Protect Your Business by Updating Your Software

render of hardware with band aids on it. Computer Processor Bug Patch Concept

Software is a critical part of your business. Without it, you would have to do everything manually. In fact, most businesses couldn’t do what they do without their software. That’s why it is so surprising that many businesses don’t actively patch their software. Let’s take a look at our patch management service and why it’s such a huge benefit.

A decade or so ago, keeping your software updated wasn’t as important as it is today. You might get some new features every so often, but that was usually it. Today, things are so much different. It is now one of the most important services that we provide to our clients. This is because threats have become much more prevalent and dangerous to a business.

How Patch Management Works

Basically, your software gets a fair amount of updates. Developers are constantly adding features and patching would-be vulnerabilities. If you don’t have a process in place to patch your version of the software, you can be operating with holes in your network. These holes are exploited by opportunistic hackers and then you have much bigger problems. Companies like ours and in-house IT departments need to consistently patch software to ensure those holes are filled.

Using our remote monitoring and management software we can not only keep tabs on all of your hardware and all of your network resources, we can also use it to quickly update your software. This software needs to be patched as well. In fact, there have been stories of companies that manage other companies’ networks and patch management getting hacked because they didn’t actively patch their RMM tool. Not only is this just embarrassing, it illustrates just how critical the entire process is.

2021 Challenges

When dealing with technology, if you want it to work for your business, you need to realize it’s not simple. Consider for a second all the changes that had to be incorporated over the past year:

  • The need to support remote work
  • New and expanded cloud capabilities to facilitate this remote work
  • Software management needs
  • Frequent updates to these software solutions

Every line item there has a litany of tasks associated with it. It also comes with some downtime. Software patches often require system reboots, which can lead to interrupted productivity.

Easy Patch Management Tips

At 4Corner IT, our technicians can help keep the downtime associated with patches and updates from impacting your staff’s productivity by scheduling these patches to be applied when there’s little-to-no traffic. It’s an easy solution to what could be a major problem.

If you insist on handling this issue yourself, however, here are a couple tips:

  • Know What You’re Using – You need to keep track of the software solutions that you use, just so you can be sure that all of them are maintained appropriately.
  • Respect The Need For Updates – While an individual can maybe get away with missing a software update for a little while, a business doesn’t have that luxury.
  • Maintenance Needs To Be Prompt – Once official software updates are released, they should be tested on a sample group and implemented across your network.

If you would like to get some professional perspective about your business’ software and how to manage and maintain systems that run it, give our experts a call at (954) 474-2204 today.

Late With a Coronavirus Readiness Plan? Here’s What You Can Do

late with a coronavirus readiness plan here what you can do

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads to more cities across the country, you may begin to worry that you have not done enough to prepare for an outbreak in your community. If you have found yourself wondering how you can protect your staff, or what you would do if social distancing measures forced you to work remotely, you are not alone. However, it is never too late to create a coronavirus readiness plan for your business.

To make sure that your company is not caught by surprise, here are just a few of the steps that you can take to prepare for the spread of coronavirus. 

Stay Informed

In order to make sure that your business is prepared for, and your employees are protected against, the potential spread of coronavirus, it is important that you stay informed about the latest news and guidelines relating to the virus and social distancing protocols. The CDC has a lot of resources available on their website that can help you to learn more about how the coronavirus spreads, and what you should do to keep your staff safe in the coming weeks.

The CDC also has special resources available for businesses that can help you to learn more about ways to keep your office clean and your employees healthy as the coronavirus spreads. It is also important that you listen to local, state, and federal recommendations on how businesses should respond to the coronavirus, which may include limiting company functions and implementing social distancing.  

Communicate With Staff  

Of course, your primary defense against the spread of illness in the office is your staff, which is why it is important that you keep your staff informed on the latest information regarding coronavirus developments and protection. You should also consider messaging staff to remind them to do their part to maintain a healthy work environment by washing their hands frequently, getting enough sleep, and keeping their distance from others when possible. It is also more critical than ever that you encourage sick employees to stay home and that you consider allowing sick employees to work from home for a while once they have recovered.  

Create a Remote Work Plan

If more strict social distancing protocols are implemented in your community, you may find that you and your staff are required to shelter-in-place. In order to ensure that you are able to maintain productivity should this happen, it is important that you develop an effective remote work plan that will make it as simple as possible for your staff to work from home. It is important that you think about whether your employees have the necessary tools to work from home, and whether your employees have the ability to easily access business solutions and systems remotely if need be.

You do not want to find out that your staff cannot, or do not know how to, access and complete their work should they be forced to work from home. Consider surveying employees to find out if they have the adequate tools and equipment to work from home, and make plans to help those who do not feel ready to prepare for the possibility of telecommuting. It is also important to assess what jobs can easily be done from home, what positions may need tweaking to accommodate remote work, and if there are any essential jobs that cannot be done remotely.   

Invest in Telecommuting Technology

In addition to making sure that your staff is ready to work from home, you will also want to make sure that your company has the right technology and business solutions to support remote work. You will need to make sure that you set up the right collaboration tools such as internal communications programs or secure Wi-Fi networks and access points to allow for remote work. Make sure that your staff has access to, and knows how to use, collaborative software such as Office 365 or Google’s G Suite, as this can be essential in allowing for successful remote collaboration. 

Once you know what needs to be done to prepare your company for a coronavirus outbreak, you can create an action plan specific to your business that will ensure that you are ready for anything that may happen in the coming weeks.

Contact us to learn more about solutions that can help your business to prepare for potential social distancing measures and remote work. 

Why Are We Weary of Emerging Technologies?

why are we weary of emerging technologies

It seems that there’s a new emerging technology every week. So many of us can be forgiven for having entered into a kind of technology fatigue, in which emerging technologies become something to be avoided, perhaps even feared.

Or perhaps we’re just tired of constantly having to try and keep up with them.

What Causes Technology Fatigue?

So, why has this technology fatigue entered the equation? There are a few possible reasons:

  1. We feel that no sooner have we learned one system than we have to start over with the next. This is particularly true of software updates; even minor and incremental changes can eventually build fatigue and it’s a truism that nobody ever likes the website redesign. Until the next one, when they suddenly love it and want it back.
  2. The fear of the robots replacing us is growing. Some people have started refusing to use self checkouts because they feel bad that stores appear to be replacing cashiers (sometimes this is true, sometimes the technology is being used to free humans for more important things). People are afraid of losing power or their lifestyle, or even of descending into poverty. Many people also define their identity in part by the work they do.

Between those two factors, it’s unsurprising that employees will start to resist change. They may refuse to install software updates (which can end up including vital security patches), protest openly, or complain to each other around the water cooler, ruining morale. Some employees have been known to protest in ways which are destructive.

What if We Just Hold Off?

Unfortunately, holding off on adopting or ignoring emerging technologies can be literally fatal to a company’s business model. Companies which are left behind can end up going all the way out of business and becoming forgotten, or held up as a poster child. Who remembers Blockbuster or Borders?

So, companies have to find a balance between embracing emerging technologies and angering their workforce.

How Do You Decide Which Technologies to Embrace?

One way to keep the balance is to not embrace every single new technology that shows up. And you have two sources of information as to which technologies to use: Your employees, and your customers.

Satisfying the needs of your customers is always a goal. If customers are also resistant to a new technology, then you might consider not adopting it for now. If customers are embracing it, then you need to deal with it even if employees are resistant.

This means you have to deal with employee resistance, which primarily involves redirecting the attention of your employees to the positive aspects of the new technology. Warning them about a new UI and going through the new features and how to use them before pushing it, for example, can avoid the phenomenon of “everyone hates the new design” to a degree. People are naturally somewhat resistant to change, but they will resist it less if they understand how it will benefit them personally.

Make sure that everyone is given the opportunity to learn about and utilize the new technology, ideally as a group. Resistant individuals can then be approached separately and helped to understand how the new technology will improve their life. Be sure to have all kinds of learning styles catered to. Video tutorials are great for many people, but some people do not learn well from them and might prefer hands-on practice or just to be given a copy of the user manual to go through at their leisure.

It’s vital for businesses to embrace emerging technologies, at least until their customer base is uncertain about them. However, it’s equally important to make sure that you don’t leave your employees behind. To find out more about how to educate your employees about new technologies, contact Corner IT today.

7 Powerful Uses Of Technology In Business Today

7 powerful uses of technology in business today

Modern-day businesses have never seen a more streamlined, convenient, and affordable means to collaborate with teams, employees, managers, or business partners — thanks to technology.

These days, almost every industry you can think of utilizes technology in every facet of the business. From brainstorming, production, to product distribution, the dependence on this Omni-system is at an all-time high. It’s safe to say, without it, a business is truncated from a sturdy structure that hinders growth and revenue. If you’re not optimizing technology in your business, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to propel your business into the limelight. Here are the seven powerful uses of technology in business today that entrepreneurs should watch out for.

1. Boosts Marketing

Although the conventional forms of marketing like outdoor advertising still work nowadays, digital marketing is way ahead of the marketing ballgame. Businesses can now leverage different digital marketing strategies depending on their budget and audience. Regardless of the industry, here are the most common types of online marketing tactics gaining popularity in the market today:

  • Social media marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Influencer marketing
  • Email marketing
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • PPC (Pay Per Click)
  • Affiliate marketing

2. ERP Integration

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is now a must-have in small- and large-scale businesses today. ERP is a software that streamlines all operations within an organization. Here are some uses of ERP in organizations:

  • Purchasing
  • Inventory management
  • Manufacturing
  • Sales and marketing
  • Financial management
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Human resource management (HRM)
  • Business intelligence
  • Compliance monitoring
  • Project management
  • IT optimization
  • E-commerce platforms

3. Cloud-Based Services

Cloud computing is the most adapted form of IT collaboration, automation, and computing without the need for hardware installations. That means, businesses can take advantage of applications or software that can store, monitor, and modify data over remote servers. Cloud-based service providers are clamoring for client attention, namely Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and more.

4. Mobile Assimilation

More and more companies have associated their products and services with mobile applications. For instance, home and office security providers have connected their entire systems into mobile apps so customers can access surveillance clips anywhere. Mobile phones may be small, but they’re compelling gadgets that can protect a whole office!

5. Easier Transactions

Financial technology companies, also known as ‘fintech,’ are on the rise. Fintech is paving the way for better, quicker, and easier transaction methods in terms of finances. Consumers can now pay through mobile apps, get a loan online, and apply for insurance from a website. This establishes confidence and reliability between companies and their customers.

6. Robust Security

Nothing is more valuable than customer information. After all, this goes beyond to-and-fro negotiations – trust is an essential factor in safekeeping business partnerships. If you break that trust, you’ll lose regular customers, and word of mouth is going to spread like wildfire. With an upswing in the number of hackers, security companies are making their systems more robust than ever. Firewalls, SSL certificates, WEP, WPA, and all encryption tools are at every business’ disposal.

7. Affordable Outsourcing Solutions

About 40 percent of freelancers will dominate the US workforce by 2020. This is a huge deal for businesses. While this eliminates the additional upkeep of brick-and-mortar offices, server installations, and hardware maintenance, this also gives organizations a more extensive recruitment process that can search for the crème de la crème in the industry worldwide. Companies are no longer limited to in-house employees that cost more. They can hire remote employees and collaborate with them like they’re in the same physical office.

Final Thoughts

The powerful uses of technology are what we need in this digital era. It puts the whole business force in common ground, a level playing field where both neophytes and veteran entrepreneurs can go neck and neck with each other.

Author Bio:

Kerry Brooks is an ardent blogger and frequent traveler who writes about home improvement, travel and the latest trends on emerging technologies. She is currently working with EyeSpySupply, which offers a wide range of surveillance equipment, including wireless spy camera, nanny cams, GPS trackers, and voice activated audio recorders and more.

Self-Driving Vehicles? Not for Another 10 Years

self driving vehicles not for another 10 years
Self Driving Car

A year or two ago, it looked like self-driving vehicles might be just around the corner. However, don’t get rid of your driver’s license just yet. After the buzz that erupted after multiple deaths were reported from the use of self-driving vehicles, the public remains skeptical about the level of safety regarding this type of travel. A 2018 Gallup poll shows that 59% of Americans would be uncomfortable riding in a self-driving vehicle. When asked about sharing the road with self-driving trucks, the negative responses go even higher. 

Self-Driving vs. Driver-Assisted

Part of the problem may stem from a lack of true understanding regarding the difference between the concepts of “self-driving” vs. “driver-assisted”. Several years ago, a man was killed when a semi-truck made a left turn in front of him while he was in a driver-assisted Tesla vehicle. Neither the driver or the Tesla vehicle applied the brakes, and the roof of the vehicle was completely sheared off. According to Tesla, their Autopilot system is an assist feature and drivers are expected to keep both hands on the wheel even when the vehicle is in Autopilot mode. Unfortunately in the case of the Tesla driver, he either misunderstood how the Autopilot worked or he was inattentive. In addition, the vehicle itself did not see the semi-truck because of the high ride height of the trailer.

Maybe in 10 Years 

It is more likely that auto manufacturers (and technology companies) will need to gradually add driver-assisted features to vehicles over time, rather than expecting everyone in the general public to understand precisely how the new technologies will function in all the situations that occur while driving. Of course, as the Tesla example points out, technology companies still have some distance to go before they are capable of addressing every possible scenario that invariably occurs on the road. Still, the trend is moving ever closer to a self-driving society, as even now high-end vehicles have self-driving features such as self-parallel parking, warning drivers when they drift over to other lanes, and automatically braking when the vehicle “sees” a potential collision.