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IT User Training

Don’t Think IT Solutions Are Complete without User Training. A frequently underappreciated contributor to a well-run IT operation is the ability to communicate with and train end users effectively. Its absence too often leads to a disconnect between the way the computer guys intended a system to be used and the way that people actually use it. Several factors are widely accepted as critical to the success of IT projects and to the overall effectiveness of an IT organization. They include ensuring that IT is aligned with well-defined and understood business objectives, that executive management supports the IT department’s efforts, […]

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Cyber Insurance

Do you need it and, if so, what kind? I am not a cyber insurance expert, nor am I qualified to give legal advice, but as someone who thinks a lot about IT vulnerabilities and threats, I believe that every business should evaluate the cost-benefit of cyber insurance to help protect from cyber risk. Such an evaluation starts with a careful consideration of the business’ true exposure to the negative impact of cyber incidents. The next step is to review your current insurance policy to understand any deficiencies in coverage. If unacceptable gaps become apparent, you can likely find a […]

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Know Your IT Strategy Priorities

The key to aligning IT with your business Given the variety of approaches and number of choices available in IT for small businesses, a certain amount of strategic planning ensures that your business applies technology as well as it should. To be reasonably effective and applicable, strategic planning needs context, which means you should have a very good sense of your overall priorities before you can begin to think about how IT should fit in. We have defined a set of nine IT-related priorities to help understand how our clients approach technology. We ask our clients to force rank the […]

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Online Meetings

They’re more useful than you may realize. Online meetings through solutions like Webex and GoToMeeting have been around for nearly 20 years, and not a whole lot has changed over that time. Today, as before, they allow people to collaborate in real time over the internet via audio or video conferencing and screen or document sharing. But despite their relative longevity, stability and usefulness, I find that online meetings are still extremely underutilized. Not that I don’t understand the importance of in person meetings — interpersonal relationships are surely the key to many business deals; rather I have come to […]

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Data Analytics: Not Just Numbers

Data analytics is becoming not just more prevalent, but more useful for business. As someone with a mathematical, financial and technological background, I am a strong proponent of the benefit of analyzing and using data to make better decisions. Not surprisingly, then, I am happy to see a number of trends and emerging technologies that promise to help in that effort. The first is that data sources are becoming more open and easier to connect to. This trend exists in virtually all modern applications. One example of interest to those of us who live or work in New Orleans is […]

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Cybersecurity

Like much of IT, cybersecurity is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. The comprehensive approach that large enterprises should employ to identify and address risks and detect and respond to attacks is often out of reach for small businesses. Yet as the frequency and impact of cyberattacks on businesses of all sizes continues to grow, the typical small-business approach of taking the usual precautions and hoping for the best is proving to be inadequate. Many small-business owners are willing to do more to improve their cybersecurity but don’t know what else to do.  The number of options — whether products or services […]

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Not Just Core Networks: The New Role of IT Services

Demands have changed in this cloud-based world. As the cloud and other developments continue to change the ways small businesses deploy and use technology, IT departments must adapt. Long gone are the days when most IT environments looked the same — a few Windows servers in a closet and a Windows PC on every desk — when all the IT department had to worry about managing core networks. Now we see a variety of different approaches and an overwhelming number of available applications. As a firm believer in technology’s ability to make a meaningful difference in a typical small business’s […]

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Disaster Recovery Plan

Now’s the time to review your DR plan. Much has changed with disaster recovery in the 10-plus years since we got a firsthand lesson from Hurricane Katrina. Server virtualization now makes recovery of many systems much easier and faster than it was, and the rise of the cloud puts more options at our disposal than we could have previously imagined. Hurricane season is officially here, making it a good time to review the current state of disaster recovery solutions. What is Disaster Recovery? First, a bit of terminology; This article is about disaster recovery, which for our purposes deals with […]

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The Mobile Device Security Risk

What’s your business’ policy for dealing with mobile device security? The immense popularity of mobile devices is inescapable, yet most small businesses have given little real thought to how best to manage them. Until recently, I shared the opinion that there often isn’t much to worry about. The amount of corporate data on mobile devices was limited (most of it to email) and we can usually remotely erase a lost device, thereby dealing with the most obvious threat. But as the usage of mobile devices has grown, so have the amount and types of sensitive information that they contain. Cloud-file […]

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Think Before You Click

Cybersecurity awareness is key for business. From a cybersecurity standpoint, the one behavior that leads to more headaches than any other for small or midsize businesses is people clicking (or otherwise acting) on things in emails that they shouldn’t. The IT team can help: Certainly scanning email for malware or signs of phishing is a must. Other techniques that detect and take action on the presence of malware on a computer or network have also proved effective, but there is only so much that anyone can do technically to mitigate the potential impact of email attacks. Cybersecurity Threats are more […]

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