The TDSIT Blog

Six Hacking Terms Every Business Owner Should Know

Posted by Tim Stanley on Fri, Aug 31, 2018 @ 09:10 AM

hacking_terms_3

It seems like every day we're being told of yet another data breach. As a business owner in today's connected world, it's important to be educated about the risks involved. There are plenty of trade websites, blogs and newsletters where you can learn about today's threats. Like any industry IT professionals have a language they use when discussing these very real issues.

If you're new to IT, or just looking for information, here are six common hacking terms you should know when conversing with your IT security team.

  • Denial Of Service Attack (DoS): DoS attacks are used to lock resources by flooding a network or website with rapid requests that can't be serviced. This effectively shuts down the resource by crashing the network or website.
  • Dictionary Attack: A sophisticated version of the brute force password attack. Hackers try literally thousands, or even millions of randomly generated passwords in order to break through password security.
  • Logic Bomb: A logic bomb is “set off” or triggered by a specific event or sequence of events. Hacked systems are loaded with software that is awaiting a specific event, date, or series of actions to begin the attack. 
  • Malware: Malicious software or malware, is a program that is designed to disrupt a computer or network with malicious intent. 
  • Phishing: This is the most common type of attack. Often sent from a friend's email address which was attacked by a virus that hijacked their address book.
  • Zero-day Attack: A common term, a zero-day attack uses a flaw in an app or OS to gain access or control a system's resources. Zero-day is the day the first attack was identified.

There are new IT threats coming online every day. Regardless of your industry, it's important to stay on top of IT trends, risks and vulnerabilities to reduce your risk of attack.  Want to learn more? Contact us today to learn how to keep your data protected.

 

 

 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, Managed IT Services, security

Keep Millennials Engaged in the Workplace Using the Latest Technology

Posted by Tim Stanley on Tue, Aug 21, 2018 @ 08:21 AM

TDS IT_millennials

Millennials are defined as people who were born between the early 1980s and late 1990s. These digital natives are not only the largest generation to date, they also represent the highest percentage of the workforce at 35 percent. While they offer a unique perspective, greater diversity, and technological prowess, millennials can also be a challenge to retain—and the cost of replacing an employee can range between one and two times their annual salary.

One of the best ways to retain employees is to keep them engaged, and with the right tools, techniques, and technologies, you can create an environment that is appealing to millennials and adds value to your business. Here are some tips to build an effective strategy to increase engagement, and foster a more connected, efficient workforce. 

Go Mobile

Employees in today's digital work environments can often be seen utilizing multiple devices throughout the course of the work day, and many are given the freedom to use their own devices and choose the applications or processes they prefer. Research on mobile app usage indicates that millennials spend upwards of 90 hours per month on their smartphone apps alone, highlighting their expectations and need for an intuitive user experience, and up-to-the-minute technology. If employees are expected to use outdated systems at work, they may be more likely to seek employment elsewhere. A successful strategy includes cloud-based applications with a mobile component to enhance communication and productivity.  

Encourage Collaboration

Millennials are born collaborators who thrive on teamwork. Technology is one of the easiest ways to facilitate and encourage collaboration in the workplace, and by investing in collaborative tools such as analytical dashboards, interactive portals, and communication platforms, employees remain engaged and satisfied intellectually and socially. With the ability to share insights and knowledge, and gain valuable feedback, your organization can benefit from a more streamlined workflow and increased productivity. 

Gamification 

Not every millennial plays video games, but nearly all are familiar with the mechanics and techniques used in any number of other applications. Using gamification in the workplace can effectively re-engage employees by offering incentives, encouraging exploration, and offering the instant gratification they crave. Gamification can be used as a learning tool to strategize and resolve problems through teamwork, using next-level rewards as a way to combat stagnation. 

Increase employee satisfaction and retention using these, and other strategies for successful engagement. 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business

Improve the Efficiency of Your Finance Department By Digitalizing These 5 Processes

Posted by Tim Stanley on Tue, Jul 31, 2018 @ 10:24 PM

digitize

A finance department that operates efficiently is the key to managing your company's profitability. Despite this, many finance teams are still relying on manual, paper-driven processes that slow productivity and leave room for error. 

When your finance team is using paper-based workflows, an important document such as an invoice can easily become buried under a mound of paperwork. According to a recent study, it can take as long as 14.3 days for an invoice to process if an organization is relying on a paper-based payment system.

If your finance department is still practicing manual data entry, workflows not only take longer to complete but any errors related to the allocation and reconciliation of data can lead to unnecessary bank fees and cash flow problems. 

With today's advancements in technology, your finance department no longer has an excuse to be using manual processes. Digitalizing your finance processes will save your organization time, minimize errors, improve cash flow, and increase productivity. 

Here are 5 processes that your finance team needs to digitalize for maximum efficiency:

  1. Invoice Management - Relying on a manual process to pay invoices increases your risk of errors, missed payments, unnecessary fees, and non-compliance issues. Digitalizing invoice management will allow you to process payments faster and even take advantage of vendor discounts. The up-to-the-minute financial reporting available from a digital accounts payable system will empower your organization to make prudent financial decisions.  
  1. Accounts Receivable - Managing accounts receivable electronically will allow your finance department to process customer payments promptly, which will help to improve cash flow. Digitalizing A/R processes also gives your organization the ability to automatically create and send invoices, helping you to get paid faster. 
  1. Document Management - Eliminate the need for your employees to waste time looking for documents and give them the information that they need at their fingertips by moving to a digital document management system. 
  1. Forms  - Digitalizing forms and making them editable will help your finance department eliminate the need for re-work and move through workflows faster. 
  1. Tax Filing - Once your finance team goes digital, tax season will become a cinch as you can quickly retrieve all of the reporting that you need when it comes time to file. 

Digitalizing your finance processes will save you time, money, and frustration. Contact us to learn more about electronic document management and how going digital will increase the efficiency of your finance team. 

cut print costs

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, Digitization

Vacation Time: Use it to Your Benefit!

Posted by Tim Stanley on Sat, Jul 21, 2018 @ 04:47 PM

vacation_time

One of the benefits that comes with most jobs is paid time off: vacation time. However, many American workers are forgoing their vacations, citing job responsibilities and other reasons, to the tune of over 200 million vacation days lost in 2017. However, science shows that taking your vacation time is beneficial, in more ways than one.

Physical Benefits

shutterstock_734812891Taking time off from work has a variety of physical benefits to improve your health and mood. Vacations have been shown to:

  • Reduce stress-related pain, such as headaches and backaches, for as much as five weeks after you return from your vacation.
  • Improve your sleep, allowing your body to return to regular, healthy sleep patterns.
  • Lower your risk of a heart attack. Men who skip vacations for five consecutive years raise their risk by 30%.

Vacation time, whether spent on the go or relaxing at home, allows your body to rest and rejuvenate so that you return to work happier and better prepared to do your job.

Work Benefits

In addition to boosting your personal health, taking vacation time has actually been shown to improve your work performance as well. In one study, for every 10 hours of vacation time a worker took, their job performance score went up as much as 8%. Another study showed that workers who were required to take time off worked more productively than those who did not take vacation time.

To operate at peak performance at work, your brain needs an occasional rest. Vacation time can increase your creativity as well, allowing you to approach your job with a new perspective. Those who use their vacation time to see the world often see that benefit with their jobs as well.

shutterstock_377604307The Caveat

Vacations provide a number of benefits, but you not only have to take the time off - you have to actually be off work. As many as 3 in 5 workers still do work while they are on vacation. To avoid this, make sure you arrange for someone to cover for you while you are gone, and avoid checking work-related email and voicemail during your vacation.

American workers are throwing away earned vacation time, and their physical and mental well-being may be suffering for it. Taking time off has a host of benefits, so be sure to schedule your vacation time this year!

 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business

4 Ways to Improve Document Management and Save You Money

Posted by Tim Stanley on Fri, Jun 29, 2018 @ 08:33 AM

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When you’re running a business it can often seem like all you do is spend money, taking away from your bottom line. So when an opportunity comes along to save money and boost productivity, it may seem too good to be true. But with smarter document management you can do just that, and it can be easy to implement, as well.

  1. Do a print analysis. Print can be one of the biggest expenses for businesses, right behind rent and payroll, and it can also be a big area of waste. A print analysis done by a Managed Print Service provider can give you valuable insights into your print habits. With this information you can pinpoint outdated equipment that is costing you more than its worth and identify wasteful print practices. An MPS provider can save you as much as 30% on your print costs by helping you optimize your print environment and document management systems.
  2. Print smarter. Color printing is expensive. By changing your printer defaults from color to black and white, you can automatically save money with every printed document. Double-sided printing by default is another way to reduce your expenses. Pull-printing, i.e. printing a document only when the employee is at the printer to take it, reduces wasteful printing as well.
  3. Digitize. Using digital documents is both less expensive and more efficient. Documents can be indexed for simple searching, and stored on-site or in the cloud for easy access anywhere. With digital documents, you’ll reduce your storage space needs and minimize the risk of lost documents. Digital documents can also enhance your security, saving you money in the long run.
  4. Use the cloud. Cloud computing allows you to store your documents and applications in the cloud so they can be accessed via an Internet connection. This flexibility reduces your reliance on print, while allowing collaboration to take place at geographically distant places. Employees can work in the office or remotely seamlessly, keeping efficiency and productivity rates up – along with your bottom line.

It’s not always easy to save money, but improving your document management is a great place to start. Today’s digital technology can transform the way you do business and cut out a significant amount of print spending. With printing being the third largest cost for many businesses, cutting this expense can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

Ready to learn more? Contact TDS IT today and let's start the discussion!

Print Assessment

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, document management

Why Your MFP Should be Included in Your Security Strategy

Posted by Tim Stanley on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 @ 12:05 PM

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Your multifunction printer is the office workhorse, able to print, scan, fax, upload to the cloud, and perform other important functions. However, with the amount of data it processes each day, it is also a prime target for hackers seeking to steal your information. Unfortunately, many businesses overlook their MFPs when developing a security strategy, leaving their company at risk.

Cyber Crimes

cybercrimeWith digital data becoming more common, cyber crimes are on the rise. In these attacks, your data is compromised or stolen, and may be sold on the dark web for profit or ransomed back to your company. Credit card information, social security numbers, and other personal data are very valuable - every business has data worth stealing. As the technology changes, so too do the threats to your data.

Security Strategy

If your data is breached, you could be looking at millions of dollars’ worth of damages so you need to be proactive and protect your company. This can take the form of antivirus software and firewalls, to guard against attacks. You should also have a recovery and backup process in place. Employees should be trained in common security threats, such as phishing emails, and understand how to recognize and respond to these events.

Because your network is only as secure as your least secure device, you need to make sure your security strategy is fully comprehensive. This means that every device, from tablets to printers, that connects to your network has security tools in place.

MFP Security

The MFP is a unique device because it interacts with so many other devices on your network and processes information both within and outside of your internal network. Hackers target these devices knowing they are often inadequately protected. Look to authentication and encryption techniques in addition to antivirus software to help protect your data and your network.

You cannot secure your business from cyber threats if you do not secure your multifunction printer. With the amount of data it handles on a daily basis, your MFP should be a priority when you develop a security strategy for your company.

How secure is your print environment? Contact a TDS IT representative today and learn how to keep your company data protected. 

 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, MFPs, multifunction print devices, digital copier and printer security

Do You Know About the Many Benefits of MPS?

Posted by Tim Stanley on Tue, May 29, 2018 @ 02:34 PM

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The primary benefit of outsourcing your print environment to a Managed Print Services provider is the immediate cost savings you can realize. A recent Gartner report found that Managed Print Services can provide almost immediate savings of up to 30% on print related expenses. InfoTrend puts immediate savings at closer to 41% for paper intensive industries like Legal and Healthcare.

While reduced costs are important, there are several other benefits you'll receive when you outsource your print environment to a Managed Print Services provider, that may not be as apparent. Here are the top three!

  1. Managed Print Services Increases Productivity - Most small and medium sized companies typically don't have the resources or manpower to devote to print management. Unfortunately, the task typically falls to an untrained staff member. When problems arise, they can escalate, shutting down your operation and impacting productivity. Not only is this frustrating to your staff, lowering morale, it can often take longer to fix and cost you more money in the process. An MPS provider can remove the print management burden from your staff, freeing their time for core initiatives like increasing billable hours. MPS provides regular preventative maintenance. This means improved print efficiencies, higher productivity and virtually eliminating downtime.
  2. Consolidate Print Related Spending - MPS allows you to take control of your print spending including consumables like toner and paper. Individual ordering by department can be costing you volume discounts. Consolidation also provides immediate cost savings and budget predictability. By tracking and monitoring individual device usage, you can better plan for future technology upgrades.
  3. Improve Your Company's Environmental Footprint - We should all be seeking to lower our personal and business impact on the environment. MPS can help you towards sustainability by right-sizing your print environment, routing your print jobs to the most efficient devices, lowering paper and toner use and reducing your energy consumption. Recycling programs can reduce waste significantly!

While long-term cost savings are an obvious and excellent benefit of Managed Print Services, outsourcing your print management to a qualified Managed Print Services provider can increase your team's productivity, reduce printer downtime, improve workflows by eliminating bottlenecks, offer you budget predictability and help save the environment!

Are you ready to talk MPS? Give our team of experienced specialists a call for a free no-obligation print assessment and start your savings today!

Print Assessment

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, managed print services

How to Tackle Spring Cleaning for Your Office

Posted by Tim Stanley on Fri, May 18, 2018 @ 12:02 PM

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Considering that spring is the season of rejuvenation and fresh starts, many of us are motivated to take care of some much needed spring cleaning. However, as you create your "to do" list, don't forget about your office! 

Here are spring cleaning best practices for your office you can implement today:

  1. Divide your workspace into zones. Your office serves your needs in many capacities, from filing paperwork to tackling in-depth projects. When you take on too many tasks at once, it's easy for your office to look like a disaster zone. Eliminate the calamity by dividing your workspace into zones. For example, designate a library area for all of your resources and a storage area for all of your supplies. When everything in your office has a place, you'll create a sense of order and prevent clutter from accumulating. 
  1. Minimize paper. Paper can quickly pile up on your desk. If you can find a way to minimize your need for paper, keeping your office in order will be much more manageable. Scan documents to store them electronically to the cloud so that you can access them securely from any location at any time. 
  1. Clean out your inbox. Research reveals that the average office employee receives 121 emails each day. As a result, checking your email can be time consuming. Add some order to your inbox by grouping conversations and creating folders.  This will make it easier for you to retrieve emails when you need them. Encourage your contacts to use other forms of communication to reach you by including a link to a messenger app in your email signature. 
  1. Designate a drawer for short-term items. At the start of each month, consider all of the items that you'll need over the next few weeks. Your list could include specific documents, invitations, event paraphernalia, and more. Designating a drawer in your office to store these short-term items will make it easy for you to find these items when you need it. Be sure to refresh your drawer at the start of each month to keep your items organized. 

Spring cleaning your office doesn't have to be an overwhelming project. Start small by de-cluttering one or two areas at a time. The satisfaction that you'll feel after organizing these initial areas in your office will give you the motivation to continue on with your spring cleaning.

Looking for more ways to get your office clutter under control? Talk to us about our document management solutions. You'll enjoy the benefits of a more organized office, reduced need for storage, ease of collaboration and increased security!

Print Assessment

 

Tags: TDSIT, Digitization, Small Medium business

Should You Outsource Your IT or Hire In-House?

Posted by Tim Stanley on Mon, Apr 30, 2018 @ 03:11 PM

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No matter how big or small your business, chances are you rely on technology to do your work. Unfortunately, supporting that technology is never easy. Most small and medium-sized businesses recognize the importance of IT support, but are unsure whether to hire, or outsource. Let's take a look at each option to help you decide which is right for you.

In-House IT

Hiring a dedicated IT person can be pretty appealing. When you have an in-house person you get:

  • Availability – An on staff IT person is dedicated to keeping your business running. They're always available to address issues when they arise.
  • Immediate Response – They can respond quickly. That means less downtime and increased productivity.
  • Specialization – Over time, your team will learn the specific needs of your business. This knowledge will maximize their efficiency, and allow them to focus on tasks that are aligned with your company objectives.

On the downside, it takes time to find the right people and for them to become familiar with your operation. Along with paying salary and benefits, you'll need to equip them with the tools they need to do the job. While you will own the assets, there may be a significant upfront capital investment.

Managed IT Services

Outsourcing IT is an alternative that works well for many businesses. Managed IT professionals provide a number of benefits including:

  • Expertise – One of the major benefits is leveraging their knowledge and experience. Unlike an in-house IT person, a Managed IT Services provider has worked with a variety of different businesses giving them broad knowledge that can help them customize a plan to meet your needs.
  • Cost Savings – Often a Managed IT provider is less expensive than hiring and building a team. Most work on a fixed monthly rate, making budgeting easier.
  • Tools – A Managed IT provider has the tools to do the job. This can include hardware, software and more. Plus it's all been evaluated so you know it works!

A Managed IT Services provider offers knowledge and support at an affordable rate. If you'd like to learn more about Managed IT Services, give us a call and we'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

 

Tags: TDSIT, Managed IT Services

Creating the Paperless Office

Posted by Tim Stanley on Tue, Apr 10, 2018 @ 11:27 AM

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Back in the 90s we were promised the paperless office. Fast forward to today and we're surrounded by paper. But it really doesn't have to be this way. Digital documents can reduce paper use, are easier to store and send, are searchable, and more versatile than paper.

Some Benefits of Going Paperless

Going paperless is beneficial not only for the environment, but for your productivity and bottom line. For example, going paperless can:

  • Reduce clutter
  • Provide faster document access
  • Simplify disaster recovery
  • Is environmentally friendly
  • Can speed up the approval process
  • Facilitate faster communication

These are just a few of the benefits going paperless can give your business.

Taking Your Office Paperless

A paperless office won't happen overnight, but taking your office paperless starts by making small changes for reducing paper use. Consider:

  • Analyzing your current print output. Take stock of your current state try tracking your print-related expenses including printers, toner, paper, repairs, storage, and tech support. 
  • Move applications to the cloud. For example, use Google docs to collaborate, Dropbox to share files, and PayPal to transfer funds.
  • Scan paperwork and sign documents digitally whenever possible.
  • Update Technology. Multifunction printers allow you to scan and send documents and faxes electronically eliminating the need for paper.

Are you ready to make the transition? Give us a call and we'll show you how implementing a digital document system can reduce consumables use, improve security, and lower costs.

green printing 

 

 

Tags: TDSIT, paper to digital, paperless office