Business and Technology

Top 9 tech trends for 2020: 5G rollout promises speed, innovation

Technology continues to evolve at lightning speed and solutions for nonprofits and small businesses grow exponentially. There’s quite a bit of media buzz around AI, 5G, and other emerging technologies, but most organizations do not have the time or expertise to assess all these options, not to mention the distraction and the risk that can result from adopting technologies that are not reliable or cannot meet your organization’s needs. In this series of articles, we will focus on 9 technology trends you will likely hear more about over the next 12 months.

Microsoft offers free security updates for some Windows 7 users

We recommend developing a planned strategy for retiring obsolete technology. Planning ahead can save you time, money and mitigate risk. When developing a technology replacement plan, on average, expect to retire 20 to 30 percent of your technology each year to ensure no device is older than four years old.

Network extortion: As ransomware attacks grow more brazen, businesses and nonprofits can fight back

Cybercriminals have grown more brazen and ambitious in their ransomware attacks — when hackers hold their victims’ data hostage and demand a payment to release it. Increasingly, the attacks are targeting entire networks and cloud services, and not just individual computers. However, there are several ways organizations can help mitigate the risk of ransomware attacks, many of which we have already written about in previous articles as IT management best practices.

Increase profits with personalized marketing

Personalization pays. According to Forbes, an Epsilon survey revealed that 80 percent of consumers are more likely to choose companies that offer personalized experiences, and 90 percent of respondents find personalization appealing. But reaching customers on a personal level takes time and effort.  Here you will find tips for small businesses on how to master this 500-pound gorilla of the marketing world.

Time is almost up: Microsoft urges Windows 7 users to migrate to Windows 10

Time is running out for Windows 7 users, and nonprofits and small businesses are being urged to switch to Windows 10 and its host of support services. After 14 January 2020, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for computers running Windows 7. Continue reading for additional support for making the transition.

New iCloud app allows Apple, Microsoft customers to share files

Apple and Microsoft are embracing a message that we learned in kindergarten: It’s good to share. A new iCloud for Windows app, which rolled out on June 11, allows customers of both tech giants to access files and share photos, videos, mail and other information.

How the Google Ad Grants program can benefit your nonprofit

Google Ad Grants is an in-kind program that gives qualified nonprofits free access to Google business tools, as well as $10,000 per month in free advertising on the Google Ads platform. The following write-up gives you valuable information about these resources including how to apply for ad grants, tips for using Google, and maintaining and getting the most from these marketing resources.

IT and legal teams play key role when assessing cybersecurity risks

While cybersecurity remains a burning issue for organizations in 2019, many businesses and nonprofits don’t plan on or budget for a cybersecurity risk assessment. However, once organizations understand the value of their data and reputation, assessments often become a regular component of their tech management strategies.

Humans and patience needed to make AI work for small business

Frustration and “inflated expectations” confront many business managers who try to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) into their operations, according to MIT Technology Review. “Despite what you might hear about AI sweeping the world, people in a wide range of industries say the technology is tricky to deploy. It can be costly. And the initial payoff is often modest,” reports the Review. So what does it take for AI to be successful?

Email marketing to Millennials: Values, personal appeals can boost clicks

“This socially conscious and fast-paced generation requires a set of rules different from those of Generation X and Z. And brands need to take into account that fact if they want their email marketing strategy to engage this important demographic,” Florian Bersier, founder and CEO of Gmail app Gmelius, writes.

Report: Small, medium-sized businesses lean on technology

Small and medium-sized businesses rely on technology to achieve their goals but also find the diversity of choices a challenge, according to a new industry study. The sheer number and types of solutions has grown in such size and complexity that many firms are “taking two steps forward and one back as they navigate these new learning curves.”

CEOs Report a Bigger Focus on Technology

According to a 2018 survey by Gartner, CEOs report a growing focus on changing and upgrading the structure of their companies, including prioritizing IT-related issues and scaling up their digital business initiatives. Growth remains number one, but there is a shift from focusing on incremental growth to creating foundational change to become more competitive and support long-term growth. According to the survey, the top 4 priorities for CEOs in 2018/2019 are:

Awards recognize tech for good

From health care providers to whistleblowers, recipients of the 2018 Good Tech Awards cultivated socially beneficial uses of technology, whether drones or text messaging. The awards, a feature of New York Times columnist Kevin Roose in the New York Times Magazine, give a nod to innovators who often operate outside of the spotlight.

The benefits of corporate social responsibility

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) — often considered a delicate combination of ethics and profits — is gaining currency with organizations of all sizes because of the benefits to both society and the bottom line.  Companies that pursue positive social impacts have found several benefits that positively impact the bottom line. We’ve summarized several of the top benefits reported in both the Forbes and Entrepreneur articles.

How Virtual Reality Is Changing The Job Recruitment Process

While VR technology is still in its early days, we can expect to see it increasingly used in the hiring process. It’s an effective method of attracting prospective candidates, testing their abilities, and introducing them to the realities of the job. Ultimately, VR can make hiring process quicker and smoother than ever before.

Top 10 Reasons People Upgrade Their Technology: Considering the Pros and Cons

Sinu blog new tech.png

The decision to make technology upgrades can difficult. Many small businesses and nonprofits may delay buying new software, hardware or equipment because of the cost and perceived disruption, while others jump in and find they purchased some new piece of technology that was well-hyped, but it really does not provide the solution they hoped for.

At Sinu, we hear it all! An article by ZDNet.com columnist David Gewirtz, which offers 23 reasons to upgrade technology, touched on several of the the reasons we hear most from our clients, and inspired us to develop our own article on this topic. 

Below, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 top arguments we hear when people come to us wanting to rethink their obsolete technology. Informed by one-on-one conversations with nonprofits and small business owners, as well as from several articles, including Gewirtz’s, we hope that this list generates the questions that will help you develop a cost-effective, long-term IT strategy for your organization.

1. You just really want it

“Gadget lust,” is what Gewirtz calls it, but if that bright, shiny new technology does not solve a problem, then it may not be worth the expense. We write about this in a recent blog about technology rollouts, which can be disruptive and may not always support your goals unless you have a plan in place and a partner that can help implement them correctly

2. Save time and increase productivity

While this seems like a no-brainer, it is important to understand your business goals and and how you get there. For instance, if many of your team members are on the road and work remotely, you may need to select software that provides seamless (and secure) remote access, even if it is a more costly up-front option than other solutions.

3. Remove annoyances

Removing constant annoyances, also known as tolerations, are often worth the investment. Gerwitz agrees, stating, “Tolerations cause stress and sap productivity. Eliminating or reducing tolerations not only helps you get more done, it frees up thinking cycles previously allocated to thoughts of frustration.”

4. Your technology is too slow

We came across a blog by Warranty Master, that estimates the cost of slow workstations and laptops to a company – 5.5 days per year, per employee is lost each year or $5,676 per employee.

5. Ease of use

If your employees can learn the new technology quickly and easily and enjoy using it, you'll have a lot more buy-in and need to provide less support.

6. Old hardware no longer supports updates

This is critical, and should be addressed immediately. When obsolete technology can no longer support software updates, it is not only inconvenient because you may not be able to run the software you need, but it also puts your data at risk because it won’t take the latest security updates and patches.

7. Reduce operating costs

This is at the core of the Sinu philosophy and our solution. Choose technology that’s appropriate for small business and nonprofits, with an emphasis on reliability and security. Minimize IT infrastructure, because a room full of servers is a cost center that’s no longer a competitive advantage. In fact, by streamlining their technology, many Sinu’s customers save up to 60% on their IT.

8. Shift from CAPEX to OPEX

When you pay using a subscription model, whether it’s SaaS (Software as a Service), HaaS (Hardware as a Service), or Sinu’s all-inclusive subscription pricing model that includes unlimited support, your organization can buy resources as they're needed, scale up or down quickly, and potentially shift much of the IT costs from capital expenses (CAPEX) to operating expenses (OPEX) – or in the case of nonprofits, from administrative costs to programming.

9.  Automation

Whether it is automated backups, security updates, or set-it-and-forget-it email marketing campaigns, when technology provides automated solutions that are currently being done manually, you can often save valuable employee hours and mitigate the risk of errors.

10. Support business continuity

Investing in technology, such as redundant cloud backup or a generator, can keep your organization going during a disaster. During Hurricane Sandy, Sinu’s customers did not lose data and they remained connected to their emails and other mission critical services because it was housed off-site in the cloud. If they could charge their devices and get online, they could continue to function. 

When considering new technology, consider your business goals. We advise that you take the time to inventory your current IT solutions, understand where they are in their life cycle, and develop a long-term strategy that supports your organizational goals and helps keep your employees productive. For over 15 years, Sinu has been guiding small businesses and nonprofits through the ever-increasing complexities of technology solutions in the marketplace. Contact us to discuss which technologies can best support your organizational goals.

More lessons from Amazon as it expands its brick-and-mortar presence in NYC

In another expansion into the brick-and-mortar realm, Amazon opened a new physical store in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood featuring its best sellers. What can small businesses learn from Amazon?Successful retail locations provide benefits and unique customer experiences that online cannot deliver. And, it seems, Amazon is trying to tap into some of the magic you can only get when shopping in person.