The new year is upon us, bringing a wave of resolutions for people and businesses as they strive to move forward into the next decade. As we creep closer to 2010, I find a surprising number of businesses still utilize free email and website accounts versus hosting their web presence via their own domain name. Even more surprising, eMarketer quoted an Ad-ology survey that found that 46 percent of small business owners do not have a Web site in 2009.
Between pint-sized laptops and smart phones, consumers are connecting faster and easier every day. Without a professional web presence, your company is missing out on connecting with those consumers. Our recommendation is that every business resolve to exit the dark ages and acquire (at bare minimum) the following services:
Protect your brand online and reserve your spot on the web by registering your domain name today. Registering a domain doesn’t automatically make your website appear when visitors enter your domain into a Web browser, so we’ll move on to item #2.
Shared hosting allows multiple Web sites to reside on a single server that is connected to our high-speed Internet backbone. Shared hosting is the easiest and most affordable way to bring your website to the Internet. Your site is located on our servers – the equivalent of leasing office space. A certain portion of the building is yours, with your name on the door, and you can rely on the building manager (Kyvon) for security, maintenance and facilities management.
Once you have acquired your domain name(s) of choice, your company can create professional email accounts (such as name@CompanyName.com) by utilizing either Qmail or Exchange hosting. These accounts are compatible with third party email clients such as Microsoft Outlook, Thunderbird, or Apple Mail and can be set up on your smart phone for on-the-go access. What would you trust more: CompanyName@yahoo.com or name@CompanyName.com?
In challenging economic times like these, it’s best to go with the safe bet when modifying your IT budget. We recommend investing in disaster recovery, security, and remote access. Scrutinize new product purchases carefully and then prioritize on the technologies that deliver the greatest ROI.
We are as susceptible to the allure of flashy technology as much as anyone else, but we choose to invest wisely and avoid succumbing to the temptation. Instead, focus on security, efficiency and redundancy within your network. This is especially for small to midsize businesses with lean staffs and tight budgets.
You can limit the financial affects of business disruptions by enabling your employees to work remotely and access critical network resources securely, from any location, using any device.
Choosing a managed system to block spam provides a central location to manage and monitor your messages, therefore streamlining the process.
Uninterrupted power is necessary both to keep systems up and running and to protect the data in those systems. Even small companies need to protect their equipment from power surges and outages, especially with the winter weather season ahead.
Off-site Data Storage and Backups
Storing your data off-site allows for remote access to your data by employees, even when your on-site company network is down. When choosing an off-site data center facility, consider whether it provides redundant conditioned power and air, reliable back-up power, security and fire safety to protect all hardware, network pathways and backbone connections.
As businesses strive to recover from a global recession, their number one mission is to keep their workforce productive. Business disruptions caused by weather, power outages or extreme traffic congestion can prevent employees from getting to work.
Add to this a projected* 40% absentee rate this winter as a result of the Swine Flu (H1N1 virus) and businesses have a serious problem on their hands.
You can limit the financial affects of business disruptions by enabling your employees to work remotely and access critical network resources securely, from any location, using any device. By integrating SonicWALL® Aventail E-Class SSL VPNs into your network, you will provide employees to work remotely and securely, avoiding these disruptions to your business.
In a bind? Need a new server before your current one goes kaput? Check out or tips for paying for the technology that keeps your business in motion. With budgets growing ever smaller and technology needs rising, how do you purchase needed equipment and service without breaking the bank? Think smart.
- Most larger hardware purchases can be purchased with a lease, giving you a flat monthly payment instead of a large bill, upfront.
- Have your technician evaluate your network. What do you absolutely need at the moment, and what can wait for better cash flow?
- Always keep up with repairs and upgrades. Broken or problem equipment only leads to less productivity from your employees. Staying up-to-date with maintenance and repairs avoids that downtime.
- Purchasing tech time up-front. Some companies offer the option of purchasing “block time” in lieu of the usual break-fix scenario. By purchasing hours in bulk, you can receive discounts off of the hourly rate. Travel fees are usually not charged when you sign up for block time.
No power = no work? Think again. Businesses must evaluate their infrastructure to decide what systems in they cannot do without in the event of a disaster, and then develop their game plan for eliminating or reducing the opportunity for power failure to affect them. Between battery backups and moving your server off-site into a data center, you have some options.
Ulitizing a UPS (Uninteruptable Power Supply) within your IT infrustructure is the first step in eliminating single points of failure from power outages and surges. Choosing a UPS for your network is dependent upon the amount of battery backup time required and the power load of the equipment you choose to backup, among other feature options.
Insuring your network is live during the power outage proves useless if your employees cannot access their data. Storing your data off-site allows for remote access to your data by employees, even when your on-site company network is down. When choosing an off-site data center facility, consider whether it provides redundant conditioned power and air, reliable back-up power, security and fire safety to protect all hardware, network pathways and backbone connections. (For more helpful information on how to choose a data center that is right for you, view our Data Center Outsourcing page.)
Is it possible to be eco-friendly in your printing practices?
By making simple changes in your current business practices, it is possible to see the greener side of printing. For example, we changed the way we bill our customers from a mailed monthly paper statement to a monthly emailed statement. This small change saves a case of printer paper and envelopes a year, reducing costs for the company providing savings they can pass onto our customers.
- Multi-Task. Consolidate your fax, printer and copier by purchasing a multi-function printer. By utilizing an all-in-one device, you save on maintenance costs and reduce the amount of equipment that eventually ends up in a landfill.
- Give it back. Major printer manufacturers have launched aggressive return and recycle programs for consumables. For example, Lexmark converts its recycled cartridges into a wood-like product called eLumber, through a partnership with recycler Close the Loop. And HP uses post-consumer recycled plastics in the production of new ink-jet cartridges.
- Think before you print. Do you really need all 46 pages of that email chain letter? Think again– do you really need to print that email chain letter? By taking a moment to consider the necessity of printing your document, you could save more paper than you think. If you must print that chain letter, at least print double-sided to save half of the pages you are undoubtedly wasting.
In early March, security researchers identified a new version of the Conficker virus, called Conficker.C. This third variant of the virus, like its predecessors, exploits the vulnerability patched by Microsoft’s security bulletin MS08-067, released in October 2008.
While not currently released, it has been confirmed that this virus will become active and malicious on April 1, 2009.
Conficker.C is a major revision of the original virus. This variant includes new functionality that ranges from new infection methods to disabling security tools. The Conficker.C virus will scan and kill processes for security products including disabling: firewalls, patch deployment, and antivirus software. Read more
I have currently been reading The World is Flat, by Thomas Friedman. It is based upon the theory that the world is ‘flattening’ due to outsourcing brought upon by technology. We all have experienced this when we phone in for support (Kyvon’s phone center is purely local) and speak with a very polite Indian (Eastern, not American) putting forth their best American accent.
In his book, he refers to a phenomenon called, “The Golden Arches Conflict Prevention”. It states, loosely, that two countries that have obtained the economic prosperity required to support a McDonald’s tend not war with each other! The theory is based upon the point that as countries enter the global trade arena and standards of living improved the cost of war for the two countries became detrimental to their supply chains.
Mr. Friedman revises this theory to: “Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention” in regards to the emerging global supply chains Michael Dell uses to build one of his computers. It is a fascinating chain involving both far off areas of the world, like Limerick, Ireland, Xiamen China, Eldorado do Sul, Brazil and Penang Malaysia to local areas, like Nashville Tennessee and Austin, Texas! But, I’ll leave the details in the book for you to read.
What does Information Technology mean to you, the individual? In a world of corporate offices and organizational guidelines you may begin to ask yourself this question and you may even begin to see Information Technology as just another ‘control device’- jeopardizing your freedom and pushing you to conform to a standardized model. And it can be if you’re not careful….It has been forewarned, “…technology is a great servant, but a terrible master.”
I feel the most pertinent issue faced in introducing and supporting IT in ‘the office’ is encouraging a generation that is still evolving into email, web browsing and online payment at home- to implement technology into their daily operations at work.
Some feel so inundated with information and instant communication, that an antiquated office can almost act as a sanctuary to escape to.