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How to Identify Inefficiencies in Your Print Environment

Do you have an accurate picture of your organization’s printing costs? If you’re like most businesses, you’re spending more on document management than you realize. Alarming but true, 64 percent of SMBs don’t have the ability to track print-related costs.

Fortunately, your organization can realize significant cost savings by identifying and eliminating inefficiencies in the print environment. Here are some of the most common telltale signs that inefficiencies are present:
You have accumulated a number of cheap printers throughout the workplace.
Although they seem cost-effective up-front, often the supplies needed to keep these printers in operation are anything but cheap. These costs often go untracked because different departments are often allowed to purchase them at their own discretion.
Documents are frequently left abandoned in print output trays.
An obvious sign of waste in the workplace is documents left in the printer output tray. Not only are these documents a waste of paper and toner, but also a waste of your time to remove them. Sensitive documents left unattended on the output tray present a security risk that could compromise your business.
The purchase of printing supplies is not centrally managed.
When you don’t have an approval system in place for purchasing print supplies it’s almost impossible to track these expenses.
The default for print jobs is not black-and-white.
Printing in colour costs considerably more than printing in black-and-white. However, if you don’t establish black-and-white as the default choice for print jobs, most employees will opt to print in colour, regardless of how the document will be used.
Most of your processes are paper-driven.
While we live in the digital age, 40 percent of businesses still rely on paper-driven processes. These workflows often include several steps that need to be completed manually. Transitioning to digital workflows will increase efficiency […]

By |November 2nd, 2017|blog|0 Comments

Is Your Small Business Making These Social Media Mistakes?

Having a presence on social media is a great way for businesses to engage and inform prospective buyers. To keep your online presence in tip top shape, here are some common pitfalls to watch out for in your social media engagement, along with effective ways to adjust your approach for success.

1. Spreading Yourself Too Thin – Building a presence on social media takes time, focus and effort. It’s important to engage with people consistently and effectively by sharing information  that helps your brand  stand out from the crowd. It’s hard enough doing this on a single social platform, let alone five or ten! Understand your market and focus your energy on the channels that are most relevant to your readers.

2. Selling Too Much – Social media users are sophisticated and can see through the hard sell. The key to effective engagement lies in the sharing of information. Address your potential buyer’s pain points in an informative way to gain trust, thought leadership and brand awareness. Build relationships. Leave the hard sell to the infomercials!

3. Posting Sporadically – Social media relies on consistency of message and engagement. If you are only posting on social media occasionally you will become part of the noise. Develop a regular publishing schedule to show dependability and consistency in your messaging.

4. Deleting or Ignoring Negative Comments – On social media this is a big mistake! Instead, always respond with empathy, offer solutions, and open a dialog. Social media is about building relationships and ignoring negative engagement is seen as a negative. Always respond to all comments and be open to criticism.

5. Failing To Measure – The best way to understand what is working and, more importantly, what isn’t, is through metrics. Many businesses have […]

By |September 11th, 2017|blog|Comments Off on Is Your Small Business Making These Social Media Mistakes?

3 Common Types of Cyberattacks

No business is immune from the growing threat of cyberattacks. In fact, nearly half of these attacks target small and medium businesses. Understanding the threats your business is facing can help you prepare a proper defence.

Malware Attacks

Malware refers to any malicious software that can take root in your computer network. This includes viruses, Trojan Horse attacks, worms and ransomware. Once on your computer, they can steal or corrupt your data, block access to your system, and spread to other computers on your networks or those of your clients, partners, and other contacts.

You can help protect against malware attacks by installing a robust anti-virus program that scans websites, incoming emails, and other common sources. However, you should also have a strict policy to “look before you click.” Malware often enters a system through links in an email or on pop-up ads that employees may absentmindedly click on thinking they have come from a trusted source.

Password Attacks

If a hacker gains your log-in information, he has full access to your system. Common methods of acquiring passwords include:

Brute-force attacks, trying common words such as names.
Dictionary attacks, systematically working through databases such as the dictionary.
Key logging attacks, recording key strokes to steal passwords.

Complex and frequently changed passwords can reduce the risk of your system being hacked by a password attack. Passwords shouldn’t include common words, and should have a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Multi-factor authentication using password and other methods, such as biometrics, can also thwart these attacks.

Denial of Service

Denial of Service attacks are increasingly common and can take down networks for hours or even days. These attacks work by flooding the system with information, typically from multiple computers and locations, causing the system […]

By |July 20th, 2017|blog|Comments Off on 3 Common Types of Cyberattacks

Protect Your Data with These Three Tips

Data breaches are more commonplace than ever before, prompting businesses to increase security measures to reduce their vulnerability. Although it may be only the large scale breaches that tend to make the news, companies of all sizes have come under attack, with an estimated 60 percent of data breaches aimed at small to medium sized businesses.

Would-be thieves find almost any type of information useful, including customer and employee records, payment and banking data and more, making it imperative that every aspect of your business is protected. In addition to the obvious ramifications of a data breach such as theft of identity or financial loss, businesses face potentially irreparable damage to their reputation from which they may never recover. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to protect your sensitive data from theft, including the three listed below:
Reduce Your Reliance on Paper
Hardcopies are particularly vulnerable to theft from a variety of sources, including being left behind on the office printer, left exposed in common areas or in unsecured filing cabinets. While your office is unlikely to become 100 percent paperless, you can significantly reduce your risk of theft by digitizing documents for secure storage in the cloud. In addition to the security benefits, digital storage helps to increase efficiency and productivity, saving you money.
Remain Vigilant
It’s possible to limit the physical theft of unsecured documents if the proper precautions and safeguards are put in place, including implementing a key card access system. This added security can be added to your print fleet using the same access cards.

Access cards can control the flow of traffic and allow for the implementation of restrictions by user or department, while creating an audit trail for easy review in the event of a security breach.
Safeguard […]

By |May 3rd, 2017|blog|Comments Off on Protect Your Data with These Three Tips

Electronic Document Management for Your Business

Paperwork is part of the daily grind for many businesses. Forms, contracts and invoices all must be filled out and appropriately filed. Employees spend valuable minutes – or hours – looking for the documents they need each day. Over time, your storage costs go up while your productivity goes down. Electronic data management can change that.

Too Much Paper Hurts Productivity
When working with paper, a lot of time is spent filing, retrieving, data entry and other tasks. If a document is lost, it can cost your business in both time and money, as employees spend time trying to find it, and then recreating it if not found. Collaboration using paper documents can be a slow process, requiring the physical transfer of documents, which then must be read, edited, and delivered to the next person. You may not realize it, but relying on paper is slowing down your business.

Electronic Data Management for Productivity and Collaboration
By switching your company over to electronic data management, you can realize significant and immediate benefits across your company. Filing and searching for documents is as simple as a few keystrokes, allowing your employees to work more efficiently. Collaboration becomes easy, with updates showing up immediately, and a live auditing trail to track any changes that are made. Employees can even access documents remotely, allowing them to work wherever they are.

Additionally, when you use a digital document system, you can easily see important data about each department in your company. With this information in hand, you can see what areas are struggling and deploy personnel and solutions as necessary to solve any problems as they arise.

Improved Security
Electronic management also improves your document security. By requiring passwords and using encryption, your files become […]

By |March 27th, 2017|blog|Comments Off on Electronic Document Management for Your Business

How to Find the Best Managed IT Services Provider for Your Business

An effective and efficient way for small to medium-sized business owners to ensure the safety, reliability and consistency of their IT environment is through Managed IT Services. Regardless of the size or scope of your organization, a Managed IT Services provider can help your business perform at peak efficiency, while keeping data safe, secure and accessible any time of the day or night. When you partner with the right provider, you’ll have immediate access to infrastructure management services, firewall and virus protection and more—but how do you know which one to choose? Start by asking the right questions, including those listed below.

Are you knowledgeable about our industry? The right provider will have a working knowledge of your industry, and be able to offer recommendations to enhance workflows and make improvements beyond your hardware.
Do you have experience? Longevity is a good sign, in one of the fastest growing and most competitive sectors in technology today. Look for a provider with a history of solid client retention, who understands what it takes to protect your interests, and help your business to succeed.
What types of support do you offer? Both remote and onsite support are important to manage your IT environment, and should be available from your provider. Remote support can help detect and resolve minor issues before they disrupt your business, while onsite monitoring is necessary to ensure the integrity of your equipment, perform preventive maintenance, and answer any questions you may have in person.
Can I expect around the clock monitoring? Don’t settle for anything less than 24/7/365 remote monitoring of all servers, networks, devices, firewalls and more.
What would you like to know about our business? The right MSP will take an active interest in your business […]

By |February 15th, 2017|blog|Comments Off on How to Find the Best Managed IT Services Provider for Your Business

Document Security and Your MFP

Large scale data and security breaches over the past few years have raised awareness of data security in public and private sectors, and more attention has been directed towards commonly known areas of vulnerability, such as cellphones, tablets, and laptops, and the less common, such as multifunction printers (MFPs). 

Human error, such as leaving printed documents in the output tray, or leaving originals behind, have always placed MFPs at risk of a breach, but with the evolution of these devices comes a new type of threat. Complex network components, including embedded servers and cloud-based applications, coupled with physical risks, leave inadequately protected MFPs vulnerable to attack from hackers, thieves and viruses—but there are a number of preventive measures you can employ to safeguard your equipment and data. 

MFP Security
User access and authentication measures can reduce the risk of a breach such as passwords or swipe cards. These methods ensure the end user is physically present at the MFP prior to document printing, lessening the risk of the document falling into the wrong hands or being left behind. Access can be granted according to user level to further prevent unauthorized users from viewing sensitive materials.

Network Security 
As any other networked device, the MFP should remain behind a secure firewall at all times to prevent access, with the added protection of SSL encryption. 

Mobile Security
Mobile devices and mobile printing, are here to stay, with increasing demand for resources. 75 percent of users place a high value on mobile print, but as it gains in popularity there are concerns surrounding just who is allowed to print, and where. The authentication methods listed above can help alleviate those concerns, limiting usage to authorized users. 

Hard Drive Security
The data stored on an MFP’s hard drive is at […]

By |January 15th, 2017|blog|Comments Off on Document Security and Your MFP

Key Benefits of Managed Print Services for Non-Profits

Non-profit organizations are often torn between the need to produce high quality documentation for internal and public use, and adhering to budget constraints. To add to the complexity, it can be nearly impossible to determine the true cost of printing for non-profits, with the number of devices spread throughout the organization, lack of dedicated IT personnel, and purchasing through a variety of vendors. A Managed Print Services (MFP) provider can help with processes designed to increase efficiency, streamline workflow and reduce print costs specifically for non-profits.

Common Organizational Challenges 

Due to their unique nature and structure, non-profits face a number of unique challenges, including:

• Limited cost control. Buying from multiple vendors, choosing equipment based on price alone, and devices spread across a number of departments, makes it difficult to keep control over costs. 
• Data security. Information pertaining to your organization and its members may be at risk in the absence of adequate security measures, or software. 
• Unreliable budgeting. Unpredictable, ever-changing budgets are common in the non-profit sector, and it can be challenging to meet the high demands for print. 
• Challenges with funding. Cutbacks are common, and budgets may need to be continuously reworked to accommodate print.  
• Outdated technology. Underutilized or outdated technology may cause issues with data security and prevent you from making the most of your print fleet. 

The Benefits of MPS

In addition to helping control print expenses, an MPS provider can offer a number of other significant benefits, including:

• Helping to manage and configure new and existing equipment to make them more efficient and user friendly. 
• Reductions in print costs, of an average of 30 percent. 
• Assisting with the conversion of hardcopy documents to digital. Utilizing cloud technology helps to increase security, accessibility and workflow. 
• Ease the processes of billing, […]

By |November 29th, 2016|blog|Comments Off on Key Benefits of Managed Print Services for Non-Profits

How to Avoid Three of the Most Common Printing Mistakes

If you’re desperate for your printed material right now, is anything more frustrating than seeing that “printer down” sign on your office’s printer, copier or other document machine – or hitting “print” several times only to get an error message on your screen?

Even the best-quality multifunction printers (MFP) are not immune to downtime, and sometimes the problem stems from little user errors most people aren’t even aware of. At the same time, mistakes in security and recycling open up risks and cost issues to even well-maintained office machines.

Are you or your employees guilty of any of the following mistakes?

•Incorrectly loading paper. Nothing stops a printer faster than paper that’s loaded wrong – which could mean anything from bent edges to paper curling or stickiness. Before loading your paper, look for an arrow on the end of the package – that should point up and give you the direction of how to load. Then, fan the stack lightly so that some air can get between the sheets. Look for bent paper, rips, creases and other flaws that could cause a jam.
•Leaving confidential information on the machine. People who send sensitive documents to the printer should be prepared to pick up their copies right away. Unfortunately, when people get distracted by phone or email, such documents often end up left in the tray or nearby, where their security may be breached. However, today’s technology also allows for a multifunction printer that waits for you to arrive before printing the job.
•Tossing empty print cartridges in the trash. Every office should have a recycling program in place, but users tend to think only of paper when it comes to recycling. Used print cartridges are not easily biodegradable – in fact, they […]

By |October 21st, 2016|blog|Comments Off on How to Avoid Three of the Most Common Printing Mistakes

How Managed IT Services Can Help Your Small Business

Technology advances at a breakneck speed, with significant advances occurring as often as every 28 days. This can make it hard for businesses to keep up, especially with limited resources. Many small and medium-sized businesses are turning to Managed IT Services to help them bridge the gap.

For SMBs, Managed IT Services provides a host of benefits. No longer having to hire and maintain a large in-house IT staff frees up resources that can be better spent elsewhere. Simultaneously, they are able to take advantage of the professional expertise Managed IT Services provides, getting the best technology available to stay competitive in the marketplace.

Some of the top benefits of partnering with a Managed IT Services provider include:

• Cost-effective IT solutions tailored to your business needs and budget. A Managed IT Services provider will suggest applications, maintain security, and recommend the best technology that fits into your IT budget.
• Dependable IT services. Whatever your problem, a Managed IT Services provider has the staff trained and ready to support you. This results in a more dependable and better service than in-house IT often provides.
• Comprehensive and complete IT solutions. A Managed IT Services provider can look at the broad picture of your business and develop a comprehensive IT plan. From hardware to security and user applications, your system can be designed from start to finish.
• Maintain regulatory compliance. Regulations can be complex, and failure to comply can result in stiff fines and penalties. Managed IT Services have specialists in regulatory compliance and can help you develop solutions to enhance your compliance.

Small and medium businesses often lack the resources to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology and regulations. In-house IT staff can become quickly bogged […]

By |September 20th, 2016|blog|Comments Off on How Managed IT Services Can Help Your Small Business