Computers:

 

 

Cloud Computing Reduce Printing Cost Online Technology For Small Business Business Communication Helping Small Businesses Grow High-Speed Internet Connection Social Media Identity Theft Speed Up Your Wi-Fi Connection

Cloud Computing Drives SMB

Agility, Productivity

(NAPSI)-Small and medium businesses across the U.S. are seeking ways to be more agile, productive and cost effective through the innovative use of IT. However, the cost of procurement, the complexity of management and the lack of trained staff often hold them back.

Enter cloud computing.

Cloud computing is a new way to purchase and consume IT, enabling companies to adjust capacity to meet rapidly changing business requirements and pay only for the resources used. There are several solutions available today that are designed specifically for the small and medium-size business market. In general, these solutions offer an affordable, secure and easy-to-use IT platform to help boost bandwidth, add servers and turn up additional storage capacity with only an Internet connection.

According to IDC, an industry analyst firm, cloud adoption among small and medium-size businesses worldwide is poised for significant growth. By 2014 the firm predicts the overall market for public IT cloud services will grow to $55.5 billion—from $16.5 billion in 2009. Major uses of cloud computing include application support and development, servers, storage and network software.

Well suited to companies with a few to a few hundred employees, cloud computing appeals to organizations with limited in-house IT resources and those that don’t want to own their IT infrastructure. The platform delivers flexible, high-performance, pay-as-you-go, on-demand computing and is well suited to businesses such as retailers and professional services firms, as well as independent departments within larger organizations. It also appeals to online businesses and application developers who want to code, test and stage in a reliable and scalable cloud environment.

Many companies offer cloud-computing solutions, so it’s advisable to compare features to ensure they meet the needs of your business. For example, one leading solution is Verizon CaaS SMB. This service offers businesses a simple-to-use, Web-based console to quickly purchase and scale computing capacity with no minimum spending commitment—all that’s needed to get started is a credit card. In addition, Verizon’s solution, based on virtualization technology, offers features made for business, such as fully integrated firewalls and the ability to connect to virtual private networks with an option to add more security features. Fully redundant and highly scalable, Verizon CaaS SMB provides reliable access to your data and applications. The service also comes with a 100 percent availability guarantee.

Learn More

For more information, visit www.verizonbusiness.com/medium/caassmb.

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Maximizing Small-Business Assets

(NAPSI)-Across the United States, small-business owners are finding new ways to reduce costs to maximize the bottom line. One place to cut costs and increase efficiencies can be the traditional office printer. A few simple steps can greatly reduce printing costs while helping the environment, a win-win scenario.

Here are a few suggestions:

• Establish a Printing Policy—Direct employees to print in color only when preparing clientfacing documents and presentations. Expand page margins when printing to get more on each page.

• Consider an MFP—A multifunction printer, such as those from Canon’s imageRUNNER, imageRUNNER ADVANCE and imageCLASS product lines, combine a printer, scanner, copier and fax machine. Not only will this save office space, it can save the cost of buying and maintaining multiple devices and reduce the amount of energy consumed.

• Duplex Printing—MFPs come with duplex printing capabilities, meaning they can print on both sides of the page. Making the most of each piece of paper by choosing duplex printing as the default setting significantly reduces printing costs while saving resources used to make paper.

• Conserve Energy Where You Can—Look for MFPs that are ENERGY STAR qualified. Energy-saving modes will help reduce carbon emissions and provide significant cost savings while benefiting the environment.

• Software Can Make a Difference—By pairing an MFP with the appropriate software, such as Canon’s imageRUNNER ADVANCE Tracker, small-business owners can better manage documents and thereby cut costs. For example, employees can scan and e-mail documents instead of printing and faxing them.

• Learn More—More tips and tricks for saving time, money and space can be found online at www.usa.canon.com.

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 Choosing Online Technology For A Small Business: Is Free The Right Price?

(NAPSI)-The Internet has made it possible for small-business owners and entrepreneurs to find cost-effective technology solutions to run their business. With a wide selection of similar products on the market, choosing the right service can be a challenge.

Many free online services for small businesses often don’t deliver the essential features needed to operate a credible business. Take hosted phone services, for example.

The phone is still the most important communication tool for entrepreneurs today.

Small-business owners can go online to set up a hosted phone service with a virtual phone number that will professionally answer, route and manage their calls without the need to invest in expensive phone equipment or services. If the service you choose cannot do this, it could hurt business.

Although there are free services available, look for a service that has a proven history and reflects the professional image of your business.

For example, hosted phone service eVoice is designed to be easy to use for professionals at all levels of tech savviness, providing 24/7 live customer support, something that you won’t get with a free service.

An important feature to look for is a virtual receptionist, the next best thing to hiring an assistant. With this feature, you can create a customized greeting and have the incoming call routed to the appropriate department or employee.

The phone service should also offer the option to set up toll-free and/or local numbers, enabling your business to project a local presence or accommodate employees working in remote offices.

Another key feature is call routing. Look for services that can route calls to multiple phones, ringing in sequence or simultaneously. Not only will this ensure that you never miss a call, but it also gives you the flexibility to send a call to voicemail if you’re trying to enjoy a family dinner.

A feature that users of free hosted phone services often complain about is voicemail transcription. Paid services, like eVoice, tend to have a higher accuracy rate when transcribing voicemails to text, whether to your e-mail or via text message on your mobile phone.

A mobile app makes it even easier for users to manage communications on the go. Currently, many free services do not offer this option, while paid services may offer apps for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry devices.

For more information or to try a free six-month trial, visit www.evoice.com.

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A Valuable Tool For Business Communication

(NAPSI)-Quick, effective communications with remote workers is now critical for many businesses, as more than a quarter of workers today spend more than half of their time working in the field, according to a study by Forrester Research. Many small and midsize businesses—from delivery services to catering companies—with on-the-go workers are implementing wireless technologies to communicate with field workers in a cost-effective way. A Push to Talk feature added to a company’s wireless plan can help mobile workers stay organized, exchange time-sensitive information, alert co-workers of an emergency and locate colleagues with the touch of a button.

In situations when fast, simple communication is necessary, employees can use the technology on their cell phones to place group calls, converse with numerous contacts at one time and quickly check team member availability. Additionally, businesses can cut costs by having employees use one device and phone number whether for voice calls or other wireless communication needs. It helps with customer relations, too, by letting drivers keep customers informed about delivery status and inventory numbers. That may be one reason an IDC survey recently showed that nearly 30 percent of small businesses list the service as one of the most important factors in selecting a wireless carrier.

The technology is now available on select smartphones, letting companies that already use these devices to access e-mail and business information enjoy the benefits of Push to Talk without purchasing new phones. Construction and other types of businesses that may need them can also use a variety of rugged devices built to withstand the harshest working conditions that support the technology.

Business owners can contact their wireless service providers to evaluate their communication needs and add a Push to Talk feature to their wireless plans.

For more information on Push to Talk from Verizon Wireless, visit http://solutions.vzwshop.com/ptt/.

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Helping Small Businesses Succeed

(NAPSI)-Small businesses may soon find it easier to get the help they need from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The SBA recently updated its site to provide easier access to information about ways to start up, succeed and grow.

With the new and improved SBA.gov, business owners can access the answers they need specific to their business profile.

While the site features a variety of enhancements including a full redesign, new content and improved navigation, the centerpiece is a dynamic web tool called SBA Direct.

Using SBA Direct, visitors to the site can personalize their browsing experience according to business type, geography and needs.

The Web tool will then deliver relevant and targeted information on all aspects of running a business, such as the steps involved in getting started, business growth strategies and how to stay compliant with the laws. It also provides information on available SBA programs that can help businesses succeed, such as financial assistance, exporting and government contracting opportunities, counseling and training.

“Transforming the SBA into a proactive, responsive and ‘customer-centric’ organization that better serves the needs of small businesses is an exciting yet enormous effort,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “We’ve made demonstrable progress and the new site is just one example among many, including record growth capital financing, expedited loan approvals and the acceleration of disaster assistance resources and funds.”

New features on the site include:

• A small-business search that improves the accuracy and relevancy of search results-saving time and frustration

• Improved navigation that gives users one-click access to the information they need

• Integration of Business.gov content including a variety of guides and tools that collate information from across government agencies.

The SBA has also increased its presence on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

For more information, visit www.SBA.gov.

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A Speedier Internet Is Good For The Economy

(NAPSI)-After hearing the results of recent research, you may wonder if your Internet connection is up to speed.

New research from the Communications Workers of America (CWA) indicates that nearly half (49 percent) of U.S. residents’ Internet connection speeds fall below the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) minimum broadband speed standard.

Currently, only 1 percent of U.S. Internet connections meet the FCC’s broadband speed goal for the year 2015.

“Speed matters on the Internet, enabling innovations in telemedicine, education, economic development, energy conservation and job creation,” said Julius Genachowski, chairman of the FCC.

Many Internet connections are not fast enough to support emerging online services that save money and improve lives, such as home health monitoring or distance learning, which enables a student to participate in a class discussion via a video hookup.

Without broadband Internet access, people cannot participate in important activities. Most job applications today are submitted online. People apply for and get public services via the Web. Kids need the Internet to do school assignments. Teachers communicate with parents through digital technologies.

The FCC has released a National Broadband Plan to address the challenges of highspeed Internet access. The plan lays a framework for all Americans to have access to affordable, high-speed Internet, but it has been stalled in part by debate on net neutrality.

One solution recommended in the National Broadband Plan—which CWA agrees with—is to update the Universal Service Fund (USF) to include broadband Internet access support. Currently, the USF program only supports telephone service to rural areas and low-income families.

“CWA applauds the FCC for its commitment to improving access to high-speed Internet and recent decision to protect an open Internet,” said Larry Cohen, president, Communications Workers of America. “Improving broadband deployment, connection speeds, and adoption will help facilitate job and business growth across the nation.”

To find out if your Internet connection is up to speed, you can take the Speed Matters test created by CWA. To report the real-time connection speed, the test sends an HTTP request to the nearest server and measures the time it takes to receive a response. Participation is voluntary.

To learn more and to take the speed test, go to www.SpeedMatters.org.

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Reducing Identity Theft Risks Associated With Social Media

(NAPSI)-Today’s communication technology—namely social media-gives us more ways to keep in touch, but it also makes us more vulnerable. It’s important to proactively protect your privacy and your identity.

Here are a few tips from the insurance experts at HUB International on how you can reduce your risk:

• Reduce access to your personal information. Don’t make it easy for identity thieves by sharing your home address, birth date or phone number online.

—Enter your name in search engines to find out what information has been posted about you. Contact these websites to determine if your personal information can be removed.

• If you participate in social media sites like Facebook, customize your privacy settings. Allow only Friends or Friends of Friends to see your profile. For maximum security, set your sharing settings to “Friends Only.”

—Ask your friends not to post photos of you or tag you in photos without your permission. Tagged photos that include your first and last name can be found by anyone looking for you on Google or other search engines. Be sure to remove your last name from any tagged photo and use privacy settings to restrict who can see photos of you online.

—Avoid playing online games or answering quizzes on social media sites. These programs may access the personal information in your online profile. Your risk of identity theft increases if your personal information is shared with third parties or accessed by a hacker.

—Think twice about posting your travel plans. Do you really want everyone to know that you are out of town and that your home is unoccupied?

• Lock out hackers and online thieves with anti-virus software, and if you have children, install an adult content−blocking program.

—Children are especially vulnerable, so insist that they never share personal information online with strangers, including their name, age or address. Use privacy settings to restrict who can access and post on your child’s website or profile page.

—Explain to your children that the content they post online via computers or mobile devices may remain on the Internet permanently.

For more tips on how to protect your privacy and your children and reduce your risk of identity theft, visit www.hubIDsecure.com.

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Faster Browsing

(NAPSI)—If your Internet searches are taking too long, you may not need to buy a new computer. You may just need a way to speed up your searches, especially if you are a frequent traveler who must rely on crowded Wi-Fi networks in coffeehouses, hotels and at airports.

One way to speed your connection is to switch browsers. For example, many travelers rely on the Opera Web browser. The browser’s Opera Turbo feature uses powerful servers to compress Web pages, so less data is transferred over the network to your PC. This means sites can get to you faster.

Also, the browser does not compress secure pages, so banking and shopping are safe.

The free browser has long been known for its cutting-edge innovation, pioneering most of the features taken for granted in browsers today. Already the fastest browser available, it works on PCs, Macs and Linux computers. Download the free Opera browser from www.opera.com.

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