YOUR BEST DATA STORAGE SOLUTION ....................... 3
EFFECTIVE WEB SITE TESTING.......................... 4
ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF BUSINESS OWNERS AND PLANTING THE SEEDS FOR A SECURE FUTURE.
Spring Forward. In this issue, Business Focus provides tips and tools to use technology as an organizational and storage tool for your business. It is easy “being green” with our Spring Cleaning tips for disposing unwanted tech equipment on page 2. Also, explore improving your office’s communication with Instant Messaging (IM). From data storage solutions to evaluating your website, we’ll show you how to get the most out of your time and financial investment.
Tech WATCH The better job Kyvon does, the less you see them. With AktiveNet™, technicians can make changes on the system without interrupting the user, interact with the user in chat mode, or take over the machine with remote control. By utilizing the desktop management tools, Kyvon is able to work “behindthe-scenes” and keep networks running with little or no visibility at no additional cost. Call Kyvon for more information (314) 416.1490
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Spring Cleaning How to dispose of unwanted tech equipment without hassles, and where to find great new environmentally friendly gear.
IM Your Way To Better Communication Once viewed primarily as a secret language used by teenagers, instant messaging (IM) is maturing into a viable communications tool for small businesses. For example, many IM services are now offering video conferencing and Voice Over IP (VoIP), in addition to messaging.
»The Benefits These days, it's easier than ever to be both technologically advanced and environmentally responsible. Best of all, working green can save you a bit of money and help you safely and legally clear out some of the tech junk currently cluttering up your garage, while helping preserve the planet. But just what does "green" mean when it comes to computers? There are two ways to be environmentally aware when shopping for technology: The first is to use the most energyefficient hardware possible, saving money on operating costs and reducing the amount of energy you use (which incidentally reduces your greenhouse gas footprint as well). The second is to start from the get-go, buying products that have been made from the cleanest, greenest materials possible, reducing the quantity of toxic metals and chemicals used to make your tech toys. That helps everyone when the time comes to recycle or dispose of your gear because it prevents those toxins from entering landfills and groundwater. Remember, the older the technology, the more likely it is to be full of hazardous chemicals; so make sure your obsolete gadgets end their days by being properly recycled, rather than tossed in a dumpster.
FIND YOUR NEAREST RECYCLING CENTER For quick, zip code-based listings of computer gear recycling centers in your area, use Earth 911's online tools (earth911.org).
SAVE TIME AND EFFORT. With IM, you type a quick message, hit "send" and a few seconds later, your message pops up on the recipient's screen. Along with eliminating the lag in e-mail response time, IM cuts out the necessary "chit chat" of a phone call and often lets you avoid the tiresome game of voicemail tag. In short, IM is a superb way to quickly communicate with a colleague, partner or supplier. IMPROVE CUSTOMER SERVICE. When used properly, IM in general--and the "presence awareness" feature in particular--can also help you serve customers more efficiently.
»The Downsides SECURITY RISKS. Along with everyone else, IM is growing in popularity with hackers and criminals, too. As with many e-mail viruses, worms and spyware, IM attacks can steal confidential information from your computer, turn your PC into a spam zombie, and more.
LEGAL RISKS. As with any business communications tool, you or an employee may inadvertently write something that can cause or complicate legal issues later. For example, two employees swapping crude jokes via IM could subject your business to a sexual harassment suit from an offended employee. E-mail and IM are often admitted as evidence in legal proceedings, too. And yet, most companies--even those in regulated industries--don't properly retain and archive their employee's instant messages, according to the 2004 Workplace E-Mail and Instant Messaging Survey. DECREASED PRODUCTIVITY. When used improperly, IM can be an ongoing distraction for employees. In fact, 58 percent of IM users engage in personal chat at work, according to the Workplace E-Mail and Instant Messaging Survey. Limited interoperability between IM systems. Most IM systems still don't enable users to swap messages with anyone outside the system. As a result, many IM users sign up for multiple services.
»Summary Used properly, IM can be an extremely useful addition to your company's communications tools. IM reduces time and effort and helps your business react quickly to new challenges, competition and customer requests. Before signing up for an IM service, however, ensure that you've got the necessary network and computer security in place. At a minimum, your network should have end-to-end security, firewall protection and encryption for all IM communications. You might also consider a virtual private network (VPN), which provides additional network security protection for mobile and remote employees. Also, compile a list of IM do's and don'ts for employees to follow. Keep an archive of IM messages, for legal reasons, and back it up regularly.
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Choosing the Best Data Storage Solution Small businesses have a growing need for more data storage space. Here's how to decide which option is right for you.
Sooner or later, your small business will need more space for data storage. Information in the form of e-mails, documents, presentations, databases, graphics, audio files and spreadsheets is the lifeblood of most companies, and the applications that run and protect your business require a lot of disk space. In addition, a number of trends are fueling our growing hunger for storage:
Government regulations require businesses to maintain and back up a variety of data they might have otherwise deleted.
For legal reasons, many small businesses are now archiving e-mail messages dating back five or more years.
The pervasiveness of viruses and spyware requires ever-more vigilant backups-which requires ever-more storage capacity.
1. What to Store? Small businesses should first assess the storage needs associated with their applications, their data, and how and where they need to access that data. These questions will help you get started:
Which applications generate the largest amount of files?
Which applications run on which servers? How old is the data? How much of it is duplicate or stale? How much is not business related? How quickly do you need to be able to access that data?
From what locations do you need to access which data?
Also, if you travel for work and need access to files on an external drive, you’ll have to take the drive with you or remember to copy the required files to a USB thumb drive, your laptop’s internal drive, a CD or some other storage media. Finally, in the event of a fire or other catastrophe at your place of business, your data will not be protected. Network-attached storage. Networkattached storage (NAS) provides fast, simple, reliable access to data in an IP networking environment. NAS solutions are suitable for small and mid-sized businesses needing large amounts of economical storage that multiple users can share over a network. A NAS system allows you to consolidate storage, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing costs; simplify storage administration and data backup and recovery; and allow for easy scaling to meet growing storage requirements.
Each new version of a software application or operating system demands more hard-drive real estate than its predecessor.
The growing need to store large media files, such as video, and make them available to users on a network is generating demand for more sophisticated storage solutions. Storing information and managing its storage is critical to a company's behind-thescenes success. Fortunately, there are many options available to small businesses for both the actual storage and the location of that storage. Often, the best solution is a combination of different storage options. So how do you decide what's best for you? First, you'll want to consider your storage needs in terms of both capacity and physical location. Then you should look at the storage options that best fit those needs. Lastly, you need to develop a plan for implementing the storage your business needs
Once you're able to get a handle on how much data you’re dealing with and the how, when and where of accessing that data, then you'll have a better idea about your storage needs.
2. Consider Your Options Flash memory thumb drives. These type of drives are particularly appealing to mobile professionals because they consume little power, are small enough to fit on a keychain and have no moving parts. You can connect a flash memory thumb drive to your laptop’s USB port to back up files on the road. External hard drives. A simple and relatively inexpensive way to add more storage is to connect an external hard disk drive to your computer. External hard drives directly connected to PCs have several disadvantages, however. Any files stored on the drive but not elsewhere need to be backed up.
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3. Develop a Plan Before investing in a data storage solution, consult with a trusted IT advisor on which option--or options--will best meet your business’s current and future needs. Then create a plan for deploying the storage your business is likely to need when and where it will be needed. The bottom line: Don’t wait until you need more storage before deciding what to do. Start planning now for your future storage needs, so you won’t waste time and money later.
Call Kyvon for more information about on and off-site data storage (314) 416.1490
Put Your Web Site to the Test
Effective testing is the key to web site improvement.
Think Like a Searcher. If you’re exploring navigation options, always include the most literal description as an option. In an A/B study conducted for Skype, a few small changes, such as using “accessories” instead of “shop” in the navigation menu resulted in an increase of 18.75 percent revenue per visit. Account for Date and Time Changes. Variations based on time of day, week, month or year can make a huge difference in user behavior.
Business focus Kyvon 11141 South Towne Square Suite C St. Louis, MO 63123 firstname.lastname@example.org 314.416.1490 877.710.7993 (toll free) 888.644.1117 (fax) www.kyvon.com
Vary Your Sample Size Obtaining a valid sample is important, but there’s no point in hearing an obvious answer over and over. Sometimes a few usability sessions will result in the same critical feedback. In this case, it may be worth tampering with the sample size to perform some rapid prototyping and test a new design. Blend Quantitative With Qualitative. The best insight comes from having more than one view into user behavior. If you are using primary research, such as facilitated usability testing to learn about the customer, consider an A/B test or a survey to test your key assumptions. Conversely, if your quantitative data suggests that users prefer “A” rather than “B,” find a way to talk with a few oneon-one to learn why. Don’t Damage Your Brand. It’s great to be able to test different options, but what experience will a customer have if they view a new home page treatment on each visit? Many A/B tests will limit brand impact by only serving alternative versions to a small percentage of users, such as 1 percent. With usability tests, generic prototypes can actually help reduce brand bias and offer more objective feedback on the designs.
Q. Should we install used software on our business machines? A. Used software can be tempting, but you should proceed with caution. Some software is not legally transferable to other computers. Watch out for bootlegs or pirated software and stay on guard for disreputable sellers. It's usually better in the long run to just purchase new copies.
11141 South Towne Square Suite C St. Louis, MO 63123
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Business Focus Issue 7, Volume 2, 2008