomain.com
Subject: Urgent Request for Financial Transfer

Dear John,

I hope this email finds you well. I’m currently in a meeting and can’t discuss this over the phone. We have an urgent payment that needs to be processed today to secure a critical deal for our company. The regular procedure is too slow for this particular case.

Please make a wire transfer of $50,000 to the following account as soon as possible. I’ll explain everything and sort out the paperwork once I’m out of the meeting.

Account Details:
Bank Name: XYZ Bank
Account Number: 123456789
Sort Code: 00-00-00
Beneficiary: ABC Ltd.

It’s imperative that this is done today to avoid losing this opportunity. Your prompt action on this will be greatly appreciated.

Best regards,

Jane Doe
Senior Manager
Your Company

 

Conclusion:

Email impersonation in Outlook is a formidable foe, but with the right knowledge and tools, we can significantly diminish its power. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and remember, the best defense is a proactive approach.

New Team Member – Nicolene De Bruyn

Welcoming Our New Senior IT Technician to the Team!

Nicolene De Bruyn

We are thrilled to introduce our newest team member, Nicolene De Bruyn, our Senior IT Technician! With over 4 years of hands-on expertise in network administration, server management, troubleshooting, and system integration, she brings a wealth of knowledge to our team.

8 Reasons Every Company Is Now a Technology Company

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Whether you sell shoes or run an accounting firm, you need some type of technology to operate. Today’s companies aren’t just in the business of selling their own goods and services anymore. They also must master various types of digital tools.

These include software, payment systems, computers, Wi-Fi networks, mobile devices, and more. Companies also need to protect their devices and network.. If that technology isn’t working, it can impact a business significantly.

98% of surveyed organizations say that just one hour of IT downtime costs more than $100,000. The reliance on technology means that every company is now a technology company.

This is the case no matter what products you sell or services you provide. Let’s discuss exactly why this is the case in today’s world.

What Makes Technology a Backbone of Any Business?

1. Technology Is a Critical Part of Business

Even farmers use tech to check commodity prices, sell livestock, and keep their books. Most companies couldn’t operate without their software. Or without databases filled with important information.

IT downtime is so devastating for this very reason. Remember the breaches impacting global meat producer JBS and Colonial pipeline? Those companies had to halt operations because of ransomware attacks.

They both paid the ransom to their attackers so they could begin operating again. Without the technology that’s become a normal part of our day, a lot of companies would close.

2. Customers Expect an Excellent Digital Experience

Customer experience came in first in a survey of top business priorities for the next 5 years. Nearly 46% of respondents said it was at the top of their list.

If a customer has just one bad experience with your company, they will likely go elsewhere. In a digital world, those experiences are often:

  • Navigating your website
  • Checkout experience
  • Appointment scheduling ease
  • Shipping notifications
  • Helpfulness of online chat
  • Response time from customer support
  • Ability to contact your company via social media

To keep up with consumer expectations in 2023 and beyond, means you need to use technology. From your website to your payment experience, people expect a smooth digital flow.

3. Employees Need Devices to Drive Productivity

How do employees work productivity without the use of a computer, tablet, or mobile device? These devices keep staff connected to each other and your customer data. Devices enable communication and are how much of the work in offices gets done. If they don’t run well, business productivity suffers.

4. AI & Automation Help Companies Stay Competitive

AI and automation help organizations move faster. AI can personalize a consumer shopping experience. Automation can help sales teams close 30% more deals and improve conversions by over 200%.

To stay competitive, companies must integrate technology tools with AI and automation capabilities. This means they need to know the best ways to use these tools. Plus, integrate them well with existing solutions.

5. Information Is Being Generated at a Rapid Pace

Companies generate information digitally at a dizzying pace. Can you imagine what it would be like if you had to go back to all the paper files? You’d need a separate building just for all the filing cabinets.

Files, documents, and customer records are largely digital now. Keeping track of all that information and making it searchable requires technology skills.

6. Vendors/Suppliers Are Leaving Legacy Systems Behind

Think of the vendors you use to run your business. Could you interact with any of them offline only? No email, no digital documents? In most cases, the answer is, “No.”

The companies that you rely on for your business are also “technology companies” in the same way. Most will be leaving behind legacy systems like fax machines and paper documents. Thus, you need to use digital means to interact with them.

7. It’s Difficult to Grow Without Tech Innovation

People are limited by what they can mentally and physically do in a day. Computers and technology have exponentially increased that. They do a lot of the processing and manual work.

The cloud is often touted as leveling the playing field for small businesses. It allows smaller companies to leverage technology to do more affordably.

It’s hard to continue growing your business without the smart use of digital tools. This includes reviewing your technology infrastructure and looking at innovations on the horizon.

8. Business Continuity Needs

Business continuity is about keeping your company running despite any crisis events. One natural disaster could severely impact a building and everything in it. But, if you are storing your data in the cloud and using cloud software, your business can still operate.

Companies that aren’t employing backup systems are at significant risk. Tech solutions create the ability to continue operating from anywhere, increasing business resiliency.

What Does Your Innovation Roadmap Look Like?

Using technology securely and to its fullest can be a full-time job. Give us a call today, we can help take that burden off your shoulders.


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

How Is the Metaverse Going to Change Business?

Free illustrations of Metaverse

The new buzzword around town is “metaverse.” But what does that actually mean for businesses? Is it just something that social media companies need to be concerned about?

According to people like Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, the metaverse is coming. He stated that “Life without AR will soon be unthinkable.” Whether that’s a short-term or long-off prediction, companies need to be ready.

First comes the understanding of what the metaverse is. Metaverse is a general term – hence why it’s not capitalized like a proper name. The metaverse refers to a collective upgrade of the internet to a 3D virtual environment. This would be a world interconnected between various sites. These sites would reflect the immersive games that you see today.

Did Facebook/Meta invent the metaverse? No.

The idea of connected 3D immersive worlds has been around for decades. Several online gaming companies have staked a territory in the metaverse. But their applications are less interconnected.

What’s one of the best representations of the early metaverse? It’s a short-lived software called Adobe Atmosphere. This 3D immersive experience included interconnected online worlds. It also gave people the ability to chat with others. It was a bit before its time but shows how the concept of the metaverse has been around for a while.

The metaverse is getting attention now because technology has advanced. It has begun to catch up to the needs of such a world. This includes fast internet connections and immense processing power. It also includes a delivery method for 3D that works on most PCs.

Are we there yet? Not quite. But the metaverse is picking up steam. Recently, Microsoft announced a partnership with Meta. This partnership is to bring Microsoft 365 apps into the metaverse. This means collaboration in an entirely new way. Microsoft notes that 50% of Gen Z and millennials expect to do some of their work in the metaverse in the next two years.

Microsoft Teams Meeting in VR
Image source: Microsoft

How Does the Metaverse Impact Your Company?

With companies like Microsoft looking at the future of AR/VR, it could be a reality soon. You can expect the metaverse to touch your own company in some way in the next few years. Here’s a preview of what it may impact.

Where to Advertise

When the internet was first introduced, companies didn’t immediately realize its potential. Now, most companies wouldn’t consider operating without a website. It’s a necessity for driving leads and converting sales.

If the metaverse takes off as a new 3D iteration of the internet, it could be just as important. This means exploring metaverse-type advertising in virtual worlds. Also, potentially creating your own VR site or showroom.

How to Service Customers

As the popularity of social media took off, companies realized customers used it to reach out. Seventy-nine percent of consumers expect companies to respond to a social media message. And they expect that response within a day.

To address that need, many businesses have a social media presence. They use this for marketing and to answer questions and inquiries from customers.

The metaverse may be the next step. If people begin hanging out there, they will expect to interact with businesses in that space. Just like they do now with social networks.

This means companies need to be aware of how customers may be using the metaverse as it grows. Adding a question about metaverse use to a year-end customer survey could be a way to be proactive on this topic.

Employee Training

One of the touted benefits of the metaverse is its ability to enable more immersive training. This could greatly increase training capabilities for everyone from doctors to forklift operators.

Imagine being able to replicate a task more closely in a virtual world. A person could safely make mistakes there. Then they could grow proficient before doing that thing in real life.

Start thinking about the types of training that your employees need. Then, look at ways that a VR world may make the training safer or more efficient. The metaverse may not have what you’re looking for now. But with the pace of technological advancement, it could in a year or two.

More Immersive Remote Team Collaboration

Virtual meetings skyrocketed out of necessity during the pandemic. Now, meeting by Teams or Zoom is commonplace. The next generation of online team meetings may end up being in a virtual world.

As we noted earlier, Microsoft is already working on bringing its apps into a virtual space. Add a few avatars and an immersive setting. Suddenly, you have a completely different meeting experience.

What’s one more way to enhance remote team collaboration in the metaverse? It has to do with building design and maintenance. Imagine being able to walk through a 3D recreation of a space before it’s built. Then fine-tuning the construction while inside that space.

Is Your Business Ready for the Next Digital Transformation?

What are your digital transformation plans for the next 12 months? The next three years? If you’re not sure where to begin, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a technology brainstorming session.


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.