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Posted by on Jun 16, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Do You Have Remote Service Representatives? Why You Need A VPN

If you are the owner of a business that utilizes remote workers to input service-related data into your company’s database, it would be very beneficial for you to obtain a Virtual Private Network (VPN.)  A VPN is a form of technology that creates a secure connection over a publicly accessible network like the Internet.  It connects computers that may be located in different places onto one single network.  Learning more about the benefits of using a VPN can help you determine if you should invest in one as soon as possible.

VPN’s Increase Security

One of the most compelling reasons why VPN’s are so great for remote workers is because it helps to increase security. Sending information over the Internet is a highly risky endeavor because there are many prying eyes out there that would love to get their hands on the sensitive, client-related data that your remote workers enter into your Client Relations Management (CRM) systems. 

You can think of a VPN as a private room on the Web that only authorized individuals are allowed to enter. While the general public is free to peruse everything outside of that sealed room, only your workers gain access to the contents of your VPN.  Each member of your team is given a unique username and password that admits them to the VPN. This can go a long way toward minimizing the chance that unauthorized parties will join your VPN.

VPN Data Is Encrypted

Another reason why VPN’s are so valuable is because any information that is sent over a VPN is immediately encrypted. This is vital because there are a number of sophisticated hackers in the world that may have the knowledge necessary to bypass security codes and access your VPN. If private customer and business related data is not encrypted, these hackers will easily gather personal information.

With data encryption, information is transmitted in a scrambled fashion. For example, if one of your remote workers is placing an order for a client and is entering credit card information over the VPN, the numbers will be transmitted over the VPN in the wrong order. This means that even if an unauthorized party accesses your VPN, they won’t have accurate information.

 Setting up a VPN for your company is a key technique you can use to keep your business intelligence secure. Invest in a VPN today so you can enjoy these benefits and many more.

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Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Industrial Automation – M2M Projects

Want to know about M2M and how it’s used in automation? Read on to realize how vital this type of advancement is in physical industries.

There’s a new kind of advancement in industrial automation, and it’s important for business leaders to know about. M2M is redefining how we work with machines to create products and deliver items to market.

What is M2M?

Essentially, M2M is a concept of stringing machines together by either wired or wireless systems. M2M designs create a kind of level playing field where each machine has responsibility to communicate to others.

In many cases, M2M systems primarily set up connections between machines and devices of the same type. Picture an industrial environment with a number of identical drilling, sealing or boring machines, or other machines doing particular assembly jobs. With M2M systems, all of these are linked together in a dynamic network that will allow them to speak to one another easily and coordinate efforts.

Benefits of M2M

The benefits of this type of system really lead to efficient and orderly production.

Traditional systems often have to have a lot of human controls, such as start and stop buttons, and other items to manually control a line if one machine is having problems, or in other kinds of situations. Now a lot of this can be automated with M2M — where machines can sense each other’s movements, they can be controlled in an automatic fashion — and a lot of M2M is used for monitoring and control. These systems make production processes less labor-intensive and require less human effort.

Examples of M2M

It’s easy to see the value of M2M in industrial environments. For example, take a bottle assembly line, where juice is put into a plastic bottle and then sealed, labeled and sent for distribution.

At every stage of the process, multiple machines may be needed to handle a high-value product.

With M2M, machine sensors can allow devices to relay information to others about how bottles are filled, whether they were filled correctly, whether seals are in place, or whether there’s been any kind of breakdown on the floor. Again, this allows for much more agile management and handling of the overall production environment, which may be as big as a warehouse and involve dozens and dozens of machines.

M2M setups are allowing companies to get a competitive edge in manufacturing and production. Look for these types of systems from industrial automation vendors who understand how to ramp up the business for the 21st century, and how to improve, update and modernize systems. With these types of automation in place, companies can reserve capital and grow and expand more quickly to gain market share and keep up with the competition.

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Posted by on Apr 2, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

4 Cheap And Easy Tips For Owning A Computer

Computers are supposed to make life easier, but sometimes it seems they exist simply to cause frustration. Whether it’s because your laptop keeps overheating or the cat keeps getting tangled in cords, computers sometimes seem to be more trouble than they’re worth. Here are some easy and cheap tricks to make owning a computer easier on your sanity and your budget.

Laptop Cooling

It’s no secret that laptops get hot. You can go and purchase cooling pads, stands, and fans if you want. Or you can simply go and buy a flat of eggs. Once it’s empty, simply set your laptop on top of the carton the eggs were in. The spaces allow air to flow easily under and around your laptop, helping keep it cool without costing you a small fortune.

Keep Toilet Paper Tubes

All those toilet paper tubes that end up filling your trashcan can actually come in handy when you’re storing old cords. Have a few power cords or extra Ethernet cables stored in a bag? Instead of storing them in a bag where they inevitably will tie themselves into knots, store each cord in a toilet paper tube. The tubes can be set upright in a box and you’ll easily be able to see exactly what kind of cords you have and grab one as needed easily.

Binder Clips are Friends

Binder clips are useful for many things besides simply holding papers together. If you have a few cords that you plug in and out regularly, like your USB cable or headphones, line up some binder clips along the edge of your desk. Draw the cord through the clip and plug it into your computer. When you’re done and want to unplug it, simply let the largest part rest against the smallest part of the clip’s handle. Your cord will stay in place right on the edge of your desk so you don’t have to go chasing after it.

Use a Sticky Note to Clean

Sticky notes are useful little things. You can stick them to your monitor with an appointment reminder, on your phone to remind you to call someone, or even on your co-worker’s forehead to remind them to send you that email. Before you throw those sticky notes away, run the edge with the glue in between the keys of your keyboard. Crumbs and fuzz will get stuck, helping keep your keyboard working smoothly.

These cheap and easy tips should help you make having a computer just a little bit easier. You can contact Geek City or another local computer expert to help solve other problems you may encounter.

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Posted by on Feb 20, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Managing Your Employee’s Emotions During The Grievance Process

Companies must always have a plan for managing grievances. It is usually only when employees feel as if they do not have any recourse that they begin to turn to confrontation or even litigation. As a manager, your demeanor plays a crucial role in whether you are able to deescalate a situation:

Listen to Your Employee

Even if you do not agree with an employee, be sure that you spend sufficient time simply listening to what your employee thinks. In many cases, employees simply need to vent and want to feel like they are heard. If you spend time listening, you can then brainstorm a solution. Oftentimes, the solution itself is not as important as listening.

If you aren’t entirely comfortable approaching it just yet, try contacting a company that can help you with grievance management for more information as you decide your next step.

Don’t Threaten Termination

Employees are less likely to express grievances if they feel that they might be terminated for doing so. While this might reduce the number of grievances in the short-term, when the employees feel that they are pushed too far, they are more likely to quit, get into confrontations with other employees or consider litigation.

By following the grievance procedure, the employee should be secure in knowing that he or she is not likely to be terminated. Also, consider that if you do terminate an employee due to a grievance, other employees will likely know and will be less likely to express concerns.

Have a Clear Process in Place

Having a process of issuing a grievance can make a company more efficient. Without a process in place, employees are likely to complain at inopportune moments, such as when you are busy closing a deal. By having a grievance process, the employee can file the grievance and then get back to work. You can then look into the concern during a period that you schedule specifically for this purpose.

Follow-Up

You must not create an impression that grievances will not lead anywhere. It is unacceptable for an employee to file a grievance and not receive a response after a few months. If the process feels like a black hole for the employee, he or she is less likely to engage in the process. Follow up with the employee and consider having a face-to-face conversation about the issue to show that you are taking it seriously.

If you do discover that there is a legitimate grievance, not only must you address it, but you must make it obvious to the employee that the grievance was addressed. For example, if a bullying manager is sent to a training program, inform the employee of this. To address confidentiality concerns, be sure to consult with a lawyer to determine what you can and cannot say about your manager’s retraining.

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Posted by on Jan 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Keep Your Business Running By Saving Money

Small business owners typically need to save money any way they can. Some ways you should look to save some money is the type of telephone system—like Dalton Utilities—you need, how you pay your employees, and how you invoice your customers.

Use Smartphones

Instead of having a traditional phone system in your company, you may want to consider smartphones. You can choose data and talk plans to suit your company, and the cost of these phones may be less expensive.

The only drawback to this is they may not have a signal in all areas. This is something to consider. If your employees stay near your business, they should work fine. If they travel a lot each day, then you need to make sure there are cellular towers in the areas they travel to. You could also check with people in those areas to see if they have any problems getting a signal. Smaller towns are more likely to have this problem than larger towns and cities.

Use Voice Over Internet Protocol

With Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), you can make and receive phone calls through an Internet connection, such as your computer, tablet, and smartphone.  If you decide to go with VoIP for your business, there are different ways you can place a phone call:

  • Analog telephone adaptor (ATA): The ATA device connects a traditional phone to your computer. It is used to converts the analog signal from the phone to a digital signal and than transmits it over the Internet.
  • Computer to Computer: There are companies you can sign up with to make computer-to-computer calls, and most of them are completely free. The only thing you need is a sound card, Internet connection, software, speakers, and a microphone.
  • IP Phones: An IP phone looks like a traditional phone but it connects directly to your Internet connection without being connected to an ATA device. It connects directly to the Internet router, and is available in both corded and wireless.

Use Debit Cards to Pay Employees

Instead of printing paper checks, you can use payroll debit cards. This saves you money by not having to purchase paper, as well as using the toner in your printer. Most employees will like this much better, as they have their money immediately. Not only is this convenient for them, it is also good for the environment.

Offer Your Customers Electronic Invoices

If you send out monthly invoices to your customers, you should consider sending them electronically instead. When you mail them, you have to pay for the paper, envelopes, and postage stamps. It is also easier for you to organize and store the invoices, as they are on your computer.

Use a Cloud Service

Use a cloud service that will store your data in the cloud instead of onsite. This not only keeps your data safe, but also saves you money. For example, you will not have to purchase a backup server, as well as upgrade and maintain the server. The data is kept secure, and you can have access to it any time you want.

If your small business is struggling, these things can help you save money each month. You can put the money you save back into the business to build it up and keep it going.

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