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Tip of the Week: 5 Technologies to Get Maximum Productivity Out of Your Employees

Surveillance CamerasWe’ll start with a solution for those in dire need to fix a major productivity issue. Employees work harder if their boss is working alongside them. If you step out of the room, or rarely spend time working with your staff, then how do you know for sure that they?re working as hard as they can? Some workers might even view their manager?s absence as an opportunity to waste time–this action is commonly referred to as ?loafing.? Thanks to surveillance systems being more affordable than ever before, it?s easy for your company to install a surveillance system so that you can keep an eye on your workers when you?re not around. With a camera installed in the room and pointing right at them, your staff won?t feel at liberty to loaf and you?ll see your productivity numbers go up. White Mountain IT Services can equip your business with digital surveillance systems that tie directly into your company?s network. Digital surveillance systems come with a variety of features, like giving you the ability to watch live surveillance footage on your mobile device while you?re out of the office.  Automatic Door LocksOne way that employees tend to leak company time is through their breaks. A few extra minutes taken here and there, a few extended lunches, showing up to work a few minutes late, all of these time-wasting habits done over a consistent basis adds up to a significant amount of time lost that can drastically cut into company profits. You can take back all of this wasted time by installing automatic locks on doors and scheduling when breaks occur. If the workday starts at 8:00 a.m., and that?s when you expect your workers to be in the building and logged onto their computers, then you can set the automatic lock to lock the front door at 8:00 on the dot. If a worker is being irresponsible and running late, then they just lost a day?s pay; too bad, so sad. You can also add automatic locks on the door to the break room. Automatic locks can be seen as a rather extreme measure, but it?s well worth it if that?s what it takes to get back the money lost from employees wasting company time. As a bonus, like surveillance cameras, automatic door locks can also be controlled by your mobile device. Content FilteringWhat your employees do or don?t do on their assigned workstation can significantly cut into your company?s profits. Even the best workers are susceptible to distractions from the Internet like YouTube, Facebook, BuzzFeed, Twitter, and all the other websites that have nothing to do with work. A content filtering solution for your network is able to block employees from visiting websites that you deem to be irrelevant to their job. Companies that have implemented a content filtering solution have seen productivity increase by as much as 23 percent. Monitoring with UTMContent filtering is part of White Mountain IT Services?s Unified Threat Management (UTM) solution. In addition to content filtering, an enterprise-level firewall, and other top-notch security measures, a UTM gives you the ability to monitor how users spend their time using workstations and mobile devices connected to your company?s network. This will clue you in if time is being wasted playing games, streaming movies, and other general loafing activities that you?ve not yet blocked […]

What You Should Know Before Flying Your Drone

Drones present an interesting situation for lawmakers because they?re playing catch up to the technology?s popularity. Due to the fact that everybody and everybody?s mom has a drone, some regions have yet to regulate their use. Without any laws in place to regulate drone usage, the skies are destined to become chaotic as drones cross into sensitive areas and place the public at risk. In the United States, the government body that oversees the air is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). You might have heard of the FAA before. They?re the group that regulates airplanes. However, in the case of drones, the machines fall under a specific category: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Regarding the rules and regulations for drones, the FAA itself admits that, presently, the laws are convoluted at best. Therefore, the FAA has recently launched a campaign to educate the public on what?s allowed and not allowed when it comes to flying drones. Provided by CNet, here are a few essential guidelines to go by when it comes to drone usage: The aircraft cannot exceed a height of over 400 feet. The device must be within sight of the operator. The device cannot go within five miles of airports or air traffic. If you want to exceed any of these guidelines for a specific project, it?s recommended that you contact the FAA about it. Better safe than sorry when it comes to getting fined or having your drone confiscated. For example, when flying a UAS on Planet Hoth, be sure to first check with the Empire. You will also want to be aware of any sensitive no-fly zones, like military bases and national parks; as was recently discovered by an unlucky Washington, DC resident who made headlines for causing a security scare with his drone crashing into the White House lawn. Woops. We know that common sense is a rare commodity these days, but it should be applied when using a drone. For example, don?t fly your drone in a densely-populated area and risk injuring an innocent bystander, and don?t fly a drone with a camera near property where the owners could take it the wrong way. While there?s no law on the books prohibiting drone use in these situations, it?s just common sense to avoid them. There?s also not yet a law prohibiting one to dress up their drone in a scary Halloween costume for the purpose of scaring the pants off of unsuspecting joggers…but that doesn?t mean it?s a good idea. Actually, that?s a great idea. Here are some more drone-flying tips from CNet. Never fly a drone: Near power lines. Over crowds of people. Vehicles and highways. Schools. Government facilities. Private property (especially if you?re using a drone with a camera). For more information about where and when you can fly a drone, visit the FAA website Know Before You Fly. Drones are a fun technology that can capture really cool shots of your favorite scenery. Before you launch your drone into the skies, be sure that you?re clear for takeoff and won?t be performing any illegal maneuvers. Are you a drone enthusiast? Do you have any drone-usage tips that you can add to this article? Share them with everybody in the comments.

Is Online Pornography a Problem for Your Business?

Even if your business has a family-friendly culture where pornography isn?t a problem, your company may still struggle with the heart of the issue–wasting company time; and, depending on the taste of an employee, they can easily waste just as much time watching a squeaky-clean Disney movie. Whether company time is wasted via YouTube or PornHub, it?s your responsibility as the business owner to make sure that your workers are getting work done whilst on the clock. How should an office manager go about monitoring their employees? The go-to solution for years has been the walk-around-the-office-and-peer-over-their-shoulders method. While this is a semi-effective solution at keeping middle schoolers from cheating on tests, it?s not very effective at keeping adults from accessing forbidden websites. This is especially the case as employee mobile devices are concerned, a trend commonly known as BYOD. You may be able to position a workstation monitor so you can see it from across the room, but a clever worker with a smartphone can easily conceal their device and stream whatever media they like. That?s why you need a network solution that monitors Internet traffic, provides history reports, and offers content filtering so that you can altogether block time-wasting websites. White Mountain IT Services provides such a network tool with our Unified Threat Management solution, which is far superior and better for workplace relationships than creeping around the room. In addition to non-work-related websites that waste company time, many of these frowned-upon sites contain malware and viruses that can compromise your company?s data. This is especially the case with online pornography. Therefore, you need an enterprise-level firewall that can block such threats from slipping through your defenses. Our UTM solution is more than a monitoring tool, it?s an all-in-one security solution that provides your business with the strongest firewall you can find, and it?s the key component to an effective BYOD policy. If you want to learn more about how White Mountain IT Services can help protect your business and keep your workers productive, we encourage you to get in touch with us at (603) 889-0800.

What Coca-Cola Got Wrong with its Slick New Commercial [VIDEO]

Watch the video for yourself to see what we find so objectionable: Did you spot the controversy? At 0:16 a clumsy IT technician spills his bottle of Coca-Cola on a server unit, presumably located in large data center. The sugar water proceeds to leak into the unit, causing sparks and a Matrixized Coca-Cola logo. What happens next is pure poppycock. Magically, the happiness found in every bottle of Coke is digitized and spread all across the Internet, cheering up kids the first world over–and with a bland indie tune to boot. Pa-lease! In all our years of computer repair, we?ve not seen one person experience a single iota of happiness from accidentally soaking their equipment with a beverage. In fact, it often leads to regret and even tears, as seen by YouTuber Gail. Her laptop suffered significant damage from having Coca-Cola ?spilled all in it.? Poor Gail. This Southern belle is ?really upset,? ?on the verge of tears,? and ?just about beside myself.? This is all your fault Coca-Cola. #MakeItHappy, more like #RuinedGailsLife. It?s never a good idea to pour any liquid on an electronic device. Still brainwashed by the commercial that pouring Coke on your computer is a good idea? Check out this experiment by YouTube user TechRax as he pours Coca-Cola all over his new iPhone 5 (at 0:53). Surprisingly, the iPhone seems to hold up to the Coke bath, but we can assure you that a server unit wouldn?t fare as well. In fact, it would be disastrous–as pointed out by several observant YouTuber users. TrevorSpace Animations: Whoever made this commercial clearly doesn?t know how computers work. 0yisaicai0: But seriously though, coming from one who works in a security firm, I cringed a bit when that bottle tipped over. That?s serious network damages, right there. TECGaming: I tried this with my servers, it totally just fried them. Thanks a lot Coke for not brightening my day but costing me 25 Grand on my server. Data Cave (an actual data center company) shares our sentiments: Coke?s Super Bowl commercial definitely had a great message overall, but not exactly the best message for having drinks inside of a data center. Server rooms are Coke-free zones! Exactly Data Cave. What was a techie doing with a bottle of Coke in the server room anyway? #FirableOffense What to Do if You Really Do Spill Coke on Your ComputerIf you accidently spilt a soft drink on your hardware, the first thing to do is turn it off. Liquid like Coca-Cola conducts electricity and can potentially fry the electrical components. You might get lucky like the iPhone user and still have a working piece of equipment, but it?s more likely that you?ll end up like poor Gail and be beside yourself with a dead computer. After turning off your soaked equipment, your next move is to use a dry cloth to absorb the liquid. Be sure to refrain from moving the equipment too much or else risk causing the liquid to seep deeper into the machine. If you?ve got the technical know how to open your computer and dry it out, then go ahead and do so, but we strongly recommend that you know what you?re doing. Otherwise, you may jostle a critical component and cause even more damage. In fact, it?s in […]

Tip of the Week: 7 Ways to Secure Your Smartphone

A hacker or worse can easily access the personal or company information located on a mobile device if you do nothing to keep them out. Thankfully, there are several methods you can use to keep unwanted eyes off of your mobile device?s data: Lock Out Strangers with a Lock CodeThis should be a given. Without a passcode on your phone, anyone with physical access to your device can obtain whatever is on it, be it personal information, company data, or even your family?s home address. This is not information you want to share with any potentially malicious entity, both in the virtual world or the material world. Encrypt your DataMost smartphones and tablets allow you to encrypt your entire device so your data can’t be read if a user doesn’t have a password. This makes it much harder for someone to steal and sell your information. Prevent Websites from Tracking Your BrowsingWhen you are browsing a website, that website is collecting information from your device to provide you with advertisements based on your interest. While this works (sometimes), you probably don?t want to accidentally leak unwanted information about your person to the Internet. By selecting the Do Not Track option in your mobile device?s browsing settings, you are asking websites to not collect information from you. While this doesn?t always work, most websites will adhere to your preference. Avoid Calls from Unknown NumbersYou might remember being called by anonymous numbers that you?ve never seen before and listening to automated messages from some company you don?t care about. These are a waste of time, and annoying. Even when there is someone on the other end, they are usually trying to sell you some meaningless service. Other times, they might have more malicious intentions. The stranger on the other end may be posing as a bank representative to steal sensitive information from you without you realizing it. In these cases, it?s better to not say anything, and in some cases, not answer the phone at all. Find Lost Devices with GPS TrackingIf you have lost your device, there?s a good chance that nobody will find it? but there?s also a chance that someone will find it. What if that person were a hacker, or someone with less-than-pleasant motives? In this case, don?t forget that you can track your phone via GPS. Both Android and iOS offer services which can help you lock down your phone and even find it with GPS tracking. Add Contact Information to Your DeviceUnfortunately, locking down your phone won?t help a good samaritan who finds your phone and wants to return it to you. In case you are somehow unable to locate it with GPS, and your phone is found by a decent human being, you should include at least some information about how to return it to you. Just be careful not to leave too much information in it, or you might risk being the target of identity theft or worse. Keep Your Device on Your PersonObviously the best way to avoid any of these scenarios is to keep good track of your device. If you don?t lose your phone, the chances of someone else getting their hands on it are greatly diminished. Try a Mobile Device Management Solution from White Mountain IT ServicesThese tips only really apply to physical […]