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Three Things to Consider When Building Your BYOD Policy

byodThe freedom that comes along with mobility is the proverbial double-edged sword. An employee thinks, “Awesome, I can work from anywhere” only to realize, “I can be, and should be, working from everywhere!” The employer thinks, “Wonderful, we are now connected to our workforce 24/7” and then they realize, “Wow, we have to protect our workforce 24/7.” The implementation of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policy can alleviate some of the concerns on both ends.

Before you can create and implement an effective BYOD policy, it’s important to understand the role of mobility in today’s workforce. Below are three considerations to help you form a BYOD policy:

Who is actually connecting from outside of the office? Most employers aren’t quite sure how to answer. The IDC estimates that this year, the world’s mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion, representing 37.2 percent of the total workforce. Aside from those specifically categorized as remote employees, telecommuting is often extended to employees during bad weather, illness, or relocation in an effort to maintain productivity. For a clear policy that users will follow, you need to understand who the users are, and how to address their needs most effectively.

How are people connecting? It is almost more critical to understand how the connections are made over who is making the connections. According to research by Forrester, the average employee accesses corporate data from three or more work and/or personal devices. Even if you are providing devices that have been through security clearances, employees are still using personal devices to check in. With that being the case, BYOD policies need to be defined and outlined not only for every employee, and every device.

Which security policy is in place to protect your data? To protect the data being accessed there may already be a policy in place but chances are that it may be outdated. Forbes says that mobile strategies, as part of larger IT strategies, across industries are insufficient after a couple of years. With hacking and data breaches on the rise, it’s important to modernize any existing policies with updated security considerations.

To establish a proper BYOD policy, it’s important to review the specifics of your workforce. For instance, review and create policy details such as approved device lists, procedures for lost devices, and specifications for downloading or using applications. Additionally, stipulating how both company-provided and personal devices are supported will also add to a full BYOD policy.

At Prince Albert Photocopier, we have reviewed BYOD policies for companies to ensure that they are addressing today’s most critical issues and fortify the company’s data. If you find yourself without the time to put together a strong BYOD policy, as your partner, we design a custom policy and enforce it for you.

Contact one of our professionals for help setting up your BYOD policy.
Call Prince Albert Photocopier- IT Solutions today at (306) 763-3000.

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The Right 1-2 Punch for IT Investments

 

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Whether business is starting from scratch or experiencing a major growth, a strong IT infrastructure impacts how the different pieces of the business work together.

Think of the IT infrastructure like it’s the engine of a car. The engine is where all the different elements come together to create a powerful machine. IT infrastructure connects hardware, software, networks, and all pieces of the information technology. Once the pieces are working together the product is a fast, secure, controlled IT environment… or an engine that can go 200,000 miles.

Similar to the oil changes and tire rotations you invest in, IT investments are needed for a high functioning machine. Here are some reasons why it is worth investing in IT infrastructure:


1. Using the wrong server configuration is like driving a car without an engine

The right servers is where it all begins. The server’s main job is to host files and/or applications and provide access to them using the network. If the server isn’t working then everything else fails, much like what would happen if the engine fell out of a car.

Optimized servers operate with high performance that is felt throughout the supply chain. From improved customer engagement and increased partner collaboration, to an enriched employee experience, the server creates a seamless system for communications and information sharing. Additionally, a reliable and flexible server environment also allows for faster transactions, real-time interactions, and better data sharing, keeping stakeholders involved and engaged with company output.

IBM Power Systems utilize an open server ecosystem to boost innovation. As one of the most disruptive server advancements of the decade, this technology is braced for massive data volumes and complexities. Server environments that can accommodate to-market demands will increase the ROI throughout their lifecycle. It’s imperative that the right server is included in any IT infrastructure investment strategy.

 

2. Important data needs safe storage

Without the right storage capabilities a variety of problems can occur: employees could exceed storage limits too often, important data may get lost, miscommunications between storage systems could interfere with customer response times. If the data is worth creating, it’s worth storing correctly.

Storage solutions from IBM cover all options from virtualization to disk storage. The various architectures are built to optimize infrastructure, securely store critical data, and make that data both available and accessible to create strong analytics. Data impacts real-time business decisions and creates a history for a business to rely on, learn from, and use to its advantage.

The IBM Storwize family, IBM FlashSystem, IBM XIV, and the IBM DS8870 add value to a safe and secure infrastructure through their flexible, self-tuning architectures. Investing in these technologies makes secure, stored data obtainable.

Prince Albert Photocopier, with IBM as our partner, offers the solutions specifically designed to be affordable, efficient, and easy to implement. Our goal is to create an infrastructure, based on servers and storage tools, which increase information sharing and powerful analytics. The engine takes passengers from A to B; infrastructure takes businesses to the next level.

Create a long lasting IT infrastructure with Prince Albert Photocopier. Call us to find out more at (306) 763-3000.

The Right Backup Strategy Puts Your Data in Safe Hands

Get the right backup strategy for your business

Has this happened to you?
You are in the middle of a three-month long project, and one day you try to access your latest documents and… nothing. Absolutely nothing. You restart, you call IT, you enter panic mode, and still…nothing. This is where you start to hear that annoying voice in your head say, “You should have backed up.” Well, it’s happened to us all.

  • It’s easy to ignore that voice because you’re busy or you think that your IT team has a handle on backups. But can you afford to be unsure when 60% of companies that lose their data will shut down within 6 months of the disaster. Backups must be a priority in your IT strategy. Here are a few of the risks you can avoid with proper IT backups:
  • Human Error – Save yourself from yourself! It’s easy to click YES instead of NO when asked if you want to delete something. With backups, those kinds of mistakes are easily to revert.
  • Equipment Failure – Storing sensitive documents on your desktop may seem safer than on a network, but what happens when the hardware itself fails? You need a secure, secondary place for storing any pertinent data.
  • Security – Can you survive a cyber-attack if you only have one copy of everything? Probably not. Without backups, a security breach can impact not only your entire data set, but also risk exposing your clients’ data to unwanted eyes.
  • Natural Disasters – In addition to a disaster recovery plan, backups play a major role in business continuity. Without them, even if your data center gets back up and running swiftly, the data could be compromised as hardware is ruined.

With an understanding of why it’s important to backup comes the next question of how to actually backup? With IBM as our partner, we are able to provide backups using the most advanced technologies. Additionally, we can provide the support to implement the right solution and manage those backups.

There are various ways of securely backing up your data. Onsite backups are great for easy access to data, but a strategy that includes off-site web storage is even safer. Transporting data off-site using magnetic tapes or electronically via remote backup services ensures systems and servers are safe in the event of a disaster, human error, or hardware failure.

Beyond off-site backups, virtualized servers can demand alternative backup strategies. Virtualization-specific tools for backup can see and store your data from the server by taking snapshots in real time. Under a cloud-computing configuration, enhanced by backups, you enjoy maximum storage capacity, a safe environment, and backups tailored to your business needs.

Backup systems involve a level of expertise and service that could take IT teams away from providing support or contributing to strategy objectives. With Prince Albert as your partner, we leverage our IBM relationship to match you with the best backup technologies available and follow up with dedicated support.

Put your company’s information in safe hands today with Prince Albert Photocopier.
Call us to find out more at (306) 763-3000.

 

Backups and Server Health

Important Information from Prince Albert Photocopier

Ransomware Warning:

Another online scam is making its rounds. Ransomware is a type of malware (malicious software) that criminals install on your computer so they can lock it or encrypt your files from a remote location. Ransomware restricts access to the computer system that it infects and generates a pop-up window, webpage, or email warning demanding a payment (or “ransom”) be paid to a remote entity in order for the restrictions to be removed or to decrypt files. In many instances, the Ransomware can appear to come from what looks like an official authority (i.e. Canadian Police Association, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, etc). In most cases, the message falsely accuses the user of accessing illegal or illicit websites such as child pornography or other file-sharing websites and subsequently tells the user that a fine, usually somewhere between $100 and $5,000, needs to be paid via money transfer or credit card to unlock the computer and avoid criminal charges. The hope is that the victim will pay the ransom instead of going to the police. After the victim submits their payment details the malware unleashes a virus that monitors and steals their personal and confidential information.

Ransomware is typically installed when you open a malicious email attachment or when you visit a website that has been compromised. Despite its threatening nature, Ransomware is still a type of malware. Below are some tips to help keep malware off of your computer:
Install and use an up-to-date antivirus solution.

  • Keep your firewall turned on.
  • Make sure all of your software is up-to-date to the latest secure versions.
  • Don’t click on links or open attachments from unknown sources.
  • Make sure you have proper on site and off site backups with proper retention policy.

Some Ransomware may leave your computer or files in an unusable (encrypted) state. It is recommended that you regularly perform a backup of your important files. If your computer becomes infected with Ransomware, report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre as soon as possible. For methods on how to  remove Ransomware from an infected computer, refer to http://www.microsoft.com/security/portal/shared/ransomware.aspx. If these methods fail you may need to have your computer cleaned up by a computer specialist.

Ransomware has been around since 2006 but only surfaced in Canada in late 2011. In 2012, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) received 1,690 reports from Canadian consumers who reported receiving the Ransomware pop‐up message. According to Symantec, this sophisticated attack is growing, with an estimated $5 million extorted from victims every year. One of the most successful lines of defense when dealing with today’s cyber criminals is to understand the mechanics of an attack. Employees knowing what to look out for and being able to recognize an attack is one of the most effective ways of protecting your corporate network from malicious malware. Please be aware of this scam!

encryption notice

On Site backups:

Please monitor your on site backups closely and always check the status of last backup before inserting new tape/drive.   Some people have a habit of ejecting an old tape and inserting a new one everyday.  They don’t realize that monitoring the server screen for the last backup status is very important.  If you don’t know how to check your backup status please contact our IT Team at Prince Albert Photocopier (306-763-3000)  and we will walk you through the actual backup process.

Servers, Storage and Networking hardware monitoring:

Its very important to designate a person in your organization to check the daily backup status and monitor the health status of your computing equipment.   It only takes 30-40 seconds to  physically inspect your servers or rack in order to check the health lights.  If you find an Amber or Red light on servers or on any other equipment please contact us immediately.  Should you have an active Managed Services Subscription (MSS) with Prince Albert Photocopier, please note that although the MSS does report hardware failure notifications automatically to Prince Albert Photocopier, some issues due to the nature of hardware failure or site setup will not automatically report hardware failure notifications.    Therefore it is strongly recommended that physical hardware health be inspected on a daily basis by a onsite designated person to assist the MSS reporting.

Examples of hardware failure lights:

serverLights

4 Essential Reasons to Choose Local Vendors

Customer ServiceWhen shopping around for the best possible price on projects or products, there’s one thing to keep in mind: local vendors offer advantages that larger companies can’t match. From first-rate, dependable customer service to customized solutions, there is a great advantage to using local vendors. Here are 4 essential reasons why local vendors do it best:

  1. Reliable Reputations – Word of mouth is one of the most trusted marketing tools that companies have at their disposal. With local companies, it is measurably more difficult to hide bad products and reputations. For non-local companies, there is always an unknown element and risk regarding quality of service and products. A posted review from a random source, for instance, will never be as reliable as hearing a successful story from a satisfied, local bloke or local BBB (Better Business Bureau) website.
  2. Speedy Onsite Service – One of the greatest competitive advantages of choosing a local vendor is the speed at which they can be onsite if a problem does occur that can’t be fixed through remote services. There is an added layer of comfort knowing that, if a server crashes, you can have someone at your back door with a tool box and look of determination to get your systems back up running as quickly as possible.
  3. Better Understanding of Area – Being a local business themselves, local vendors share a similar, unique view of their communities with local clients. Local vendors understand the needs and challenges that companies in their communities are facing. They also have a better understanding of the local dynamic and customer base. With this valuable information, local vendors can design solutions that will help your company better meet the needs of your clients.
  4. Diversity of Products – With ties to multiple industry-leading companies, companies can gain the advantage of accessing the best products to fit specific needs – regardless of brands. Without the ulterior motive of pushing certain products, services, or brands, local vendors can simply offer the best solution to fit your organization’s needs.

Discover what advantages our local company can offer your business. Contact one of our Prince Albert Photocopier Solution Specialists today!

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Top 4 Things to Consider When Choosing an IT Consulting Firm

179026806IT Projects are a huge undertaking for any company. There are many different ways a project can fall into chaos, from budget overages to labor costs and poor planning, but choosing the right IT consulting firm can help your organization avoid all of this. Through customizable planning, the right experience, and premium business connections, a quality consulting group can not only keep companies in the green, but also yield awesome returns on their investments for years to come.

Here are 4 things to look out for when choosing the right IT Consulting
Firm for your company:

Internal expertise and experience. One way to guarantee a strong return on any project is to work with a company that can take the guess work out of implementations. After years of working in the IT field, certain projects become a science. Experts know what to look for when diagnosing problems and developing solutions. Any IT provider and consulting firm should come to the table offering advice and guidance.

Industry-leading partnerships. Possessing partnerships with industry-leading companies is a key ingredient to look for when researching IT consulting firms. Not only does it show an added layer of competence when working with specific brands, but many partners are able to leverage their connections and gain access to the latest and greatest technological breakthroughs. With powerful backing, IT consulting groups can even pass along special offers and cost savings to clients.

Customization to fit specific needs. Every company is different. If you ever find yourself being presented with cookie cutter solutions and pre-planned packages before you get to voice your specific needs, then you might find yourself stuck with a  solution that only meets a portion of your needs, thus selling your investment potential short.

A history of quality. Shopping around for rock-bottom prices can sometimes yield rock-bottom quality. Always weight what you’re getting for the price. For many companies, one of the hardest tasks to take on is attempting to find that perfect balance between service, quality, and price to gain an optimum return. A top-notch consulting firm will be able to help you find that sweet spot and optimize your investment. The best way to determine how successful a company is at producing quality results is to check out past reviews and testimonials.

Prince Albert Photocopier’s straightforward approach to Information Technology solution delivery logically integrates best-in-class Information Technology services from end-to-end and helps you build and maintain the optimal IT environment by making it easy for you to select the solutions you require.  We believe this approach is what differentiates us from other IT consulting firms.

Discover the return your company can gain from an experienced IT Consulting firm by contacting  Prince Albert Photocopier today!

5 Essential Business Security Best Practices for SMBs

177237922In today’s world of ever-evolving and endless cyber-attacks, it has become essential for companies of all sizes to bolster the protection of company data, as well as employee information. SMBs that feel they are too small to become targets may be at the greatest risk. A study performed by Symantec found that SMBs have become increasingly appealing targets for cyber criminals and 40% of all targeted attacks in 2011 were directed at small and medium businesses. Here are 5 best practices that can help SMBs bolster their security and defenses:

Standardize and simplify IT. There are very few benefits to an overly complex IT environment. Multi-vendor management is not only a strain on IT Managers, but it can also seriously reduce security levels. There is power behind an integrated, unified system that can search operating systems, software, and hardware for potential threats in one efficiency sweep.

Utilize Encryption tools. By encoding information, companies can store a more protected form of data that is much more difficult to steal or lose. Via encryption, companies can ensure that critical data is protected and safeguarded.

Implement a removable media policy. Made for large data storage volumes and mobility, USBs and CDs can be breeding grounds for viruses and spyware. As portable as these devices are, they can also be easily lost, stolen, and wiped. Limited use may be best.

Obtain Mobile Device Management (MDM) tools. Although larger than USBs and CDs, mobile devices can just as easily be stolen or lost. The key here is that these devices – whether they be smartphones, laptops, or tablets – have an internet connection. With the right MDM tool, like IBM Endpoint Manger, companies can easily see who and from where people are accessing company data. Wiping lost or stolen devices is another option.

Educate employees. Instituting policies is one thing; making sure they are understood is another. In order to ensure security, you must have the backing of your team. From frequent password changes to knowing what constitutes suspicious activity, teamwork can be your greatest ally in the defense against cyber threats.

Interested in discovering how your company can bolster its security against cyber-threats? Reach out to one of our Prince Albert PhotocopierSolution Specialists today for a risk assessment!

http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/under-attack-three-smbs-discuss-fight-against-malware

How to Combat the Hidden Threats of BYOD

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The sale of mobile devices is on the rise. According to a recent study performed by Gartner, smartphone sales totaled an average of 225 million in the second quarter of 2013. This is no surprise as more and more people seek to own the latest and greatest technologies, but what happens when an employee wishes to tote their newly purchased device into the office? At first glance, this can seem like a great financial and performance-enhancing benefit to companies, but before jumping to a decision, there are a few things to consider.

As the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon continues to pick up momentum, companies are realizing the security and legal issues associated with employee-owned devices. The controversy circles one main point: how are organizations expected to keep sensitive business data protected on devices that do not belong to them?

From external threats that can arise when devices are lost or stolen to the inability to track how data is being used and where it is going, companies can find themselves at serious risk. Mobility, however, is a necessity in today’s workforce. So how do companies balance the cost-benefits and business advantages of employee owned devices with the security concerns? The answer comes in the form of Mobile Device Management (MDM).

IBM Endpoint Manger – one of the top MDM solutions on the market today – allows employees to access information from one secure platform. This platform not only monitors who and where information is being accessed, but also synchronizes multiple devices – from smartphones to laptops, tablets, and other portable devices with internet access and a pulse.

Enhanced integration isn’t the only key benefit. IBM Endpoint Manager also eases the burden on administrators by simplifying application deployment, patches, and updates. With real-time visibility into data usage, as well as unified enforcement that allows companies to operate this MDM solution on devices of all brands and types, organizations can safely monitor sensitive business data without encroaching on employee privacy.

Interested in discovering how MDM solutions can help keep your employees organized while simultaneously safeguarding data? Contact one of our Prince Albert Photocopier Solution Specialists today!

POS System

The Value of a Good POS System in the Petroleum Industry

POS SystemPoint of sale (POS) systems are transforming the way retail and other businesses are functioning, and the world of petroleum is no exception. The majority of gas stations in today’s world, after all, don’t sell solely gas. Between merchandise sales, food service, and gas sales, the number of systems needed to run a functioning business can pile up and cause loads of confusion. POS systems simplify the various parts of business to make life easier for owners and employees alike. Take a look at a few examples of the latest innovations that new POS systems for the petroleum industry are offering:

Enhanced Integration – From tracking dangerous product to streamlining checkout, inventory, customer marketing, security, and inventory management, POS systems can seamlessly handle transactions and surveillance from a single point of sale terminal. Cashiers can control fuel pumps while handling internal grocery sales, and all while watching a live feed from security cameras on the same monitor that transactions are being processed on.

Detailed Business Reporting – Reports on sales figures, inventory levels, and overall costs are at the fingertips of business owners. With a simplified reporting structure, owners and managers can easily select the type of report, as well as the date and time range, which makes extrapolating usable data from systems all the easier. This improves an owner and manager’s visibility into their business, and aids future business decisions.

Inventory Management – Companies now-a-days need accurate inventory control to maintain optimum profitability. With barcode scanning and simplified, integrated entry, stations can easily stay on top of new orders, reduce stock outages, and even track the best and worst selling products. Automatic adjustments can also be set to increase inventory stock levels.

Customer Loyalty Rewards Programs – New POS systems are able to keep track of fill-up loyalty programs without having the customer run a loyalty card into a cashier. Everything is handled at the pump, which leads to more sales as clients fill up and complete their transactions that much faster. On top of that, loyal customers mean more transactions per month and a higher return on investment.

Scheduling and Time Clocks – With built-in scheduling, new POS systems make it easy to manage staff and reduce labor costs. With the ability to clock employees in and out, as well as schedule paid or un-paid breaks, it has never been easier to manage shifts, hours, wages, and ensure that employees arrive on time.

POS systems are making businesses smarter and more efficient, especially those in the petroleum industry. To discover how a quality InfoNet POS system can transform the performance and production of your business, contact one of our Prince Albert Photocopier’s Solution Specialists today!

Brand Equity

How Graphic Design Empowers your Business and Brand

Brand Equity

Graphics are awesome. Whether we like it or not, books are judged by their covers and companies are judged by the appearance of their logos, brands, and websites. Images resonate; they create lasting impressions that can have a ripple effect for brands. For companies that haven’t yet considered web and graphic design, here are a few things to ponder before jumping back to the mundane world of clip art and templates.

Custom graphic designs can help your company:

Build credibility. Think competitors and clients can’t tell the difference between box clip art and the work of a graphic designer? Think again. The truth is that a company’s appearance can be a huge influencer on the perception of their brand. Graphic design is a way for businesses to stand out in a sea of template graphics. How do you want your company to be perceived?

Empower brand awareness. Just think of the power that an awesome image has over people. It can keep clients at your website, engage potential customers, and a great design can even help build brand awareness. Things that stand out are more likely to get people talking. There are even competitions that recognize, host, and display original designs, like galleries for original graphic creations. The bottom line is that a good design can help your company get noticed.

Break away from competitors. Take the example of the template business card. Imagine handing a business card to a client and then finding out that your competitor uses the exact same template. Now, imagine handing over an original card complete with a unique, original design. You are not just handing over your business information; you’re giving them something different, something to remember you and your company by. Lasting impressions are a very powerful thing.

Highlight your expertise. With a custom website design, your company can showcase what you excel at, what you do best. A great website design will never leave a client wondering what your best features are; it will put them on display.

Reap the rewards of fewer kinks and maintenance. As an expert in the field of design and website creation, a graphic designer specializes in delivering exceptional website products, complete with fewer kinks and bugs that can sometimes infest template websites. Ensuring that your site can be seen by a variety of Operating Systems and OS versions will improve your company’s outreach and integrity.

Discover how customized graphic designs can help take your business to the next level. From logo creation to custom business cards, advertisements, brochures, flyers, websites, and more, our Prince Albert Photocopier Solution Specialists are ready to provide all the tools needed to promote your business. Reach out to us today!