Blog

May 29th, 2014

BusinessValue_May26_ASince the wide adoption of social media, and even before, companies with an online presence have been taking steps to develop their own content that 'fans', customers and even friends can interact with. By creating content that users share, you can increase the reach of your company, which could ultimately increase sales, turnover and profits. The question is, how exactly you get your content, especially articles, shared.

The key to getting your content shared

There are countless blog posts on how to create content that is shareable. And to create content that will be shared by users on social media and other platforms you need to know why content gets shared in the first place.

In order to help, we scoured the Internet and found a great article over at OK Dork, which was written by the content masters at BuzzSumo. This article listed things you can do to increase the shareability of the content you produce. While it is quite a long article, we found there were some great tips worth talking about here. In order to make things a little easier, we have split this article into two parts. Here are the first five tips you can leverage to increase the reach of your content, and more specifically the blog articles you create:

Create longer content

Take a look at what people share on their social media profiles and there is little doubt that the vast majority of content is short, and can range from often photos and videos of funny cats to memes. But look at the articles that are shared and you will often find that the most popular ones are actually longer, or long-form as they are referred to by content experts.

The main reason for this is because there are fewer long-form article creators out there, and there is a demand for higher quality, well researched and well-written articles. Sharing this type of content generally adds some depth to a posting which can create a more involved and sustained dialogue.

You might want to mix it up to increase shareability by creating some articles which follow this longer style approach. You could try writing shorter articles on a regular basis, for example, with a 2000 word article say once a month.

People like images

Think about the last time you read an article in the newspaper without an image, or even saw a link on social media without an image. Did you remember the content, or did you even click on the link? Many people wouldn't. So, if you want your content to be shared on social media add some visuals.

With longer content visuals not only serve to draw the eyes of the reader and break up content to keep the reader engaged. For shorter pieces, an image can attract initial attention and give the reader some an idea about what the subject of the content is.

The key here is to include visuals with every piece of content. Make sure that the image relates to the content and is interesting enough to capture attention, enough that users will want to share what they see and read.

Even Twitter users like images

Although Twitter is largely based on text posts visual content tends to be shared more by users of this platform.

As per the point above, try to have a visual with every piece of content. If you are an avid Twitter user, try coming up with titles or overviews that are 100 characters or less. This will leave room for a link on Twitter to the content. If social media users likes the content, and there is an image too, chances are higher that they will share it via Twitter.

Using certain emotions really helps

If you want people to share your content, you need to write articles that evoke emotion. The three most successful, when it comes to sharing, are:
  • Awe
  • Laughter
  • Amusement
If your article inspires one of these three emotions, you have a drastically higher chance of the content being shared. Generally speaking, if content makes someone laugh or think about an issue then are more likely to share what resonates with them.

The other emotion to capitalize on is selfishness. Take a look at your Facebook News Feed and we guarantee that you will see a ton of quizzes shared by people. These quizzes are usually something like "What TV character would you be?, or "What's your dream job?", etc. While entertaining, these quizzes appeal to our more narcissistic sides. They provide little to no value to your followers, but they can be fun and help social media users establish an identity which they can compare with others trying out the same 'test'.

You can also try to create articles that challenge normal assumptions or are opinion pieces on relevant hot-button issues. The spark of debate that the content ignites is sure to attract interaction with comments and sharing, and you can also keep interest going via social media.

Users love infographics and lists

When writing your articles, you have a wide variety of ways you can format your content. Most people will agree that your articles, regardless of length, need to be broken down into easy to read sections, especially if you want to keep mobile users reading. There are a number of ways you can do this, but the two most popular are through infographics and lists.

What this tells us is that readers generally prefer content that can:

  • Display a large amount of information in a clean, easy to read, and visual format i.e., infographics.
  • Are scannable.Take for example list articles. You can format these to be highly scannable, yet still include all the essential information.
  • Tell us what to expect. We like to know what an article is about before we read it.
If you are writing longer articles that contain a large amount of information try creating an infographic, and summarizing the most important parts in a list.

Next month we will reveal five more tips to enhance content sharing. In the mean time, if you have any questions about creating effective content or on social media, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 27th, 2014

Facebook_May26_ATo many, social media has become an integral part of our daily lives. Many businesses see it as an important part of their online presence and a great way to easily connect with a wider audience. Without a doubt, the most popular social media platform is Facebook. If you have logged in recently you may have noticed a change in your News Feed, and what content is shown here.

About the content displayed on your News Feed

The average number of friends a user has on Facebook, and the content they post, is increasing. This makes it difficult to actually see all of the news and posts on your News Feed, which can pose problems for businesses who want and need to keep track.

In order to make viewing content easier, Facebook introduced two views:

  • Top News
  • Most Recent
These two views can drastically change the content you see on your News Feed, and the order it is displayed in. In recent months, the company has changed the default view to Top News for all users. This has created some confusion though, especially for those who want to view everything posted.

Here is an overview of the two Facebook views:

The Top News view

This view is an aggregate of the most popular content posted by your friends and the Pages you follow. If you log out of Facebook and come back after a while, this will be updated to show which posts have gained a lot of attention since you have been gone.

These posts might include a funny video that has received a lot of comments, or even a post from another Page that has gone viral. Now, unless you change it, this is your new default view when you log into Facebook.

To determine what to show in this view, Facebook uses an algorithm which factors in what content is being interacted with and how many people are interacting with it. It then displays this content as being the most relevant and what it decides you are more likely to find interesting. However, this view does not show content chronologically.

For businesses this view option can be really useful. If you have posted content that has been interacted with then there is a better chance that it will be seen by other users through this default view.

The Most Recent view

As the name suggest, this view is of the most recent posts on your News Feed. Posts are presented chronologically with updates from all of your friends and Pages.

This view is a great way to track everything people are posting so that you don't miss those posts which wouldn't be included high up in the Top News view. For businesses, this allows a valuable insight into what people like and don't like at any given moment, and to be able to respond to interactions which are important but haven't necessarily become popular. It could be that by seeing these posts and coming back with a reaction that you then create a flurry of interest which would then be seen in the Top News view.

How to switch between them

Looking to switch between views on your News Feed? You can easily do so by:
  1. Logging into your Facebook account.
  2. Pressing News Feed on the menu on the left-hand side of the page.
  3. Clicking the gray arrow beside News Feed and selecting either Top Stories or Most Recent. This will switch your News Feed view to the one you select.
If you are looking to learn more about Facebook in your business, contact us today to see how we can help.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 20th, 2014

Facebook_May19_AAn ever increasing number of businesses, especially small to medium ones, are finding that an online presence is a necessary part of attracting and retaining customers. One of the best ways to establish an online presence is to be where your customers are, and right now this is Facebook. While Facebook is great communication tool, there is always a chance that someone could post inappropriate and profane content on your Page, impacting your corporate image. But, did you know that there is a proactive solution to this?

Proactive monitoring posted Facebook Page content

If you are an admin for your business Facebook Page, there is a good chance that you likely would prefer to be as proactive as possible when it comes to monitoring what is posted on your News Feed and Page. The best way to do this is to use Facebook's built-in word and profanity filters.

Enabling the word filter

All Page admins have access to a word filter which can mark all posts or comments that contain words you have set as spam. You can block words by:
  1. Logging into your Facebook Page. You do need to be the admin for your account, so be sure to log in using these details.
  2. Clicking Edit Page followed by Edit Settings.
  3. Selecting Page Moderation and typing the words you want to block.
  4. Clicking on Save Changes.
When entering your blocked words, you will need to enter both the singular and plural versions because the filter works on a per-word basis. Be sure to also separate words with a comma. When you do get a post or comment that contains the blocked word, it will be sent directly to your Spam folder.

You can access this by going into your Page's Activity Log and clicking on Spam. All spam messages will pop up, and if you would like to approve a post click on the circle with a line through it, followed by Unmark as Spam. For comments, simply hover over and click Unhide.

Enabling the profanity filter

No business wants profanity to appear on their Facebook page, it simply looks unprofessional and can harm your online brand and corporate image. Facebook has a profanity filter that can help and you can enable this to work on your Page content by:
  1. Logging into your Facebook Page. You do need to be the admin for your account, so be sure to log in using these details.
  2. Clicking Edit Page followed by Edit Settings.
  3. Selecting Profanity Filter and selecting either Medium or Strong.
  4. Clicking Save Changes.
The profanity filter works off of a list curated by Facebook which have been marked by other users as offensive or words which are commonly reported as profane and offensive.

If you are looking to learn more about using Facebook in your business, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 15th, 2014

hardware_may12_ARegardless of the industry you operate in, hardware is the backbone for much of today’s successful businesses. By investing in high-quality hardware, not only can you save time, but see an increase in productivity, leading to a more positive state of mind and potentially increased revenue and profits. With the wealth of hardware available, the question is what is essential for your business.

The desktop or laptop computer

The computer has quickly become the workhorse of almost every business, without which most modern businesses would likely not be able to operate. Whether operating a multi-user workstation, laptop or a desktop, investing in a reliable computer will surely save you from stress and sweat.

When looking for a computer for your business, You’re likely going to use a computer for your business for at least three to five years, so go for one that requires low maintenance. Many businesses opt for a reputable choice, like a Mac, or a PC running Windows. Many of the bigger name brands are known for their friendly user interface and minimal upkeep. For those looking for one with portability, try a laptop or ultrabook.

Regardless which system you choose, you need to ensure your new computer is compatible with your existing software and systems. The last thing you want is to invest in us a brand new machine and have to spend even more on new software or hardware updates.

Mobile devices

If you’re constantly on-the-go, having a trusty mobile device can be like having a personal assistant. Think tablets, e-book readers or even smartphones. Not only are these devices easy to carry around, but a lot of them are equipped with useful work applications and specifications that are capable of performing tasks you would usually accomplish using a computer. Many business owners find that the versatility of a mobile device compensates for its cost.

When it comes to mobile devices, there are three main systems businesses have to choose from:

  • Android - Owned by Google, you will find a wide variety of devices suitable for any need.
  • iOS - Owned by Apple, offers reliable products and a wide number of apps for your business.
  • Windows Phone - Owned by Microsoft, these devices are most suitable for offices that utilize Microsoft’s other services. This is largely due in part to the deep integration between systems.

Laserjet printers

Not every business uses a printer but even if your business is one that encourages a paperless work space; investing in a durable laser-jet printer can save time and energy. At some point you will need to print, whether that is a contract, documents or image files.Some laserjet printers are also equipped with a scanner, photocopy and fax function. With a price tag starting from approximately USD$100, having one in-house beats needing one any day.

Wireless routers

Broadband modems are an integral part of any Internet-connected business, but get your hands on a wireless router and you won’t look back at cables again. Not only does a wireless router keep your office connected to the Internet without cables, it also acts as an Internet splitter, meaning all your devices can be connected from anywhere within router range. Not only that, but most modern wireless routers come with built-in firewalls as well as the ability to limit a network to computers you trust, which means more safety for your computer.

Network servers

While personal computers are capable of acting as a network server, a dedicated server will give you the advantages of faster CPU (Central Processing Unit), high-performance memory and increased storage capacity. A good network server solution can effectively support your database, email applications and other files, as well as provide comprehensive security and backup options.

We recommend talking to a specialist to make sure you are buying the right package for both current and future needs. An IT partner like us can be a huge help in selecting, implementing and managing a comprehensive network solution.

Hardware is available in every market and the sheer amount can make choosing the right solutions difficult. However, once equipped hardware can enhance workflow as well as results.

Looking to learn more about hardware and network server solutions? Contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Hardware
May 14th, 2014

BCP_May13_ABacking up your systems and the data contained within it should be a task your business does on a regular basis. However, when it actually comes to backing up your systems, you have a number of options available to you, and it can be tricky picking which one to go with. From tape to cloud, you should be aware of the main options and what they offer.

Three common backup options

When it comes to backing up your systems, there are three common platforms that are used:
  • Tape
  • Disk
  • Cloud
Some businesses use all three, while others stick to using just one. While each of these options do the same thing - essentially backing up your data - there are differences between each platform.

Tape-based backup

Tape-based backup is the oldest forms of data backup available to businesses, and has been in use since the mid 1960s. Many older, or well established businesses, likely have used this method for a long time, so they may find it easier to stick with it, largely because no infrastructure upgrades are needed.

While this method may seem a little anachronistic, there are still manufacturers creating backup tapes - most notable Sony, who recently introduced a new tape system that can store up to 185TB (terabytes) of data on one tape. That's about equal to the storage capacity of around 11,800 16GB iPhone 5s.

The vast majority of businesses using this system do so as a secondary backup. They use another system to back up their data, and then back up this backup data onto physical tape which can then be moved off-site and stored in a safe location, should disaster strike.

The biggest drawback of tape stem from the fact that it is an older method and it takes longer to back up data compared to other systems. The tapes themselves are also more fragile and can be prone to failure, leading to corrupt data and unreadability. Finally, if you do need to recover from a tape backup, you are going to have to do so in a specific manner, which means it will take longer to recover your systems than other methods.

Disk-based backup

Disk-based backup solutions use a variety of disk storage units to hold backups of your data. The most popular forms of disk storage used are hard drives or optical disks. Because these systems use more modern storage methods, backup and recovery can generally be carried out far quicker than with tape systems, and can be more reliable, especially if you take care of your systems and the disks the backups are stored on.

The added benefit with these systems is that hard disks are constantly dropping in price and increasing in capacity, meaning you can fit more data on fewer devices. This helps keep costs manageable, and may result in reduced costs over time.

Because disk-based systems rely on hard drives or optical disks, there is always the chance that your backups can be lost, ruined or even stolen. Also, many companies choose to keep these physical backups on-site, so if there is a disaster this could result in the loss of these backups.

To get around this, many companies have duplicate systems. They back up to different devices which are kept off-site. This redundancy can help ensure that your data is available, but it can be expensive to purchase multiple backup solutions.

Cloud-based backup

Cloud, or online-based backup, utilizes off-site technology to host your backups. Most small business solutions work with providers who host the servers in their organization. The business then connects to the servers via a network connection in order to backup their data.

The biggest advantage of cloud systems is that they are generally more affordable. This is because you don't need to have the systems in your office, which means you don't need to pay for the data systems and the upkeep associated with them. Cloud systems are also less labor intensive because they can be managed by your IT partner.

Aside from being easier to manage, backup and recovery is usually quicker with the cloud because you can set up a solution that continually backs up. As long as you have an Internet connection, you will usually be able to restore your systems in a matter of hours.

While the cloud is becoming the most popular backup solution, there are some drawbacks. You need a faster bandwidth connection if you want to be able to back up while also working. This may require you to invest in better network infrastructure, which costs. The other issue some companies have is that because this is a new solution, they may not trust that the solution is secure. The vast majority of backup solutions available have been designed to be secure and have become a viable solution for many smaller businesses.

If you are looking to implement a backup solution in your business, contact us today to learn about what solutions we have to offer.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 13th, 2014

Security_May13_AAs we increasingly come to rely on cloud-based systems, the browser will likely become even more important to business owners and managers. While there are a number of browsers out there, many Windows users prefer to use Internet Explorer (IE), largely because it is the browser which comes pre-installed on all Windows computers. However, if your business uses IE, there is an important zero-day security flaw that you should be aware of.

What exactly is a zero-day flaw?

A zero-day flaw is a security vulnerability that is taken advantage of by hackers on the day it is discovered. In other words, there are zero days between the discovery of the vulnerability and people taking advantage of it.

The way most software programs work is if a user finds a security flaw, they will usually inform the developer who will then develop a fix and release it in a patch that users download. The problem is, sometimes it is a hacker who discovers this vulnerability. Instead of reporting it, they start to capitalize on the flaw, exploiting it to attack other users before the developer becomes aware of it and has a chance to fix it.

The IE zero-day flaw

In late April, news broke that a zero-day flaw had been discovered in Internet Explorer's code. The flaw affects IE versions 6-11 - essentially every supported version of the browser. Hackers had found a previously unknown flaw that allowed them to gain the same access rights as a user.

How it worked is that the hackers sent emails to users with links to a website that hosts a malicious code. These emails were largely phishing in nature, meaning they aimed to get the user to click on a link in the email. Some of the subject lines used in attacks included:

  • Welcome to Projectmates!
  • Refinance Report
  • What's ahead for Senior Care M&A
  • UPDATED GALLERY for 2014 Calendar Submissions
In these emails there was a link to a website that hosted a code which could then be executed if the user visited the site using IE. When executed this could potentially expose the user's system. Once vulnerable, the hackers could install malicious software without the user's knowledge.

How do I guard against this exploit?

The good news is that Microsoft has released a patch that fixes this exploit. This has definitely been welcomed, and what is really interesting is that Microsoft has actually released the update for XP users as well - this coming after the cessation of support for XP.

To guard against the exploit you should firstly update the version of Internet Explorer that you are using. The easiest way to do this is to go to the Internet Explorer website and download the latest version - version 11 - of the browser. Version 11 can run on both Windows 7 and 8, so the vast majority of users should already be running this latest version.

If you are using an older version, Microsoft has pushed the patch out via both IE's automatic update feature - so restarting the browser should install the update. The other option is Windows Update. Simply running the Update program and installing the updates should ensure that the latest version of IE is installed.

For Windows 7 and 8 users, you can do this by:

  • Opening the Control Panel on your system.
  • Clicking on System or Performance and Maintenance followed by System.
  • Selecting Automatic Updates from the menu in the window that opens.
  • Following the instructions in the new window that opens.
Once installed, you should restart your computer if you aren't asked to do so. If you noticed that Automatic Updates was already ticked, try restarting your computer and this should install the updates.

If you are using XP, you can visit the Microsoft Update website using Internet Explorer and following the instructions.

Aside from updating your browser, you should ensure that your anti-virus and malware scanners are up to date and scheduled to scan your system on a regular basis. Be sure to look at all emails closely as well, if one seems a bit dodgy, or you receive one from someone you don't know, it is best to ignore it and delete it right away.

Businesses who are using XP should seriously consider updating because Microsoft will not be introducing security updates in the future, leaving your systems at greater risk of attack. At the very least, it may also be a good idea to switch to another browser like Firefox or Chrome, both of which will work on XP and are updated regularly.

Worried that your systems are not secure enough, or still running XP? Contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
May 6th, 2014

SocialMedia_May06_AContent marketing is quickly becoming one of the most valuable marketing strategies at the disposal of smaller businesses. Content marketing is the act of creating your own branded content and sharing it on various mediums. When successfully orchestrated, it can prove to be an extremely effective way of expanding your online brand. The question then is how to achieve this.

In a recent infographic published on LinkedIn, a number of interesting facts were highlighted about what the most successful content marketers have in common. Here are some of the findings from the infographic and the related reports it is based on.

What do successful content marketers have in common?

Regardless of the industry, the more successful content marketeers have the following four traits in common:
  1. They have a content marketing strategist - According to the statistics, almost 86% of the successful companies have a dedicated content marketing strategist.
  2. They have a strategy - While not 100% necessary, over 66% of successful companies have a content strategy and plan, or roadmap, that dictates what content is produced and when.
  3. They spend a lot more of their marketing budget - It can be tough to split any budget, but the more successful companies spend nearly 40% of their marketing budget on content marketing, as opposed to the least successful who only spend up to 16%.
  4. They find creating content far easier - This one is kind of silly at first glance - of course it follows that whatever you find easier you will be more successful at. However, if you hire a strategist who knows what they are doing, creating content will be easier, and more likely more successful.

How exactly are they successful?

From the figures from the infographic it is easy to see what the successful content marketers have in common, but the question we really should be asking is, "What makes them so successful?"

1. Use lots of social media

The main thrust of content marketing is to get the word out in as many ways as possible. Social media is the best and most versatile way to do this, and that's why over 87% of businesses use this platform. But for a truly successful strategy you need to use more than one site and in fact the most successful use seven sites at least to share their content.

This makes sense as the more platforms you use the higher the chance that your content will be viewed. So which platforms are the most popular? LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are the three most popular but other platforms like YouTube, Pinterest and Google+ can also prove effective.

2. Diversify your content

In many cases diversification of services or ideas can be one of the best ways of driving a business forward. This is especially true with regard to content marketing, where the best marketeers use an average of 13 different tactics. In descending order, the five most popular tactics are:
  1. Social media
  2. Articles on your website
  3. e-newsletters
  4. Blogs
  5. In-person events
Some other tactics used include, publishing books, ebooks, and branded content tools.

While 13 may seem like a large amount, especially for small businesses, the message is clear: To be successful with content marketing, you should diversify and utilize a number of different tactics as possible.

3. Have specific goals for your campaigns

As with most aspects of business, you need a clear direction in order to be successful. Without a goal there is a good chance that your content initiatives will be somewhat aimless and lacking in overall effectiveness. There are a near endless number of targets businesses can set for their content initiatives. The three most common are:
  1. Raising brand awareness
  2. Lead generation
  3. Customer acquisition

4. It's not all digital

One interesting finding was that one of the most effective ways to drive a content marketing strategy was through face-to-face events. In fact, over 70% of content marketeers believe that these in-person approaches are effective.

What this indicates is that while digital strategies are useful, and can be a great way to reach a wide number of different customers, these can go hand-in-hand with traditional style marketing. As well as focusing on producing digital content you might want to integrate this with some good old fashioned physical collateral.

At the very least, you should be attending events that are relevant to your industry, as well as networking. By getting your name out in person, you can encourage other to connect to you on the Web where they can view your content on various platforms and interact with you online, increasing the overall effectiveness and reach of your content.

Looking to learn more about content marketing and how our various solutions can help you deliver? Contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
May 6th, 2014

Windows_May06_AIn April, Microsoft took somewhat of a great leap forward and officially ended support for one of the most popular operating systems (OS) ever - Windows XP. If you use Windows XP, or have been reading tech blogs, you likely know about this and may even be considering upgrading. The problem is it can be tough to decide what to upgrade to.

Should I actually upgrade?

There have been a number of articles in the news focusing on whether XP is really worth upgrading from, especially since some of the major governments still use XP. Elements of the UK, Dutch, and even US governments still use XP on a large percentage of computers and are not really looking to upgrade. Instead they are looking into paying Microsoft to keep up support.

In fact, one news report noted that the UK government paid Microsoft USD 9.1 million for further support of public sector systems running XP. News like this could give business owners the notion that If the governments are sticking with XP, that means they can too.

However, the vast majority of businesses likely don't have the money in their budget to warrant continued coverage from Microsoft, if that option were available. The other point is, Microsoft probably won't agree to this continued support either because they are likely more interested in businesses upgrading instead. What this equates to is the fact that, ignore it or not, your business is going to need to upgrade.

What are my upgrade options?

If your systems are still running Windows XP you have a number of upgrade options available to you. Here are four:

1. Windows 7

Windows 7 is by now the most popular version of Microsoft, and is in fact the closest system to XP. Because of this, it's the preferred choice for business owners and managers. It is also ideal because the hardware requirements are generally lower, so businesses running older computers will likely be able to run Windows 7 without the need for costly upgrades. Another positive is that Microsoft has said they will continue support until 2020, the knock-on with this is that software developers will also continue to develop programs that support this version.

The issue with Windows 7 is that any new computers purchased from stores will likely come preinstalled with Windows 8, so it will take an extra step or two to downgrade new systems. Luckily, an IT partner, like us, can help with this.

2. Windows 8

Windows 8 is the newest version of Windows and represents a bit of a departure from the traditional layout of Windows XP and 7. With a new, modern tile based layout, it can be tough for some users to get used to the new system. While the more traditional desktop is still there, it's not the OS of choice for many businesses.

That being said, Microsoft has moved to a more regular update stream, with changes and features being updated and changed on a near yearly basis. This could go a long way in helping employees get more out of the OS and even increase overall productivity.

The biggest advantage of Windows 8 is that it is generally easier to find and implement. This is because almost all new PCs will come with it installed, especially when you buy computers from large retailers.

In order to get the most out of Windows 8 however, you may need to upgrade your hardware because it may not be able to run the OS effectively. If you plan to replace all of your hardware, than Windows 8 may be the most viable solution.

3. Linux

Linux is an open source operating system that has numerous versions, like Ubuntu, that are almost all free. One of the biggest advantages of these systems is that they are more secure than Windows - largely because they don't support the same file extensions (.exe) as Windows.

Linux is a good option for users whose needs veer toward the simple side, or who would prefer not to upgrade hardware - Linux can be installed on almost any system. If you really only just use email or your browser, these systems could be a viable option. That being said, there are limitations to this system. The first is that there aren't as many programs available. So, if you have a specific program that was built for your business it may not work with Linux.

The second disadvantage is that the systems are generally harder to operate and maintain than Windows. When using in business, or migrating, you will likely need the help of an IT team or partner who can not only help you navigate the numerous versions of Linux but also carry out the migration and maintenance of your systems.

4. Mac

Another option that is quickly becoming popular with many smaller businesses is to move to Apple's Mac computers. Macs offer a generally stable and secure platform that is also easy to use.

The main downside of migrating to Macs is that you are going to have to buy new computers, as OS X, the operating system used by Macs, requires specific hardware. Another downside is that while the popular software programs like Microsoft Office are available for Mac, you will need to purchase the Mac version. Other programs may not be available. or supported by this system, so it is advisable to consult with an IT partner like us before migrating.

If you are still using Windows XP, you should look to develop a migration plan as soon as possible. We can help you with this by getting to know your needs, budget, and existing systems and then recommending a new system that will best meet your needs. Contact us today to get started.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 6th, 2014

GeneralHealthcare_May06_ABusiness intelligence and analytics have become must-haves in today's challenging health-care environment, according to a new report from research firm KLAS.

Analytics involves extracting useful information from data. Increasingly, it is being used been used by health-care organizations - for example, to track the quality of care in the patient population, provide clinical decision support, understand billing problems, and more.

The report - entitled "Healthcare Analytics Perception 2014: Analytics for Value-Based Care-A New Paradigm" - concludes that the recent shift toward valued-based health care has increased practitioner demand for analytics, and that demand has led to a new wave of products and services.

As a result, health-care practitioners have more and more choices. According to KLAS, health-care providers who were surveyed for the report mentioned that they were considering, all told, 87 vendors for business intelligence and analytics.

Where the market is heading is yet to be determined, says Joe Van De Graaff, author of the report, but “to fulfill short-term analytics needs, many providers report shifting more consideration to vendors with health-care-specific solutions.”

If you are looking to integrate and efficient analytics system in your practice, contact us today to learn more about our solutions and how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 1st, 2014

Security_Apr28_APasswords are made to safeguard our online accounts. But in this day and age when rampant hacking incidents happen every day and around the world, security is oftentimes compromised. As a result, private data can fall into the wrong hands. For this reason, it is imperative that the passwords protecting your data are strong enough to throw off hackers. Here are some ways to bolster your passwords.

Observe proper web security

With the rapid advancements in technology comes sophistication of methodologies used by hackers to steal data and destroy web security. Cyber crime is continuously evolving as new programs are made to unlock accounts and combine numbers, letters and special characters to determine passwords. The big question for internet users is – how to choose a strong password that can drive hackers away?

Passwords should have at least eight characters. It is highly recommended that you use a combination of uppercase, lowercase and special characters. “P@s$w0Rd45%” is a thousand times better than “Password1”. Veer away from using passwords that are found in dictionaries. Furthermore, avoid using your name, a family member’s name, phone number, birth date, social security number or any public information. Hackers have found a way to crack passwords with the aid of the many databases out there.

To create even more secure passwords, try using a password that is a full sentence, with random words. For example "I am a purple donkey" (with the spaces) will take a long time to crack, which means it's more secure then even the examples above.

Keep malware off your system

Malware are malicious programs that have been crafted in such a way that they appear authentic and trustworthy. Be careful not to click on pop-ups and links that will redirect you to that place where your security walls are torn down. And do not open email attachments from anonymous users. Mechanisms are often embedded in these programs to gain control of your system.

Get professional help by installing security software from a trusted name in the industry. Build your defences as early as possible. Remember the cliché – better to be be safe than sorry – and nowhere is this more true than in computer system and web security.

Keep your passwords private

While this may seem to be a no-brainer, sadly, a lot of people still tend to share their passwords with their office mates or friends. If you’re one of them, then it’s high time that you change your habits and your password again. Think like James Bond -passwords are for your eyes only.

In the event that you need to give your password to a co-worker to get an important document or presentation, make sure that you change them as soon as possible. Never use the same combination again.

Change password regularly

It also helps if you schedule a regular password change. Within a period of 30 to 60 days, you should update passwords across multiple sites. Moreover, never use the same passwords for different websites. If you use the same passwords, you are putting all of your accounts at a high level risk. Hackers are relentless. Once is never enough for them and they can come back time after time.

It’s an unsafe online world out there. These online troublemakers will never be satisfied. So never let yourself or your organization fall prey to hackers. Take note of these safety measures and strengthen your web security arsenal.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security