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ByDaniel Gottilla

Business Productivity during a Power Outage

No matter what grid you are on, sooner or later there will probably be a power outage. It could be a few seconds or it could be for a day or more, but when it happens your business may come to a screeching halt. While you could install a generator, this step may seem like overkill for an outage that may just be a few hours a year. All the same, you need to be prepared. So, what’s a company to do?

  • While you may not have Internet access when there is no power, you probably have laptops in your office. If they are on the desks and plugged in, their batteries should be full of juice when the power goes out. Just reduce their brightness to minimize battery drain, and you can keep on working for a few hours, which is usually long enough for the power to come back on and business to resume as normal.
  • If you store your production servers and data servers at a remote location, they may still have power. While you still probably won’t have that Internet access, you may still be able to have access to your data and applications and be able to work as a team for as long as those laptop batteries hold out. It’s not a fancy system, but it’s a work around that will keep you from shutting down.
  • If you really need Internet access to work, try taking the laptops to a coffee shop. They may have free wi-fi, you’ll also get an outlet and you can have a nice drink while you’re getting the job done. After all, even a power outage can have its perks.
  • Consider other tasks. In the digital age, one of the most often overlooked benefits of the workplace is the ability to brainstorm and connect with others. Use the downtime as a chance to talk with your employees and tap into the resources not connected to a power source.
ByDaniel Gottilla

Why HR Needs Their Own Data Storage

Every member of your company works together as a team. They collaborate and communicate in order to build the best product possible and to get the job done. All of these employees, however, have confidential data that needs to be protected. Their health information, job history, reviews, and other documents should not be open to prying eyes. So, how do you maintain confidentiality when you are all working together on the same network?

First and foremost, your Human Resources department needs to be able to access data securely. While it can be kept on the same servers as other company data, you need to ensure that the access to it is secure and very restrictive. Not only is protecting your employees’ privacy the right thing to do – it’s also the law. Making sure you protect the data will not only keep your employees happy, but it can keep you from being subject to fines or a lawsuit.

The printers your HR staff uses should also be off limits to the rest of the company, as well. These printers should be kept in a secure location so that if documents are printed, no one outside of HR can accidentally come across them. Other employees should not be able to use these printers for their own jobs for this same reason. Even if personal information is divulged on accident, it was your duty to keep it secure, and a breach can have serious consequences.

These days, it’s important to take the time to keep personnel information safe. You trust your HR people to protect the data, but they can’t do it without a little help from you.


What Do You Do When a Critical IT Employee Leaves?

No matter how well you compensate your staff, sooner or later a critical IT employee will leave your company. He or she may have another offer, need to relocate, or even retire.

The loss of IT staff members leaves a gap in your security as well as a need to find a new employee to replace them. Chances are, these professionals handled some specialized and complicated tasks. How can you make sure their duties are being handled while you take the time to find a new staff member for the position.

  • The first thing you need to do is to secure your system. Be sure to change passwords, get the employee’s security badge, and terminate his or her email and system access. In most cases, employees won’t try to pull any stunts, but it’s always safer to cover your bases. This way, you know there is no easy route for them to get back into your network.
  • The next step is to find a new IT employee. This process can take weeks, but it doesn’t have to be a hassle. By contacting an IT consulting firm, you can get help ensuring your IT needs are being met while you are in the hiring process. The IT consultants may be able to help you streamline your IT processes while they are at it – meaning you get experienced help and as well as a better system.

Losing an employee can be stressful, but by taking the time to eliminate his or her access to your network as well as to call on the experts to share the load, you can make the transition easy.

ByDaniel Gottilla

The Past and Future of Domain Names

When you give your website an address, you can choose almost anything to name it. Sure, there are addresses that are already taken, but if you’re inventive enough you can label the site just about anything you want, “dot” something. It’s what comes after the “dot” that is a little more complicated. Despite pushes from various countries and groups, these domain names are limited. They are divided into categories like the familiar .com, .net, and .gov as well as a few others, and so far there aren’t very many more domains beyond these that can be used.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, is a non-profit group headquartered in the United States that oversees domain naming. They also oversee country specific codes that come after the domain, such as .ca for Canadian sites.

You may be wondering why sites in the United States don’t have a country code listed but all other countries do. It’s the same reason that British stamps don’t name their country on their paper mail stamps. The country that created the system doesn’t have to use their name; other countries have to list their name to differentiate themselves from the original British invented stamps. The same goes with country codes on an Internet address. The United States originated the domain names, and because of this, there is no country listed on American sites.

So what’s the wave of the future? Well, many groups and cities are asking for an increase in domain names, such as .sports or location names like .nyc. Other countries would like domains that aren’t just English only. With all of this clamor, there are sure to be changes in website addresses coming in the next few years, so pay attention. You may be able to get your business name .sports or just about anything else that makes your company unique.


Hacking Isn’t What it Looks Like in the Movies

We’ve all seen movies and TV shows that present someone breaking into a computer. From early 80s teen movies to recent Hollywood blockbusters, hacking is everywhere on the big screen. While these movies occasionally show a nerdy sort of fellow cracking codes, by and large it’s suave, attractive, highly competent people doing the work for a big payoff.

In the real world, this is rarely how it works.

How can I say that? Well, because most of what is trying to break into your network aren’t people – good-looking or otherwise. They are programs, viruses, and malware.

They are also quite effective. If these programs can map your system and get inside, they can steal your data or even destroy it. If your data is taken, you will lose time, money, productivity, and possibly even your clients and customers. Is that a risk you can take?

So, what’s a heroic company like yours to do? Well, you need to find those weaknesses before anyone else can. Your best course of action is to contact some IT security experts. While these professionals may not get the glory in the movies, these are the people who can beef up your security and help keep your network safe in the real world.

It’s a small commitment with tremendous rewards, especially when you consider what types of damages can occur if you don’t. You may not be chased by the bad guy through the streets of Prague, but you could lose all the time and money you’ve invested in your company.

After all, with fewer security worries, you’ll have more time to relax and enjoy the big picture.


Is a Data Center Right for Your Company?

In this day and age, one of the most pressings items of business in many companies is how to store data. Everything is done on computers these days, and there has to be some place to store it. Email, purchases, goods for sale, plans, detailed records, proprietary data and even transcripts of phone calls end up being saved. Couple this with the routine backups you should be doing on your network and, well, no matter what industry you are in, you’re probably going to need more storage.

A data center, also known as a server farm, is a third-party company whose business operates around storing other people’s data. Imagine not having to worry about your data being saved on time or being saved securely – it’s already being handled. Planning for your future storage needs is a critical part of any modern business plan, and hiring a data center takes this piece out of your hands and delegates it to data handling professionals.

Even if you are operating a small business, a data center can still be the right answer. Studies have shown that almost half of all small businesses collapse after a severe data loss. By minimizing the chances of this happening, you are making your company that much stronger. So, do yourself a favor. Look into data centers and see if they are right for you. Your needs may change over time, but you’ll always have information you need to keep safe.

ByDaniel Gottilla

Is a Poor Website Ruining Your Reputation?

Imagine you’re a customer. You’ve been hunting for a specific product, and you think you may have found it. There is quite a bit of information available on the Internet, however, and you have choices. You look through a few different sites, and end up choosing the competitor even though the prices are a bit lower at a less professional looking site.

The same thing can happen with client-based businesses. The Internet is a great marketing tool, and you can draw people from around the world to your company. Time and time again, however, people come to your site but you’re not seeing any business materializing. What on earth is going on?

Let’s face it, first impressions are important. A professional looking website makes a far better impression that a poorly designed one, no matter how great the company behind it is. It’s not fair, but humans are designed to weed out options, and one of the easiest ways we do it when we are looking for companies to give our business to is by grading the professionalism of the site. You have to admit, don’t you do this as well? If you see a poorly designed, hard to navigate site, aren’t you less inclined to give them your business? Don’t you make some assumptions about how the level of professionalism the company must have if the site is hard to navigate?

If your site has seen better days, don’t despair. It’s easy to sharpen your look, but it’s a job best left to professionals. They understand design, content, and site navigation. Not only that, but they know how to get traffic to your site – traffic that may be impressed by your new look and get you more business. Now, isn’t that worth thinking about?


The Damages of Using Social Networking Sites at Work

It’s amazing how much technology has changed our lives. We can find almost any product or piece of information online in seconds. We can send messages via email in the blink of an eye. In technological terms, however, these services are so yesterday. We now rely on them and they are no longer novel – they are a way of life. So, what’s the latest and greatest new piece of technological communication?

Social networking sites.

To be fair, these sites have been around for a good long while. People have been sharing personal information, favorite songs, and finding old friends for a few years now. What’s changing is that these sites are no longer populated by just teens and college students. More and more, adults of all ages are also flocking to these sites, and many of these people are your employees.

Now, why should you care what your employees do to socialize in their free time? Well, we all know that when people are cranky about the workplace, they tend to tell a friend. Now, instead of a one-on-one conversation, these negative thoughts can be spread across the Internet. Depending on how your employees handle their privacy, these thoughts may come up when potential customers and clients search your site over the Internet. Not only that, but if you are a big name in your company, people may search on you personally as well. The Internet is a public space, and you need to maintain a professional image in every way.

So, what’s a company to do? Well, you should have a policy about company business being discussed outside of the business, and you need to educate your employees. Chances are they love the company and just have off days, but comments made on an off day can hurt your reputation. Take a little time to explain your expectations to your people, and you can keep your reputation safe.

ByDaniel Gottilla

Is It Time to Get New Software?

There’s a tremendous amount of software marketed towards businesses. From ways to organize data, to communicate, to process business, and to create new products, there’s a wealth of options. Sometimes, however, you find that the product you are using isn’t the best option for your company. Worse is when you realize that while you love the software, its creators are phasing it out and that you’ll no longer be able to receive support for it. Either way, you’ll need to find new software and implement it with the least possible disruption to your business.

The first thing you need to know is how much downtime you will have in implementing the software, as well as if this downtime can be minimized. Even if the transition can occur after hours, it may affect your web presence, and you want to make this as easy on your customers as possible. Are there ways of keeping both running until the switch? Do you have a backup plan in case things don’t go smoothly? How many people will you need on hand to handle the switch, and will these employees be enough?

No matter what, it’s probably time to call in the IT experts. Not only can an IT consultant help you find the best software for your needs, but they can help you implement the changeover. They have helped many other businesses with the same issues, and have streamlined processes to make the transition as easy as possible. Switching software is never fun, but with a little help, at least you can be assured it will happen smoothly.


You Know That Software Is Licensed, Right?

Your business uses a lot of software, and some of it is pretty expensive. You need it to communicate, to create, and to keep your business running, so doing without it isn’t an option. Did you know that there are limits to the number of computers you can run your software on for each purpose? If you are finding ways to get around this, you are effectively stealing the software. That’s not only bad for business, it’s breaking the law.

Even if you’ve properly paid for all of the software you are using, you may not be aware that some software licenses expire after a set amount of time. You may have to renew the license or purchase it again, but all the same, you’ll have to deal with it or the software may stop working. One way to avoid finding out too late that your software has expired is to use a tracking program. It will keep a record of the expiration dates on your licenses to make sure that the products you are using are legal and that they’ll continue to run.

Another option is free software. Freeware is sometimes an option for a growing company. Provided it’s available for use in a business setting, it can be a great way to save a little cash. Finding the good stuff in the piles of free software available, however, can be tough. It’s also hard to know if the download is reputable. One way to make this process worry free is to ask an expert. An IT consultant is up-to-date on all of the software you could want, both paid and free. By using them to help you sort through licenses and freeware, you can be sure you’re getting the best products and a great deal. After all, don’t you want less to worry about?