The Connection, Inc Blog

The Connection, Inc has been serving the New Jersey area since 1992, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Technology Improvements Give Your Businesses a Leg Up

Technology Improvements Give Your Businesses a Leg Up

In today’s business, technology seems to be advancing at an alarming rate. Just when you think you’ve got the latest and greatest tech; something is developed that makes your new tool seem antiquated. Nowhere is this more evident than in the management of your IT.

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How the IoT Can Be Used to Help Your Business Processes

How the IoT Can Be Used to Help Your Business Processes

The Internet of Things has been around for some time now, with devices being given some level of artificial intelligence and Internet connectivity to improve their intended functions since 1982. After some time as a fringe approach to technology, it has now become an invaluable tool for many business functions. Let’s review the ways that the IoT can be harnessed to your advantage.

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Useful Gadgets for the Remote Worker

Useful Gadgets for the Remote Worker

Before 2020, remote work was already growing, albeit much more slowly than we see this year (for obvious reasons), but now that just as many workers are working from home (or have the option to work remotely) as are working in the office, we’re beginning to see that it is a functional business model. With many remote workers fairly new to it, we thought we’d see what gadgets members of the Gig Economy are using. 

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Businesses Need to Use Automation to Adapt

Businesses Need to Use Automation to Adapt

Let’s be real. For most small businesses during this period, it’s been extremely difficult.  If you were somehow able to sustain operations during this time, you most likely had to make some serious alterations to the way that you normally do things. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the technologies that you probably already have, and how you can change the way you use them to benefit your business as concerns spike over COVID-19. 

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The Extreme Changes Businesses Have to Make to Survive COVID-19

The Extreme Changes Businesses Have to Make to Survive COVID-19

For the months that COVID-19 has been around, everyone has done all they can to hold on to their business. They have closed down, they have closed their offices and forced their employees to work from home, they have borrowed money and scaled back or eliminated their 2020 plans. It would be nice if all that sacrifice would pay off, but the frustrating reality is that there is going to be a lot of sustained discomfort for a lot of business owners. Let’s take a look at some things small business owners should consider as they reopen their businesses. 

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Remote Monitoring and Managed IT, and the Impact it Has on Small Business

Remote Monitoring and Managed IT, and the Impact it Has on Small Business

With more people than ever working from home, their ability to receive the support they need to keep their devices in top working order is crucial. As a result, many businesses have turned to managed IT service providers to maintain their employees’ computers. MSPs like us utilize a tool called remote monitoring and management software (RMM). Let’s discuss what it is and why it is so useful for managing your company’s IT. 

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These Types of Applications Can Improve Workplace Productivity

These Types of Applications Can Improve Workplace Productivity

Productivity is—generally speaking—the core goal of any modern software solution. Today, we wanted to go over a few tools that can boost your productivity and efficiency right now.

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Business Growth Demands Shifts in Strategy

Business Growth Demands Shifts in Strategy

As an owner of a small business, there are a whole lot of issues that you have to confront every day. Besides the normal issues, there are always situations that pop up without warning. When your business is small and more easily manageable, they are easier to steer one way or another When your business starts growing rapidly, however, turning things around can get more difficult. This can turn into roadblocks to progress. Today, we will look at some of the issues that a small business owner will encounter when their business grows fast.

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Technology You’ll Need as Your Business Grows

Technology You’ll Need as Your Business Grows

If you are an entrepreneur, changing the way that you look at your business can be pretty difficult. Many businesses start out with not much more than a ray of hope, so if your business is doing well, you must be doing something right. When demand makes you think bigger, your technology spend becomes a major priority. Let’s take a look at some of the changes a growing business has to make. 

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Smartphone Addiction and Its Effects

Smartphone Addiction and Its Effects

Nowadays, most of us use smartphones; and, yes, probably most of us use them more than is healthy. There are those, however, that have come to depend on their mobile device so much that it completely dominates their lives. As people become even more attached to their phone, the impact this behavior has on their lives becomes more and more detrimental. 

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How to Optimize Your IT Costs with the Help of an MSP

How to Optimize Your IT Costs with the Help of an MSP

A business’ budget is the biggest authority over it. As a result, each business needs to spend some time adjusting their operational investments to put itself in the best position to reach its goals… a process that a managed service provider’s help can make much simpler. Let’s review some ways that an MSP can help a business get that much more out of its investment into its IT.

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Why You Need to Consider How Your Data is Stored

Why You Need to Consider How Your Data is Stored

If you have a computer, it has data on it that you’ve stored. Whether it’s the novel you’ve been working on in your spare time or pictures from your kid’s sixth grade graduation on your home PC, or the databases and applications that your business’ infrastructure supports, all of this data is generally stored in exactly the same way. Whatever your case, you should know that your data is terrifyingly fragile - far too fragile to ever be kept in just one place. Let’s dive deeper.

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Remote Work Has Been Around for Longer than You’d Think

Remote Work Has Been Around for Longer than You’d Think

A lot of people aren’t aware that working from home is not a recent innovation. It can arguably be traced back over a million and a half years, when our ancestors would work relatively close to their dwelling places. Throughout our history, work has shifted away and back again to the remote methodology. Let’s look back through the years to see the progression of how people worked, based on the technology that was available.

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What Are the Most Important IT Solutions for an SMB?

What Are the Most Important IT Solutions for an SMB?

While all a business’ technology solutions are important, some are bound to take priority over the others, especially when certain ones become an industry-wide focus. A recent survey evaluated the top concerns of small-to-medium-sized businesses for the coming year. The results of the survey identified a few telling trends regarding the priorities that SMBs hold now, and for good reason.

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Efficient IT Goes a Long Way

Efficient IT Goes a Long Way

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing businesses to rethink their operational strategies, many businesses have had to make a quick digital transformation. Many businesses have accomplished this before the stay-at-home orders, but with employees working from home, we thought this was the perfect time to take a look at four tools businesses can use to improve their work-from-home strategies. 


Analysis, In Real Time

Making prudent and qualified decisions is more important now that it has ever been before. To be able to make informed decisions, many SMBs are looking to their analytics platforms. By being able to look at how aspects of your businesses are functioning in real time, you can quickly change strategies that need to be changed in order to keep your business running efficiently.

Additionally, many analytic systems can be structured near the edge of an organization’s computing network, giving them more insight into how data is flowing in and out of their network.

Other benefits include:

  • Managing location data - Directs decision makers’ strategies by determining the relevant data for multiple locations.
  • Anomaly detection - Helps decision makers detect outlying data sets to avoid impulsive decision making. 
  • Improved marketing - Assists decision makers to make decisions based on demand when it otherwise wouldn’t be noticed.

Voice Over Internet Protocol

VoIP is one of the most useful tools for teleworkers. It provides strong communication options, highlighted by an enterprise-grade telephone system, for pennies on the proverbial dollar. Additional available options that can help remote workers such as instant messaging, text messaging, and audio and video conferencing make VoIP a powerful tool for businesses looking to sustain levels of productivity with workers out of the office. 

Automation

One of the best tools for cutting costs is process automation. A lot of businesses are trying to effectively identify processes within their workflow where they can automate mundane or repetitive tasks. By having the type of consistency automation brings to these types of tasks, businesses can utilize their human resources on more revenue-building assignments.

Tasks that can be automated include:

  • Tasks that involve moving information around
  • Frequent and mundane, but necessary tasks
  • Tasks that frequently interrupt focus on business-critical tasks

Making the investment to automate parts of your business will assuredly save your organization money. Best yet, by automating these tasks now, once operations return to normal, you will keep seeing the cost savings you do today. 

Online Sales

There are a lot of businesses that have implemented some semblance of ecommerce prior to this event, but if you haven't, or if you have a limited ecommerce platform, you could see a major bump in revenue from investing in your ecommerce platform. In retail, companies are seeing double and even triple times the sales through their ecommerce solution than they did only a few short weeks ago. Prioritizing your online sales will go a long way toward keeping revenues up while your storefront is closed.

For the small business these can be lean times. Knowing what technologies and strategies to implement will go a long way toward getting you through this period. For more information about technology and how it can work for your business during the COVID-19 period, call The Connection, Inc today at (732) 291-5938. 

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Rethinking Your Budget for a New Reality

Rethinking Your Budget for a New Reality

With the COVID-19 outbreak forcing businesses into unenviable situations, it’s probably not surprising that business owners and decision makers are looking at what expenses they need to cut in order to keep their businesses afloat. Today, we’ll discuss the trends we are seeing and how managed IT services can be a godsend in situations like this.


Inevitable Cuts

While technology has helped millions of businesses from all over the world stay relevant during the pandemic, we’re seeing that IT is one of the elements of a business that is seeing the most spending reduction. After all, most businesses have to cut some costs just to make everything work. Furthermore, analysts are saying that after the outbreak ends, the remaining recession will actually cut IT expenses by two or more percent for the next year. For an industry that has seen spending rise by five or more percent for each of the past eight years, that is problematic.

To sustain profitability businesses will need to free up as much capital as they can during times like this, and many businesses including ones that operate in the hospitality and manufacturing industries are already seeing massive declines in revenue. This suggests that their 2020 and 2021 spends will probably be less than their 2019 spends. 

This means that many businesses will be cancelling their planned technology projects, especially if they are non-essential. They are using this capital to improve their liquidity and to fund the transitions necessary to support their newly remote workforce. 

Telework and How Managed IT Services Can Help

If your business is looking to make some cuts to your operational technology, choosing the right IT service provider can be a great solution. Not only will you be able to maintain your current IT infrastructure, but a managed IT service provider (MSP) can help you find and implement the solutions you are going to need to get through this situation. 

Let’s start with the remote workforce. Before the pandemic only around eight percent of full-time workers were able to have the flexibility to consistently work from home. With states mandating people stay at home during this situation, telework has exploded. If your company was one of the few that provided telework options before the stay-at-home orders hit, you probably have had a much easier transition to supporting a completely remote workforce. Most businesses, however, didn’t, and are seeing that setting this up properly isn’t terribly cheap.

The challenges of supporting a staff that works remotely aren’t necessarily the same as you would have envisioned. Many businesses didn’t provide the work-from-home flexibility out of the fear that they would lose substantial amounts of productivity (and therefore revenue). While this is still somewhat of a concern, most workers that work remotely understand what their responsibilities are and go above and beyond to ensure that they aren’t the weak link. It's been said multiple times over the past several weeks, but if you have an employee that does not work well from home, it's a pretty good bet that he/she wasn't working that well from the office, either. 

One consideration that does have to be made, however, is how to secure your endpoints and data-in-transit. If this wasn’t already a main consideration of your disaster recovery policy, it will be now. Working with remote access and virtual private networks can go a long way toward mitigating the risk your company will see. An MSP can quickly help you find solutions that will not only keep your data safe and protect your existing infrastructure, it can provide you with new and affordable tools to leverage to keep your business compliant of the regulations your business falls under. 

What’s more, with the use of a state-of-the-art monitoring and management platform, the trustworthy MSP continuously monitors your network and infrastructure to ensure that everything is working properly, efficiently, and securely. In times like this, when there are files coming in and flowing out of your network, knowing that you have professional technicians versed in contemporary knowledge of threats and inefficiencies, alike, can be a huge benefit for your business.

Finally, an MSP does all this (and more) for a fraction of the cost of paying an onsite IT department (who would be working from home right now anyway). An MSP will help you reduce downtime, keep your network and infrastructure working effectively and securely, and do it for a static monthly cost. This allows you to cut your IT support costs and have a number that won’t change from month-to-month.

If you would like more information about how managed IT services can help your business in this time of crisis call The Connection, Inc today at (732) 291-5938. 

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Understanding IT Acronyms You Hear in the Office

Understanding IT Acronyms You Hear in the Office

Technology can be complicated, and it doesn’t help when all you hear is an alphabet soup of acronyms used to describe it. As professionals, this kind of jargon has become a second language to us and it is easy to forget that not everyone will recognize these acronyms. For your reference, we’ve assembled some common ones you’ll probably hear us use.


-aaS

This means “as-a-service” and is typically preceded by another letter or letters, like “IaaS” (for Infrastructure-as-a-Service) or “DRaaS” (Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service). This means that a given business need is available from a service provider at a monthly, budgetable rate, with the provider managing whatever the solution in question is on an ongoing basis. This approach has grown in popularity amongst businesses, who benefit from the sustained nature of the given service delivered.

BI

BI, or business intelligence, is the culmination of data analysis to better understand business trends. While enterprises have put it to the most use, business intelligence and big data are slowly being introduced to businesses of all sizes to help them boost their operations. 

BYOD

BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, is a strategy that many businesses use to cut costs and boost their employee satisfaction by allowing their staff members to use their own devices in the workplace, rather than ones provided by the employer. With the right precautions in place, BYOD can prove to be very beneficial for the business’ budget.

DoS

A Denial-of-Service attack (and sometimes, a DDoS, or Distributed-Denial-of-Service attack) is a form of cyberattack where a system’s operations are overwhelmed by an onslaught of incoming traffic. The interruptions that this causes can create significant challenges for a business.

EOL

When a solution reaches its EOL, or its End-of-Life, it effectively means that the developer is no longer updating its security to protect it and, by proxy, its users. This makes it of significant importance to keep apprised of the status of your solutions and have plans to migrate away from any that are approaching their EOL dates. Windows 7 reached its EOL not too long ago, for example.

IoT

The IoT is shorthand for the Internet of Things, the assortment of non-traditional devices that feature an Internet connection to boost their capabilities. While the IoT is a fascinating development in technology today, it also presents many challenges to your organizational security that must be addressed.

LAN

A LAN, or a Local Area Network, is a network used to share resources between computers contained within a limited distance. This is present in many offices, especially those that share printers or access to other pieces of connected equipment.

MFA

Multi-factor authentication, sometimes referred to as 2-factor authentication, is the practice of requiring an additional means of verifying one’s identity as one requests access to an account or a resource. By identifying a user with a username, the traditional password serves as the first factor of authentication, while the second requirement might demand a PIN number dictated by an application, or even biometric information.

SSL

SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is a protocol for encrypting data between a server and the device a user has. Used to protect data as it passes from client to server and back again, SSL is what turns HTTP into HTTPS in a web browser.

UPS

Disasters are nothing to fool around with, which makes the inclusion of an Uninterruptible Power Supply so crucial to your infrastructure. Many pieces of computing hardware need to go through a process to safely shut down, so a sudden power outage is a dangerous prospect. A UPS gives them the juice needed to safely power down, protecting your business’ hardware.

VM

A VM, or a virtual machine, is an interesting piece of technology. Rather than installing an entirely new piece of hardware, a simulated version is introduced into an infrastructure, allowing users access to an additional solution set. This enables you to make use of additional resources without investing in additional hardware.

VoIP

As the acronym for Voice-over-Internet Protocol, VoIP describes an approach to telephony that cuts out a large chunk of the costs associated with office telephones. In addition, VoIP solutions come with many business-friendly benefits included, while they would ordinarily come at a cost.

VPN

A VPN is a virtual private network. A virtual private network effectively creates a tunnel that encrypts data as it makes its way to its destination, protecting it along the way. It is an excellent solution for a business, especially one that utilizes many remote workers.

WAN

WAN, or wide-area networks, are used by organizations that have multiple locations over a wider area by connecting multiple small networks into one larger network. 

To learn more about these solutions, and many others that we can help you to implement, reach out to The Connection, Inc at (732) 291-5938.

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Is Your Workforce Engaged?

Is Your Workforce Engaged?

Today, there is a lot to consider about how businesses handle mobility. Think about it, today it isn’t surprising when someone pulls up work-related content on their phone outside of work hours. It’s just part of their job. This shift is relatively new, and needs to be examined to see if the pros outweigh the cons for the employee, but also for the business.

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A Brief Introduction to Database Management Systems

A Brief Introduction to Database Management Systems

Data is one of a business’ most important assets, and as such, it needs to be kept in such a way that it remains organized and utilizable. This has led to widespread use of databases in businesses, which has necessitated the use of database management systems. Let’s take a closer look at these systems, and why they are so crucial.


For a frame of reference, let’s imagine that our database is actually a library, and all of the books inside are actually our data. Following this analogy, the database management system (or DBMS) is like the Dewey Decimal System… it keeps the contents of your database/library organized and usable.

The Function of a DBMS

As you may have already figured out, the database management system helps you secure and organize the data stored in your database. By allowing you to better keep track of your database’s activity, you maintain more control over your database.

This control, paired with the added convenience of the DBMS, offers you a variety of benefits. These benefits include.

  • A DBMS allows you to restrict access to data that an end user has.
  • Users have a simpler time finding the data they need.
  • It eliminates the need to restructure data to use different programs.
  • Administration procedures can be unified.
  • A DBMS makes data processing more economical.
  • Data inconsistencies between file systems are eliminated.
  • A DBMS allows for simultaneous data access between multiple users.

So, when all is said and done, a DBMS can simplify your users’ tasks, without sacrificing your control or data security.

If you want to optimize your business’ productivity and efficacy, The Connection, Inc is here to help. Call (732) 291-5938 today to discuss your particular needs with us.

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Vendor Management Saves You Time and Money

Vendor Management Saves You Time and Money

The small businesses that rely on technology typically logs a lot of phone time with technology vendors. Decision makers that may not know more than the average person about IT can be left making important technology decisions when they think they are just making financial decisions. Today, we’re going to explain how they are different and what your next step is. 

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The Connection, Inc
51 Village CT
Hazlet, New Jersey 07730