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3 Ways to Skip Out On Printing Altogether

b2ap3_thumbnail_printing_expense_400.jpgBusinesses always try to eliminate unnecessary costs, but printing isn’t necessarily everyone’s first idea of an unnecessary cost. With so much revenue being invested in paper, ink, and toner every year, just think of how many resources this can free up for your business if you could find a way to eliminate them from your budget. With the right technology solutions, you can easily cut costs on printing.

Limiting the amount of printing your business does accomplishes the following goals:

  • You use less paper, reducing your ecological footprint.
  • You spend less capital on paper, ink, and toner.
  • You reduce the amount of clutter in your office.

There are three technologies that help modern businesses store and handle critical files, all while decreasing the costs of printing. By fully leveraging them to your benefit, your business can store files in an organized digital environment.

Portable Document Format (PDF)
One of the most convenient file formats available is the PDF. It provides a file format that lets users view documents in a digital environment, without the need for specific application hardware or software. This lets users view the document in its current state, without the default formatting of certain programs like Microsoft Word breaking it. Since a PDF is a digital file, it can be stored and filed away on a computer or a network easily. Users can then access it using practically any type of device. Therefore, you no longer have to print documents out to view them, reducing the amount of resources needed.

Digital Signature Software
On occasion, it will seem that the average business can’t avoid printing out a document; for instance, contracts or receipts that need client signatures. Thanks to modern digital signature software, users can “sign” documents digitally, without the need for printing the document out, signing it, and faxing it back to you. All the receiver needs to do is click a button, and bam, signature. Users can receive and send signed documents without the need for printing them out, saving both time and resources. This saves even more space in your business’s filing system, and helps you get a quick response from the signee.

Electronic Record Filing
Another fantastic technology for the modern business is an electronic filing system, which replaces the archaic physical filing storage systems currently used by many small businesses. Documents like employee files, vendor and customer agreements, and internal documents need to be stored somewhere, and if left unchecked, they can quickly grow disorganized. If your records are stored digitally, you don’t have to worry about physical space limitations, and you can easily access your files through a simple user interface. Plus, you can back up the files, just in case something bad were to happen.

Cutting printing costs is one area where your business shouldn’t have to struggle, especially if you have reliable technology professionals on-hand to help you make the switch to these great technology solutions. To learn more, give Total Networks a call at (602)412-5025.

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Quiz: Do you understand ransomware/security?

With the ever increasing reliance on technology that businesses are seeing – especially with the rise of mobility and the ability to work from anywhere – the world of IT security is also rapidly changing. Every business is at risk of some type of breach. Ransomware is just one of the growing and popular types […]

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Posted in: Backup & Disaster Recovery, IT Blog, Security, Total Networks Blog

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Tip of the Week: Can’t Name that Song? These 3 Apps Can!

b2ap3_thumbnail_identification_application_400.jpgListening to the radio is a great way to pass the time during your morning commute, especially if you don’t have a CD player or an auxiliary port in your vehicle. While listening to the radio, you might hear a catchy tune that you want to look up later. Now, thanks to various smartphone apps and technology solutions, you can do it while listening to the song.

Here are three ways that you can use your smartphone to identify songs you hear while out and about.

Shazam
If you’re looking for a free way to identify music using your smartphone, look no further than Shazam. According to the Google Play store, it’s used by more than 100 million people every month to identify music and lyrics. Shazam has a simple and easy-to-use interface. After you download the app, all you have to do is tap the on-screen button and the phone will listen for something to identify. Shazam will then display information on whatever it identifies, including music or tv shows, and you can buy the song or episode right from the app.

Shazam is currently available for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, making it a viable option for most, if not all smartphone users. You can even purchase the app for use on your Mac or Windows PC, through both the Apple store and Windows store respectively. Though there are advertisements on the free version, you can update to Shazam Encore for $5.59 to remove them if you really want to.

TrackID
TrackID, released by Sony, is another great free option that functions in much the same way that Shazam does. The main difference, though, is that TrackID displays information about the artist, like biographies and such. Otherwise, it’s more or less the same app as Shazam, but with a different interface.

TrackID is currently only available on Android devices, but it has a ton of functionality with other apps, like WhatsApp, Spotify, Facebook, and other sharing apps.

Google Voice Search
Google can search for a song that it listens to with Google Voice Search, and identify it for you. Much in the same way that Shazam and TrackID can identify music, Google Voice Search will listen for music that’s playing and search the web for what the song is. Once it has identified the song, it will display it, and if it’s available, it will offer to let you buy it from the Google Play Store.

Unfortunately, these apps only recognize the song when the actual song is playing, so doing your best to belt out Adele’s “Hello” into your smartphone won’t return any results.

As for more great tips for your mobile device solutions, you don’t need any recognition software; all you need is to subscribe to Total Networks’s blog.

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Are Vigilante Hackers a Threat?

b2ap3_thumbnail_do_vigilante_hackers_present_problems_400.jpg2015 was a brutal year for major corporations, as one by one they fell victim to hacking attacks. Major organizations like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Anthem, and even the United States Office of Personnel became victims of major hacking campaigns. A fact that’s often lost amongst these details is that not all hackers use their skill for evil actions, even if they are still illegal.

As a matter of fact, there are many hacking organizations that use their skills for the benefit of mankind. Even though this type of “vigilante” activity is frowned upon, it doesn’t help that pop culture icons like Batman, the Green Arrow, and pretty much any fictional superhero in existence defy these laws. There are times when it seems like it takes a criminal to beat a criminal, but we have to take into account what it means to let these vigilante hackers get away with these acts.

In many cases, the organizations and political entities that these “hacktivists” target are difficult for authorities to track down and punish. Hacktivists tend to take the fight to exceptionally dangerous organizations or individuals. The recent hacking attacks of ISIS at the hands of high-profile hacking group Anonymous come to mind, in which Anonymous targeted the terrorist group’s social media sites, which are often used to gather and recruit followers. Just last October, Anonymous also revealed the identities of several suspected Ku Klux Klan members.

While it works in the movies, the presence of vigilante hackers reveals a major flaw in the way that society handles questionable online activity. We, as a people, have allowed the Internet to become a place that breeds danger, hatred, bigotry, and fear-mongering. Whether or not the activities of Anonymous are ethical is up for debate, though it needs to be mentioned that their activities are still illegal and shouldn’t be condoned. 

While your business is relatively safe from hacking attacks from hacktivists like Anonymous, there are plenty of bad hackers out there who want nothing more than to see your business fail. These bad hackers are after whatever private or sensitive data they can find, and you need to be prepared for them to take drastic measures to steal your data. The best way to protect your business’s assets is to utilize a Unified Threat Management (UTM) solution. A UTM is a comprehensive solution that’s optimized to protect your business from all kinds of threats. The UTM consists of enterprise-level solutions like firewalls and antivirus, plus other proactive measures like content filtering and spam blocking solutions. The UTM is designed to keep threats from accessing your network, and to keep your business out of the enemy’s crosshairs.

While the UTM is great for maximizing network security, it should be mentioned that not every single threat can possibly be blocked. New threats are born every day, so you should treat every moment using online communication with a dose of skepticism. Your job as the business owner is to prepare yourself for the day where you have to face hacking attacks.

What are your thoughts on hacktivism? Do you think it’s an effective way to take the fight to criminals, or would this decision be better left delegated to the authorities? Let us know in the comments.

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