Spring is here, which means it’s time to throw open your windows to let in some fresh, clean air. Let’s take the same tactics you would use when spring cleaning your house and apply them to your business technology! A digital clean-up can often be used to help organize your business and check your work environment for outdated technology, such as your devices, apps and online accounts. A good deep cleaning can be more impactful for your business than you might think. In fact, recent studies have shown that cybercrimes can occur to businesses that are not updating their systems frequently.
The U.S. Small Business Administration found that 88 percent of SMBs felt that their business was vulnerable to a cyberattack due to a lack of resources or preventative measures. This percentage is high, but it doesn’t need to be. Cleaning up your devices and technology with a digital clean-up can help protect your privacy and your identity, while also providing maintenance that you might have been putting off. The more secure your devices become, the more protected your business might feel in the face of a cyberattack.
Let’s discuss six ways you can start your digital transformation with a digital deep clean.
6 Digital Clean-Up Steps
The reality is that your business gathers plenty of digital clutter that needs to be tidied up from time to time. If left unattended, your business may be wasting valuable time and can also be vulnerable to an attack. Outdated tech is a cybercriminal’s favorite method of attack. The cost of a breach alone can cost millions and many SMBs are the ones who suffer. If you think your business is too small, think again—cybercriminals prey on businesses with weak security practices.
With this in mind, let’s look at six steps that your business can take to help tidy up your tech:
1. Review your equipment: When was the last time your software was updated? It’s imperative that all software is running the latest version and that there are no glitches. This can help to reduce the risk of infections from malware and other bugs.
2. Git rid of old data or equipment: With all spring cleaning, you’re going to want to get rid of any equipment that is no longer working. It might also be a good idea to clean up your email and purge any files that aren’t necessary to hold onto anymore. This can help free up space and it can also aid in protecting your sensitive data.
3. Review privacy settings: Take the time to make sure you still agree with your privacy and security settings on all your devices. You can take things a step further and review access control for your business technology. Make sure your employees can only access what they need.
4. Prioritize Your Security: If you haven’t already, you should invest in a password manager to help create passwords that aren’t easy to guess. If you want an extra layer of protection, think about installing multifactor authentication (MFA), which can require users to go through an additional step to access secure accounts and information.
5. Conduct a digital cleanup: Make sure you are changing your passwords, backing up data, managing your equipment, organizing data files and deleting anything unnecessary that is no longer applicable to your business. If you want to really dive into a deep clean, consider the benefits of creating a data backup system.
6. Partner with an MSP: You can partner with an IT expert like us to assist you with a lot more than just deep cleaning your data and technology. An IT partner will review your entire infrastructure, make recommendations on areas you can improve and even help you take on a complete digital transformation.
Take the Next Step
By deep cleaning your data, you can set your business up for success. It’s imperative that you pay attention to your tech and take note when issues arise. Doing so can help increase your productivity, but also reduce downtime your business might experience from a cyberattack.
If you are looking to go a step further, we offer several services that can really get in there and take care of your tech. Don’t make the mistake of thinking spring cleaning is not for you. Let’s let some fresh air in to give you peace of mind. Contact us today to help with your digital clean-up.
A 2021 Accenture survey found that 83% of workers around the globe prefer a hybrid workforce model.
Hybrid work models gained popularity after the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 when businesses had to rethink how business gets done. It turns out, businesses can thrive with a hybrid workforce model. Not only do the costs of maintaining physical spaces go down … employee productivity goes up. Let’s explore how the hybrid workforce model impacts employee satisfaction and an organization’s bottom line.
1. Foster Work/Life Balance
Today’s employees expect more. Take physical and mental health, for example. Most employers can’t afford an onsite gym or daily yoga classes and organic meals. A hybrid work model makes it easier for employees to prioritize a workout or meal prep while getting their work done.
Consider most employees’ obligations outside work: kids’ homework, tee-ball practice and so on. A hybrid work model gives employees the flexibility to attend the status meeting and the first-grade dance recital.
A survey report conducted by Owl labs suggests remote workers are happier and stay in their jobs longer. They also found that remote workers reported less stress, more focus and a better work-life balance compared to workers who never worked remotely.
2. Empower Happy, Healthy Productive Employees
Good employees know when and where they are most productive, and they appreciate control over their work schedule. Traditional command-and-control management can leave employees feeling stifled. Innovative leaders give employees the autonomy to choose their own path to get business done. Hybrid work models can empower employees to achieve their highest levels of productivity and engagement.
One study from the University of Chicago found that 30% of respondents told researchers they were more productive and engaged when from home.
3. Recruit and Retain the Best and Brightest
Hybrid work models have been shown to directly impact employee recruitment and retention. The same 2021 Accenture study referenced earlier found that productive employees with the flexibility to work anywhere tend to stay with their employer.
6% of productive anywhere employees intended to leave their employer.
42% of productive anywhere employees strongly intended to stay with their employer.
And every business owner knows turnover is costly. One Workhuman study in late 2022 found employee turnover cost to be 1.5 to 2 times the amount of the employee’s salary. Take into account the drop in morale, the impact on your organization’s reputation, and the time and money spent recruiting and training new hires. It makes sense to focus on employee satisfaction.
Prudential’s Pulse of American Worker survey found that 42% of remote workers say if their current company discontinues remote work options, they will look for a job with a company that does.
We’re Here to Help
Effective hybrid workplace models are unique to each business. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Let’s talk about the tools needed to support your business’s happy, healthy, productive hybrid workforce.
Schedule an assessment today.
In today’s digital world, workers are keener to follow a career path where working hybrid is an option. The flexibility that is promised and the benefits that follow are all a reality for most businesses. With this being said, the right technology is needed to support a successful hybrid workplace model. Social connections are key to a productive and fulfilling work experience, but technology can make or break a hybrid work environment. As companies continue to embrace the hybrid work life, they must also create a strategy that allows employees to work from home and in-office.
Here are some technological considerations your business should investigate when looking to enhance your hybrid work environment.
How Reliable Is Your Current Technology Devices?
Working from home has created a dependency on reliable technology. With employees working from locations, it’s imperative that your organization invest in technology that is going to limit the number of interactions your team needs to have with your IT department or partner. The older your tech is, the more downtime your company might see for resolving issues. Incidents like these can result in low productivity, a loss in revenue, plus a team of angry employees.
Take this time to evaluate your solutions and determine whether it’s time to make an upgrade. Also, focus on your IT support system. Are they able to keep up with employee issues? Explore your options—it might be time to partner with an expert that can keep up with demands, while providing the IT support your team needs to have a successful hybrid workplace.
How’s Your Security?
Cybersecurity continues to be an important subject matter regardless of if you are planning to go hybrid or not. Most breaches occur because of human error, so how are you protecting your employees and business?
- Issue company-owned equipment: This step can ensure that updates and patches are taking place on a regular basis.
- Establish a VPN: Utilizing a VPN, or virtual private network, can encrypt data to only allow employees to access information where they need it, when they need it.
- IT security training for employees: Creating a “security culture” amongst your employees can put security at the front of their minds, while also enabling them to spot problems before they occur.
It’s never too late to step up your security game. By putting proper steps in place, your hybrid employees can get the most out of working from wherever.
How We Can Help
Technology can make or break your hybrid work environment if you are not careful. By adopting the right technology and putting security measures in place, you are one step closer to holding a competitive advantage over those in the market. Let us help you bring your hybrid space to the next level by partnering with an expert who not only understands what your business needs, but also what your employees want. Don’t wait until it’s too late—give us a call today.
If you’d like to learn tips on how to better prepare your business for going hybrid, check out additional blogs in our resources section.
Section 179 Provides End-of-Year Tax Benefits
Section 179 of the IRS tax code allows businesses to write off the total purchase price of any qualifying equipment or software in the year it was purchased or financed. This deduction was designed to help small businesses invest in themselves and, in turn, boost the American economy. If you’re a small business owner considering leveraging Section 179 while buying new tech for your business, you could realize a lot more than tax savings.
New, innovative technology can revolutionize a business. From fostering innovation and growth to boosting efficiencies and reducing errors, the positive impacts seem endless. In this blog, we’re going to explore three main benefits: productivity, security and morale.
The modern business day is no longer restricted to 9-5. Our social emphasis on work-life balance and recent world events have forced new and innovative ways to get business done. Technology has answered the call and is driving a transformation in how, where and when we work.
Cloud-based software allows people to access files and applications anytime and anywhere with an internet connection. It’s no longer critical where people are physically located. Today’s technology provides the flexibility to allow teams to communicate and collaborate from home, from the office or from a doctor’s appointment.
Employees with the right technology can:
- Chat, share files and collaborate through virtual meetings
- Get more work done by doing it around their schedule
- Instantly connect with teammates and customers 24/7/365
- Strengthened Cybersecurity
Cybercriminals love outdated technology. The weaker your security front, the easier it is for them to get inside your network. And given the rise of personal device usage and the increased frequency and sophistication of cyberthreats, business owners looking to protect themselves can’t be too careful.
It’s never too late to identify and address potential vulnerabilities. You can hire a managed service provider to perform a cybersecurity assessment, or you can research tools online. Check out the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency’s site for more information. In the meantime, consider these best practices:
- Maintain antivirus, malware and firewalls
- Secure all laptops and mobile devices
- Implement advanced email filers
- Enable multifactor authentication (MFA)
- Regularly back up business-critical data
Boost Staff Morale
Aside from decreasing output and jeopardizing data, outdated technology has also been shown to reduce staff morale. Frustration multiplies when people spend too much time waiting on their technology. Waiting for web pages to load … waiting for reports to generate … “tech waiting” accounts for low morale and loss of productivity. And numerous studies show that happy employees lead to happy bottom lines.
If you’re serious about buying new tech for your business to boost employee satisfaction, start with your team. Ask your staff what tech is slowing them down and if they have the tools to collaborate and problem-solve. You might be surprised at what you hear.
In conclusion, the right technology can help us work smarter on a more flexible schedule while keeping our teams connected, protecting our data and much more. It’s worth taking a look at Uncle Sam’s end-of-year tax benefits, which can make new tech purchases even more attractive.
If you want to take advantage of the Section 179 deduction for the tax year 2022, you’ll need to act soon. The 2022 deduction applies to equipment in use before the end of 2022. And finally, be sure to consult with a tax professional to learn how Section 179 may relate to your specific business. Happy Holidays!
For many businesses, tax season can be the most stressful time of the year. Fortunately, there are technology tax deductions out there, including Section 179. Not only can this deduction help businesses save on expenses — it can also help them grow.
The Section 179 tax deduction allows all businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment or software bought, financed or leased during the tax year from their gross income. This deduction helps ease tax burdens (especially for small businesses) and encourages companies to remain competitive in their market by buying the new technology they need.
Let’s explore how you can take advantage of Section 179 for the remainder of the year.
1. What Products Qualify?
Luckily, most tangible goods used by American businesses qualify for technology tax deductions. These include:
- Purchased, financed or leased equipment
- Workstations, laptops, tablets or smartphones
- Servers, printers, routers and network security appliances
- Off-the-shelf software
There’s no need to put off buying new equipment for your office until the end of the year. Instead, you can make the necessary investment at any point and still reap the benefits provided by the U.S. government.
2. Are There Any Limitations?
Section 179 does come with a few limitations. The first is that qualifying equipment and software must have been purchased, financed or leased between January 1st, 2022, to December 31st, 2022.
Secondly, the items must be used for business purposes more than 50% of the time. To determine the monetary amount eligible for technology tax deductions, simply multiply the cost of the qualifying product by the percentage of business use.
Lastly, the amount you can deduct for 2022 stands at $1,080,000. This also limits the total amount of equipment purchased to $2,700,000 in order to qualify. After this limit, the amount phases out dollar for dollar, or the deductible amount begins to decrease.
3. How Can You Get Started?
Once you know which products you can deduct within your limit, you can start the deduction process. When you do your taxes, you will use Part 1 of Form 4562 to claim your deduction. On this form, you’ll list the qualifying products and their costs up to the deduction limit.
Take the Next Step
With technology tax deductions like Section 179, your business can feel more confident that the new technology you invest in maximizes your costs. And, by using the most cutting-edge technology, you can transform your business operations to be more efficient, productive and in line with the modern work experience.
If you’re interested in learning more about what technology your business could benefit from and help you qualify for year-end savings, consult our IT experts. We can help ensure you don’t miss out on savings and leverage the best equipment out there.
If you want to learn more about IT tools and strategies, check out additional blogs in our resources section.
The information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only. Consult your tax professional for information on how Section 179 may relate to your business.
Cyber Awareness Month 2022
October marks the start of Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2022, which is designed to help businesses protect themselves from online threats and bring overall awareness to cybersecurity. This month is dedicated to creating tools and resources that businesses can utilize to provide tips and training to better inform their customers and employees. What started in 2004, and continues now to build momentum, Cybersecurity Awareness Month portrays an over-arching theme of focusing ultimately on the “people” part of cybersecurity.
Focusing on the human nature side of cybersecurity ensures that all individuals and organizations make the right decisions when it comes to being safe online. There are many ways that you can keep your data protected. Check out these four best practices that you can leverage to improve your cyber awareness.
Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Also known as two-factor authentication, MFA is a security measure that has become more common amongst businesses. When initiated, MFA will prompt a user to utilize two security features that can prove their identity. This feature can make it twice as hard for cybercriminals to access sensitive data.
MFA can include:
• A biometric identifier like a fingerprint or facial recognition.
• An extra pin that is prompted for entry after a password.
• A security question set up by the user.
• A code that is either texted or emailed to the user.
• When in doubt, if available, use MFA everywhere to secure your network.
Strengthen Your Passwords
Passwords are the digital keys to your cyber-house and are critical to protecting your online security. The truth is passwords are your first line of defense against cyberattacks.
• When creating passwords, it’s key to keep these three tips in mind:
• Make them long: Each password should be about 12 characters long.
• Make them unique: Never reuse passwords, nor should they look alike.
• Make them complex: You should use a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.
• If your password is long, unique and complex you won’t need to change it, unless you are notified that an unauthorized person has accessed it, or your password was compromised in a data breach.
Don’t Click Suspicious Links
Hackers use scams like phishing attacks to send bad links via emails to try and extract sensitive data from unsuspecting individuals. A phishing scam can even install malware on computer systems. When in doubt, if it looks “phishy,” don’t click on it.
Update Your Software
Always keep your software up to date when updates are available. These updates can generally provide general fixes and new patches to protect your business against cybercriminals. If you have the chance to automate your updates, don’t hesitate to do so. By updating your software, you can ensure that you are one step ahead of hackers.
How We Can Help
Everyone can make a difference during Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2022 by getting involved and learning best practices. If you’re unsure where your cybersecurity stands or could use additional training to help better prepare your staff, contact us. Here at Nitor, we can get your cybersecurity strategy in place with an effective risk evaluation.
If you want to learn more about cybersecurity awareness and training, check out additional blogs in our resources section.