How to Avoid These 4 IT Mistakes As Your Company Grows

How to Avoid These 4 IT Mistakes As Your Company Grows
Mistakes

Have you noticed that your technology is struggling to keep up as the company expands over time? If so, you’re not alone. Many companies solely focus on increasing their sales without considering whether their technology will be able to  accommodate their growth.

Here are several IT mistakes you should try to avoid as your business starts to grow:

Mistake #1

Your Technology Does Not Align With the Company’s Overall Goals

Your technology should always align with the goals of your business. After all, not every product is going to be a good fit or meet your needs. Once you have outlined the company’s strategic goals, you should only invest in technology that will help you achieve them.

Mistake #2

Your Employees Are Not Supportive

Do your employees know why your company uses certain technology over others? They are less likely to embrace it if they don’t understand its purpose. This can lead to unsupportive employees who can lower the morale in the workplace. You can avoid this mistake early on by explaining to them in detail how your technology ties into the company’s overall mission.   

Mistake #3

You Don’t Explore Your Technology’s Full Capabilities

Technology has made significant strides within the last couple of decades, but many companies are still not taking advantage of all its capabilities. Talk with your managed IT service provider to learn more about how you can fully optimize it. You should also train the employees on how to use your software and equipment.

Mistake #4

Your Technology Isn’t A Priority

Sadly, some small business owners and managers are so focused on driving sales that they forget to prioritize their IT. You can use technology to increase efficiency and productivity. To prevent this from happening, you should work with a dedicated IT service provider to oversee your company’s technology.

Schedule a Consultation Today

For more information on how to avoid costly IT mistakes, please contact us our managed services IT company today. We’d be happy to perform a free audit and give an on-site consultation.

FinTech Has a Daily Impact on Our Lives

FinTech Has a Daily Impact on Our Lives

What is FinTech?

Money is what makes the world go around, or so they say. Everyone is in business to make money, but the degree to which the organization deals with it might vary. For example, some companies, like banks, are designed to make money by helping others manage theirs. Banks and marketplace lenders take advantage of what is called financial technology, or FinTech, to more effectively provide services to individuals or organizations that want to manage, borrow, pay, see, or use their money in more efficient ways.

Banks are more subject to specific regulations, whereas marketplace lenders, or MPLs, are still somewhat on the upswing. FinTech helps them lend, collect, and distribute capital. MPLs have risen in popularity in recent years, and it’s likely because an estimated $7 trillion is at risk of being displaced from the financial services market. They take advantage of modern technology, which ultimately means that they are at less risk overall than with any other non-regulated financial transaction. Legislators are hard at work creating ways to regulate these organizations without keeping them from innovating, but this proves challenging, as there needs to be something in place to protect consumers.

What is FinTech?

Simply put, FinTech is any sort of technology that is used to track or manage your finances. This includes your credit card, online banking systems, and even applications like PayPal. While technology isn’t anything new in this regard, the drastic changes to hardware and software in recent years have fostered growth in this sector, providing new mediums outside of the traditional banking infrastructure. Whereas banks have been run in largely the same way for a long time now, MPLs have a considerably larger amount of virtual capital that allows these companies to invest in ways that other independent organizations could only dream of. Basically, thanks to FinTech, investors have more options than ever before.

These days, most money is flowing through asset managers who take the money and invest it in non-traditional methods through technology systems. Even defining FinTech is an issue at times due to the scope of what it covers, including where the company operates and what kind of lending facility it is. Overall, regarding federal regulations, the latest FinTech models present questionable situations that need to be addressed by legislators. Federal investigators have had their eye on this sector for around five years now, so compared to banks that are somewhat limited in what they can and cannot use their capital for, marketplace lenders have been able to bypass these restrictions to create new opportunities.

Payday Loans

Independent lenders are certainly nothing new for the financial industry either, but they have always had a negative connotation associated with them. One of the more controversial lending organizations out there is the payday loan market, which lets users take advantage of fast money in the form of a short-term, high-interest loan. If the user can pay it back before their next paycheck, then the lender only charges them a small fee. If not, it gets ugly. The loan can be renewed with interest added into the equation. Generally speaking, most people would only need a couple hundred dollars that can’t wait until their next paycheck, but those who need more might find themselves in a questionable position before long. Several U.S. states have outlawed such loans specifically due to how predatory they are, but other locations that have yet to do so are seeing major challenges from FinTech lenders.

Some FinTech lenders are attempting to make getting a payday loan much different. These lenders, including LendUP and Elevate, are offering services where the big difference is that they work with borrowers rather than purposely get them into situations where they are in over their heads. This new FinTech model aims to help borrowers repair their credit by turning toward data analytics.

What FinTech services do you currently use? Would you recommend one to others? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Keyboard Shortcuts: New Folder, New Files, New Window

Keyboard Shortcuts: New Folder, New Files, New Window
keyboard shortcut to create new folder

When you find yourself doing a certain repetitive task on your computer, look for a keyboard shortcut to increase your productivity.  Whether you’re running Windows or Mac iOS, there are keyboard shortcuts to perform a variety of tasks including creating new files, creating a new folder, and opening a new window in an existing program.  Here’s how:

New File

When you are already using a desktop program to write a document, create a presentation, or compute sales figures, you can quickly open a new blank version by using the key strokes below.  This document shows up in exactly the same way as using your mouse to navigate the file menu but in much less time.

Windows: Control (Ctrl) + N

Mac: Command ⌘ + N

New Folder

To use this shortcut, make sure to have your file manager open in the directory you want to add the new folder into.  Using the key strokes below will add a folder temporarily named “New Folder” which you can easily rename to suit your needs.

Windows: Control (Ctrl) + Shift + N

Mac: Command ⌘ + Shift + N

New Window

When in an internet browser or file manager system, the key strokes below will open a new window for you.  In your internet browser the new window will go to your homepage, but the file manager will open the same view you currently have.  A new file manager window can be especially useful when moving a lot of files around.

Windows: Control (Ctrl) + N

Mac: Command ⌘ + N

Advanced Tip!

Speaking of moving files, you may find you want to open the parent folder of the current folder in a new window.  For Windows, this is a two-step process, but Mac does it in one.  Here are the key strokes:

Windows: 

Step 1: Control (Ctrl) + N

Step 2: Alt + Up-arrow

Mac: Command ⌘ + Control ⌃ + Up-Arrow

You can modify many of the key combinations above to perform other useful functions.  With the right tools and people who know how to use them, it’s even possible to create your own shortcuts.  If you’re looking for more ways to increase business productivity through efficient use of technology, please contact us today. Check out our blog for more computer tips and tricks.

Make Your Computer More Secure: 5 Steps to a Stronger Password

Make Your Computer More Secure: 5 Steps to a Stronger Password

how to make your computer more secure

In this day and age, it isn’t a stretch to say that the majority of your important information is stored online. A laptop computer alone often holds bank account information, a lifetime of photos, business information, credit card numbers, and countless other important tidbits.

So how can you protect yourself from hackers gaining access to all of this? Make your computer more secure by having hack resistant passwords.

Here are AE Technology Group’s 5 steps to making a strong password:

Length

The longer your password, the better! Many experts recommend a password of at least 12 characters, but longer certainly doesn’t hurt. The more you have going on, the less likely it is that someone will be able to crack it.

Variation

It is important to vary your password. Instead of having all lowercase letters, mix it up with some uppercase dispersed throughout as well. Mix letters, numbers, and symbols.

Avoid Dictionary Words

Reusing words that are well known makes for a weaker password. To strengthen a password, alter words so that they are no longer normal. For example, “people” could become “pEOPlei”. This is stronger because it is abnormal.

Avoid Facts Relating To You

For a strong password, avoid using numbers or phrases that are relevant to your life. For example, using your birthday as the numbers in your password will be easy to remember, but also easy for others to figure out.

Use Different Passwords

Avoid using the same password for every account, even if it is a strong password. If all of your passwords match, then someone figuring out one gives them access to all of your accounts.

Contact us for more tips on how to keep your computer safe!

6 Benefits of Zarafa Email

6 Benefits of Zarafa Email

Laptop computer thinking of Zarafa email.

The Zarafa program offers traditional groupware features and allows you to control almost every aspect of your inbox. The Zarafa email is an open source and collaboration service that is extremely reliable.

More details about the Zarafa Email software:

Open Source: The collaboration platform is licensed under Affero GPLv3. Zarafa uses standard Linux packages that are interchangeable with other packages which can do the same tasks.

User-Friendly: It is easy to use because the features; the address book, public folders and calendar are similar to Outlook and the layout is familiar. You can get connectivity with Outlook through a plugin.

Device Support: You can have a Web 2.0 Outlook feel through web access on any of your mobile devices and on all your ActiveSync compatible mobile devices.

Contacts: The technology enables you to create, use, and manage your contacts from one place as well as share contacts across your organization. Another great feature is the global address book.

Team Mailbox: You can connect email addresses to a team mailbox. The team members can monitor incoming messages. Each mailbox appears in a folder navigation pane and stays open until closed.

Add-Ons: The features you can add-on are Spreed, Dropbox, IM and ownCloud Support.

AE Technology Group understands your business and can provide computer network managed services. Zarafa Outlook Sharing & Webaccess gives you the advantages of Microsoft Exchange at only half the cost. It combines usability of Microsoft Outlook with the flexibility and stability of a Linux server. Zafra involves a fast setup process and easy migration.

For more information please contact us.