Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Business Travel Tools

When you are traveling for business, it can be difficult to be as productive as you are in the office. The Internet connection at the hotel can be unpredictable, and it can be tough to stay on top of your email when you are in business meetings or traveling from one location to another. Luckily, there are several tech tools that can help enormously while you are away from the office. We have highlighted a few below.

GroupMe: Sometimes while you're on the road you'll want to communicate quickly with certain groups of employees or partners. You can make this a lot easier with the GroupMe app. This app enables you to create groups from lists of employees. After that you can send messages or updates to everyone on these lists with just one text message.

Belkin Mini Surge Protector DUAL USB Charger: This isn't an app, but it is an excellent tool for travelers. With it, you can quickly charge all of your mobile devices. This will be significant; if your tablet or smartphone suddenly goes dead when you're far from your hotel room, you may miss important calls or e-mail messages. The mini surge protector and charger features three AC outlets and two powered USB outlets. This lets you simultaneously charge your laptop, tablet, cell phone, and other tech devices.

Campfire: If you wish to talk, not just send a quick text, to your whole team, you can utilize the Campfire app. It lets you set up a chat room with any amount of people you want. Everyone in the group will be able to see all of the messages people are sending. You can even make conference calls with it!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bring-Your-Own-Device Takes off in the Workplace

Are you able to access your computer network in the office with your personal iPad? What about your personal iPhone or your laptop computer? This movement, known as bring-your-own-device or BYOD, is on the rise in the workplace. It makes sense: When companies encourage employees to bring their personal devices to work, these same businesses don't have to spend as much on desktop computers and other high-tech tools. The move also is practical for workers. Employees may well be more accustomed to their own devices. And if they bring their own laptops and tablets to work, they can more easily transport their files, email messages and important documents back and forth from home to work.

The Risks of BYOD

But the BYOD movement does have risks, risks that ComputerWorld columnist Darragh Delaney highlights in a recent column. Delaney writes that IT security personnel are growing more worried about the hazards of letting employees use their own devices to access workplace networks. The greater the quantity of outside devices connecting into a network, the higher the risk that a network will become a victim of some sort of malware attack. Naturally, not all employees take the proper steps to defend their computing devices.

Company Information at Risk

Another worry that companies face when employees use their personal devices is that those devices leave the office with them. What if there is sensitive information on those devices and they lose them? It could expose the company. One solution to this is that companies could have restrictions around what sorts of company information is kept on personal devices. Employees may also give training around how to keep their devices safe. Whatever the risks, allowing employees to use outside devices on the network increases productivity.

The BYOD Trend

As more and more people have tablets and smartphones, it is likely that more businesses will face this decision. The greatest benefit to allowing employees to use personal devices is the increase in productivity. This is due mainly to the fact that they know their devices and they always have them. If BYOD sounds like it will work for your company, just be sure your workers take appropriate measures with their devices to keep your company’s data protected.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Busting the 3 Biggest Cloud Computing Myths

Does your business avoid using the cloud because you think it’s a temporary fad, too costly, or that it’s not secure? These are common misunderstandings about cloud computing. We explore these further below.

Myth: Cloud Computing Is a Fad

Many people believe that cloud computing is just the latest fad and that its popularity will ultimately plummet. However, there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. For instance, probably the most popular tech services available to consumers today are instances of cloud computing. Gmail, iTunes, Amazon, and eBay are some examples. Then there are online banking sites and discount travel sites. All of these offerings are powered by the cloud, and consumers are flocking to all of them.

Myth: The Cloud Is Risky

Another common feeling about the cloud is that it is risky, that information is more exposed to hackers when saved in the cloud. There has been some occasions where high-profile companies have lost data, one example being the recent hit on Amazon Web Services. These occurrences tend to stick with us, but you don’t have to store all of your most vital data on the public cloud, you can store it on a private cloud, like the one offered by a Managed Services Provider. Furthermore, if your information is stored on your hard drive and in a private cloud and your hard drive suddenly burns out, you can still access to your information. Think of it as a safety net.

Myth: Cloud Computing Is Costly

It's true that businesses will need to pay more upfront costs when keeping their data in the cloud, but in the long term, cloud computing will in fact save businesses money. The greatest savings come in labor costs. Businesses that store their data in the cloud reduce their IT costs.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Break Those Annoying Smartphone Habits

In general, smartphones have made our lives less complicated. They can help us navigate to a restaurant and they keep us connected to our social media accounts and mail. If they are so helpful, how come so many people get agitated with smartphone users? Probably because there are some frustrating habits they develop. If you are guilty of any of the habits shown below, you may be accidentally annoying those around you.

Texting and driving

The most troublesome smartphone habit isn't just annoying: It can also be deadly. Far too many people text and drive at the same time, even though doing so is unlawful in most states. If you're guilty of this sin, look at this fact: Texting and driving often brings about fatal accidents. You may not only hurt yourself; you might kill somebody else. So, if you can't resist your cell phone while driving, do the smart thing and shut it off. Then you won't be inclined to make a potentially deadly mistake.

Paying more attention to your phone than your friends

Have you ever witnessed people eating dinner together but they are both on their smartphones? This practice is very annoying for individuals. When you make plans with your friends and family, the purpose is to spend time with them, right? How do you do that if you are checking your email the whole time or texting? Remember how you have felt if you have been in the middle of a discussion and a friend has answered a text? Perhaps you felt less important. Unless you want your companions to feel this way, avoid your phone when out with them.

Noisy keyboards

When you navigate through your phone or type does it make little clicking sounds or beeps? You might not recognize this, but it is probably aggravating the people surrounding you. When you are standing in line at the supermarket and texting your friend, the people around you don’t want to listen to the clicks of your fingers moving across the keys. It is simple to turn this off for the comfort of those who are around you.