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Essential Guide to Preventing Downtime

You know downtime is costly and affects all parts of your business. But how costly? Anytime that application or server or CRM fails, what are direct costs (lost revenue and productivity, fines) and indirect costs (bad reputation, frustrated employees and clients)?

We know this is on your mind – constantly. So we have partnered with Axcient to bring you this helpful Essential Guide to Preventing Downtime. Whether you are a business owner, an Operations executive, an IT manager, a Managing Director or Partner — in manufacturing, legal, or financial service fields– you will find this guide helpful.

Download it now to see:

  1. Free online downtime cost calculator
  2. How backup / business continuity solution works (don’t worry – it’s in understandable language)
  3. Calculation of cost of owning a backup solution

A solid backup solution not only prevents downtime, but also protects your data and keeps your business running.

Knowledge is powerful. Use the information in this Guidebook to help you determine how to leverage backup & business continuity solutions to keep your clients happy, your employees productive, and your data secure.

Anytime you want to talk to us about this solution, we’re happy to help recommend the best next steps. E-mail ContactUs@BeStructured.com or use our Contact Form on the site.

Posted in Business Continuity, Productivity | Leave a comment

Do you allow employees to use their own device for work?

The evolution of personal mobile devices and the rise of how necessary they are to business success these days are forcing many small business owners to make a choice – “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) vs. “Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled” (COPE).

The Typical Solution – BYOD. According to the CDW 2012 Small Business Mobility Report, 89% of small-business employees use their personal mobile devices for work. But the headache involved here is how do you support and secure all of these devices? The scary thing is that most small businesses don’t even try! The CDW survey found that only 1 in 5 small businesses have deployed (or plan to deploy) any systems for managing and securing employees’ personal devices.

The Alternative – Is COPE Any Better? A minority of small businesses have implemented a Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE) policy instead. They buy their employees’ mobile devices, secure them and then let employees load additional personal applications that they want or need. And the employers control what types of apps can be added too. The “personally enabled” aspect of COPE allows employees to choose the company-approved device they prefer while permitting them to use it both personally and professionally. COPE is certainly more controlled and secure, but for a business with a limited budget, buying devices for every employee can add up pretty quick. If you go the COPE route and are large enough to buy in volume, you can likely negotiate substantial discounts.

Security Concerns With BYOD. If you have client information that must be kept secure or other industry-specific regulations regarding the security of client data, then COPE is likely your best approach. It removes any gray area around whose data is whose. Plus there is a certain comfort level in being able to recover or confiscate any device for any reason at any time to protect your company without any worries about device ownership.

Struggling to figure out which option is best for your business? E-mail us: ContactUs@bestructured.com. We can help point you in the right direction by conducting a free Mobile Device Policy Consultation.

Posted in Productivity, Security - News & General, Tech Tips | Leave a comment

What is the average cost per hour of downtime?

As a small business owner or an IT Manager, you understand that any downtime or disruption can be frustrating and expensive. You’ve heard it here – and you believe it – that you need solid IT Support and a reliable backup/disaster recovery service to avoid time consuming and potentially costly disruptions.

But you might need good research to help you prove your case to other decision makers.

Well, you’re in luck. We put together this infographic based on a survey of IT managers to show the types of interruptions and downtime causes that plague every company.

The most compelling number there? The average cost per hour of downtime.

Download this infographic (PDF) here. Let us know if it helps.  E-mail: ContactUs@bestructured.com to contact us about this infographic and backup/disaster recovery solution – anytime!

Posted in Business Continuity, Productivity | Leave a comment

Upgrading from XP-your choices

Windows_May06_CMicrosoft has seen many important milestones, and back in April the tech giant celebrated yet another with the cessation of support of possibly the most popular operating system ever – Windows XP. If your business is still using systems with XP installed, it might be a good idea to upgrade. A common problem to face then though is selecting which new system you should upgrade too.

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.
Posted in Microsoft Windows, News | Leave a comment

Working on tasks that you hate

Productivity_Apr28_CIt’s easy to get things done if you love what you’re doing. Sadly, life and business just isn’t always full of tasks you love doing. In any company there are times when, like it or not, you will have to work on jobs that you flat out hate. And few of us are in a position where we can constantly delegate task that are not to our tastes. The best way conquer this situation is to change your mindset to take the tedium out of boring activities.

Alternate what you love and hate doing

Finding motivation when placed in a difficult or dull situation can be tough. But, it’s going to feel even more arduous if lack of motivation leads to a poor result and you’re forced to do the job again.

So what do you do when you’re in this situation? Simple. You incorporate the tasks that you do enjoy doing into the cycle.

This balances good and bad experiences so you are not constantly employed for long periods doing hateful tasks. Compared to a situation where you are repeatedly being pounded with tasks that you don’t like, this is way better.

Create a schedule for unwanted tasks

Goal setting and scheduling will allow you to mentally prepare for unpleasant tasks and see beyond them. If you’ve got a plan to get through your tasks and have something to look forward to, they won’t seem so onerous.

Create a timeline of milestones to be accomplished. Evaluate your performance and accomplishments on a daily basis. Try your best not to procrastinate and always adhere to what you have initially planned. Delay merely means more annoying moments for you in the future. Be half-hearted about it or veer off-plan and you might have to redo a project because the quality of your work failed to meet expected standards.

Look at the bigger picture

Your perception has a great influence on your mindset. Instead of focusing on how tiresome and uninteresting an assignment is, you could try getting inspiration from focusing on the possible positive outcome. This might be recognition at work, monetary gains or increased productivity and business success.

Take baby steps

If you feel you have tried everything and yet stress and boredom keep growing with certain aspects of your time at work then it’s time to take a step back and reinvent. Forcing yourself to do something you dislike will merely increase the pressure that’s already keeping you from obtaining good results.

Break the job into smaller tasks. Set realistic goals every hour. You’ll be surprised at how taking baby steps can help you get things done – even monumental tasks that started out seeming impossible.

Take a break

Working on a job that you don’t enjoy is exhausting. It can be mentally draining and you might feel as if to achieve certain tasks you really are pushing until the last drop of your energy has run out. You might benefit from recharging from time to time. Take a break and listen to your favorite music. Relax and revitalize your nerves and muscles.

Reward yourself

Celebrate little victories. Whenever you accomplish a goal or target, no matter how big or small, reward yourself. Think of ways you could treat yourself, whether it be a grand gesture such as a weekend away or a meal out, or even a night at the movies. Find a reward that’s worth looking forward to.

It’s also worthwhile asking for help from your colleagues and team at work. If you feel that tasks are insurmountable or you know you will struggle to complete them by yourself then reach out to attract the skillsets and interests of those around you. And after you’ve achieved what you set out to do you can reap the benefits of greater productivity.

Another option is to contact us to see how our services can help allow you to focus on running your business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Posted in Productivity | Leave a comment
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