The Simply Smarter Blog

How to Catch a Phishing Email

Danielle Cerny /

Phishing was the most common type of cybercrime in 2020 according to the FBI.  Cyber criminals took advantage of our state of unrest and found ways to profit from our heightened dependance on technology. With $4.1 billion in profits, internet crime is a lucrative business to be in. As cyber criminals get more savvy in the art of deception, these emails are getting harder to recognize. They are no longer desperate requests for money or a plea from an offshore prince. They are simple messages with a simple objective – to get you to click or respond.

Email is a key that cyber criminals can use to comprise you or your employer’s sensitive data - and bank account. It’s time to for us to treat it as such by analyzing every email received to catch phishing attempts. After practice, it will become second nature. Here are a few tips to follow in order to take back our inboxes.

In an Age of Digital Transformation, Business Printing Remains Vital

Kent Villarreal /

 

The ability to create high-quality, customizable printed materials in business settings is vital in 2021. That may be an unexpected statement given the pandemic-related tendency toward work-from-home solutions and SOHO-friendly office products, and a general need to be sure that any technology introduced covers the “new remote workforce” or the “hybrid office” or “digital transformation” — any one of those terms that’s been shoved into the collective consciousness over the last year.

You’d almost think no one will ever go to an office space and print again. That could not be further from the truth.

5 Ways To Make Your Company a Top Workplace

Susan Osgood /

 

It’s one thing to run a business but it’s quite another to create an environment where workers love to come in every day. Employees are an essential part of every business and are what keep organizations progressing, growing and contributing to a greater good. A 2019 study from the University of Oxford found that happy, satisfied employees are 13% more productive with their time at work. Happier, more engaged employees will also create a positive work environment that can foster new relationships, lead to better recruitment and retention and ultimately provide workers with an individual sense of achievement and satisfaction.

As a recent recipient of NJBiz’s “Best Place to Work in New Jersey” 2021, we’re sharing five tips on creating a top workplace, based on what we’ve learned from our workers and what we know they appreciate.

Technology Solutions That Provide a Helping Hand for Healthcare

Healthcare organizations have faced unprecedented challenges over the last year. In addition to the ever-present tasks of juggling client needs, working within budget restrictions, keeping up with compliance regulations and handling staffing requirements, there have been the unique challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic — intake systems that have been overwhelmed, a sudden boom in telehealth, the increased cyber threats brought on by bad actors ready to take advantage of the chaos, and the need to remain compliant with HIPAA and other regulations.

Fortunately, technology has kept up with a rapidly changing world, and there are a variety of solutions designed to meet healthcare’s challenges.

What do some of those solutions look like?

Connecting Your Hybrid Workforce Through Unified Communications

Louis Costantini /

A new paradigm of remote and hybrid work is rapidly replacing the traditional standard of a five-day in-office work week. Gartner sees working from home as a “cornerstone of the post-pandemic future of work” and projects that nearly one in five employees will work remotely after the pandemic concludes. Additionally, the 2021 State of IT report from Spiceworks Ziff Davis says the Covid-19 pandemic has been “a catalyst for business transformation,” with 76% of businesses planning long-term IT changes.

With the rapid increase of this digital transformation, the need to support a hybrid or remote workforce is paramount. But, how do you enable employees to work efficiently with one another – sometimes nationwide or globally, connect with clients virtually, and eliminate communication barriers and productivity issues, all while working to lower IT costs?

Sounds like a lot, right? (It is), but the answer is simple – by implementing a Unified Communications solution.

The New (and improved) Post-COVID College Experience

 

This fall marks another back to school season during the new normal. Students are again trading handshakes with new professors for fist and elbow bumps (or maybe even a wave on Zoom). In many places, the beginning of the school year is even marked by continued mask wearing and virtual learning.

An incredible amount of innovation and tech adoption was born through the onset of pandemic challenges and roadblocks. Higher education professionals couldn’t have predicted the impact of the pandemic and how disruptive it would be to the whole college experience, but college campuses and leaders have had to think about how to make the college experience even more engaging and fulfilling than before COVID.

To get a better picture of what we can expect for this school year, Sharp sponsored an interview through eCampus News with three edtech leaders about how life has changed at their institutions and the role technology has played in transforming the classroom environment to prepare for the post-pandemic reality. The following four trends emerged around what to expect on college campuses.

Why a Traditional Laptop Is a Better Fit for High School Students

Heather Fudger /

 

It’s back to school time!  Gone are the days of backpacks being weighed down with multiple, heavy textbooks and folders stuffed with numerous worksheets handed out to students.  Today, since most schoolwork is done online, one of the most important school supplies is a laptop. And, when it’s time for college, the knowledge gained on a laptop that runs on the Windows operating system will be beneficial.  Most professors will use and also require students to use Microsoft Office programs which can only be found on Windows operating systems.  Students may need specialized software, such as Adobe Photoshop, which isn’t available on Chrome-based operating systems.  So why not get high school students prepared early? In this article, we will explore some of the top priorities when considering purchasing a laptop for high school students. 

5 Must Haves for Your Work Laptop

Danielle Cerny /

You either have it, know of it, or are still fighting the trauma flashbacks – that clunky, slow, larger than life work laptop. The muscle required to tow it to and from the office probably qualified you for the Olympic sport of weightlifting. Fortunately, technology has advanced, and now lighter, faster and leaner laptops are on the market. Since many models look the same and have similar features, laptop shopping can be overwhelming – especially when you’re buying them for your entire office staff.

Laptops see heavy daily use, now more than ever before. Business laptops are generally more expensive, but the extra cost ensures a higher-quality product. While it’s tempting for some businesses to focus solely on cost when choosing a laptop to buy in bulk, you could be signing yourself up for the same decision in another two years, not to mention other headaches along the way. Read on for a few factors to consider that contribute to the quality and longevity of your devices.

How to Make Back-to-School Better with Technology

 

 

While summer is in full swing, the back-to-school season is closer than you think, but this year it might feel a little different — and by different, we mean “sort of normal.” After the truncated 2019-2020 school year and the mostly at-home 2020-2021 school year, it looks like students and teachers will, for the most part, be going back to in-person learning. And while discussions about masks and vaccines continue to take place, other changes are taking place, and many of those will require changes to the way children learn and teachers teach, and the tools and technologies that facilitate those activities. Here are a few things to think about when enabling school safety and better interactive learning

Local government: It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it… with the right tech, of course

 

Many of us fondly remember the hit sitcom Parks and Recreation, especially the adorable character Leslie Knope (played by hilarious comedian Amy Poehler), who stopped at nothing to beautify the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. And while Leslie persevered and grew in her career, there is another key takeaway from the show that remains applicable six years after it went off the air: serving in local government is an essential – and often thankless – job.

Municipalities work hard to get information to their citizens about events, community programs and safety updates. Local residents may not always see all the work going on behind the curtain, but it’s considerable and usually time sensitive. With all of these responsibilities, figuring out and updating technology can often fall to the bottom of the priority list, despite the need for the right tech to do the job. This is also a space where printing is still very much necessary, as local governments need to constantly produce public documents such as booklets and brochures, sometimes in multiple languages, and frequently on tight budgets. City workers simply can’t afford to have their printers break down or malfunction.

Here are a couple of examples of how local government agencies addressed some of their printing and technology challenges to serve their constituents more effectively.

Why Bitcoin Emboldens Hackers?

Melanie Camacho /

Doesn’t it seem like more and more cybersecurity horror stories are popping up in your news feed? I know I’ve seen an uptick, especially these past few months. Cybercrime is becoming child’s play for brazen hackers with little to fear and a whole lot to gain. The ambiguous nature of bitcoin and the extremely difficult pursuit of apprehending cybercriminals has emboldened them to make audacious ultimatums.

Over the Fourth of July weekend, the ransomware gang REvil that hit JBS Foods last month made headlines once again for a ransomware attack that started with Florida-based IT firm Kaseya in an attempt to extort a $70 million bitcoin payment. While extraordinary attacks like these are newsworthy, small and midsize businesses (SMB) are getting hit too, and a majority are paying to get their data back.

6 Things to Know When Organizing a Live, Remote Video Event

Naeran Rubio /

 

Earlier this year, 1,044 employees supporting Sharp’s B2B business in the U.S. logged on to Microsoft Teams to attend the company’s annual kickoff event, remotely. The annual event is traditionally an opportunity for Sharp employees from around the country to get a chance to hear from top leadership about the company’s successes of the previous year, priorities for the coming year, as well as re-acquaint themselves with colleagues from across the country. This year, due to COVID-19, Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America decided to hold the event virtually, and while it would have been difficult to do the type of in-person networking that a regular event of this kind would normally have, Sharp wanted to at least make the two-hour virtual event as close to an actual in-person event as possible.

Sharp’s media team, who worked hard behind the scenes to ensure that virtual attendees received the best experience possible, gave some tips to help pull off a successful online meeting of this scale.

AV Q&A: Gary Kayye Shares Insights on The Future of Education

Many in the AV industry might be familiar with the innovative work and reporting of Gary Kayye, founder of rAVe pubs and Teaching Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina (UNC). Pre-pandemic, you probably saw Gary and his dedicated rAVe crew conducting camera interviews at major industry trade shows such as InfoComm and the Digital Signage Expo. With his first-hand experience in academia, we thought it would be compelling to get the inside scoop from Gary on how AV is shaping the future of education and learning. 

How to Make Sure Your Signage Isn't Old School Anymore

 

Whether you’re headed into a job interview, presentation, or a special occasion, it’s important to “look the part.” The same applies to dressing up your learning environment technology. In schools, having a modern space, tools and resources allows students to be informed, stay motivated and communicate with ease. The COVID-19 pandemic has launched educators and students into completely new ways of learning where they rely on technology more than ever. While we know the impact that interactive displays have on the classroom, adding digital signage to school common areas can make a major visual impact while providing a simplified way to communicate to large audiences at once.  

Traditionally associated with retail spaces, fast food and fast casual restaurants, digital signage is seeing increased demand from K-12 to colleges and universities. There are countless locations within a school – some you may not have thought of – where digital signage can make a difference. 

When It Comes to Display Tech in the Classroom, Agnostic is Best

 

It may be one of the greatest pet peeves for teachers. You get some fancy new technology to use in the classroom, oohs and aahs abound, but it’s incompatible or difficult to use with existing software and other systems. Or you need to learn an entirely new system, so it becomes a major time investment that counters what you thought you’d save with the technology. What educators need – and what will invariably make their jobs easier – is technology that can link up to existing devices seamlessly and that will require minimal effort to get up to speed on. This is where having an open platform solution can provide huge benefits. For interactive displays, open platform is essentially an agnostic tool that can connect with any other devices in the classroom environment.

Planning Your Back-to-the-Office Strategy

 

As we enter the post-COVID-19 era, Gartner predicts almost half of employees will work from home, and executives in the McKinsey survey expect that employees will only need to be onsite between one and four days a week. This creates a hybrid office model that blends a workforce of employees working part of the week in the office and the other part from home, others working full time in the office, and still others working remotely, full time. Additionally, there will be lingering concerns around social distancing, air quality and cleanliness in the workplace, as well as coworkers' health status for those who spend time in the office. Despite all this, the need for in-person collaboration to drive creativity and team building will remain. The office we get back to will not be the one we left, and it will require new strategies, mindsets and technology solutions that ensure long-term sustainable success.  

Getting Back to the Office of the Future

The way we think about germs, contact, and the ability to transmit disease has been altered, and that increased cognizance means the office space itself must change. Convenience and a less-touch experience go far beyond the printer and today's office is smarter than ever. Read about some of the new touchless measures that could be put in place to get back to the office of the future.

Leadership Q&A: Shane Coffey Talks Device Security and What Keeps Him Grounded

Naeran Rubio /

At Sharp, we’re always looking for ways to help you think “simply smarter.” So we thought it would be a great idea to feature our leaders on the Simply Smarter blog to get an inside look at what they are working on and their views on the office technology space at large, while learning some fun facts about them too! Today, we’re interviewing Shane Coffey, vice president, product management. We hope you enjoy getting to know Shane!

Avoid Cyber Criminals and Protect your Data While Working from Home

 

Just picture this— you’re a new employee diligently working, and out of the blue, your CEO e-mails you, asking for 10 Amazon gift cards. She says it’s for an important project she’s working on and she needs the gift cards ASAP! The pressure is on and you take a break from your hectic to-do list, and begin ordering the gift cards, until you realize… the person emailing is not your boss after all, but rather, a sneaky cybercriminal. And just like that, you are the newest victim of a phishing scam. How mortifying, right? Well luckily, there are steps that can be taken in order to avoid such embarrassing catastrophes.

How to Outsmart a Cybercriminal

Danielle Cerny /

If you think about your day, you do a lot to ensure the security of your person and your belongings. Leaving the house? Lock the doors and windows, possibly set the security system. Leaving your car? Always make sure to hear that beep as you walk away clicking the lock button on your keypad. Going into the office? Probably need that key fob to get into the building. These actions are so simple that we sometimes don’t even realize we’re doing them – and that’s how simple securing your company’s data from cybercriminals should be.

Why Managing Your Printers is More Important than Ever in a Hybrid Workplace

Wendi Hopewell /

Despite all the talk of the paperless office, over the past decade even more businesses have become aware of the benefits a managed print services (MPS) program can deliver. Printing remains essential, with almost half of companies surveyed telling Quocirca print will continue to be important through at least 2025. However, due to the COVID-19-induced acceleration of the hybrid workplace combining in-office and work-from-home employees, print deployments are being reevaluated. In the hybrid work environment the proper execution of MPS is more important than ever, as organizations need workers to focus on the real business of the company rather than worry about the management of printers and copiers.

Help Create a Cleaner, Greener Planet with the Right Office Equipment

There are only nine years left until the target date for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For the Earth, that’s like a nanosecond of a geologic era, so it’s crucial we do our part for our planet now if we haven’t already. From our home office environment to shared workspaces, there are many ways we can minimize our carbon footprint. In honor of Earth Day, here are some ways that you can help make a difference with your office equipment to create a cleaner, greener planet.

Why Is It So Important To Have Unique Passwords for All Your Online Accounts?

Karina Weiler /

 

When an online retailer, or a website, gets hacked, oftentimes all you hear in the news is about how many credit cards were lost or what the financial damage was. You rarely hear about the user accounts that were compromised. However, if you have an account on a compromised website, the username and password you used very possibly could be published and available to anybody who wants to look at it at on the Internet. Read on to learn about the one thing you can do to help remember your passwords without compromising your personal or businesses' security.

Interactive Whiteboards Create Collaborative Classrooms

Heather Fudger /

Learning is becoming more and more digitized, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, technology is also becoming more comfortable to use and takes less time to implement. With the ability to use the display as a touchscreen device, an interactive whiteboard allows teachers to accomplish a wide range of tasks, from presenting to collaboration. 

4 Tips for Protecting Your Data

You’re about to take that perfect picture on your smart device – with the perfect lighting, in the perfect setting. But you come to find out that your storage is maxed out! Just delete some old photos to make room, right? That’s when you come to the next realization – you never backed up your old photos! Unfortunately, mistakes and mishaps are unavoidable. There are ways to proactively get ahead of data loss, with more tools available than ever before to help make the process easy even for the worst procrastinators and most tech-challenged users among us. Here are four important tips to help you get started on your backup journey.

3 Tips for Holding a Successful Webinar

Remember when webinars used to be a novelty? Some organizations may have been a bit reticent to make them a part of their routine and implemented them sparingly instead of in-person meetings, while others eschewed them entirely. However, as we’ve continued to shift to a more remote world, their value and necessity as a critical communication tool for businesses has increased. Now more than ever, small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) can use webinars to highlight their solutions and expertise in a variety of subjects while also reaching and growing their current audience. Because they will likely be a part of our professional and personal lives for the foreseeable future, here are three tips to ensure you have the right content and technology so your next webinar runs smoothly.

Have you considered leasing MFPs and copiers for your business? Maybe you should.

Just like leasing a car or a phone, it’s possible, and sometimes more beneficial, to lease office equipment. If your organization is thinking of upgrading an old copier or multifunction printer (MFP), have you considered leasing? While there are benefits of purchasing a new piece of office equipment, you could also be looking at higher upfront fees, costs for replacing and repairing parts, and being stuck using outdated technology with the rapidly evolving pace of innovation.

How to Revolutionize a Hybrid Learning Environment

 

We recently had the opportunity to work with Denmark Technical College (DTC), located in South Carolina, to provide technology solutions that created the perfect hybrid learning environment. With Sharp’s technological upgrades, the school’s faculty and students were able to continue their work without major disruptions or complications. Consider some of these tech upgrades as you look to enhance your college’s hybrid classroom experience.

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