As a small business owner you should worried about uptime.  In fact, it might be one of your major concerns.  If your computer systems aren’t up and running, then you are experiencing lost productivity, increased costs, lower levels of customer service, reduced employee morale and other problems you really don’t have time to deal with.  So what can you do about it? Plenty and GCInfotech can guide you each step of the way.

Many organizations start by completing an inventory of their IT equipment with the goal of identifying your Single Points of Failure (SPOFs).  GCInfotech can work with you on the inventory and identify your single points of failure, then devise a plan to implement corrective actions.  We’ll look at each component to determine if the failure of that device could cause an impact to your operations.  For example, if you only have one hard drive storing important company data, you have a single point of failure.

Once we have identified your SPOFs, the next step is to perform a business risk analysis of your equipment, systems, employees, and procedures.  We will make sure to include your email, operating systems and software applications.  The business risk analysis will identify the impact to your organization should you experience a specific IT related failure. For example, what is the impact to your organization should your internet connect go down or a printer stop functioning?

The business risk analysis examines time and its impact to your organization.  At what point does having your printer down move from low priority to medium to high?  Maybe you can last a couple of days without a printer or perhaps even weeks if you have other printers in your office.  If internet connectivity is important to you, and you only have one line, it may be high priority from the first hour of downtime.

Now that you have a business risk analysis and inventory of your IT equipment, the last step is a plan to build in redundancy and/or replacement.  In the printer down example, you may be able to shift printing from the down device to another printer in your office.  If internet connectivity is critical, as it is with most businesses today, you may need to install a second line.  A RAID system may help protect you from a hard drive failure or, you might need mirrored (identical) systems in different parts of the country.

If reliability and uptime is important to you as it is with most small businesses, identifying your Single Points of Failure is your first step to increasing confidence in your computer systems. Find out more about networking & business continuity and how they can help you increase employee efficiency, reduce costs, enhance your competitive edge, and improve your levels of customer service.

Not sure where to start? Give GCInfotech a call to discuss the available solutions that would work best for your company. Together, we can make your business work smarter, faster and more efficiently.

As always, GCInfotech can walk you through the process, ensure your business has the least amount of disruption and set up a structure that will keep you running smoothly well into the future. Give us a call at 888.323.3066.

Any Small Business considering a move to cloud based services should make sure that they engage a professional to ensure the best outcome. Cloud platforms like Microsoft’s Office 365 provide a slew of great benefits and features. Any migration to Microsoft’s Office 365 from an existing on-premise Office suite requires help in order to successfully negotiate the nuances of moving apps and data smoothly to the cloud.

Microsoft themselves recommend hiring third-party consultants who specialize in 365 Office migrations – and these type of shifts to the cloud are now becoming more and more common. However, identifying a consultant that is up to date on these kind of maneuvers is critical.

A recent Forrester report: “Market Overview: Microsoft Office 365 Implementation Partner Ecosystem”. Clearly states that “Microsoft clients need service providers to help them take advantage of the cloud…Partners are essential to Office 365…”

A complex endeavor such as moving over to Office 365 software as a service is a complicated process. What may seem like a simple case of moving files from one source to another is in fact chock full of danger zones that may not be readily apparent. While most in-house IT staff can likely find their way through the maze of the process, having access to professional support from someone who has done this before is invaluable. Doing this the first time is fraught with potential missteps, while having the counsel of someone who has done this process many times over makes the difference. It’s not advisable to be the first person to explore an unknown jungle – particularly when the ramifications of any misstep can result in shutting down operations or losing critical information.

Common issues associated with Office 365 migrations include possible loss of software functionality, function redundancy, security leaks, archiving, duplication of data, cost, licensing and authentication. It is advised to make the Office 365 migration in pieces or stages to mitigate any issues. The two common applications that are targeted for migration are the Office Suite products and email solutions.

Most businesses choose email (or Exchange Online) as their first Office 365 adoption. Depending on the current on-premise setup, email migrations can be a nerve-racking experience given the importance and reliance that all companies have on their email communications systems. Hybrid deployments, which involve a combination of on-premise, Exchange servers and Office 365 can be the most challenging.

Hybrid deployments are sometimes chosen as a temporary framework as the company moves to the cloud as this arrangement addresses business continuity in the event of an outage. Having dual platforms offers a secure backup system and at the same time allows the company a comfortable cushion as it transitions over to a full cloud commitment. This type of scenario would require an on-premise Exchange Server plus Office 365 in concert with on-site or third party archiving. In order to move from on-premise to the cloud and back again on demand, businesses will require mailbox freedom.

Businesses are becoming more comfortable hiring third party IT consultants to plan and implement migrations to cloud based services like Office 365. A 2012 Forrester study found that 19% of IT decision makers used consultants for planning, and 26% reported to hire consultants to perform the implementation of those services. In 2013 these numbers jumped to 41% hiring consultants for planning and 40% for deployment.

There are many reasons to hire an outside expert – and they are not just implementation support. Third party IT experts are solid investments for longer term planning as the migration initiatives grow and begin to impact other services and aspects of the business. IT consultants know where the bodies are buried and spend time and money on certifications and training for cloud based services. Many times their service contracts also allow quicker access to licensing agreements and cost saving processes.

 

Call GCInfotech today 203 327 5700 or schedule your Free IT Consultation

Recent advancements in information technology have dramatically impacted the way law firms manage their offices.  As a result of these innovations, attorneys are now able to handle larger caseloads, have enhanced communications with clients, and easily sift through massive hoards of information faster then ever thought possible. The role that technology plays in the legal profession has become critical…and the growing complexity of technology cannot be ignored. Given the speed, sophistication and unpredictability of the new world of technology, So how does the average law firm executive manage to keep pace with and juggle all of the intricacies of their IT environment?

It’s likely that you’ve already considered hiring, or have in fact, hired an internal IT staff person. And it’s likely that additional salary, particularly one that is not billable, was a difficult and painful decision. Maybe there was this one person in the office who “knows a lot about computers” and was willing to take on the role.  Now, despite the fact that their primary job responsibility has absolutely nothing to do with technology, everyone in the firm is now relying on this person for help. Even a qualified outside expert who is brought in – even from another competing Law firm – will still have to now become familiar with your firm’s nuances and idiosyncrasies – and will bring a host of preferences and limitations.

Here’s are 8 things your law firm should consider when outsourcing their IT operations:

  1. Improved Reliability & Performance – Most outside IT firms utilize higher-end tools and best practices as they are in the heart of the industry and as a rule must stay on top of new innovations and latest and greatest technologies.  Hence they are able to identify and resolve the root causes to network issues more quickly than someone who is inside the firm.  This reduces any resulting downtime issues as well as the duration of outages that may occur.
  2. Skill-Set Sophistication – Outside firms are comprised of teams – not individuals.  Hence, in hiring a firm, by default you have access to a wide variety of knowledge, experience, specialization and skill sets. This ensures that all aspects of your IT needs can be met with the best and most current solution.
  3. Scaled Resources & Expertise –When outsourcing your IT operations, you’re leveraging a staff that is dedicated solely to fixing your computers, servers, internet, software systems, etc. They in turn spend money, resources and training time to ensure that the best service is delivered. You benefit from their investments – and save unmanageable costs associated with certifications, training, software licenses and education. This frees up time for you to run your business.
  4. Business Continuity – A good outside IT firm will monitor your systems 24x7x365.  They will also have resources on deck in the event of an emergency. An internal IT person, will offer the “illusion” of availability – but people take vacations, quit without notice – and in some cases without handing over passwords, documentation, knowledge, etc.
  5. Predictable Management Costs – Disasters are not predictable- and they can be costly – particularly if there is no disaster plan and disaster resource. With an outside firm, you won’t be caught spending unplanned lumps of money in a desperate situation (e.g. server crash). In these cases a set monthly budget can be used specifically for issue avoidance, prevention, and service optimization.
  6. Client Access and Visibility: Attorneys need to be available and accessible – 24 hours a day. For most clients, their lawyer is a lifeline, and knowing that their firm’s technical infrastructure is always at arms length can sometimes be the difference between success or failure. This runs across ALL technical aspects of the firm: email, phone systems, internet content, messaging, financial data, files and data access; any and all areas of client or potential client touch points are critical.
  7. Rock Solid Reliability: Law is a demanding and stressful profession. In order to justify their hourly fees, Attorneys cannot afford to spend any time or energy dealing with technology snafus. They require systems that have been properly engineered and work as expected all of the time so they are able to bill their hours to clients & not have to worry about lost hours on non-client related activities.
  8. Comprehensive Service Offering: Law firms need to be laser focused, and are best served by outside firms that provide complete end-to-end service technical expertise. One single point of contact for all technical needs offers the most efficient and user-friendly scenario. Whether it is email support, networking, software management, cloud services, hosting, telephone systems, messaging support, mobile application support, the cost of having to manage multiple specialists creates too many communication layers and can distract from client-oriented tasks.

Overall, outsourcing your IT operations allows firms to keep focused on servicing their clients. Whether you have 5 people or 500, there are plans available to fit any firm size, location or business needs. Make sure that the firm you select has the tools, experience, and expertise to keep your firm running at peak performance.

GCInfotech is proud to provide IT services for law firms in CT, New York City and beyond.  Call us 203 327 5700, send us email and we will reach out to you, or schedule your free IT systems management assessment.

Your small to medium-sized business is just as dependent on IT as a large company is. You need the right technology, to have it work, to have it fixed quickly when a problem arises, and to know what that will cost. At some point, all small-to mid-size business owners face this dilemma: form their own in-house IT support group or hire an outside IT consulting firm.

IT has become the lifeblood of any business, large or small. That being said, it is essential for businesses to have their computer systems up and running 24 hours a day 7 days a week and 365 days a year – reliability, securely and efficiently. Whether you have 10 employees or 1000, any business owner has no time to deal with daily IT issues or unreliable IT support personnel. In the event of a disaster, you need to get your business back on track ‘now’.

Full-Time In-House IT

Having a dedicated, full-time staff person in-house seems like a sensible and secure option. The person knows your systems and technologies, understands the nuances of your business and staff preferences, and in many cases has been a part of the legacy of technical development within your organization so he “knows where the bodies are buried”.  Additionally, the in-house solution only has one client, you. This provides business owners with a great deal of comfort – knowing that “my guy” is always here, in-house, and at the ready to respond to the little annoyances and huge disasters that are commonplace.

While on the surface this solution seems to be a good choice, there are a number of negatives associated with in-house IT staffing solutions that make it a risky proposition:

  • Cost: In house requires a constant budget item for IT staff in salaries and benefits
  • Most IT departments in small-to medium size firms are 1-2 people, so when key IT person “leaves with the keys” – business can come to a halt.
  • Not scalable and costly when expanded – getting more IT staff becomes costly – and under-capacitated
  • In House IT need to be trained on newer technology -they don’t always do it on their own or want the company to pay for the certifications – which are costly.
  • Transitioning off and on is a very cumbersome process.

 

IT Consulting Firms

What if we told you that you could receive better IT support for a fraction of the cost that it would take to hire an onsite IT department?  Hiring an outside IT services firm is a wise decision for most small to medium sized businesses.

The two main benefits in hiring an outside firm are costs and expertise/knowledge.

We see too often smaller firms who come to us after having had one dedicated IT person on staff.  This person typically was responsible for selecting and setting up all of the basic IT functions and system choices.  Invariably we find that many of these choices were poorly vetted, require tweaking, fixing and/or replacing. This is mainly due to the fact that inside IT do what they know or are familiar with. “This is the solution that I use for all of my clients”. This comfort and fluency can easily be mistaken for expertise.  Outside firms are constantly upgrading their system offerings, training their tech staff on the most cutting edge solutions and have the resources to provide all of the proper certifications.  As a result, there is a greater likelihood that you will be getting the best possible range of solutions – that are built for the current state of technology. This is critical.  Swapping out old dead tech is a massive and costly disruption.

Second, and probably most important is cost.  With in-house staff, there are salaries and benefits. With an outside firm, you only pay either a fixed retained fee, or an hourly rate, so the costs are more manageable.  Plus, the outside firm is incentivized to do a better job in the hours allotted then someone who knows can rely on a salary and benefits.

Whether you’re looking for a preventative maintenance solution to keep IT costs predictable and avoid expensive computer problems, or a disaster recovery plan to get you back online quickly after an emergency, our technical support experts will meet with you to understand your business, and your IT needs, so that we can find the solution that’s right for you.

Proactive IT Services – Flat-rate, round-the-clock maintenance and monitoring to prevent problems before they turn into downtime

Remote Backup & Disaster Recovery – GCInfotech provides not only reliable automatic backups and archiving, but also a rock-solid plan of action for recovery in the event of a disaster.

Cloud Solutions – Anytime, anywhere access to your data and business applications including cloud online data backup.

Anti-Spam Solutions – Say goodbye to spam and hello to dramatically increased productivity

Help Desk Software – A turn-key, hosted service desk and ticketing system for assessing, assigning, and resolving service issues related to your small business

Outsourced IT Support – Focus on running your business instead of troubleshooting your network with GCInfotech custom IT services designed to fit your business and your needs. GCInfotech is proud to provide local businesses with professional IT Solutions in CT, New York City and beyond.

Contact us now to schedule your FREE Business Technology and Security Assessment

“The Cloud” has become a confusing and misunderstood technological development for most small business owners. The term has become overused and spans a number of different services and applications.  What’s surprising is despite the ubiquity, availability, reliability and affordability of Cloud solutions, many small business owners are still not making the move. From what we hear, there is still a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding about how cloud computing can fit small business and be cost efficient.

Larger businesses use the Cloud everyday for common services. Software as a Service, or SaaS, is the most common form of software utilization.  With the Cloud model, there is not installation on the user end and the user never actually ‘owns’ any software: rather than buying a product, the company is renting a service. The number of cloud-based services in the marketplace is massive – and in many cases, small businesses are already using one of these services and may not even be aware that they fall into the cloud service category.

One of the issues related to cloud based services for small businesses is that the typical small business model for IT support does not best suit a drastic move to newer platforms. Most small businesses still rely on localized, or hard-drive/server-based storage and data programs coupled with a full or part time in-house IT person.  This set up does not provide them with sufficient knowledge or resources to make a move into a cloud-based IT environment. While cloud services have become common-place, making the initial switch can be a complex undertaking that requires the help of an outside expert.

So, what are the benefits to small businesses?  There are many:

1) Low Maintenance: With Cloud services, there is no internal technology to worry about. Much like renting a car, the maintenance, repairs and breakdown assistance are all taken care of by the rental company. The same dynamics apply to cloud services: when a customer signs up, he should be able to use the software without concerns related to maintenance, updates or security. Additionally, there is no need for storage or other investments that downloadable software programs typically require. All of these issues are taken care of by the service provider.

Also, with Cloud services, small business owners can offset the operational IT work to someone outside of the organization. This puts the onus on the cloud provider for service, upkeep, and costs – and away from the business, which is a where it should be. Cloud computing outsources the technology, reduces the risks and unexpected expenses associated with your in-house IT.

2) Financial Benefits: The financial benefits from The Cloud are by far the best. Returning to our earlier car rental analogy, purchasing your own vehicle requires a large upfront investment.  In this model, the amount of usage is not applicable to the cost.  If you only use your car two times a week, you pay the same price as someone who uses the car every single day.  Plus you don’t get your full investment back even if you sell the car to someone else. Vehicles depreciate as newer; better models come into the marketplace. So as time passes, you own an old car that is outdated, and has accumulated usage and damage that will require repair.  A rental car, however, is always a current model, and only incurs a charge when it        is needed and used.

This is the same with cloud services. In the vast majority of cases, there is no upfront fee. Most services charge a manageable, predictable, flat rate monthly fee per user for the software.  This allows users to scale up or down as their business requirements dictate. This also allows for easy scalability. As companies take on new staff, it’s simply a matter of switching on a new license to extend to a new user, and similarly turn off the switch when you scale down.

Like the car rental analogy, you will always be using to the latest, greatest version. And those upgrade are seamless. As new versions or upgrades to a service are released, they can be instantly made available to all subscribers, allowing access to the best in class tools – keeping your business competitive.

Other Benefits:

Work from anywhere:  Locally installed software that runs only on a computer hampers ones ability to work remotely.  In today’s digitally connected world, having access to your services from any location is a must-have option. Today’s small business owners work from hotels and airport lounges as well as the office. Cloud services offer 24-hour access from any internet-connected location.

Collaboration and Communication: Cloud services offer another unique benefit in the way of collaboration enablement and more effective communication.  Most if not all Cloud services allow real-time workflows that let multiple users view the same file, document, presentation or spreadsheet at the same time.  This aspect of the cloud is one of the most important developments in the last 5 years.  Now, companies, via cloud-based tools, can get things accomplished in hours instead of weeks.

Crisis and disaster recovery: Security measures are costly. One great benefit of the cloud is the economies of scale that the service provider can pass on its customers. Any good cloud provider will have invested heavily into security and crisis control – far greater than any small business can ever afford. The nature of their business demands that they store your valuable data securely – so they invest heavily into these aspects of the business.

Is cloud computing secure?

Security seems to be the biggest concern among the uninitiated. This is understandable for small businesses that are not accustomed to storing their data with a third-party service provider. Smaller companies who have traditionally kept their files on their own servers in their own offices often feel that the idea of securing their valuable information with another unknown party is dangerous. The security and crisis management aspects of cloud services are one of the key benefits and most of the service providers worth their salt invest very heavily in security measures. Putting your business-critical information in the hands of a third party requires trust. The same principals apply when vetting any service. Credentials and brand trust is key. There are many smaller software providers sometimes based in countries which may have lax legal requirements should things go wrong. They may charge a great deal less, but have a hard time providing the necessary credentials. So buyer beware. Stick to proven, established companies who may charge more – but warrant that premium.  You would rather rent a car from Hertz than Bob’s Truck Shack.

Time to Get Your Business into Cloud Computing Services? GCinfotech is your Cloud Computing Company Servicing NYC, CT and NJ. With our IT Support, it’s a simple, cost-effective and totally scalable IT infrastructure that also provides 24/7 support as part of a monthly program. Using the power of the Web, our cloud computing management services provide the IT hardware, software, and data backup you need to keep your your company running safely and efficiently. Contact GCInfotech cloud professionals today. 

Now more than ever, selecting the right technology is critical to the successful operations of any organization. Given the advances in financial services industry, this is particularly true in the Investment Management and Hedge Fund industry.  The fervent controversy surrounding Michael Lewis’ new book ‘Flash Boys’ illustrates how technology has become the most important competitive differentiator for hedge fund managers.  Selecting the right IT services for hedge funds is critical to addressing investors’ growing desire for secure, robust and reliable infrastructure.

Below are Six Considerations for Hedge Funds evaluating outsourced IT providers

1. Quality of IT Consultants

In today’s environment, your IT provider will be the most important service relationship you will have.  When selecting an outsourced IT provider, it is important to know whom you will potentially be working with. What is the quality of the management team?  Are they seasoned and reputable? What about their support staff?  Are they a skilled technical staff of engineers who can help in all stages of the infrastructure build-out and maintenance?

2. Breadth of IT Solutions

A key criterion that any Hedge Fund CTO must consider is the scope of the firm’s service offering and capabilities. Does the IT provider in question offer all of the solutions and services necessary to address the technical requirements needed for your firm to operate effectively, consistently and efficiently? Remember, these needs will vary based on your firm’s specific business requirements.  They can range from private cloud services, backup & recovery services, security, application hosting, business continuity planning, disaster recovery, data storage and mining, telecom services, IT consulting, electronic communications systems and software development.

3. Industry-Specific Deployment Expertise

Specialization is critical.  Make sure you find out if the service provider possesses deep experience in deploying enterprise solutions and services in an investment management environment. What is the scope of this experience?  Do they have a wide range of experience having worked with small start-ups as well as larger, well-established firms? IT firms are a commodity so be sure to select one that is experienced in deploying systems that are specific to your industry with a track record to prove it. Check references of past clients and ask for examples of clients whose technical needs and scope are a match to your firms.

4. Disaster Recovery approach

Things happen.  Hurricanes, blackouts, floods, disasters, are all too common.  So it’s important to know the IT firm’s disaster recovery process and procedures. Do they employ proper risk controls designed to allow continued performance and availability? What are their data security and retrieval protocols?  Will the provider ensure that your data is secure, protected, and accessible even in the face of disaster?

5. Cloud Infrastructure

Cloud computing has become the de facto infrastructure option for investment firms.  While Cloud services have been in the market for a number of years its still a very specialized and nuanced aspect of the IT service industry.  Be sure to look for a provider that has a robust, scalable and secure cloud infrastructure protocol. As mentioned earlier, Cloud computing for the financial services sector is a specialized skill, so make sure that the firm employs highly trained and certified professionals with experience in financial services operations. As a standard, Tier II or III data centers that are SAS 70 or SSAE-16 certified are a good bet for critical data hosting.

6. Vendor Partners and Network

No IT firm does it all.  Any good IT firm maintains key relationships with partner vendors who fill critical service gaps.  This is a simple reality and the quality of these partners – and their relationship with them – is of high importance. Does the firm have strong vendor relationships? Are they the right mix of best-in-class providers for your unique needs? Strategic partnerships with top-tier technology companies are crucial to maintaining a world-class IT environment for your firm.

***

GCInfotech offer IT Services for Hedge Funds and Financial Companies in CT, NY and NYC area. Call us 203 327 5700 to discuss your technology needs.

As business owners, we all want to save money. We want our employees to get more done in less time. And we want technology that just does what it’s supposed to do. Let’s review three ways we can ensure we’re making the right technology decisions for our business:

  • Understand that “free IT services” or “free software” often comes at a cost. Saving money in any way possible is a top priority for most small business owners, but when it comes to choosing technology, it pays to think through the downsides of free solutions.

A free software program may have the right number of the features, and seems easy to install, but getting it to seamlessly interface with your business applications ends up being a daunting challenge. In most cases, “free” also means you won’t have access to customer support when something does go wrong, and you’ll be on your own to fix any problems. A sound alternative to a “free solution” is to analyze the total cost of ownership of any solution. Consider that 52% of small and medium-sized businesses are adopting cloud services to outsource IT tasks like data storage, according to a recent SMB study. Some of the less expensive enterprise cloud solutions can be just as bad as a free download, or can still be too expensive for small businesses (like SalesForce).

  • Choose IT solutions that can multi-task. Too often, small businesses fall into the trap of implementing technology that addresses only one specific task. For example, you may have needed the ability to share large files with customers or partners outside your company, so you signed up for a file-sharing service. In this case, free or not, choosing a “one trick pony” for simple tasks like file sharing might actually end up costing more in the form of lost productivity and frustration. In this case, you would likely be missing out on sophisticated collaboration tools such as full integration with your email and productivity applications that can take file sharing to the next level. Do your homework before choosing an application or service to accomplish a single task. Think through all of the related tasks and look for the solutions that allow you do more than one thing. Time spent understanding the options will bring long-term benefits. For example Dropbox is a popular app for sharing documents and photos across multiple devices. Microsoft SkyDrive offers the ability to replicate files on multiple systems, but it some of its features requires professional installation and support.
  • Give yourself options. Smart business owners are like pro NFL quarterbacks; they want plenty of options. This is especially true when it comes to how you and your employees communicate with one another. There was a time when email revolutionized how people communicate at work, but today, your employees have plenty of options for communicating with one another depending on the situation. Communication with far-flung employees, clients and vendors can be expensive for many small businesses. Consider multiple solutions: Web-based teleconferencing services let large groups make video and voice connections, usually without special equipment – or sky-high phone fees. Reigning champ Adobe Connect is “the solution to beat,” said PC Magazine. Up-and-comer Fuze Meeting Pro offers innovative features like Fuze In for dialing-in late participants. Provide your team with options and you’ll benefit from efficiency and increased productivity.

Not sure where to start? Give GCInfotech a call to discuss the available solutions that would work best for your company. Together, we can make your business work smarter, faster and more efficiently.

 

As always, GCInfotech can walk you through the process, ensure your business has the least amount of disruption and set up a structure that will keep you running smoothly well into the future. Give us a call at 888.323.3066.

As business owners, we all want to save money. We want our employees to get more done in less time. And you want technology that just does what it’s supposed to do. Let’s review three ways you can ensure you’re making the right technology decisions for your business.

  • Understanding that “free” often comes at a cost. The old saying is true: there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Saving money in any way possible is a top priority for most small business owners, but when it comes to choosing technology, it pays to think through the downsides of free solutions. They could end up costing your business in the form of frustration and lost productivity. A free software program may have a number of the features you need, but getting it to seamlessly interface with your business applications can be a daunting challenge. In most cases, “Free” also means you won’t have access to customer support when something does go wrong, and you’ll be on your own to correct the problems. Reach out to us as a first step if you want to ensure you can learn how to use a solution, and get assistance from GCInfotech with integrating it with other applications and fixing issues when they arise. A sound alternative to “free solution” is to pay a reasonable monthly or annual subscription for cloud solutions.
  • Choose IT solutions that can multi-task.Multitask Too often small businesses often fall into the trap of implementing technology that addresses only one specific task. For example, maybe you need the ability to share large files with customers or partners outside your company, so you sign up for a file-sharing service. Free or not, choosing a one trick pony for simple tasks like file sharing might actually cost you more in the long run in the form of lost productivity since you’re likely missing out on collaboration tools and integration with your email and productivity applications that would take file sharing to the next level. Start by doing your homework when choosing an application or service to accomplish a single task, think through related tasks and look for an offering that lets you do more than one thing. Time spent understanding what your choices are will provide benefits in the future.
  • Give yourself options. Smart business owners are like good football quarterbacks; they want plenty of options. This is especially true when it comes to how you and your employees communicate with one another. There was a time when email revolutionized how people communicate at work, but today, your employees should have plenty of options for communicating with one another depending on the situation. Instead of having to reply to an email and wait for a response, they should be able to open an instant messaging window directly from an email and get an urgent answer right then and there. Sticking with that theme, they should be able to call the office of a colleague and have the phone system find them if they are not at their desks. They should be able to initiate voice calls and schedule web and video conferences right from their email inbox. Give your team options and you’ll benefit from efficiency and increased productivity.

 

 

Have you asked yourself if blogging is a relevant marketing strategy for your business in 2014?  Would it surprise you to know that 60% of businesses that blog acquire more customers.  (Source: Hubspot)

As a small business owner you might wonder if it’s worth the investment to blog, since the largest investment is your time. The truth is, if done right, it will be your best inbound marketing tool available to you. Many small businesses create a website that remains static over time with no new content. This is not a good  marketing strategy. You need to keep your website fluid with company updates and helpful information so your customers and potential customers will want to visit your site. One of the best ways to do this is to blog. This does require a large commitment on your part, as it takes at least 50 posts for Google to index you. To increase your search engine rankings and traffic to your site you will need quality, unique content with the right keywords and phrases. If this seems like a lot of work, keep in mind that the average company that blogs generates 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links, and 434 more indexed pages. (Source: Ignite Spot)

bloggingWhat makes a good blog? For a small company, you want to give your site a personality, allowing visitors to identify with you, while promoting your brand. How can this be done? People relate to other people, so let them know who you are. Use visuals, whether images or videos to engage your visitors and let them see behind the scenes of your company.  A good way to do this is to showcase your employees and add personal stories. Your goal should be to give visitors a way to identify with your company while giving them added value. Provide them with useful information about your industry, share useful tips and while doing so you are demonstrating your expertise. A blog that visitors can identify with, will increase the chance they will sign up for email newsletters. Encourage comments and feedback, you will learn a lot about your potential customers this way.

Google, Bing and Yahoo are currently the three leading search engines. They are constantly upgrading their ranking algorithms to improve search results for their users. Why is this something you need to keep in mind? Because it affects whether your site will show up in search results. Recently Google introduced speed as a feature of its algorithm so your site loading time is now more important than ever. Analytical software is available to review your website loading speed. You can try  Google’s at:  https://www.developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights . The number of inbound links to your site is also an important measurement used in ranking. Want to know how many linked pages your website has? Hubspot has a feature that lets you enter your url into //marketing.grader.com and will email you a report.

Not sure where to start with improving your website and creating a blog? Give GCInfotech a call to discuss the available options that would work best for you. Together, we can make your business work smarter, faster and more efficiently.

Business Blogging(Source: Ignite Spot)

As 21st century companies, we’ve all settled into the information age quite nicely. We save all of our important company data on our file servers. We send and receive our corporate communications through email.  We even source vendors and do our banking online. With all of this data going back and forth, it’s no wonder available storage space on our hard drives gets pretty tight.

Most of us would rather give up an arm, than give up our computers but we don’t really give them the TLC they need.  Getting rid of outdated or useless files and programs, or just learning the best way to organize all our stuff can make a big difference to the storage space as well as the processing time of the computer.  Simple things like keeping a clean desktop on your Mac, can really make a difference.

Has your file server become the digital equivalent of that drawer in your kitchen where you put all the stuff you don’t have a place for?

Even if you were forward thinking when you installed your server and you have plenty of space, don’t pat yourself on the back yet because that extra data may cost you in the long run. If you are including that data in your backup, it may end up costing you. And if you need to upgrade your server, it’s going to cost you for the additional storage space and time required migrating all that data to the new server.

So now you are wondering what to do. Just remember that data is only as good as its relevance. Information related to any of your important clients is always relevant. Let’s focus on the information for those clients that you haven’t done work with in years, or might not exist anymore. Here are some tips for getting a handle on your data:

  • Clean up or delete draft copies.
  • Clean up old, out of date information. Chances are you will Google something for the latest information anyway.
  • Clean up your email. Junk mail is just that, junk. Delete it.
  • Organize your files. By creating yearly sub-folders, you will be able to clearly see the age of some of your data.
  • Uninstall unused programs. When a program is installed, it creates connections between the program and the operating system. Even if you don’t use these programs, they can slow down your system.

In the case of data on your computer, more is not always better. Organize, prioritize, and then purge.

As always, GCInfotech can walk you through the process, ensure your business has the least amount of disruption and set up a structure that will keep you organized in the future. We can help you with data backup and protection, as well as moving your data to the cloud.

Contact GCInfotech IT Professionals today to talk about your data organization and protection. Call us 203 327 5700