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Wednesday, April 23, 2014 Business , BYOD , Cloud Computing , CRM , Devices , Industry , Innovations , Internet , It Pros , Malware , Management Systems , Notebooks , Online , PC , Privacy , Problems , Pros and Cons , Safety , Smartphones , Tablets
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies have been a source of debate in businesses around the world since mobile technology first became commercially viable, and especially since phones and tablets have become so multifaceted.
The modern era of multitask devices brings this conversation to a new height, with industries in some cases moving to ubiquitous and exclusive tablet PC usage. BYOD becomes tempting to a myriad of businesses, and certainly, there are gains to be had, as ACM Digital Library claims. But do such policies bring more pros or cons to the call center industry, a field where customer privacy and employee morale both play major roles?
Pros of BYOD
Productivity. Having access to personal devices can make life much easier for your employees, especially if you have an abundance of tech-savvy individuals on your staff. BYOD brings flexibility and employee ingenuity to new heights in a way that is quite simply impossible with standardized company equipment.
Modern call centers can benefit from a number of CRM packages and various apps for iPads and other tablet devices—applications which prove most useful when customized and used in an equally familiar, customized device.
Costs. BYOD lets you attain many of the benefits of company-issued technology with a fraction of the costs. You lose the benefits of standardizations and risk a few downsides. However, if you lack the budget for a major tech overhaul but have employees with their own devices, the solution creates itself.
Morale. There are several ways a BYOD policy works to benefit morale. Using a familiar device just 'feels' better to many people. If your workforce is self-motivated and has proper self-control, the 'fun' factor available from personal devices also lends itself to morale boosts.
Being able to relax and read an e-book or play Angry Birds on break can be a benefit, especially in an industry as focused on customer-employee interaction as call centers. Keeping up employee morale can be the single hardest task in running a call center, so anything that helps is worth considering.
Cons of BYOD
Productivity. Personal devices mean problems that your IT guys will never figure out; people manage to screw up their personal machines in ways that are unfathomable. Hours will be lost resolving issues which don't exist, and can't exist, within standard employer-issued systems.
There's also the 'fun' factor. If your workforce lacks self-control and self-motivation, a BYOD policy will lead to people goofing off on the clock. It's impossible to prevent savvy users from finding ways to waste time on their own devices. That often means you risk productivity issues from one angle or another.
Security. Personal devices offer as many avenues of attack as you have unique employee devices. The headache for your IT security team may be too high and the risk not worth the potential gains, especially if you have employees lacking the savvy to safeguard their own devices. Standardized systems offer standardized solutions and a fraction of the risk.
Data Management. Data management is the biggest con to consider as a data center, as Science Direct explains. Your employees deal with sensitive customer data every moment of their work day, and BYOD policies open massive holes in typical data control schemes.
It's trivial to walk away with sensitive information, and it can be difficult to keep track of which devices should and should not have access. You run the risk of a device interacting with your data in an unintended manner and causing disastrous losses.
The feasibility of a BYOD policy in a call center in many ways depends on your employee base. A self-motivated, tech-savvy population will see gains across the board with little risk.
If you have problems with motivation, untrustworthy employees, and IT ignorance, then BYOD may only serve to compound your problems.
Thursday, April 10, 2014 Backup , Business , Career , Customers , Education , Hack things , How to , Industry , Internet , Management Systems , Online , Privacy , Problems , Safety , Services , Social Media , Testing and Optimizing , Web tracking
Posted by Andreas Christodoulou
Everyone has read in the newspapers or heard the five o’clock news stories about cyber attacks on major retailers and banks. Many have been victims in the attacks, having had to deal with systems' security breaches that put their personal and financial information at risk. Small businesses are subject to the same types of security issues, if on a smaller scale.
Business information security is extremely important on many levels, including financial, reputation, and customer service. The Small Business Administration reports that most small businesses that backup their business data only back it up on-site, which leaves them vulnerable to loss in the event of natural disasters or formal emergencies.
The SBA advises small businesses to develop security policies including emergency preparedness and disaster recovery guides. Having a plan in place before disaster strikes helps you recover more quickly in the event of floods, tornadoes, fires, and other emergencies that can damage or destroy a business. You may want to implement a preparedness program that includes a security service such as LifeLock to keep your private business information safe.
Creating a preparedness program includes five steps, including program management, planning, implementation, testing and exercises, and program improvement. The SBA recommends approaching emergency preparedness with management leadership, commitment, and financial support that includes an assessment of risks and a preparedness policy aligned with the business goals. A designated emergency preparedness program coordinator can bring organization and structure, as well as timelines, to the plan until it’s fully implemented.
Secure Social Media
Many small businesses use social media to connect with customers and compete with big brands and larger businesses. There are business risks to using social media that should be mitigated with enforced usage and privacy policies, as Cisco suggests. There should also be double checks on account administration so there isn’t only one person with access to account changes, and training protocols for employees on acceptable, safe business use of the company Facebook page.
Hackers break into small business systems through three common avenues: passwords, holes in outdated security software, and users’ risky computing behaviors. Minimize your risk with basic security measures used consistently throughout your company.
Implement good password security by using different pass phrases for different sites, and never reuse passwords or use a predictable formula. Use high-strength combinations of characters that include numbers as well as upper and lower case letters.
When you don’t update your security software, you leave company systems vulnerable to holes that hackers take advantage of. Regularly update your security software, and designate someone to be responsible for tracking updates to make sure they are installed. Hackers constantly test the internet and use sophisticated tools to search for vulnerabilities and ways into business networks, so you should be constantly reinforcing your security programs to guard against it.
Eliminate users unknowingly or accidentally causing security breaches from email forwarding, unnecessary downloads, and unauthorized web surfing. Conduct regular and ongoing computer security training. Make sure everyone in the company knows the security policy and any other policies related to use of company computer equipment and networks. Small Business Computing recommends training users on safe use of email, Internet, and network systems to raise security awareness levels.
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Wednesday, April 09, 2014 Apps , Business , Career , Converting , Customers , Education , Excel , How to , Industry , Internet , Learning , Office , Online , PDF , Powerpoint , Reviews , Services , Tools , Web and Desktop Apps , Word
Posted by Andreas Christodoulou
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If you are in need of a quick an accurate conversion from PDF into a more editable file format, PDFConverter.com’s free online conversion tool is one of the best available. This is a need that is encountered by many professionals and office workers on a regular basis since the PDF is such a readily used format, but at the same time, very much uneditable. If you receive information in the form of a PDF that you need to convert it into an editable text document or spreadsheet, this is a tool that can save you a lot of time and frustration.
The tool offers four conversion options. Users can convert PDFs into very popular editable formats, namely Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. They can also convert just about any type of document into a PDF using PDFConverter.com’s set of online tools. This comes in just as handy, since many people like to turn their files into PDFs for easier storage and distribution.
The service is incredibly easy to use as well.
Simple head over to this page, and then click on the file conversion type you need. Your document can be converted in just three easy steps.
1. Click on the “Choose file” button to select the file on your computer that you want to convert.
2. Enter your email address.
3. Click “Start!” to begin the conversion process.
And that’s all there is too it. Once the file is converted, you will be sent a notification via email. The email you receive will contain a download link that will enable you to download your newly converted file.
Convert scanned documents as well
This online service sets itself apart from many similar ones by offering OCR conversion options as well. Optical Character Recognition technology is used to convert a scanned PDF document into an editable format. Most similar services don’t offer the option to convert scanned PDFs, but PDFConverter.com does, which makes it fairly unique when it comes to such online tools.
No file size limits
Another interesting feature of this service is that there is no file size limit. You can upload and convert a file of any size. Of course, larger files will take longer to convert, but PDFConverter.com does not limit you by setting a file size limit for your conversion.
Secure and safe
The service also promises that your email information will never be shared with a third party. Also, your converted document and original document are deleted from the server after 24 hours, guaranteeing that your file will never be accessed or viewed by anyone but yourself.
So if you are looking for a quick, convenient and accurate online PDF conversion service that additionally offers scanned document conversion options, look no further than PDFConverter.com.
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Thursday, March 06, 2014 Backup , Cameras , Cloud Computing , CNETTV , Collections , Customers , Data Encryption , Devices , How to , Life , Memory cards , PC , Photography , Photos , Portable , Safety , SD's , Servers , Services , World
Posted by Andreas Christodoulou
Just imagine all the thousands of photos stored in phones, digital cameras and laptops. The Daily Mail estimates that almost 40 percent of such individuals have no backup of those files.
These devices break, wear out or are damaged every day, and with them thousands of photos are lost. Make sure you have backup plan for your treasured memories. Those moments in time can be lost forever if you don't protect them.
Local Backups and Broken Hard Drives
Most people know they should back up their files regularly. This often happens at home to a computer hard drive or maybe to an external drive. Local backups are a good idea because it does make a copy of the files. However, it's not such a good idea for long-term storage because hardware does break.
Backblaze estimates that 22 percent of hard drives, on average, fail in the first four years of use. The failure rate is higher if the computer or hard drive is used continually, or is used in hot, dusty environments. You also could experience a failure if there is a sudden spike on the electric circuit, such as during a lighting storm. You could lose years of photos on one failed drive.
While there are recovery services who will attempt to retrieve files off of a dead hard drive for you, these are expensive with no guarantee the recovery will be 100 percent successful. A better option is to have multiple ways of backing up your photos.
Backing Up to the Cloud
Cloud storage services have matured into an easy way for people to save all types of files, including photos. Most are easy to set up. Some offer automated backup, such as Mozy, so you don't even have to remember to do the backup yourself. Some vendors require you to load small programs onto your computer to do the backup while others rely on a browser-based online application.
Having a combination of backups is safest. Do a local backup of your photos from your phone or camera to the computer and a regular backup to your cloud storage. One way to use your cloud storage is as an archival system.
Since your files are in the cloud, you have access to them anywhere. For example, photos you take during a vacation can be uploaded to your cloud storage from your hotel room and then you can access them again when you get home. Or you can check on photos you took during your last trip to your destination to see if you already have photos of certain scenic spots.
The Safety of Your Photos
USA Today finds that cloud storage is as safe as other storage options. Most cloud service providers use encryption to store your files so they can't be viewed by others. Data is stored on huge disk farms, which are constantly monitored for potential disk failures. The systems cloud providers use allow the replacement of disk drives without creating any downtime. You don't have to worry about a drive failing and losing photos.
Keeping Those Non-Digital Photos Safe
If you have a number of regular film photos, you can keep them save as well. CNET shows how you can scan those photos to create digital copies. Or you can have a service do that for you. A digital copy of a film photo is easier to store, doesn't fade, or get damaged by water or fire. You could scan your print photos and store the originals in a fireproof box or in a safe deposit box with your bank.
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