October 4th, 2016

2016october4_webandcloud_aFor businesses of any size, getting on the first page of Google search results is important to drive traffic to the website. Although most search engine optimizers will focus more on getting organic results, the limitation of this approach is that it only reaches users looking for a particular service and not your specific brand. For those looking for tips on how to advertise services as well as brand identity, we have a few tricks.

One of the ways you can improve your branded search visibility is by ensuring your brand name is mentioned multiple times throughout your site. Make sure to link the brand name to the homepage of your website, include the brand name in descriptions of the company, and add meta descriptions to the site.

Because Google’s site indexing service is completely automated, just about anyone should be listed in the results. The goal isn’t getting listed, it’s getting listed first. Little things like placing your sitemap in an easy-to-find location, including descriptive titles, and always filling out meta descriptions to increase the chances of your brand links appearing on the search pages.

Social media may technically be a different story, but it works hand-in-hand in today’s search engine optimization efforts. These pages are very likely to be listed when customers are making ‘brand’ searches. Make sure you maintain profiles at every “big” social media site, and add as much information as you can concerning your brand identity. Because the ultimate goal is to drive traffic to your site, link to your website in every field that allows it.

Lastly, Google business reviews are more important in getting branded search results than most people realize. Claim your business on Google My Business and frequently encourage your top customers to leave positive reviews concerning your brand. The more positive reviews your website has, the higher your site will appear in the rankings.

SEO is important for business, but so is creating a brand identity. An intersection of these goals may seem difficult, but not impossible. For more information on SEO, branded search results and anything related to your Google search rankings, get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Web & Cloud
October 3rd, 2016

2016october3_healthcarearticles_aFor hospitals, readmission rates are a key performance indicator (KPI). They indicate the quality of care your practice provides and what sort of resources you need in reserve to avoid overcrowding. Some legislation even reduces government payouts to hospitals with high readmission rates. Regardless of whether you want to avoid a stiff penalty or just improve your patient services, data analytics may be the solution, and we’ve put together all the interesting facts and figures right here.

Business intelligence (BI) software truly lives up to its name. At its core, BI is all about data analytics, and it is able to accept overwhelming amounts of data in short periods of time to use advanced analysis algorithms to search for trends that even the most experienced statistician cannot find.

By swapping out customer fields such as previous number of purchases, order size, and order frequency, in favor of patient fields such as income level, English proficiency, housing conditions, and community resources, hospital administrators can provide extra care that will help prevent expensive readmissions.

By combining socioeconomic data with electronic medical records (EMR) in a BI software environment, hospitals and doctor’s offices can easily create patient profiles that will predict how likely they are to require readmission, even before care is provided.

For the context of this article, readmission is when a patient returns for more care within 30 days of the original hospital stay. Cases like these usually stem from conditions immediately following the initial visit, such as mismanagement of the original condition, improper self-medication, and not enough access to proper medical services and medications in their community.

For practices looking for methods to reduce readmissions by three percent or greater, predictive analytics allow doctors to ensure that certain types of patients can totally avoid readmissions with proper initial care.

With effective implementation of these solutions, hospitals can save a lot of money. After reducing the incidence of readmissions by 6,000 patients annually, one particular practice was able to save $72 million on medical services, avoid $4 million in Medicare penalties, and boost its reputation by leaps and bounds.

Big data isn’t only for big business. BI software can deliver your practice unprecedented levels of care and efficiency, and we’re the ones who know how to get it done. Whether you want to lower readmission rates or ensure your EMR compliance, call us today to partner with a trusted IT expert.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Healthcare
September 30th, 2016

2016september30_businessvalue_aMost people tend to think that the concept of virtual reality has a place with The Jetsons family, but not so much at the office -- think again. Recently, more and more businesses are exploring ways they can mesh virtual reality with daily business operations to possibly help benefit customer service and even employee satisfaction. Take your business to the next level by embracing three dimensions instead of two. Here’s why:

Create your own virtual product prototypes

With the help of virtual reality, you’ll no longer have to rely on manufacturing when you want to see what your product physically looks like and how it might work. These virtual products allow you to make any changes before going through with production. According to Abi Mandelbaum, CEO and co-founder of YouVisit, “Model creation in VR, for example, can save companies time and money, as these types of models or prototypes allow viewers to examine a product and make changes without the time or expense of building a physical model.”

Virtual designs for engineers

Especially beneficial for engineers, architects and other professionals that work with building or engineering large structures, virtual reality helps save both time and money. As an alternative to small models or 2D renderings, VR offers a more immersive experience that helps design and replicate structures.

Virtual tours

Let’s say that you’re a real estate agent showing houses to potential buyers. Your buyers might be in a different state or simply don’t want to spend time going from house-to-house. Virtual reality allows customers to see what the home looks likes in a three-dimensional setting without them having to actually be there.

Showing all the angles of a product

In order to entice buyers into making a purchase, they must first get an idea as to what it’s actually like, and they need to see as many angles as possible -- especially for products that customers don’t get to physically touch. With virtual reality, customers are given a better idea of what your product is like. Abi Mandelbaum says that “Virtual reality can allow current and potential customers to explore a product before they commit to making a purchase. Furthermore, VR completely immerses customers, helping place a product directly into their (virtual) hands or empowering viewers to see a product in action.”

Take customers on an adventure

If you are in any tourism or adventure-based business, you can use virtual reality to give customers a taste of what to expect from the attractions. Imagine that you have an amusement park and want to attract customers’ attention. You can opt to offer a short VR replication of one of your rides so people can see whether or not they’d like it. Or if you own a resort or campground, you’ll also be able to create reality versions of whatever activities you offer.

VR has the potential to take your small- and medium-sized business to the next level if done properly of course. If you have any questions about how you can mesh virtual reality with your company, don’t hesitate to send us an email or give us a call. We’ll be more than happy to assist with your queries.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic business
September 29th, 2016

2016september29_office_aThe cloud has made it easier for people, businesses, and companies to interact and collaborate. And one of the best productivity tools on the market is Microsoft Office 365, which is making it even simpler to store, organize and share files online. Thanks to its newest update, you can enjoy all these functions when working with teammates, business partners, and customers outside of your organization. Read on for all the details regarding 365’s new guest-collaborator feature.

This new functionality mainly centers around Office 365 groups. A 365 group is essentially an email address with Office privileges that several people have access to. For example, if you have an Editorial Group, each individual writer at your organization will receive emails, calendar invites, and document read/edit privileges sent to

If you’re interested in adding a guest from outside of your organization to an Office 365 group, the process is simple. From the group administration dashboard, click “Add Members.” Then, all you need to do is enter the email addresses of whomever you would like to add, and voilà.

Guest collaborators will receive an email alerting them of their new addition and access to group files, emails, and calendar items -- all accessible via Office on the web.

Take note, however, of Outlook’s alert: “You’re adding a guest to this group. As a member, they’ll have access to group content.” This will grant new guests all the same read/edit privileges as other group members -- including privileges from before the guest was added.

There is no requirement for guests to have a Microsoft account, and by always labeling the new member as a guest, original group members won’t ever have to worry about forgetting who should receive confidential document privileges.

Unless the guest is a trusted partner, we recommend creating 365 groups specially designated for the purpose of outside collaboration to ensure the privacy of your cloud documents. Administrators can remove them at any time, or guests can volunteer to leave on their own.

Adding and removing collaborators from outside of your organization may be as simple as adding an email address to a list, but the possibility for improved teamwork is limitless. If at any point in your workflow you feel that your work is suffering from bottlenecks in creation, communication, or collaboration, there’s a good chance Office 365 has a solution. If there’s anyone who will know that solution, it’s us. Message us today about collaborating on all your productivity dilemmas.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Office
September 28th, 2016

2016september31_apple_aAlthough no announcements have yet been made, Apple’s flagship tablet is changing. Just like the iPhone, the iPad will get a boost in storage capacity. Up from the previous 16GB, the minimum storage capacity for iPads is now 32GB. Keep reading to find out whether these changes mean it's time for you to head out and grab a new iPad.

Hoping to lure customers back to their mobile devices, Apple has made a number of changes to its products. However, the changes aren’t as simple as they sound, and there are 21 total variations of iPad model and storage. For instance, the storage capacity of the iPad mini 2, the oldest and cheapest version, has been upgraded from 16GB to 32GB.

Both the new Wi-Fi and cellular models of the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 share the same price, and come in either 32GB or 128GB. These are the only two storage options available for these models as the mid-range 64GB model has been discontinued. While the mini 4 kept all its prices the same and simply added more storage, the Air 2 received increased storage capacity and price reductions as high as $200 for the largest model.

Previously, those looking to purchase high-end 12.9-inch iPad Pros had to shell out over a thousand dollars. But if you’re willing to stick to a Wi-Fi model, that’s no longer the case with the 256GB version coming in at $999. Cellular-enabled iPad Pros won’t offer a 32GB model, which means the cheapest option will cost you over a grand.

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro offers the most variety in available storage, with 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB models for both the Wi-Fi and cellular versions of the tablet. Not excepted from price cuts, these models saw price reductions across each of the six configurations, which now cost anywhere from $599 to $929.

Originating in 1965, Moore’s Law states that the number of transistors in a circuit doubles every two years. This standard has held true even for digital storage, which has grown exponentially. However, what Moore’s Law doesn’t approximate is price. Yet again, consumers have the opportunity to purchase greater computing power at lower prices.

Apple manufactures a lot more than just iPhones and iPads. As specialists in everything that runs iOS and MacOS, we’re your one-stop shop for all your Apple technology needs. Whether it’s hardware advice or Mac-only software solutions, we’re here to help. Give us a call today to find out how we can improve your Apple technology.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Apple
September 27th, 2016

2016september27_androidtablet_aHuawei is one of the biggest manufacturers of networking and telecommunications equipment in the world. While Huawei ranks highly among smartphone manufacturers in Asia, it has yet to break into the North American market. In the most recent development, Huawei and Google are planning a partnership that would propel Huawei into the American tablet market. Keep reading for more details. People spend a lot of time looking for and comparing the best tablets on the market. Obviously, some prefer the iPad Pro 12.9 for its gigantic screen, but for those who just can't get enough of the customizations available for Android devices, a Google Nexus Android tablet is best.

But whether Google retains the ‘Nexus’ name remains to be seen. On October 4, the tech giant will host an event to release devices in their new ‘Pixel’ line and may add a Huawei tablet to this family. With its rumored 4GB of RAM and top-of-the-line specifications, the new device from Google and Huawei will enable users to enjoy an experience on par with that of a full-fledged desktop computer -- all while stripping the out-of-the-box model of any unnecessary manufacturer software and bloatware.

In 2015, Huawei manufactured Google’s Nexus 6P smartphone, which was lauded as "the most premium Nexus ever." That fact, combined with Huawei’s existing tablet prowess from its experiences with the MediaPad M3, make this an all-star team-up.

Although we only know a handful of specifics about this new tablet, we do know that we love the Huawei/Google smartphone collaboration and can expect good things. Being a leader in the industry means constantly keeping your ear to the ground for new and exciting releases. You can trust us to always be one step ahead of the competition with our insider knowledge. For all your Android and mobile device questions, we’re the authority. Get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic android
September 23rd, 2016

2016september23_microsoftwindowsnewsandtips_aWindows 10’s action center has immense potential, but without proper configuration it’s a messy amalgamation of unnecessary notifications and information. That’s not to say the action center is unsalvageable; it just needs to be properly tailored to suit your preferences. In just three quick steps you can limit the scope of your notifications and how they grab your attention. Let’s get started.

Overarching action center settings

The place to start is customizing system-wide notifications settings. To view these, click on the Cortana icon on your taskbar, type ‘Notifications,’ and click ‘Notifications & actions settings.’ From here you can turn off alerts entirely, adjust those on the lock screen, or customize the alerts for core functions such as alarms and incoming calls.

Settings for individual applications

If you’re interested in taking a far more nuanced approach to your notifications, there are options to create rules on an app-by-app basis. At the bottom of the ‘Notifications & actions settings’ screen is a section titled ‘Get notifications from these senders.’ At first glance it may look as though you can only turn alerts completely off or on for these apps, but that’s not the case.

By clicking on any of the items in this list, you can open a new window full of more graded notifications options. From here, users can specify lock screen, sound, and priority settings for individual software.

Closing the blinds

For users who have no interest whatsoever in the Windows 10 action center, there is a way to banish it entirely. Open Cortana again and search ‘Notification area.’ Halfway down the page, click the menu titled ‘Turn system icons on or off.’ Toggling the Action Center option (third from the bottom) allows you to remove the icon from your taskbar altogether.

While you’re at it, why not take this philosophy one step further? Click the back arrow to return to the ‘Notification area’ window and this time choose ‘Select which icons appear on the taskbar.’ Here you can choose which apps to remove from your taskbar entirely, eliminating any annoying icons that change to alert you of distracting notifications.

Everyone is different. If artists have tools unique to their style, why shouldn’t the tools of your trade be tailored to your preferences? Our paintbrush is technology, and we’d love to show you how we work by helping you achieve new levels of productivity and efficiency on your Windows machine. Get in touch with us today to speak with one of our tech-savvy specialists about your technology goals.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Windows
September 21st, 2016

2016september21_security_aAs with all technology, trendy phrases come and go with the passing of every IT conference and newly released virus. And when dealing with cybersecurity, keeping up with them all can mean the survival -- or demise -- of a business. If you’re looking for a list of the industry’s most relevant terms, you’ve come to the right place.


For a long time, the phrase ‘computer virus’ was misappropriated as a term to define every type of attack that intended to harm or hurt your computers and networks. A virus is actually a specific type of attack, or malware. Whereas a virus is designed to replicate itself, any software created for the purpose of destroying or unfairly accessing networks and data should be referred to as a type of malware.


Don’t let all the other words ending in ‘ware’ confuse you; they are all just subcategories of malware. Currently, one of the most popular of these is ‘ransomware,’ which encrypts valuable data until a ransom is paid for its return.

Intrusion Protection System

There are several ways to safeguard your network from malware, but intrusion protection systems (IPSs) are quickly becoming one of the non-negotiables. IPSs sit inside of your company’s firewall and look for suspicious and malicious activity that can be halted before it can deploy an exploit or take advantage of a known vulnerability.

Social Engineering

Not all types of malware rely solely on fancy computer programming. While the exact statistics are quite difficult to pin down, experts agree that the majority of attacks require some form of what is called ‘social engineering’ to be successful. Social engineering is the act of tricking people, rather than computers, into revealing sensitive or guarded information. Complicated software is totally unnecessary if you can just convince potential victims that you’re a security professional who needs their password to secure their account.


Despite often relying on face-to-face interactions, social engineering does occasionally employ more technical methods. Phishing is the act of creating an application or website that impersonates a trustworthy, and often well-known business in an attempt to elicit confidential information. Just because you received an email that says it’s from the IRS doesn’t mean it should be taken at face value -- always verify the source of any service requesting your sensitive data.


Anti-virus software is often misunderstood as a way to comprehensively secure your computers and workstations. These applications are just one piece of the cybersecurity puzzle and can only scan the drives on which they are installed for signs of well known malware variants.

Zero-day attacks

Malware is most dangerous when it has been released but not yet discovered by cybersecurity experts. When a vulnerability is found within a piece of software, vendors will release an update to amend the gap in security. However, if cyber attackers release a piece of malware that has never been seen before, and if that malware exploits one of these holes before the vulnerability is addressed, it is called a zero-day attack.


When software developers discover a security vulnerability in their programming, they usually release a small file to update and ‘patch’ this gap. Patches are essential to keeping your network secure from the vultures lurking on the internet. By checking for and installing patches as often as possible, you keep your software protected from the latest advances in malware.

Redundant data

When anti-virus software, patches, and intrusion detection fail to keep your information secure, there’s only one thing that will: quarantined off-site storage. Duplicating your data offline and storing it somewhere other than your business’s workspace ensures that if there is a malware infection, you’re equipped with backups.

We aren’t just creating a glossary of cyber security terms; every day, we’re writing a new chapter to the history of this ever-evolving industry. And no matter what you might think, we are available to impart that knowledge on anyone who comes knocking. Get in touch with us today and find out for yourself.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Security
September 20th, 2016

2016september20_hardware_aAmong all the new-fangled gizmos and whatchamacallits that pop up daily, hard drives remain a vital component for all types of computers. It’s completely normal to get a new one every couple of years, but with the overwhelming amount of choices available, a simple purchase becomes a difficult ordeal. Because we don’t have a tech fairy that can conjure up what we need, we’ve compiled four things you need to know before purchasing your next hardware.

Hard Disk Drive VS. Solid State Drive

Firstly, you have to know which type of data storage you plan to use: Hard Disk Drive (HDD) or Solid State Drive (SSD).Capabilities of HDDs are on par with SSDs -- but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any pros and cons. An SSD is a type of drive that uses flash memory for storing data, as opposed to spinning metal disks found in the traditional HDD -- think of it like an extra large USB thumb drive.

On the upside, SSDs are faster at reading and writing data. They require less energy, are silent, and generally have longer lifespans. Downsides include small data capacities and a heftier price tag. It all boils down to what you're going to your needs. Go for HDDs if you have budget restrictions or are looking for a backup/external drive; go for SSDs if the drive will run frequently-accessed files and programs.

Physical size and interface

After deciding between an HDD or SSD, you now have to choose a form factor. Luckily there are only two choices: the 3.5-inch drive and the 2.5-inch drive. The right one will likely depend on your current setup. With traditional HDDS, data is stored on spinning metal disks, meaning that more disks will be needed to expand data capacity. Because of this, desktop HDDs tend to be 3.5 inches with a maximum capacity of 4 TB, whereas laptops are 2.5 inches with a maximum capacity of 2 TB. SSDs are made smaller since they don’t require any removable parts, meaning they’ll fit easily into the 2.5-inch form factor. Adapters are available if you need to use the SSD in a 3.5-inch connector.

Specifications and performance

Now that you know what kind of drive to buy, it’s time to narrow down the candidates and find the best one that suits your needs. Here are some factors you need to consider:
  • Storage capacity - HDDs come in various sizes, but due to physical limitations, they cap off at 4 TB. Whereas SSDs are much smaller and doesn’t exceed the 1 TB mark - some consumer-level SSDs rarely exceed 512GB.
  • Transfer speed - Performance of consumer-level HDDs are determined by multiple factors, and revolutions per minute (RPM) is an important one. Higher RPM means faster data transfer between drives.
  • Cache space - If a hard disk needs to transfer data from one section to another, a special area of embedded memory known as the cache is utilized. Larger cache enables data to be transferred faster (because more information can be stored at one time). Modern HDDs have cache sizes ranging from 8-12 MB.
  • Access times - HDDs have a couple of factors that impact their performance. One is the time it takes for the reader to start reading or writing data from the drive. For SSDs, you want to look for sequential read and write speeds (also known as sustained reading and writing speeds). Just as long as the speeds are within the SATA connector’s max speed, you'll be fine.
  • Failure rate - Though all things mechanical gradually wear and tear over time, not all HDDs are the same. Some models last six months where others make it past six years. You must do adequate research on a per-model basis before making a purchase.

External VS. Internal

The final step is to decide whether you want the hard drive to reside within of if it will get its own compartment outside. External drives are ideal for storage and backup purposes; they generally connect with a USB 2.0 that caps out at 480Mb/s -- newer models that support USB 3.0 boasts a max of 5.0Gb/s. Unless the model you get is USB 3.0 compatible, the speed will likely be insufficient when it comes to running an operating system.

Speed issues aside, they’re portable and can be shared with multiple computers. They can even be plugged into TVs and media centers for direct playback. If portability falls second to speed, or if your current system lacks a working data drive, internal is the best choice.

Now that you’re armed with the necessary information, buying your next hardware should be a pleasant experience, like a walk in the park. If you have further questions or would like to know more, feel free to contact us by phone or email; we’re more than happy to help.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Hardware
September 16th, 2016

2016september16__browsers_aBack in 2013, Google released a tiny HDMI device to widespread praise. No bigger than a run-of-the-mill flash drive, Chromecast allowed you to broadcast certain applications from your desktop or smartphone screen to your TV. Considering how easy it was to set up, and the $35 price tag, we didn’t think it could get any better than that. We’re rarely wrong, but this time around that was a pretty easy pill to swallow. Trust us, you’ll want to see how this works.

In its earliest stages, ‘Casting’ allowed users to stream a device’s screen to a TV with a Chromecast wireless adapter plugged into the HDMI port. Soon after, Google released a second, updated model that added the possibility of connecting to audio-only devices via stereo cable and faster internal hardware to improve streaming to both TVs and stereo systems.

Regardless of which model you had previous to last month’s update, individual apps needed to include Casting functionality, and even Google’s own Chrome browser required downloading and installing an extension before users could get the most out of the service. As an industry leader in user experience and design, the engineers at Google knew this had to be fixed. Their solution was a no-brainer, and may even be sitting in your browser this very moment.

The Cast feature is now built directly into every updated version of the Chrome. Just click the three stacked lines that act as Chrome’s File menu and select Cast halfway down the menu. Click the arrow to the right of ‘Cast to’ and choose desktop, followed by which Chromecast device you would like to broadcast, and voilà -- your computer’s desktop will be duplicated on your Chromecast-enabled TV.

Assuming you’re currently connected to a trusted wireless network, we invite you to give it a try right here and now. If you’re confused about why we would suggest such a thing when you haven’t had a chance to go out and buy the necessary hardware adapter, that’s because several big-name TV brands are now installing this functionality directly into their televisions. You may have had this feature all along without even knowing it!

Once you’ve mastered casting your screens and audio wirelessly, why not check out all the apps Google has highlighted specifically for this Chrome feature? From NFL streaming to slideshow production, the Play Store has everything you’re looking for to step up your casting game.

It’s amazing how something so useful and so accessible could go relatively unnoticed for so long. There are tons of wonderful and exciting features lurking around, even in software as ordinary as your internet browser. For IT solutions big and small, there’s only one number you need to know -- and it’s right at the bottom of this page. Give us a call today.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Web & Cloud