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3 Technologies that Flourish with the Cloud

3 Technologies that Flourish with the Cloud

According to research from Ovum, 20 percent of business processes have already moved to the cloud. The cloud isn’t only an asset to your business; it’s become a requirement for driving efficiency and reducing costs. So, what are the next steps for cloud usage?

By combining innovative cloud technology with the latest trends, you can empower your business with the tools it needs to enhance operations and outperform the competition. When integrated with the cloud, these three technologies lower operating costs and make your life easier.

IoE (Internet of Everything)
Like its well-known cousin, the Internet of Things (IoT), IoE uses cloud computing and real-time data analytics to communicate with different machines and devices. With a focus on machine-to-machine communications, IoE has a general “understanding” of how humans interact with everything in their environment – from people to devices.

As IoE develops, your customers can intelligently interact with every device within your network. You’ll gain greater insights into the relationships of consumers and how they view and purchase your products and services. You’ll gain visibility on which pages your customer views, which links they click and how many times they visit your site – adding this information to a customer profile and giving you valuable insight into how they interact with your products. Innovative cloud technology makes IoE possible and leverages crucial information for your business.

Automating processes is an easy way to reduce operating costs. By leveraging AI and big data, you’ll gain a holistic view of all your business functions. As the cloud continues to grow, system administrators are getting more time-consuming, repetitive tasks. Innovative cloud technology supports AI and automation to take over labor-intensive tasks – including copying and extracting data.

By automating simple tasks and preventing duplicate effort, you can eliminate unnecessary costs and improve efficiency. Plus, AI platforms ensure work is distributed evenly and support data governance to keep your business meeting compliance regulations.

Containers are influential development tools that scale and optimize ROI across multiple cloud environments. Developers can use these containers to extract information like code, configurations and dependencies, and push it to production seamlessly and easily – making deployment a breeze.

Containers enable cloud resources to run in multiple settings, enhance data fabrics and improve mobility. When working with different cloud environments, containers make it easier to move data from one environment to another – eliminating the restrictions of on-premises applications. For businesses using multi-cloud environments – private, public or hybrid – containers are critical for transferring information.

As the cloud becomes a necessity for business operations, the next steps are learning how to integrate other IT services to enhance your cloud solution. By combining the latest technologies with a solution designed to enhance workflow, you can improve your customers’ experience and stand out from your competition. As your partner, we’ll integrate the latest trends into your strategic IT roadmap.

To learn how we can help implement the latest innovative cloud technologies to improve your business operations, contact us today.

5 Tools to Improve Your Collaboration

5 Tools to Improve Your Collaboration

The McKinsey Institute found that teams improved productivity up to 25 percent through increased collaboration. But, finding out which collaboration tools will round up your most isolated employees can be tougher than it sounds.

From tools that focus on bringing your team together to apps that strengthen your communication skills, identifying where exactly your team is struggling should be your first step to determining the right solution for your business. Once you’ve pinpointed the problem, you can scour hundreds of cloud-based applications and tools designed to resolve your issues.

To get you started, we’re sharing five top productivity tools.

Microsoft Office 365
Office 365 lets your team collaborate on documents and projects with applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Work on the same file in almost real-time, exchange feedback seamlessly and access past versions of a document. Because your files are hosted in the cloud, your team can collaborate on projects from any device and any location with an Internet connection.

Yammer is described as the Facebook of the corporate world. That’s because the platform provides a news feed, different group channels and file-sharing features just like Facebook. Post updates in a client’s group and tag the people who need to see the feedback, or create a channel for your internal team, department or entire company to share information, communicate and collaborate on projects.

Slack provides a nearly instantaneous response platform for peers and clients. You can set up an unlimited number of channels and use them to share task information, get feedback from clients and adjust expectations for project deliveries. Because Slack integrates with other solutions like Office 365 and Jira, you can submit tickets and collaborate on documents with a single click.

Cisco Webex
Webex keeps you connected with clients, peers and prospects from anywhere with an Internet connection. Eliminate miscommunications with crystal-clear video quality that lets you see every nonverbal cue from meeting attendees. Plus, Webex keeps your video communication channel safe and encrypted with a multi-layered security solution that protects everyone – regardless of where they’re calling from.

Evernote provides a scalable note-taking platform where you can sync and share documents to multiple users. This easy-to-use application lets teams collaborate quickly and seamlessly in nearly real-time. Whether you’re working on different parts of a project or need to quickly make changes during the quality-check process, you can do so from any laptop, desktop or mobile device.

To learn more about cloud-based collaboration tools, which solutions are right for your business and how we can help you improve your productivity, contact us today.

3 Simple Trends to Implement in the New Year

3 Simple Trends to Implement
in the New Year

Updating your technology can be complicated and overwhelming – especially if you try to do all the research and make decisions on your own. Don’t let this year’s choices close your doors in the new year. As your partner, we’ll help you identify areas for improvement and research the latest tech trends to help you make informed decisions.

Whether you’re looking to improve security and reduce costs or increase your productivity and efficiency, we’ve analyzed hundreds of tech trends and found three trends that you should implement to enhance the way you do business.

Improve Security

As cybercriminals gain more knowledge, they’re coming up with smarter, better ways to obtain your confidential data. One way is through phishing emails. With sophisticated graphics and language, they’re designed to look credible and legitimate. Training your team to recognize the differences and having a good backup strategy can mitigate the risk of falling for this scam.

So, what happens if your confidential information is stolen? The dark web offers a complex network for exchanging stolen information and selling it on the black market. But, encrypting your crucial data ensures that the information taken can’t be sold or acted on by unauthorized users.

Conclusion: Protect your customers’ confidential information with multi-layered security that includes training and encryption.

Upgrade Technology

Microsoft announced that in January 2020, they’re ending support for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Exchange Server 2010. That means you have one year to upgrade your systems or migrate your servers to the cloud. Updating your older Microsoft solutions ensures that you keep your systems secure and clean up the gaps in your defenses from outdated tech – preventing cybercriminals from exploiting your weaknesses.

Improving your productivity doesn’t have to involve redesigning your entire infrastructure. Research from Fujitsu Siemens Computers found that adding a monitor to your workplace setup improves productivity by 35 percent. By simply installing dual, triple or quadruple monitors, you’ll be able to work on several projects at the same time or display multiple documents or spreadsheets to make writing and data entry easier.

Conclusion: Upgrading your technology provides a better user experience for your employees and helps keep your business safe from cyberthreats.

Migrate to the Cloud

Cloud computing continues to gain momentum, and for a good reason. With solutions like server hosting, hosted applications and Office 365, you improve efficiency, reduce costs and streamline operations – it’s hard to justify not making the move.

As cloud solutions improve in popularity, the question becomes less, “should you migrate?” and more, “when will you migrate?” Make this the year that you create a cloud migration plan or modify your existing plan to incorporate operation-enhancing solutions.

Conclusion: Migrating to the cloud streamlines your operations by providing more storage, easier app updates and additional flexibility without raising your costs.

Researching trends and knowing which ones to adopt is difficult without extensive industry knowledge. That’s why we evaluated the upcoming trends of the coming year and decided which ones would be easiest and most beneficial for your business. Are you ready to work toward a more fruitful future? Contact us today to see how these trends could improve your business.

5 Things You Should Know About Ethics & Privacy

5 Things You Should Know
About Ethics & Privacy

Understanding ethics and privacy may seem simple at first, but when you start to dive in, you discover that finding the balance between being supportive and intrusive is difficult. Data helps you understand your audience and customers better, but how far is too far when it comes to monitoring their physical and digital footprint?

Deciding what is and isn’t ethical doesn’t have to be determined on your own. Here are five things you should understand about ethics and privacy:

1. Digital ethics makes up your online moral code.

Digital ethics includes the principles of conduct practiced online or in a virtual environment. How you handle your customers’ confidential data and what security you put in place to protect it contributes to your digital ethics. Do you record digital footprints? Do you sell that information to advertisers so that they know which of your users like certain products? All of these things and more contribute to your digital moral compass. So, what path is your business on?

2. The GDPR affects your business – even if you’re based in the US.

The EU created the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to ensure websites are doing everything they can to protect the information they gain from users. This act requires companies that have EU users – essentially any company around the globe – to update their policies and promote more rigorous privacy strategies. Security concerns include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Asking users for permission to collect and retain key pieces of their data
  • Asking users for permission to sell the data you’ve collected
  • Giving users the right to request their data to be deleted
  • Giving users the option to download the data you’ve collected

3. Digital ethics involves three practices – monitoring, transparency and the fine line.

Distinguished VP and Gartner Fellow, Frank Buytendijk, suggests that digital ethics has three key guidelines – monitoring, transparency and what he calls the win/win. When it comes to practicing digital ethics, these can be considered the golden rules.

Not only should you monitor how prospects and customers are visiting your site, but you also need to monitor your own systems for vulnerabilities. A large part of meeting compliance involves transparency. You need to ensure that the data you’re tracking doesn’t violate the privacy of the customer. Finding that middle ground or fine line is what Buytendijk’s refers to as the win/win. There’s a fine line between being helpful with personalization and algorithms and being creepy. Always make sure your processes are on the cautious side of that line.

4. Security should be your number one priority.

Even if your customers and visitors give you permission to collect their data, you still have a responsibility to keep their confidential information safe. With cyberthreats escalating, you need absolute diligence when it comes to protecting the data you collect. From natural disasters – like fire, hurricanes and power outages – to malicious intent from ransomware and cyber criminals, you need a security solution that protects your business and customers’ data from all angles. But, how do you ensure that your solutions are enough to keep customers’ information safe?

5. How can a managed services partner help?

Understanding and implementing best practices for ethics and privacy can feel overwhelming. You don’t have to do it alone. As a managed services provider, we’ll evaluate your security processes and make suggestions to eliminate risks and keep your collected data safe.

For more information on how we can help keep your business and customers’ data safe while helping you balance the fine line of digital ethics, contact us today.

7 Holiday Gift Ideas for People Who Rock Your Business

7 Holiday Gift Ideas for People
Who Rock Your Business

One of the best things about the holidays is the opportunity to show the people who help your business the most how much you appreciate them. They may be employees, investors, partners or vendors, but they all have one thing in common – they make a huge contribution to the organization, and you want them to know that you know it.

Any of these seven hot tech gifts should do the trick.

Samsung Galaxy Note9 or iPad with OneNote

Executives love mobile devices that allow them to hand write with a stylus and save them to the cloud. Both the iPad with OneNote and the Samsung Galaxy Note9 provide that capability. You just need to know whether the recipient prefers Apple or Android.

iPhone XS or XS Max

The CPU inside the iPhone XS is 50 percent faster and 50 percent more efficient than that of its predecessor, the iPhone X. What that means for the lucky person you give it to is an even more brilliant screen and better camera that work faster.

HP Spectre X360

Finally, a Windows laptop that rivals the MacBook Pro in power, weight (as light as 2.78 pounds), speed and long-lasting battery. Available with a 13 or 15-inch 4K resolution LED backlit touchscreen that is compatible with a digital pen. Who wouldn’t love this?

Apple Watch Series 4

With its Series 4 Watch, Apple has improved the hottest thing going on. There are still ways to track heart, health and fitness, redefining what a watch is. And now the watch face is 30 percent larger while the sound is 50 percent louder. The only thing that has shrunk is the price, which is way smaller.

4K UHD TV with HDR

First there was Full HD TV, then 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) TV. Now, there’s 4K UHD with High Dynamic Range (HDR). With HDR, a TV displays a heightened difference between the brightest whites and the darkest colors. Huge price drops have helped make them a very hot gift.

Linksys Velop Mesh WiFi

WiFi signal drop-out is real for folks with a large home or yard. Linksys Velop Mesh WiFi solves the problem quickly and easily with small, attractive nodes that are daisy chained to provide seamless WiFi coverage indoors and out. Each node adds 2,000 square feet of coverage.

Bose Home Speaker 500 Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa

At just eight inches high and less than seven inches across, the Bose Home Speaker 500 is the little speaker that could. Could what? Fill a room with impressive wall-to-wall stereo sound, connect to WiFi for wireless music listening that supports the most popular music services, stream directly from compatible devices and give Alexa voice commands.

Any of the items on this list that made you say, “I want that,” would make a terrific holiday gift Now, we have a gift for you. We’ll be happy to analyze your IT infrastructure and show you how it could be improved to better serve your organization. No obligation, just valuable information. Contact us today.