What to Look for in a Managed Services Provider

It’s important to work with technology partners who can manage your services efficiently and effectively. You must find a provider that is trustworthy, reliable, and able to meet your company’s specific needs. When looking for a managed services provider to partner with, here are a few important considerations for your search.

Reputation — Talk to companies similar to yours and read reviews for potential partners. Ask to speak with a current customer for a reference.
Goal Orientation — Look for a provider focused on impact, not the status quo. You want a partner that’s actively looking to improve performance, boost productivity, and lower costs.
Analysis — Your provider should be data-hungry, offering dashboards, reports, and analysis of cost and performance.
Workflow Expertise — Look for experience and expertise in managing and optimizing systems. You want a partner who can bring something extra to the table.
Growth Potential — This isn’t a one-time encounter, it’s a long-term relationship. Will your partner be able to help you grow, change, and adapt in the future?
Security — Your partner should be well-versed in encryption, access controls, role-based permissions, and monitoring.
Vendor Neutrality — Your partner should support and service any and all brands you work with. A vendor-neutral partner will look for the best solutions for your business, not just the ones they sell.
Integration — Make sure your partner supports any third-party apps, services, or tools you utilize.
Clear SLA — You should have a good understanding of your service terms and responsibilities (including performance, response time, and uptime). Make sure there’s an exit clause should things not work out.
Cost Clarity — Service partnerships are typically custom solutions designed to meet your specific needs, so your capacity, quality, services, and workload will all impact the bottom line. Understand your costs and how they change as your needs change.

When searching for a new partner in managed services, carefully consider your options and the capabilities of potential partners. You’re building a long-term relationship, so find a partner that has the skills and expertise to meet your needs and help you reach your goals. For document management, information technology, and print services, contact Infomax Office Systems today.

Are Servers Extinct? Making the Case for Dedicated Servers

As computing technology gets faster, smaller, and more affordable, companies are increasingly turning to shared or virtual servers for their business needs. While you can save money by going that route, some companies would do better to take advantage of a dedicated server’s powerful benefits. What makes dedicated servers a strategic choice?

Outstanding Performance
Security — The greatest benefit of dedicated servers is their strong security, with options for specialized security measures and better protection against malware and adware—especially important for companies dealing with sensitive data.
Reliability — Crashes on dedicated servers are less likely to occur than on shared servers, minimizing downtime and maximizing availability.
Exclusivity — A dedicated server eliminates service-slowing bandwidth competition. Companies with high traffic or large, data-heavy files like high-definition video or images will appreciate the boost in performance that comes with dedicated bandwidth.

Dedicated IP Address
No Guilt by Association — Spammy or adult sites that share your IP can damage your ranking in search engine rankings. A dedicated IP prevents you from being blacklisted as a result of others’ bad behavior.
ECommerce — The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) dictates that ecommerce sites must have SSL-enabled, dedicated IP.

Complete Control    
Customizability — Configure the CPU, RAM, disk space, and platform however suits you best: manage a database, host a website, or act as a mail server.
Growth & Scalability — For companies looking for long-term stability and growth opportunity, dedicated servers are ideal—growth doesn’t require migration to a new server.

Other Considerations
Technical considerations — Some IT knowledge is necessary to run a dedicated server, which managed hosting services can handle for you.
Cost — A dedicated server is a bigger investment than a shared server, so your company’s needs and growth plans are important as you weigh the options.

Dedicated servers can be the best choice for companies that need top notch performance along with excellent security, have ecommerce options, or need a customized system that can grow with them. If a dedicated server sounds like a good fit for your business, contact Infomax Office Systems today.

Streamline the Workflows of Your Production Printing

Modern production printing is no longer relegated to specialized print shops; in fact, many companies are finding it efficient and economical to bring production printing in house. With fast, high-quality, often high-volume capabilities, production printing can transform how you use print materials for your business. But did you also know that you have options that can streamline production printing workflows and make your team even more efficient?

Some of your options are literally right in front of you, such as the finishing options available on today’s printers. For example, a printer can not only fill in templates and print personalized materials, but also fold, stuff, and label mailings. When your equipment manages this work automatically, the amount of time needed for each step (and time between steps) is dramatically reduced. Building finishing options like this into your workflow also provides a high level of quality control that minimizes mistakes and errors. With automated decision making and improved interconnection, your staff can have fewer touchpoints for any given print process.

Infomax offers solutions from both EFI and ConnectPlus that streamline production printing workflows. ConnectPlus, for example, is a comprehensive package that keeps your office systems up-to-date and working together as seamlessly and efficiently as possible. Desktop computers, networks, and imaging systems are all optimized with ConnectPlus’ hands-off installation. EFI, meanwhile, offers the Fiery Workflow Suite, a solution that coordinates printing and production systems. From job submission to prepress, processing to color management and variable data printing, EFI streamlines workflows and speeds the timeline between job creation and complete, printed materials.

Production printing can be a powerful business tool, made even more powerful when systems are designed for maximum efficiency. By leveraging computing and equipment power to create high-quality materials, minimize mistakes, and provide quick turnaround times, workflow tools keep your company nimble and responsive. Contact Infomax Office Systems to put workflow tools like EFI and ConnectPlus to work for you.

Fend Off Phishing: Tips to Avoid Phishing Scams

Cybersecurity isn’t a concern reserved for big-name corporations or social networks. Clever criminals are always working to stay a step ahead of the game, whether they’re targeting personal or business information. Phishing is an email tactic used to trick the recipient into disclosing private information such as passwords and account numbers, and it isn’t always caught by email spam filters. Read on to learn how to avoid phishing scams.

Recognize Phishing
• The email. Phishing emails are designed to look genuine. They use real company names—banks, lenders, service providers, etc.—precisely copied branding, and “spoofed” email addresses that look legitimate but have slight variations (companyname1.com for example, or companyname.othersite.com).
• The call to action. Often featuring an urgent or threatening tone, phishing emails usually request “confirmation” or “verification” of your account or billing information. You may be told that your account is at risk of being suspended, or that suspicious activity has been detected. It’s a clever ploy to get you to act without thinking.

Protect Yourself
• Don’t click on “phishy” emails. Use bookmarks or type URLs directly into your browser’s address box.
• Don’t email confidential information. Whether business or personal, don’t send financial or account information via unsecured email.
• Don’t enter private information in pop-up windows. This is rarely a secure way to transmit your sensitive data.
• Install security software. A multi-purpose suite will include your firewall, spam filter, anti-virus, and anti-spyware tools.
• Keep ALL software up to date. Always download the latest patches for and versions of your software.
• Monitor your accounts regularly. Keep an eye on your account dashboards and review your monthly statements.

What if you come across a suspected phishing message?
Avoid opening the email, and whatever you do, don’t respond or click on any links within it. Report the email to your company’s security contact, followed by the FBI’s Fraud Complaint Center. If you think your information has been stolen, the Federal Trade Commission has advice on what to do next.

To protect your team and your business from phishing, always be smart, skeptical, and security-minded. Visit the Anti-Phishing Working Group for a list of current attacks and the latest phishing news.

Ink Colors Explained

Ink colors can seem complicated—a set of cryptic codes that determine your final color result. The color consistency these codes support is important to reinforce your brand and coordinate matching collateral. Let’s take a look at how ink works in the “black box” that is a modern commercial printer.

CMYK / Full-Color Printing / 4-Color Printing
CMYK is easily the most popular color printing model, providing a wide range of color in a small machine footprint. In CMYK, four ink colors are combined to create a final color. Cyan (C), magenta (M), yellow (Y), and black (K) are each housed in their own cartridge. Using a process called halftoning or screening, tiny dot patterns of each component color are mixed on a printing plate and then transferred to paper. The tiny dot patterns, made from the four inks, determine the color we perceive at regular magnification.

Spot Color / Solid Ink
For short runs and promotional products, spot color can be the best tool. A combination of 14 base colors are mixed according to Pantone’s formula (Pantone Matching System, or PMS) to achieve the final color. Pure spot colors are crisper than CMYK’s dots, and some very bright colors aren’t possible in CMYK.

Choosing and Converting Colors
The Pantone Process Color Guide has Pantone Color Charts that provide the “recipes” for PMS ink colors. Keep in mind that different media and coating/finishing options affect the final appearance of printed color, so different recipes are needed for each in order to get the same side-by-side printed result. The Pantone Bridge Guide also provides recipes; it is a dual ink chart used to match PMS color with CMYK color. The Bridge Guide provides side-by-side comparison of PMS formulas and their CMYK equivalents.

Color is power: it commands attention, provides emotion, and reinforces your brand. With the right combination of ink colors and media, your final result will truly shine. Contact Infomax Office Systems to maximize the impact of color for your company.

Delete Duplicates with Forms Solutions Software

When digitizing and automating business practices, it’s smart to start with cumbersome processes and major functions. You’ll get the best bang for your buck by optimizing these areas. Increase your operational efficiency by utilizing forms solutions software, a digital tool that will give you a great return on your investment.

Understanding Forms Solutions Software
Forms provide an easy way to capture consistent information, and their standardized format helps ensure that records are complete. Forms Solutions Software generates forms in digital format only, but with the look and general experience of paper forms.

Forms Solutions Software vs. Electronic Document Management
Both Forms Solutions Software and Electronic Document Managment (EDM) support electronic capture of data to maximize efficiency. Both rely on the automation of standard processes to improve productivity. However, EDM typically starts with physical paper, and digitizing documents usually involves manual data entry or scanning. With Forms Solutions, meanwhile, you skip the paper entirely, capturing data directly as it is entered into a computer-based form.

Deleting Duplication
● Data capture — With direct input into the computer or device, Forms Solutions require no extra data entry and no Optical Character Recognition (OCR)—making it faster and less error-prone. Autofill functions save you time by completing standard fields, and mobile integration provides access anytime, anywhere. Employees can enter data while they’re on the go, from wherever they are.
● Workflow — You’re tired of emailing documents back and forth. Filing multiple cross-referenced copies of customer financial records is redundant and time-consuming. Forms Solutions automate and digitize your workflows, providing tagging, account association, routing, and notifications.
● Away from paper — In addition to data accuracy and workflow hassles, the financial and environmental costs of relying on paper forms is substantial. Shipping, handling, printing, storage, raw materials… they all cost you and your business. Forms Solutions, meanwhile, make your data easier to store and integrate into your Enterprise Resource Planning software.

If you’re tired of duplicating data entry and filing, stop juggling multiple copies and get started with Forms Solutions Software. This powerful tool still possesses the functionality of paper forms but includes all the benefits of instant digitization. Contact Infomax Office Systems to learn more.

Eliminate Printing Woes with Managed Print Services (MPS)

Printing is a must-have function for your company. But, you and your staff are understandably getting tired of the hassle and complications that accompany managing your print fleet—especially with all of the new technology that’s built into modern devices. Fortunately, the management of your printing environment is one responsibility that you can outsource to experts, thanks to Managed Print Services (MPS). With MPS, your service partner handles your entire print infrastructure—equipment maintenance, supplies, service, monitoring, security, and even system design.

Do any of the following issues plague your company? If so, Managed Print Services can help.

High Costs — A company’s printing costs can amount to as much as SEVEN PERCENT of its total annual revenue. MPS, however, can lower your total cost of ownership by as much as 30 percent by optimizing your machines, right-sizing your fleet, and handling its maintenance.

Printer Performance Problems — With Managed Print Services, your printer fleet is continually monitored for technical issues, supply needs, preventive maintenance, and more. Your MPS partner eliminates wasteful downtime and proactively prevents problems through updates and patches.

Supply Headaches — Ordering supplies and inventory management are also part of the MPS package. With active monitoring, your supplies will automatically be ordered for you when needed, and there’s no reason to waste valuable office space stockpiling toner. MPS eliminates last-minute supply runs and keeps your purchases optimized through standardization across the fleet.

Productivity Drain — The initial MPS assessment will tell you whether the equipment you currently have is actually meeting your company’s workflow needs. Your MPS partner will provide a print solution designed to optimize your team’s workflows, from machine sharing to device placement. You’ll also free your IT staff’s time to handle value-adding projects instead of being bogged down performing printer troubleshooting.

Lack of Expertise — Your organization has tons of expertise at its disposal; unfortunately, it’s probably not in print management. MPS providers employ professional specialists with advanced training, broad experience, and a critical perspective that will result in the most effective solutions to meet your business’ needs.

You have enough on your plate, so take printing woes and worries off your list by teaming up with a Managed Print Services provider. Infomax would love to help, so contact us today for a free MPS assessment.

Are You Getting The Most Out of Your Large Format Printer?

If you’ve brought a large format printer into your fleet, you’ve enlisted the help of an incredible tool. You now have infinite opportunities at your fingertips, with incredible results that you can leverage for both your business and your customers. With a little imagination, your large format printer can provide an even greater return on investment (ROI) than you imagined. Ask yourself the following questions to learn if you’re getting the most out of your large format printer.

Are indoor large format opportunities maximized? You’re probably printing posters and signs, but have you considered other options? Your large format printer can create dramatic wall graphics or even eye-catching floor graphics, not to mention window clings to reach passersby.

Do you create large format outdoor elements? A large format printer is the perfect partner for getting your message out to the world. Outside, that is! Large-scale signage and flags are powerful attention-getters, and your community presence will be felt when you create banners for sponsorships and community events.

What specialty applications have you explored? From displays to banners to pop-ups, trade shows are the perfect place to let your large format capabilities shine. You can even create product packaging for trade show swag or everyday items on your large format printer. Blueprints and maps are also a good fit, as are vehicle wraps—a perfect tool for getting seen around town.

Is color working for you? Color drives emotion and connection, so be sure you’re using attention-getting color schemes that reinforce your brand. UV-resistant ink can help reduce fading for outdoor applications.

Have you optimized large format media usage? While glossy and matte paper give you some options, you can print on so much more than paper! Vinyl, fabrics, wall coverings, back-lit displays, and in some cases glass and acrylic are media at your fingertips when you have a large format device. Expand your everyday prints by switching up the media for a greater reach.

Your large format printer is a powerful and versatile tool, and you’ve made an investment by bringing the device and its capabilities in-house. Be sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck by taking advantage of all of your printer’s capabilities. Contact Infomax to learn more about making large format work for you.

Make the Most of Your Multifunction Printer (MFP)

You know the basic functions of your multifunction printer (MFP): print, copy, scan, fax. Thanks to today’s technology, all of these functions are melded into a single sleek machine with a relatively small footprint. But if the basic “Big Four” are the only things you’re utilizing your MFP for, you’re missing out on high-powered tools that will make this versatile machine an even more valuable asset in your operations arsenal. Read on to learn about them.

Scan-to-File and Scan-to-Email — After scanning documents at your multifunction printer, do you have to return to your computer to rename, relocate, or email files? With your MFP’s technology, you can designate a file’s target network location or email it to a recipient directly from the MFP interface—no need to chase down documents later.

OCR — Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a software tool that detects letters, numbers, and punctuation in a document, from typed fields to hand-written notes. With OCR enabled, your scanned documents become easily searchable and accessible for indexing and copy/paste purposes.

Electronic Document Management — OCR becomes particularly powerful when you combine it with electronic document management software, a suite that integrates your multifunction printer with your central server to create a “home base” for all of your digital files and materials. Document management tools can help you link new files to existing records, such as by client name, date, or invoice number.

Applications — That’s right, apps aren’t just for your phone. Your MFP can be linked to your website’s content management system (CMS) or Google account to automatically upload files to those locations. You can also connect to your printer from tablet computers and mobile phones, eliminating the need to email yourself a file just to print it.

Your multifunction printer is so much more than a copier… Or a printer… Or a scanner… Or a fax machine. When fully taken advantage of, it’s a powerful, versatile tool that can help you streamline workflows, extract data, link documents, and communicate across the cloud. Contact Infomax Office Systems to the most out of your MFP or to add one to your fleet.

Is Your Network Secure?

From sending email to opening a file, connecting to Wi-Fi to browsing the web, critical business data on your network must be protected. There are dozens of opportunities to protect your network from unwanted access, but here we’d like to share some of the simplest and most effective network security strategies. Is your network secure?

● Are passwords robust? Make sure passwords are eight characters in length or more, and include at least one upper- and one lower-case letter, a number, and a special character. Avoid actual words and letter substitutes—hacking software is sophisticated enough to recognize when you use “$” instead of “S”.

● Are passwords changed regularly? The longer a password exists, the more vulnerable it is. Tired of managing dozens of passwords that change all the time? Consider an enterprise password management service application, so you’ll only need to remember one.

● Are all inactive accounts disabled? Every account is a door that can be breached, so don’t delay—each individual account should be disabled as soon as an employee leaves.

● Is your data regularly backed up offsite? Whether in another office or with a cloud-based server, make sure your data is recoverable even if your office is lost to a fire or disaster.

● Does every computer and mobile device have antivirus software installed? Don’t be a sitting duck for spyware, ransomware, viruses, and other malware. Ensure every piece of hardware in your network has active, up-to-date antivirus software installed. Also, don’t wait to update! It is crucial that all of your devices are running the latest version of antivirus software available to ensure the security of your data.

● Do you use WPA2 encryption? Short for “Wi-Fi Protected Access 2,” WPA2 encryption ensures that your Wi-Fi connection is secure. So, don’t leave your virtual front door open. WPA2 authentication is easy to set up and simple to comply with.

● Is your equipment physically secured? Don’t leave your physical doors open, either. Store critical hardware in a locked room with limited accessibility. A data thief doesn’t need to worry about hacking the network if they can walk in and physically remove the device they want to access.

If you answered “No” to any of these questions, you have work to do. Take these few simple steps and get your network secure and your data protected.