Is Online Shopping Going to Kill Your Business?

Online Shopping

 

Online shopping makes life so much simpler. Want to buy something from across the country? Go for it. Is that special briefcase only made in Australia? Pay a couple extra dollars and you’ll have it by Wednesday. Don’t feel like living at the mall this weekend? Stay home in your pajamas and order whatever you need from the internet. Want a pizza delivered but don’t have cash on you? Pizza Joe’s mobile app has you covered.

 

However, all this simplicity creates a huge vulnerability. It should come as no shocker that hackers are out there ready to slip into your transaction at the most opportune moment. And it shouldn’t be news to you that there’s a possibility a Trojan (or other malware) could be hiding out in your computer watching everything you do.

 

This is why you need to always be extremely careful with how you shop online, from where you buy from to how you purchase an item and when you decide to do it. If you’re a business owner, educate your staff on the dangers of online shopping. All it takes is one sketchy website purchase or click to infect your entire network. John Smith from accounting thought he was getting some new tie clips for cheap from a store in Asia when in reality he was allowing malware into the company network.

 

So here are six tips to help keep you and your business safe in the online shopping process.

 

  1. Check the URL for “https”

 

Never make a purchase on a site that has “http” only in the URL. Look for the “s” every single time. Why? The “s” on “https” means the site is secure and encrypted. Any information going to the site or away from it will be extremely hard to translate and usually not worth a hacker’s time. But if there is not an “s” in the “https” section of the URL, all the information being shared is open season, which could include credit card numbers, addresses, and personal information.

 

  1. Large

 

Only buy from trustworthy companies or stores you’ve visited personally. Nine times out of ten this means buy from larger, more well-known companies who have entire network security teams making sure hackers cannot access customer information. Or, if you’ve been to a small local store in town and would like to purchase from them online, make sure their website is secure by checking the URL up top and vetting their payment processing system.

 

  1. Updated

 

Make sure your computer has the latest patches installed at all times—and this goes for your phone, as well. All you have to do is open up your settings and scan for potential updates. It’s as simple as that. Don’t create a hole in your system because you forgot to update your device. Hackers scan for holes in networks and system vulnerabilities, which usually come from outdated hardware and software.

 

  1. Wi-Fi

 

Never make an online purchase on public Wi-Fi. Wait until you’re home. Don’t take the chance with a poorly secured connection or an illegitimate hotspot. Those patent-leather shoes are not worth the possible risk of malware infecting your device and your network.

 

  1. Personal

 

Like public Wi-Fi, never use a public device to make a purchase. Use your own device every time. Don’t trust any device that isn’t yours, even if the devices belong to your friends or family members. What if they lose their phone or let a buddy use their laptop? Your information could end up anywhere and there’s no way to monitor who your friends and family interact with electronically.

 

  1. Gateway

 

You can try utilizing a third-party to complete online transactions, something like PayPal or Google Wallet. If you use an avenue like this, then you won’t have to enter your credit card information directly onto the site you purchase from, which significantly reduces your chance of identity theft. However, keep in mind that these vendors are vulnerable to hackers, as well.

 

 

Combining these tips will ensure that your business and personal devices are not taken down by an innocent online purchase. Make sure to educate your employees and always stay vigilant.

The Wrong Way to Recycle Paper

Your organization worked hard to implement its recycling plan. Your staff has been trained on its importance and how it works. All the pieces seem to be in place for a successful recycling plan. Yet somehow, it’s not working. Fortunately, most recycling plans can be tweaked by overcoming a few common mistakes. Let’s take a closer look at some of these issues encountered when you recycle paper.

Most paper types can be recycled
Many people only recycle plain white paper because they are unsure of what other paper types can be recycled. Magazines, brochures, newspapers, envelopes, shredded paper, and even glossy paper can all be recycled; the only exception is paper with a thick coating. Just keep this in mind: if you can tear it, you can recycle it. Take a look here for more tips on what NOT to put in the recycling bin.

Keep control over your recycling bins
If your recycling bins are full, people will throw recyclable items into the trash. To minimize overflow, make sure all recycled cardboard boxes are flattened to reduce space in the bin. It’s also important to communicate with your cleaning staff or document destruction partner to make sure the bins are being emptied regularly.

Labeling is essential
Recycling bin labels need to be large and easily visible to all employees, and they need to be specific. Rather than just saying “Recyclables,” the labels should clearly state whether the bin is for paper, plastic, bottles, or cans (depending on how you need to separate your materials). A quick walk through of your office is the best way to make sure all labels are properly in place. Employees should also understand that some recyclable products need special attention before being thrown into a bin. Check out some of these tips on how to handle paper scraps and other materials.

Make recycling convenient for your employees
Inconvenience may be the one mistake that slows down office recycling efforts the most. People are busy doing their jobs; if there isn’t a recycling bin in close proximity, recyclable items are likely headed for the trash. Make sure each department or floor is equipped with its own recycling tray or bin. There should also be recycling receptacles in all common areas, such as break rooms, kitchen areas, and printing/copy stations.

Employees should also have the correct information on all outside vendors who accept toner cartridges and other equipment to recycle. Recycling your office’s paper is important, but it shouldn’t be the sole focus of your recyclable plan. The Infomax website offers recycling tips and lists vendors who will accept empty toner cartridges.

For more information on how to fine tune your recycling plan, contact Infomax Office Systems today.

Choosing the Right Large-Format Substrate

The type of substrate (material that can be directly printed on) you choose for a large-format print job can go a long way. Most importantly, it can affect the quality and the cost of the printing process. There are a lot of substrate options to choose from, with new materials being introduced all the time. Let’s take a look at some of the things that will factor into your substrate decision, along with some of the more popular types that are commonly used.

Application and Durability
Application should be the first consideration in choosing a substrate. It’s essential to understand the potential surrounding environment of the final product—will this material be used indoors or outdoors. Even if the material ends up indoors, there may still be high exposure to sunlight. The material may also need to be water resistant, especially if it’s placed in a kitchen or a bathroom. There is a wide array of substrate options that can cater to many different environmental elements, such as sunlight, water exposure, extreme heat, and frigid temperatures.

The durability of a substrate relates to the long term life of a product. For example, if you are working on a “floor graphic application,” you will need a substrate that can handle the wear and tear of heavy foot traffic. Or, if you are designing a trade show graphic that will be transported all over the country, you will need a sturdy type of substrate that is durable enough to stand up to a good deal of handling.

Material cost and other considerations
The cost of substrate materials depends on the project, as the size and volume of materials needed will have a major influence on the final cost. There are many varying factors that come into play; however, with so many substrate options available, businesses are most often able to land on a choice that best fits the projected budget.

Common substrate materials
Here’s a quick look at some of the substrate options that are commonly utilized today:

Paper: the most common type of substrate that varies in color, weight, and texture. It’s a great low-cost solution for nearly any need.
Aluminum: ideal for outdoor signage that requires photo quality printing. It’s available in a wide range of colors and offers superior rigidity.
Vinyl: often sold by the roll, this is a great choice for banner or wallpaper applications. It can easily be cut into shapes, and it can also support full color images.
Styrene: this is a rigid, low-cost plastic material that is excellent for indoor signage.
Canvas: this is ideal for high resolution printing needs, particularly, photographic prints.

For more information on the many different substrate options that are available for your large-format print jobs, contact Infomax Office Systems today.

Brand Your Business with Color Printing

Utilizing color is a great way to separate your company from the competition. Finding a way to stand out in a crowded marketplace can be a major challenge when it comes to marketing your products or services. Without the right use of color in your branding approach, your business runs the risk of getting lost in the mix amongst the many other businesses within your industry.

Take a look at some of the larger corporations in today’s world. Amazon, Target, Walmart, Netflix, Starbucks, and Facebook are a handful of big names that generally come to mind when you think of big businesses. Each uses a specific color scheme for their branding methods. You can easily envision their colors because each of these companies uses a consistent approach to branding, whether it’s in print, online, or in-person.

A few tips for color usage
When it comes to using color for branding, there are a few things to keep in mind to help improve the visibility of your business. First, be sure to create a bold contrast by using the right combination of colors that will catch the eye. But, be careful not to use too many colors—with more colors in play, a customer is less likely to associate your marketing efforts with your brand.

Next, make sure your logo or message is legible. Be careful with tinting, effects, and any color combinations that make your output difficult to comprehend. When all is said and done, your audience needs to be able to clearly recognize your brand and its message.

Finally, be sure to remain consistent with your colors across all mediums. Your target audience needs to connect your colors with your business. This will happen over time as customers repeatedly interact with your brand.

The importance of color printing
Now that we’ve looked at the importance of color in branding, along with some valuable color usage techniques, let’s focus on the value of color printing. Color alignment across all marketing materials requires printing equipment that can consistently match the hues of your particular color scheme. It takes the right print setup combined with state-of-the-art technology to produce high-quality print materials. After all of the hard work your marketing team puts into its color scheme, it is essential to make sure your equipment can produce the best materials that best match the vision of your brand.

For more information on color printers and how they can keep your company’s colors consistent throughout all media outputs, contact Infomax Systems today.

How to Avoid Looking Unprofessional

Unprofessional

 

There are things we do every day that we look back on and regret. Or, at the very least, wish we would have done a little differently. It could be anything: how you responded to an email, the way you phrased something, how it looked when you walked across the room, what you wore, how you sneezed, the way that pasta made your breath smell, etc.

 

The point is that as human beings, we consciously notice these things. We notice things that make us seem unkempt, unwise, or unsanitary. In other words, we actively have a tendency to notice things that appear unprofessional.

 

And unfortunately, there are certain habits that are impossible to recover from. Basically, if you do the following things, “you” and “professional” will never again be used in the same sentence. So read on and take notes so that you’ll never be “that person” in the office.

 

Here are the four categories that will get you to that point of no return.

 

 

Is there a desk underneath all of that?

 

When someone’s workstation looks like a mess, they’re suddenly a mess, too. It doesn’t matter how many showers you take, how expensive your clothes are or where you get your hair cut, you will always be associated with a messy workspace.

 

And, to a certain degree, it’s true. Your physical appearance may be mess-free. But, if your home, car, desk or drawers are filthy, a part of you is messy, sloppy, unkempt and not fit to do business with. This doesn’t mean your environment has to be 100% clean, 100% of the time. It simply means you need to do your best to stay on top of the seas of junk, clutter, and wrappers. There’s nothing worse than garbage tucked into drawers and behind files, especially when the smell starts to permeate.

 

Here’s another way to think about it: if a client walked by or a vendor showed up, would they be embarrassed to associate with you?

 

 

Please, be serious for once.

 

We have all encountered that work colleague that can never be serious. They are always making jokes and you can never get a solid answer from them, even with a deadline approaching. And the more you ask them to be serious, the more they act goofy and silly.

 

Why does this behavior drive normal people insane? Well, because in a business context, this level of silly is annoying and unrealistic. Don’t get us wrong, keeping others in a good mood has its place and time, and a happy work environment is always a good thing. But when tasks fall behind or you cannot be productive with those goofy people, their personality becomes more of a headache than a ray of sunshine.

 

Professionalism requires a healthy balance of optimism and pessimism, ideally sitting in the realism range. Always joking and never taking anything seriously will only make the bad times worse and frustrate other employees.

 

 

Are you too good to put in your eight hours?

 

Some of us are morning people and some of us are not. Depending on your chronotype, you biologically function differently than other people. Some of us hit our stride in the mid-afternoon, while others get things done most effectively in the morning. Regardless, whether you come in an hour early or happen to come in late, always stay for your eight hours.

 

If you work a traditional job and you drag in late day after day and pack up at 4:45, your coworkers will probably start to feel very resentful toward you. And it shows management that you don’t take your job or responsibilities seriously. So instead, if you know you aren’t a morning person, talk to your manager or an executive and see if you can adjust your work schedule. As long as you’re getting your work done efficiently and productively, it shouldn’t matter when your eight hours begins and ends.

 

Can you follow through on anything… ever?

 

People-pleasers are on the same level as those goofy colleagues. People-pleasers say yes, yes, yes and never say no to anything. Translation into plain English? They overpromise. They’re in way over their head. They can’t deliver because there’s never enough time in the day.

 

Further translation? They commonly let peers down, are no real help and ultimately, unprofessional. Always make sure to have your work tasks scheduled as best as possible so you can say no when you need to. And never be afraid to ask for help.

Essential Elements of a Cloud Strategy

There has been a lot of talk about businesses “moving to the cloud” over the past several years. With so many continual advances in cloud technology, more businesses are past “talking” about the use of the cloud; businesses are now “taking action.” In fact, 74% of Tech CFOs say cloud computing will have the most measurable impact on their business in 2017.

Implementing a cloud strategy allows businesses to move forward with new ways to successfully conduct business. It’s important to develop a cloud strategy that will achieve the goals set out for your business. It’s also helpful to get a quick overview of some “cloud basics,” and exactly what this technology is capable of doing.

Making the switch to digital
If your business is in the process of (or at least considering) digitizing its documents, cloud technology should be a part of your paperless solution. Converting your documents into a digital format and storing them on the cloud allows authorized users to access documents with speed and efficiency. Most importantly, a cloud strategy keeps your employees easily connected, especially those who are remote or constantly on the go. Check out some more ideas here on digital workflows and other document management solutions.

Secure your assets
The information you pass along inside and outside of your business on a daily basis is a valuable asset. When developing a cloud strategy, it’s important to focus on security. There are numerous security settings involved with the setup of cloud technology. For example, you can store data privately in different areas of the cloud for authorized use only. There are also backup and recovery options that you can customize to keep your information safe and secure.

Integration
When implementing a cloud solution, it’s important to consider how it will work with other applications currently operating at your business. You likely have multiple vendors for different applications. Prepackaged integrations can help create a consistent experience for the end user, allowing multiple applications to work together seamlessly across different delivery models (mobile, cloud, and on-premise).

Setting up a cloud solution that works best for your company requires collaboration between your business leaders and a team of IT professionals who can execute your vision. For more information on developing a cloud strategy for your business, contact the experts at Infomax Office Systems today.

Key Features of an MPS Solution

Increasing efficiency in the workplace is an ongoing initiative for most businesses, regardless of their size. Implementing a Managed Print Services (MPS) solution is one of the top ways to achieve maximum efficiency with your print-related business processes. It all comes down to streamlining your efforts. With quicker processes and less equipment in place, utilizing an MPS solution will bring an enormous amount of benefits. Here are some key features and what they will bring to your business.

Save time
With a poorly configured print environment, employees often spend more time than necessary printing, scanning, and faxing. They also waste time dealing with malfunctions and equipment errors. MPS can provide maintenance support to provide your office with uninterrupted service, leaving your employees the time they need to excel at their jobs.

Save money
An MPS print audit will provide your business with a thorough analysis of your print fleet and how to cut your costs. Minimizing hardware is a common way to save money. After all, maintenance on multiple devices significantly adds up over time.

Increase productivity
An MPS provider can customize print efforts to meet the needs of your employees. This includes the ability to print from mobile devices or offsite. This gives your employees the tools to be productive in any role they serve within the company. There’s also the added benefit of MPS training, which will keep employees up to date on the best way to carry out tasks.

Decrease your environmental impact
An environmentally conscious approach to conducting business is important. With a monitoring system in place, an MPS provider can track your print output. Being aware of your print usage will give you the opportunity to step in and make changes to reduce printing wherever possible. This type of awareness is sure to reduce your environmental footprint.

Reduce your printer fleet
Streamlining is the key to improved efficiency. Reducing your printer fleet will not only cut back on maintenance costs, but it will simplify workflows and save space within your office. With fewer devices come fewer headaches. An MPS provider will evaluate your fleet to remove unnecessary devices and replace any machines that are not meeting your needs.

To learn more about Managed Print Services and how it can benefit your business, contact Infomax Office Systems today.

Go Paperless with Document Management

With today’s advancements in office technology, going paperless is now easier than ever. In addition to the simplicity of a paperless approach, it’s an affordable option with benefits that no business can pass up. By digitizing your documents, document management will drastically improve your daily workflows while cutting your costs.

Let’s take a closer look at how going paperless can positively affect your business.

Cut your costs
The impact document management has on the ‘bottom line’ is the driving factor behind many of the decisions that a company makes. Fortunately, going paperless is an easy decision to make when you realize it results in reducing costs. Locating and processing your documents will be significantly faster, reducing your operating and labor costs. Your printer, ink, and toner needs will also decrease, saving you money on all of those costly maintenance fees.

Save time and space
Document management provides businesses with the ability to quickly locate and process documents. Using indexing and search functions, employees can quickly track down documents without sifting through boxes of paperwork. No more bulky file cabinets and shelving units to store all of that paperwork. Everything can be easily archived electronically, streamlining your document storage into one online location for all authorized users to access at will.

Secure your documents and minimize risk
With document access controls, you can be sure to protect the critical assets that make up your business. Your business will have full control over what documents can be accessed by particular individuals through user permissions and access rights. These security features are included on mobile devices as well, maintaining security while your employees are on the go.

Go green for our environment
There’s no question that going paperless will reduce costs and optimize workflows. An added benefit of this approach is the positive effect it will have on the environment. Today, more than ever, businesses across the county are going green to reduce their environmental impact. With less need for ink, toner cartridges, and other printing supplies, a paperless office reduces waste that will burden our landfills and potentially harm the environment.

For more information on how to go paperless in your workplace, contact Infomax Business Systems today to learn about our document management solution.

31 Flavors: A Variety of Email Threats to Beware of

Every business relies on email to communicate effectively. Unfortunately, email-centralized cyberattacks are a growing trend around the world. For this reason, businesses of all sizes are focusing on email security more than ever before. There are many ‘flavors’ of email threats out there with the potential to harm your network. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common types that are making the rounds in 2017.

Phishing
Phishing attacks are becoming increasingly popular. This is when a cybercriminal impersonates a business or person with the intent to steal personal data or login credentials. It’s usually in the form of an ‘urgent’ message that attempts to scare users into giving up vital information. Defensive technology is important to prevent employees from falling victim to phishing; however, do not overlook the importance of ongoing education and awareness for all users on your network.

Spear Phishing
This type of attack is on the rise in the ever-growing world of social media. Attackers create fake profiles on social media sites to gather information on unsuspecting users. This information is then used in email attacks. It is again important for users to be educated on how to safely navigate social media sites, especially in the workplace.

Ransomware
Ransomware has frequently been in the headlines over the past year or so as more and more businesses, hospitals, and government agencies fall victim to these attacks. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts the victim’s data and blocks access to it until a specified amount of money—a ‘ransom’— is paid. This epidemic is spreading quickly through emails that contain malicious links or attachments.

User awareness is an important component of protecting your business from these types of attacks. Along with this awareness, defensive technology also needs to be in place to balance out the risk of human error. Cybercriminals are constantly trying to fool users with new schemes; blocking these malicious emails from your network is your best bet to remain secure. For more information on how to protect your business from email threats such as phishing, spear phishing, and ransomware, contact Infomax Office Systems today.

Spare a Landfill: Recycle that Toner Cartridge

That pile of empty toner cartridges can get pretty big, pretty fast in a busy office environment where a good deal of printing takes place. When it comes time to dispose of them, it’s essential to our environment to recycle those toner cartridges. Of the more than 500 million toner cartridges sold each year in the United States, an astonishing 350 million of those are sent to landfills. Considering it takes hundreds of years for the cartridge plastic to biodegrade, this is a problem that needs to be addressed in the name of corporate social responsibility. Fortunately, there are eco-friendly solutions that are readily available to businesses.

The many hazards of toner
Before we get into those eco-friendly solutions available to aid in recycling empty cartridges, let’s quickly go over how much damage toner can do to our environment. Toner ink contains toner dust, which can be carcinogenic. Among other health concerns, a recent study shows that the dust can cause issues with people’s eyes, lungs, and skin when in direct contact. If inhaled, it can lead to respiratory issues such as bronchitis.

Convenient solutions
Fortunately, there are options available for recycling your empty toner cartridges. The first option should be to find a local recycling facility. Infomax Office Systems has partnered with a number of vendors with locations that will accept toner cartridges for recycling. If you can’t get to a local facility on a regular basis, you can refill your cartridges. There are refill kits available to help you reuse your empty cartridges for as long as possible until you can get them to a recycling facility. These are simple solutions that can make recycling a routine part of your business and make your office a more sustainable one.

With so many empty toner cartridges ending up in our landfills, it’s essential that more businesses get on board with toner cartridge recycling solutions to help minimize the impact on our environment. For more information on how Infomax Office Solutions can assist with your recycling efforts and help you ‘green’ your office, contact us today!