PowerPoint is the go-to app for presentations for business professionals. One of the best practices we’re taught right away is to make slides consistent and clean for the best-looking presentations.
If you’re dealing with multiple images that you want to be the same size – and need to be resized consistently – there’s a feature for that. Let’s say you are using profile pictures for speaker bios and the images all need to be the same size, but they aren’t. Here’s the best way to handle the situation:
A picture is worth a thousand words…
If you work with multiple tabs in Excel routinely, you know the pain of searching through each tab to make the same change repeatedly. You also probably know these changes can be made with the Search/Replace function but – step away from the search key! – here’s a quicker way to make the same change across worksheets.
Bada bing bada boom – all cells changed! Let’s take a look…
OK, OK. That was a really short (although very cool) tip so here’s a bonus Excel tip…
When you want to put today’s date into a worksheet cell, just type Ctrl+; in the cell. Add the time by pressing Ctrl+Shift+;
Take your Word documents from fine to fabulous with these 3 easy steps to adding a table of contents to your reports, proposals and presentations. Printed documents with a table of contents appear more sophisticated, and onscreen documents with a table of contents feature hot-link navigation to make it easy for readers to jump immediately to specific sections. Your readers will quickly find the information they need – and you will look like a rock star!
1. Apply Heading Styles
2. Insert A Table Of Contents
3. Customize your table of contents
Between phones, tablets, and computers, most employees today have at least three devices. It’s not like the early 2000s when companies were just beginning to adopt the internet. Computer servers sat in an office closet. Everybody drove to the office to work, and nobody really cared about accessing information from anywhere else.
Today, work on Delmarva is just as likely to happen at a main or remote office, as it is at home or a coffee shop. You and your staff have higher expectations for accessing information – you want to be able to get to it instantaneously.
That’s where cloud technology helps.
To help you determine if cloud technology is right for your business, consider these five advantages.
1. Flexibility to work from anywhere.
When your company is working from the cloud, you can get to your applications and information quickly. Employees can work from home, in the field, or in the office. One of our Delmarva plumbing clients has enabled their field employees to review and update data in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet from their job sites. Now both the field and office staff have real-time access to information. No more waiting to get back to the office. Not only has productivity soared, but employees are happier because they can get their jobs done faster.
2. Improved staff collaboration.
Traditional business applications don’t allow you and your staff to collaborate easily on projects and documents. Accounting software lets you do a great job managing your company’s payables and balancing your checkbook, but it doesn’t help your staff work together on other projects. Cloud collaboration allows you to share data, and work on documents together in real time, all in one place.
3. Simplified backup and safer data.
No business owner wants to discover their server crashed and they’ve lost access to their data. With the cloud, you aren’t at risk of losing information you’ve saved on your server or device due to a hardware failure, virus, or employee error. Because your data is saved in the cloud on systems that have multiple redundancies, downtime is virtually eliminated. And if something does go wrong? The cloud allows for quick data recovery, usually without a call to the helpdesk.
4. Fluctuate with seasonal demand.
As your business changes throughout the seasons, cloud technology allows you to quickly and easily add and remove users to software applications. No longer do you have to worry about paying for perpetual software licenses that you only use during the high-season. With cloud solutions, you can accommodate the fluctuations in your staffing and sales.
5. Grow efficiently and cost effectively.
Many cloud solutions, like Microsoft Office 365, have built in tools or capabilities that most companies aren’t even aware of until they begin to grow. Other cloud solutions are similar. They include these capabilities to meet your business needs without disruptive upgrades or software switches. You may not need all the capabilities they have today, but by choosing a cloud solution, you preserve your flexibility for when you do grow. Those capabilities are there, waiting to be implemented as your business grows and evolves.
Not everything is sunny in the cloud. As you consider cloud technology, there are two considerations to keep in mind.
1. Back-ups are still necessary.
The cloud simplifies your backup strategy, but doesn’t eliminate it. You don’t have to back up your applications like you do with a server in your office because the cloud does that for you. However, you still want to back up your data. It’s the backbone of your business. At Cards Technology, our experts review your backup strategy as part of your move to the cloud to safeguard that your data will be protected.
2. Know where your data is stored in the cloud.
While the cloud can be an extremely efficient way to store your data, it’s important that the cloud provider you select has a secure, reliable environment. The security experts at Cards Technology conduct regular security audits, offer you written documentation of our security policies and show you an audit report that verifies we adhere to standard data privacy regulations.
Like the idea of the cloud, but you’re concerned about the reliability of your internet connectivity? We hear that frequently. Don’t let it rain on your cloud vision.
If you’re having problems with internet connectivity, step back and examine why it’s happening. With the internet as accessible as it is today, you really shouldn’t be experiencing problems. When we encounter it with our clients, our top two recommendations are:
1. Get a second internet connection. A second connection will give you redundancy. If one connection goes down, you have a backup.
2. Move to a fiber-optic internet service. This uses physical fiber-optic lines to your office and is typically more reliable than DSL or cable.
To ensure you’re on the right path as you move to the cloud, partner with a trusted IT provider, like Cards Technology, that understands cloud and cloud security. If you’d like to discuss how you might implement the cloud in your business, click here or call us at 410-208-3933. We’ll conduct an assessment to identify the best strategy for you.
Imagine this. You’re sitting at your desk, trying to respond to all of your emails, when all of a sudden your screen goes red and the following message pops up:
The first thing you probably do is start having a panic attack. You start hitting the escape key, hoping against hope that the message will just go away. But it doesn’t. You quickly switch to, maybe I’ll just pay the $300 worth of bitcoin and no one will ever know. But as you begin to pick up your phone to start googling, how do I pay a ransom in bitcoin, your team starts knocking on your office door, bursting with the bad news. It’s not just your data, everything is encrypted. And what’s worse, you don’t have an up-to-date backup.
This nightmare scenario has been played out in over 50% of SMBs that were breached in the past 12 months. 50%. That’s 1 out of 2 businesses. A flip of a coin. Even if you are a gambler, those aren’t good odds.
Knowing how the hackers are able to get to SMBs is the key to understanding how to outsmart them. Here are the top 3 techniques that hackers employ to attack your system:
1. Diverse delivery systems
Cyber attackers are not just one-trick ponies. They utilize a variety of delivery systems to increase their chances that someone in your company is going to click on something they shouldn’t. From social engineering tools like phishing spam and clickbait to malicious spam and advertising, hackers use a variety of means to trick you into clicking so they can take over your computer.
2. Complex coding
All of the publicity surrounding cybersecurity has helped encourage companies to beef up their security system. But that hasn’t stopped the attacks. Hackers frequently update their code to get past signature-based counter-measures that the first line of defense security programs typically perform. They also develop code that is meant to worm its way from system to system in order to infect as many machines as possible.
3. Difficult to trace payment system
Bitcoin remains the most popular choice of payment when it comes to paying a ransom. Bitcoin is easier to obtain and exchange, while providing a lot of anonymity. Ransom demands are made easy since attackers provide instructions on how to create a virtual wallet, buy the bitcoins to pay the ransom that will provide the code that will unencrypt your data.
Understanding how cyber hackers use these techniques is the key to getting a step ahead. Developing a multi-layered security system while educating your team on the best cybersecurity practices, will help ensure that your business will not become the next statistic.
Come to our free lunch and learn on Tuesday, May 8 at the Bethany Beach Ocean Suites to hear from a Watchguard cybersecurity expert and learn more about the best defense system to outsmart ransomware attackers. We look forward to seeing you there!
Did you know that 42% of small businesses consider ransomware to be the most significant threat they face today? That’s not surprising considering SMBs can lose over $100,000 per incident as a result of downtime. You might be thinking that your business isn’t a big enough fish to be spotted by cybercriminals, but that’s not the case at all.
Studies have shown that hackers find small businesses to be an easier target than larger corporations due to:
Just like a bank robber, hackers will go where the security is the weakest, even if the payout isn’t quite as big. This makes SMBs a prime target for ransomware since they tend to have weaker security systems and lack a full backup system. This can typically lead to businesses like yours paying the ransom to recover their data.
And if you are unlucky enough to be hit with ransomware and decide to pay the hackers, it is not uncommon that they refuse to provide the decryption keys or target your business again, requiring even more money the second time around.
This disaster will cost you money and impact your reputation – since customers are reluctant to entrust their data to a business with a poor security track record. But your business doesn’t have to be a victim. At Cards Technology, we have the experience, expertise and customized security solutions to prevent you from being the next victim.
Come to our free lunch and learn on Tuesday, May 8 at the Bethany Beach Ocean Suites to hear from a Watchguard cybersecurity expert and learn more about the current threat landscape for small businesses and the best defense system to prevent attacks on your system. We look forward to seeing you there!
Sam Card is the Founder and CEO of Cards Technology, which has grown from a humble computer repair shop to a full-service technology management firm that thrives on building valuable and lasting relationships with the businesses of Delmarva. After more than a decade, Sam looks back on how things have changed since he began his career fixing personal computers.
Q: What is different today about your company, regarding its capabilities and services, compared to 10 years ago?
Sam Card: The better question is probably what isn’t different? I think the biggest shift happened between 2003 and 2004, when IT downtime started to become a major problem. For example, customers would call to report that their email was down, and I would let them know that I would be out there tomorrow. This would be met with a panicked response of “No Sam, our emails are down, you don’t understand. We can’t run our business.”
Fundamentally, we can wait for our IT to be fixed, but we can’t afford our IT to be down. People don’t turn around and do paperwork anymore while they wait for a fix. This new sense of urgency sparked the development of our proven 5-step process; we get to know our customers and, from there, come up with a plan that helps them stay productive and avoid downtime.
Q: How have your services changed?
SC: The direction used to be, “we’re here when you need us, call if something comes up.” That’s known as a break/fix model of IT support, where the customer controls service delivery. We made the shift to a Managed Service model, where our focus is on anticipating and understanding an organizations’ business needs. The Managed Service model results in an improved outcome for your business, since the management and delivery of technology is completely outsourced.
As the general sense of urgency increased, the need to be proactive versus reactive became a priority.
Q: Let’s talk about a client who was helped by Cards Technology’s proven process.
SC: We created the process because we noticed that other IT providers would jump in to deliver service without first conducting a thorough overview. This would lead to the discovery of problems later on, which got very expensive and hurt the customer’s business. A clear assessment and proper standardization in the beginning is key.
Recently, we were approached by a client in the healthcare industry who had a time and materials IT company but not a managed service provider. We typically find that clients who haven't worked with an MSP are handling IT problems on their own and telling the provider what to do, instead of the other way around. This client was inviting security breaches in and experiencing other technology issues because no one was looking out for them. We performed a complete assessment from top to bottom and made sure that our unique set of standards were implemented for preventative monitoring. We stabilized the environment to prevent security threats and created a comprehensive plan for future IT needs.
Consider this - how long can you go without internet access before problems emerge? Chances are, that kind of downtime spells disaster for your business, no matter what industry. Missing deadlines, upset consumers and lost revenue all put your credibility at risk.
Many businesses are dissatisfied with their IT solution, and an erratic check-in schedule may have something to do with it. So, how often do you hear from your IT provider – only when you put it in a service request or once a year at contract renewal time? At Cards Technology, we believe preventing downtime has a lot to do with a predictable and regular check-in schedule, versus contact only when there’s a problem.
Use the following best practices as a guide:
1. Regularity is key – Checking in on a quarterly basis is a great standard. More important than the frequency, though, is that meetings occur at regularly scheduled intervals. As a business owner, you’re busy and juggling many priorities, so it’s tempting to move or cancel meetings. However, these check-ins function as a way to stay ahead of issues, such as anticipated software updates or alerts that equipment may be reaching end of life.
2. Plan for growth – Sometimes your IT provider is the last to know about your growth plans. Opening or moving an office location? Hiring new employees this quarter? Plans for expansion or upcoming changes should be discussed well in advance. Regular, check-in meetings can spark conversations that you may have forgotten to mention. Your IT partner plays a strategic role, helping you achieve your goals and get the most mileage out of your technology infrastructure.
3. Avoid the risks of inconsistent contact – One of the biggest dangers of being out of touch lies in unexpected IT expenses. When something malfunctions, not only do you worry about replacing it, but then there’s the potential for more problems to be uncovered. This leads to technology expenses you can’t avoid and didn’t budget for. Another example is investing in the latest equipment or software, but not working with your IT partner to ensure your existing systems will be compatible, so you can take advantage of all the new features.
Communicating with your IT provider exclusively to put out fires presents missed opportunities for strategic planning. Big picture planning can’t possibly be accomplished if you’re in the middle of getting your broken servers up and running. Think of regular contact like a physical for your IT infrastructure. You don't want to wait until a problem is hard to treat before taking action.
At Cards Technology, we're diligent about keeping our check-in meetings on schedule. We value our client relationships and know that getting to know you, and ultimately your goals, will help you avoid downtime and security issues for maximum productivity. If regular check-ins aren’t part of your IT strategy, click here or call us at 410-208-3933 to learn more about our communication process.
The modern workplace relies heavily on the use of technology. Whether you're in sales, e-commerce or financial services, a stable IT environment is the backbone of how you do business. So, when a problem emerges, the time spent waiting around for your IT provider can really add up. Finding a partner with a great track record of fast response and problem-solving times is essential for keeping the servers running, the Internet connected and your data secure.
IT providers make a lot of promises in regard to meeting your company's needs, yet many don’t have the systems in place to deliver service when you need it most. Here are 3 reasons why some providers take so long to respond:
So, What Are Some Solutions?
Well, we think we have a couple. Here's a look at why Cards Technology is dedicated to such a low response time:
Common complaints heard about other providers: "if you don’t call before 9am, you won’t get a call same day" or "electronic tickets get lost in cyberspace and won't get help quickly."
Instead, we base our work tickets on priority and age, using calculations to figure out where in the pipeline an issue belongs. Then, we work on a solution, so you don't have to contend with antsy employees, lost revenue and frustrated clients.
We know you can't afford to have your employees sitting around while systems are down. If limiting downtime is a priority, look toward a provider that has a documented process and a proven record of low response times. Contact Cards Technology today, and we’ll walk you through our process - from ticket origination to the final solution.
We all know the importance of IT support for "keeping the lights on." And practical IT tasks are necessary for daily operations. However, you can't underestimate the need for a balance between practicality and strategy. Many IT providers are adept at the support portion, but what about help with strategic IT goals? As your business evolves, you need to leverage technology to not only maintain your business but to help you grow.
The team at Cards Technology has developed an IT support system that combines a practical and strategic approach to IT management.
Here are the 4 ways that Cards Complete can help your company be more strategic:
An experienced IT solutions provider can help create your path towards a more strategic approach to technology. So what crucial things should you check against when evaluating providers?
Start with asking IT support providers these key questions: