August 2013 – Free Cloud

If your bottom line could use a boost, one of the best things you could do is have us evaluate your telecom expenses. We work with companies every day to evaluate their current bills for voice and data services (phone lines, Internet connectivity, branch office connections), evaluate their current needs, and align them with the best solutions. We’ve helped several companies reduce their telecom expenses by over $50,000 per year! However, we can help even if your telecom expenses are just a few thousand dollars per year. Give me a call – your bottom line will thank you.

I do have one more thought to add to our cloud discussion.  I need to point out that in all cases I was referring to paid cloud services.  Free cloud services are pretty much never appropriate for business use, and Google gave us a reminder of that this month.  In a legal brief filed by Google on July 13th, they cited a statement recently made by the Supreme Court “Indeed, a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties”.   Even with paid cloud services, privacy and security remain the most significant concerns, and it is imperative that you understand and trust the service provider’s privacy and security policies.  However, certainly as these developments indicate, any data you entrust with a free cloud provider should be considered fair game.  The service provider is free to use and expose that data in any manner they choose.   Keep in mind, if you send email to a gmail user, (or other free cloud service), you are also surrendering your expectation of privacy.

Crazy Winter

Last month my blog included tips on preparation winter weather – we sure haven’t needed those tips here in Kansas City. What amazing weather we’ve had – it’s in the 60’s again today! Of course, you take the good with the bad – I met with a client in pest control services last week, and they are expecting a great year!

Search is King! Today the name of the game is finding useful data in haystacks of information. Here are a couple Google search tips to help you find what you are looking for. I’ll include a few more next month.

  •  Ever visited a website with a poor search function (or none at all!)? Use google instead. Enter your search term and then add site: and the website – for example searching AltiGen site:netinn.com will search our website for AltiGen references
  • Operators are huge when searching for words with multiple meanings or uses. For example, adding a plus sign to the front of a term will ensure that term is included in each result, while a minus sign will exclude results with that word (i.e. +outlook –email will help you get results about the Saturn car, not an email client! You can add a tilde (~) to include related terms! Read more about operators in the Google Guide: http://bit.ly/zf3w

I recently read a New York Times article about high-tech unemployment in California. One shocker was that the new technology companies (most are software focused, i.e. LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, etc.) commonly consider a long employment history with 1 company a detriment, the thinking being that sought-after employees change jobs frequently. What a dramatic shift in thinking during the course of 1 generation! The changing dynamics of employment and recruiting are affecting all companies. For more information, read the article referenced: http://nyti.ms/A82dKB
Microsoft Envisioning Lab update – You might recall my blog from August when I visited the Microsoft Home of the Future, created by the Microsoft Envisioning Lab. They recently released a video updating some of the concepts I discussed, showing them in action. This is a view of life 5-10 years from now, and is absolutely worth a look! Check it out: http://www.microsoft.com/office/vision/. There is also a great “behind the scenes” companion that goes into more detail about the hows and whys of what you see, and how you can utilize today’s tools to stretch towards that vision: http://bit.ly/svhe8o.

Google Alerts – Newsletter Blog, 4/20/2010

With Social Media finding its way into every business and aspect of life, do you know what’s being said about your company online? If not, you should. Instant collaboration tools like Twitter and Facebook allow news to spread quickly, both good and bad. There may be people praising your company or writing about good things you are doing and wouldn’t you like to know that? The flip side is that there may be some negative things being said and you certainly want to know that and have the opportunity to respond before your reputation suffers, fairly or unfairly.

Google has a free app called Google Alerts that will watch over your online reputation. It only takes a minute to setup and you can receive a daily message with links to every place your company has been mentioned on the web. Besides monitoring your own company, you might setup alerts for some of your key partners or competitors – this is a great way to stay in the loop and gain a competitive edge. Also make sure you establish alerts for your key clients and prospects, and watch for an opportunity to give them a pat on the back. They will certainly appreciate it. Give it a try, you’ll be glad you did!