Technology & Productivity Weekly

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Aug. 15, 2014 Headlines

Six Data Backup Devices for Small Businesses
10 Strategies to Leverage Your Firm's IT Investment
SocialProof Boosts Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Easier Ways to Protect Email From Unwanted Prying Eyes
How the Cloud and Big Data Are Changing Small Business
10 Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses
Stay on Top of Trends in Videoconferencing

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Six Data Backup Devices for Small Businesses

Small Business Computing (08/04/14); Schroder, Carla

There are six backup devices small businesses should consider using. The first, USB sticks, allow up to 128MB of storage on devices that are convenient to transport. For larger storage needs, USB hard drives range from 500MB - 2TB; an option like the Western Digital My Passport Ultra offers encryption, in addition to cloud-based and automatic backups. Solid-state drives are another option that require low power and are equipped with built-in security. Another great storage option is the FreeNAS Mini network storage server, which includes up to 16TB of storage and dual gigabit Ethernet ports. Network storage servers are a useful option, with the FreeNAS Mini featuring 16TB of storage and deduplication. Lastly, the Western Digital My Cloud EX4 features 16TB of storage in four drive bays, 512MB of RAM, and a Web control panel. Read More


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10 Strategies to Leverage Your Firm's IT Investment

CPA Practice Advisor (07/21/14); Boomer, Jim

There are 10 strategies firms can follow to maximize their IT budgets. First, creating an IT plan and budget will ensure goals align with a firm's vision. Security should be informed from a risk management perspective, and firms should understand the importance of tracking metrics. Leadership, management, and accountability are equally important, in addition to utilizing an IT steering committee. Firms should consider third-party perspectives, as well as researching other industries to determine insightful IT strategies. Vendors should be treated as business partners, aiming for business improvement, and creating a culture of training and learning are also critical strategies. Read More


SocialProof Boosts Word-of-Mouth Marketing

CPA Practice Advisor (07/21/14); Boomer, Jim

Businesses should not underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing. SocialProof, a new cloud-based service has emerged to help businesses merge word-of-mouth marketing with online platforms. SocialProof aggregates solicited reviews and targets potential customers through email, social media advertising, and other Web content. Marketing experts attest to the power of word-of-mouth to significantly influence consumer behavior, so services like SocialProof offer customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities that support enhanced prospecting with integrated analytics. SocialProof notes the service is particularly aimed at helping small businesses build their reputation. Marketing experts observe that consumers are influenced by reviews of strangers, not only of people they know, reinforcing the idea that word-of-mouth marketing has tremendous potential to boost small business growth. Read More


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Easier Ways to Protect Email From Unwanted Prying Eyes

New York Times (07/16/14); Wood, Molly

As digital security remains a growing concern among small businesses, there are several steps small businesses can follow to protect email from unauthorized readers. Encryption is the first layer of protection SMBs can execute, particularly since unencrypted messages can be read in-transit by nearly anyone. Virtu, a feature that is compatible with Chrome and Firefox browsers, allows users to click on encrypted messages to read email. Through Virtu, messages can be set to expire after a set period of time and encrypted messages can be revoked. Other options include InfoEncrypt, SafeMess, and miniLock. However, some encryption email solutions require recipients to use the same software or browser plugin. Read More


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How the Cloud and Big Data Are Changing Small Business

Forbes (07/15/14); Bagley, Rebecca O.

According to IBM, cloud computing, analytics, and mobile and social applications have specific impacts on small businesses. John Mason, General Manager of Midmarket Business at IBM, says these are "new natural resource(s)." Mason notes that through these new technology gains, SMBs are now able to innovate without prohibitive upfront investments. Through new technology resources, SMBs are offered new scalability options and greater flexibility to align with their needs. Finally, Mason says the cloud, combined with mobile computing and applications, remove burdens that were geographic-based and allow SMBs to expand more quickly. SMB Group forecasts SMB-specific cloud services will expand to an estimated $100 billion by next year. Read More


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10 Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses

Macon Telegraph (GA) (07/12/14)

Small businesses can follow 10 steps for preventing cybersecurity attacks. The first step is to create security practices and policies, emphasizing employees' usage of creating strong passwords and protecting client data. Businesses should update security patches frequently, enable firewalls, and create authorized user access accounts. Data should be regularly backed up across all mobile devices and platforms, and backups should be stored off-site or in the cloud. Wireless networks should be secure, encrypted, and hidden, and wireless access points should never broadcast network names. Banks should use anti-fraud services to ensure payments are isolated and software installations should be limited to authorized users. Finally, passwords should be changed every three months and SMBs. Read More


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Stay on Top of Trends in Videoconferencing

Processor.com (07/11/14)Vol. 36, No. 14,

Videoconferencing trends are rapidly evolving as cutting-edge technology is introduced. In-room conferencing has shifted to in-device video, enabling remote working and increasing opportunities for remote collaboration. Device-specific video conferencing is a significant trend among new technology, while businesses now benefit from cloud-based options, too. The emergence of Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) has also allowed employees to share clickable links across devices, while providing options for connecting to servers. According to researchers at Pyramid, multiple functionalities will be condensed into a single unified communications platform in the future, connecting video, chat, and file sharing capabilities. Researchers also note businesses must educate and train employees about video conferencing technology for successful implementation. Read More


 

LAST UPDATED 8/15/2014