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July 11, 2014 Headlines

What Three Small Businesses Learned From Big Data
The Cloud: One Company's Case Study
A Fresh Look at an Improved Windows 8
Using the Cloud to Complement Internal Storage
Seven Ways That Leasing Technology Can Be Better Than Purchasing It
Determine What’s Hogging Network Bandwidth
10 Tips for Mastering LinkedIn
4 Ways to Create Online Video Ads That Work

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What Three Small Businesses Learned From Big Data

Inc.com (07/01/14); Kelleher, Kevin

Big data has transformed the landscape of data aggregation for small businesses. Applications now integrate with databases, extracting critical data which can be leveraged for growing and improving businesses. Data from social networks and mobile devices can also be used for understanding and targeting marketing trends. At Twiddy & Co. Realtors in North Carolina, digital data has allowed Ross Twiddy to convert cumbersome spreadsheets into valuable information that could be shared with clients and colleagues via analytics tools. In Washington state, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium partnered with analytics firm BrightStar Partners to collect critical streams of data for predicting weather changes that could assist with projecting the number of zoo visitors every weekend and the number of staff needed during peak times. In Phoenix, Carvana online marketplace collaborated with Kaggle, a team of data scientists that work to troubleshoot data issues. Partnering with Kaggle, Carvana reduced their financing risks, improve client offerings, and reduce fraud. Read More


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The Cloud: One Company's Case Study

AccountingWEB (06/26/14); Sheridan, Terry

Parsons Electric is one successful case study of a company migrating its accounting practice to the cloud. According to Monica Ross, head of strategic projects, transitioning to the cloud via Host Analytics technology has supported the firm grow in sophistication and servicing. Ross notes that implementing cloud processes allowed the firm to free their resources while benefiting from automatic IT updates. Parsons Electric was able to improve their budget, reporting, and projection needs through cloud adoption. Ross notes that the previous general ledger system was inflexible, so using a cloud-based solution with an Excel template significantly improved data analysis and accuracy. Although security remained a concern for the firm, Ross added that security was possible through authorized user access controls. Read More


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A Fresh Look at an Improved Windows 8

Small Business Computing (06/20/14); Moran, Joe

Windows 8 has been upgraded by Microsoft with a slew of new features. The new 8.1 update includes boot to desktop as the default setting, which is a feature that was previously desired by many PC users. Another update is the ability of Windows Store apps to appear in the desktop taskbar. The new Windows will display all running Windows Store apps which allow users to switch between apps. Additional features of the Windows update include data files that open in desktop apps, which correspond to the appropriate file viewing application. Search and power buttons will also be included in the Windows Start screen, which enable users to apply filters like apps or files for search queries. Read More


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Using the Cloud to Complement Internal Storage

Using the Cloud to Complement Internal Storage

Many small businesses might consider leveraging cloud computing solutions to complement internal storage. This is known as a hybrid cloud approach which consists of sharing storage between a private cloud on a business' own infrastructure and a public cloud hosted by a third-party provider. Via a hybrid cloud approach, businesses have the option to migrate parts of data rather than entire data centers, while still retaining control over mission-critical components of data. Furthermore, hybrid approaches to data storage are particularly beneficial to small businesses that might not have resources and money to invest in larger full-scale data solutions. However, businesses using public clouds should ensure that security measures are in place at all stages of a hybrid cloud migration, noting specific parameters of a third-party cloud provider's security coverage. Cloud storage is additionally useful for conducting backups, ensuring disaster recovery, and saving overall resources within an organization. Read More


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Seven Ways That Leasing Technology Can Be Better Than Purchasing It

CPA Practice Advisor (06/13/14); Necessary, Bob

There are seven ways that leasing could be more advantageous than purchasing technology. The first advantage of leasing technology is tax breaks, in the form of tax-deductible expenses. Balance sheet management is another benefit of leasing technology, since operating leases are not considered a liability. Conserving cash is one of the most appealing options of leasing, since there is no money required for a down payment; consequently, businesses have more money to invest in other parts of running and maintaining business. Leasing provides businesses with flexibility, as well as improved speed of working through equipment that can be accessed quickly. Finally, leasing provides businesses with lower, predictable payments and protection for technology upgrades. Read More


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Determine What’s Hogging Network Bandwidth

Processor.com (06/13/14)Vol. 36, No. 12,

Bandwidth usage is a critical part of maintaining business continuity. According to Bob Tarzey of Quocirca, many small businesses are actually equipped to manage the bandwidth of mobile devices, applications, and other data streams. However, monitoring bandwidth usage and growth is an essential part of meeting today's business demands. Older network infrastructure might not be suited to accommodate heavy bandwidth usage, particularly via the cloud. Businesses struggling to accommodate bandwidth usage might consider migrating to a data center consolidation. Implementing network monitoring solutions is a recommended strategy for managing multiple devices across a network. Businesses should also test performances from service providers through free trials prior to purchasing a solution. Read More


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10 Tips for Mastering LinkedIn

Entrepreneur (06/12/14); Fell, Jason

There are 10 tips small businesses can follow for mastering LinkedIn. The first step is filling out a LinkedIn page completely, highlighting industry expertise that will be attractive to potential clients. Creating a call-to-action is a great strategy for driving client engagement, as well as amassing a larger client base via signing up for an email list. Including photographs of a team working in their office, conducting presentations, and other relevant professional images will also add to the likelihood of clients sharing a LinkedIn page more frequently. A LinkedIn page should be optimized for search, with a focus on industry keywords and types of services offered. Posting consistently is another important recommendation SMBs should follow, and businesses should be savvy about networking with other professionals. Creating and participating in LinkedIn groups is another method of improving client engagement. Personalizing messaging is the key to branding, and SMBs should use trending content tools to integrate with posts and updates. Read More


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4 Ways to Create Online Video Ads That Work

Business News Daily (06/09/14); Fallon, Nicole

There are numerous upsides to advertising on online videos. Specific content of an online video can be used as a guide to targeting specific demographic and geographic groups. However, online video advertising is not a simple turn-key effort and there are a number of ways to get the most out the effort. Eric Fischgrund, owner of marketing and PR firm Fischtank, says that planning is key at every stage. Messaging, production, and delivery all need to be planned out in advance in order to get the best result. Jensen, of Overit, says brevity is also important, noting that that the shorter an ad is, the more likely people are to actually watch the whole ad. "From statistics in campaigns we've run, [we know that] people are almost twice as likely to watch all the way through a 15-second sport versus a 30-second one. Michael Wayne, CEO and co-founder of YouTube women's lifestyle community KIN says that its also very important to actively engage with the audience of the videos you advertise on. This can be done by engaging with and openly supporting the creators of those videos and the things those creators care about. Finally, its important to have a clear objective in mind for each add. Fischgrund says that knowing the objective of the ad — such as driving traffic to a website or increasing social engagement on Facebook — makes it easier to develop the ad, but also to measure how successful it was after the face. "Only by defining objectives and measuring them, can companies improve their understanding of video marketing and its results," says Fischgrund. Read More


LAST UPDATED 7/11/2014