Easy tips to keep your cloud costs down

Moving to the cloud can save your business a lot of money, which explains why the technology is so widespread. But what many business owners fail to realize is that some cloud services come with hidden costs. And while these costs may seem insignificant at first, they can add up to a staggering amount if left unchecked. Minimize your cloud expenses with these five tips.

No standalones

Cloud services come in various shapes and sizes, many of which are standalone platforms with rates that increase over time. Opt for a cloud service provider that offers a suite of products that all work together. It is often less expensive than a group of standalone products. Another benefit of working with a cloud provider is that you receive a single point of contact to resolve your issues quickly and effectively.

Experience matters

If you plan on integrating a standalone cloud service into your system, make sure you hire an experienced integration consultant to facilitate a smooth transition. Integration mishaps can cause serious downtime and cost a lot of money.

Backups are important

Unnecessary or inefficient backups waste cloud storage space. Review your cloud storage data by asking yourself the following questions:

  • How many versions of this data do I need to store long-term? The more versions I store, the more it’ll cost me.
  • What regulatory demands do I need to meet? Some data may need to be accessible for up to three years, whereas other data can be deleted after 30 days.
  • How quickly do I need to access my backups? If it can wait for a day or two, I can archive that data to a less expensive service or offline at the provider’s data center.

Remove users

Many cloud service providers charge by the number of users in your system. If you neglect to regularly manage the list of users, you’ll end up paying for people who no longer work for you. Implement processes that remove users when they leave the company and consider scheduling a regular audit. Ideally, conduct an audit once every six months to ensure your cloud user list is up to date.

Monitor proactively

Ask your cloud provider whether they can proactively monitor your account and notify you of potential issues before they escalate into major problems. This is especially important if you have a pay-as-you-go license that charges based on resource or storage consumption.

Utilizing the right technology resources is vital to your business’s success, and so is knowing how to prevent such resources from racking up an overwhelming monthly bill. If you wish to enjoy all the benefits of cloud computing without breaking the bank, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help.

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Quick tips to save on cloud costs

Small- and medium-sized businesses are adopting cloud technologies. However, some business owners may not be aware of certain hidden costs. These costs don’t seem much at first, but they can eventually snowball. Follow these five tips to keep the cloud from breaking the bank.

No standalones

Cloud services come in various shapes and sizes, many of which are standalone platforms with rates that increase over time. Opt for a cloud service provider that offers a suite of products that all work together. It is often less expensive than a group of standalone products. Another benefit of working with a cloud provider is that you receive a single point of contact to resolve your issues quickly and effectively.

Experience matters

If you plan on integrating a standalone cloud service into your system, make sure you hire an experienced integration consultant to facilitate a smooth transition. Integration mishaps can cause serious downtime and cost a lot of money.

Backups are important

Unnecessary or inefficient backups waste cloud storage space. Review your cloud storage data by asking yourself the following questions:

  • How many versions of this data do I need to store long-term? The more versions I store, the more it’ll cost me.
  • What regulatory demands do I need to meet? Some data may need to be accessible for up to three years, whereas other data can be deleted after 30 days.
  • How quickly do I need to access my backups? If it can wait for a day or two, I can archive that data to a less expensive service or offline at the provider’s data center.

Remove users

Many cloud service providers charge by the number of users in your system. If you neglect to regularly manage the list of users, you’ll end up paying for people who no longer work for you. Implement processes that remove users when they leave the company and consider scheduling a regular audit. Ideally, conduct an audit once every six months to ensure your cloud user list is up to date.

Monitor proactively

Ask your cloud provider whether they can proactively monitor your account and notify you of potential issues before they escalate into major problems. This is especially important if you have a pay-as-you-go license that charges based on resource or storage consumption.

Utilizing the right technology resources is vital to your business’s success, and so is knowing how to prevent such resources from racking up an overwhelming monthly bill. If you wish to enjoy all the benefits of cloud computing without breaking the bank, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help.

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5 Useful tricks to cut your cloud costs

Business owners need to be aware that there are certain unexpected costs associated with the cloud. These costs may not add up to much at first, but they can eventually cost you more than the service is worth. You need to know what measures you can take to keep those costs down. Pay the right price for the cloud services you receive with these five tips.

No standalones

Cloud services come in various shapes and sizes, many of which are standalone platforms with rates that increase over time. Opt for a cloud service provider that offers a suite of products that all work together. It is often less expensive than a group of standalone products. Another benefit of working with a cloud provider is that you receive a single point of contact to resolve your issues quickly and effectively.

Experience matters

If you plan on integrating a standalone cloud service into your system, make sure you hire an experienced integration consultant to facilitate a smooth transition. Integration mishaps can cause serious downtime and cost a lot of money.

Backups are important

Unnecessary or inefficient backups waste cloud storage space. Review your cloud storage data by asking yourself the following questions:

  • How many versions of this data do I need to store long-term? The more versions I store, the more it’ll cost me.
  • What regulatory demands do I need to meet? Some data may need to be accessible for up to three years, whereas other data can be deleted after 30 days.
  • How quickly do I need to access my backups? If it can wait for a day or two, I can archive that data to a less expensive service or offline at the provider’s data center.

Remove users

Many cloud service providers charge by the number of users in your system. If you neglect to regularly manage the list of users, you’ll end up paying for people who no longer work for you. Implement processes that remove users when they leave the company and consider scheduling a regular audit. Ideally, conduct an audit once every six months to ensure your cloud user list is up to date.

Monitor proactively

Ask your cloud provider whether they can proactively monitor your account and notify you of potential issues before they escalate into major problems. This is especially important if you have a pay-as-you-go license that charges based on resource or storage consumption.

Utilizing the right technology resources is vital to your business’s success, and so is knowing how to prevent such resources from racking up an overwhelming monthly bill. If you wish to enjoy all the benefits of cloud computing without breaking the bank, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help.

Posted in General Articles B, Web & Cloud | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Here’s how marketing automation increases leads

Marketing automation has become an essential part of every business’s marketing strategy.
Thanks to innovations in IT, business marketing tools have become more affordable for small retailers, online sellers, and other mom-and-pop operations. Don’t pass up the opportunity to maximize all the marketing automation tools available that can increase your leads and give you these benefits.

Inbound lead assignment

When you have phone calls, emails, and meetings piling up, it’s hard to keep track of which customer needs what and who is working with them. With marketing automation software and tracking, customer service representatives are automatically assigned to inbound leads based on specialties and demographics so they can work on building profitable rapport right away.

Instant responses to email requests

If a customer or prospect sends your business an email via your website or a “Contact Us” form, any delay in response could ultimately cost you a sale. But if you have a marketing automation plan in place, you can customize automatic email responses to these leads as soon as an email is received. This either provides potential customers with the information they requested or informs them that you will be responding in greater detail soon.

Stop leaving voicemails and start closing deals

There’s a reason most people prefer to communicate via email: keeping in touch over the phone can be tough if both parties are always busy. An automated system solves this by logging information about the leads you have contacted and automatically emailing them about follow-up times. The call, email, and response are all logged in your CRM and calendar without a single minute wasted on inputting mundane information.

Give and you shall receive

Potential clients and leads get dozens, sometimes hundreds, of business emails every day. You need something to set your business apart from the rest. By offering valuable content such as how-to guides and total cost of ownership tools in exchange for contact information, you can create a win-win scenario. Prospects get the content they want, and you get the information you need to make a sale.

All it takes is a web form and some creative writing that ultimately leads visitors back to your products and/or services. Your automation software delivers content to anyone who provides contact information, and it downloads metrics that can be tracked and analyzed by business analytics tools.

Never type another phone number again

Networking events mean new contacts and new leads. They used to mean having to keep track of thick stacks of business cards, but cutting-edge marketing tools now make it possible to take a picture of contact information and automatically store it as part of a cloud-based database. Call-ins, scanned business cards, and received emails are all organized into a single digital Rolodex with recommendations on whom to contact and when it is best to do so — without one minute of tedious data entry.

Every business owner knows that automating mindless tasks is worth it. But not everyone knows what sort of tools are available to cut down on wasteful work. Our team specializes in using technology to add value to your business. Get in touch with us today to make your marketing technology work for you.

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How automation boosts your small business’s marketing

A solid marketing strategy can make a business profitable. Unfortunately, in the past, not all small businesses were able to spend a huge amount of their budget on marketing. With marketing automation becoming more and more accessible to small enterprises, that has changed. Here are marketing automation benefits your small business should leverage.

Inbound lead assignment

When you have phone calls, emails, and meetings piling up, it’s hard to keep track of which customer needs what and who is working with them. With marketing automation software and tracking, customer service representatives are automatically assigned to inbound leads based on specialties and demographics so they can work on building profitable rapport right away.

Instant responses to email requests

If a customer or prospect sends your business an email via your website or a “Contact Us” form, any delay in response could ultimately cost you a sale. But if you have a marketing automation plan in place, you can customize automatic email responses to these leads as soon as an email is received. This either provides potential customers with the information they requested or informs them that you will be responding in greater detail soon.

Stop leaving voicemails and start closing deals

There’s a reason most people prefer to communicate via email: keeping in touch over the phone can be tough if both parties are always busy. An automated system solves this by logging information about the leads you have contacted and automatically emailing them about follow-up times. The call, email, and response are all logged in your CRM and calendar without a single minute wasted on inputting mundane information.

Give and you shall receive

Potential clients and leads get dozens, sometimes hundreds, of business emails every day. You need something to set your business apart from the rest. By offering valuable content such as how-to guides and total cost of ownership tools in exchange for contact information, you can create a win-win scenario. Prospects get the content they want, and you get the information you need to make a sale.

All it takes is a web form and some creative writing that ultimately leads visitors back to your products and/or services. Your automation software delivers content to anyone who provides contact information, and it downloads metrics that can be tracked and analyzed by business analytics tools.

Never type another phone number again

Networking events mean new contacts and new leads. They used to mean having to keep track of thick stacks of business cards, but cutting-edge marketing tools now make it possible to take a picture of contact information and automatically store it as part of a cloud-based database. Call-ins, scanned business cards, and received emails are all organized into a single digital Rolodex with recommendations on whom to contact and when it is best to do so — without one minute of tedious data entry.

Every business owner knows that automating mindless tasks is worth it. But not everyone knows what sort of tools are available to cut down on wasteful work. Our team specializes in using technology to add value to your business. Get in touch with us today to make your marketing technology work for you.

Posted in Business, General Articles B | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Reasons to automate small-business marketing

Over the years, marketing automation has become more accessible to small businesses. Thanks to innovative cloud solutions, large and small enterprises can reap the benefits of automating tedious marketing tasks. Here are a few advantages to automating your small business’s marketing efforts.

Inbound lead assignment

When you have phone calls, emails, and meetings piling up, it’s hard to keep track of which customer needs what and who is working with them. With marketing automation software and tracking, customer service representatives are automatically assigned to inbound leads based on specialties and demographics so they can work on building profitable rapport right away.

Instant responses to email requests

If a customer or prospect sends your business an email via your website or a “Contact Us” form, any delay in response could ultimately cost you a sale. But if you have a marketing automation plan in place, you can customize automatic email responses to these leads as soon as an email is received. This either provides potential customers with the information they requested or informs them that you will be responding in greater detail soon.

Stop leaving voicemails and start closing deals

There’s a reason most people prefer to communicate via email: keeping in touch over the phone can be tough if both parties are always busy. An automated system solves this by logging information about the leads you have contacted and automatically emailing them about follow-up times. The call, email, and response are all logged in your CRM and calendar without a single minute wasted on inputting mundane information.

Give and you shall receive

Potential clients and leads get dozens, sometimes hundreds, of business emails every day. You need something to set your business apart from the rest. By offering valuable content such as how-to guides and total cost of ownership tools in exchange for contact information, you can create a win-win scenario. Prospects get the content they want, and you get the information you need to make a sale.

All it takes is a web form and some creative writing that ultimately leads visitors back to your products and/or services. Your automation software delivers content to anyone who provides contact information, and it downloads metrics that can be tracked and analyzed by business analytics tools.

Never type another phone number again

Networking events mean new contacts and new leads. They used to mean having to keep track of thick stacks of business cards, but cutting-edge marketing tools now make it possible to take a picture of contact information and automatically store it as part of a cloud-based database. Call-ins, scanned business cards, and received emails are all organized into a single digital Rolodex with recommendations on whom to contact and when it is best to do so — without one minute of tedious data entry.

Every business owner knows that automating mindless tasks is worth it. But not everyone knows what sort of tools are available to cut down on wasteful work. Our team specializes in using technology to add value to your business. Get in touch with us today to make your marketing technology work for you.

Posted in Business, General Articles A | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

7 Customization features to try on Windows 1o

Windows 10 offers a wealth of customization features designed to provide users with a truly personalized and intuitive experience. Whether it’s changing the color of your windows or rearranging the tiles on the Start menu, these features will make your Windows PC a better match for your needs and preferences. Check out some of them below.

Change your themes

The most notable way to personalize Windows 10 is by changing your background and lock screen images. Do this by right-clicking anywhere on your desktop and choosing Personalize. Here, you can choose and preview different backgrounds and themes you can use. You can even add new themes by using images from your gallery or by clicking Get more themes in the Microsoft Store.

Use dark mode

Want to give your Windows 10 an edgier feel? Right-click on your desktop and choose Personalize. Go to Colors. Under Choose your color, select Dark. This changes the colors of your windows and menus from white or gray to black, and text from black to white. The colors on websites and third-party apps remain unchanged, however.

To restore your default settings, repeat the process but click Light.

Virtual desktops

If you’re having trouble separating your work files from your personal files, try creating a virtual desktop. Press the Windows key + TAB to show all your open windows. Click on the Add a new desktop button at the upper left corner of your screen to create a virtual desktop. While viewing your open windows, you can click and drag windows from one desktop to another.

To quickly switch between desktops, use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + Windows key + left/right arrow. Remove a virtual desktop by pressing Windows key + TAB. Click on the X button on the desktop you want to erase.

App snapping

App snapping is not exactly a new feature, but Windows 10 lets you snap any app in place. Snap an app window by dragging it into any of the four corners of your screen. This changes your window to a fourth of your screen size, allowing you to view multiple windows at once. You can have a maximum of four separate windows simultaneously open in your monitor.

Reorganize your Start Menu

To add a little more “you” to your Windows PC, you can customize how your apps are arranged on the Start menu. For one, you can resize the Start menu by simply dragging the top or right side of the menu.

You can also resize the live tiles by right-clicking on them and selecting Resize. You can also rearrange application tiles by dragging them anywhere around the Start menu. If you won’t be using a particular application, simply right-click the tile and select Unpin from Start. On the other hand, if you want to pin applications to the Start menu, right-click on an app and choose Pin to Start.

For even faster access to apps, simply pin the programs to the taskbar.

Change color themes

Is the plain black Start menu not doing it for you anymore? Just right-click on your desktop, choose Personalize, go to Color, and select any accent color that pleases you. Tick the checkboxes under Show accent color on the following surfaces if you want this color applied to the Start menu, taskbar, action center, and title bars.

Disable notifications

We don’t know where you stand on app notifications, but if you absolutely hate them and wish to never get them ever again, press the Windows key and click on the gear icon to open your Settings. Click System and select Notifications & Actions. Switch off whatever app notifications you don’t want.

Switch up and personalize your Windows 10 however you like by using some or all of these options. If you want more ways to personalize your desktop or if you need information on anything Windows 10-related, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

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Personalize your Windows PC with these tips

Just like its predecessors, Windows 10 is designed to provide a personalized experience to its users. It offers many ways in which you can change your PC’s interface — how it looks, and even how it can be accessed. Here are some Windows 10 customization features you have to try.

Change your themes

The most notable way to personalize Windows 10 is by changing your background and lock screen images. Do this by right-clicking anywhere on your desktop and choosing Personalize. Here, you can choose and preview different backgrounds and themes you can use. You can even add new themes by using images from your gallery or by clicking Get more themes in the Microsoft Store.

Use dark mode

Want to give your Windows 10 an edgier feel? Right-click on your desktop and choose Personalize. Go to Colors. Under Choose your color, select Dark. This changes the colors of your windows and menus from white or gray to black, and text from black to white. The colors on websites and third-party apps remain unchanged, however.

To restore your default settings, repeat the process but click Light.

Virtual desktops

If you’re having trouble separating your work files from your personal files, try creating a virtual desktop. Press the Windows key + TAB to show all your open windows. Click on the Add a new desktop button at the upper left corner of your screen to create a virtual desktop. While viewing your open windows, you can click and drag windows from one desktop to another.

To quickly switch between desktops, use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + Windows key + left/right arrow. Remove a virtual desktop by pressing Windows key + TAB. Click on the X button on the desktop you want to erase.

App snapping

App snapping is not exactly a new feature, but Windows 10 lets you snap any app in place. Snap an app window by dragging it into any of the four corners of your screen. This changes your window to a fourth of your screen size, allowing you to view multiple windows at once. You can have a maximum of four separate windows simultaneously open in your monitor.

Reorganize your Start Menu

To add a little more “you” to your Windows PC, you can customize how your apps are arranged on the Start menu. For one, you can resize the Start menu by simply dragging the top or right side of the menu.

You can also resize the live tiles by right-clicking on them and selecting Resize. You can also rearrange application tiles by dragging them anywhere around the Start menu. If you won’t be using a particular application, simply right-click the tile and select Unpin from Start. On the other hand, if you want to pin applications to the Start menu, right-click on an app and choose Pin to Start.

For even faster access to apps, simply pin the programs to the taskbar.

Change color themes

Is the plain black Start menu not doing it for you anymore? Just right-click on your desktop, choose Personalize, go to Color, and select any accent color that pleases you. Tick the checkboxes under Show accent color on the following surfaces if you want this color applied to the Start menu, taskbar, action center, and title bars.

Disable notifications

We don’t know where you stand on app notifications, but if you absolutely hate them and wish to never get them ever again, press the Windows key and click on the gear icon to open your Settings. Click System and select Notifications & Actions. Switch off whatever app notifications you don’t want.

Switch up and personalize your Windows 10 however you like by using some or all of these options. If you want more ways to personalize your desktop or if you need information on anything Windows 10-related, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

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7 Tips on customizing your Windows 10 PC

Getting tired of looking at the same old interface of your Windows PC? That’s not a problem with Windows 10. Here are some of the many ways you can customize your PC and make it a better fit for your work or leisure needs.

Change your themes

The most notable way to personalize Windows 10 is by changing your background and lock screen images. Do this by right-clicking anywhere on your desktop and choosing Personalize. Here, you can choose and preview different backgrounds and themes you can use. You can even add new themes by using images from your gallery or by clicking Get more themes in the Microsoft Store.

Use dark mode

Want to give your Windows 10 an edgier feel? Right-click on your desktop and choose Personalize. Go to Colors. Under Choose your color, select Dark. This changes the colors of your windows and menus from white or gray to black, and text from black to white. The colors on websites and third-party apps remain unchanged, however.

To restore your default settings, repeat the process but click Light.

Virtual desktops

If you’re having trouble separating your work files from your personal files, try creating a virtual desktop. Press the Windows key + TAB to show all your open windows. Click on the Add a new desktop button at the upper left corner of your screen to create a virtual desktop. While viewing your open windows, you can click and drag windows from one desktop to another.

To quickly switch between desktops, use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + Windows key + left/right arrow. Remove a virtual desktop by pressing Windows key + TAB. Click on the X button on the desktop you want to erase.

App snapping

App snapping is not exactly a new feature, but Windows 10 lets you snap any app in place. Snap an app window by dragging it into any of the four corners of your screen. This changes your window to a fourth of your screen size, allowing you to view multiple windows at once. You can have a maximum of four separate windows simultaneously open in your monitor.

Reorganize your Start Menu

To add a little more “you” to your Windows PC, you can customize how your apps are arranged on the Start menu. For one, you can resize the Start menu by simply dragging the top or right side of the menu.

You can also resize the live tiles by right-clicking on them and selecting Resize. You can also rearrange application tiles by dragging them anywhere around the Start menu. If you won’t be using a particular application, simply right-click the tile and select Unpin from Start. On the other hand, if you want to pin applications to the Start menu, right-click on an app and choose Pin to Start.

For even faster access to apps, simply pin the programs to the taskbar.

Change color themes

Is the plain black Start menu not doing it for you anymore? Just right-click on your desktop, choose Personalize, go to Color, and select any accent color that pleases you. Tick the checkboxes under Show accent color on the following surfaces if you want this color applied to the Start menu, taskbar, action center, and title bars.

Disable notifications

We don’t know where you stand on app notifications, but if you absolutely hate them and wish to never get them ever again, press the Windows key and click on the gear icon to open your Settings. Click System and select Notifications & Actions. Switch off whatever app notifications you don’t want.

Switch up and personalize your Windows 10 however you like by using some or all of these options. If you want more ways to personalize your desktop or if you need information on anything Windows 10-related, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

Posted in General Articles B, Windows | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed
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