Monday, November 30, 2020

The Four Corners Your Network Security Needs to Cover

 Network security is paramount to a business’ success with the number of security incidents and data breaches that could potentially upend it. While this sounds like a task of marginally epic proportions, managing your security can be greatly simplified via a few basic activities. Let’s go over four such security-boosting actions that you should direct your attention to.


Patch Management

Despite being an essential tool for business use, software can always be improved… as evidenced by the endless stream of updates and patches that software developers release. Cybercriminals have taken notice and will try to use these software issues to their advantage. This is what makes it so important to promptly install the update packages that will resolve these vulnerabilities and prevent them from causing any ill effects.

While many businesses will test the update before implementing it—assuming that their patches are managed at all—these tests need to be completed expeditiously to avoid as many risks as possible.

Device Control

If a device connects to your network, you need to have some say over its security. This needs to be a universal policy with both company-owned devices and those that belong to your employees. This will enable you to prevent any vulnerabilities from gaining access to your business by coming in on devices that have connected to an insecure network in the past.

With more people than ever before now working remotely, you need to make sure that all your team members can complete their responsibilities without undermining your security. As their home networks are likely far less secure than your business one should be, implementing a virtual private network should be seen as a priority.

Benchmarking

You need to keep track of the solutions you are using, and how well the security you have implemented is protecting your solutions. Accomplishing this is as simple as comparing your own performance with that which should be expected with the protections you’ve put in place. These evaluations can provide the data you need to inform your security improvements so that the largest vulnerabilities you possess can be resolved expeditiously.

Identity Management

Finally, we need to discuss how well your users and their permissions are managed. Controlling access to different data by virtue of an employee’s need to access said data can offer considerable benefits to your overall security.

As for how these permissions should be granted, many security professionals will recommend that you require multiple authentication measures to be provided before allowing access, rather than a password requirement alone. Shifting to multi-factor authentication will help keep unwanted visitors out of your systems by making it far more difficult for them to obtain and input the proper credentials in time. Some common MFA approaches include the use of time-sensitive generated codes also being required for account access, or the use of a physical security key or biometric pattern.

Let’s Look at Some Inexpensive Smartphone Options

 Two weeks ago we had a look at the flagships. Last week, we took a look at the new foldable and flippable smartphones, but what if you don’t have $1,000 to buy a device? Are your options severely limited? Let’s take a look at some of your options.


Samsung Galaxy A51

Samsung’s Galaxy A-series devices span the entirety of specification options, but we’re going to look at the moderately-priced Samsung Galaxy A51. The Galaxy A51 has a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display and features a Exynos 9611 processor. With options between four-and-eight gigs of RAM, the expandable storage, the in-display fingerprint readers, the 3.5mm headphone jack and the largeish 4,000 mAh battery the Galaxy A51 presents users a good option if they are looking to avoid spending the big bucks. Available in Prism Crush Black, Prism Crush White, Prism Crush Blue, or Prism Crush Pink, the Galaxy A51 can be found on most major carriers and unlocked online.

Samsung Galaxy A51
Body: Plastic with Gorilla Glass 3 front, plastic back
Display: 6.5-inch Super AMOLED (~405 ppi)
OS: Android 10
Chipset: Octa-core Exynos 9611
Memory: 4-8 GB RAM
Expandable Memory: microSDXC
Cameras: Rear - 48 MP (wide), 12 MP (ultrawide, 5 MP (macro, 5 MP (depth); Front - 32 MP (wide)
Sounds: Loudspeaker, 3.5mm headphone jack
Battery (endurance rating): 4,000 mAh (86 hours)
Security: In-display fingerprint reader
Miscellaneous: Accelerometer, Gyrometer, Proximity, Barometer, Compass, Bixby assistant
Other versions: Samsung Galaxy A-series

Apple iPhone SE

If you think you’ve seen the 2020 version of the iPhone SE before, it’s because you probably have. It has the body of the iPhone 8, the chipset from the iPhone 11, and a new camera setup that will outperform the lion’s share of devices in the budget category. If you take away the 4.7-inch Retina display, the iPhone SE may bring more value than any other budget phone.

The iPhone SE only comes with two cameras, one front and one selfie, but the optics on the 12 megapixel lens, combined with iOS optimization, users will get a solid performing camera experience. Available in black, white, and red, the iPhone SE is great for the smartphone user that doesn’t need a huge screen to accomplish what they need to accomplish. 

Apple iPhone SE (2020)
Body: Aluminum with Gorilla Glass front and back
Display: 4.7-inch Retina IPS LCD (~326 ppi)
OS: iOS 13
Chipset: Apple A13 Bionic 
Memory: 3 GB RAM
Expandable Memory: No
Cameras: Rear - 12 MP (wide); Front - 7 MP
Sounds: Stereo Speakers, No Headphone Jack
Battery (endurance rating): 4,500 mAh (87 hours)
Security: Fingerprint reader
Miscellaneous: Accelerometer, Gyrometer, Proximity, Compass, Siri assistant
Other versions: none

Google Pixel 4a 5G

The Google Pixel 4a 5G sits firmly in budget smartphone territory. It features an impressive 6.2-inch OLED display, 5G capability and the same amazing camera setup as the Pixel 4, which was renowned as the best on any device in 2019. The Pixel 4a brings flagship-level experience to the budget smartphone. Available in Just Black and Clearly White, the Pixel 4a 5G is available in the Google store or from many major service carriers.

Google Pixel 4A 5G
Body: Plastic with Gorilla Glass 3 front and plastic back
Display: 6.2-inch OLED, HDR (~413 ppi)
OS: Android 11
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
Memory: 6 GB RAM
Expandable Memory: No
Cameras: Rear - 12.2 MP (wide), 16 MP (ultra wide); Front - 8 MP (wide).
Sounds: Stereo Speakers, 3.5mm Headphone Jack
Battery: 3,885 mAh
Security: Fingerprint reader
Miscellaneous: Accelerometer, Gyrometer, Proximity, Barometer, Compass, Google Assistant
Other versions: 4G LTE version

Past Flagship Phones

Before we finish our brief look at smartphones for the year, we should mention that one of the best ways to get value out of your smartphone is by buying new or refurbished flagship devices that are a cycle or two old. In fact, some smartphone companies release two iterations of their flagship phones each year and getting a mobile that is 18 months old isn’t going to deny you many features. Flagship smartphones tend to be built from better materials so they are more durable, and they tend to come with specs that will outpace many mid-level budget smartphones. 

If you consider buying a device that is a couple of years old, here are some great options: The Samsung Galaxy s9 and s9+, the LG V50 thinQ, or the iPhone X. One detrimental characteristic is that they probably won’t get as many software updates, and if they are refurbished or used, they could have issues that new devices wouldn’t have. Regardless, it is something that you should consider when weighing your options if you only want to spend a few hundred dollars on your next phone.

Windows 10’s Over 70% Market Share is Still Too Low

 Windows 10 has seen a slow growth in its market share since it first appeared in July 2015, still rising throughout 2020 to now. As of this October, the operating system had finally reached a 72.2 percent market share. Let’s discuss why this benchmark matters, and why you need to update any devices in your organization to bring that share up even more.


The Stats

As reported by Net Applications, Windows 10 is now installed in over 70 percent of all Windows-based desktop and laptop computers, with the Windows environment powering 88 percent of these devices in general. This massive market share isn’t surprising, given that most businesses prefer to work in Windows.

As this year has passed, Windows 10 specifically has seen an increase of 20 percent, accumulating an additional 10.7 to its total market share. At the same time, Windows 7 is now on 20.4 percent of computers and 23 percent of all Windows-based devices. While this accounts for a loss of about 31 percent of its total market share, these values remain too high, considering that Windows 7 reached its end of support back in January.

Why This Trend Needs to Continue

Here’s the situation: Microsoft has come out and said that—at least for the time being—Windows 10 is the de facto Windows operating system, and all further updates are going to be improvements to Windows 10 and its security. Meanwhile, Windows 7 and other aging operating systems will only become more vulnerable to attacks as time passes and new threats are developed.

This is precisely what makes it so important to upgrade your technology to Windows 10.

To pick on Windows 7 a little bit more, the operating system is now patently unsafe, which means that using it—especially in a business setting—is akin to high-stakes, low-payout gambling. In this way, the 23 percent share of Windows devices still using Windows 7 is about 24 percent too high.

Any amount of migration from Windows 7 to Windows 10 will ultimately be a benefit to cybersecurity in general, as it only takes a single insecure access point for a threat to overtake an entire system.

If you still have workstations that need to be upgraded to Windows 10, there’s little-to-no time left to waste. Reach out to us today at (732) 360-2999 to determine your best course of action concerning your information technology.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Is My Smartphone Tracking COVID-19 Exposures Without My Consent?

 Remember a few months ago when Google and Apple joined forces to come up with a system to help state and local governments establish a COVID-19 Exposure Notification system? If you didn’t, you aren’t alone. A lot has been going on lately. Just to catch you up, the two tech giants recently pushed out an update across nearly all modern smartphones so state and local governments can deploy apps to notify people when they may have been exposed to COVID-19. Let’s do a deep dive on what this means for your privacy.


To be honest, we stopped thinking about Google and Apple’s COVID-19 Exposure Notification system too. That is, until we started seeing social media posts going around over the last week or so claiming that Android and iPhones have been getting a COVID-19 tracking app installed without getting permission from the user first. 

Here is an example of one of the posts that have been making rounds across Facebook:

**VERY IMPORTANT ALERT!***
A COVID-19 sensor has been secretly installed into every phone.
Apparently, when everyone was having “phone disruption” over the weekend, they were adding COVID-19 Tracker [SIC] to our phones!

If you have an Android phone, go under settings, then look for google settings and you will find it installed there.

If you are using an iPhone, go under settings, privacy, then health. It is there but not yet functional.

The App can notify you if you’ve been near someone who has been reported having COVID-19.

We checked our phones and confirmed that the option is clearly there. On Android, go to your Settings and tap on Google Settings and front and center will be an option to opt-in to the COVID-19 Exposure Notification system. By default, you are not opted in.

On iPhones, go to Settings, then Privacy, then Health and you’ll see a similar opt in that is currently disabled. In fact, you can’t enable it unless you’ve installed an official COVID-19 Exposure Notification app from your local or state government.

No, Android and iOS Didn’t Sneak a COVID-19 Tracking App On Your Phone - It’s Just a New Security Setting

The two tech giants have been working together to build an API (short for Application  Programming Interface) for a standardized system to make it easier for states and local governments to build an effective app to notify users if they may have been exposed to COVID-19. Google and Apple aren’t building the apps or pushing them out to users. If you see this setting, rest easy knowing they didn’t sneak a COVID-19 app onto your phone without your consent. 

It’s Not the App, It’s the Opt-In the Apps Will Require

Just to be perfectly clear, unless you manually installed something, your Android or iPhone isn’t just going to start tracking you and your friends and family to see if you have COVID-19.

Apple and Google confirmed this in a joint statement saying “What we’ve built is not an app - rather public agencies will incorporate the API into their own apps that people install.”

One thing worth pointing out is that the system won’t work as well if users don’t participate - if half of all users decide not to opt in, the system might not be reliable enough to do much good. It’s really up to the local governments and states to raise awareness while addressing the public’s concerns for privacy. With that said, what is being done to ensure that your privacy is protected?

Is the COVID-19 Exposure Notification Update from Google and Apple Safe?

Keep in mind, it’s really up to state and local governments to deploy the official apps themselves. Apple and Google merely laid out some groundwork that these apps can utilize.

Here’s how it works. First, you need to install an official application from your local or state government. When you install it and set it up, you’ll also need to opt in to Google or Apple’s API (that’s the new setting everyone is worried about). Once you are set up, a random ID is generated and exchanged between your phone and other nearby phones (that also opted in) within Bluetooth range. These random, anonymous IDs are stored on your phone. The random IDs are also changed every 10 to 20 minutes so they can’t be tracked. In short, your phone keeps tabs of phones it has been near without collecting or sharing any personally identifiable information.

If someone is diagnosed with COVID-19 and that personal manually shares that information with one of the official contact tracing apps, all of the random IDs their phone has collected over the past two weeks are uploaded (with that user’s permission) and the users of those IDs are notified that they may have been exposed. 

In other words, you don’t know who or where you may have been exposed to COVID-19. You just know that, at some point, the owner of one of the phones you’ve been within 30-or-so feet of has shared that they have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Most importantly, the system doesn’t track your location, or share other users’ identities within the app, or even with Google or Apple. According to Google, the apps are not allowed to use your phone’s location or track your location in the background.

The technology is very secure and anonymous. It has to be, because it has to fall under the strict rules that govern healthcare data.

The Big Question Everyone is Asking: How Do You Uninstall the Apple/Google COVID-19 Exposure Notification Update?

Let’s get this out of the way. There is no app to uninstall. It’s an update to the Android and iOS operating system as part of a recent security update. The update isn’t tracking you - it’s simply a setting that lets you decide if you want to opt in to participate in the COVID-19 Exposure Notification System.

The only real danger is if you search around the Internet and follow instructions that walk you through rolling back your phone or other risky procedures to try to remove the update. That puts your phone at risk for other threats. There is nothing to uninstall, and rolling back your phone and preventing future security updates from ever getting installed is not a good plan.

If you don’t want to particulate, simply do not opt in. If you are worried about it, both Apple and Google state that by simply not installing a COVID-19 Exposure Notification app, or uninstalling one if you did install one, is all it takes to not participate.

JUST TO MAKE IT CLEAR: DO NOT FOLLOW ANY INSTRUCTIONS ONLINE THAT WALK YOU THROUGH ROLLING BACK YOUR PHONE AND OPTING OUT OF SECURITY UPDATES. 

That is only going to put your data and your privacy at risk. In other words, it’s shortsighted.

That said, the choice to opt in or out of the COVID-19 Exposure Notification system is yours to make, but Google and Apple seem to have built a system that is secure, without violating anyone’s privacy. If you have any concerns about the security of your data, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Net It On.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Is the Cloud More than Your Business Needs?

 Five months into the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have resolved to shift their operations and replace a lot of their onsite computing hardware with cloud solutions. While the cloud has proven to be a great method for businesses to obtain the resources they need without investing in the associated costs of a hardware refresh, its other costs could prove problematic. Let’s examine your options briefly and try to establish a sense of value.


Cloud Computing’s Benefits

In many ways, cloud computing seems like a bit of a no-brainer. As a secure and reliable platform, businesses can accomplish more without the concerns of security failures that once held them back. As a result, the cloud can provide the accessibility, mobility, and scalability today’s businesses need in a way that is very cost-effective. Since the provider maintains the cloud infrastructure, the business that subscribes to their services only needs to pay a manageable monthly fee.

Through this arrangement, businesses can access exactly the infrastructure that they will need—software and hardware maintenance included—available on a sliding scale. Any changes, increasing or decreasing resources, are as simple to make as can be. This simplicity is part of the reason that so many business processes are now entrusted to cloud services, from backup and communications to security and storage.

The Potential Downside to the Cloud

For all its benefits, there is one factor that makes the cloud a less appealing option: its costs.

Now, this can be hard for some people to believe. After all, an on-premise infrastructure requires you to purchase the expensive hardware and software needed to support it, deploy these resources where they are called for, and manage it. How can cloud computing be more expensive than that?

Simple: building an IT infrastructure has certain costs associated with it that need to be addressed.

That’s just it—the majority of cloud platforms aren’t delivered at a flat rate. While a service like Software as a Service can come at a relatively low monthly rate, once you begin the customization processes upon your cloud you’ll likely see your costs expand beyond what your own infrastructure would have cost.

The cloud can be either cost-effective or expensive. To help you avoid your budget being undermined by the added values of cloud computing, reach out to the IT professionals at Net It On. We’ll assess your situation and assist you in implementing the best solution for your needs. Give us a call at (732) 360-2999 to learn more.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

How to Properly Manage Mobile Devices Connected to Your Business

 As remote work has become more common, so have tools that assist mobility and Bring Your Own Device strategies. Considering this, businesses need the means to keep control of their data and the technology that can access it. To do so, Mobile Device Management cannot be oversold as a benefit.


Let’s go through a few key best practices for utilizing MDM in your operations.

Defining Mobile Device Management

MDM is effectively the strategic application of solutions and software that establish and enforce policies that control how your business’ data can be accessed and used. In doing so, you give your IT resources the means to improve data security, enabling your business to make the most of a Bring Your Own Device implementation.

As with any solution, of course, it pays off to select your solution carefully. Here are a few considerations to make as you put MDM in place:

You Establish a Realistic Policy

If you’ve decided to enable your employees the ability to use their personal device, it is important that you consider the fact that there’s going to be some who prefer Android, and some who prefer iOS. Your MDM solution will therefore need to support both. Furthermore, you should ensure that your solution is compatible with both the devices you own and those that belong to your employees, with a policy that reflects the difference.

Devices Can Be Tracked and Managed

Unfortunately, there’s always the chance that one of your employees may have to be terminated. An MDM solution can help you to prevent any retribution. Let’s say that this employee was a part of your BYOD implementation. A good MDM solution will inform you if his device still has access to company accounts and revoke that access remotely.

These capabilities also make it a lot easier to troubleshoot and resolve any latent issues in your employees’ technology.

Enforceable Security

While security is clearly important to your business, your employees may not grasp the true extent of their responsibility in upholding it. The inherent optimism bias so many have simply won’t allow them to believe that they need to worry about security. Rather than trying to convince them otherwise, an MDM solution enables you to enforce the standards you want upheld, like password requirements, encryption and security benchmarks, remote wiping capabilities, and others.

Comprehensive Backup

Assuming you’ve properly backed up your business’ data, I have a question to ask you: does that include the data stored on your employees’ devices? An employee’s device is just as susceptible to damage and consequent data loss. In keeping with best practices, you need to ensure that any company data on their device is automatically saved to your cloud. That way, even if the device is damaged or lost, your data continuity won’t be.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

How Will Businesses Adjust their Technology Use After COVID-19?

 The impact of COVID-19 to businesses has been such that we will not likely return to the way business was run before all of this happened. A major factor to this is how businesses once made use of their technology. The shifts that have occurred in the last few months will not likely go away, even after the pandemic ends.


Let’s take account of a few technologies that will likely see significant changes—even in the days after the pandemic.

Hardware

As fears of transmitting germs are growing in people’s minds—seriously, when was the last time it was scarier to see someone without a mask—many of your employees might be reluctant to use the equipment that spends all its time in the shared office environment. Heck, many people may not be too enthusiastic to return to the office at first, regardless, and may want the option to work remotely more often. Even your most mysophobic employee isn’t going to want to haul a desktop back and forth from the office.

This challenge will probably give an additional boost to Bring Your Own Device policies, as employees will not only have a familiar device to use… they’ll also know where it has been. Otherwise, mobile devices and laptops will likely become more often seen in the office, as their inherent mobility makes remote work easier.

Infrastructure

On a similar note, on-premise hardware solutions will likely be increasingly phased out by cloud-based options. The ease of use goes both ways in the business sense: it is easier for a team to access the resources they need, and the technology becomes easier to manage. After all, in-house hardware would require someone to enter the business to fix an issue. With a cloud-based infrastructure, the provider is responsible for maintaining and managing it. Cloud-based solutions are also inherently scalable, so adjusting your resources is far simpler to accomplish.

Collaboration

While collaboration at a distance may still sound strange to many, there are plenty of technology solutions available that allow you to accomplish just that. By combining the right software and the right hardware, or by enlisting a service for assistance, you can enable your team to virtually assemble. As a result, your business can accomplish more without adding to the health risks.

Regardless of what happens next, business operations are bound to change. Don’t get left behind because you didn’t make the changes quickly enough. Net It On is here to support you and your IT throughout these transitions and beyond.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Keeping Thorough Records Can Help Your Business

 If your business uses as much technology as the average business, you will need to ensure that it is properly documented. Today, we’ll go through what a managed service provider includes in their documentation practices.


What Does This Documentation Include?

All there is to know about every piece of technology you rely upon can easily be divided between your hardware and software documentation practices. 

Hardware

Here is some of the information you will definitely want to keep records of:

Serial/Model Numbers - Simple identification of the technology that needs support, as well as the kind of device it is for your support team’s benefit.

Purchase Dates - Knowing when a piece of hardware was acquired can help you to make decisions when looking to repair or replace the hardware.

Warranty Information - Knowing whether a piece of equipment is still under warranty can also help your decision-making processes. 

Installation Dates - Knowing when a piece of technology was installed can help with the troubleshooting process if it were to need support.

Physical Locations - Knowing where a device is located not only helps your support team to service it more easily, it enables you to keep better track of where your assets are.

Device Names - Naming the device helps to differentiate it from the others just like it.

IP Addresses - Knowing your IP addresses simplifies the process of locating it on your network.

Software

Your software is mightily important and should be documented properly. Here are some of the elements you’ll want to record:

Product Licenses - Tracking your product licenses gives you the individual identification number of the copy (or copies) of the software you are able to use.

Purchase Dates - Like the hardware, it helps you ascertain if your solution is under warranty and other important variables.

Install Dates - Knowing when a software solution was installed can provide a variety of important information, particularly involving any weaknesses in its programming.

Subscription Details - This information is vital to know if you want to keep these tools available to your users.

Usernames or Registration Emails -  You will want to know who can access each software title with their username. Often, getting support or logging in to the vendor’s website will require this.

Version History - Finally, keeping track of the current version of each of your software will allow you to know if an update is called for, or if there are any vulnerabilities that you need to be concerned about.

Additionally, you will want to create and maintain documentation on the proper procedures to keep these solutions current and working as intended.

What is the Benefit of All This Documentation?

Having all of this information documented will go a long way toward allowing you to keep track of your technology investments. If you would like help with the documentation process, or if you would like to speak to one of our IT experts about what information we keep, call us today at (732) 360-2999.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Remote Collaboration Depends on Good Conferencing Practices

 Like many other businesses, COVID-19 has foiled the big plans you had for 2020, but it has presented a different set of opportunities.


Many businesses had deliberately avoided providing remote work opportunities for their employees, mostly out of the fear that their teams would become inefficient, less productive, and present management and security challenges. Now, after a few months with little choice but to suddenly embrace it, the major challenges are actually delivering the resources your nelly remote workforce needs to produce results in line with expectations.

One important solution that has emerged during the duration of the pandemic was one that most businesses already had access to but didn’t have to use in the manner they do now is video conferencing. With health concerns surrounding a full-time return to the office, video conferencing gives your remote staff the opportunity to work directly with contemporaries and clients to drive business initiatives forward. In fact, in many cases major projects that couldn’t be delayed any further are now being administered over the Internet. Collaborators have discovered that many of these platforms have responded with feature-rich offerings that include integrations with operations and project management software. 

Project Coordination Without Leaving Your Home

For a while, most small business owner’s only goal was to get the capital they needed to keep business running. It was important that the core revenue streams were maintained, and with workers finding themselves working remotely for the first time, it was essential that they were able to stay involved in a manner that would allow them to produce. Much of the time, this means collaboration. Let’s look at some strategies businesses are using to maintain their collaboration using video conferencing. 

Collaboration Strategies

Most businesses rely on a coordinated effort. Some rely on side-by-side cooperation. This typically means meetings. Workers are now utilizing video conferencing to eliminate a lot of wasted times that in-person meetings create. This is all well and good as long as the video meetings are used productively. Here are three suggestions to make this a reality.

  1. Don’t be brief just to save time - Video meetings, like meetings in a conference room, aren’t very interesting to people if they aren’t included. As a result, most people will try to duck out of meetings early. You’ll want to keep your meetings short, but don’t just fly through an agenda just to be brief. A big part of coordinating a team effort is making sure everyone knows their roles and how it fits into the whole. 
  2. Don’t send too many messages - Remote workers--especially ones that work as a part of a team--get a lot of messages. Getting redundant messages on multiple different mediums can be downright frustrating. Try to keep your messages targeted and in one medium. 
  3. Don’t just use the video conference for work - When people work side-by-side in an office and collaborate on projects, being in different places can alienate people. Have optional team-building exercises over video conferencing. It will also give them the idea that it’s a valuable tool, not just an interruption.

Keeping your business on solid footing is going to take both an acceptance that you will have to rely on new tools and strategies and having the right technology in place. Call Net It On today at (732) 360-2999 to talk to one of our expert consultants about getting the tools your remote team needs to stay productive and secure.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Solid Inventory Management Starts for Under $100

 While stocking up ahead of time may be a sound strategy for things like breakfast cereal and toilet paper, the same cannot often be said in your business. In fact, excess inventory can sometimes cost your business a lot of money. That’s why we figured that we would discuss how an inventory strategy can help prevent redundant spending in your business.


Keeping Track of Your Hardware

To begin, let’s go over a surprisingly old-fashioned solution to this age-old problem: taking inventory.

You want to have a running tally of all of your hardware resources, from your servers and their components to the extra computer mouses (technically the plural for the component) you have saved in a box. The best way to do this? Invest in a label maker. Today, you can get label makers available for less than $100 that can print out barcodes or QR codes. Tagging all of your hardware with these labels makes it a lot easier to pull up the information on each piece when you need it.

Managing Your Inventory

Once you have a handle on what you have, you need a platform that will help you to manage it going forward. An inventory management system (or IMS) is a tool that allows you to track your items as they move about your business. This transparency can help eliminate some of the redundancy while making your overall management much easier.

This software can also allow you to embrace automation. Items can be reordered automatically when supplies are low, your team can be alerted when items need to be restocked, and other basic processes are made much easier. Try to find a platform that supports the following:

  • Barcode scanner - An obvious addition that allows quick information on any tagged item. 
  • Optimization - Make sure that you have the right amount of a product. Overstocking and under-stocking can be problematic for numerous reasons.
  • Report generation - Being able to view sales history, manage current inventory, manage sales levels, and more. 
  • POS integration - One beneficial strategy is to integrate your point-of-sale system and your IMS. 
  • Purchase order management - Get an IMS that gives you a single view of purchasing records. 

Some of these solutions have even more features, intended to automate warehouse management, and give you product demand insights. Most businesses won’t need these features to simply manage their own operations, so keep this in mind as you review your options.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Point-Of-Sale Systems Do More Than You Think

 We’ve come a long way since 1879 and the invention of the cash register. Today, point-of-sale (POS) solutions offer massive benefits to businesses who take advantage of their capabilities. Let’s go over how these capabilities can help the modern business and its owner.

Defining the Point-of-Sale System

As the system that’s in place at the point where a sale takes place, a point-of-sale system has a pretty accurate name. The basic concept behind these devices is to minimize human error in as many ways possible, as productivity is simultaneously maximized at the final transaction.

This once meant that a POS system was effectively a cash drawer with a calculator tacked on, but today, there are many more features available to a business. For instance:


Big Data Metrics and Insights

“How many of this tchotchke have we sold this year? When did we sell most of them?” Modern POS systems can provide a business with precisely that kind of data, assisting them by delivering insights and simple reports for them. These reports can help business owners identify trends, which can help them boost sales and benefit their other metrics as well. The inclusion of customer relationship management into the modern point-of-sale system has given even more benefits to business owners.

Consolidation

With online retail came more business opportunities, but also more data to process. Unlike the POS systems that were around when online retail first became viable, modern systems can integrate the data sets produced by online and in-house transactions. This gives business owners a more streamlined means of properly managing their inventory.

Mobile Functionality

In no small part due to the health and hygiene benefits that come with them, cashless and contactless payment options have also seen an exponential growth in popularity. Recent predictions see a 2025 with 75 percent of all transactions as cashless, so it is important that these solutions are put in place sooner than later.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

How We Streamline IT Support for You

 As people have increasingly shifted to working remotely, the importance of accessible support for their devices has risen substantially. This has led many businesses to use managed IT service providers, or MSPs, like us to provide this kind of support. To do so, we’ve invested in a series of tools collectively called remote monitoring and management software (RMM). Let’s share some of the reasons that you want an IT support provider that uses RMM to their advantage.

Let’s consider how your employees may experience an issue while working remotely.

They’re at home, trying to accomplish everything that they need to accomplish. Their schedules are full, and deadlines are looming. Obviously, it would not be good if your team’s technology encountered an issue, so it is naturally going to happen. Someone on your team is bound to have some problem with their tools, where nothing they try makes anything better.

Here’s the challenge: as your employees are floundering, they are also distanced away from whatever in-office support they would normally have.


Working with a managed service provider means that your provider has remote capabilities as well, and that they can use these capabilities to solve your team’s IT challenges. This is generally accomplished proactively with an MSP’s services, and as a result, you and your team will experience fewer interruptions overall and accomplish more as a result.

To achieve this, we use the RMM tool as we mentioned above. Using it, we’ll keep track of the solutions your workforce uses and ensure that your team is able to work.

Of course, this isn’t the only thing that an MSP can do for you. With their remote monitoring and management software, they can offer much more for your operations, including:

  • If given the opportunity, RMM solutions are low-profile enough to be installed and configured in the background of a device ahead of time. In doing so, you guarantee that your employees and clients are protected, as you can remotely push critical patches and other updates and install them to their devices as well as provide support firsthand.
  • On the topic, RMM software can also be used to help manage and support your clients and employees by providing them with the solutions that they will need. Whether it’s a VoIP application for your telephony needs, basic productivity solutions, or other essential business resources, you can ensure that your team is equipped with what they’ll need.

Here at Net It On, our team is ready and able to fulfill your needs. Regardless of where your employees are as they work, we can use our tools to help support them. To learn more about the various IT solutions we have to offer, give us a call at (732) 360-2999.

Dark Star Orchestra Drive-In concert. Philadelphia PA.

Watching my goal keeper son.

A fun day at LBI. September 2020

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Tip of the Week: Advanced Google Searches

 Google—the name that has become synonymous with searching online, it is (if we’re being totally honest) the go-to means of seeking out the information we need. We’ve all used it, but did you know that there are tricks to make your searches more efficient? For this week’s tip, we’ll go over these tricks so that you can use Google Search that much better.

Exact Phrase Search

Let’s say that you were seeking out a resource that contained a very specific line of words. Google gives you the capability to search for that phrase directly. Simply type it into the search bar while enclosing it in quotation marks.

So, if you wanted results that expressly said managed services, you would type in “managed services”. Easy!

Synonym Search

This tool can help when you’re unsure of the exact term that would be best to search for, but you have a general idea. By incorporating a tilde (the little squiggly line) into your search, you instruct Google to also consider synonyms of the word that follows it.

Therefore, if you were to search for ~red paint, you would also get results that involved scarlet paint, vermillion paint, cherry paint, and so on.

Website Search

There may be the time that you know that you’re looking for something on a specific website, but you’re not sure where on the website to find it. Alternatively, you might be seeking out anything related to a certain term on that website. Google gives you the means to do so with Site Search. All you need to do is add the website’s name and a colon in front of your search term.

For instance, amazon.com:red paint will deliver a results page filled with links to Amazon pages selling red paint.

Exclusionary Search

However, what if you want to search for something, but knew that it would likely kick back a bunch of results that you had no interest in? This capability allows you to proactively take results related to specific keywords out of consideration. All you need to do is add a dash in front of the terms that were to be excluded.

For example, if you were looking for a recipe, but had a few people with a peanut allergy, you could find some options by searching for recipes -peanut, or whatever ingredient that needs omission.

Range Search

If what you’re searching for falls between two numbers on a scale, Google offers a simple means of eliminating the rest of the scale from your results. For instance, let’s say you were looking for a copy of the fictional newspaper, The Exemplar Chronicle, that you knew was published between 1943 and 1947. By searching for Exemplar Chronicle 1943.. 1947, you will be presented with any results that match those specific parameters.

Multiple Query Search

Finally, Google also can search for websites containing multiple keywords at once. To do so, all you need to do is separate each query with a vertical bar, and the search engine will look for each.

So, if you wanted to seek out an IT provider that could offer proactive services and other crucial solutions, you could type in managed services | backup | data recovery, and you’d be much more likely to find the local company to serve your needs.

Of course, if comprehensive managed services are your end goal, you’ve already found the best provider available. Net It On can serve every one of your business’ technology needs. Find out more about what we offer by calling us at (732) 360-2999.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Reopening Your Business Comes with Real Challenges

 Business reopening is proving to be relatively difficult as COVID-19 isn’t going away. To ensure the health of your staff, while still reopening your business to create revenue, you will need to carefully weigh all your operational decisions. Today, we have outlined some best practices in which to do so. 

1. Temperature Checks and Face Masks

Many states have mandated that people wear protective face masks when they are in public, while many people in states that haven’t taken that step are using common sense and following along. When reopening your office, you will want to ensure that your people remain safe. That means wearing face masks while you are in the office. This is more necessary if your business has an open office setting. 

It is also likely that temperature checks could become a prerequisite to enter your workspace. Anyone that has a temperature above 100.5ºF would not be allowed to come in. Doing this will help to minimize the risk of someone potentially carrying the virus into your workplace.

2. Distancing and Altering Shifts

Social distancing is one of the most important health mandates, which can be difficult if you have a defined space for all of your employees to work. Some businesses that are eager to get their teams back in the office have started changing some of their scheduling practices. Rather than everyone working from an office each weekday, they are now stretching the workweek out to seven days and changing the schedule. 

The open office will likely need to be put on hold. Cubicles and barriers to keep people six feet apart will be crucial for the health of your team.

3. Adjusted Meetings and Canceled Events

If you are one of the companies that have been conducting your meetings remotely, you probably won’t see much of a shift. You will likely continue using your video conferencing solution to conduct meetings. For all other interactions at the workplace, you will see a crackdown on typically social spots in your office.

It goes without saying that it is irresponsible to hold most of your company’s family-oriented events. In fact, any event that forces people to be in close proximity should be tabled for the foreseeable future. 

If you need help with your reopening plans, Net It On can help you make any technology adjustments that you may require. For more information about the way that we can help you sustain your operations, reach out to us at (732) 360-2999.