President at McLane Intel
In today’s unpredictable economy, company owners and managers are always on the lookout for practices that cut costs and improve their bottom line. Investing in technology that is tailored to your company’s needs and utilized properly is one of the best ways to do this. McLane Intel’s job is to educate our technology partners and advocate awareness about current best practices. We can show you how to revolutionize the way you work, streamline your business and cut your costs.
Our main goal is to help you become more productive and profitable.
The following five tips include some of the best technology concepts you can adopt with a small budget to vastly improve your business.
Backup Disaster Recovery Appliance aka “The BDR”
Imagine arriving at work tomorrow and learning that your building is in ruins and all of your servers and data are gone. Any number of things could have gone wrong: a fire, flood, break in, theft by one of your trusted employees or a complete hardware failure. Your business would have to come to a screeching halt to repair the damage. Your insurance company could help you get back on your feet and rebuild your office, but they would never be able to recover your data. You may be able to buy new equipment and supplies, but you would never be able to buy back all of your historical client records and financial data. In fact, 70% of all small companies suffering serious data loss go out of business within 18 months.
A BDR Appliance properly installed can serve several purposes:
- Backs up your data as frequently as every 15 minutes, minimizing your loss risk and preserving your longstanding data.
- Duplicates your data and even the entire contents of your servers to an off-site storage center for recovery if your office ever suffers a major disaster.
- Functions as a back up server so that if your main server fails, it can be utilized in the server’s downtime to help your organization continue functioning properly.
- New software and updates can be tested on the appliance or in the off-site storage center with your stored data before it goes live. This allows any glitches or errors to be tested and fixed before implementing the new software on your system.
As you can see, a BDR plan from McLane Intel can provide several layers of backup protection to preserve your data and the latest technology in deduplication and data storage. If that catastrophe occur, or even if an employee accidentally crashes your server while downloading vacation photos, your business can continue to operate smoothly. You’ll experience less downtime during a server issue, data loss or a disaster which immediately improves your bottom line.
Search Engine Optimization and Social Media
The Internet has revolutionized the way that companies do business. A variety of online tools are at the disposal of organizations to sell products and services, post business information and connect with customers. But with over 8 billion pages on the Web, it can be difficult to know how to make your business stand out from the crowd, especially for SMBs. One of the best ways to cut advertising and marketing costs is to move these tactics online. Search engine optimization and social media are two low-cost ways to do just that, and to have your company’s voice heard.
Search engine optimization includes improvements to your website to help drive traffic and generate online leads. It is critical to invest in SEO because 62% of search engine users select a site on the first page of results. If your company is not among these top spots, potential customers will most likely not visit your webpage.
Social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter fit into this process because they can be easily integrated and linked, not only to each other but also to your blog and website. Social media activity and integration with a comprehensive SEO plan can enhance search results, improve your site rankings, and increase the number of visitors your site welcomes. Quality content that is end-user focused is an important factor in determining search results, and social media integration can help with this.
Also, 80% of SMBs will be using some form of social media in 2013 and they will spend over $2 billion in the channel. If you’re not implementing a comprehensive SEO and social media plan, you may be lagging behind your competitors who have built an online presence. It’s important for businesses implementing a new SEO plan to keep in mind that it can take 6-12 months for a successful campaign to hit its stride. SEO experts have come to understand that sustainable, long-lasting techniques work better than using tactics that only promote pages for a short time.
McLane Intel, through its partners, has years of experience with SEO and Social Media integration. We can easily link your social media pages with your company’s blog, website, and SEO plan to help drive traffic to your website. 40% of SEO campaigns that kept track of their ROI saw returns over 500% as a result of a well-implemented SEO campaign – McLane Intel can help your company achieve this level of success.
Most business network issues are caused by incorrectly configured network and security devices. Without a clear security policy in place, those problems increase by 60%. Worldwide, companies are reporting a rising amount of network security incidents, costing them an average of $2 million and 22 hours of downtime a year. Unauthorized applications and misconfigured networks pose critical security threats, increased financial risks, and waste valuable network resources, no matter if they are caused by an innocent mistake, user ignorance or malicious intent. Firewalls can help to protect against these security issues, but it must be properly integrated into your network and with your software for best performance.
The bottom line for your business is that poor security will cost you time, money and peace of mind. A company needs a properly-designed network and security measures in place to retain their data and win the battle against security threats.
McLane Intel’s comprehensive firewall and security devices offer management for your content-filtering, web tracking and both network and Internet usage. This means that you can manage all of your security software and filters from one device to block any site or genre of site and reduce internet surfing. You can prevent content like pornography, social networking, job searching, or gaming from decreasing employee efficiency and compromising network security.
Even if you want to block access to sites like monster.com or other unnecessary pages for your employees to surf on your time, you would still be able to allow your HR people to access these sites as resources for your business. You can even receive daily report on what sites your employees are visiting, what they are doing on them and how long they spend on the internet while at work.
Locking down your network and implementing clear security policies is a way not only to reduce your risk of network attacks and increase employee productivity, but also to ultimately increase your bottom line. Just another way McLane Intel can help your business succeed.
Document Printing & Management
Documents and data are ever increasing in every business. Some businesses rely on technology for paperless document and data processes, and some have no automation or digital workflow at all. Document management, which includes printing, scanning, file storage and retrieval, costs an average company $8,000 to $10,000 dollars per employee per year. While some of this rate is based in the hard costs (paper, toner, printer/copier lease or purchase) most of it lies in the document handling and workflow. These numbers may not show up on a balance sheet, but they’re costing your company thousands of dollars a year.
Printing, copying and scanning are at the forefront of any company’s document management process. Handling these costs through a lease or purchase of a large multi-function device can bring your printing and copying costs down in the 1-2 cent per page range for black and white and 10-15 cents per page for full color. Many small business devices today can print documents comparable to professionally-printed materials, increasing savings when it comes to sales proposals, marketing pamphlets and other collateral.
File storage and retrieval is the next biggest hurdle. Many companies have multiple rooms full of paper files that must be retained for years to comply with business regulation requirements. This practice results in hundreds of dollars in storage, electricity, retrieval, and security costs to make sure the files are available if they are ever needed.
There are many ways to “go digital.” Some providers even talk about a “paperless office.” While it is possible, the fact remains that there are still many situations where paper makes sense. However, there are ways to decrease that use, such as:
- Email Invoicing
- Use your multifunction printer devices to scan documents for permanent storage
- Use free “Print to PDF” software to avoid printing and scanning
- Use digital fax for both incoming and outgoing faxes
McLane Intel has both the experience and resources to work with small local businesses and enterprise organizations on Document Management challenges of any scale. McLane Intel will help implement the correct software, hardware, workflow, train your staff, and support your solution. We use multiple software and hardware vendors and can develop a solution that fits your business needs, and your business budget!
Technology is constantly changing and adapting. It’s a daily challenge for small to medium businesses to keep up with trends and cutting-edge practices, much less to regularly maintain their network and devices. One small change, software update or bug can completely derail your business and cause you headaches.
Most SMB’s have challenges attracting or keeping a dedicated IT staff member on board, or they adopt a practice of waiting until something critical occurs with technology to call in someone to do repairs. This “break-fix” method is not in line with your business practices or your budget. With this strategy, your IT person or company profits when things go wrong with your network. While your business is struggling to function, they are able to bill your company overtime, emergency response fees, and “extended repair charges.” Your current IT company or person makes more money when things are not going well with your network. This type of technology management also results in mismatched or incompatible equipment, poor maintenance and upkeep, and no planning for future growth or technology needs.
McLane Intel’s ConstantCare plans offer you comprehensively-managed IT solutions to answer all of these problems.
For one flat monthly fee, a Managed Service Provider can offer your business the services, repairs and hardware it needs for a network that not only meets but enhances your business functions. ConstantCare plans standardize your entire network with compatible and appropriate hardware, schedule and support all upgrades (both software and hardware), and provide access to second-by-second network monitoring. ConstantCare plans also offer around-the-clock live help desk support for employees so that they can call an IT professional when they have a support issue.
A ConstantCare plan is like having your very own pit crew show up to service your car in the garage at the end of every day. They would check the oil, top off the gas, perform a holistic vehicle check, clean the bugs off your windshield, update your music selection and vacuum the interior. But instead of for your vehicle, it’s for your network to keep you running properly and effectively on a daily basis.
This network optimization will help your business reach its peak performance to improve your staff’s efficiency, increase productivity, reduce IT costs and prevent business pain and risks you may currently be taking with your network management.
Some additional benefits that ConstantCare plans offer to help improve your bottom line include:
- Vendor Management (Telephone, Copier, Line of Business Applications)
- Mobile Device Support like iPads and smartphones
- Email Archiving
- Total SPAM Control
- Parts Replacement
- Onsite Support
- Proof of Concept Lab Testing
- Technology Consulting and Engineering
- Telecommunication Services Audits
- Remote Assistance
Overall, ConstantCare plans can give you a predictable cost for IT services for the month, reduce your downtime and provide additional benefits that go beyond having a reliable network. Most of all, a Managed Service Provider like McLane Intel would benefit from your network’s uptime, not downtime, so you can rest easy that everything possible will be done to keep your technology running smoothly.
At McLane Intel, we are always excited to work with businesses to design solutions that reduce risk and headaches while improving the bottom line. With just a few technology changes, your company can benefit from a network that is managed properly and consistently. You can also know that you will be partnered with an experienced IT provider that has your best interest in mind. Call us today for more information on how we can make technology work for you.
Regarding case in Western District Court, Waco Division regarding United States v. David Holt Palmer:
On Thursday, September 1, David H Palmer, a former employee of McLane Advanced Technologies Commercial Division (MAT Comm), pled guilty to computer intrusion. Palmer is set for sentencing on November 2.
Mr. Palmer used existing user names and passwords to access servers at Lonestar Plastics and Capstone Mechanical on Thursday, January 21, 2010 beginning around 5:30PM. By the early hours of the morning on Friday, January 22, 2010, MAT Comm had discovered that the problems experienced on these servers was intentional and malicious. MAT Comm engaged in forensic evaluation and was able to lockout all further activity from Palmer on these servers. It was not until the weekend that MAT Comm knew with some certainty that Palmer was involved. All of the damage caused by Palmer was intended to cause harm to MAT Comm and no data was stolen or copied off the systems. Although the time to recover all the files deleted or damaged was lengthy, MAT Comm’s advanced backup and disaster recovery services ensured that eventually all the data could be restored. Business operations at Capstone Mechanical and at Lonestar Plastics, both in the Garland, TX operation and the Prattville, AL operation were temporarily impacted.
On Monday, January 25, 2010, MAT Comm contacted local authorities who referred them to the Department of Homeland Security’s Secret Service in Waco because the incident involved operations that crossed state lines.
At no time were any other systems involved that were managed by MAT Comm. Furthermore, no access to MAT Comm’s or McLane Group’s systems other than Lonestar was ever attempted or gained. MAT Comm’s standard protocols dealing with departing employees ensured that the risk of such a situation was mitigated.
This particular incident may have been avoided by reminding users of computers systems that user names and passwords should not be handed out carelessly. If a password needs to be provided, then the password ought to be changed as soon as the need is satisfied. Using a best-practices approach to password management including sufficient complexity and a requirement to change with some frequency is the best measure for prevention.
There are great reasons to move services and data to the Cloud. GMAIL has been a mainstay of cloud services and has a great record for reliability (not perfect mind you, what technology delivers that?) Over the weekend, a very small percentage (0.08%) of their users lost everything in their accounts - mail, chat records, contacts and all the attachments. That 0.08 percent represents 150,000 users and if I was one of the 150,000, I really wouldn't care how few others were affected - I was COMPLETELY affected.
What's the lesson here? Your backup process matters even in a cloud economy - and you need to take responsibility for your own information. Read this lifehacker article for tips on backup strategies or contact one of our account managers to ensure you have the proper protection.
We are excited to announce that as of today, MIS is relocating back to the McLane Group Campus!
Our new physical address will be:
4001 Central Pointe Pkwy
Temple, TX 76504
Our phone numbers will remain the same.
We are very excited to be joining our colleagues at the main campus again. Please keep our new location in mind if you are dropping off or picking up equipment!
We post our values on our website. Yeah, so what – who doesn’t?
We live by our values at work. Yeah, so… how do you do that?
Step 1 Decide on the values that you WILL live by, no matter what. We engaged in a series of meetings with our team, surfaced ideas on the values that we both believed characterized our team and to which we were willing to commit, and then began to codify them. Regardless of what those values are for your organization, you absolutely MUST be committed to them. It must permeate your culture, your speech and your actions. We explained it in the opening three sentences of our Values statement:
“We are a high-performance, high-expectation, fun and invigorating place to exercise the incredible skills and talents we have been given by God. We are committed to a core set of values that we believe are non-negotiable. This means that team members must be committed to these values in order to remain on the team.”
Join us over the next several weeks as we walk through our Values (http://www.mclaneintel.com/index.php/about/values) and how we incorporate them into our worklife!