Shopping for a laptop back in March was the virtual equivalent of battling other shoppers for the last Cabbage Patch Kid doll on Black Friday in the 80s. Laptop inventory was low to nonexistent, and if you did find one, you couldn’t be too picky about specs. You only had one choice for which you likely paid more than you anticipated.
As a business owner, you embrace new technologies that: Help your business grow. Keep your employees happy and motivated. Complete work better, faster, and cheaper. All facets of our personal and business lives are becoming more digital. More tools and technologies are available than ever before, many of which help achieve the business goals above. They automate processes, provide data to inform better decisions, and support employees doing their best work. We get instant answers from our personal assistants, automate our home or business temperature, and order products by simply asking for them out loud. All this technology keeps personal data about us, our habits, and our businesses. that information secure is paramount.
You've just finished a long report in Word or a presentation that needs to be put together by tomorrow in PowerPoint, hit save, and… your computer freezes on you. Unsure as to why you restart your computer only to see nothing happen. No logon screen, no report, no presentation, nothing. Whether it be due to the operating system or faulty hardware, you're without a computer. What do you do?
I'm currently re-watching The Office (US) for what feels like the 100th time. This time, I realized that some parts have a whole new meaning now that I work for an IT company that provides tech support to businesses like the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. In this clip from Season 7, Episode 9, "WHUPF.com," Jim tries to reset the server after a power outage causes it to go down. He's stuck and The Office can't do any work since he doesn't know the password to sign into the server. This causes Michael to recall all of The Office's former IT guys to determine who originally set up the server. As Michael thinks through the list of IT guys backward from the most current by the nicknames he gave them, "Glasses, Turban, Ear Hair, Fatty 3, Shorts, Fatty 2, Lozenge, and Fatso," Kevin remembers that 'Lozenge' set up the server eight years ago. Michael recalls that whatever the password was made him laugh when he heard it but, "Pam got really offended." Jim ultimately enters Kevin's suggestion of "big boobz," based on Michael's clues. The password is accepted, the server is reset, and Dunder Mifflin lives on to sell paper another day.
If you're planning to upgrade hardware or networking infrastructure in your business this year, you may see significant cost savings by purchasing that equipment soon (i.e. this month) thanks to increased tariffs on Chinese imports.
From basic desktop computers to complex network infrastructure, all businesses need some sort of technology to operate. With the amount of technology necessary to compete in today's economy, how do businesses maintain margins and absorb ever-growing IT costs? Leasing is an option that reduces your initial investment and allows for the flexibility to adopt new technology based on your business needs and not capital budgets.
Do you know how much your business spends on print and copy expenses? If the answer is no, you are not alone. According to a Gartner Group study, 90% of businesses lack an understanding of the total financial impact of printing and copying. The two biggest reasons for this lack of clarity are: Printing and copying expenses are often split between office equipment costs and office supply expenses. Printers and copiers are often managed separately yet used interchangeably. Considering the average employee prints 34 pages per day at a cost of around $725 per year per employee, printing and copying expenses are typically the third greatest business expense behind payroll and rent.
Alternatives to a business server: Workgroup Sharing Network Attached Storage (NAS) Device Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) Cloud Hosted Server (think Microsoft Azure or AWS) File Sync and Share Applications (think Drop Box, Google Docs) A server allows businesses to point all users toward a centralized location to access files and applications. There are some considerations when deciding if your business needs a server. In general, servers offer many benefits, and are a common approach for businesses that want consistency, centralization, or compliance with PCI, HIPAA or other industry-specific requirements. If you're not sure that a server environment is right for your business, there are other alternatives to consider, each with their own pros and cons.
This is a very common question among small businesses, so let’s start with a quick definition of what a server is. A server is typically an on-premise, high-performance piece of hardware that is combined with a high-end, server-based operating system that is used to store data and centralize resources (what a mouth full). When done properly, all computers point to this server to access files and application data while hardware/software redundancy keeps a high level of up-time for your staff. There are numerous benefits to this type of centralization, but it doesn’t come without a cost.
Every small business owner has lived some version of this story. An employee who performs a critical business function experiences workstation failure. Sometimes its ransomware, sometimes a hard drive fails. No matter what the underlying reason, the result is the same and money is being lost every second. Purchasing a Replacement Computer Seems Simple Small business owners aren’t the type to let something like this deter them. They solve a thousand problems like this every day. When the problem is, “we just need to buy a computer," many business owners are inclined to quickly acquire one from a local retailer or handy e-commerce site. When you buy a new PC this way you feel confident in your purchase if it has the needed hard drive space and the salesperson confirms or online specs show that it meets your business needs. You get it back to the office and submit a request to the IT department or service provider to set it up as soon as possible. Crisis averted, on to the next fire the day brings. It’s true this computer has the requisite hard drive space and power to do any job your employee requires. It’s a brand-new computer. It has a warranty with the manufacturer. However, there are differences between business and consumer-grade computers not apparent in the specifications.