Desktop Management: Saving Your Small Business Resources!

Table of ContentsIntroduction……………………………………………….1Importance of PC Management…………………….1Effective PC Management……………………………2Alternatives for Acquiring Good Tools: Build, Software as a Service, Outsource…………………………………………………………2Building an Internal PC Management Infrastructure…..3Software as a Service……………………………………………3Outsourced PC Management………………………………….4Morton & Morton’s Perspective……………………………..4IntroductionPersonal computers have delivered on the promise of productivity for knowledge workers. As a consequence, desktop and laptop computers have proliferated to almost every knowledge worker in a company. Advances in network bandwidth and the availability of wireless connectivity options have radically increased the number of home and remote workers. However, the increased use of personal computers and remote access has added significant workload and coordination to the already busy IT schedule.For many companies, desktop management is not a core competency and there are other IT tasks that are considered mission critical or more strategic. Yet for many knowledge workers, the desktop is mission critical. Schedules, correspondence, contact lists, presentations and work in progress all live in the desktop for most office workers. Take away the desktop and work stops until the desktop is back up and running.Most small and medium businesses do not have the IT staff and tools to treat desktop management issues with the attention they deserve. IT shops in small and medium sized companies are generally over-taxed and doing the best they can to keep the IT infrastructure running smoothly. Budgets are much smaller than those of their large enterprise counterparts, staffing is limited, and toolsets are few and far between. Too often manual processes and “just enough to get by” scripting is the answer to desktop management in the small and medium sized company. Individual users can be left to handle minor issues for themselves, and pseudo power users often get themselves into trouble and require IT staff assistance to resolve problems they have created through their self-help efforts. It is no longer a viable answer for small and medium sized business to treat desktop management casually.Importance of PC ManagementThe task of PC management has become too large and too important to be handled on an ad-hoc basis with limited tools. The number of personal computers is significant. There are many versions of operating systems and many different software applications. This is also complicated by the number of employees working from remote offices. The scale has become rather large, even in a small to medium sized business. Now add in the constant stream of Microsoft patch updates (security, operating system and application software updates), periodic operating system upgrades, user initiated software installations and configuration changes, antivirus updates, and IT configuration changes. The rate and volume of change is significant, if not overwhelming. Not to mention the problem of Microsoft phasing out their support of old office applications and operating systems. Windows 95 is no longer supported and 98 is now no longer going to be supported.The risks of doing a poor job of desktop management are now quite high given the security risks to every PC every day. Left unprotected, PCs are subject to Trojans, Keyloggers, Root Kits, Spyware and Viruses. One of the best ways to be protected is to apply all patches to operating systems and applications in a timely fashion. However, coordinating, staging and testing these patches is time consuming and something that should not be left to end users or ad hoc processes by the IT team. Every desktop needs Anti-virus software that is constantly updated, and users cannot be trusted to keep their virus data files current. Mobile users should also be protected with personal Firewall software, but again, users cannot be depended upon to install and keep such software current. Leaving this to chance can put the entire network and subsequently the entire company at risk.
The employee desktop today contains significant corporate data, both data taken from corporate repositories for use on the desktop as well as work-in-process data not yet stored on a secured and backed-up repository. Employees handle important and sensitive data that needs to be protected. This can include price lists, customer lists, customer data, human resources data, strategic plans, product plans and corporate financial information. Security breaches, viruses, and spy-ware can lead to stolen, lost or corrupted data. Regular backups can mitigate the risk of lost or corrupted data, however most users are not disciplined enough to perform regular backups. Mobile and remote users complicate the backup problem and render home-grown backup scripting ineffective.Dealing with the disruption and potential data loss of security breaches can represent significant productivity loss. Work-in-process data on the desktop can represent weeks of effort and may be difficult or impossible to recreate. The loss of such data can affect project time-lines, which in turn can cause customer satisfaction issues and/or contractual penalties. Desktop data loss can also affect revenue if a desktop problem interrupts critical timeframes for customer proposals.Another factor driving the need for good desktop management is the increasing regulatory compliance issues that are affecting businesses of all sizes. Consumer and patient privacy laws such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and the wave of trend setting privacy laws out of California affect businesses of all sizes. Sarbanes-Oxley compliance includes rigorous asset management, change management and other controls for IT. This should be of concern for more than just the public companies covered by the law. Many small and medium sized businesses are working toward an eventual acquisition as an exit strategy, and most such acquisitions are by companies that are subject to Sarbanes-Oxley. It is much easier and faster to work through the due diligence phase of the acquisition if the company being acquired has implemented the types of controls required by Sarbanes-Oxley. Good desktop management can assist a company in certain aspects of regulatory compliance.Effective PC ManagementEffective PC Management begins with knowing what you have to manage. Complete and accurate asset and license management is key. Knowing how many machines of what type, their location, memory, hard drive, processor speed, etc., is a big step forward for many small and medium sized businesses. Tools available today have automatic discovery capabilities and excellent management reporting which can assist IT staff in establishing and maintaining good processes for asset management. With an accurate picture of the installed hardware base, it becomes much easier to assess operating system and business suite software upgrades.Keeping track of software licenses and where they are installed is another important function. Accurate information of which machines have which software installed is a major starting point to effectively manage PCs across the company. This information can minimize the number and duration of on-site visits by IT support personnel. It can also ensure that software licenses are appropriately managed; paying for only those copies of a particular software that are needed and reducing the risk of fines in a software license audit.Another good practice is to keep software installs to the minimum required for each employee to do their job. This will shorten install time, reduce updates and patches required, and use fewer resources leaving more capacity for each user’s needs. Some systems administrators will attempt to make things easier by standardizing the desktop to one image for everyone. PC management is one place where “one size does not fit all.” Overcomplicating the software image for every user by installing all applications everywhere will increase work in the long run and make everyone unhappy. A better practice is to define unique user types by department or job function, and to define a standard image for each user type. This can limit the time to upgrade applications and allow for better service for each user.With an accurate inventory of all hardware and only the software needed on each desktop, the next step toward effective PC management is to automate software distribution. Automated software distribution minimizes the number of onsite visits IT staff must make. This lowers the cost of support and allows for more frequent updates. This can be applied to virus data files, operating system patches as well as updates and new versions of application software. Changes should be staged in a separate environment for testing and then rolled out based on individual or group user profiles.Automated software distribution is the first step in remote management. Full remote management includes the ability to remotely control the desktop and make all required configuration changes through a networked connection. This is a critical function as the number of remote and mobile workers has increased. IT staff must be able to perform administrative functions from their office as if they were sitting in front of the PC of remote and mobile workers.When considering how to implement desktop management best practices, companies need to acquire management tools to automate the management tasks. Companies can license tools and build an in-house management infrastructure, access management tools through a hosted Software as a Service (SaaS) model, or outsource the entire desktop management process. Each of these alternatives is explored in more detail below.Alternatives for Acquiring Good Tools:Build, Software as a Service, OutsourceA company with as few as 2-20 employees can strugglewith manual desktop management processes. The moredesktops to be managed and the more mobile and remote workers to support, the more difficult it becomes to deliver good service with manual processes. The severity of issues that can arise from poor PC management requires that the problem be taken seriously and therefore automation should be given significant consideration.There are now many options available to automate some or all of the PC management functions, and some of these options are cost effective even for small and medium sized companies. However, tool selection should be made carefully to ensure that the necessary functions are addressed by the tool, to keep training time to a minimum and to avoid selecting a tool that requires more effort to administer than it saves. As with any decision, all of the alternatives should be considered before making the decision. PC management is no different, and it can be accomplished through several approaches: management tools deployed in-house to internally manage PCs (the “build” approach), using a Software as a Service hosted management tool with internal staff, and outsourcing the management of PCs to a third party.Building an Internal PC Management InfrastructureThis traditional approach to management involves identifying tools to purchase, purchasing those tools, deploying the tools, training IT staff on how to effectively use the newly deployed management tools, and staffing sufficiently to manage the PC infrastructure on an ongoing basis. One of the advantages of this approach is that the IT organization retains full control of the management infrastructure and functions because the solution is an internally deployed solution. However, the control also brings with it the responsibility to manage the management system/software itself.The build approach typically requires a larger initial budget outlay for purchase/licensing costs, with on-going maintenance fees, and any investment in additional hardware that is required to run the
management infrastructure. In addition to these initial licensing costs, it is also important for IT organizations to realize that there is an associated cost of management. The IT staff is naturally responsible for managing the IT infrastructure, but in addition, they are also responsible for managing the IT management infrastructure itself. For example, in the case of internally deployed management software tools, these costs reveal themselves in deployment costs of the management tools, maintenance of the management tools (upgrades, patching), support personnel for ongoing operational support, management tool consulting services, training, software licensing costs (both initial purchase and recurring maintenance costs), hardware costs for additional hardware that is required to run the management software, and the cost of integrating tools in-house.The cost of management depends on several factors; the ease-of-use and ease-of-deployment of the management solution, the stability of the management code, the frequency of new releases, and the maturity of the IT organization. Most of these factors translate to IT staff time that is required to manage the management infrastructure. In addition to these direct costs, maintaining a help desk to assist users with PC issues is another additive cost of management. For geographically dispersed companies, the help desk may be required to operate 24×7, which adds significantly to the cost of ownership.Software as a ServiceAnother way for IT organizations to employ PC management functionality is through management software delivered as a service. This option shifts the responsibility for the management software deployment and maintenance to the service provider. Software as a Service (SaaS) results in eliminating the following costs for enterprises: deploying the tool, maintaining the tools, consulting services to deploy the tool, software licensing, internal tool integration, hardware to run the management software, and troubleshooting when the tool is not working properly. Instead of these costs of ownership, the cost of the hosted software is in the form of fixed monthly subscription fees.PC management SaaS can bring additional advantages beyond the features of the tool. Virus protection and automated update of virus data files is a feature often available. Some services include significant coordination of new patches; simplifying the staging, testing and deployment of patches. The service may include automated backup and offsite storage features providing excellent data protection with little additional effort or hardware costs. Hosted software solutions also provide news and information on new practices and trends which can assist the small to medium enterprise IT staff.Some IT departments may be concerned over the loss of control by using a management infrastructure provided as a hosted service. The quality of the service provided must be excellent and the reputation of the service provider is critical. However, only the infrastructure itself is under third party control in this alternative. Company IT staff remain in control of the actual end user interface and the actual processes and actions taken on individual desktops.The SaaS model provides access to a full suite product without the upfront license and setup costs. It allows the IT staff to maintain control of the desktop management process without the effort required to setup and maintain the management environment. It does require training and good internal processes. It also requires a way to track service requests and problems. To provide effective support, a help desk is useful, and for some companies a 24×7 help desk is necessary.Outsourced PC ManagementThe point of acquiring good PC management tools is to provide effective PC management. There are a number of full service outsource options available to small and medium sized businesses for desktop management. This alternative solves the effective PC management problem by turning the work over to a service provider. The service provider is responsible for tool selection, deployment and operation. The service provider also brings trained staff and proven procedures.Like the SaaS model, the outsourced model eliminates the costs of licensing the management tool, deploying the tool, consulting services to deploy the tool, integration costs, maintenance costs and hardware costs. Additionally, the outsourced model eliminates the costs of internal staff for PC management and the costs of an internal help desk function for PC management. Outsourced PC management is typically charged on a per desktop per month fee. It is more expensive than a SaaS model as the service includes the staff and the help desk functions.Outsourced PC management brings good tools and good processes to the problem of PC management, protecting the assets of the company while providing professional performance enhancements to maintain top performance expectations from the PC. Some businesses have experienced higher individual user costs for desktop management as individual users can spend more time attempting to solve their own problems rather than look to the third party provider for help.The quality of the service delivered by the service provider must be excellent, and the services must be flexible enough to fit in with the way the company works. A collaborative working relationship must be established. This can require a different kind of management oversight than exists in some small and medium sized businesses. An outsourced service may bring improved service by providing a 24×7 help desk, a tremendous resource saving feature for a small business productivity need.Morton & Morton’s PerspectiveDesktop Management is a critical business practice that, when done well, can keep employees productive and keep external threats to the company network in check. The traditional approach to managing PCs has been to deploy the management software in-house or use manual methods. Most companies now realize that manual efforts are no longer viable given the number of desktops, the frequency of changes and the risks to employee productivity and data. However, outsourcing the process to a competent third party company is by far the best method to reduce the cost of the company’s resources and protect the intellectual assets of the company at all times.We will provide you the best protection of your assets and reduce your small business resource requirements to manage the desktops and keep the performance level up the expected user level for the best productivity and do it at a cost that you can afford.L. P. Morton, Ph.D.Morton & Morton Inc. (www.morton-morton.com)820 Northwood rd.Fort Worth, Tx [email protected]

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Keep These 5 Rules in Mind for Successful Commercial Designing

Who doesn’t want an excellent commercial design? Excellent commercial design is important to maintain the reputation and brand image of the company. As it is said, the first impression is the last impression, a good impression always attracts potential customers. It’s obvious no one would ever love to walk in a congested environment with bad lighting.

Bad design and interiors deteriorate the productivity of the employees. It can be a confusing task when planning a commercial designing project for the first time, hiring expert Commercial Architects Melbourne can be the best option to know about the latest trends and perfect matching designs.

This blog is about some basic rules to consider for making the commercial project successful.
Keep structures versatile

When it comes to transforming any commercial space, focusing on convertibility and keeping office interior decor versatile can be the best option. It can be done by implementing a versatile structure to spaces such as cafeterias, offices, and many more. Everyone gives preference to comfort hence, focusing on spatial and versatile design will help to complete commercial designing projects in an optimal way.

Consider the latest technology implementations

Technology plays a supportive role to enhance the commercial designing project. Moving forward with the latest technology is important to execute any business smoothly because technologies make the work much easier and comfortable for the employee as well as organizations. Implementing centralized and decentralized digital control is much needed in any commercial design.

Keep office aesthetics updated

Good aesthetics and interiors impact the overall representation of the office and make the place functional and attractive. Hire a reputed designer for modern d├ęcor and furniture ideas. Hiring a designer reduces half of the project stress and helps to meet the contemporary fashion and latest trends. They can help to choose the perfect theme that blends well with the office decor, atmosphere, and colour.

Provide personalized space to prevent congestion

Majority of customer prefers personalized space such as different seating to seat comfortably and do the personal work. Personalized space is one of the crucial factors for customer-based service offices such as hotels and cafeterias to provide an ambient and comfortable place.

Always keep safety first

Safety is the central feature of every construction and designing project. Hence, it’s the high-priority factor to keep the aesthetic and functional safety at the working place. It can be compromised for interior decoration and design purposes but it’s not at all affordable to compromise for safety purposes.

Following the above useful ideas can easily help in the successful completion of a commercial designing project in a safe and pleasing way. In today’s, modern construction, reliability, and comfort is also an equally important factor.

Final words,

It’s important to hire the experienced Building designer Melbourne to make the commercial designing project worthy. Hope the above rules helped you to scale up your interior designing projects with a better outcome. Follow the above tips for any renovation or remodelling project and surely you will get award-winning and achieve a better office experience.

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How Long Should A Laptop Battery Last And How To Increase the Battery Life

No matter how expensive your laptop is, its battery won’t last more than four years. According to experts, a new laptop battery gives you as many as 1,000 cycles. In other words, you can charge and recharge the battery up to 1000 times. However, many factors play their role to increase or decrease the lifespan of a laptop battery. For instance, the material used for producing the battery substance. So, if you want to ensure that your battery stands the test of time, given below are some of the tips that can help.

1. Install a good battery monitor

If you are looking for an alternative, you can choose from tons of third-party utilities. Basically, the software programs help you monitor your laptop battery. These programs have no compatibility issues with any type of laptop.

Using these tools, you can find out which programs are using most of the battery power. You can then close the unwanted programs to save battery power.

2. Install maintenance apps

You can use some manufacturer-recommended maintenance tools for maintaining your laptop battery. Based on the type of your battery, you will receive different suggestions. Apart from this, your operating system will come with a built-in utility that can help you keep an eye on your battery condition.

3. Maintain your device temperature

You should try your level best to ensure your laptop maintains its temperature. In summer, electronic devices tend to heat up, which negatively impacts the life of the battery packs.

Therefore, you should make sure that there is a little bit of space between the bottom of the device and the table you have placed your device on. Besides, the ventilation system of your device should be working properly. For this purpose, regular cleaning of your device is quite important.

4. Don’t use maximum brightness

When your screen brightness is at maximum level, your device will use the maximum power. So, turning down the brightness is the first thing you can do to save power. Also, it is not a good idea to keep the brightness at max level as it can have a negative impact on your eyesight.

So, by following these simple tips, it will be easier for you to extend the life of your laptop battery.

5. Change the power-saving settings

Before you do anything, go into the power options of your laptop. If you are using Windows operating system, you can go to the control panel to access the power options. The control panel can be accessed from the Start Menu.

Some users have MacOS. If you are one of them, you need to access Energy Saver, which is found in the System Preferences. If these values are set to default, your computer will use the least amount of power.

So, what you need to do is make small changes to the settings so that you achieve a balance between power and performance. For best performance, there is always the choice to connect your device to the AC outlet.

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The Best Ways I’ve Found To Make Money Online From Home

Have you been looking for a way to make money online without having to know much of the internet stuff? Wanting to work at home but don’t know how to do it? Here is the key gem: Between all the tricks on joining the craft beer movement, opening a gallery or being a tour operator, you will find clever advice that anybody can apply to make money online quickly.

The most basic way to make money online is through affiliate marketing. It is really easy. Basically you set up an ad for someone she is selling something and when they click through and buy it, you make money! Simple enough if you have no technical skill at all. Here are some simple tips on how to earn using affiliate marketing:

Drop-shipping is one of the most useful methods. You select a product in which you believe there is a demand and then drop-ship it to your customers in small quantities. You make money from the difference between what the stock costs and what you sell it for. For this method, it is important to note that you may need to make space for your inventory on your premises or perhaps wait until you have a build of an inventory before you can start drop-shipping; but the advantages make it a good choice for those seeking to make money online from their spare time.

Paid surveys are a great way to earn some extra cash. These can be accessed easily and there are many sites where you can get paid from spending your spare time. There is one site, though, which is said to pay $200 a week for twelve weeks straight – you can’t beat that kind of money making potential. With paid surveys, it is important to note that the sites are generally scams, and that you need to do some research to ensure you are making good money making opportunities.

Finally, a passive income generating method that can bring in money on autopilot is eToro’s Forex trading. This works by allowing you to invest on a demo account and earn money from the performance of the currencies being exchanged. The best thing about this system is that it allows you to do virtually anything and still see profits coming in. eToro has an average starting price of less than $50 and can generate an income of five figures in just a few months.

These are the best things I have found for making money online from your home. Though none of them are as good as, say, a paid-online course, they are much more affordable and can provide a valuable education to start earning money immediately online. With just a little research, you should be able to find a legitimate opportunity to get paid to learn the basics of making money in the currency markets. This is a truly remarkable opportunity.

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Finding the Best Business Idea For Your Home Based Business

How many home based business opportunities are available to you? If you want to make money online at home, you really have many options to choose from. The big question is – which one will give you the biggest chance of success? Is there a ‘one size fits all’ answer? The simple truth is that not every opportunity is right for everyone, and not every opportunity will bring you the greatest amount of profit.

So, what are some home business ideas that can make money online for you? The quick and dirty answer is: the one that best suits your particular set of needs. Make a list of your priorities, including a high income; a low-risk schedule; freedom; flexibility; work-life balance; independence; something in your range of skills and expertise; and interesting work that you have an interest in… You can take this list with you and talk to people who are working from home on the same things that you would be considering. Chances are that you will find some great niches that fit your standards and your desires.

But what if you want to get started right away? It’s easy to think that you can jump into a new business idea and be successful immediately, but this often isn’t the case. It takes many different things to make sure that you will be able to get through the hurdles and actually make it to a point where you are seeing profit. If you don’t work at it slowly, you will be setting yourself up for failure. Here’s the lowdown on some different things that you should consider as you create your own business idea:

First, you need to think about what you have to offer. If you don’t have any ideas as to what to do as a freelance writer, a lowdown on finding a niche is very important. Many beginners go into this completely clueless. But if you know that you have a skill that others are desperately seeking, you may be able to provide them with the service they are looking for without having to spend much time building up a website or getting traffic to it.

Another thing to consider is what kinds of products or services would best fit a niche that you would like to get started in. In this case, the lowdown on finding the best business idea for you would include taking a look at what you love to do and what you can offer others. If writing is not your strongest point, but you love to get creative, consider freelance data entry. Freelance data entry does not require a lot of startup capital, but you still need to have the skills that will allow you to be successful in this area. The best lowdown on finding the best business idea for you is to simply start looking at what you like to do and what you can offer others.

There are many other areas of freelance writing that you can explore in order to make the most out of your home based online business. Freelance writers are in high demand online. If you have the skills that are needed to do well in this field, there is no reason that you should not be able to find a great home-based online business that will give you the income that you want.

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Earn Money Writing From Home And Never Run Out of Ideas

Is it your dream to work from home as a writer and earn money from everything you write? That was my dream for years, and 20 years ago it became my reality.

One of the hardest things at first was to come up with ideas of what to write about. I started by doing freelance writing and I also set up my own website and I wanted to write and publish books. It was all a great plan, but it meant coming up with thousands of ideas.

At first I didn’t think it was possible, but it turned out that not only was it possible to come up with endless ideas for writing, but I ended up with notebooks full of ideas because I had more than I could ever use at once.

And I’ll tell you 3 things that helped.

1. I write fast. Once I’m into writing an addictive story or an interesting article – or series of articles, I get into a writing ‘flow’ and can write for hours. I never stop and second-guess myself. I just keep writing because fast writers are mega producers and never have time for writers’ block.

2. The more I write and the faster I write, the more writing ideas I have. Productive writers always get an abundance of ideas as they write. When I’m immersed in my writing, my creative mind goes into hyper-drive. Even if I started with only one or two ideas, once I sit down and start writing the ideas start flowing. And it doesn’t matter what I write. Even if I’m journaling or copying out someone else’s writing by hand (just for practice), it inspires ideas.

3. I love to write. Most days I’m excited and motivated to sit down and write. I hurry through other chores I have to do so that I can get to my desk and write.

At first, being a writer was hard because it’s not easy to work from home with no boss, no set hours and too many distractions. But once I got a writing routine, I found that once I sat my backside in my chair and started writing, it was easy to ignore everything and motivation arrived and kept me going.

So if you find yourself longing to write but stuck for ideas, just sit down and start writing. Write anything even if it’s just nursery rhymes you were taught as a kid, or open a book and start handwriting it out.

And if you’re like me you’ll find that even on days when you think you don’t feel like writing and the ideas just won’t come, sit down and write anyway, and before you know it you’ll be overloaded with ideas.

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