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5 Ways to Extend Your Phone’s Battery

5 Ways to Extend Your Phone’s Battery

Today’s phones can help us do more than ever before. In addition to making phone calls, we use them to send messages, post photos on our favorite apps, watch videos, play games, and endless other activities. Since our phones can accomplish so much, we’re on them often. That means we’re draining a lot of phone battery. In our busy lives, we aren’t always near an outlet and don’t always have a phone charger ready. If our phones die, we risk missing out on important notifications and being unable to easily communicate with others. So what strategies can we use to extend our battery life?

Check Apps’ Battery Usage

When it comes to battery usage, not all apps are created equal. While checking your email uses a small amount of power, any apps that use GPS drain a significant amount of your phone’s battery. This is because they are constantly talking to the GPS satellites. Check to see which of your apps are draining your battery most and limit usage.

Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

If you aren’t on your personal Wi-Fi, it’s always good to connect to the Wi-Fi wherever you are. However, this isn’t always an option. When you’re not connected to a strong Wi-Fi, it’s good to turn both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off when you aren’t using them. They drain a large amount of data because, even when not connected to anything, they are searching for your home’s Wi-Fi and car’s Bluetooth. That’s how they autoconnect when you are back within their range. Downloading podcasts, videos, and audiobooks at home can save your battery when you’re out because you won’t have to stream these items over Wi-Fi.

Lower your Phone’s Brightness

One of the easiest ways to save battery is to reduce how bright your phone’s screen is. The brighter your screen is, the more phone life it is using up. Most phones adjust the brightness levels based on how light your surroundings are. You can override this and turn the level down to save battery. The more you dim it, the longer your battery will last.

Go on Power Saving Mode

When you put your phone in Power Saving Mode, it stops it from automatically checking to see if there are new emails, powers off your display faster, and reduces screen brightness. It also turns off certain visual effects and some other features take a lot of battery. On some phones, it also makes your apps run a little slower.

Buy a Built-in Battery Case

Some people need to use power-draining features often and have phone-heavy lifestyles. If this is you, it may still be a struggle to keep your battery lasting throughout the day. If all of the other options aren’t sufficient, you can buy a phone case with a built-in battery. This extra battery charges your phone while using it making it last longer throughout the day.

While any of these methods will help you extend your phone’s battery, it’s best to combine a few options. Our phones make our lives much easier, but they can’t do anything for us if they’re dead because we let the battery run out. Even more importantly, we want our phones usable in case of an emergency. Luckily, using these methods will help keep our batteries alive throughout the day. Just remember to charge them again at home.

Are you in need of our services? Contact us now at 319-227-7000.

2018-08-29T10:09:34+00:00September 11th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Struggling with Email Overload?

Struggling with Email Overload?

Email has allowed us to send and receive messages more easily than ever before. While this is a good thing, it can lead to problems. You may receive dozens or even hundreds of emails in a day. At this point, it feels like you’re wasting your entire day dealing with those incoming messages. Even worse, it makes it difficult to find important messages in your inbox. You can quickly become overloaded with emails.

So how can we deal with this overload? The first step is to reduce the number of emails you receive overall and there are a few ways to do this.

Restrict who you give your email address to. It’s important to think carefully about who you give your email to. For example, if you enter a lot of contests, this often automatically subscribes you to several email campaigns. If you type your email into every popup box asking for it, these add up. Reduce who you give your email to.

 

Unsubscribe

Go through your inbox and unsubscribe to newsletters that you never read. If you haven’t opened one of their emails in months, chances that you’ll start to later are low. Turn off notifications from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you like emails from these networks, then at least adjust the settings so they email you highlights once a week or month rather than allowing them to spam your inbox several times per day.

Do you need that notification?

If you receive emails that contain information you can find elsewhere, switch those notifications off. For instance, you might run an e-commerce site that sends an email for every sale. If your website already has a record of this, you don’t need it in two places. Make sure not to use your email as a to-do list. When you need to remember to do something, put that on a list elsewhere to clear up your inbox. If this is a hard habit to break, at least make a folder for things you need to do and move emails there and out of your general inbox.

Change your email habits

Change your own email sending habits. If a topic is complex and will require a lot of back and forth conversation, consider discussing it in person or over the phone. Sending fewer emails will reduce how many you receive in return. Remember that you don’t need to respond to every email you receive. A response indicates a willingness to continue to conversation.

Resist the urge to send messages with a single word like “Thanks!” or “Ok” and you’ll notice others will stop sending you similar, unnecessary messages. When sending group emails, you can also remind others not to use “reply all” unless it’s information relevant to the entire group.

Start clearing out

Now you can start emptying out your inbox and getting rid of any old emails you don’t need to keep. Delete old calendar invites, advertisements, or any emails where the problem has already been resolved. Respond to any messages that can be answered within only a few minutes. File everything that is left until you have a completely empty inbox. Archive messages where you don’t need to take an action, but you think might be useful. You can search and find these later if necessary. Put other emails into folders based off of the type of email and the priority level.

From now on, all of this can be automated. You can have receipts automatically go into a receipt folder, calendar invites go into another, etc. A cluttered inbox leads to your mind feeling just as cluttered.. Free up your inbox to free up your mind and create more time in your day-to-day life. Let email overload become something of the past.

If you need help with your emails, give us a call on 319-227-7000.

2018-08-29T11:20:46+00:00August 29th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Best Way to Buy New Computers

The Best Way to Buy New ComputersBuy new computers

You’ve decided to buy a new computer for your business, perhaps even a whole set of computers. You can almost taste the excitement as you think about those sleek new machines and how much faster your employees will be able to do their work. There’s just one thing left to do: actually choose which ones. That’s where it gets tricky. Most people pop out to their local retail store and look at the display models, then get overwhelmed when the salesperson starts throwing words like CPU and RAM around. Unfortunately, that scenario almost always ends up with your business having the wrong computer. Here’s why, and what you should do instead.

Most retail salespeople are minimally trained: Unsurprisingly, salespeople are trained to sell! They may have an interest in computers and they’re certainly great at reading the words on the box to you, but that’s the limit of their expertise. Their goal is to make the sale, earn the commission and go home happy. You are getting the computer your business needs and that 100% suits your purpose isn’t particularly high on their priority list. They’re not equipped to deeply understand the way your business works, nor do they have the time to find out. You’re also more likely to be upsold extras you don’t need but will rapidly drain your budget. The reality is, most big box stores do not make money on the computer itself. They make money on all of the add-ons they bundle with it.

Compatibility can be a problem: While you probably know having both Mac and PC can lead to compatibility issues, did you know even switching brands within your PC network can cause issues? There are so many moving parts to your business network, from printers to routers, laptops to mobile payment processors, that anytime you throw a new computer into the mix you could end up with compatibility problems. Salespeople don’t know what your current setup is at your home or business but may still make recommendations based on assumptions and hopeful guesswork. Even the number and types of ports available on retail computers may cause a problem once you’re setting up.

The last thing you want to do is end up with a collection of wobbly adapter plugs as you attempt to course-correct and make do until it’s time for a do-over. Any time your employees need to go off-book and create workarounds, efficiency is guaranteed to take a dramatic hit. It’s best to skip the drama and get the right computer the first time around.

Support could get tricky: Your IT provider will often stick to a handful of vendors and models to ensure all parts are kept uniform. That way we know which parts will work together, and should something fail, we can usually get replacements quickly. We’ll often have special relationships with parts vendors, and can get special pricing, extended support and upgrades that a salesperson can’t match. Your IT budget goes further with your consultant, and not just on the day of purchase.

By contrast, when you buy computers through your IT provider, you know you’re getting the exact computer your business needs. We know your business inside and out, including your long and short-term goals. From the first time you work with us, we’ll be sure to do our research before making a recommendation. Remember, you want your computers to last 3-4 years of heavy usage, so it’s also a good idea to buy business-grade computers. While the computers at the retail store are equally shiny, they’re not as durable or fast as the ones your consultant can supply.

Your IT provider will also be able to set the new computers up, ready to go with the exact software you need. We’ll strip out all the bloatware (unnecessary programs and trials that come pre-installed) and configure your new computers to work perfectly from day 1. Your employees will be able to enjoy their new systems, take full advantage of the productivity boosts you paid for. That means internet working, internal network connected, programs playing nice with each other, and yes, even printing without problems!

We can help with your new computers- ask us how by calling us at 319-227-7000!

2018-07-25T16:47:09+00:00August 28th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

It’s Official: Your Business NEEDS to Use HTTPS

It’s Official: Your Business NEEDS to Use HTTPSHTTPS

You may have noticed many business websites now have a green padlock in the address bar next to the letters ‘https’. Until recently, you’d only see that on shopping or banking sites, but it’s now become the expected norm for all business websites – even if you don’t ask people to log in or enter credit cards. Simply put, the ‘s’ in https stands for secure and means any data sent/received by the visitor is encrypted.

Clearly, it’s an essential feature for e-commerce sites, but why have all the info-only websites started using https too?

The New Google Rule

As of July 2018, Google will mark your page as insecure unless you’re using https. It’s a movement they started a few years ago to make the internet a more secure place by default. Since Google pretty much rules the internet search and increasing security is always a good idea, businesses have been gradually switching over. Without https protection, someone with access to your internet connection, whether from digital eavesdropping or hacking, could intercept the information. They could also place malware onto otherwise legitimate sites and infect innocent visitors. That’s why eighty-one of the top 100 sites online have already switched to https and a strong majority of the web is following suit.

The Browser Bar Says It All

In the same way a green padlock in the browser bar indicates a trustworthy site, you can expect non-https sites to be marked with a “not secure” warning. Previously, users had to click an information symbol to actively investigate non-secure sites. The shift to plain sight markers will be most noticeable on Chrome, however it’s expected that other browser developers will follow suit. Visitors may then be alarmed by landing on your site and seeing that the connection isn’t secure.

The fact that you may not be asking them to log in, enter personal details or payment is irrelevant. You may not be asking them to enter anything at all, but perceptions matter. Eventually that warning will be changed to an alarming red as Google declares war on unsecure sites. As the common understanding is that a warning = bad, you may get more visitors bouncing away within seconds or even contacting you to report that your site has a problem.

Boosts for Secure Sites

Google is taking its commitment to safe web browsing further by favoring https. That means the search algorithm is taking your site security into account, preferring to display results that it knows will protect users from hackers. Since https status gets the nod, you may find yourself climbing in the ranking while other businesses scramble to catch up. It really is a win-win situation.

What to Do Next

In an ideal world, your site would have a secret switch on the back-end you could flick over and suddenly be https, but it’s a little more complicated than that. In fact, you may have already noticed some sites experiencing trouble with the migration. When the setup goes wrong, users don’t see your website with a little warning in the corner, they’re blocked by a full page error and offered a return to ‘safety’ (away from your site).

The easiest way to make the move to https is to contact your IT technician or web developer, as they’ll be able to make sure you’re keeping Google happy and rolling in the green.

We can help you migrate your site to https – call us today at 319-227-7000

2018-07-25T16:26:17+00:00August 21st, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

3 Reasons Why All Homes Should Have Microsoft Office 365

3 Reasons Why All Homes Should Have Microsoft Office 365Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office has been THE office suite for more than a decade, whether it’s for businesses or students doing their homework. Other applications have come and gone, but it’s expected that most people will be doing their work in Word, Excel or PowerPoint. While you may have an older version of Office that you love, there are three good reasons you should upgrade to Microsoft Office 365.

It’s more accessible: Office 365 operates in the cloud, which means you can use your Word, Excel, Outlook and other office products from anywhere. This means no more forgotten homework, files you can’t access until you get to work or lost documents. The cloud has them all ready and waiting for you, wherever you are. Save important files to a USB drive or your computer and use the cloud versions as your mobile copy, there really are no restrictions on how flexible Office 365 can be.

Another benefit is that since it’s in the cloud, the barriers between Mac and PC versions have been erased. It runs on both platforms and on any device – iPhones, iPads, Android, tablets and many other smart devices. A hefty allocation of cloud storage comes with it too, in the form of OneDrive, so you can access your documents from any device. Many people have started using their OneDrive to store all of their important data, including photos, media and recipes. You can even share your files with a simple link, and you always have complete control over who sees what.

It’s more affordable: Previously, there was a large upfront cost per computer and you were stuck with that version until you dug deep and upgraded. For people with more than one computer in their home, for example 2 laptops and a desktop, this was a very expensive way to obtain software. Office 365 has no large upfront costs, no matter how many computers or devices you need to install it on. It’s actually a monthly or annual subscription for a small amount, with no contracts. Depending on your location (pricing differs across countries), you can have five Office 365 licenses for a whole year, for less than the cost of your previous version.

It’s always updated: You are always rocking the latest version of Office. You aren’t stuck with the one you paid for years ago, like Office 2007 (unsupported), 2010, 2013 or 2016. Office 365 is always the very latest. If you’re still using an older version, you’ll be surprised by how much Office has evolved. Gone are the annoying paperclip helpers, tacky looking clipart, templates and confusing buttons. Everything is intuitive and easy to use, so you no longer need to take classes or tutorials on how to work it. Even the jargon has been stripped out in favor of human-speak so you can get your tasks done faster and finally break up with the undo button. With the latest features, your files also take on a whole new level of professionalism. Plus, any updates, upgrades or patches happen automatically, so whatever Microsoft cooks up to impress you is added to your Office immediately. In the past, when you upgraded your Office version it was quite the drama and often left your files in a mess. Switching to Office 365 is like a breath of fresh air in this regard, as it’s essentially a sign up and go situation. Older files remain intact, your hard drive doesn’t get cluttered, and you’re up and running in minutes.

With Office 365, you’re essentially getting more while spending less. It’s a popular option for good reason. The fact that it’s always available, always the latest version and works anywhere is reason enough to make the switch, particularly if you have students or work-at-home users. The baked-in security features also mean you’re less at risk of cyber-attack, so you can get on with your tasks and let Microsoft deal with the dirty work. It really is a stress-free solution, saving you time and money.

Switch to Microsoft Office 365 – call us today at 319-227-7000

2018-07-25T15:20:17+00:00August 14th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to Securely Dispose of Old Computers

How to Securely Dispose of Old Computers

Old Computers

 

Getting new computers for your business is exciting, but what happens to the old computers? Depending on the age, some people sell them, others throw them out. That’s the easy part. The problem is the sensitive data on them. There are passwords, account numbers, license keys, customer details, medical information, tax returns, browser history…. the works! Each computer, whether laptop, tablet or desktop, contains a treasure trove of sensitive information that cyber criminals would love to get their hands on.

Unfortunately, hitting delete on your files doesn’t actually make them disappear, nor does waving a strong magnet over the drive. These mistakes have cost businesses millions of dollars over the years.

Most businesses are unaware that specialized data cleanup is necessary, others think calling someone to collect the computers will cover all the bases. A 2016 experiment proved just how dangerous the situation can be when they bought 200 used hard drives and found 67% held unwiped, unencrypted sensitive data, including sales projection spreadsheets, CRM records, and product inventories. Frighteningly, they didn’t need any special hacking skills to get this data, it was all right there and helpfully labelled. It’s also not surprising that with simple data recovery tools, people have also been able to access British NHS medical records and missile data, all waiting patiently on a discarded hard drive.

Why hitting delete doesn’t help

Data on a hard drive works like a book with an index page. Every time data is written, it pops a quick entry into the index so when you need it again, it knows where to look. The index is used for files you create as well as system files you can’t even see. Sensible, right? Except if you delete a file it’s more like changing the index to say nothing is on page 10 and you can write something else there when you’re ready. But if you manually flip to page 10, you’ll find the information is still there – the file still exists until it’s been written over – it’s the index reference that got deleted.

Wiping data before disposal

There are software tools you can get to do it yourself, as well as dedicated security firms, but your best option is to choose an IT business you know and trust. With that in mind, a methodical approach is required to ensure not a single drive is left untreated. You don’t want to leave data behind, or even clues that a motivated person could extrapolate any private information from. The approach might include using checklists to maintain security, or dedicated processes to guide each step in decommissioning. Careful records should also be kept, including who signs off on completion of the retirement, and where the computers are sent afterwards. A proper inventory and auditing process may slow the rollout of the new computers slightly, but it’s always better than having your old data come back to haunt you.

We can migrate any needed data, backup the information to your server, or external drive, then wipe or destroy the hard drives for you. We can assess the age of your old computers and either dispose of them for you or point you in the right direction of computer recyclers. Plus, the quicker you dispose of your old computers, the easier the process will be. Recyclers will be able to send less of your equipment to the landfill, and you’ll be less likely to forget how valuable the drive contents are.

Upgrading your business computers should be a happy time for you and your employees, so with a little forward planning, you’ll be able to keep everyone smiling and all your data secure.

Need help with your old hardware? Call us today at 319-227-7000

2018-07-25T15:35:55+00:00August 7th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Outsourcing vs Managed IT – What’s the Difference?

Outsourcing vs Managed IT – What’s the Managed ITDifference?

Outsourcing has become a dirty word. It implies you’re taking jobs offshore or giving up oversight over a key part of your business. Managed Services is the complete opposite of that, yet it’s often put under the same umbrella, despite being a local solution. Your business already looks for help in various places, hiring consultants, agencies and other contractors, all so that you can focus on hitting your goals. Managed IT is simply another of those specialized services, designed exclusively to help with your technology needs.

A True IT Partner

Our Managed Services team acts as consultants dedicated to achieving your business success. We’re able to analyze your technical and strategic needs to tailor solutions specific to your business. We work hand-in-hand with you to design, implement and maintain your tech, keeping you involved at every step of the way. We’ll also keep track of relevant industry news and apply it to your business so you don’t lose your edge. As new software versions are released, we’ll help you make informed decisions about whether to upgrade, stick with current for a little longer, or switch to an alternative. You’ll have a true partner on your team that’s always looking out for your business.

Better Results

Since our Managed IT gets to know your business so closely, we’re also able to ensure all your tech support and maintenance is handled quickly, without disruption to your daily running. We have specialists across multiple areas who have seen almost every scenario and know exactly how to solve them. You’ll be able to keep your employees on task while our experienced technicians work through the issue, often remotely so you’re not disrupted at all. Tech help is also available to your staff with rapid turnaround support.

Visible and Accountable

Unlike standard outsourcing where you lose control of certain elements and are left to hope for the best, Managed IT Services are completely transparent. You’ll get reports on the status of your computers or networks, the number of support tickets we’ve answered and exactly what we’ve been doing to keep your business tech up and running. This level of visibility also means you’re able to see IT trends across your business and make strategic decisions to improve productivity and efficiency.

It’s a Local Solution

At one time or another, we’ve all called a support number and found ourselves stuck in a frustration loop with an overseas call center. It’s almost the entire reason outsourcing earned a bad name. Fortunately, our Managed IT is actually a local service, a real-life business near you who employs local people and supports the local economy. Keeping your IT support nearby means you can get the tech assistance you need, with local ethics, customer service standards and even accents that make the process easier.

You Stay Protected and Prepared

Part of any Managed IT service is ensuring your computers, network and digital devices are secure against threats. This means updates are rolled out for you, patches are done, plus all scans, tweaks, backups and system maintenance. Your employees no longer have to worry about making time for (or learning) these tasks, and you don’t have to worry that they’re getting skipped. Very often, this level of proactive support ensures problems are stopped before they occur and your business is able to surge ahead when others fall behind. If anything ever goes wrong, your Managed IT will have prepared disaster recovery and continuity plans so that you’re up and running asap.

It’s Cost-Effective

With Managed IT, you’ll be able to reduce infrastructure costs very quickly as your specialist is able to recommend better, faster solutions such as cloud storage and mobile technology. Instead of replacing hardware and software simply because it’s on the schedule, your Managed IT experts will present multiple cost-saving options and strategies. Very often, these extend to licensing and training too. Productivity gains are made as the tech begins to work with your processes and employees, not against them. Predictable costs are important to every business, which is why Managed IT is the right choice. You’ll know your monthly expenses are capped, and you’ll be able to avoid expensive tech surprises.

If you’re considering Managed IT, reach out to us today. 319-227-7000

2018-06-28T16:43:16+00:00July 31st, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

6 Clear Reasons to Switch Your Application to Cloud

6 Clear Reasons to Switch Your Application to CloudCloud

Has your business embraced the cloud yet? As we move closer to 2019, it’s estimated that approximately 83% of business traffic will involve cloud applications – a trend driven largely by smart decision making. When cloud applications first came out, nobody really understood what the cloud was or how it could help their business, but as the technology improved, so did the secure and flexible solutions available to you. Some of the most common cloud applications are accounting software such as Quickbooks, as well the Microsoft Office 365 package.

Instead of being seen as alternative options, cloud applications are now clearly viewed as the next logical step. Here’s why:

Your data is safer: While it can give you a sense of warm fuzzies to hear your storage drives whirring away, the risks are less appealing. Your servers could crash, drives become corrupted, or a breach could see your data held hostage under a ransomware attack. Of course, there’s always the standard fire/theft/flood scenario to consider too. With cloud applications, your data is safely tucked away in Fort Knox style data centers, complete with robust backup systems in case anything goes wrong. As part of their service guarantees (usually 99.9% up-time), your cloud solution will have technicians on-site whose sole job is to make sure that when you need to use the application, it works. We can help you choose the safest, most robust solution with the best performance.

You’re always updated: Gone are the days of trying to work out compatibility between versions and accidentally corrupting files. Cloud applications are updated automatically on all devices, and unlike when you run an update on a local computer, the process is almost instant. This is because the update is actually running on their end, at the data center. With this advantage, you’re always up to date with the latest features and security patches, no matter how busy you are.

You’re free to move: One of the best ways to increase efficiency is to remove restrictions around when your employees can do their job. With your new cloud application, they won’t have to wait until they get back into the office to send an invoice, follow up with a customer or even make a record-breaking sale – they can do it wherever, whenever. This flexibility opens up a world of possibility and can literally hand you a competitive edge. All your employees need is an internet enabled smart phone, tablet or laptop, so you’re even saving money on tech. You can bet we have tons of ideas on how your business can take advantage of this freedom.

Collaboration is easy: Since all the data is held in one place, your employees can collaborate with ease. Nobody gets locked out of files because someone else is using it and changes appear in real-time for multiple users. By having a single version of a file, ideas can flow faster, results become more valuable, and employees enjoy overall satisfaction with a job well done. It may sound like a simple benefit, but we know how frustrating it can be for staff to collaborate without the right tools to support them.

All you need is internet: Considering how fast modern internet speeds are, this is usually a non-issue. It simply needs to be stable and meet a standard speed. If you’re concerned, we can run checks to make sure it will be a smooth transition for you. Because it’s internet based, the cloud application works with your established network, whether it’s wired, wi-fi or cellular (or a hybrid). Some businesses also choose to have mobile 4G set up in case the internet goes down, that way the connection automatically switches over and downtime is completely avoided. Our technicians can set this up for you.

Size doesn’t matter: Cloud applications are a great option for both big AND small business. Smaller businesses only need to subscribe to single user licenses, while larger businesses enjoy the multi-user license savings. Skipping the cost of per-computer installations and choosing between per-user, per-site or per-use options. We can help you choose the application and cost-saving model that suits your business best.

Talk to us about your cloud options and lock in the advantages today! Call now at 319-227-7000.

2018-06-26T11:54:31+00:00July 24th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Right Tech for Your New Business

How to Get the Right Tech for Your New Business

Right Tech

Congratulations on your new business! Start-up costs can easily escalate, and tech is often one of the bigger expenses. It’s not that everything is high priced, but the sheer number of technologies available can overwhelm smart decision making. The latest tech is dangled in front of you with amazing features you didn’t know you needed, and suddenly your budget has gone boom!

Here’s how to get the tech right for your business, without the headache and drama.

1. Check if you actually need it

In a lot of cases, using a cloud application means you can skip the big server purchase, along with the on-site technician to manage it. Many of your business programs will have a cloud option that allows you to get all the benefits without the big expense. Before you make the tech purchase, work out which applications you’ll be running and whether a local installation or cloud access is preferred. As part of this stage, think about how you’d like to use the applications – perhaps remote access is a priority, or perhaps collaboration will underpin your business culture. This level of clarity is often overlooked and the number 1 reason why tech expenses spiral.

2. Get expert advice

It’s easy to ask friends and family what to buy, but there are many more factors to consider than just their personal preference. You trust their opinion, of course, but they may be speaking from a consumer perspective or basing their recommendation on brand loyalty. Every business is different and pairing the correct technology with the business will save you a lot of money in the long run.

3. Buy business grade

Unfortunately, the computers and laptops you see in department stores aren’t up to business standard. They’re designed for home users to perform quick tasks, not run a full 8 hour (or more) workload. Business grade systems have additional features that your business needs, plus longer warranties and better support. Even the attached devices like networking or printers are built to a higher standard, to last longer and perform better. Considering the cyber climate we live in, taking a special interest in the security offered by the business grade technology is a wise decision.

4. Prioritize flexibility

Businesses evolve rapidly during their first few years and the last thing you want to do is go out and buy new tech, playing catch-up with your vision and smushing together an assorted mismatch of devices. Your new technology should be as scalable as your business, which means making purchase decisions based on strategy, not price. Perhaps this means instead of workstations for employees, you only need tablets. Rather than having a fixed point of sale system, you might choose mobile checkout devices so your staff can assist customers on the go. These examples highlight how easy it is to commit to certain tech because it’s ‘what you do’ but later discover you’re locked into a certain way of doing business. Trying to change your processes down the line impacts productivity, efficiency and culture in a big way, so we recommend buying with your future success in mind.

5. Choose an IT partner

During your set up and moving ahead through growth, you’ll need an IT partner who can not only help with your purchase strategy but support you through any tech problems as they arise. That’s the difference between a partner and a supplier, they’re committed to driving long-term business success.

You’ll be able to call on your partner and know they’re immediately up to speed with your business, they know how IT can help leverage your competitive advantage and which critical systems they should focus on. Getting good tech in place shouldn’t be seen as just an expense. It improves productivity and allows you to serve your customers better while enjoying consistent growth.

If you need an IT partner to help your business grow, give us a call at 319-227-7000.

2018-06-25T12:34:29+00:00July 17th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

5 Tech Travel Tips You Can Use

5 Tech Travel Tips You Can Use

Travel Tips

Travelling soon? For most people, this also means making sure your tech is packed and ready for the adventure. Smartphones, ebook readers, tablets, laptops and smart watches are now so light and portable that you’d never think of leaving them behind, plus they can add a ton of value your experience.

Here are a few tips to consider before you hit the road.

1. Backup to the cloud

While you’re relaxing on a beach or hiking your way to freedom, your tech is always going to be exposed to a level of risk. This might range from accidentally leaving your laptop at a cafe to having it stolen from your bag, but either way the problem is the same – your data is now gone. If you’ve backed up your devices to the cloud (eg Evernote, Microsoft OneNote or OneDrive) you’ll be able to access your files easily and securely from anywhere.

Hot tip: Scan or save important documents like itineraries and passports to the cloud.

2. Pack the right cables

Begging random strangers for a loan of their cable isn’t much fun, so remember to bring the exact cables and chargers you’ll need. Most smartphones and tablets use universal plugs like Micro USB, USB C or Apple Lightning, so you can get away with only packing one cable. Many locations now offer powered USB ports but be sure to also pack the right charger as well, it’s a convenience you’ll appreciate. If you’re travelling overseas and the socket is different, remember to pack a plug converter, and depending on your destination, you might even find the voltage is different. It’s a good idea to check whether you also need a voltage converter before you try and charge.

3. Download offline data

It’s no secret that global roaming can give nasty bill shocks. The easy access data you normally use over Wi-Fi or get included in your cell plan has us all accustomed to being connected. While travelling, you might find yourself in a location where data costs a fortune or it’s not available at all. Download any files you might need, including important documents like itineraries and bookings, so that you can access them even without a connection.

4. Update and scan

Just like you’d make sure you’ve got the right vaccinations and travel gear, make sure your tech is ready to travel too. Set aside a few minutes to run updates for your operating systems and apps. The last thing you want to deal with one your trip is a cyber attack! While you’re doing your pro-active thing, turn on password protection for all devices so that only you can unlock them.

Hot tip: Use a complex password that is hard for thieves to guess.

5. Mark your territory

Almost exactly the way it sounds, let everyone know this tech belongs to you. Write your cell number on portable devices in case you get separated so whoever finds it can give you a quick call and save the day. Don’t want to use permanent marker on your shiny tech? Grab some sticky labels you can peel off when you get home.

You can also get little Bluetooth tracking tags to stick to your gear, so that if you ever lose something you can chase it down. Similarly, you might like to consider enabling the “find my” feature on Apple devices. Having this feature switched on also means you can disable your device remotely, an excellent security option if it’s been stolen.

Need help preparing your tech for travel? Give us a call at 319-227-7000

2018-06-25T09:38:51+00:00July 10th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments