The TDSIT Blog

Scanning: Increase Your Productivity and Decrease Your Costs

Posted by Tim Stanley on Fri, May 26, 2017 @ 01:40 PM

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One of the most fundamental principles in business is this: time is money. Today’s employees can spend as much as 50% of their time searching for documents, filing them and dealing with the challenges associated with paper – all at a great cost to your business. However, the use of scanning and digital documents can dramatically increase your productivity and decrease your costs.

  1. Scan to Share - Sharing is one of the greatest challenges with paper documents, especially when you have employees and clients across multiple locations. Scanning a document with your Xerox ConnectKey-enabled multifunction printer can make sharing a snap. Your document can be scanned to email, network folders and the cloud, able to be accessed anywhere in the world, instantly.
  2. Scan to Store - Filing paper documents is a tedious and expensive process. Filing cabinets take up space and cost money to maintain. A lost or misfiled document can cost your business hundreds of dollars. When you scan a document, you can create a searchable PDF stored securely on the network or in the cloud. When employees need to find the document, they can type in just a few key words and have the document in seconds.
  3. Scan to Simplify - Some paper-heavy tasks don’t have to be so complicated. Workflows such as invoicing can be managed with one-touch apps that can be accessed on your Xerox ConnectKey-enabled MFP. These custom workflows can take effort-heavy tasks and make them simple, freeing up your employees to do work that more directly benefits your business.
  4. Scan on the Go - Scanning no longer needs to be done in the office. With today’s mobile devices, more people are doing work on the go than ever before. The Xerox Mobile Link App lets your phone or tablet act as a scanner or fax machine, sending documents to the cloud or the printer from wherever you are. This dramatically increases employee mobile productivity, and eliminates the need for taking multiple devices on the road.
  5. Scan Securely - With all this scanning, you may be wondering if your documents are secure. Xerox ConnectKey technology integrates end-to-end encryption, keeping your documents secure every step of the way. With optional passwords and secure external email connectivity, you can scan and send confidently.

Scanning can change the way you do business. With increased productivity and decreased costs, you’ll find your employees, clients and bottom line all benefit from the advances in scanning technology. 

cut print costs

Tags: xerox connectkey

Think About These Things When Choosing a Managed IT Services Provider

Posted by Tim Stanley on Wed, May 10, 2017 @ 01:07 PM

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Today, business is driven by technology. That's why Managed IT Services is one of the fastest growing trends. Between the cloud, personal devices, smartphones, mobile printing and more, making it all run seamlessly and securely is a full time job. 

A Managed IT Services provider can help businesses like yours manage everything technology-related such as security, 24/7 network monitoring, help desk support, data management, infrastructure management, on-site technical support and more! Their job is to keep your business secure, safe from downtime, your technology updated, and your workflows efficient.

If you're considering outsourcing your IT to a Managed IT Services provider, here are a few tips to help you hire the right team:

  • They should ask you the right questions – They should want to know everything about your business and your needs, from your cloud provider to specific technology and workflows. They will ask about security and data management protocols. The right provider will ask YOU the right questions.
  • Make sure they never sleep! - They should be available 24/7/365 and provide remote monitoring. A good provider can remotely fix problems before they become critical. Choose a provider that offers complete monitoring including workstations, servers, your network, routers, switches and firewalls.
  • They should offer 24-hour support, remote repair and onsite support when necessary – This is a deal breaker. Your business needs to be ready to function safely and securely 24 hours a day. You should have 24-hour access to a live tech at any time to correct any problems. The right provider will offer immediate service and onsite support when needed. 
  • They should understand your industry – A knowledgeable provider will understand the specific technological needs of businesses in your industry. They will go beyond simply offering hardware recommendations to improving workflows, training and software. Make sure they understand the specific needs for businesses in your industry.

Want to know more? Give our team a call. We can show you how Managed IT Services can free your time to focus on your core business by making your technology more secure.

 

Tags: Managed IT Services

How to Minimize Low Tech Security Threats

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 @ 10:36 AM

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Technology has changed the way people communicate, run their households, do business, and navigate the world, but with convenience comes a price. Data security is one of the biggest concerns among business owners today, but while most focus on large scale threats such as phishing, malware, hacking and firewall breaches, attention should also be given to defending against another, potentially more serious concern: low tech security threats. 

For best results, a two-pronged approach is required with regards to data security: the first to protect against the physical loss of data, and the second, against the unauthorized access of data. While backups are vital to ensuring valuable data can be recovered, it can't prevent theft.

Here are some examples of common low tech threats to your data:

Carelessness

Sensitive information which is left on desktop trays, in unsecured filing cabinets, or in waste or recycle bins can be easily scanned, copied, photographed or stolen in the blink of an eye. Likewise, computer monitors should not be left unattended when displaying or accessing sensitive information; computers should be password protected and all screens closed before leaving the area. 

Lack of Encryption 

Both onsite and offsite backups should be securely stored, and encrypted to prevent theft. 

Unsecured Printers

Unlike the printers of old, today's printers are part of your computer network and must be secured against unauthorized access. Shared devices can use technology to create an audit trail and prevent unauthorized usage, and employees should be reminded to ensure output trays are clear and originals are removed after each use. 

Physical Theft

Portable devices such as smartphones, tablets, notebooks and laptops can be easily stolen, and should be stored securely when not in use. 

Power Issues

Power surges, outages, spikes or interruptions can corrupt or destroy your data. Surge protection should be used for all electronics to avoid damage. 

Environmental Concerns

Damage to data or devices as a result of flood, fire, smoke, or extreme temperatures can be avoided with climate control solutions, computer safe fire suppression, monitors and alarms. 

Protect your sensitive data by taking a broad approach to data security, with solutions that defend against both modern technology and low tech security threats. Contact us today, to learn more! 

 

  

Tags: security

Xerox VersaLink and AltaLink - Taking Your Business to the Next Level

Posted by Tim Stanley on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 @ 10:59 AM

altalink_versalink.jpgXerox has just released 29 new MFPs and printers - the largest release of new products in it's history!  The AltaLink and VersaLink line of products are equipped with the latest Xerox innovations and are designed specifically for your business’ needs.

A Printer for Every Office

The VersaLink line has 19 devices to choose from, including both color and black and white printing. These printers and MFPs are ideal for small to medium sized businesses, combining state of the art technology with an affordable cost of ownership.

For larger workgroups, Xerox has developed the AltaLink line of 10 MFPs. These devices also come in either color or black and white, and are equipped to handle the increased needs of a larger workgroup with faster start-up times and single-pass scanning.

Benefits for All

No matter which printer or MFP you choose, you can trust that Xerox innovation is working for you. All devices in the VersaLink and AltaLink lines are equipped with ConnectKey technology, turning your device into an app-based powerhouse. The ever-expanding line of apps lets your printer work and grow with you to solve the problems your company faces today and those that will arise tomorrow. Mobile scanning, security, and one-touch workflows are only the beginning when you have ConnectKey. Other benefits include:

  • An Intuitive User-Interface – These printers are designed to be easy to use. The touch screen interface can be customized to cut down on your time at the printer, while increasing your productivity. Setup is done through wizards, often eliminating the need for an IT professional to get you started.
  • Mobile and Cloud Compatibility – From scanning with your smartphone to sharing documents seamlessly through the cloud, Xerox has you covered. Services including DropBox, Google Drive and OneDrive are pre-installed on VersaLink printers and can be easily downloaded for the AltaLink line.
  • Security – Your MFP is equipped with the latest in security, including strong encryption, device and user authentication, and access auditing. Because security is part of ConnectKey technology, it can be easily updated over time, keeping your data secure.

With ConnectKey and other innovations, Xerox continues to lead the industry, helping your company stay ahead of the pack. When you choose a printer or MFP in the VersaLink or AltaLink lines, you’re getting a workplace assistant designed to meet your needs not only today, but well into the future.

Contact us today to learn more about these exciting new products from Xerox!

Tags: xerox connectkey

4 Easy Steps to Go Paperless

Posted by Tim Stanley on Tue, Apr 04, 2017 @ 11:04 AM

paperless.jpgIn many offices, paper is essential to business. However, with today’s technology it doesn’t have to be. Read on to learn how you can reduce your reliance on paper, and get one step closer to a paper "less" office! 

Paper vs. Digital

On average, office employees are printing 10,000 documents per year. This rate is increasing each year by about 22%... and your costs along with it. Documents must be filed in expensive and space-consuming filing cabinets, to the tune of $1,500 per year per cabinet. Employees often spend up to 30% of their time searching for documents, and lost documents could be costing your business up to $700 each. By day’s end recycling bins are overflowing with documents that were printed, but not needed. (Stats: The Paperless Project)

However, when you go digital, many of these costs are significantly decreased. Digital storage is relatively inexpensive, and takes up little or no room in your office. Documents can be indexed to be searched with just a few keystrokes, saving your employees valuable time. Digital documents can drastically reduce the incidence of lost documents and help you recover quickly from a disaster like a flood or fire that could have easily destroyed your paper documents. Going digital saves time and money and reduces your impact on the environment.

Steps to Get Started

Even with all these benefits, many companies hesitate to get started on going paperless. However, it doesn’t have to be complicated, and most companies begin to see benefits right away.

  1. Audit your current paper usage. Whether through a Managed Print Service provider or using a manual logging system, once you understand what you’re printing now, you can determine where you can reduce your paper use.
  2. Update your equipment. Multifunction printers can scan, copy, fax, and print replacing a roomful of machines, and integrate seamlessly with a digital workflow system, reducing or eliminating paper use for many common tasks. Older equipment can cost you in unnecessary energy usage.
  3. Use cloud-based and online applications. This can reduce paper use for banking, as well allow the transfer of data more quickly and easily to clients.
  4. Change your workflows. Scan documents as they come in, fax directly to email, and utilize digital technology where you can.

Going paperless can save your business time and money. With just four easy steps, you can get started on seeing the benefits of a paper-free office. Contact us today for more tips!

green printing

Tags: paperless office

Don't Overlook Your Print Environment When Implementing HIPAA Compliance

Posted by Tim Stanley on Mon, Mar 20, 2017 @ 10:26 AM

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According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPAA), all medical businesses must maintain security of all confidential medical information. HIPAA compliance is the law and it is enforced by the Department of Health And Human Services (DHHS). This includes all devices like printers, fax machines, copiers and workstations. Failure to comply can result in significant fines.

Your print environment can present significant compliance risks. Print device security might be overlooked when a business rolls out HIPAA standards, or if an IT team simply misses critical aspects of printer security.

One well-publicized example occurred in 2010. Affinity Health Plan failed to erase patient data from leased copiers before returning the devices upon the lease term's completion. As a result 33,000 confidential medical records were compromised. The DHHS fined Affinity 1.2 million dollars as a result. 

Here are a few tips to help you maintain HIPAA compliance. Consider:

  • Securing Devices – All print, fax and copiers should be kept secure and only accessible by authorized staff. Track documents when printing and never leave documents unattended in print devices or fax machines.
  • Removing and Erasing Hard Drives – Prior to retiring, selling or returning leased equipment remove any drives and securely destroy all data. Failure to do so can result in legal liability and fines.
  • Authenticating Users and Creating Audit Trails – Password protect workstations and devices to prevent unauthorized access. Use PIN numbers or swipe cards to authorize users and create an audit trail. Administrators should have audit trail capabilities to prevent unauthorized access. Devices should also have an auto-off feature.
  • Data Encryption and Removal – Any data stored on device hard drives should be encrypted using SSL protocols. Your network should also be secure and encrypted. Data stored on drives and devices should be regularly removed or destroyed.

Failure to meet HIPAA standards can result in leaving your business open to legal liability and DHHS fines. Is your company 100% HIPAA compliant, including your print environment? Contact us today and let us help you ensure compliance!

Print Assessment

 

Tags: HIPAA compliance

Document Workflow Automation Considerations

Posted by Tim Stanley on Mon, Mar 06, 2017 @ 11:22 AM

 

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Today’s digital technology offers modern workplaces many opportunities to optimize and streamline common tasks. An area that can greatly benefit from automation is document workflow. Automation can not only increase your efficiency and productivity, it has been shown that it can lead to a significant reduction in costs. 

Before you get started, here are some things you need to know: 

Benefits of Automation

By reducing human input, you are also reducing the error rate, along with its associated costs. At the same time, document workflow automation allows employees to focus on revenue-generating tasks instead of data entry and filing tasks. Work can be more closely monitored, which helps to enhance regulatory compliance.

The print environment is the perfect place to start looking for inefficiencies. By deploying assessment software a Managed Print Services provider can quickly identify paper-intensive areas of your business that would benefit the most from automation. In departments such as HR and Accounting, the benefits of automating tasks can be huge, with time and cost savings adding up to as much as 90%.

Questions to Ask

Once you know which processes are good candidates for automation, you can investigate further with a series of questions to help guide the automation process. Consider the following topics:

  • Types of documents processed: invoices? forms? timesheets?
  • Document storage, both currently and ideally
  • Volume of documents that need to be processed
  • What format are the documents in (i.e. pdf, email, paper)
  • How will they be distributed, and to whom
  • What systems do you currently have in place
  • Is data entry necessary
  • The level of automation desired
  • Any special requirements, such as regulations and auditing needs

Digital automation can provide cost and time savings to your business, allowing employees to focus their time and talents on growing your business. 

Print Assessment

Tags: document workflow

Five Reasons Hackers Target Office Printers

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Feb 16, 2017 @ 10:26 AM

security_printers_1.jpgA recent study found that fifty-six percent of businesses overlook their office printers in their overall security strategy; this is like an open invitation to hackers. Sixty percent of companies surveyed had been breached through their networked printer, and each breach took an average of forty-six days to resolve.

Are your printers protected? Here are five reasons that overlooking printer security can open your business up to the havoc of a data breach:

  1. Network Vulnerability – Even with a firewall your network may have access points a hacker can infiltrate. An overlooked printer creates vulnerability; once accessed, a hacker can gain access to your entire network.
  2. Attacks – Once a hacker gains access to your printer, they can create a myriad of problems: printers can become “possessed” - printing random jobs, transmitting faxes, or even changing settings. Printers have also been used for denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.
  3. Data Theft – Once on your network, a hacker has access to all data; unencrypted data is particularly at risk. 
  4. Hardcopy Risks – Output left at the printer opens the door to breach. Unauthorized eyes may view confidential information putting your business at risk for regulatory compliance failure and legal liability.
  5. Mobile Devices – As mobile use expands it's becoming more challenging to provide authentication and secure data transmission. Implement a mobile solution that addresses these issues.

Take simple precautions to address your printer security including:

  • Use encrypted data protocols. Disable unsused printer ports and protocols directly on the device.
  • Destroy your hard drive whenever any printer is decommissioned.
  • Support at least one form of secure authentication, whether it's an access card, PIN or print at device (pull-printing) protocols.
  • Make sure your firmware and security software is updated and current. Only use legitimate, verified updates.
  • Use a print management tool to centrally manage your print environment and ensure security protocols are followed and enforced.

Keep your business safe! Make sure that all of your print and mobile devices use the same level of security as the rest of your network. Take the time now to protect your business to avoid lost time and liability in the future.

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Tags: security

Optimizing Document Workflows to Improve Your Business

Posted by Tim Stanley on Tue, Jan 31, 2017 @ 12:28 PM

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When you’re running a business, there are tasks that must be repeated frequently, such as paying your vendors. These tasks are often tedious and repetitive, taking you and your employees away from more important business. By optimizing these document workflows, you can take back the time that’s being wasted, improving your bottom line and company morale.

The Inefficient Document Workflow

Inefficient document workflows waste a lot of valuable time and resources. Having your employees complete tasks manually that could be automated also introduces a higher risk of error, and leaves your company open to security risks.

For many companies, simple – but necessary – tasks, such as paying a vendor, can take a number of steps, each with the potential to slow the process down, introduce errors, and create a backlog. For example, a vendor payment may look like this:

  • Scan an invoice
  • Email or otherwise send it to the finance department
  • Print the invoice
  • Complete any information by hand
  • Scan the invoice again with new information
  • Save a copy in your records
  • Send payment
  • Enter transaction in the accounting system

When this has to occur for each vendor your company deals with, you may end up with one or more employees processing invoices for days at a time – instead of doing work that has more direct benefit to your company.

Optimization

The process of paying a vendor can be significantly pared down and automated by:

  • Scanning an invoice into the accounting workflow
  • Invoice is automatically completed using smart scanning and other technology
  • Finance department is notified if approval is necessary due to preset flags on certain values
  • Payment is automatically sent and records updated

This improved document process leaves your employees free to do other tasks, only dealing with an invoice when there’s a problem. Without the repeated printing and scanning, your records also remain more secure.

Often, businesses have document workflow problems that they don't know how to fix. Contact a TDS IT representative today and we’ll help you pinpoint these time-consuming tasks and work with you to develop a solution that works for your business.

Print Assessment

Tags: document workflow

Four Roads to a Paperless Office with ConnectKey

Posted by Tim Stanley on Wed, Jan 11, 2017 @ 04:19 PM

paperless_connectKey.jpgAre the desks in your office covered with stacks of documents? Xerox ConnectKey technology can help you say goodbye to the mess and hello to order and efficiency.

Xerox ConnectKey-enabled multifunction printers (MFPs) give you all of the tools you need to maximize print productivity. With ConnectKey you can easily print from the cloud or your mobile devices. But did you know that it's also a powerful scanning tool that can get the paper off of your desk and onto the cloud or into digital folders where it can easily be searched and recalled with the click of your mouse?

Here are four ways you can organize your data using Xerox ConnectKey technology so you can focus your time on core business tasks instead of dealing with piles of paper:

  1. Scan to the Cloud – It's easier than ever before to scan, organize, collaborate and send your data; you can scan directly to DropBox, Box, and Google Drive right from your printer.
  2. Scan From Wherever You Are – Using the Mobile Link app puts a scanner in your pocket. You can configure jobs and initiate them directly from your phone or tablet. 
  3. Scan to Searchable PDF – Scanning to searchable PDF means that you can easily search and find documents no matter where they are on your drive. Optical Character Recognition technology allows you to search for information regardless of how, or even if, it has been organized.
  4. Scan to an Editable File – Your team needs to update an old training manual. Unfortunately no digital file exists, but most of the information is still valid. How can you make your hardcopy information usable? With ConnectKey you can simply scan the manual to easily convert your documents to editable Microsoft Word files. No manual entry required and hours saved!

ConnectKey Technology from Xerox makes it easy to organize, share, store, and give old information new life!  Give us a call and we'd be happy to show you what Xerox ConnectKey technology can do for your office!

Print Assessment

Tags: xerox connectkey