Category Archives: Technology

5 Tips for Implementing a Secure BYOD Policy


5 Tips for Implementing a Secure BYOD Policy
Contributed By: MXOtech, INC

When executed correctly, embracing a company bring your own device (BYOD) policy far outweighs the potential data security risks. Employees feel more comfortable and productive working on familiar devices, and BYOD cuts down on device and software costs.

Here are five tips any organization can use to implement a secure BYOD policy.

1) Establish Security Policies for All Devices

Before you give employees the freedom to access company resources from anywhere, set stringent security guidelines including:

  • Minimum required security controls for devices, such as data encryption, inactivity timeout controls, and strong alphanumeric passwords.
  • Guidance on where will data from BYOD devices be stored and what types of information can be stored locally, if any.
  • Is your IT team permitted to remotely wipe the device if:
    • The device is lost?
    • The employee terminates his or her employment?
    • IT detects a data or policy breach, virus or similar threat to the company’s data/infrastructure?

2) Acceptable Use Guidelines

Acceptable use policies help prevent viruses and malware from entering your system through unsecured websites and apps. Guidelines include:

  • Clearly outline what types of applications and sites are allowed and restricted.
  • Outline what company-owned assets users can access on personal devices – i.e. emails, calendars, documents, contacts, etc.
  • Implement restrictions on employees storing/transmitting illicit materials or engaging in outside business activities on their personal devices.

3) Use Mobile Device Management (MDM) Software

MDM software lets you monitor, manage and configure all BYOD devices from a central location. MDM software gives your IT team the power to:

  • Automatically back up intellectual property at a prescribed frequency via the cloud
  • Perform vulnerability scans and block potentially compromising devices from the network
  • Keep anti-malware applications updated
  • Perform updates and patches remotely
  • Wipe lost or stolen devices remotely
  • Contain threats and minimize damage quickly in the event of a breach or attack.

4) Communicate BYOD Policies to All Parties

BYOD policies are only successful if the people using them understand the requirements. The best way to clearly communicate your policies to all parties is by investing in ongoing employee security training.

Make sure all users sign an agreement acknowledging that they have read and understand your BYOD policy. This will protect you from liabilities associated with employees who engage in illegal or inappropriate behavior on their BYOD devices.

5) Set up an Employee Exit Plan

At some point, employees with devices on your BYOD platform will leave the company. Failure to remove their access to company networks and data can lead to security issues down the line. Make a BYOD exit checklist part of your exit interview. The checklist should include:

  • Disabling company emails
  • Wiping company-issued devices
  • Changing the passwords to all their company accounts

With a secure BYOD policy that covers all the bases, you can empower users to work more productively, increase employee satisfaction and prevent costly data breaches and malicious attacks from damaging your organization.

MXOtech is a technology consulting company that delivers Managed IT Services, Custom Web Application Development and System Integrations. Started in 2005, and built on the core values of clarity, inspiration, trust and accountability, MXOtech works every day to help their clients use technology to grow their businesses.

How to Protect Your Small Business From Cybercrime


How to Protect Your Small Business From Cybercrime

By: Steve Banke

By 2021, cybercrime will cost the world $6 trillion annually; that’s more than the GDP of Japan, the world’s third-largest economy. Here are a few helpful insights to better prepare your business to deal with the realities of cybercrime:

Human Error is Fatal

Statistics show that human error is responsible for a staggering amount of lost data, with either a mistake or loss/improper disposal behind 30% of data loss incidents. One of the most common instances of human error is falling prey to a malicious email. A Symantec report says that in July 2017, 55% of all email was considered spam, and that 1 in 359 were malicious.

Another source of human error is general negligence towards cybersecurity in the office. Training employees to properly lock down their workstations when they’re away is a great step towards preventing malicious threats from inside your business. Implementing dual authentication policies is a great way to deter hackers. Requiring employees to regularly change and randomize their passwords is another great deterrent.

Build Strong Firewalls

It seems so intuitive, but your business should take steps to protect itself from old school cyberattacks – and many businesses don’t have a proper firewall in place. Protecting your internet and server activity from outside threats is crucial, and easy to do with the proper procedures and knowledge.

The Future of Cybersecurity

In 2016 there were one million unfilled cybersecurity positions around the world. It’s becoming more apparent that there just aren’t enough qualified human beings to properly address the world’s cybersecurity needs.

The solution may be artificial intelligence that can comb through massive amounts of data, identifying threats as effectively as humans. It can work around the clock and identify trends and anomalies that would elude the attention of human analysts.

The good news for small businesses is that while the automation of cybersecurity is still absolutely essential, there’s still time to prepare. While cybercrimes against small businesses are still incredibly common, your business has a window to effect proper cybersecurity measures.

Conclusion

As a business owner, you have a responsibility to take cybersecurity seriously. It’s an ethical obligation to yourself, your clients, and your employees. Cybercrime isn’t something anyone wants to think about, but it’s a very real threat to the integrity of any business.

Steven Banke is the CEO and Founder of 3-Points, LLC, a privately held IT Services organization located in the Western Suburbs of Chicago.  Steve founded 3Points in 2002, which exclusively serves the technology needs small businesses and non-profit organizations.  Steve is a life-long resident of the Chicago area, and has lived in the Western Suburbs with his wife Cheryl for the past 30 years.

3Pointer: Full Cloud: Fact or Fiction?


Some small businesses are kicking technology to the curb. Sort of.

 

A movement is underfoot to dismiss space-hogging servers and temperamental desktops in favor of a full-cloud offering where everyday business systems are virtualized.

Here’s how full-cloud works. A thin client (basically a dummy terminal) or other device uses the Internet to connect you to your company’s entire IT infrastructure—servers, data, email, business tools and applications. Everything is stored in highly secure data centers, designed as fortresses even Chuck Norris couldn’t crack (more on this a bit later). 

If all this sounds a bit like science fiction, it isn’t. 3Points has helped several companies make the leap to full-cloud. One in particular, Destra Capital Management, is featured in this issue. According to company president James Yount, he’s never looked back. 

 

Let’s see how traditional technology compares with full-cloud…

Sound familiar? All your tech stuff is on-site, vulnerable to fire, power outages, natural disasters, negligence and theft. You purchased the equipment, which is an added line item on your P&L. As computers and servers sit in your office, problems that can’t be solved remotely demand a 3Points technician. As technology matures, equipment needs replacement. When software reaches end-of-life, there’s another version lined up just waiting for installation.

Now imagine a far less cost of ownership. With full-cloud, you don’t have to buy desktop computers or servers, so if anything happens to your office, your information isn’t there to lose. Instead, it’s sitting safely in two separate data centers, one on each coast, that are SAS 70 compliant with biometric hand scanners and backup generators fueled by natural gas. Cold air comes up through the floor. An intricate maze of pipes keeps the temperature crisp. Highly pressurized, clean water is on hand in case of fire. Robotic arms load and unload tapes in a tape library.

Below are five reasons why some small business leaders are embracing full-cloud computing.

Flexibility and Productivity

Going full-cloud centralizes your business infrastructure. Employees and clients with access rights can work at 3 a.m. just as easily as 3 p.m. on any device with an Internet connection. Cloud computing cultivates greater productivity.

 

Lower Cost of Ownership

Instead of owning equipment, you invest in what matters to you most. Since everything is in the cloud, the set-up on the ground calls for thin client technology. Thin clients don’t think, they connect. The actual “thinking” or processing is stored in the cloud. (Yes, the term “thin client” is borrowed from society’s obsession with physique. Fat client technology is a computer that handles more processes, thus it takes on more weight.)

 

Lower Risk

Power outages and disasters can’t touch a full-cloud infrastructure. 3Points has fielded many calls from frantic business owners over the years because of building fires, theft, water damage, and even mold infestation. These issues are moot when you go full-cloud since all the important data is offsite.

 

Easier Maintenance

With a full-cloud offering, you don’t need a technician schlepping into your office on a regular basis. There are no physical systems to maintain on-site. Customers pay a flat monthly fee to access end-to-end technology. The Network Operations Center (NOC) at 3Points addresses issues on demand.

 

Not For Everyone, But It Is For Many

Full-cloud is not for everyone. Big advocates include: professional services, accounting, nonprofit, investment and financial, trades like plumbing or electrical, transportation, and construction. Why? They impose less demand on the network, follow strict security protocol and are data-focused. Manufacturing companies with machinery like CNC machines or robotic technology connected to a main network typically don’t have enough bandwidth to go full-cloud. Same for verticals like bakeries, research facilities and laboratories—any establishment that uses a lot of equipment and data.

2015 Trends For The Digital Marketing Industry


With a new year comes new trends, and this includes trends within the digital marketing industry. Here, ParadigmNEXT, a digital marketing agency in Chicago, outlines what marketers, businesses and consumers can expect to see in 2015 when it comes to digital marketing.

 

1.Content Creation: More businesses are starting to realize the importance of content and its effect on creating a dedicated community of brand loyalists and followers. Content creation will continue to thrive in the form of original videos, digital publications and more.

2.Mobile First: With the continued rise of mobile technology, businesses are investing more in the user experience, making mobile their first priority in their digital presence. While leveraging mobile apps and the user experience, businesses will be more equipped to provide what their customers need in 2015.

3.Personalization: A heightened use of algorithms in 2015 will take personalization to a new level. Location targeting and beacon technology will be used to deliver a consumer experience that will anticipate and respond to the needs of the consumer him/herself.

4.Location Search: As more content is geotagged, location search will inevitably become more valuable. Search engines will not only find what is relevant to you, but they will also be able to tell you what or who is near you.

5.On Demand Delivery: With the advancement of GrubHub and PeaPod, other B2C businesses have jumped on the bandwagon and are now looking for ways in which they can seamlessly deliver goods via a mobile application.

6.Positive Virality: Emotional content drives shares. The positive moments, videos, quotes, etc. are contagious. For businesses, this is an excellent opportunity for them to demonstrate customer appreciation through a video that shows emotions.

7.Pinterest: With their high engagement and traffic, Pinterest has a major ad opportunity particularly for e-commerce. Pinterest has the consumer base that B2C businesses are looking to reach, making Pinterest the “it” social network of 2015. We’re exciting to see what’s to come with them!

8.Wearable Technology: The fitness industry has dominated this category, but with the latest development of iOS 8’s HealthKit, more fitness apps and athletic brands will work to integrate it into what they provide their consumers.

9.Mobile Pay: Driven by millennials which make up the biggest mobile spenders, wallets will be a thing of the past. Mobile pay apps like Venmo or Square will now exist for brands themselves, like Starbucks and Amazon Prime.

10.Digital Security: Passwords are no longer considered the safest method of protecting your digital space and devices. Now with fingerprint, and even heartbeat sensors, digital security will continue to improve in 2015.

 

With these 10 predictions for 2015, you are now on your way to revisiting and preparing for what digital marketing will bring in 2015. Resolve to evolve your marketing strategy in 2015!

Click here and we’ll tell you which resolutions work for you.

 

By: ParadigmNext http://paradigmnext.com 

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+ParadigmNextChicago

ParadigmNEXT, Inc. is a digital agency headquartered in Chicagoland.

We provide branding, identity, integrated marketing, social media strategy, art direction, web-design & development, startup incubation, commercial video production, product development, and commercial storefront development services to a wide array of clients ranging from bootstrapped startups to successful longstanding companies.

Move Away from Notepads, Post-its and Chicken Scratch…


…by Adopting Microsoft OneNote

Where did that little piece of paper go? You know the one. It lists three things for the big meeting. And where are the brochure changes? You can see the electric blue sticky note in your mind, but you just can’t find it. Is there a black hole for socks and notes? Where’s the scribble outlining the new process, the inspiring quote, the to-do list for tomorrow? Panic. How are you going to do the to-dos IF YOU CAN’T FIND THEM?

When it comes to random writings, the game changer is called OneNote from Microsoft. Available for Android, Windows and Apple iOS devices, the cloud-based app offers up digital “notebooks” or tabs defined by how you think and what’s important to you. Examples of tabs might be weekly to-dos, meeting notes, the big project, personal stuff, goals, book project, journal, trips, favorite quotes, kids, or shopping list.

Write your note down once (the Microsoft stylus could become your new favorite “pen”) and OneNote updates all your devices instantly. Your notes are searchable, too, which makes the little-pieces-of-paper problem disappear. And, unlike paper, sharing your ideas online is easy. Just email pages to clients and colleagues. Microsoft’s OneNote is wholly collaborative. For those writing procedures, company policy, books or any long document, OneNote “automatically highlights changes and lists authors of new material” (eHow).

Now, while you’re tossing out your secret stash of scratch paper (you’re so green, saving all those photocopies gone bad!), prepare for one more shocking bit of news: you may already have OneNote and not even know it …

A full 35 percent of 3Points’ clients use Microsoft Office 365, yet only 2 to 5 percent embrace OneNote, which comes standard with the software. Why? Like anyone else, small business owners are busy. However, the productivity gain that comes from organizing your notes in one central spot might surprise you.

So, do you or don’t you have OneNote? If you have Microsoft Office 365 with an E3 plan from 3Points, you have the OneNote desktop version. If you are on an E1 plan, you can use OneNote’s web application. (Anybody can get the mobile app for free on the app store. Nice!).

Here are two quick and easy ways to see if you have OneNote. For Windows 7 users, click the start button and type “OneNote.” Look for the purple icon. For Windows 8 users, right-click the Windows icon on the bottom left of your screen and select search “OneNote” at the bar on the right. It should be listed.

OneNote integrates beautifully with other Microsoft Office products, too (eHow). But, it’s not just about shedding pieces of paper. It’s about using technology to do things you couldn’t do before. In regards to OneNote, this means storing different types of information like text, pictures, audio, and video—all in one notebook. If you’re a cross-fit fan, the analogy is perfect to help understand OneNote; just as you would work different muscles, you can use different tools to create PDF, PowerPoint and Word files with notebook contents (TechSoup).

Taking OneNote a step further, let’s say a business owner is traveling internationally without Wi-Fi access. Not a problem. Changes to OneNote are saved and everything synchronizes upon landing.

How are 3Points Clients Using OneNote?

1. A manufacturer of doors and windows traded Evernote for OneNote and loves it! It came free with their Microsoft Office 365 subscription along with OneDrive for Business, a cloud-based storage app with 1TB of space. On the job site, field personnel use iPads to take before and after pictures and notes about that job. All information is stored in a OneNote notebook. Back at the office, the person opens up the desktop computer and all the documentation is there. No need to bring a digital camera or handwrite notes on a notepad.

2. A plumbing company that uses Microsoft Office 365 equips their plumbers with OneNote for taking before and after shots of projects with easy access to them on any computer. They simply log in to the 365 portal and click on files in OneDrive and click on the OneNote database file in the web browser.

3. At 3Points, we take pictures of some pretty ugly networks. OneNote allows us to keep a scrapbook of sorts with pictures, audio and video of projects that tell a story with a happy ending: pictures showing nice, neat cabling! We type notes on our phone during walk-throughs and create lists of PowerShell commands and share this information with others on the team. When we open up our iPads and desktops, everything is there because OneNote synchronizes across all devices: mobile phone, iPad, laptop and desktop.

Technology should simplify our lives. If you put your paper notebooks side by side with OneNote, you’ll see a difference in versatility, share-ability, search-ability, and … possibility.

Overview video here: http://youtu.be/_bKiatpaacg

Citations: Andrew Mikael/eHow. What are the Benefits of Using OneNote? Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/info_8514739_benefits-using-onenote.html

Debbi Landshoff/TechSoup (June 28, 2012). Is Microsoft OneNote the One for You? Retrieved from http://www.techsoup.org/support/articles-and-how-tos/is-microsoft-onenot…

5 Mistakes that are Hurting Your Conversion Rates


When you search through your Google Analytics, what are you finding? Hopefully you’re seeing your traffic gradually increase, year-over-year, with conversions, or sign up forms, increasing as well. If this isn’t the case, then maybe you are finding high bounce rates, decreased e-commerce sales, or unexplainable click-through-rates. It can be disturbing to find these results, especially when you have a strong brand name and a product that is in demand.

It could be your website that is hurting you. Here we’ve listed the eight most common mistakes that businesses make which end up hurting their digital conversion rates.

1) A Call To Action: Often, websites include only one contact page, orminimal links for people to explore more or reach out to you. A clear call to action should be visible on every page of your website. Your website visitors need to be shown where to go next, so make it easy for them!

2) A Blog: Many businesses find blogs irrelevant or only for younger, more social businesses. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Your website needs a blog to not only establish your business as an industry thought leader, but it will also improve your search engine optimization.

3) The User Experience: Mobile devices have enhanced and expanded the wayyour visitors will experience your website. The goal is to provide the optimal user experience for all visitors and all mediums. Gamification practices also enhance the experience by making your website fun to visit.

4) Navigation: If you’re facing high bounce rates, it’s usually a result of poor navigation. Your website should have an easy-to-use navigation menu with functional links. Failure to do this will turn your visitors away, leaving you with poor conversions and less business.

5) Content: Content is still king, and it is imperative that a business invests in high-quality content that engages, educates and entices your readers. Google’s latest algorithm makes content pivotal in your search engine optimization and therefore, your conversion rates as well.

By addressing these 5 common mistakes, you will be well on your way to improving conversion rates and driving your business to success.

Google+:
https://plus.google.com/+ParadigmNextChicago

ParadigmNEXT, Inc. is a digital agency headquartered in
Chicagoland. We provide branding, identity, integrated marketing, social media
strategy, art direction, web-design & development, startup incubation,
commercial video production, product development, and commercial storefront
development services to a wide array of clients ranging from bootstrapped
startups to successful longstanding companies.

 

Small Business, Mobile Devices and Coming Up With All The New Rules


In A Good Day to Die Hard, John McClane (Bruce Willis) used a Samsung B7330 Omnia Pro satellite phone to help outmaneuver the Russians. These days, more and more small businesses are joining the likes of international heroes and CIA operatives for one reason: the urgent need for data protection on mobile devices.
Earlier this year, the Lera Blog reported that about eight out of ten employees use personal equipment in the workplace, yet barely half of their organizations actually condone or prepare for it. The concept is called Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD. A recent Forbes headline reads like an action-packed thriller: BYOD: The Most Dangerous Acronym for a Small Business. Yikes!
One solution is Mobile Device Management, or MDM. Simply put, companies define a policy for employees accessing company networks, documents, email and files from personal smartphones and tablets. When an employee leaves, a phone gets lost, or sensitive data suddenly becomes vulnerable, MDM outlines the processes to locate, lock or wipe a device, among other directives.
3Points is drafting an MDM policy right now for our company. (Yes, we are learning with you!) We began by polling our team members. One statistic knocked our Google Glasses off.
The consensus was split down the middle on: How likely are you to allow the installation of monitoring software on your personal mobile device? Just less than half, or 46%, said it was “likely and okay to monitor even if they own it” while 52% said “no, not going to do it.”
Those numbers changed when we asked: If the company cell phone monthly reimbursement was contingent on installing monitoring software, how likely are you to allow the installation of the monitoring app on your device? Here, the numbers shifted with 62% saying they would be “fine if given a reimbursement” and 37% saying “no, even if you gave me money for it.”
The surprising stat was that 70% want an informational session to better understand MDM. Why is this compelling? It shows that we all know BYOD has endurance and most people—staff and company leadership included—want to continue the discussion. In other words, let’s all work together to figure it out. And that’s a good place to start for just about anything.
3Points’ attention on BYOD supports a recent study on the top ten emerging technology trends by Gartner, Inc. According to their findings, they believe that by 2018, 70% of employees will conduct their work on their own smart devices.
BYOD isn’t a bad thing. Using personal devices is convenient, enables greater productivity and connects mobile workers with others in the company as well as work information on demand. It makes sense. The tricky part now is coming up with the best rules to manage this technology evolution.
At 3Points, we offer employees a reimbursement for cell phone charges. As we assess our options for greater security and consider the best route for both our company and our employees, 3Points is considering a two-phase approach, one for those who opt in for the reimbursement and a mobile phone for those who decline. In addition, we’ll be rolling out an MDM solution that works with our existing monitoring system.
As we debate this within our company, we’d like to know: how are you managing BYOD? Drop us an email. Or, you can take the two-question poll now. Look for results this summer so, together, we can all make better technology decisions.

Are You Cloud Ready?


Are you cloud ready? Give yourself two points for each “yes” and one point for each “no.” Tally your score, and see where you fall. 15-20: Cloud Mover and Shaker. Get set to elevate your business to new heights. 9-14: Cloud Thinker. Explore “what-if” scenarios. Under 9: Cloud Student. You don’t need a total cloud solution, but keep it in your line of site.

1.Is bandwidth important to your business?
FACT: On-premise infrastructure (the physical technology in your office) today runs at 100 to 1000 Mbps. In the cloud, you need about 1.54 Mbps transfer speed per user. So, a 3 Mbps circuit will give you a couple solutions in the cloud while a 10 to 20 Mbps circuit will give you a lot in the cloud. Bottomline: the cloud offers scalability.
2.Do you use a single Internet connection?
FACT: Two redundant Internet connections enhance data security and prevent downtime when one fails.
3.Is your firewall set-up for circuit failover?
FACT: When a firewall goes down, everything hosted in your office stops. Email access may be denied. Client communication is restricted. Your secondary internet immediately kicks when you have the right firewall system and configuration in place.
4.Are you looking to upgrade your applications?
FACT: Think of software as a client service. This is completely different from the way we all started out purchasing and using software. Case in point: Salesforce and other 3rd party software packages have hosted cloud options for running your business. Here, you don’t have to worry about updates or backing up because both are automatic.
5.Is it important to access email from any location?
FACT: Email in the cloud allows users to access mail anywhere from any device. Email has evolved into an application. Added benefit: pay only for what you use. Microsoft Office 365 is a great solution to check out if you are looking to move your email out of your closet and into the cloud.
6.Are you limited to a physical, onsite phone system?
FACT: According to global analyst firm, Ovum, VoIP will account for nearly 100% of voice communication by 2015. VoIP means Voice over Internet Protocol. Basically, you talk over the public Internet instead of a landline. A phone system hosted in the cloud stores data in a server accessible via the Internet. Think Skype, GoToMeeting.com, or ShoreTel.
7.Do you need better system backup?
FACT: When it comes to backup, expect the unexpected. Moving backups to the cloud is an essential security measure for many reasons: natural disasters, onsite contamination, and fire. Recovery and restore options in the cloud oftentimes minimize downtime and save your business from imploding.
8.Is a virtual work environment important to your team?
FACT: Cloud technology allows users to access, edit, share and create documents from anywhere. Same goes for phones, meetings – just about anything you need in order to get the job done. It’s an era of mobility. That’s why companies are adopting BYOD or bring-your-own-device best practices and tapping top talent from a state or even country away. All this leads to greater virtualization.
9.Do you wish software updates kept up with your business?
FACT: Technology evolves. Service as a Software, a term referencing software applications in the cloud, means that updates are seamless and immediate. You always have the latest version. As developers continue to refine their products, your business benefits.
10.Do you want to improve cash flow?
FACT: With the cloud, technology moves from capital expenditures to operating expenditures, lowering your total cost of ownership and impacting cash flow.
U2, Biometric Hand Scanners, and Your Cloud Future
Let’s look at three quick examples. Back in the eighties (cue the U2 music), you may have installed a space-hogging, expensive server or state-of-the-art phone system or pricey accounting software. The cloud displaces the server with a pay-as-you-go pricing model. And the telecommunications closet with multi-colored spaghetti wires? Empty. A cloud-based phone system sends voicemails to your inbox, integrates with your CRM software for brilliant reports, and finds you instantly so you never miss a call. As for the accounting software, when developers add features, you do too.
Of course, one question we often here is: how secure is the cloud? Let’s take a tour. Behind the cloud are data centers equipped with generators, barometric hand scanners, redundant Internet connectivity, a fire suppression system, and natural gas or diesel generators. When you think about it, it’s a lot more secure than the typical server room or telecommunications closet down the hall.
Lastly, if you like the quiz featured in our blog, you’ll love what 3Points has coming up: Watch for a cloud readiness score added to the audit process later this year.

Product Focus: Mobile Device Management


We’re all going mobile. With that, policy setting and security are big concerns for small businesses. Mobile Device Management (MDM) from 3Points is coming soon. This service will allow you to set-up, monitor, secure and manage iOS and Android-compatible devices under one central location. It’s enterprise-level monitoring for small business. And that’s exciting! A lot of what we do, say, create, access and share is put on these devices.
For now, MDM refers to phones (although we are testing other devices). To start, there are two choices for a small business owner: own and distribute the phones or adopt a BYOD or bring your-own device policy.
Here’s a quick look at what you will be able to do with 3Points Mobile Device Management when we launch this new service: Pull the latest assets from the device Lock the device remotely, regardless of where the mobile device is located Set a new passcode to an Android device (helpful when a user forgets their passcode)Remove current passcode on a device (helpful when a user forgets, similar to Android, but mostly for iOS to get into the device so we can push a new forced passcode prompt) Wipe the device remotely if an employee loses their phone so that sensitive company information cannot be taken or tampered with (what if the device had all your sales information on it in a Salesforce1 app?)Choose to exclude or not monitor certain devices
Mark an Android device as lost (allows us to choose, per client, whether that wipes the client device or locks it). The main client contact has access to a portal that contains their company mobile devices. You’ll see: Device name, phone number, IP address, manufacturer, phone carrier, warranty information, software version (iOS or Android), and geo-tracking with a quick link to Google Maps showing the exact location of the device real-time. Set up monitors on one or more devices, monitoring questions like: Has there been a jailbreak (breaking into an electronic device and modifying how it runs) to an iOS phone? or Has the SIM card been tampered with? or Is the device available to check-in with our system.Some real-world examples where MDM makes a difference: A new employee’s phone can be quickly outfitted with WiFi, exchange mail, apps — everything they need to do the job.Any business with employees who move around (like plumbers, landscapers or electricians) can identify routes and provide verification through geo-tracking features.Stolen phones or lost phones with critical sales data can be wiped clean or even found.

10 Proven Ways to Grow your Bottom Line Using Technology


On June 30, 1975, BusinessWeek foretold of the paperless office. After a
century of tireless toil, traditional typewriters were finally bowing
to text-editing models. The future? A “collection of electronic
terminals linked.” The magazine dubbed Xerox and IBM as the chief
architects (no forbidden fruit until April 1976!). By 1990, the article
stated, most record-handling would be electronic with documents, mail
and messages accessible “by pressing a button.”

Fast forward to today. While a few multicolored file folders may still
accessorize our desk, they certainly are less fat than they used to be.
The continuum of swapping paper for electronic ingenuity is
undisputable. Technology means growth on every level: streamlining
business processes, reaching more people through robust data, improving
customer service, reducing travel costs, measuring business goals,
boosting efficiency, strengthening customer relationships, reducing
security risks, mobilizing people to do more anywhere their feet are
planted, and so much more.

Read on for the top 10 proven ways to grow your bottom line using technology…

1. Collaborate Like Never Before: Wikis

A wiki is a text-based site accessible via the web (think Wikipedia)
in real time. In English: lots of people may access a common page,
become informed, and put in their own two cents. Small businesses use
wikis (wiki means “fast” in Hawaiian) to quickly share documented
procedures, explore new ways to become more efficient, share knowledge
within the organization, discuss and debate. Some options: MediaWiki,
TikiWiki, or DokuWiki. Or consider a wiki extension for your website if
it’s built on an open source platform like WordPress. 

2. ”Own” the Big Meeting: iPads

The Joseph Abboud suit rocks. The Coach wristlet shouts power. Yep,
time for the big meeting. Now all you need are a few iPads. Slide one
to each person in the room. Beam up your jaw-dropping presentation,
then use the Idea Flight application to share, present, and remotely
control the meeting from your iPad. No more easels or bound
manuscripts or tedious slideshows. Simply sweep the
potential/new/existing client off their feet (even if you wear jeans
or use a faux leather purse!). This is an excellent example of how
less paper and more technology grow small business one meeting at a
time.

3. Turn Leads Into Brand Advocates: CRM Applications

Size of an organization does not dictate the sophistication of
technology. Growing the bottom line of small businesses requires
implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) solution like
SalesForce.com. It helps you manage customer relationships, track client
contacts & opportunities, channel leads into the pipeline, and
trigger touch points with people who refer business. 

4. Communicate in Cool Ways: Online Meetings

A small publishing firm in Chicago recently vetted applicants for a
top editorial position. Resumes flooded human resources. Standouts were
narrowed down by phone interviews. Next step? A Google Hangout with
each finalist and three executives from the firm (two from the Midwest,
one from Colorado). Online meetings automate the obvious, saving time
and travel. Like Skype, you hear and see everyone in the group
conversation. Other options for videoconferencing, voice or instant
messaging: Apple FaceTime, Google Talk, and Microsoft Lync.

5. Never Miss a Call: VoIP Phone System

Time to get your phone system out of the closet and into the cloud.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology connects with CRM
applications. Get detailed reports on outbound calls, service, and sales
data analysis. Cloud-based phone systems allow small business to do
what they do best: be customer-centric. The technology never lets you
miss a call as it rings your office line, cell, or even your computer
(go ahead, read your voicemails in your inbox…very cool stuff for
people who wear a lot of hats).

6. Be a Thought Leader: Webinars

Webinars are live, online presentations, oftentimes featuring a
PowerPoint capped off by a question/answer session. Companies hosting
webinars are often dubbed thought leaders as they share knowledge on
topics vital to their customer or prospect’s work. A few stats from 2012
according to ClickMeeting: The average webinar has 28 participants, 2
presenters, and runs 65 minutes. The most popular day to host a
webinar? Tuesday (but don’t ever do it on a Friday or a Monday). Check
out Microsoft Office Live Meeting, Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro, Cisco
WebEx, or GoToWebinar.

7. Engage Stakeholders: Social Media

Whole books are written on this one. Stats abound on how social media
is growing the bottom line. But here’s the one that stood out for us
about small business: According to War of Words: Myth-Busting Social
Media, SEO & Content Marketing, 82% of buyers say they trust a
company more when its CEO and senior leadership team are active in
social media. That confirms what we already know: small business owners
who take charge of social media impact brand awareness and contribute
to turning leads into sales. Social Media makes it easy for companies
to connect with stakeholders. So keep your Facebook page fresh (daily
postings), your executives on LinkedIn, your tweets interesting, and
your Instagram pics and Vine videos shareable. Website traffic
analytics and social media monitoring provide great metrics. Common
Sense Addendum: make sure everyone follows best practices with
automated email follow-ups and consistent email signatures.

8. On-the-Go Communication: Mobile Technology

By the end of 2013, there will be more mobile devices on Earth than
people, according to Super Monitoring, a website monitoring
consultancy. Being mobile-friendly is mission critical to growing your
bottom line. Newsletters, blog posts, and websites should be
mobile-readable. Connectivity to your main phone system technology is a
must. And if your business is the one handing out the phones to staff
members, make sure training is part of the giving.

9. Streamline Costs, Achieve Scalability: Cloud Computing

Moving services to the cloud helps small businesses work smarter.
Basically, it means taking technology you used to install onsite and
using web-based applications instead. So, rather than purchasing costly
accounting software and attempting to keep up with the latest
versions, cloud computing brings it to you via the web (some top
picks: Salesforce.com, Microsoft Office 365, Google Apps, QuickBooks)
along with automatic updates. Another example of cloud computing is
data storage. No more space-hogging servers for backing up and storing
data. Put it all in the cloud. Cloud storage is cost-efficient
because you pay for the space you use, and it’s convenient since it’s
accessible from any device.

10. Create On-the-Job Happiness: Technology Tool Assessment

Make sure employees have the tech tools they need to do their jobs.
An old, slow laptop means a person gets less work done. Inconsistent
Internet access creates problems (or leaves them running to Panera to
email photos for the local paper on deadline). By no means does a small
business have to have the latest and greatest, but people should be
tooled with technology that performs. The number one factor to job
satisfaction is “the opportunity to use skills and abilities” according
to the 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction & Engagement study by the
Society for Human Resource Management (job security was ranked second
followed by compensation). Technology empowers workers to reach their
greatest potential, a key contributor to the bottom line in any business
as well as on-the-job happiness.

Steven J. Banke is the CEO, and a founding partner, of 3-Points, LLC in Oak Brook, Illinois.  Steve has been an Illinois-based technology entrepreneur since 1993, and his business expertise includes enterprise IT consulting, enterprise call-centers, equipment re-manufacturing, and IT Managed Services. Today, 3-Points, LLC is a leading Cloud-based technology integrator for small businesses throughout the Chicagoland area.