Disposing of Connected Devices: What You Should Know

pile of electronical devices - technology concept

Unfortunately, technology does not last forever, and today’s culture of upgrades means that users of smartphones and other devices are constantly updating even when they don’t need to. This practice can extend to businesses, too. Businesses need to have a strategy in place that they can use when it is time to upgrade from older devices, including the way that you dispose of them. Disposing of connected devices should be done effectively without sacrificing the environment and your data privacy/security. Read on to learn how to do so.

First, let’s establish why you might want to work with a trusted technology professional to help you dispose of your old connected devices.

It’s Good for the Environment

What happens to your device when it gets thrown away? More often than not, it will find its way to a landfill in an off-shore country where it will sit and eventually contaminate the environment. Devices are manufactured with parts that contain precious metals and hazardous or harmful materials. There is a better way to dispose of these devices, one that is less wasteful and much better for the environment.

If you work with a managed service provider, your device will be less likely to find its way into a landfill. Depending on the age of the device and its functionality, your device might even be able to be recycled, repurposed, or donated to someone else who might still get some value out of it.

Data Privacy is Critical

The big thing that you want to keep in mind with disposing of your organization’s devices is security and data privacy. If you fail to dispose of devices with security and privacy in mind, your business could be putting itself at risk of a data breach or fines down the road. Even if your device is not found by a hacker, you could face costs associated with data privacy in much the way Morgan Stanley was in 2020; for failing to properly wipe devices, it was fined $60 million.

Simply deleting files on your devices will not be enough. Due to the way that data and files are stored on devices, you want to have a professional involved in this process so that there is no chance of data remaining on the device when it comes time to dispose of them.

Understand Your Technology’s End of Life Timeline

People often upgrade their devices even when they don’t need to. Everyone tends to jump on the bandwagon, leading to upgrades and new technology implementation even when there is little-to-no value in doing so. This naturally leads to people throwing out perfectly fine devices even when they don’t have to, just for the sake of having a brand new device.

On the other hand, some organizations wait far too long to upgrade their technology, hoping that they can cut costs by waiting until it’s absolutely necessary to do so. Some even wait until the device or operating system is no longer supported! This is a dangerous practice, as hackers are always on top of software and operating systems that are vulnerable to threats. You want to make sure that you can upgrade your devices before you put your organization at risk by using unsupported devices.

AE Technology Group can help your business while properly disposing of connected devices so that you don’t put your organization at risk. To learn more about what we can do for your company, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.

Don’t Let Data Backup Concerns Hold Your Business Back

IT Engineer Installs New HDD Hard Drive and Other Hardware into Server Rack Equipment. IT Specialist Doing Maintenance, Running Diagnostics and Updating Hardware.

Your business is not unique in the sense that it stores and transmits data during its day-to-day routines. Whether it’s financial information for your clients or employee records, it is more than likely that your business holds some kind of critical data that your operations rely on throughout the workday. Would your operations be able to recover from a sudden loss of data?

While imagining this worst-case scenario might seem intimidating and downright scary, failing to do so is even worse for your business continuity. You owe it to everyone who works so hard to keep your business going to do all you can to protect it as best as possible. To work toward this goal, we recommend a solution that all businesses should utilize: data backup and disaster recovery. Data backup is one of those things that you don’t necessarily realize its true value until you need it most, and failing to have it could put your future on the line.

Data Backup vs Disaster Recovery

Data backups are copies of your business’ data that you can restore in the event of a disaster that destroys the original. These are particularly useful when you suffer a data loss scenario or security breach. Data backup has been done with tape for years, a process that involves setting the tape, running the backup, and storing the tapes in a place off-site in the event they are needed.

Tape is on its way out, however, due to issues that are prevalent in the way that it is fundamentally designed. Modern technology has addressed these issues, such as slow implementation and deployment speed, user error, and storage space. The cloud makes everything involved with the data backup and disaster recovery process so much easier by eliminating the possibility of user error, speeding up the process, freeing up on-site storage, and fully automating the process.

Data backup is only one part of a successful disaster recovery solution. You also need to make sure that you are actually able to deploy these backups when they are needed most. Since disasters can disrupt operations so profoundly, you want to have your backups ready to go in the event of data breaches, natural disasters, or user errors. Failing to have these data backups available puts your operations in jeopardy not just from an operational standpoint, but also from a cost perspective when you factor in downtime and lost productivity.

Your disaster recovery solution should aim to minimize downtime through the use of a cloud-deployed backup to temporary hardware. It’s not meant to be a permanent solution; it just keeps you in business while you work to replace it. A common rule you might hear about is the 3-2-1 rule of data backup. You should have three copies of your data ready to go at a moment’s notice: one on-site or on-network, one located in the cloud for ease of restoration, and one in a secure off-site data center. This redundancy makes for an ideal solution and certainly one that minimizes downtime and data loss.

Implement BDR Today

A data backup and disaster recovery solution like BDR is the best way to approach your business’ continuity concerns. AE Technology Group has the knowledge and expertise to walk you through this process every step of the way, from determining your specific backup needs to the deployment of solutions. To learn more, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.

How to Get Control of Your Email Inbox

Photo of computer screen up close showing email inbox with 179 unread emails

As you read this sentence, think about the current state of your email inbox. Is it clean and crisp with only a handful of new emails on a daily basis, or is it an entangled mess filled with hundreds (or even thousands) of unread and often unimportant emails? If it’s the latter, you’re in luck; we’ve got some tips to help you finally get a grip on your email inbox.

First, we need to start by controlling the level of emails that flow into your email inbox. Let’s discuss some of these methods.

Send Fewer Emails

This is a pretty simple rule; if you cut down on the number of emails you send, you should, in theory, cut down on the number of emails you receive. Generally speaking, email is meant to be used (and is most effective) for tasks that are not immediately pressing. While we understand that this isn’t always possible, even a little action on your part could make a world of difference. If you send one fewer email a day, you can potentially cut out at least one email in your inbox per day.

Depending on the topic, you might be able to use an instant messaging application or a phone in place of the email. These are generally more reserved for immediately pressing tasks rather than the passive nature of an email, but you do cut down on the chance that your email will be lost in the ether.

Unsubscribe from Email Lists

A business owner needs to stay up-to-date on the latest happenings in their chosen industry, and doing so might entail subscribing to email lists. These are automated lists that send you emails on a regular basis, and if you don’t keep up with them, it is easy to lose track of how many you have subscribed to. These quickly add up and can often drown out emails that actually are important.

A good rule to follow is that, if you have not opened an email newsletter from a particular organization or website in the past month, it’s safe to say that you are no longer interested in reading their content. Granted, some email newsletters are monthly, but if they are, they shouldn’t be clogging up your inbox. We’re talking about the real offenders that might send you several messages a week (or even a day). Many email newsletters have an Unsubscribe link at the bottom of the message, but you should be careful with these; the last thing you want is to walk into a phishing attack.

Archive Whenever Possible

The idea of deleting an important email can paralyze you with inaction. While you could organize your inbox into folders and other segments for management, even this can sometimes create situations where you start to accrue too many messages. The fact that you don’t know what will be important in the next couple of months or years is also a challenge, as you cannot possibly expect to predict the future.

An email archiving system that is backed up and maintained by your organization can resolve these issues. If you have important messages that you need to keep around, you can simply archive them in a system where they can be searched for and pulled out at a later date. Most cloud-based platforms like Office 365’s Outlook or Google Workspace’s Gmail give you this capability.

Schedule Time Every Day

If you are having trouble making a dent in your inbox, you just do whatever you would normally do for a large and daunting task: break it down into more manageable chunks and chip away at it over time. If you delete or archive more emails a day than you receive, you should theoretically be able to clean it up in a respectable amount of time. Devote a short amount of time each morning or afternoon to checking and managing your inbox. You might be surprised by how much this helps in the long run.

Implement Spam Protection and Technology Solutions

AE Technology Group can help your business manage its email and implement great new technology solutions that keep threatening or time-wasting messages out of your inbox. To learn more about how we can help you with spam and email management solutions, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.

Cloud-Hosted Tools Your Business Should Consider

hands on laptop keyboard with cloud concept graphic overlaid

The cloud has provided organizations with countless ways to innovate and improve operations. Still, for those who are just now jumping on this great opportunity, you might have some questions about how to get the most out of the cloud or how even to get started. Let’s discuss some of the major benefits of cloud-hosted tools, as well as why it’s critical to consider them in the years to come.

This is especially important right now, while the world is reeling from a global pandemic. So how can cloud-hosted tools help your organization navigate this territory and optimize operations, despite the circumstances? Let’s find out.

Data Storage

Business professionals often run into a situation where important files are located on one of their devices but not on the others. Even if files are stored on an in-house network, that doesn’t necessarily help you out of the office. The answer to this dilemma is surprisingly simple: implement a cloud-based data storage system.

Cloud-based data storage allows your organization to access data on any connected device, provided the accounts have been outfitted with appropriate permissions. You can work on any file, anytime, from anywhere. When it comes time to travel or work remotely, a cloud-based data storage system means that you will never have access issues again. Since hosting on-premise can be expensive and time-consuming, we recommend hosting your data in the cloud.

Backup and Disaster Recovery

If your business is not prepared to handle data loss scenarios, your future is most certainly in jeopardy. Data stored across different devices can be difficult to keep track of, but if it’s all housed in the same location, i.e., the cloud, it becomes easier to back up and recover in the event of a disaster. While tape may have been the gold standard for a long time, it was prone to several inconsistencies that make it pale compared to the cloud, such as the possibility of user error, risk of natural disasters, and the sheer amount of physical space the tapes can take up.

An automated data backup system that does not rely on anyone setting tapes is the ideal solution, and it’s thanks to the cloud that it is possible. Backups stored in the cloud provide more redundancy than tape, so you will never have to worry about whether or not the data is available. In addition, you can know with confidence that a copy of your data exists for you to recover in the event of an emergency.

Cloud-Hosted Tools

Why limit what the cloud can do for your business to just your data and backup? Instead, imagine what you can accomplish by using the cloud in more creative ways, such as hosting your business’ email or productivity suite on it. Hosting these solutions in the cloud allows for easy access on any approved device, meaning that you are truly freed from the constraints of the office.

You can also apply this principle to hardware solutions to an extent. For example, if you have certain legacy software that only runs on a specific instance of a server operating system, you might normally require an individual server unit for that software alone. Instead of running more hardware, you can instead use a virtual machine with partitioning through the cloud, allowing you to host-specific instances of an operating system in a virtual environment, saving you the headache and frustration of maintaining yet another server unit.

Get Started with the Cloud!

Don’t wait any longer to get started with cloud-based technology. AE Technology Group can help you with the entire process, from conceptualization to implementation. To learn more, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.

Productivity Plugins For Major Browsers: Computer Tip Of The Day

productivity plugins for major browsers computer tip of the day

When you are on your computer at work, it is too easy to get distracted. A world of information and entertainment is at your fingertips. Thankfully, there are a few browser plugins and extensions that make it simple to stay on task. Here are some of the best productivity plugins for each of the major browsers.

Safari: Self Control

With the Self Control application for Mac computers, you can set your own controls for “banned” sites. All you have to do is simply create a list of sites that you don’t want to visit. Perhaps you are trying to work, so you block Facebook and Twitter. Or maybe, you are home from work and block your professional email to keep your focus on family. Regardless of the end result, this application works on a timer and makes it nearly impossible to reach any of your outlawed sites.

Chrome: AdBlocker

This plugin doesn’t prevent you from visiting off-task sites, but it makes them less distracting when you do. It eliminates all flashy ads from your screen so you are not distracted by pop-ups and banners while you are trying to work. It even claims to work for Facebook ads, so it is definitely worth a try!

Edge: Pocket

If you find yourself getting distracted by headlines and interesting Facebook articles, this is for you. Pocket is practically a virtual notebook for you to save all of the articles you wish to read later. When you find yourself procrastinating on a site that is particularly interesting, you can add it to your Pocket queue with one simple click and read it when you have time.

These are just a few of the most popular, well-known and effective plugins, but there are thousands available. With a bit of research you can find a program that is perfect for your needs. For more technology support, contact us–we are here to help.