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Your Business Relies on Its Technology, So Make the Most of It

Your Business Relies on Its Technology, So Make the Most of It

Information technology—IT—is a necessity for the vast majority of modern businesses to function. For the sake of these businesses and their operations, it pays to optimize this IT by any means available.

Let’s go over the benefits that a relationship with a managed service provider gives businesses, particularly regarding the overall efficiency these businesses see as a result.

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Even Basic Business Software Can Be Used to Make Art

Even Basic Business Software Can Be Used to Make Art

What is art? It’s not an easy question to answer, especially with new techniques and mediums being developed all the time. By definition, art can be basically summed up as the creative expression of an individual through some medium.

For Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi, that medium is one that is familiar to those in and out of the art world.

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How You Can Use Technology to Free Up Capital

How You Can Use Technology to Free Up Capital

Businesses need money to operate and sometimes it can be awfully difficult to find enough financial wiggle room to do the things that you want to do after all the bills are paid. Finding the right technology can help. By building a more efficient business, tasks take fewer resources to accomplish and that provides opportunities such as better revenue generation or the ability to reallocate certain resources to better fit your organization’s immediate goals. Let’s take a look at some tech that can help achieve this goal.

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It’s Time to Plan Next Year’s Budget, so Consider Managed IT Services

It’s Time to Plan Next Year’s Budget, so Consider Managed IT Services

As we’re in the midst of Q3 of 2023, common wisdom says that now is about the time that small businesses should be planning their budgets for the next fiscal year. As such, if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to give managed IT services some serious consideration.

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Three Considerations That Can Save You Money on Your Technology

Three Considerations That Can Save You Money on Your Technology

If you are on the purchasing end of software, you know it can be pretty expensive and it can cost just as much or more to maintain over its lifecycle. You know what is more expensive? Not having a plan for either thing. This month, we thought we would discuss some topics that can help you not waste money on technology. 

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How You Spend Your Business’ Money Matters

How You Spend Your Business’ Money Matters

Your decisions with capital will bleed into every part of your organization, so it’s crucial that you are able to determine the difference between capital expenses and operational expenses. When you know what each of these accomplish, you can do more with the same amount of capital.

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How to Safely Adjust Your IT Budget in Tough Times

How to Safely Adjust Your IT Budget in Tough Times

When times get tough, businesses are pretty quick to start cutting costs wherever they can…and frequently, the business’ IT is the first thing to hit the chopping block.

While we contend that IT is the last thing you want to cut back on when times are tough, you may not have a choice. Therefore, we wanted to take a few moments to explore how you can resist some of these cuts—and if not, what you need to prioritize.

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Don’t Fall for the Google Business Profile Scam

Don’t Fall for the Google Business Profile Scam

There is a scam going around that convinces organizations to pay for their Google Business Profile, and if you paid for this free service, you’ve fallen for the trick. Google is taking legal action against the scammers who have dragged their name through the mud, using Google’s notoriety to defraud businesses who just want to look competitive.

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How to Determine the Costs Associated with Your Printing

How to Determine the Costs Associated with Your Printing

Sad to say, but for the foreseeable future, cost control is going to be the number one priority for almost every business. With the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic still lingering, and revenue streams interrupted, many businesses are still being extremely cautious with their capital. One place where most businesses can cut back is on printing. Let’s discuss how to cut your organization’s printing costs. 

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How Well is Your Business Controlling Its Printing Costs?

The Cost-Per-Page Metric Is Crucial to Identify

Printing costs are typically tied up in ink/toner. That’s not the only cost, but unless you are using premium paper to print out sales and marketing reports or the company newsletter, it is the major one. For color printers, it’s an even larger expense since you typically need multiple toner cartridges to get the desired effect. This is why knowing what your organization is paying per page to print is so crucial. It’s a pretty straightforward equation.

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Collaboration Tools that Can Help You Control Costs

Video Conferencing

Video conferencing tools were useful before the COVID-19 pandemic caused the implementation of stay-at-home orders. Now, it is a tool that everyone uses to catch up with people in all types of situations. For the business, it is a huge benefit to be able to meet from anywhere at the click of a button. Since commercial-grade video conferencing solutions need a little more than your individual-license ones, it is important to find one with the features a business needs. They include:

  • Screen sharing
  • Instant messaging and group chat features
  • HD Video
  • Recording
  • Multiple-webcam options
  • Encrypted file sharing
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How to Trim Your IT Support Expenses (But Keep Your IT)

Let’s go over some of the ways that an MSP can help reduce your support costs, while still providing better support than the alternative.

Where Support Costs Build Up

Take a moment and consider why technology costs tend to rise so rapidly once an issue is discovered.

  • The technology itself could be expensive to repair or replace.
  • The repair fee will likely include fees and travel costs in addition to the cost of the service itself.
  • The repair is likely only focused on fixing the immediate problem, without considering if it will recur or if the fix itself will cause further problems down the road, leading to repeat visits.
  • If an issue does happen, you have to call in the technician for them to come and actually fix the problem. This all takes a lot of time, before the repair even takes place, which itself can take a large amount of billable time as well. So, in addition to paying for the travel time for the tech to get there and the time they spend solving the issue, you are also incurring costs through missed productivity.
  • It is next to impossible to predict these kinds of expenses when trying to budget out your year, as you can never know when you may be surprised. If you set aside too little, you could drain your budget long before you planned.
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What to Include in a BYOD Policy

Here, we’ll go over a few topics that your BYOD rules need to address.

Password Practices and Other Security

It’s hardly a secret that some people utilize lax passwords - especially on their personal devices, where there isn’t an IT department establishing policies to help ensure password strength. According to Pew Research Center, 28 percent of smartphone owners don’t use a screen lock. Obviously, this isn’t something that can be allowed in the business setting.

So, if your employees are going to use their personal devices to access business resources, you need to have a policy that their devices are set to lock after a certain period of inactivity, and require some form of authentication to unlock. Furthermore, the device should further lock down if an incorrect authentication code is input so many times.

Your policy should also include any required security solutions you plan to utilize as part of your mobile monitoring and management toolset. All devices should have antivirus installed, along with mobile device management and unified endpoint management solutions.

Provisioning and Network Security

Provisioning a personal device that is going to be used for company work helps to ensure a few things. Not only does it help to make sure that productivity applications are configured properly, it also helps to boost your security. Furthermore, your network needs to allow your employees’ devices to access the business network - not just a guest network you have set up. Of course, there should be procedures and safeguards in place to ensure that this is done securely.

Tracking, Remote Access, and Data Wiping

Accidents happen, and devices can be lost - and sometimes, stolen. Furthermore, any device that is attached to a company network and has accessed illegal content could possibly leave the company liable - especially if this content was accessed via the company network. Your IT team should have the capability to monitor what websites and content each device included in a BYOD strategy has accessed, as well as to remotely access these devices to help ensure their security should they wind up missing. It also helps if they can implement updates to work solutions and security measures.

If worse comes to worse, it is beneficial to be able to delete all of a device’s data remotely - that way, even if it is stolen, your data won’t be at risk for as long. This also comes in handy if an employee is ever to leave your employ and you want to make sure they no longer have your data (or access to it).

BYOD can offer significant benefits to any organization. To learn more about putting a policy in place at your business, give Coleman Technologies a call at (604) 513-9428.

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Print More Intelligently with Print Management

Business Printing

In the past, businesses greatly relied on the use of their printers, but it really can’t be said that this use is particularly monitored, even now. As a matter of fact, a survey conducted by Buyer’s Laboratory suggests that a full 90 percent of companies (yes, nine-zero) don’t keep track of their printing costs - a number that can regularly add up to over five percent of a business’ total revenue. If this seems high, take a moment to consider the different expenses that contribute to this total.

Naturally, you have to consider the resources you need in order to use a printer. You need the requisite paper and ink, but not many people would think to include the electrical costs of keeping the printer in operation. You also need to take the time (about 15 percent of it) that your IT department spends dealing with printer-related issues and the 23 percent of help desk calls that are made in regard to these issues.

This all impacts your operational budget, and there’s a chance that you weren't even aware of it.

What Can Be Done?

For starters, you need to begin tracking your printing costs, as it will be beneficial to find out how much of your budget is potentially being eaten away by unneeded spending there. Secondly, you should implement a print management solution to make it easier to continue this tracking in the future.

In order to really get the most out of your print management solution, you should have a strategy that allows you to do so. By granting you with greater insights into your printing, you can figure out ways to minimize or eliminate excessive costs, without negatively impacting the accessibility of printed materials.

When considering your options for a print management platform, we recommend that you look for the following features:

  • Comprehensive Assessments - As we said, many organizations don’t use any tools to keep track of their printing costs. This tool in particular will give you a better idea of how much is being printed, where it is being printed from, and when your devices are due for maintenance.
  • Print Management - A print management platform can provide you with precise controls over how your printers can be used.
  • Paper-to-Digital Conversions - By transferring your printed resources into digital ones, you can evaluate the value that they provide when printed and better optimize your printing costs.
  • Better Security - It stands to reason that your data security can improve when you have more control over this data. Hard copies inherently mean that you have less control, and a greater risk of a security issue.
  • Tracking Capabilities - By tracking how much is being printed, you can help optimize your costs through implementing certain controls, like user limitations on how much can be printed in a set amount of time.
  • Setting Print Policies - You can set up resource-saving policies like enforcing double-sided printing and establishing print quotas to prevent users from abusing the office printer.

If your business’ documents are resulting in excessive costs, reach out to our IT experts today! Coleman Technologies can help you keep your printing under control. Call (604) 513-9428 to learn more.

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Tip of the Week: How to Get the Most from Your IT Budget

Leverage Automation

Answer me this: would you rather pay your staff to accomplish their responsibilities, or pay the same amount to have them work just as hard but only accomplish half as much?

That’s what I thought.

Automated solutions and processes can make your business far more efficient than it would be otherwise, simply because it makes it so your staff doesn’t have to take care of rote responsibilities and can instead focus on capital-generating endeavors. As a result, you can streamline how your dollars are spent, making more for a relatively small investment.

Ditch the Landline

Let’s face facts… all technology follows the same trajectory: it starts as an invention, is innovated upon, becomes the established norm, and is eventually phased out by the next invention. Alexander Graham Bell’s patent for the telephone is almost 150 years old - suggesting that it is high time for the next innovation to step into the fold.

In a large way, it already has, with Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP leverages your business’ Internet connection to place calls, meaning you no longer have to pay the telephone company for service. Furthermore, it is far easier (and cheaper) to expand a VoIP solution, making it an even better option for a growing business.

Invest Wisely

When selecting a solution, there’s a lot to be said about seeking out a bargain. However, you need to lean more towards frugality, and less towards being miserly. A solution that you may have gotten for a considerable discount, but ultimately costs you three times its worth in maintenance and repairs can barely be called a solution at all. Furthermore, cheaper devices are often cheaper because the manufacturers skimped on key aspects, like performance, security, and durability. The same can often be said of emerging technologies - it is better to be late jumping on the bandwagon than it is to be in the front row when the whole thing crashes.

Coleman Technologies is here to guide you as you outfit your business with the technology solutions it needs for success. Give us a call at (604) 513-9428 to talk to our seasoned professionals.

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5 Tips for Saving Money on your IT

Don't be Afraid to Replace

Got an older PC that's causing you a lot of issues? Older technology is typically more expensive to run, and after a while, it's cheaper to simply buy a new desktop than it is to continue pouring money into something that always seems broken. It's a great time to buy workstations, and if things are tight you can even buy refurbished desktops to keep costs low.

Enforce Energy Efficiency

If you reduce the amount of energy your technology uses each day, your utility bill from the electric company will decrease as well. Switching to LCD monitors (if you are still using old CRT dinosaurs), and enforcing company-wide policies to turn off monitors or put workstations to sleep at night can make a big difference.

Stop Dealing with Vendors

You hired your employees to work, not sit on the phone with a PC manufacturer because your hard drive crashed. Businesses waste money by paying employees to go around in circles with vendor tech support all the time. IT firms like Coleman Technologies build relationships with vendors and are able to get things done faster. This means issues get resolved quickly and your employees don't need to deal with less-than-helpful support.

Stop Paying your Phone Bill

Yes, you heard us right. Cease paying your phone company by switching over to a VoIP solution instead. Small businesses save up to 80% on their telephone communication expenses, so the investment pays for itself quickly. Many VoIP systems allow your users to take their phone and use it anywhere, giving you increased flexibility and functionality.

Get Proactive Monitoring and Maintenance

Nearly all day-to-day IT issues can be completely prevented with just a little bit of maintenance. Coleman Technologies offers these services to our clients, reducing the amount of downtime they experience. Traditional computer support only fix computer issues when they arise. Coleman Technologies provides proactive monitoring and maintenance to ensure fewer issues plague your business.

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Slow Computer? Increase your memory to boost computer Speeds

There are several factors that contribute to the speed of a PC. Let's very briefly break these down:

CPU/Processor

The CPU handles all of calculations a computer performs. These days consumer-class CPUs handle billions and even trillions of instructions per second. While dated processors can greatly influence the actual speed of a computer, if your PC is fairly new (as in 1 or 2 years old, and possibly older for higher end builds) it's likely not bottlenecking your performance. Today, CPUs are equipped with two, four, or even more cores, which means the CPU can handle an more calculations exponentially and consume less electricity.

RAM/Memory

Random Access Memory is basically the short-term memory of your computer. While your computer is loading and running applications, they get stored in the RAM. The RAM is much faster than the hard drive, so your computer doesn't need to spin it's wheels looking for specific files and parts of applications. The more RAM you have, the more "stuff" that can be stored in it. The faster your RAM, the faster your computer can sift through the data that gets temporarily pushed into it. Once your RAM is full, your computer will depend on the hard drive to retrieve information, and that's where things get sluggish. Once you stop running a program, it will remove itself from the RAM to free up some space for everything else running.

Hard Drive

The hard drive is the storage device of a computer. For extremely high-end PCs, the hard drive is the bottleneck. Hard drives, when compared to RAM, are very slow to access and write information. Once your computer needs to rely on your hard drive heavily for RAM, things are going to start getting bogged down. While it's great that your PC can rely on your hard drive in this way for those times it needs some extra memory, it is likely this is the slowdown. Unfortunately, because hard drives are mechanical and have moving parts, there's limitations to how fast science can make them perform. There are costly solid-state drives, but as a performance-improving factor on a standard workstation, typically solid state drives aren't the cost-effective answer.

Of course, there are software factors as well. Malware and Spyware can bog down your system, and after a lot of use, temporary files can bog things down. Before upgrading hardware, you'll want to have a technician run a quick evaluation on your PC - it's possible a little cleanup can make all the difference in the world.

Otherwise, the next step is upgrading the RAM. RAM is usually relatively cheap, even to double or triple your existing RAM with faster, higher performance memory. Often the cost of the new RAM itself will be between $50 and $100, and more than likely less than that, and that's for a substantial increase, but it depends on your PC.

Is your computer running slow? Does it get bogged down by the time you have all of your day-to-day applications open? Contact us at (604) 513-9428 for a quick evaluation to see if a simple, cost-effective upgrade will help you perform your job more effectively.

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Is Your Cloud Solution Actually a Money Pit?

cloud_money_costing_you

The cloud has proven to be an extremely useful tool for the modern business. Not only does it provide anywhere-anytime access to applications, processing, storage, et al; it also delivers those products as a service, allowing you to budget for recurring costs rather than major upfront ones. This provides your organization with functional, supported, and secure computing environments that eliminate a lot of the support costs that traditional computing environments require. It sounds like a perfect scenario for small and large businesses alike, but things aren’t always what they seem, as a lot of cloud users have found that they have incurred several hidden costs by using cloud platforms. Today, we take a look at these hidden costs.

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