Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What Techs ( & Google) are talking about - SOPA

Google has changed its logo today - Big Clash going on against SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) - Congress Votes Soon.  What's your opinion?  One Story shared here -

Friday, June 3, 2011

Small Business Recognition, The Economy, & High Speed Internet

"American small businesses are key drivers of innovation, economic growth and job creation. Small businesses employ more than half of all private sector workers, and they have generated about two-thirds of net new jobs over the past fifteen years. And small businesses drive innovation. Small firms produce 13 times more patents per employee than large ones."

"Broadband and information technology is increasingly important to the success of our economy, to jobs and to the future of small business. Broadband connectivity and online business tools enable small businesses to grow and jobs to be created anywhere. They allow small businesses to market their products and reach customers in the next neighborhood, the next city, the next state, and even overseas."

"A recent study found that having a broadband connection makes a $200,000 a year difference in median annual revenues for businesses, by helping them reach new markets and increasing productivity."

That's straight from the FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski last week.  We agree with those statements, which have been incorporated into the vision of our company for years.  We are pleased to participate, be a part of that success, and help others achieve success.  As the broadband network and technologies evolve, we want to seize opportunities that help improve your business's bottom line.  Spread the word... start a conversation...  tell the stories of what our local small businesses can do!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Diminished Value of I.T. ?

The rules and technology changed! Many are saying all I.T. and communications companies are the same. Seen one … seen them all. Is that true today? Given the choice between Provider A and Provider B, there is no differentiating value? Are you about to make an I.T. commitment to a new server, a new phone system, or cloud computing? And you think all of these choices provide about the same value? 
Not knowing your true costs in this economy could lead to lost opportunities!
With thousands of VoIP, Hosting, and I.T. companies in North America, getting a tech business started is easier than ever!  Numerous reseller programs exists that require no training.  Direct Mail Campaigns, prepared by equipment manufacturers, could be headed to thousands of potential customers today - all with your new logo on them.
True story: I received the same postcard from six different companies last week.
If I.T. and Next Generation Communications present little or no strategic value to your business, I would agree that all companies and vendors are equal.  The real answer, of course, is that many I.T.  and Next Generation Communication Companies put in the hard work, time, and effort to provide your business with useful evaluations and information based upon years of experience and education.  Your business can then, in turn, continuously improve decision making related to processes, communications, and productivity knowing the underlying knowledge was created from a credible source.
Is your trusted adviser sufficiently motivated to find the right solution for your business?
A talented and experienced technology company will be able to help business owners and decision makers choose the best solutions for the needs of the organization.  If your technology adviser lacks experience, training, financial stability, and accountability – what does the conversation sound like when you are faced with a capital expense solution of $120,000 versus an operating expense solution of $1,200 per month?  Shared versus Dedicated?  Premise versus Hosted?  What kind of financial impact exists over the next three to six years? 
In most organizations, capital investment is limited.  All companies want to direct their limited  investment opportunities towards revenue generating projects.  A wrong move leads to lost opportunity.  (Be prepared – shameless plug coming up)  Since 1995,  Georgia Business Net has been advising and providing trusted solutions to organizations large and small throughout nine states in the southeast.  We want to work with you and your partners with a goal of being your LAST technology solution provider.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Bottom Line: Thanks

There is no better place than this public forum to say thanks to those who make it possible for Georgia Business Net. I want to send out a “thank you” to our customers, and a “thank you” to our staff. This summer has treated us well, but not without our staff’s great effort. We’ve got our sights set on great things ahead, but that is not to say some praise isn’t due as we see some progress and a milestone or two in our rear view mirror. Nothing pleases me more than to hear stories from clients that contain words like “above and beyond.” The innovative ideas to help a client, the stretching and striving for a continuous improvement in our processes and products, make it awesome and fun to come to work each day. And yes, this is all true in spite of what we hear about the economy. Opportunity exists to succeed in every economy. And regardless of how challenging the landscape, I work around people that ignore the news and press on towards our goals. Because of people that care about the big picture, I work in an inspiring environment that motivates and breeds success.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Latest Tips for Virus Avoidance

We have all been there, and there is no doubt we will all be there again.  It's inevitable that our Internet connected devices will get infected and spread viruses.  New vulnerabilities occur every day, and not everyone is proactive in playing defense utilizing anti-spyware and anti-virus protection.  Here are some excerpts and my related comments from a TechRepublic blogger to build awareness and to help any user avoid viruses and spyware:

"Oh, the deck is stacked. Don’t think for a minute it’s not. As a technology professional responsible for securing office networks, workstations, and servers from viruses, spyware, adware, Trojans, and other malware infections, I can tell you that the situation is only getting worse.

A Computer Economics report showed that annual worldwide malware expenses increased by $10 billion (to $13 billion) over a recent 10-year span. Google Research suggests that one in every 10 Web sites is infected with “drive-by” malware. "

With that kind of growth, the IT staff has an uphill battle in informing users of threats and performing preventive maintenance.  Posting these tips around the office or distributing them in an email is a great way to pass the word to end users.  Take back a part of that $13 billion!

1.  Install Quality Anti-Virus

The best software packages on the market will give the user the ability to update frequently throughout the day.  As the vulnerabilities are revealed, the user will be protected in near real time.

2.  Install real-time anti-spyware protection

The best protection is one that checks as the user browses around the Internet.  Prevention is always a better strategy than detection and removal.  Most free versions only allow detection and removal.

3.  Keep All Software Packages Current

For security purposes, this is not a bad idea.  I understand that for operational purposes there are times where compatibility issues prevent immediate updates.  For those of you with these obstacles, please consult a technology professional for an alternate strategy and response.

4.  Setup Daily Scans

Even real time active anti-malware engines will fail and your system will get infected.  Daily scans will allow all of the running processes and system files to be analyzed, which could lead to isolation and/or automatic removal of a "sleeping" threat.

5.  Disable autorun

Users most certainly will have some autorun features turned on for convenience.  A good example is when a user connects a USB Thumb Drive and the routine task starts automatically.  This is a great way for a virus to propagate to the connected drive.
"Computer users can disable the Windows autorun feature by following Microsoft’s recommendations, which differ by operating system. Microsoft Knowledge Base articles 967715 and 967940 are frequently referenced for this purpose. "

6.  Disable image previews in Outlook

Automatically downloading images received in Outlook opens the door for a user to be automatically infected.  Many Windows features are convenient, but can result in unintended security breaches. 

7.  Don't click on email links or attachments

Professional grade anti-malware software can help protect the user by scanning the link ahead of browser download.  As a best practice, always try to manually navigate to the sites by opening a browser first and then typing in a link. 

8.  Surf Smart

 If the user has software that has phishing filters, link scanners, pop-up blockers, make use of all the tools.  If the user arrives at a website by manually typing the link, it is most likely okay to enter his/her user name and password.  If an online banking website appears automatically via pop-up window, close the browser immediately and avoid entering any personal data. 
"But even manual entry isn’t foolproof. Hence the justification for step 10: Deploy DNS protection. More on that in a moment."

9.  Use a hardware-based firewall

A separate device other than a user's PC is the best defense.  My general philosophy is that there is safety in numbers and diversity.  Whether it is investing in the stock market or computer security, having options is not a bad idea.

10.  Deploy DNS Protection

Our technicians have seen this a number of times right here at home for our customers.  Certain viruses like to translate friendly website names like Google or Yahoo and redirect the PC to malicious websites.  This is an advanced topic for the average user.  However, I would suggest to your company to consider talking with an IT professional about an implementation strategy if this is a concern for your organization.

If you are interested in reading the entire article (Yes, there is more, I actually shortened it with my comments),  it is available here.

Taking care of this yourself has become quite a burden.  Outsourcing your IT work to a company that focuses on monitoring and prevention is certainly a way for you to take a rest and focus on your business and core competency.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The New Economic Value

 In the old economy you wanted "value" from all of your vendors, right?  In the old economy, we all said we wanted value, but did we really mean it?  Now, more than ever, I am finding that many small businesses are looking for better ways to do business with vendors.  Seemingly for the first time, I am seeing innovative thinking applied to every aspect of small business, including the purchasing process.  

What specific change precipitated us all to take a second look at value?  In our industry, I believe massive layoffs at larger companies changed the overall value of their products and services.  I have not concluded if the value change was intentional.  Would you intentionally "layoff" a valuable asset?  Regardless of the strategy, I believe in most cases value declined, while the cost of the product remained the same.  (That leads me to believe: the results were strategic and intentional - the bottom line staying the same and/or increasing was the ultimate goal)  Have you found that you are receiving less service, doing more work, and yet the costs remained the same?  If you lead an organization or run a small business, have you started asking questions like:  How does this organization become more valuable?  What is stopping us from setting the standard of becoming the most valuable ________ (fill in the blank of your product or service)?  Georgia Business Net's vision is to be your LAST Phone & Internet Solution Provider.  If we are going to be the LAST, we had better be valuable.  I hope that with this vision that we have inherently woven the idea of maximum value into our business culture.  There is certainly room for us to improve, however I think we are on the right track.  I hope some of my vendors are listening to this!  Will they take this information and use it?  Will you?
Like many small businesses, there is a customer service gap we fill as your Telecom and Internet vendor.  Roles we play like purchasing agent, your turnkey solution provider, your project manager aren't new to our business model.  Ten years ago those roles weren't nearly as valuable as they are today.  Why?  Much to my disbelief, those key roles with our competitors and some of our vendors were some of the first subjected to downsizing.  Change is awesome, and all of these changes have led to great innovation and opportunity.  I hope your company is taking advantage and seizing the current "gap" opportunities.  Maybe I lack logical reasoning, but if you layoff the value, won't your results include a less valuable bottom line?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Not Another Social Media is Awesome Article

Why don't you make it remarkable?  Why don't you make it meaningful?  Whether your vision is for marketing or for actually building relationships, those questions lead to characteristics that will help your social media efforts be more visible and appreciated.  Just a hunch here, but I bet those questions could help in the real world too.  I'm not an early adopter by computer geek standards, but I do qualify when compared to the general population.  However,  I was not an early adopter to social media - Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Nevertheless, we started dipping our toe into the social media pool last year.  Wow, just like many other environments in life, there is noise, spam, and junk mail that have taken on new faces.  I understand why.  Social media is a low cost way of advertising.  Now, I love innovation - especially disruptive innovation!  Can you guess my favorite innovative tool of late?  The Facebook Filtering tools!  I am very grateful for all the relationships I have in life (and in my virtual social media life).   However, I never put all my friends on one giant conference call, and expect them to all talk at the same time.  Think about that phone call in reverse.  I am speaking to all my friends from all areas of life at once.  What subject matter interests them all simultaneously?  I could not provide value to all of them for very long.    I am thankful for filtering tools in email, in spam, in the form of Caller ID, but I digress.   My brief and humble words for you today, have a plan for your social media efforts.  The plan should be to provide value to your potential followers, friends, and customers.  Remember, the filter exists, and your audience will tune you out if your message is too loud, too often, or meaningless.  Before you post, run your own mental filter first and decide if the post is meaningful.  Value is ESPECIALLY important if you choose to interconnect and redistribute your content and comments across several mediums.  Proceed with caution when using Feedburner, Twitterfeed, and other tools that redistribute your posts everywhere instantly.  Think about the users that are following you or that you want following you.  If they are devoted long time followers, most likely they subscribe to all your feeds.  If you choose to interconnect all feeds and post the same material across all platforms - they will stop listening.  Too loud or too often is not an initial problem on startup efforts, however it is a rule of thumb that you shouldn't forget as time passes by.    Social media is awesome, but only if you choose to make it awesome.   Once a follower filters you out for being too loud or boring, odds are you will never get them back.