The Simply Smarter Blog

Create a Collaborative University Classroom with Interactive Displays

 

The world has undergone a massive technology evolution over the past decade and it’s particularly noticeable within the higher education sector. Previously, students would lug around a backpack heavier than them, filled with textbooks, notebooks and supplies. Now, they have slim laptops and tablets full of the materials needed to complete assignments, take notes and collaborate with others in their class. It’s critical for the classroom to evolve alongside students’ tools to create a streamlined, productive learning experience for all.

One way to achieve this is through the addition and/or upgrade of interactive displays within the classroom. While chalkboards and whiteboards have been effective in the past, they do not reflect the rapidly changing technological needs and contemporary classroom environments for students. Interactive displays offer an enhanced learning experience for both students and professors, while also providing the classroom with an updated, modern look.

Top 6 Tips for Selecting the Right High School Laptops

Picture this. You’re a high school administrator trying to figure out how to best help your students in the stretch run of April and May, gearing up for exams, projects and (gulp) final grades. You assume that they each have reliable personal laptops to get all their work done, in between gaming or binge watching their favorite streaming shows, of course. Or so you thought. What if it turns out their laptops aren’t as new or functional as you all believed them to be? You do NOT want to put your students in a position where they need to wait in line for a library computer to study for their chemistry final.

Whether it’s due to an outdated machine, or accidentally losing or breaking it, unexpected laptop mishaps happen. But educators need not despair. Here are a few tips to help you figure out exactly what kind of new laptop your students will need to wrap up the school year with flying colors and cruise into summer.

5 Ways New MFPs from Sharp Support Hybrid Workstyles

Danielle Cerny /

 

Hybrid workstyles have driven the need for secure access to the cloud for all technology used in the workplace. As a result, you are no longer tethered to your desktop, and neither are your files! Meet the new Advanced and Essentials Series workgroup multifunction printers (MFPs) from Sharp. They provide seamless and secure access to enterprise workflows from wherever you are working.

These new MFPs check all the boxes when it comes to today’s diverse workstyles.

More productivity than 'Office Space'! Six things to look for in an office copier

Danielle Cerny /



Let’s face it, when most of us think of an office copier, we think of that scene from Office Space in which three office employees demolish their printer with a baseball bat. If you’ve ever been frustrated by a copier that doesn’t perform as needed – you can relate. Which is why, like a car purchase, you should really think about what you need a copier to do before you go all in. Thinking about the bells and whistles desired on your new car is easy because you’re more familiar with cars, and let’s face it – they are much racier than copiers. Herein lies the ultimate question - What should I look for in an office copier to avoid being casted in Office Space 2: Revenge of the Copier?

Drumroll…… it depends. What kind of office do you have and what are your printing habits? In general, here are the things that you should think about when selecting a copier for your office.

From the Classroom to Hybrid and Back Again

As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the messages we continue to see is the need to adapt to the hybrid model. This has presented unique challenges for educational institutions, where the push to turn your home into a classroom has come with a learning curve for both teachers and students.

Despite the fact that many schools have pivoted back to in-person learning, the classroom environment has become more complex and nuanced than ever before. Educators and administrators need to be ready with updated technology to switch up the learning structure from classroom to hybrid – and back again – if the occasion calls for it. Here are two ways in which they can accomplish just that.

Why Invest in Managed Print Services?

Louis Costantini /

Organizations strive to reduce expenses and increase efficiency, but one area that is often overlooked is their print environment. According to Small Business Trends, 64% of small businesses can't track printer usage or cost. Managing a fleet of printers can require a significant amount of work, especially since printer management is rarely centralized. And, when multiple departments are involved with managing a fleet of printers, it's challenging to fully understand and keep tabs on critical elements like unforeseen issues, uptime, cost and productivity.

Rather than dedicating internal resources, organizations can consider subcontracting the management of their print environment. When outsourced, external providers can implement Managed Print Services (MPS) to manage and optimize an organization's document output so internal teams can focus on business development. If your organization is on the fence about implementing MPS, here are some things to consider.

3 Steps to Enhance Your Business’ Cybersecurity in Light of the Recent Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Karina Weiler /

Per the recent Shields Up advisory issued by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, it is quite possible that the U.S. will see a large increase in cyber-attacks. While there are no specific cyber threats to the U.S. currently, this conflict has brought cybersecurity conversations to the forefront. In light of this, and as trusted technology advisors, we have been in close conversation with our clients to guide them on steps they can take to boost their cybersecurity posture and help to keep their organization safe. We would like to take a moment and share some of these guidelines with you as well, as these should be adopted by all businesses, especially at a time like this.

School Districts in the U.S. Enhance Collaboration with Upgraded Tech

 

If we had to select positive outcome from the disruption that schools and students had to face from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that there has been a renaissance in classroom technology upgrades. And they’re here to stay! See how these schools were able to implement customized technology to remain flexible, and more importantly, open for our children.

How to Build Your Brand with Content Marketing

Naeran Rubio /




Today’s consumers don’t like being sold to. We are bombarded by targeted ads so much so that we immediately put up our guard. We don’t trust what we are told and typically ignore the barrage of sales messages we get every day. So, what is a business owner to do? The solution is content marketing, which with a little effort and some creativity can effectively attract, nurture and retain customers without breaking the bank.

5 Do's and Don'ts of Virtual Meeting Etiquette

Heather Fudger /

 

Remember when we all gathered in a conference room for meetings? Fitting as many people as we could at the table, while others grabbed chairs and sat around the outskirts?  Feels just like yesterday, doesn’t it? Well, while meetings will always happen, the way we conduct them has changed, perhaps forever.

We are nearly two years into this global pandemic and there are several things that have changed the business world forever, including the use of digital technologies, flexible working environments and virtual meetings. 

Let’s talk about a few things to consider when attending a virtual meeting. Read on to learn about the 5 Do’s and Don’ts of virtual meeting etiquette.

IT Security in Today’s Hybrid Office

After nearly two years into the global pandemic, employees have acclimated to working fully remote or in some type of hybrid environment. The recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the country – and the potential for newer, stronger variants – has led businesses to recalculate their return to office plans once again, keeping their employees' safety and health top of mind. According to the Harvard Business Review, over 90% of employers are planning to implement a hybrid schedule in 2022, showing that this work model is here to stay.

Although many of us are used to working from home, it’s important to remember that there are many differences between working in a corporate space and home office in terms of IT security. With the rate of cyber-attacks increasing by nearly 600% during the pandemic, it’s critical for organizations to have both their own devices, and those of their employees, fully secure in order to reduce the risk of an attack.

Get comfortable… the home office may be here to stay

 

It wasn’t very long ago that many of us thought that we would all be returning full-time to the office. COVID-19 cases seemed to be on the decline and businesses were making plans to transition away from hybrid and remote models.

Then Omicron came. And everything turned on its head again.

If you haven’t made investments to make your home office space more comfortable and update your home technology, now is certainly the time. We looked at some critical home office updates you can make to be more effective in the ongoing hybrid/remote work environment, as well as some traditional office suggestions to make life easier for those working from home.

How Technology Has Evolved – A Gen X Perspective

Heather Fudger /

 

I am a proud Gen Xer. I loved growing up in the age where we experienced seismic technology shifts. We are a strange hybrid of digital users who are extremely comfortable with technology but still remember a time when things were a bit more primitive.

There is no question that life is much easier today with the influx of technology, especially in the workplace.  If this past year and a half has taught us anything, it’s that in the education field and business world at least, you have to be somewhat tech savvy to keep up with the times. Read on to learn how tech has evolved.

5 Ways to Improve Company Culture in the Hybrid Workplace

Louis Costantini /

 

According to a recent study, only 29% of surveyed employees want to be back in the office full-time, and 56% would quit or look for a new job that offers flexibility when they work.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the landscape in which we work has forever changed. When companies were forced to operate remotely, many employees across the globe got a taste of what it was like to work from home full-time. Now, many organizations are choosing to operate with a hybrid workforce as a permanent solution to reduce costs and adapt to their employees' needs.

Yet, despite the benefits of a hybrid work environment, the way employees see culture and how organizations build it is evolving. With a dispersed workforce, it's essentially harder for organizations to connect with their people to create a unified cultural experience. In this blog post, we discuss five ways to build culture in a hybrid work environment to help your organization overcome challenges from a physically dispersed workforce.

The Future of the Workplace is Now

When you look at today’s technology like self-driving cars, robotics and artificial intelligence, it’s easy to think we’ve landed in a sci-fi film. But go ahead and pinch yourself — this is real. Yesterday’s predictions are today’s reality. As we begin 2022, those devices are busy providing services in highly connected school, work and home environments, making so much possible that it feels like the future is truly here. Join us, as we explore what the classroom, meeting room and printers of the future look like today.

 

Apache Log4j2 Security Vulnerability of Sharp Products and Services

 

Recently, a security vulnerability in an open-source library called Log4J2 was made public on December 9, 2021. The Log4J2 library is a logging framework widely deployed within many Java-based applications. If the vulnerability is exploited, malicious intruders can pass and execute malware into the framework that could potentially allow them to access sensitive date and take control of targeted systems. Sharp has been working to assess the risk of the Log4J2 security vulnerability and how it affects Sharp document systems, professional and commercial display products and related applications, and services.

From Runway to Retail: Sharp’s Digital Displays Arm Fashion’s Finest

 

Understanding the importance of the retail experience, Sharp was able to successfully provide technology solutions for two iconic fashion brands’ prime retail locations in the heart of some of Manhattan, New York’s busiest shopping districts. Both brands had their own challenges and received a Sharp makeover that resulted in satisfaction from both the designers and their customers.

Reimagining the Hybrid Office

Danielle Cerny /

As organizations rekindle onsite work, enabling a culture of collaboration by reimagining office locations to be hybrid by design is more important than ever before. For expert insight into the topic, we interviewed Amy Loomis, Research Director for IDC's worldwide Future of Work market research service in our recent whitepaper, IDC Analyst Connection: Defining a Successful Journey for Office Reentry. In this article, we summarize her main conclusions about the hybrid office phenomena and the steps that need to be taken to foster a collaborative work environment.

Bridging the Remote Office Gap: Tools For the Hybrid Worker

Once upon a time, office workers got up and drove to the office, clocked in, and worked from 8 to 5. Then they went home, disconnected, and lived their personal lives until the next morning when they did it all over again. Then came technology – internet, smartphones, 5G. The lines blurred as workers had access to emails and network servers 24/7 – and supervisors and clients had access to them. And yet, even as the office continued to cross the line further and further into the home, standard wisdom was that employees needed to be in the office to do their jobs. Then COVID-19 came along and workers couldn’t be in the office and we entered the era of work-from-home, aka WFH.

6 Tips for Keeping Cyber-safe on Cyber Monday

Louis Costantini /

 

In this digital era, the need to wake up at 2 a.m., pack a duffle bag full of camping gear and load the car full of snacks and essentials to get early deals at stores are long gone. Additionally, the worry about massive crowds (especially during a pandemic), long lines, empty shelves and the occasional pickpocket are a thing of the past. However, online shopping isn’t completely without worry, and there are still many reasons to safeguard your financial and personal information while shopping online.

In this article, you will find six online shopping tips to help avoid data breaches and fraudulent charges by keeping your information out of the hands of people who made the naughty list this year.

Practicing What We Preach: A Sharp Employee’s Perspective on the WCD

Craig Hanson /

 

If your average day looks anything like mine, it’s stacked full of meetings with groups of internal and external folks of a variety of sizes on countless topics. To top it off, I’m trying to manage a hybrid work schedule, and need to rely on seamless communication, whether in or out of the office. In any other organization, I couldn’t imagine the stress this could cause. However, working for Sharp, and taking advantage of our collaboration tools has helped make this easy and seamless.

Here's How to Keep Important Emails Out of Your Spam Folder

Louis Costantini /

 

Every morning, you wake up and go through your routine before heading into the physical office or home office to start your day. When you get to your desk, you log into your computer and open your email. While sorting through your mailboxes, you notice that essential emails such as an RFP you were expecting, an invoice you’ve been waiting for, or important messages from vendors and partners are sitting in your spam folder. You might ask yourself, “how did these end up in here?” - a question that gets asked more frequently than you would expect. Missing these emails is not only frustrating, but it can also affect your business’s bottom line. Read on to learn why emails are marked as spam and how you can improve email deliverability.

5 Tips to Help Prevent Cybersecurity Threats

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report, there was an increase of 300,000 crime complaints from 2019 to 2020, with the top three scams including phishing, non-payment/non-delivery and extortion. These threats will continue to be dangerous for organizations of any size as employee remote and hybrid work formats become more ubiquitous. In fact, we conducted a survey with the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) which found that small businesses are still struggling to navigate the rapidly changing cybersecurity landscape, with nearly half experiencing multiple incidents in the 12 months leading up to the study.

This cybersecurity awareness month, we’re sharing a few tips that you can help address these concerns and prevent your small businesses from becoming cybercrime victims.

When it Comes to Cybersecurity, Don’t Forget the Printer

 

Although October is officially National Cybersecurity Month, the truth is that cybersecurity awareness needs to be a year-round endeavor — and more so than ever in this post-pandemic, hybrid-office, cloud-centric world. The annual Cost of a Data Breach Report from the Ponemon Institute and IBM shows 2021 had the highest average cost of a data breach in the report’s 17-year history — $4.24 million, up 10% from the previous year. In the U.S., the country with the highest cost, the average was more than $9 million.

If, as an organization, you’re not taking security seriously by this point, then it’s only a matter of time before you’re the next victim. Start now with the knowledge that every device on your network and every person with access to those devices is a potential attack vector — and yes, that includes copiers and multifunction printers (MFPs).

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.

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