Network Synergy Blog

Network Synergy has been serving the Trumbull area since 1988, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Why Businesses and Government Approach Technology Very Differently

Why Businesses and Government Approach Technology Very Differently

When security and efficiency are some of the biggest benefits to updated information technology, it sounds that IT is something that a governing body should prioritize internally. However, many governments have trouble doing so, oftentimes to their own detriment. Why is that, and what can a business learn from this phenomenon?

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How Technology Allows Fake News to Spread

How Technology Allows Fake News to Spread

In today’s political, social, and economic environment, information is more valuable than ever. However, this increased importance, paired with the speed that data can be dispersed via the Internet, has enabled many to use false information to manipulate the general public into agreeing with their views and acting upon them.

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Your Business Can Take Advantage of Black Friday Deals, Too

Your Business Can Take Advantage of Black Friday Deals, Too

Black Friday: it’s the name given to the unofficial first day of the holiday shopping season, and is associated with the generally unparalleled deals on consumer products. Many consumers use this day’s incredible deals to justify spending their day buying (and often fighting over) a limited amount of goods. However, have you ever considered that Black Friday can also be a good day to both advance your B2B operations and take advantage of some deals yourself?

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Solid Vendor Management Leads To Business Success

b2ap3_thumbnail_vendor_management_400.jpgIn order to function properly, any business will need to procure certain pieces of equipment. Some of this equipment will be specialized to the business’ purpose, while some will be the sort that may be more commonly found in offices everywhere. This equipment must be procured from somewhere, and this is where vendors come in--but who in your organization is responsible for your vendor management?

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Study Finds an Organization’s Greatest Security Risk isn’t Who You’d Expect

b2ap3_thumbnail_ceo_security_risk_400.jpgThe more users on your network, the more risk that user error could create a costly mistake for your infrastructure. While untrained employees could certainly ignore security policies, the greatest risk to your organization is an unexpected one. Research has proven that your company’s CEO, as well as other C-suite employees, hold one of the greatest risks for your business’ security.

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The Right Place at the Right Time: the Story of IBM

b2ap3_thumbnail_big_blue_400.jpgIBM is perhaps one of the best known technology companies out there, but do you know all of the details about Big Blue’s legacy? IBM has built itself a reputation for pursuing advances in innovation and revolutionizing the way that businesses utilize computing, all the way back to its inception 100 years ago.

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You Know Who’s Looking Forward to Tax Season? Identity Thieves

b2ap3_thumbnail_tax_time_it_400.jpgOne of the most high-profile hacking attacks in the United States struck last year when the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was breached. 464,000 Social Security numbers were swiped; enough to file 101,000 tax returns using false personal identification numbers. Every organization can learn how to better protect themselves during tax return season, especially since you have so much on the line every year.

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Make Sure Your Business Technology Covers These 2 Areas

b2ap3_thumbnail_the_right_technology_400.jpgAll businesses need to use some sort of technology to keep their operations moving forward. Yet, it’s often difficult to gauge how new solutions will function with your current systems. You need to take your options into careful consideration before making such an important choice, and only an analysis of your current setup will help you ensure the success of your new technology.

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Study Shows How Reading Novels Can Help Your Business Succeed

b2ap3_thumbnail_influential_and_classics_book_400.jpgThe busy business owner rarely has time to indulge in extracurricular activities, but there are still ways that you can make progress--even when you’re not actually in the office or working on important plans, there’s still the opportunity for self-improvement. One way that you can do this is by being well-read. In fact, science has practically proven that reading literary fiction is just as beneficial for your professional development as other seemingly more practical works.

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Tip of the Week: 8 Upgrades to Facebook Messenger that Make it Business Worthy

b2ap3_thumbnail_messenger_for_business_400.jpgWhen Facebook released its Messenger app in 2011, it was primarily designed as a way for users to chat with each other outside of the main Facebook app. Since then, Facebook has added a plethora of new features and upgrades to Messenger, making it a tool that may have what it takes to meet the needs of your business.

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Tip of the Week: 4 Brilliant Ways to Get More Work Done

b2ap3_thumbnail_productivity_tips_400.jpgThere are some workdays where distractions are abound and you can’t even remember what you’re supposed to be doing. In trying times like these, you need all the help you can get, just to stay focused and on task. Here are four simple adjustments to your work routine that have been proven to do wonders to increase productivity.

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Don’t Migrate to the Cloud Without First Understanding What You’re Getting Into

b2ap3_thumbnail_move_to_the_cloud_400.jpgThere was a time when the cloud was considered nothing more than a novelty, but now that most serious businesses are taking full advantage of cloud computing, it’s time that you consider it a viable option for your organization. For those who are unfamiliar with cloud computing, though, you want to make sure that you properly plan out the process of moving to the cloud. When it comes to remodeling your IT infrastructure around the cloud, doing so can save you a lot of pain.

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What We Mean When We Say “Enterprise-Level”

b2ap3_thumbnail_enterprise_business_400.jpgYou’re a small business, and as such, you need technology in order to keep your operations moving forward. Many organizations will refer to their services and products as “enterprise-level,” as if there’s a certain draw to them that wouldn’t ordinarily be there. Here’s what this term means, not just for larger businesses, but for your SMB.

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Your Business Must Think Long-term and Short-term When it Comes to IT

b2ap3_thumbnail_long_term_short_term_it_400.jpgFor your business’s IT, it’s important to consider both the short-term and long-term benefits of new technology solutions. However, which of these offers the greatest return-on-investment in terms of profitability and workplace efficiency? Some might argue that short-term IT (think break-fix IT) is more in line with a business’s immediate needs, while long-term IT (i.e. managed IT) considers longevity and proactive thought.

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4 Considerations Every Business Should Make Before Moving Operations to the Cloud

b2ap3_thumbnail_cloud_computing_400.jpgCloud computing is already heavily utilized in the business world. Companies that were looking to add mobility, collaborative capacities, and overall flexibility, have rolled out cloud computing platforms for their business and it’s resulted in quite a few benefits. In fact, according to a 2014 survey, about 70 percent of enterprise-level companies have instituted some sort of IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS solution. As more companies implement cloud solutions for critical business functions, owners of smaller businesses are asking us the inevitable question, “Is the cloud right for my business?”

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How Gamers Can Be an Asset to Your Business

b2ap3_thumbnail_gamification_can_help_your_business_400.jpg“Do you think this is a game?” In the past, a boss may have used this line to criticize an employee for not taking their job seriously. However, in today’s more creative work environments, many companies are using game mechanics to achieve their goals. This business strategy is called gamification, and it’s the most fun way to get work done.

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4 Ways to Equip Your Business With the Technology it Needs

b2ap3_thumbnail_it_support_plug_400.jpgIn a world where time is a luxury that the average business owner lacks, it can be burdensome to come up with new technology initiatives. The main issue that this presents is that it can be difficult to improve your operations if your technology’s growth is stunted. Stagnate technology deployment can be detrimental to your business’s success.

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Windows 10 Is Here, But What’s the Demand?

Just because something is brand new doesn't mean that there's a market for it. Just look at Windows 8 to see what we're talking about. It might have been a brand new operating system when it first came out, but it didn't really take to users, who preferred the familiar feel of Windows 7. How do business owners suspect Windows 10 will affect the business world?In an overwhelming response to a ZDNet survey, 73 percent of all respondents claim that they will be adopting Windows 10 within the next two years. This exceeds the approval rates of both Windows 7 and 8, making Windows 10 one of the most anticipated operating systems in recent times. Here are some of the statistics concerning the update to Windows 10:

64 percent of IT professionals said they were most interested in the return of the Start button, 55 percent cited the free upgrade from Windows 7 and 8/8.1, and 51 percent referenced enhanced security.Only eight percent of respondents said they were interested in the touch-optimized interface, six percent cited Cortana, and five percent were interested in Hello.When IT professionals were asked to disclose their general impressions of Microsoft's new browser Edge (previously known as Spartan) 25 percent said they were somewhat to very positive, 23 percent said they were neutral, and nearly half said they didn't know enough about the new browser to have formed an opinion. Four percent of respondents were somewhat to very negative.

While many users are simply interested in the free upgrade and the return of the Start menu, they don't necessarily expect a lot from the other features, like touch-screen compatibility and Cortana. Still, upgrades are upgrades, and the significant number of anticipated upgrades makes us happy. As IT professionals, we always emphasize the importance of running a supported operating system, as well as how much the latest technology can improve your business's productivity. Even if users aren't immediately upgrading to Windows 10, so long as they aren't opting to continue using an unsupported operating system, they're doing something right.However, these numbers also tell us that there are a lot (as in, the majority) of businesses that plan on leaving behind their legacy applications, or finding more modern solutions that better handle their workload. Many users don't take into account the fact that their legacy software might not perform to top specifications, or even be compatible at all, with the latest technology. This can prevent your business from getting the most out of its information systems.We worry that this might be the case with Windows 10. Because of Microsoft labeling it as "free" for users of Windows 7 and 8/8.1 for a whole year following its release, many users feel an enormous amount of pressure to upgrade before this offer's expiration date. If this sounds familiar, we want to reiterate that you should carefully consider any and all applications that you currently use, especially if they qualify as legacy software.

Should You Upgrade?Network Synergy recommends a cautious approach to upgrading your systems. Below is more information about Windows 10 that you should know. 

Windows 10 is a free upgrade for genuine Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 operating systems. Microsoft is offering this free upgrade for one year, until July, 2016.Network Synergy always cautions our customers on immediately adopting new Operating System upgrades to prevent compatibility issues with business applications, which will undoubtedly surface with any new OS upgrade. Microsoft has made this cautious-to-upgrade approach difficult to abide by, due in part to its marketing strategy of sending Windows 7 and 8.1 users a notification that Windows 10 is now available and that the upgrade is free to licensed users. This message may appear for workstations automatically updating Windows patches from Microsoft directly. This notification would be seen in your System Tray if this update notification was downloaded to your computer. We can work with you if you are receiving notifications to eliminate the upgrade popups that you may be receiving.Please note that Windows 10 will not be automatically updated on your system without your intervention. Microsoft however will give users the option to upgrade with one click of "Yes" or "Go!" This is not recommended on your business computers without proper testing with all applications. Worst-case scenario: You've got a mission-critical app that isn't compatible with Windows 10, and you don't find this out until after you've installed the new OS. While Microsoft makes upgrading to a new OS easy, downgrading to an older OS is a very difficult and time-consuming task that you don't want to experience. Additionally, the new features of Windows 10 can potentially displace existing workflows if one isn't prepared.Internet Explorer has been replaced with a new web browser, Microsoft Edge. While this new browser likely has advantages over IE, it's important to keep in mind that its new interface may befuddle longtime IE users. Plus, it's rare for a 1.0 product to be error free upon its release.While consumers will often jump on a new OS download as soon as it's released, it's a safe move for enterprises to wait until the first service pack comes out. A conservative move like this will prevent your business from being a beta tester for Microsoft. We do, however, also caution customers on upgrading home computers that may be used for office network access, particularly with VPN access. Please contact us if you remotely access your network to review possible compatibility issues.In addition to having compatibility issues with older software, you might see issues with the compatibility of older peripherals, like scanners, printers, optical drives, etc. If Microsoft has deemed these devices obsolete, then your previously-functioning equipment will now be a paperweight. Additionally, there's the potential to lose data and settings, in particular, Internet Explorer settings.If there is interest in adopting the new operating system quickly, it is recommended to take one non-critical workstation in your office and upgrade to test with all existing applications. This will identify potential software upgrades that need to be addressed for your business prior to upgrading all systems.

In conclusion, we think that Windows 10 has a lot going for it, but like any major business decision, it's not a new venture that you want to blindly take on. Network Synergy is here to help. Network Synergy is testing Windows 10 to identify potential upgrade requirements for many of the applications that we deploy for our customers. If you have immediate interest in upgrading, please contact your account manager to discuss the best upgrade plan for you to make sure we provide the smoothest transition possible to Windows 10.

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Business Owners and IT Departments Need to Agree on a Cloud Solution

b2ap3_thumbnail_which_cloud_strategy_400.jpgCloud computing is everywhere, yet there are still plenty of businesses that haven’t migrated to the cloud or adopted cloud services. In many cases, this is due to business owners and IT departments not being on the same page when it comes to cloud computing.

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Fans of Facebook Now Have a Facebook Business App

b2ap3_thumbnail_facebook_at_work_400.jpgFacebook has come a long way. Originally designed as a networking tool to be exclusively used by college students, Facebook now has 1.44 billion active users, making it the world’s largest social network. Today, businesses take Facebook seriously and utilize it for their marketing initiatives. However, it’s still viewed as a time-waster by many office managers who restrict or ban employees from accessing it.

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