Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Strong Backup Practices is as Easy as Counting to Three

 Individuals are increasingly understanding the value of their data, and that is a good thing. Unfortunately, a lot of small and medium-sized businesses are operating today without any type of data backup protecting their business’ data, and that, of course, is bad. It is important that if you don’t have a dedicated data backup and recovery strategy in place, that you work to fix that immediately. Today we’ll tell you why. 

Keeping Redundant

Typically, you don’t want to be redundant. But when it comes to your business’ data, you absolutely do. The reason is that there are numerous (countless even) ways where your business, if it loses its data (or even control of it) would be in great peril. Redundancy means that you have your systems backed up and ready to restore should something terrible happen.

The 3-2-1 Rule Spells R-e-d-u-n-d-a-n-c-y

One of the best ways that you can ensure that your business has built a proper level of redundancy is by subscribing to the 3-2-1 rule. This is a guideline that every business should adhere to. Essentially it means keeping (at least) three copies of your data. Two are stored onsite and one is stored offsite. 

Our clients have their working copy, which is the data they use everyday; then they have an onsite backup, which is stored in a specially-designed Network Attached Storage (NAS) device called a BDR; and finally, they have their offsite storage, which is uploaded to offsite storage in the cloud. The redundancy built effectively ensures that whatever happens to your business, you will have a way to restore your data. The BDR also allows for incremental backups, which means that as you work, the changes are backed up to the BDR periodically (every hour and as often as every 15 minutes). Doing so provides you with a copy of your data that is up to date and ready to restore regardless of the circumstances that require you to restore your data from your backup platforms.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Tip of the Week: How to Identify and Address Workplace Distractions

 Technology might be a great tool to enhance productivity, but we need everyone to understand that it can only do so much for an unproductive user. It’s not uncommon for users to bounce back and forth between tasks, and this can lead to unfortunate bouts of unproductive behavior. Let’s discuss some ways that you can help your team overcome these obstacles.

How Do These Distractions Impact Productivity?

The average worker in the United States gets distracted from their work every 11 minutes or so, and it takes 25 minutes to regain focus on whatever they happen to be working on. As you might expect, more complicated tasks will require more time to refocus due to the greater mental effort required to shift focus back to the more challenging work.

Considering how most workplaces want to squeeze out all of the productivity they can, this turnaround rate is far from ideal. Therefore, minimizing distractions is an important part of making the most of all resources available, including your employees. In order to make this happen, it’s critical that you acknowledge how big a problem distractions can be. There are two different types of distractions: external and internal.

The Difference Between Internal and External Distractions

One might argue that distractions are bad no matter what they are, but there are benefits to understanding the difference between internal and external distractions, as well as their impact on productivity.

External distractions are all over the place in the business world. These kinds of distractions come from emails, phone calls, instant messages, and sudden meetings, all of which come from a place external from the user. These external distractions are compounded by internal distractions, those that come from within the user themself. These come in the form of various mental blocks that keep the user from focusing on the task at hand, such as the inability to prioritize tasks or weigh options accordingly. You can compare it to looking at a restaurant menu. If there are too many choices, making a decision can be difficult. Smaller menus, on the other hand, encourage quick decisions.

Many workplaces set the schedules of their employees, so this naturally isn’t a perfect comparison. We think it is a fair assessment that these internal distractions stem from an inability to prioritize tasks assigned to team members. This isn’t always their fault, though; if everything is identified as an important or high priority, who can blame them for not knowing which task is the higher priority? This all creates a situation where employees do not know how to identify the most important tasks, leading them to make decisions that are not as efficient or are done out of order.

Other internal distractions manifest themselves in the form of wandering thoughts or trying to plan for the future without adequately focusing on the present. All in all, internal and external distractions make true productivity a rarity in even the most dedicated employee. Still, despite these challenges, it’s possible to help your employees overcome their distractions, and it all starts with sharing some best practices with them.

How to Minimize Distractions

Eliminate Options

Let’s revisit the menu scenario we brought up earlier. Too many options make it difficult to focus on the task at hand, so if you can eliminate options that lead to more work or an inability to focus, you can improve productivity. For example, spending a few minutes clearing your area of distractions or thinking about the most important tasks can save quite a bit of time down the line. It’s a classic case of saving a lot by spending a little upfront.

Set Limits

Just like how having a clear goal in mind can help you work toward it, so too can having a set endpoint for a specific task at hand. Give yourself a set amount of time to work on something, then transition to the next task. Even if the task is not completed within that time frame, keeping your mind fresh and focused by switching things up can be beneficial. On the other side of things, you might actually get even more done than you anticipate.

Control Your Environment

If you can control your environment, you can control your ability to focus on your work. If there is a lot of noise, for example, you can try to use a pair of headphones to drown out the noise. If there is something distracting going on in your office, you might try to work from a different room with a laptop. If the room smells, it can be quite the distraction, so do your best to avoid situations like these that make focusing on tasks difficult.

If you can successfully identify these distractions, you can more effectively avoid them in the workplace, leading to more productivity overall.

What are some of the worst distractions you have found in the workplace, and what have you done about them? Subscribe to our blog for more great ways to overcome common workplace obstacles using the power of technology.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Tip of the Week: Activating Clicklock on a Laptop

 Laptops are pretty great. They’re powerful, yet portable computers that can be brought effectively anywhere work needs to be done. That being said, there are a few drawbacks that can irritate many users to some extent. For instance: trying to click-and-drag your cursor as you are using the trackpad. For this week’s tip, let’s go into a feature that you can use to make this process a lot simpler.

Fair warning, this will require you to play around in your Settings, so make sure you refer to your IT provider for confirmation that these changes are okay to make before pulling the trigger.

ClickLock Can Make Your Trackpad Cooperate

ClickLock is a feature that, instead of requiring the “drag” component of click-and-drag, allows you to start and stop your drag option on your laptop by simply holding your click a little longer.

Using it breaks down like this:

  • Hover your cursor over the window or item you are trying to move and press and hold the (left) touchpad button for a few seconds. This activates ClickLock.
  • Once ClickLock is active, simply release the mouse button and move the cursor freely to where you want your window or item to go.
  • Once it is positioned, press the (left) touchpad once again to confirm your drag selection.

This makes it significantly simpler to use click-and-drag on a trackpad… but first, you need to activate it.

Activating ClickLock

To use ClickLock, you need to first fiddle in your Control Panel:

  • In the Control Panel, navigate to Hardware and Sound.
  • There, find the Devices and Printers section and click the link to the Mouse section.
  • In the Buttons tab, check the box labelled Turn on ClickLock, click Apply, and then Ok.

Hopefully, this will help make using a laptop that much simpler. For more tips and best practices, keep checking back to our blog!

Monday, August 16, 2021

Explore Opportunities with Different Blockchain Varieties

 With Bitcoin picking up steam, the technology that fuels it, the blockchain, is being explored as an opportunity for many businesses out there. Let’s take a look at what some of the benefits and shortcomings of this technology are, as well as how they are commonly used.

The biggest and most immediate benefit of the blockchain—essentially a decentralized ledger—can be seen through the use of Bitcoin, but at the same time, its shortcomings are hard to ignore. For example, the amount of energy it requires to operate can be a major issue, making it inadequate for many businesses and their specific needs. As Bitcoin operates on the public blockchain, it cannot store sensitive information or proprietary data, and for businesses that need it to do so, this is simply a deal breaker. That said, there are four varieties of blockchain to consider; let’s dive into the public blockchain first, then explore the other types.

Public Blockchain

The public blockchain is the most open form of blockchain. Anyone can participate in transactions and maintain their own copy of the ledger. All you need is a connection to the Internet. As the first form of blockchain created, it is the most common one that cryptocurrencies use. Other possible opportunities for the public blockchain include voting and fundraising, and it’s only possible because of how open the system is.

While openness is one of the public blockchain’s greatest virtues, it comes with a couple of key challenges. The rate at which transactions can happen is quite slow, which ties into the second disadvantage of a blockchain network remaining limited in scope.

Private Blockchain

Instead of being accessible by all, a private blockchain is a closed network that is maintained by a single entity. In most cases, it is a business that wants to use the primary benefits of a blockchain—namely trust and security—within its own operations. In this way, the private and public blockchains are quite similar, despite the private blockchain’s more centralized design.

The efficiency of a centralized system makes the entire blockchain run more smoothly, but it comes at the cost of some security. Some of the key uses for a private blockchain (like supply chain management, internal voting, and asset ownership) depend on security, so this is important to consider for any organization looking to take advantage of it.

Hybrid Blockchain

The public and private blockchains can be combined to create a solution that works for businesses that want the best of both. In essence, a hybrid blockchain allows for connecting to public networks without sacrificing privacy. Through the use of customizable rules, organizations can keep data secure.

As is the case with any good solution, there are some drawbacks that must be considered. In the case of the hybrid blockchain, one such drawback is that it lacks transparency compared to the other types of blockchains, and there is no prerogative for an organization to go through with this adoption process. Still, there are some notable uses for a hybrid blockchain—industries like real estate, retail, and other companies that must adhere to specific regulations.

Federated Blockchain

Similar to the hybrid blockchain, a federated blockchain combines the benefits of both the public and private blockchains. Some records remain open, whereas others remain secure and private. This is notable because multiple organizations might find value in the network, allowing it to remain decentralized. This makes the federated blockchain quite customizable and efficient; businesses can fully leverage access controls, even though this blockchain is more vulnerable, less transparent, and less anonymous than the others. Some of the key uses for a private blockchain could be utilized include banking, research, and food tracking.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Choosing the Right Software Is Essential for Today’s Businesses

 Most businesses rely on specific software, and a lot of it. It’s used to manage, protect, and facilitate your business. Today’s software is more flexible than ever before, and while control over your business’ IT systems is always better, the ability for a business to get the tools it needs may take you in a different direction. Let’s take a look at some considerations you should make when you are looking to get software for your business. 

Problems Need Solutions

Your business is unique, and because of this its software profile will be unique as well. Some software titles will simply help you do more with what you have. You will have to identify the problems your business is having and then try to attempt to solve those problems with software that provides solutions. This might seem pretty straightforward, but software, especially management software, is complicated and finding the right solutions takes time.  

Problems that you may be having include: resource redundancy, software overload, departmental coordination issues, and a lack of collaborative support. If you want to run your business efficiently, you need to ensure that the software you use is working for your goals not against them. 

Workflow is a Major Consideration

In order to be effective, management software will need to fit the way you do business. Before you commit to a solution, you should map out your business’ daily activities, how you would like to track them, and all the metrics you would like calculated. This will help you eliminate solutions that aren’t a good fit for your business today. 

Beyond that you will need to consider what options you need out of your software. Do you need to customize it to fit your business or is an out-of-the-box solution going to work fine? What problems does your current software have and how can new software help you solve those problems? Remember, this is a costly endeavor and if you don’t do your due diligence to ensure that you are getting an effective solution to your business’ problems, you may be spending a lot more capital just to get back to where you started.

Identifying Problems

As was mentioned above, your new software needs to solve the major problems you already have. Sure, it might create some new ones, but as long as the software helps your business make gains, it’s working. Unfortunately, identifying the problems is the problem. Putting together a hierarchy of problems will help you get to where you want to go. 

Compliance and Other Qualifications

Obviously, you will need to know what you want out of new software before purchasing it, but you will also need to know what responsibilities your business already has. Does your business operate with certain restrictions due to regulatory requirements? Do you need third-party integrations to make your management software more effective? Are you considering hosting this software in the cloud? How will it affect your sales, marketing, and production teams? How much training will you and your staff need before you/they are proficient with the software? All these are major considerations and need to be addressed before you commit to any new software.

Identifying Costs

Adding software to your business’ roster is typically costly, that much is true. Costs can come from all different directions, but if you find a software that fits, your ROI should be rapid. Some of the costs you will have to consider are:

  • Licensing
  • Hosting (Hardware)
  • Training
  • Maintenance

...and more.

Some businesses will choose to integrate a solution that seems to have all the features they need, but will have problems with training and implementation. For example, if you are looking for a CRM and an enterprise CRM fits your needs, but will cost too much to purchase and maintain, implementing it would be gratuitous, and ultimately a complete nightmare. Make sure you stay within your budget constraints to ensure you can avoid runaway costs that come with implementing and supporting new software. 

Monday, August 9, 2021

Automation Can Spell Panic for Employees, But Also Relief Under the Right Circumstances

 Automation technology has many workers concerned about the future of their jobs. Computers are one of the many technologies that grow exponentially more powerful with every passing year, and these improvements lead to innovations that can save businesses tons of time and capital, but when applied to automation, does this come at the cost of jobs? Let’s see why workers in certain industries might be concerned about automation, as well as whether or not their concerns are warranted.

Defining Automation

Automation is when you use technology to fulfill tasks that would normally be done by humans with the intention of minimizing human input. When it can be carried out successfully, tasks can be performed with higher degrees of predictability, repeatability, and efficiency. This reduces the risk of user error and generally takes any unforeseen issues off the table, freeing up time for use elsewhere. Computing systems themselves have been used in automation for quite some time, but artificial intelligence and machine learning have brought about a whole new level of innovation, so much to the point that some workers wonder if they will be replaced by machines.

Is There a Reason to Worry?

This isn’t as straightforward a question as it might seem. Some are worried when there is no reason to be, whereas others are not concerned enough. Roughly a quarter of today’s workforce worries that automation is coming for their jobs within the next five years. In particular, young people are worried (37 percent), likely because they are generally more aware of how technology influences businesses to work toward automation. The older the worker is, the less likely they feel they can be replaced by automation.

Other contributing factors are age disparity and income difference. 34 percent of workers who make less than $50,000 annually are fearful their jobs will be automated. As wages increase, the number of those concerned decreases exponentially. Most jobs replaced by automation are those of unskilled workers, so this trend is not necessarily unexpected.

 One way to see these differences is by looking at industries that have traditionally lost jobs to automation. Think industries like automotive, business support and logistics, advertising and marketing, and retail. Positions in these industries are more likely to be considered at risk.

Here’s an example: truck drivers are growing increasingly more wary of automation technology, as self-driving trucks are not just a developing technology. They have already made their debut in the industry. All it takes is some legislation and a bit of refinement for them to be here to stay, leading truck drivers to lose their jobs. The most concerning part of this is that these laborers do might not have skills that can be applied elsewhere to land themselves in a position with the same financial stability as previously.

In cases like those outlined above, it is clear that these workers are at very real risk of being replaced by automation. However, automation is not all doom and gloom for all workers. While it does take away certain opportunities, it opens the door for so many others.

How Can Automation Help Workers?

Some workers are threatened by automation, but others are finding that it is a great benefit that makes their jobs easier. Managing a business involves several small tasks that can be repetitive by nature, but the use of automation can make these tasks easier or completely automate them, freeing up time that can be spent on larger or more complicated tasks. When skilled employees are allowed to use the skills they have built up over time, they are going to be happier and enjoy their jobs much more, leading to greater overall satisfaction and productivity.

Automation gives companies the opportunity to save money, work smarter, and utilize all available resources to be as productive as possible. When businesses are able to maximize efficiency, the quality of products and services rendered can increase, leading to greater demand for such products or services, ultimately resulting in a greater demand for more jobs, opportunities, and workers. We hope that you can now see the value in automation for small businesses. What are your thoughts on automation technology? Let us know in the comments.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Accounting Firms are Counting on Their IT

 We’re right in the middle of tax season and accountants are having to manage potential attacks on their data. Since people depend on your organization to keep their most sensitive information secure, having an effective strategy to protect that information is extremely important. As an IT service provider, we have solutions to help accountants handle this issue. Let’s take a look. 

Securing an Individual’s Tax Data

Cybercriminals understand that accountants hold some of the most lucrative data there is, and tax time is an extremely stressful time for them. This stress leads to opportunities for cyberattacks. Of course, accountants aren’t the only profession that can make major mistakes protecting client data, it’s just that the data they are charged with protecting is extraordinarily sensitive. It just so happens that it is the data that hackers and scammers most covet.  

Even if these hackers decide the path of least resistance is to use ransomware as their modus operandi, the ransomware they use to lock down your organization’s network resources and data will put your organization in a really difficult situation, especially as April 15th rapidly approaches. 

Additionally, if your organizations work with larger companies, these businesses may start to think of you as a liability if you have problems securing their data. Losing control over the data your firm is trusted with is a telltale sign that your business is in trouble. This is why prioritizing data security is essential. 

Protecting Your Data

To protect your data, you need a backup and disaster recovery plan. If you are unfortunate enough to deal with a ransomware attack, the only way to skate through that situation is by restoring your data from backup. Not only that, it is a huge part of any continuity plan, regardless of what data you hold or what kind of business you have. 

Net It On offers an array of IT-related services that are tailor-made for professional service companies like accountants. Not only do we offer customizable backup and disaster recovery solutions, we also provide around-the-clock monitoring and support to ensure that your organization’s IT is working properly. Our IT services can provide your organization with increased productivity, stability, collaboration, and communications, all of which can benefit your company's bottom line.

Are You Ready to Be Your Best Business?

Monday, August 2, 2021

Productivity Apps Are Here to Stay

 To stay competitive, businesses need to leverage any tools they can to optimize productivity. This includes what is often marketed as productivity software. Unfortunately, shopping for these tools can often lead you down the same rabbit hole, looking at the same products over and over, trying to determine which one is the best bang for your buck. Here are some pointers for finding the best productivity apps for your organization’s needs.

Productivity in Software

It might not be the most attractive solution in terms of what it can do for your organization, but productivity software is important nonetheless. Regardless of industry or business size, all organizations need certain applications to get anything done during the workday. While you could just go with your gut and take the first one that appears, we urge you to dig deeper and get the appropriate tools for your business’ specific needs.

Most productivity suites come with the basics: a word processor, a spreadsheet program, presentation software, note-taking software, and task management tools. While they might seem similar on the surface, the way that they are deployed or managed by the developer can make all of the difference, especially when determining if it’s a good match for your business.

What to Look For

Your budget and your needs will likely play a major role in which productivity apps you choose to go with. You generally know what you sign up for with any word processor, but more innovative solutions might lead to better overall productivity, which can be quite important for this decision. Here are some variables that you might want to consider.


If your software does not work when it’s needed, it isn’t worth the investment. When considering reliability, you can take a couple of different approaches. Is it secure? Does it have the options you need, and do they work when you need them? Is the program easy to use or easy to train someone to use? Simply put, if the software causes more problems than it solves, it’s simply not the right one for you.


If your workers are remote and on their own devices, you will find that not everyone runs the same operating system, specifications, or other software/hardware solutions. Whatever productivity solution you implement should be able to work across all technology platforms used by your employees. This also applies to mobile devices. For example, if most of your employees use macOS, you will want to purchase software that is compatible with it; failing to do so will make it much harder (or even impossible) for your employees to do their jobs.


With so many employees working either entirely remotely or in a hybrid fashion, it’s important that your apps work on any device through the cloud. This is where Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) comes in. SaaS can help your business set up a cloud server for remote access to your organization’s apps. This helps your employees be productive no matter how or where they choose to work.

Collaboration Features

Employees are always trying to do more with the time they have, and when you have several of them working together on a project, collaboration features are a must. You should be able to work in the same file, share files, and stay up to date on workflows throughout the process. Many productivity suites come with these features built-in, allowing employees to work on files in real-time with minimal complications.