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The Simply Smarter Blog

The Simply Smarter Blog

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.

Leadership Q&A: Moonsun Park– Not your average CFO

 

 

Our latest edition of our Simply Smarter Leadership Q&A series features our Chief Financial Officer, Moonsun Park. A recent recipient of the 2021 NJBIZ Best 50 Women in Business, Moonsun talks about some of her greatest accomplishments in a career that has spanned more than two decades, as well as key advice for women starting out their careers.

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.

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.

Why Purchasing Through Cooperative Contracts is Simply Smarter

Erica Calise /

 

Today’s government marketplace has changed.  Budgets are constrained and staffing is reduced.  To fill this void, government, education, and nonprofit organizations are turning to cooperative purchasing to obtain the goods and services they need without the hassle and aggravation of sending projects out for bid. 

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. 

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