Technology & Productivity Weekly

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April 25, 2014 Headlines

The Four Reasons to Move to the Cloud
The Heartbleed Bug: What It Is and Five Steps to Take Now
Debunking Email Marketing Myths
The Ultimate Windows Update
Three Things to Evaluate in a New Online Business Tool
Getting Real in Real-Time
Eighty Percent of SMBs Say Cloud Computing Helps Them Thrive

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The Four Reasons to Move to the Cloud

AccountingWEB (04/15/14); Pearson, Guy

There are four reasons accounting firms should migrating to the cloud. The first and arguably most compelling reason is security. Migrating to the cloud allows firms to secure their assets by built-in disaster recovery available via cloud providers, allowing smaller companies the same competitive advantage as larger companies. Another compelling reason to migrate to the cloud is the availability of real-time data, providing more accurate financial updates to colleagues and clients. Accessibility is a major reason accountants have migrated to cloud systems as the availability of data streamlined and shared seamlessly across multiple devices. Finally, firms should consider cloud technology for its zero-maintenance appeal, as all IT is outsourced to cloud providers and Web developers. Read More


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The Heartbleed Bug: What It Is and Five Steps to Take Now

Accounting Today (04/15/2014); Riddle, Jason

Known as the "Heartbleed Bug," the latest security vulnerability to infect the Web has the potential to critically impact businesses. The bug is in OpenSSL, an encryption library that is used to secure Web traffic. According to LBMC Security & Risk Services, there are five steps businesses can follow to minimize the risk of the bug infecting a company's systems. LBMC advises companies to identify the systems under a company's control that might be impacted by the bug. Then, upgrade those systems to a version of OpenSSL that is not vulnerable. Companies should then create and obtain new encryption keys and SSL certificates, while revoking the old certificates. Finally, notifying clients and customers that they should change their passwords is the last step of ensuring overall Web security. Read More


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Debunking Email Marketing Myths

Small Business Computing (04/10/14); Hernandez, Pedro

Email marketing specialist Seamus Egan advises small businesses to reevaluate their knowledge about implementing email marketing campaigns. Egan says many SMBs believe that they should avoid the common mistake of using "trigger" words that signal association with spam. Eagan says sophisticated Internet Service Providers have evolved beyond simple spam filtering. Egan notes that interaction trumps reputation in the new age of email marketing. He recommends using creative words and phrases, even using words that might seem prohibited by traditional email marketing advice. Finally, Egan says SMBs should give subscribers options, while releasing targeted campaigns that are based on informed analytics. Read More


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The Ultimate Windows Update

CPA Practice Advisor (04/08/14); McClure, Dave

As Microsoft ends support for the widely used Windows XP platform, firms should consider upgrading to Windows 8. Reasons firms should upgrade include sustained support for security and upgrades. Windows 9 is slated to be released in one year, signaling firms relying on Windows 7 to consider upgrading or falling seriously behind in their competitiveness. Conducting an audit of all hardware and software is the first step in upgrading, since cost projections can be extracted based on current IT needs. Firms should then back up all client data and store the data off-site. Firms should also reference the IRS' publications regarding safeguarding taxpayer data to ensure compliance is maintained through the upgrade process at all levels: via portals, document management systems, and client collaboration tools. Read More


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Three Things to Evaluate in a New Online Business Tool

Inc.com (04/05/14)

There are three factors small businesses should evaluate when considering implementing a new tool, software, or app. The first factor is how much time, money, and effort the new product will save a business. Although there are several cutting-edge products available for driving productivity and efficiency, a business must evaluate whether the investment will be valuable across multiple divisions and users at a business. The second criteria of evaluating a new product is how long an implementation process will take and how many resources will be allocated for the project. Businesses must also consider the amount of training that would be needed for employees. The last factor to consider is whether a tool, software, or app will be seamlessly integrated with existing products. Investing in a new product is useful only if the product will work across several existing systems and platforms. Read More


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Getting Real in Real-Time

Accounting Today (04/01/2014); Padar, Jody

Following the adoption of cloud computing, communications and expectations have been transformed significantly for firms. Missing documents, missed communications, and hurdles to collaboration were former challenges in a pre-cloud work environment. The emergence of cloud systems has allowed firms to send and receive documents in real-time, supporting a higher standard of conducting business with colleagues and clients. In the era of a "new firm," virtual computing has additionally supported greater transparency. However, firms overwhelmed by the real-time nature of the new work environment should learn to embrace this technology as a solution to more effective ways of conducting business. Rather than avoid the consequences of real-time updates via cloud technology, firms should train staff and implement processes that are conducive to mining data in real-time. Embracing this new climate of transparency will ultimately build greater trust within a business and loyalty among clients. Read More


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Eighty Percent of SMBs Say Cloud Computing Helps Them Thrive

CPA Practice Advisor (03/28/14); O'Bannon, Isaac M.

According to a recent survey, an overwhelming majority of small businesses attribute cloud computing to the growth of their business. Research from Techaisle indicates that cloud computing has allowed businesses mobility analytics and collaboration tools to support their overall business processes. Small businesses cited increased business agility as one of the greatest benefits of cloud computing. Additional advantages cited by businesses include more productive IT staff, reducing costs, and improving overall efficiency. Cloud-based computing has also been attributed to the opportunity of small businesses to expand their marketing and outreach efforts to new clients. The survey also found a majority of businesses exciting club computing as a solution for increasing employee productivity. Read More


 

LAST UPDATED 4/25/2014