The TDSIT Blog

Tim Stanley

Recent Posts

Don't Become a Victim of a Toner Scam

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Jan 31, 2019 @ 10:31 AM

toner_pirate

As we begin a new year, there's another scam that businesses of all sizes need to be vigilant about. The toner scam is becoming more common and is easy to fall for. 

Here's How It Works...

Toner is a prime target for these criminals ("toner pirates") because the purchasing of it is often decentralized and unmanaged, and it's a supply that requires constant reordering.  

Toner piracy is primarily a telemarketing scam. Toner pirates will research and obtain information about your print fleet, then contact you by phone pretending to be your supplier. They'll use this information to trick you into believing they are legitimate and placing an order with them is business as usual.

The toner you receive will not only be overpriced, it will be poor quality, contain less toner than it should, and could damage your equipment.

Tips to Protect Your Business

Be sure to take measures to protect your business. Here are some clues to help you spot a toner pirate:

• Act now! No delays! You have to act immediately.

• They won't provide you with references or prices in writing.

• They'll ask for the model numbers or serial numbers for your copiers, printers or fax machines.

• They won't provide an address or give you an out of state address

The bottom line is don't order toner from an unsolicited call. If the call doesn't feel right, just hang up. If the caller is not your usual salesperson, while this can happen as people do take vacations or get sick, call your supplier and confirm they are legitimate. Be sure to give employees a list of authorized providers and educate them to not deal with anyone off the list. If you think that you have been the victim of a toner scam, contact us or the Better Business Bureau.

 


 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, toner scam, toner pirates

Do You Delegate? Here's Why You Should!

Posted by Tim Stanley on Mon, Jan 07, 2019 @ 01:40 PM

delegating_6

Running your own business, or managing your team requires delegation. The fact is, growing a business and doing everything yourself is impossible. Delegating can be difficult to master, but it's the one talent that will make a huge difference in your career and your business.

Here are three reasons to delegate, and three steps to successfully delegate tasks to your team.

Why You Need to Delegate

While you may have loved doing certain tasks as you built your business, the fact is, as your business grows your focus needs to shift from day-to-day tasks to the big picture. Delegating gives your team the chance to show you what they've got! Here are three reasons to delegate:

  1. Your First Priority is Developing People - As a business owner or manager, your primary job is developing your team. Work towards bringing out their best by helping them develop areas where they may be lacking. Be sure to listen to their feedback and questions.
  2. You've Just Got Too Much on Your Plate - Delegating removes day-to-day tasks from your to-do list, and makes sure they still get done as you focus on the big picture. Check in periodically to make sure projects remain on track.
  3. Delegation Fosters Collaboration - Big projects are usually divided among employees. For it to work, your entire team must work together towards a common goal. Ensure every team member knows their role and the goal they're all working towards.

Effective Delegation

Like any skill, delegation can be learned. The key is understanding the process. Here are three steps to effective delegation.

  1. PrepareThe result is only as good as the plan! Make sure you think-out and prepare a plan for whatever task you're delegating.
  2. AssignOnce you've put a plan in place, convey the information to your team clearly and concisely. Include information on timing, budget and context. Set expectations for communication including frequency of meetings.
  3. Hold the Team AccountableTwo-way communication is important. Make sure your team understands the task at hand and hold them accountable for meeting deadlines and goals.

Delegation is a valuable skill. Mastering effective delegation skills will change how your business operates and help you grow. Like any skill, the more your practice delegation, the more comfortable you'll be with the process.


 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, office productivity, delegation

5 Tips For A Solid Disaster Recovery Plan

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Dec 27, 2018 @ 11:31 AM

bdr_recovery

Many business owners don't have a disaster recovery plan. Or have a plan they put in place years ago and haven't looked at it since. Today, every business is at risk and proactively developing and maintaining a plan is critical in our increasingly connected world. For businesses who are considering a plan, but aren't sure where to start, here are five steps to get you going!

  1. Get Management to Buy In - Sometimes it's easy to get so wrapped up in day-to-day revenue generating activities that disaster recovery planning gets put on the back burner. It's important to understand the risks associated with not having a plan and getting the decision makers in your organization up to speed on these risks and on-board with a solution.
  2. Be Proactive When Planning - You never know when disaster may strike, whether it's a fire, flood or a data breach – any of which can shut you down. While unexpected events can't be predicted, taking a proactive approach to recovery can mitigate risks. A Managed IT Services provider can conduct a risk assessment to identify gaps in your planning. Next, conduct a business impact analysis and determine the best course of action.
  3. Protect Your Investment - The time to plan is before disaster strikes. Consider how dependent your business is on your systems and how it relies on the data stored and processed on your IT equipment. List IT assets, classify applications and data according to need and how much downtime is affordable. Plan a data backup and recovery protocol. Include frequency of backups and note where data is stored offsite.
  4. Update Your Plan - Technology and business situations evolve. Your disaster recovery plan is a living, breathing document. It should be documented and communicated to your team. Update your plan annually, or when major changes occur.
  5. Regularly Test Your Plan - You needs will change, and new processes, fluctuations in your business, and equipment changes need to be reflected in your plan. Routinely test your disaster recovery plan to make sure it still works!

While you hope you'll never need it, you don't want to be without a disaster recovery plan. According to some studies, up to 90% of businesses without a plan ultimately fail. Ready to learn more? Contact us to learn about the additional steps you can take to protect your business and data.

 

 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, backup and disaster recovery

Want a More Productive Office? Take These Five Steps!

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Dec 20, 2018 @ 11:11 AM

productive_office-1

As a business owner, you're probably looking for more ways to make your office run more efficiently, streamline workflows and cut costs. The most productive workplaces share some common elements that not only cut costs but make efficiency the baseline for daily operations. With a few tweaks, you can update your office to increase morale, improve productivity and efficiency.

Here are five tips to help you make the move to a more productive workplace!

First Step: Do an Assessment

Start by reviewing your office space. Take an inventory of equipment and furniture. Ask yourself how often each piece is used and who uses it. Once you know where you stand currently, you can begin to make adjustments to improve workflows, efficiency, and productivity. Trade-in, recycle or sell any items you no longer have a use for.

Consolidate Hardware

Outdated hardware is inefficient and can increase costs and create bottlenecks. Consolidating your fleet by replacing personal printers with a properly placed, shared device will improve workflows and lower costs. Multifunction devices offer more value by replacing a roomful of machines with a single device. Consolidating lowers costs, reduces energy use, frees up valuable real estate and improves productivity.

Proper Lighting

Whenever possible maximize natural light in your office. You'll save money on reduced energy costs. As an added benefit, natural light is easier on the eyes, healthier, and studies have shown that it increases productivity and employee morale.

Make it Comfortable

Comfortable employees are happy employees and happy employees are more productive. Arrange cubicles for productivity. Keep it professional and presentable, but don't overlook employee comfort. Big tech companies provide employee perks like game rooms and comfy couches for a reason... because a relaxed employee is more creative, can think outside-the-box, and is more productive.

Go Digital

Fewer paper processes reduce waste, increase productivity and improve workflows. An added bonus – no more lost time searching for misplaced paper documents. Digitize your files and you'll free up valuable real estate when you lose the file cabinets. With the right scanner, digitizing your office can be accomplished quickly and easily!

Are you ready to be more productive? Call today and schedule a free print assessment. We'll look at your current print environment, identify productivity gaps and offer solutions that will cut costs and improve efficiency.

Print Assessment

 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, managed print services, office productivity

Common Signs of an Email Phishing Scam

Posted by Tim Stanley on Fri, Nov 30, 2018 @ 01:50 PM

phishing scam_5

No one will argue that email offers many advantages to an organization as it's a fast, efficient and inexpensive form of communication. However, it's important to also realize the vulnerable position that email can put your business in, especially when it comes to cybercrime. 

Email phishing scams are a common way for cyber criminals to gain access to your sensitive data. Email phishing can come in many forms, but these scams are typically sent from a malicious character that is using a counterfeit identity in an attempt to get the recipient to either click on a bad link or share confidential data. 

The real danger that IT managers need to take into account with phishing scams is the human element. No matter how robust your cybersecurity strategy is, your business can be compromised when an unsuspecting employee takes the bait and thereby invites a nefarious character through the front door of your organization. Therefore, it's critical that you take the time to educate your employees about these threats and how to identify them. 

To create the strongest defence against cybercrime for your organization, here are email phishing red flags to include in your cybersecurity policy: 

  1. Inaccurate Names - The biggest telltale sign of a phishing scam is when the email address in the "From" field doesn't correspond exactly to the company in question. For example, maybe the company name includes a hyphen when no hyphen is necessary. This is a classic example of a cybercriminal trying to impersonate a reputable company to try to fool the recipient into sharing sensitive data. 
  1. Urgent Requests - In addition to impersonating an authority figure, phishing emails also typically include some type of urgent request and threaten disciplinary action if not addressed immediately. Your organization should implement a policy to verify these emails over the phone before taking any action. 
  1. Embedded Links - Another common way cybercriminals gain access to data is by embedding malicious links in an email. Instead of clicking on links in an email, a best practice is to have employees type the URL into their own browser. 

Phishing is one of the easiest ways for cybercriminals to steal your data. A cybersecurity policy and employee education can help keep your business safe from a phishing attack. 

 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business

Five Reasons to Hire Millennials

Posted by Tim Stanley on Wed, Nov 21, 2018 @ 01:33 PM

millennials

Millennials (those born between 1985 and 2000) have recently surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest age demographic in the workforce. They are a unique generation, with unique employment expectations.

If you're seeking to hire Millennials you'll need to prepare for what many hiring professionals refer to as the “job hopping” generation. If you're ready to add members of this generation to your workforce, you'll need to adapt your approach to attract talent from this most unique age group.

Why You Should Hire Millennials

Millennials bring a unique set of skills to the office. Here are five reasons you should be hiring them!

  1. They're Naturals at Digital Marketing - Millennials get a bad rap for spending too much time on social media. But the fact is, they use it to communicate more than any other generation. This makes them naturals when it comes to digital marketing. Want to create a buzz online? Task it to a Millennial!
  2. Highly-Educated and Tech Savvy - Millennials are the best-educated generation in history! They're the first generation to grow up surrounded by technology and have a detailed knowledge of all things tech, from website development to implementing cyber security.
  3. Motivated Team Players - Millennials value collaboration, are self-directed, and cherish working on team projects.
  4. Culturally Aware and Involved - Millennials are the most socially and culturally involved generation since the Boomers. If you're company is involved in public service projects, let Millennials represent your company and you'll see!
  5. A New Approach - If you want to grow your business in today's climate, you need to recruit workers who look at problems in a new way. Millennials offer a fresh perspective that fosters innovation.

According to recent studies, Millennials will represent 46% of the workforce by 2020. This is great news if you're ready to embrace this tech-savvy, highly-educated workforce!

 

 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business

Healthy Printers with Managed Print Services

Posted by Tim Stanley on Wed, Oct 31, 2018 @ 02:45 PM

healthy

Today’s office is a digital office, and as such depends on its devices to keep business running. When a printer goes down, projects grind to a halt while you wait for repairs costing you time and money. A Managed Print Services provider can help you understand and manage your print environment to help keep your fleet healthy.

Monitoring Print Volumes

How much do you print each day? Most companies don’t know the true scope of how their printers are used and may be underestimating the burden on these important devices. A Managed Print Services provider carefully tracks your device usage, recording your print volume with a variety of metrics. With this data in hand, you can optimize your print environment to use your printers efficiently.

Consumable Supplies

If you’re ordering print supplies as you need them, you may be wasting money and not even know. Ad-hoc ordering can lead to:

  • Having too many supplies, taking up precious storage space and risking not being able to use supplies before they expire.
  • Supply shortages which jeopardize your workflow.
  • Supply theft, wasting your money.
  • Not understanding your actual print costs.

A Managed Print Services provider, however, can monitor your devices to ship supplies only when you need them. This eliminates shortages and overages, and saves you money.

Repairs and Maintenance

With Managed Print Services you can get preventative maintenance, keeping your printers in top shape. Often problems can be found before the printer needs to be taken offline, so your workflow is not interrupted. Keeping your devices in good shape can help prolong their lifespan and improve your print efficiency.

Even with the best maintenance, sometimes a printer will break down. A Managed Print Services provider can provide expert repair technicians to get you back online quickly. The sooner you can get your printer repaired, the less time and money you will lose.

Every day your printer churns out important documents that keeps your business flowing. Staying on top of your printer fleet with Managed Print Services can help avoid costly breakdowns and make your print environment run smoothly. 

Not sure if Managed Print Services is right for your business? Contact us for a no-obligation print assessment and let's start the discussion!

Print Assessment

 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, commercial printers, multifunction print devices, managed print services

6 Ways to Boost your Customer Experience (and your Bottom Line)

Posted by Tim Stanley on Mon, Oct 08, 2018 @ 12:31 PM

customer_satisfaction

When it comes to serving your customers, you can never try too hard. The quality of your customer service is directly linked to your bottom line, with companies who prioritize their customer experience enjoying a 60% higher profit margin. These techniques to personalize your customer service can help take your business to the next level.

  1. Call them by name. When someone recognizes you and uses your name, it makes the experience more positive and memorable. Calling your customers by name shows them that you value them.
  2. Spotlight customers. Having a monthly customer spotlight on your social media or office bulletin board is a public way of acknowledging your appreciation. Customers are what make your business successful – so thank them!
  3. Handwrite notes. Whether it’s a thank you note, a birthday card, or a holiday greeting, take the time to sign it by hand. It only takes a few seconds, but sends a message that you truly value your customers.
  4. Reward feedback. When a customer takes the time to give you feedback, you should listen. Complaints should be dealt with promptly, but also cause you to see if there’s something you can change to prevent the situation in the future. Customer feedback that leads to these changes should be rewarded, perhaps with a gift card or public acknowledgement.
  5. Offer educational experiences. Customers come to your business because they value your expertise. Take the time to share knowledge with your customers by hosting demonstrations and workshops to help give them a better understanding of topics related to your business.
  6. Repay the patronage. Many of your customers own or work for businesses that can benefit your company. By doing business with your customers, you are strengthening the bond between you. Supporting their businesses helps ensure they will continue to support yours as well.

From the moment your customers come into your office or make contact on the phone, they will judge your business on how they are treated. 76% of customers believe the service they receive is a direct reflection of how much they are valued. Excellent customer service helps create loyal customers who will return again and again, even if your prices are higher than the competition. By taking the time to improve your customer service, you’re investing in the long-term health of your company and your bottom line.

 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, customer service

ConnectKey Apps for Your Office

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Sep 27, 2018 @ 12:20 PM

productive_office

Have you ever wished there was an easier way to get things done with your printer, whether in the office or on the go? With Xerox ConnectKey-enabled printers, there is. The powerful apps available for these printers can change the way you work, and are ideal for companies both large and small.

Xerox Scan to Cloud Email

When you scan a document, chances are you need to send it to someone. This can be a tedious process of saving it, then going back to your desk to attach it to an email. Or perhaps you can send it from your printer after a complicated email setup process. The Xerox Scan to Cloud Email app changes this, allowing you to simply email your scanned documents with no email setup, and it’s compatible with pdf, tiff, jpeg, and other formats. 

Xerox Mobile Link

Work doesn’t have to grind to a halt just because you left the office. The Mobile Link app allows you to use your smartphone or tablet to scan, fax, and print wherever you are. With this app you can configure and initiate jobs from the app, so you can keep the work going from anywhere.

Xerox Easy Translator Service

The world is growing smaller every day, so it’s essential for you to be able to communicate with clients and colleagues around the world. With the Xerox Easy Translator Service app you can translate your document into over 40 languages directly from your printer, phone, or computer for truly easy communication. 

Other Apps

Xerox ConnectKey utilizes app technology to help your business thrive and grow. The Xerox App Gallery is an ever-expanding suite of apps to improve function, productivity and organization. From here you can get apps to scan directly to the cloud using DropBox or Google Drive, make your documents searchable, and convert paper files to digital documents. With a ConnectKey-enabled printer, you are getting a future-proofed piece of equipment able to adapt to your changing needs over time.

Apps are everywhere. Never has the statement “there’s an app for that” been more true. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Xerox’s ConnectKey-enabled printers also utilize this technology to bring the power of apps to your print environment. Contact us to learn more.

 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, office productivity, xerox connectkey, Xerox apps

Distracted at Work? Try These Techniques

Posted by Tim Stanley on Mon, Sep 17, 2018 @ 11:41 AM

distractions_3

We all get distracted at work sometimes. You've tried everything to stop, but you still find yourself surfing Facebook and not getting your work done. Maybe, you've tried installing extensions to block social media sites or time blocking, and nothing seems to work.

When conventional techniques fail, it's time to check out other options. These five alternative techniques for dealing with distraction might just be the ticket!

Just Let Go

Ever tried really hard to control a situation in the work place and the harder you try, the less it works? A big source of workplace stress is trying to control things that are out of your control! Are you using distractions to avoid dealing with stress? Try and practice just letting it go. It might be exactly what you need to get back on track.

Take Breaks Throughout The Day

When you're distracted it might not feel right to take a break. After all, you've got all that work to do that you've been avoiding. A recent study conducted by Baylor University asked 95 employees who primarily work on computers to track their breaks. Researchers found that whenever they intentionally stepped away from their screens, they reported feeling less empotional exhaustion and increased job satisfaction.

Let Yourself Be Distracted!

Seems counterintuitive, but inspiration sometimes strikes when you are most distracted. Being creative can help you to focus and get excited about what you're doing. If you suspect that a distraction is holding you back, not fighting it can sometimes open your creative floodgates!

Engage in Play

Sometimes starting your day with some mental calisthenics before jumping in can help. Aaron Britt, content brand manager for Herman Miller engages his team with 20-minutes of anagrams to warm up each morning. This type of purposeful play uses the same mental processes that his team uses on the job.

Trying different approaches can often help. These offbeat options just might be what you need to get your focus back.

 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, office productivity