Technology & Productivity Weekly

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June 13, 2014 Headlines

Protect Your Firm’s WiFi Network
A Quick Guide to Apple's iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite
Trackable Links Maximize Your Small Business Marketing ROI
How to Negotiate a Better Deal on Enterprise Software
Big Data Ecommerce Smarts for Small Businesses
Mobile Technology Is Saving Small Businesses Big Bucks
Will New Google Glass Apps Lure Business Users?
Small Businesses Need to Step Up Social Media Game With 'Buzz-Worthy' Content

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Protect Your Firm’s WiFi Network

Accounting Today (06/04/2014); Hood, Daniel

Accounting firms can follow a few important steps for protecting their wireless networks from hackers. Security advisor Rolfe Pope advises firms to hide their Service Set Identifier (SSID), which is the first line of defense protecting against malicious attacks. Pope also recommends camouflaging networks by assigning a random network name rather than one specifically identified with a business, which will reduce the likelihood of targeted attacks. Creating two networks is another useful line of defense, since internal networks can be managed exclusively by employees and guest networks can be separate. Pope recommends disabling built-in wireless security; instead he advises investing in a router within the price range of $500 to $1500 for maximum security. Finally, pope recommends creating Media Access Control authorizations for smaller firms, which only allows users with a specific MAC address access to a firm's networks. Read More


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A Quick Guide to Apple's iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite

Entrepreneur (06/02/14); Kabin, Benjamin

Apple is slated to launch two new software releases: iOS 8 for mobile and OS X Yoseemite for PCs. OS X Yosemite features the ability to search across contacts, documents, the Web, and calendar events. Geolocation features provide more specific information for users, and iCloud Drive provides access similar to the cloud-based Google Drive with MailDrop, which allows the sending of large files. In iOS 8, users will be able to reply directly to messages from social media directly from a lockscreen. Group messaging is designed to remove individual contacts from conversations and name threads, in addition to a "Do Not Disturb" feature. Enhanced messaging also functions similar to Snapchat, where users can record audio or video audio that "self-destructs." A new typing feature, QuickType, is intuitively designed to predict a user's typing habits and make suggestions accordingly. Read More


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Trackable Links Maximize Your Small Business Marketing ROI

Small Business Computing (05/30/14); Knudson, Julie

Trackable links are one strategy small businesses can deploy for gauging their return on investment. According to Brooks Robinson of Springbot, many SMBs are frustrated with decisions about investing in marketing efforts. Robinson says trackable links are the solution to this SMB quandary, since this technology allows SMBs to determine the success of their efforts. Robinson's company tracks where users click, whether on a tweet or blog post, providing businesses with information about targeted messaging. Google Analytics is one platform for tracking links, which can be created through the Google URL Builder. Robinson notes that investing in highly sophisticated trackable links allows SMBs to generate raw data into critical marketing information that can be tailored for engaging and retaining clients. Read More


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How to Negotiate a Better Deal on Enterprise Software

Entrepreneur (05/20/14); Rosenberg, Scott D.

One major myth regarding IT is the assumption that small businesses should negotiate software licensing agreements (SLAs) at the fiscal year's end for potentially better rates. While many vendors offer 15 percent to 20 percent discounts at the end of the fiscal year, some discounts could end up costing SMBs more than they expect to pay. Since vendors aim to sell products to meet quotas, SMBs should understand a vendor's history and culture. SMBs should prioritize value rather than price, understanding the kinds of SLAs necessary for growth, partners, and scalability. Flexibility and operational efficiency, as well as true cost, are other major considerations for SMBs to consider during the negotiating process. SMBs should also understand unlimited licensing agreements (ULAs) and whether this particular agreement is more valuable to a company for long-term goals. Read More


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Big Data Ecommerce Smarts for Small Businesses

Small Business Computing (05/20/14); Hernandez, Pedro

According to Terapeak CEO Kevin North, small businesses should embrace big data. While the concept of big data might be an overwhelming concept to SMBs, there are several tremendous gains to adequately leveraging this component of digital technology. Terapeak offers SMBs with a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that provides services for improved visibility in pricing, trends, and competitors. The management and analysis of big data has traditionally been confined to larger enterprises with sizeable budgets, but Terapeak offers customized dashboards and reporting options, as well as information about pricing and sales changes. North says SMBs must focus on their competitive edge as global markets expand, noting Web-based products have allowed SMBs to boost their client offerings. Terapeak plans start at $30 per month. Read More


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Mobile Technology Is Saving Small Businesses Big Bucks

Gaebler.com (05/19/14); Gaebler, Ken

Mobile technology saves businesses nearly $70 billion annually, according to the AT&T-SBE Council Small Business Technology poll. Smartphones specifically save company about $33 billion annually, while tablets save businesses about $20 billion. The poll indicated small businesses are using saved time and money to invest in sales growth, customer engagement, and industry research. According to SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan, SMBs can use this saved time and money to innovate the marketplace. Kerrigan added that entrepreneurs first consult communications technologies for improving their productivity. The poll noted that SMBs are only open an average six days a week but use smartphone technology to conduct business seven days a week. Read More


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Will New Google Glass Apps Lure Business Users?

NewsFactor Network (05/15/14); Levine, Barry

The debut of Google Glass signals a shift in business' relationship to technology. The sheer price of Google Glass, a hefty $1,500, might cause businesses to be suspicious about investing in the new technology. However, the wearable device's integration with a few specific apps could make the case for business users' adoption. Google Glass can be integrated with Tripit, an app which boost employees' productivity by allowing streamlining of directions and hotel reservations. Another app, Words Lens', translates text signs. Google says Glass is a multi-function device, although businesses might be reluctant to invest in the technology over smartphones. Read More


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Small Businesses Need to Step Up Social Media Game With 'Buzz-Worthy' Content

Small Business Computing (05/15/14); Mays, Kim

Although the overwhelming majority of small businesses have Web sites, Deluxe Corp. notes that SMBs fail to follow up with social media. According to Deluxe, only 45 percent of SMBs have Facebook business pages. Deluxe Vice President of Small Business Engagement Tim Carroll says SMBs without social media pages risk losing business exposure and client engagement opportunities. Carroll notes SMBs must prepare to manage buzz about their business, and says SMBs must ensure their online presence is ready for customer engagement. Seventy percent of SMBs report using less than one hour per week maintaining their online presence, an alarming statistic considering the lost business opportunities on social media platforms. For SMBs in particular, word-of-mouth is still an important marketing channel; however, SMBs have much to gain from leveraging their online social media presence, which is significantly cheaper than traditional forms of marketing. Read More


LAST UPDATED 6/13/2014