I just read an article at Life Hack that offered this statistic, ” According to the recent GEM Global report, almost 100 million businesses are launched annually; which comes to over three businesses every second, or 11,000 new startups per hour. For these small business owners all over the world who compete head-to-head against big guns every day, technology is a vital tool that’s leveling the playing field for these entrepreneurs.”
Here in Vero Beach, there aren’t many places to build a career outside of the Hospitality Industries. People who want a new career, or who see the need for certain types of products or services simply start their own company. Company owners will do their due diligence, build a business plan, find an office, hire employees and all of the rest that goes with a startup. But today, that’s simply not enough. Now you need a system or network of servers, laptops, desktops, tablets, phones, and AR that will help you keep all of those plans in motion.
You need a social media presence, a web presence, and a robust computer network to run it all. It’s important to have the right tools available for you and your employees and make certain that lines of communication are open. Both technically, and in person. Studies show that the better we communicate, the more likely it is employees will be happy, and happy employees can make all of the difference in the success of a company.
It’s also important that your data is protected, that you are providing the most up to date security measures for anyone logging on to your system. Hackers abound and they have nothing better to do than to make your life miserable or cost you money to get your data back. These days they don’t just target big companies, in fact, they like to prey on the vulnerable. If you don’t have a full time IT Support staff or even if you do, it’s always good to have some help from an outside source like Unified Techs.
Managed IT Services, are they for you? Well, it depends. If your company stores customers’ data, if you accept credit cards for payment, if you have more than just a couple of employees, we would say yes.
While most computers look pretty much the same as they have for the past 20 years or so, the internals are changing and getting faster. You can thank the competive nature of the two biggest chip manufacturers for that.
AMD and Intel have been in competition for years. While AMD is known for cheap and realtively reliable chips to power laptops and desktops, Intel has always been the industry leader for the more expensive machines with higher processing power.
Digital Trends magazine recently published a post that goes into great technical detail as to why AMD pulled ahead in the race to see who has the fastest, most efficient line of Servers. The bottom line is it looks like AMD is keeping the pressure on Intel, and despite that, it seems to me that Intel still has the advantage in the higher-end products. Take a look for yourself and see what you think. This is a small excerpt from November 27, 2019, Digital Trends Website:
With cost serving as a major factor in building, upgrading, or purchasing a PC, choosing the right CPU often comes down to finding the one that offers the best bang for your buck.
In the past, AMD CPUs offered lower prices paired with lower performance. That’s not the case with its latest generation of CPUs. While AMD still represents great value for money, it does have several costly options which are even more powerful than the Intel alternative in some cases.
At the very low-end of the scale, AMD and Intel chips cost between $40 and $60 for a couple of cores and energy-efficient clock speeds. At the top of the scale, however, both camps have amazingly capable $500 chips.
For the red team, AMD’s Ryzen 9 3950X is the current king with 16 cores and 32 threads. It pierces that $500 range with a suggested price of $749.
Meanwhile, Intel’s current top gamer chip, the 9900K, comes with eight cores and 16 threads. It’s clocked a little higher with a 5GHz single-core boost versus AMD’s 3950X at 4.7GHz. It is priced at $472. For middle-ground options, our recommended Intel chips include the Core i5-9400F for $145 and the Core i7-9700K for $359.
The laptop market is a different story. Most of what you’ll find are based on Intel processors of various generations and integrated graphics. As a Dell representative pointed out last year, Intel’s portfolio is simply huge compared to AMD: The gap between the two companies is substantial in terms of market share and “use cases.”
AMD is set to have its hardware at the heart of many laptops by the end of 2019, however. It’s already included in a few new offerings, like the new Acer Swift 3 or the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3. Progress on the mobile front will continue into 2020, though there’s a long road ahead.
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
For now, however, the market is mostly dominated by Intel. You can pick from a wide range of configurations, including 8th, 9th, and 10th-gen CPUs. The latest range sports Intel Ice Lake 10th-generation processors with 11th-generation onboard graphics. They represent some of the most capable and efficient laptops available, like the new Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. As an alternative to Ice Lake, Intel also offers 10th-gen Comet Lake processors, which include a special six-core Core i7.
Typically if you’re looking for good, all-round power in a laptop, Intel Core i5 processors from one of the recent generations are a great bet. Core i7 and Core i9 CPUs offer much more general computing performance, but unless you’re performing some heavy workloads, a Core i5 is going to be more than enough in most cases.”
Overall, both companies produce processors within striking distance of one another on nearly every front — price, power, and performance. Intel chips tend to offer better performance per core, but AMD compensates with more cores at a given price and better onboard graphics. Until Ryzen 4000 mobile chips land in 2020, Intel has a serious lead in this category
Mid-range Ryzen processors are well worth considering too. The Ryzen 3600 and 3600X offer incredible value while being very capable gaming chips. Even at the very low end, AMD’s Ryzen with Vega APUs offer decent gaming performance that’s worth considering. But their weaker processing capabilities mean they aren’t the best value long term unless you plan to upgrade down the line.
Unless you’re trying to play at very high frame rates or are locked to lower resolutions, like 1080p, the CPU is rarely the limiting factor in games. Springing for a more powerful graphics card will usually yield better results than shelling out cash for a more powerful processor.
And don’t forget that syncing technology like FreeSync and G-Sync can also make a big difference in gaming appearance, with or without optimizing your processor.
In some cases, you can opt for the best of both worlds. Intel and AMD recently partnered to create combination chips with Intel CPU cores and AMD GPU cores on the same die with the likes of the Core i7-8809G. In our testing of the 8809G-equipped “Hades Canyon” NUC, we found it to be a solid gaming machine, so it could be that this partnership leads to much greater hardware options in the future.”
What does this mean for business owners? It means that these two chip manufacturers are competing for who can make the fastest, most reliable products and while we as end-users probably don’t give a big whoop about who actually wins, the competition of these two companies and the quality and speed of the processors and servers will ultimately benefit you. The Faster the processing speed, the more data you can move in a shorter period of time. The better access you will have to data which will ultimately improve your business and so on and so forth.
It’s all too easy to fall into a comfortable rut. Repeating a routine that has worked well for us or our company in the past, not wanting to reach too far outside of our comfort zones, and just moving along with the tide. But is that a good way to move your business forward? Some say, “NO”
Forbes magazine published a post on the Five Most Important Skills for managers to develop back in February of this year. Not one of those skills on the list was the ability to stay the same year after year. Instead, what the writer valued as the skills a good manager should have were:
The ability to learn
Value your staff
The Willingness to empower”
You can read the entire piece at this link Forbes . For purposes of this post, however, I would like to talk about the first point in the post, Curiosity.
It seems an odd term to equate with a successful business, but it’s really not. If you aren’t curious about how your competitors and fellow business owners are running their operations, or about new methodologies or technologies which could make your services or products better than they were this year, then you will be falling behind the curve.
Here is what she had to say:” This means becoming more agile and more open to new experiences, as well as being more aware of which technologies could work best for their organizations and more open to implementing those technologies. Being curious allows managers to better listen to their colleagues and workers and to take on board new ideas that could benefit their organization, argues Vanderheyden. It enables managers to consider new solutions to any obstacles that they might encounter, allowing them to react quicker and more effectively.”
At Unified Technology Solutions, we are constantly educating ourselves in order to offer the people we work with the very best solutions for their technology needs. We are curious by nature and we think it’s because of our willingness to look at things and puzzle out how they work that we are so good at what we do.
What are you curious about going into the end of this decade and coming up on a new one? Better yet, what SHOULD you be curious about?
About this time every year, we talk about preparing for the upcoming new year. If your company is growing, if you are considering a move to a new location, if you are adding new data processing tools, then you would be wise to give us a call and let us help you put a plan together.
Time after time we get called in after things have been put in motion, and almost without exception, it would have been less expensive and much more efficient if we had been in on your plans from the beginning.
If we have never worked with your company before, it’s the time for us to come in and study your operation. If you are a current customer, then we have a pretty good idea of how things are currently running, what upgrades would be necessary to add more software and computers.
It’s also a great time to think about ditching your old phone system. At UTS, we can help you pick the best solutions for the phone traffic at your firm.
Some companies may need to use more of the features of their new VoIP system than others will. Still, there are also current customers who have a VoIP system installed and they aren’t taking full advantage of some of the great tools which come along with the newer VoIP Systems.
It’s also important to make sure you have the latest version of Antivirus software running on your system. We can run checks on your computers and clean up any junk, or malware that might be hiding on your system.
We can perform “Housekeeping tasks” to keep your systems uncluttered and running smoothly. In other words, clearing off old documents and moving them to an archival device. Cleaning out old usernames and passwords.
Be prepared for a fast start on the first few business days of 2020. Give us a call.
Yes, it is convenient to have the ability to access WiFi in public places. But is it smart? The answer is no.
It is not even a good idea to plug your smartphone or tablet into public charging stations.
Why? Because people who steal data, personal information and plant software on your very personal devices will have access to your information. Not only that. If you are a lover of smart devices, they can have access to every device in your home that is currently set up to respond to commands from your smartphone, computer or tablet.
Almost every smartphone has the ability to become a mobile hot spot, so if you really need to use WiFi outside your home, then please, call up your hotspot and log into your own WiFi network.
It is also very important you check your settings on your smart devices and make certain to disable the option to automatically connect to any available WiFi network.
Many of us will be travelling to visit friends and family in the coming months. Yes, it’s nice to be able to spend our time watching a movie, reading a book or listening to music. But a better way to do that is to prepare ahead of time and download your books, music, and movies onto your tablet before you go. And perhaps, if you have the option, kick up your data plan for the months you plan to travel. It’s also a good idea to bring your own portable charging device.
Please, in addition to not using public WiFi, install a robust antivirus program on your phones and tablets. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Stolen data can affect your life for years. Your credit can be ruined, private communications could be shared and even your home can be compromised. This is serious, don’t take it lightly.
If you think we are being alarmists, take a look at this excerpt from a post on TripWire.com:
“……WIFI HACKS FLY UNDER THE RADAR
While theft of data from unsuspecting consumers using public WiFi spots is presumed to be fairly pervasive, it doesn’t get the attention that major hacks of corporate or financial systems do. These thefts happen in dribbles – with bad guys stealing bits of information from many users and accounts – rather than a tsunami.
One contributing factor is that WiFi is so pervasive. A 2015 report by WiFi network provider iPass estimated that there were more than 50 million public hotspots worldwide – one for every 150 people, a number which is expected to grow to 340 million by 2018, or one for every 20 people on earth.
What is involved in creating and designing a computer network for your business? Well, you would be surprised to know there can be quite a bit of strategy and number crunching which goes into designing then building a strong, robust computer network for your business.
What if you could have one employee who’s dedicated to receiving calls and answering tech support questions from the rest of your staff? Essentially, someone having this role would be like a help desk for your business.
Virtual help desks are staffed by people who are truly experts in all things tech. This not only benefits your customers and clients (as things are resolved faster), but it benefits your employees, too. Instead of focusing on problems that are not in their area of expertise, they can focus on the tasks in which they excel (and for which they were hired).
But having an on-site staff of experts in every application you use, at every location, around the clock isn’t practical for most companies. Instead, an off-site, virtual help desk can provide access to expertise in your full suite of applications and technologies wherever your employees are, whenever they need assistance. Here are several benefits from having a virtual help desk as part of your team:
24×7 remote support
No one, it appears, at any company are just working 9-5 at the office any more. With tablets, smart phones and skype they now work from practically everywhere now trying to meet deadlines. So if your customers run into an issue your virtual help desks nver shut down, so you’ll always be able to get an answer and get your work done.
Your team has more time for important work
Getting a phone call when users are having problems distracts your own technology team from working on new technical strategies that will help your business. When those calls go to a virtual help desk, you team stays focused on creating business value rather than addressing routine questions.
Problems get resolved quicker
The team staffing a virtual help desk is comprised of experts in the technology. Armed with a knowledge base of solutions, they’re quickly able to resolve straightforward problems. Tougher problems are easily escalated for higher levels of service.
Better tracking of issues
Virtual help desks track data that lets you see what kinds of issues your team is repeatedly facing, so you can take steps to address the root cause.
At UTS, we have been in the tech support business for a long time. It is our chosen profession to help those companies in our area who have IT issues. It’s a profession we love. But there is nothing that makes us groan more than when a client calls up and says, “you have got to recover our data, and we haven’t been performing regular backups”. There is nothing more terrifying as a business owner than to lose access your computers and find your most important files are missing. Your data is essential to the smooth operation of any business.
Backing up your data has always been important, and Cloud backup is rapidly becoming the go-to method of backing up data. It is significantly more efficient than other options. Here in Florida especially. When your data could not only be lost, but your entire information systems structure could be damaged.
Why you should backup
The main purpose of backing up your data is, of course, the ability to roll back and access your archives in the event of local hardware failure. To do business today, you need the confidence of knowing that in the case of catastrophe, your data will be protected and available.
By backing up your information in the cloud, you have the perfect destination for your archives, as your files will be at once everywhere; no longer dependent on any single computer or server. Virtual server environments are in reality vast networks of server centers located around the globe, so that even if an entire facility fails, another failsafe is in place.
Data loss is also a significant hit to your bottom line. Without your data, invoices can’t go out to customers, shipments may be delayed, creative projects could miss their deadlines and the ability to serve your customers will be severely impacted.
Advantages of cloud backup
Ask anyone who lives in Florida, Louisiana or the Carolinas. Each year we hope and pray that hurricane season will be mild. Or at least that any big storms will pass us by. But there is no way to be certain of exactly when a hurricane or tropical storm will hit. This is not why we can’t stress enough having methods in place. It’s important to keep a copy of files offsite. Even if business files are backed up on a file server, a hurricane, flood, fire or theft could destroy the computers… and your regular backups. Keeping backed up files in the cloud ensures data is safe no matter what is going on at your office.
Cloud Backup can also be accessed from pretty much anywhere. So, if the power is out and you can’t work in your regular location, it’s possible to take your laptop and set up shop somewhere a few hours away where you have access to power, internet and your data.
So, don’t wait any longer, get yourself set up in the clouds.
We hear a lot of you are complaining about managing your inbox, so we wanted to share some very simple strategies to help you manage the onslaught in your inbox. Whether you get 5 or 1000 emails a day, they add up and they add up fast. What’s more, is that email management seems to take on a life of its own. We spend hours every day “checking email”. It’s a huge time sucking hole from which there is no escape at times. What happens with email is that everyone else’s demands, requests and even simple “hello’s” become equally important and take precedence over the things that you really want or need to do.
So how can you manage it? Here are 5 strategies for you to try. By the way, these are the same strategies that I use and that I recommend to my clients.
I realize that I am taking a risk by giving you this strategy because I’d rather you don’t unsubscribe from our emails, however, if you are looking at an inbox full of newsletters and other “self help” information that you have subscribed to over the years but never read, pick your favorite few and unsubscribe from the rest. Keeping hundreds of self help emails in your inbox is not going to make you read them or follow the advice. By keeping them the only thing that you are helping yourself to do is get further overwhelmed.
Unclick the box. Almost all online vendors pre-fill a little checkbox which gives them permission to send you emails and offers. Unclick the box! I realize that this may mean that you won’t get information about the upcoming 10% off sale but let’s face it; if you needed something and went online to find it you’re likely to find the 10% off sale anyway. Oh, if for some reason the box isn’t filled in already…do not click on it!
You might be able to guess this one but just in case…as you get offers from vendors that you’ve done business with already, unsubscribe from their list. You already know that vendor and when you need something from them you will go online to find it.
Keep separate email accounts. One account that you will stay current with for friends, family, work and those topics which are most important to you and another for bulk mail, online shopping needs, and those sign up sheets that you end up filling out.
Use the delete key. You do not need to act on or respond to every single email you receive. Choose to respond to the ones that are most important to you and let go of the rest. You can even delete those “older ones” that you haven’t gotten around to answering yet because the sender probably doesn’t remember they sent it or else they just assume that it’s been lost in your inbox. If it’s that important they will contact you again.
If you want to receive less email, send less email. As ridiculously simple as it sounds for such a pervasive problem, I’ve found this to be the golden rule of email management: Send less of it. I stopped sending emails and instead use Skype for fast questions.
Email not only clutters up your inbox, depending upon the way your system is set up, but it can also be affecting the performance of the entire company. Or it can be eating up cloud storage unnecessarily. So, just like with your closet, perhaps the Mari method of inbox cleaning will work. Keep only those emails which spark joy, or cover yourself, you choose.
What strategies are you using to improve your productivity? Let us know in the comments.