Recently, some of ADVYON’s clients have called us to ask about letters or emails they’ve received from fraudulent companies like Domain Listings stating that the customer must renew their business listing or domain. These letters are a scam designed to take advantage of a service that you are already paying for and convince you that their party needs additional payment for this service. The letters often appear very urgent, so we wanted to share some resources to help our clients and the public quickly identify this common scam.
How Can I Identify This Scam?
The best way to identify the scam is to figure out who actually hosts your domain. Use ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) to identify your domain ownership. Some popular sites which may be your domain provider include GoDaddy, Domain.com, Bluehost, and HostGator. You should never pay anyone who is not your domain provider for services related to your domain.
What Are the Companies Using this Scam:
Here are a list of a few companies who have recently used this scam:
Domain Renewal Group
Domain Registry of America
What Will the Scam Letter Look Like:
Below are some examples of letters and emails received by our customers. Below are some examples of what a fraudulent domain renewal notice will look like. If there is any doubt, contact your IT provider!
Three Questions to Create the Perfect Social Media Plan for Your Business
Social media is a crucial part of an effective marketing strategy for most business owners these days. Consistent posting on social media can provide benefits like raising brand awareness, driving sales, and establishing your brand as an expert in your field. But how do you start using social media? We believe that like many things in life, success on social media starts by creating the perfect plan.
A social media plan can be as detailed as you want, but it starts with just three basic questions:
What will I post? Where will I post it? What will it look like?
Let’s work through some steps to find the answers each of these questions:
#1- What will you post?
The first step in figuring out what you will post is to find your brand voice. Try a chart like the chart below from the Content Marketing Institute to get a concrete idea of what tone your posts should use. First, use general terms to describe how your business sounds like “passionate” or “quirky.” Then you explain what each of those mean. Use a chart like this to determine the “do’s” and “dont’s” for your business’ communications.
Your voice will determine whether you post about serious or lighthearted topics. If your brand is dealing with an inherently serious topic, you will probably not post memes or funny videos. You will probably stick to sharing news items and general tips for your business. But if your business can afford to be a little silly or wants to be seen as a “friend,” you may be very casual with your followers and use slang or popular viral images and videos on your pages.
#2-Where will I post?
Figuring out where to post also takes some research. You can start by performing an audience analysis. An audience analysis examines the demographics, location, and interests and other aspects of a group.
To figure out demographics and location, try using Facebook’s built in analytics tools. You can use the “page insights” feature to get an overview of the age and gender for your existing audience as well as the cities and countries your followers came from and the languages of their browsers. Simply navigate to the “people” tab under page insights to see an overview of your followers’ demographics like the one pictured below:
After looking at your demographics, you can research to see which platforms they are most interested in by doing a simple Google search. For example when we search this largest demographic, women ages 35-44, we can find statistics that tell us that most of these followers use Facebook and Instagram. From there, we can figure out when the best time to post will be by searching to see when most women ages 35-44 will be using Facebook.
After figuring out the best time to post and the best platform to use, create a social media calendar. This schedule should have what types of topics will be covered each day, the times they will be posted, and the platforms where they will be shared. Check out this example from Hootsuite which addresses the content that will be posted each day on four different platforms:
#3- What will it look like?
What your posts look like will be determined by your brand. No blanket look or feel will work for all businesses.
If you want a concrete idea of what look to use for your posts, you can create branding standard. In this file, you can document the colors and fonts that your business will use and what situations you will use them in. Your brand standards should include:
Clearly defined logo usage, spacing, and colors
Specified colors & fonts
Make sure the colors and fonts are outlined for use in all instances. For example, for colors, you want to be sure to have CMYK for print usage and Hex for online graphics. For fonts, make sure weights and styles are specified as well as alternatives for both digital and print. You will likely have a greater variety of options to use for graphics.
Rules for usage of stock photography, photos from clients, and photos of team members.
An overall standard for how your brand’s message should be represented (Voice).
Once you’ve set the colors and fonts you will use, you’re ready to start creating. To get ideas on what your posts might look like, check out the competition. Find social media accounts for similar businesses in your area and make notes on what kinds of graphics they’ve created. Your posts should not be a direct copy, but using similar ideas will help put you on an even playing field with your competitors. You can use design tools like Adobe Indesign or Illustrator or free tools like Canva to create appealing graphics with your colors and fonts.
Many businesses put off creating a social media plan because it seems time-consuming or intimidating. We think that answering by answering three questions: “What will I post? Where will I post it? What will it look like?,”you can create a solid social media plan that is easy and fun for your team.
Examining your brand voice, demographics, brand standards, and competition will provide you with valuable information on the best approach to social media for your specific business. If you’d like more help with social media planning, strategy, and scheduling, you can always ask an expert! We offer social media posting and plans as a part of our comprehensive marketing services, so please give us a call at (843) 324-5824, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website, advyon.com for more information on our services or to schedule a consultation.
In our world today, we hear a lot about storing information on the cloud. But did you know there are different types of cloud storage? In this blog, we will explore what cloud storage can be used for and what the differences are between each type.
What is cloud storage?
All types of cloud storage allow you to access information remotely. The advantage of cloud storage is that files are not taking up any extra room on your computer or servers. Any time you access information remotely, you are using one of the different types of cloud storage.
Cloud computing can be broken up into two basic categories: private or public hosting. On a private cloud, you are responsible for saving the data yourself whereas a public cloud allows you to save data with a larger third party company. Let’s examine each of these types of cloud hosting in more detail.
Type 1- Private Cloud:
A private cloud works much the same way a business would operate its own traditional data center. If you are accessing information on platforms like IBM Cloud, you are likely accessing this information from a private cloud. On a private cloud, the user saves data himself on a hard drive at home or server at the office.
Private cloud is the riskiest of the cloud storage types in terms of security. Without the added security of a big company supporting your data, you may run into problems like:
Public cloud is becoming increasingly popular with business owners. Some forecasts for usage of public cloud storage in 2021 are predicting that as many as 60% of companies will use public cloud platforms. Public cloud means that the user does not personally own the server. Rather it is hosted by a third party, often a large company, such as Microsoft’s Azure.
One benefit of hosting on a public cloud is cutting the cost associated with physical hardware. Purchasing a server can cost thousands of dollars and maintaining servers can cost thousands more. Hosting on someone else’s server will likely be closer to a fee of hundreds of dollars.
Another benefit of public hosting is that it removes office limitations. A physical server is limited as to the number of users it can support. Once a business gets to a certain size or expands into multiple offices, it will need a system to support their growth. Cloud storage provides the elasticity needed to grow and change with the company. Cloud hosting is also good for remote work because it allows for easy access, collaboration, and working from multiple locations.
Public hosting is also safer because you are using higher quality servers supported by a full time team of experts. When your server is supported by a full-scale team of qualified engineers, they are less likely to fail. To increase security when hosting on a public cloud, be sure to download backups of any data stored there to protect from security risks if one of their servers goes down.
Public Cloud Subtype: Software as a services (SAAS)
One of the popular subtypes of public cloud hosting is software as a service (SAAS). Software as a service will allow you to export your data for you to download. Well known SaaS companies like Microsoft 365 and Dropbox allow you to periodically download information so you have a hard copy backup. Software as a service is the most commonly used type of cloud hosting because this cloud can be accessed using only a browser. This is the most convenient and efficient type of hosting.
Typically, software as a service does not fail. Other risks to consider when choosing software as a service include low control over your data, dependence on the internet, and speed/ performance.
Which do we recommend you use?
ADVYON is an expert in every type of cloud storage. We believe that private clouds, physical servers, and hosted cloud storage are all highly beneficial for different applications. For most customers, we recommend using a good software as a service provider because they have web interface through browsers, regardless of hardware. Hosted cloud has more limitations because it still requires a stationary machine complete with keyboard and mouse. This makes SaaS most convenient for our highly mobile customers, especially as more of them transition to remote work.
Cloud storage has made a huge impact on the way businesses function from day to day. Private cloud storage allows you to save data on a private server at your home or office, but is vulnerable to the most security risks. Public hosting removes office limitations, allows for mobility, and supports more users with increased expertise from third party support. The type of public hosting we recommend is software as a service, which allows you to store data on a large company’s server using only a browser.
If your business is looking to explore the exciting future of cloud storage, please contact our experts at ADVYON. We work with every type of server and are experts in cloud hosting, so we can answer any further questions you may have! We look forward to working with you on your cloud storage needs.
“Have you tried turning it off and on again?” It’s no secret that this phrase is a favorite of IT professionals. In fact, popular British sitcom, The IT Crowd opens their first episode by giving this line to one of their main characters. But, as the old saying goes, “in every joke, there is a grain of truth”, and it’s no different for this joke. Our ADVYON IT experts really do always ask if you’ve tried rebooting your machine. Why? Because it works!
Rebooting Can Cure Many Common Issues
Tamra Dubis, one of our IT Support Technicians, explained: “I’m passionate about rebooting… It’s important for your computer’s health. A computer needs sleep just like you and I do” According to Tamra, many of our clients’ most common issues including printer and program errors and network connection can be helped by rebooting. There’s almost never a bad time to try rebooting, as long as all files are saved and you aren’t in the middle of an update.
Rebooting is critical for the speed, storage, and security of your computer. Let’s examine each of these issues more closely to see the difference that rebooting makes.
Issue # 1- Speed
Restarting your computer increases its overall speed. As you go about your work day, you probably open and close browser windows and computer programs without even thinking about it. What many of us don’t realize is that these programs leave a digital footprint in the form of background processes or programs that didn’t close all the way. These unseen programs can take up resources needed for you to perform new tasks quickly. Rebooting your machine sweeps away all the footprints from those programs.
Rebooting is also key to boosting internet speeds. Restarting your router wipes away the current state of your machine, including any bugs that are associated with the way it is working. When you reboot, your routerfrom before any issues that occurred.
Issues # 2- Storage
Rebooting also maximizes storage space for your computer. When you open and close programs on your computer, some of that information is stored in the random access memory (RAM). When this storage space fills up, your RAM can have a memory leak. Restarting clears the RAM, freeing up that needed storage space. A hard restart can also temporarily clear cache and free up storage space for your phone and computer.
Issue #3- Security
Finally, rebooting is vital to the security of your computer. If you leave your computer logged in, this can leave your computer open for security breaches. Restarting can also be crucial for program updates. For instance, Windows releases regular security patches. These patches provide updates to security programs not covered by large scale updates of Defender, etc. The longer it takes to apply these patches, the higher the risk of potential breach. Applying the patches without rebooting could lead to other attacks.
When Should I Reboot?
So, when should you reboot? Our technician, Tamra, recommends that you restart your computer on Friday afternoon. This allows plenty of time for updates and rebooting without disturbing your workday. At the minimum, experts recommend restarting your machine every 30 days.
Tamra also emphasizes that restarts and updates are different from one another. Some software can be updated due to a restart, but an update doesn’t usually have anything to do with the internal workings of your machines. Updates are also different from upgrades. Tamra cautions that an old version of Windows 10 can be just as much of a security risk of Windows 7.
So, if you’re looking to boost the speed, storage, and security of your computer, remember to turn it off and on again. Rebooting your computer is important to restore everything to ideal working conditions without any problematic cache or half-opened programs. If you’d like to know more about why and when you should restart your machine, call our experts today.
Imagine for a moment that you are the owner of a small flower shop. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, more and more of your customers have been ordering flowers by using your website. You rely on your website to get the addresses for flower delivery, to send custom messages with each arrangement, and to process payment properly.
You arrive at the shop on the morning of Mother’s Day, prepared for one of your busiest business days, only to find that your computer is updating. “I don’t have time for this,” you think, and turn off the computer, thinking this will make it restart more quickly.
Unbeknownst to you, restarting your computer in the middle of an update causes much bigger problems. You soon find that you are missing important files like your spreadsheet of monthly expenses. Now, you have to start your expenses report from scratch and you’ve missed most of the orders for one of your busiest days. In addition, you’ve wasted several hours of your morning trying to fix the issue without any results.
What could you have done to save your files, your computer, and your time? You could have called your IT company before rebooting the computer.
Why You Should Call Your IT Company First
Reason #1- Your IT Company Can Determine Root Cause
Albert Einstein said, “If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and 1 resolving it.” This quote expresses how difficult it can often be to get to the real root of a problem. That’s why IT companies follow a specific problem-solving process that helps them determine the root cause of technical problems.
Many of ADVYON’s IT experts reported that our customers are often trying to solve the wrong issue. For example, one common complaint our technicians receive is “my email isn’t working.” This issue can be caused by many factors. When a client tries to solve this issue on their own, they will often immediately jump to delete and reinstall their email. However, this step may still not resolve the issue.
In more than one instance, the IT team has determined that the person whose email isn’t working has simply clicked the “work offline” button without realizing. Now their email appears to be incapable of sending or receiving emails because it is not connected to the internet. Furthermore this issue would not be fixed by deleting and reinstalling the email and you may waste workdays for one or more employees by trying to fix the wrong issue.
Let’s return to our flower shop example. If you were to call your IT company about your issues restoring the flower shop’s spreadsheet, they would ask you a series of questions to determine the root cause of the issue. Some of the typical questions in troubleshooting include, “When did this problem begin?” How many people is the issue affecting?” and most importantly to this issue, “What changes have been made to the computer recently?” When you explain that your computer was updating the previous morning and that you turned it off, your technician will know right away that this was the root cause of the deleted file. Now that you know the reason the file is missing, it will be much easier to come up with a solution for restoring the information.
Reason #2- – Your IT Company has a Deep Knowledge Base and Tools
Another compelling reason to call your IT company before trying to fix the issue yourself is simply that they are the experts in the field. Often your IT company has access to knowledge and resources that you won’t find by simply searching the Web. People commonly search for solutions for their IT problems online. We often believe search engines give us the same answer that our IT company would. However, there are several reasons this is not the case.
First, IT professionals have proven solutions that can be accessed either by a knowledge database or by asking their coworkers. At ADVYON, we’ve documented over 30 common problems and their solutions for our customers to access at https://advyon.com/support/. This is only a small sample of solutions that our technicians are considering every time they solve an issue. We also encourage collaboration between our IT professionals to get the best solution. As CEO Brian Anderson said, “There’s often no ‘right’ way to solve an issue. There may be ways that are faster, but there is no one right way.” If one of our technicians couldn’t solve an issue using their preferred method, someone else is likely to have an idea. While forums may try to achieve the same collaboration online, it is more likely that you will find confusing, conflicting answers to your questions than if you ask a team of professionals all working together.
Second, your IT company brings an outside perspective to the issue. Sometimes you may be so accustomed to living with an issue that you haven’t even thought to address it. Technician Jon Masula remarked that often when he arrives at a client’s workplace, he discovers issues beyond what the client called him to address. Many businesses are so used to issues that they say, “Oh, we just live with this,” or “I have a work-around for this.” Our technicians bring an outside perspective to identify these types of issues and a better, more efficient way to solve them. This can save time and future issues for your business.
Third, your IT company has access to several tools which can help them solve the issue. In our flower shop example, your IT company may have several different ideas about how to restore the file. However, testing these ideas could cause problems on the actual machine. So, they will use tools like Sandbox or Wireshark to test possible solutions without changing anything on your machine. This process allows technicians to be 100% sure that the solution they recommend will work. These tools save you time and effort while allowing the IT professionals to more quickly solve the issue. Then they can use remote access software to apply the solution while you’re at lunch so that you don’t lose any more business.
Why Do Businesses Resist Calling their IT Company?
With these reasons in mind, it seems more people should be calling their IT company as their first step. So what’s stopping them? Businesses don’t call their IT company before attempting to fix an issue because the way most IT companies work does not encourage calls. Most IT companies charge by the hour for their services. This not only discourages the company from calling and therefore spending more money, but also discourages the technicians from giving their best effort. An hourly model asks a technician to fix the problem as soon as possible. The first solution may not always be the best solution. In the long term, this can be inefficient. The technician may have to return several times for the same issue, which is frustrating for both parties.
ADVYON CEO, Brian Anderson explains that ADVYON’s IT services are created to counteract this popular model. We use a “customer centric, MSP model.” The managed services provider (MSP) provides ongoing support at a customer’s place of business for any network, application, and infrastructure security. This model focuses more on building long-lasting relationships with our clients.
An hourly model does not encourage relationships because it is built on the understanding that any interactions with an IT technician will likely be a one-time exchange similar to an interaction with the checkout clerk at the grocery store. Furthermore, by the hourly model’s standards, if everything is going “well,” you won’t hear from your IT company. We check up on our customers even if we haven’t heard any issues from them recently.
Your IT company can be a valuable resource. Rather than spending a whole day trying to Google your way through an issue, you have the knowledge and tools of an entire professional team at your fingertips. Your IT company can help you determine the root cause of your issue and test to find the best solution while you continue the important work of running your business. If hourly rates make calling your IT company impossible, we recommend checking our ADVYON or a similar managed services provider in your area so you can build a long-lasting relationship with your IT company. We certainly think it makes a difference!
What we Learned from the Lightform LF2 Projection Mapping Device
Lightform is a projection mapping device. It allows the user to scan a three dimensional surface and create a map of that surface to project custom designs on. This is the same technology that Disney World uses to create a magical show where Mickey and friends sing and dance on the side of Cinderella’s castle.
For many years, if you wanted to create custom animations on a 3D surface, you had to put the entire program together in Adobe After Effects or a similar editing software. This process was not user friendly as it required graphic design skills and took a lot of time. Lightform appeals to artists and business owners alike as a simpler way to create a beautiful, custom 3 dimensional design.
Our company discovered Lightform through our CEO, Brian Anderson. Lightform created a great series of Facebook ads that immediately caught his interest. Anderson said, “I’ve always been obsessed with light. I’m attracted to things that use different forms of light. So [when] I saw this used at an EDM concert where they lit up a skyscraper to match the beat and on Facebook using augmented reality to create shifting blocks,” he knew he had to try it.
What Can You Do with Lightform?
What could you do with your new Lightform? The possibilities are endless. For personal use, Brian Anderson envisions the product being used for creating elaborate Christmas and Halloween displays projected onto the side of your house. For commercial spaces, “You can have objects that shimmer or increase product placement like glasses with a beach scene that comes to life in the lenses or a fish tank on the wall.”
We plan to use our Lightform to create a few exciting new projects. For his first task using the Lightform, Anderson plans to create a light-up display of a scene from the movie Tron. If you’ve seen the film, you can probably already picture the glowing motorbikes lit up with the Lightform’s animation. Then, our CEO plans to tackle bringing a skeleton logo for the band The Grateful Dead to life on his wife’s skateboard.
After we’ve perfected our techniques with these personal projects, we aim to use Lightform as a digital billboard on the side of our office. We plan to showcase the websites we’ve built with animations scrolling through them and to light the building up to attract new customers.
Do We Recommend the Product?
While Lightform is much easier to use than elaborate animation software, Anderson cautions that it still requires some basic knowledge of graphic design, wifi networks, and Bluetooth pairing. “Importing external video and hiding layers were very easy and the initial setup was pretty straightforward. It was hard once the device was paired to pair it with a second device.”
Anderson also noted that since the technology is still so new, some of the editing tools were fairly basic. “Using the pen tool works best, but as with any art tool, it takes some practice.”
We advise that if you’re interested in purchasing one of the Lightform projection devices but you have no prior experience in graphic design or you don’t work much with wireless networks that you seek help from an expert. There are not yet many videos explaining how to set up the product yet, so it would be best to talk to someone who’s been through the process before.
We wanted to try Lightform because of the overall benefit that trying new technology can have on your business. When asked if he believes that it is important for businesses (whether or not they’re in the technology) to try new technology, our CEO, Brian Anderson gave a resounding yes saying, “Businesses that are innovative are typically more productive, have a better office culture, drive more revenue, and are typically more successful.”
Our Lightform LF2 projection mapping device has inspired us to continue to be curious about the technology around us. We look forward to perfecting our skills with the Lightform LF2 to create a digital billboard on the side of the building. The LF2 has also given us the opportunity to work on our skills with graphic design and network pairing and to bring an artistic tool to our workplace. Beyond the practical applications and opportunities for professional growth that the Lightform has brought us, we’ve already enjoyed getting to start more conversations with our coworkers about this technology and the other technology that inspires us. Based on this experience, we recommend that you engage with this product and with the conversation- around new technology in your workplace!
Our Review of the Top Video Conferencing Tools for Remote Work
Like many other businesses, ADVYON has been figuring out how to adjust our normal operations to work from home during the COVID-19 crisis. For our team, it was crucial to continue to keep in touch during the week, so we decided to schedule weekly video calls every Friday. However, as we tried different video conferencing tools, we discovered that not all video conferences are created equal. Here are our official reviews of the tools we tried in April and May: Zoom,Slack, Jitsi_Meet, and Teamviewer.
Zoom: Zoom has taken the remote workforce by storm during the COVID-19 crisis. Zoom now has around 300 million users, which is an increase from just 10 million users last December. According to Zoom’s website, Zoom boasts usability, access from any device, and meeting security.
Pros: We agree that Zoom is very user friendly. Our employees were able to join the meeting from computers or cell phones. One person must host the meeting and send a code or link to other participants.
Zoom’s website states that the site also has HD audio and video. We found that both audio and video were reliable if the participant has a steady internet connection. Like all web-based platforms, Zoom may experience video lag or issues connecting to your computer’s audio, but these interruptions were minimal.
We were also able to reliably use built in tools like chat, file sharing, and screen share. Zoom meetings can also be recorded and saved to listen to or watch later. The recordings can be stopped or started anytime during the meeting, can be saved in an mp4 format and can be transcribed using Zoom’s built-in audio transcribing tool.
Cons: Hosting was our only difficulty with Zoom. The basic version of Zoom allows meetings 40 minutes long up to 100 participants. We needed to change hosts during the meeting and got disconnected a few times because the free meeting time had run out.
Users should also be aware of security issues. Due to Zoom’s rapid rise, the platform was unprepared for security risks. Toward the end of March, users started to report unwelcome visitors to their Zoom meetings. Security was an especially big risk for school children and minors as well as healthcare or government organizations who need to keep information secure.
Following these Zoom hackings, several new security measures were added. Zoom encourages adding pre-meeting security like waiting rooms, passwords, and joining by domain. Zoom also has security features during the meeting such as shutting off screen share for participants, locking the meeting, or removing participants. Read more about Zoom’s privacy and security measures here.
Slack: ADVYON uses Slack everyday to chat and send files. It’s an online communication hub where team members can communicate over direct messages and channels. Slack also has a built-in calling feature in which team members can call using voice, video, or screen sharing.
Pros: The video during our Slack call was the clearest of all the video conference tools we used, however video is not available on the app for either iPhones or Androids. This makes the video calling feature less accessible than Zoom.
Since Slack is built to prioritize chat, file sharing and chat services are seamless from Slack calls. Slack also allows for recording calls. These can be saved on or off the platform. Finally, Slack can also be used reliably for screen-sharing.
Cons: Free usage of Slack’s platform only allows for one-on-one voice or video calls. According to Slack’s Help Center the paid plans allow for calls up to 15 participants only. Slack seems to be more focused on building out their chat features rather than expanding video calls.
We were able to use Slack for a group call, however, we had issues with the audio during our call. Our microphones lagged and overlapped when trying to talk. We had to turn off all microphones and only allow one person to talk at any given time. Slack notes that if you are using a third-party app within Slack to make the call, Slack may not be granted access to your microphone when you switch between the two apps.
We find that Slack is very useful for calls between two people, but when making a group call, Slack was not reliable. We prefer the chat features for which Slack has been prioritized.
Jitsi_Meet: Jitsi_Meet is a third party app which we installed with Slack for video calls. Jitsi boasts being a free, open-source video app which does not require an account. Jitsi prides itself on being developer friendly, so it can be customized to your company’s needs.
Pros: Jitsi_Meet is completely free. It can host over 100 guests without requiring any accounts or payments. It allows for real-time and private chats. Jitsi is equipped with HD audio for impressive sound quality. It is also safe because conversations are encrypted by default.
Cons: Jitsi is not available for iPhone or Android, so it is not 100% accessible. It must be installed on your computer in order to work. It is limited for presentation as well. Capterra reports that Jitsi_Meet does not allow for screen sharing or recording. Jitsi also does not have any training available so it may be difficult to install.
Jitsi_Meet is a good solution for a tech-friendly workspace. It is not as user friendly as Zoom or Slack, but if it’s important to create a long-time customizable solution for your workplace that is secure and safe for your users, it may be the right choice.
Teamviewer: Teamviewer is a trusted software for remote desktop access. Teamviewer has created a video-conferencing software that is available across a variety of different platforms and operating systems.
Pros: Teamviewer is very secure. The host of the meeting needed to set up our new team members with a link to activate a Teamviewer account within the company. This ensures that there will be no uninvited guests in any Teamviewer meeting. It is the most secure option we tried.
Teamviewer allows for easy screen-sharing and recording, since this is how the software is optimized. It also allows for straight-foward file-sharing and cooperation across operating systems.
Cons: Teamviewer requires a download of the app to use the video conference tool. There is no mobile app available, so you must create an account and download the app on your computer. This requires a few minutes of setup ahead before you can join the meeting, making it a complicated process to participate in the meeting. Teamviewer states that only 10-25 participants may join a video conference call.
The meeting began with participants automatically seeing the host’s screen. While this caused no long term-repercussions to our meeting, it did take a few minutes to figure out how to do a normal video call with no screen sharing or remote access enabled. If your team’s priority is security for a small group, Teamviewer is a great choice. It may not be user friendly to new team members or to the meeting’s host, however.
Overall, we were impressed with the number of video conferencing tools available to help aid in our adjustment to working from home. We enjoyed experiencing the user-friendly interface provided by Zoom, easy one-on-one calls in Slack, the free customization of Jitsi_Meet, and the security of Teamviewer. By only reviewing a few video conferencing tools, we found that an impressive amount of tools are available to help businesses reach different goals and we will use many of them even after we go back to the office.
Google and Facebook Resources for Your Small Business During COVID-19
Many small businesses are facing uncertain times during the COVID-19 pandemic. Continually changing health and economic factors have made normal business functions difficult for everyone. Thankfully, many companies are offering free resources to ease the financial and technological worries small businesses are now facing. Facebook and Google are two of the companies offering grants to businesses to help offset unexpected costs.Let’s take a look at what they have to offer and how you can best access these grants.
If you qualify for ad credits, ADVYON Business Technologies can also help with your new campaign. Our certified experts are able to assist you in running campaigns. If your business does not qualify for the grant, ADVYON has access to credit vouchers and can help you make a strategy that will benefit your business even in these challenging times.
Facebook’s Grant for Your Small Business:
Next, let’s review the Facebook grant we think is most useful for your small business.Facebook is offering a Small Business Grant Program of $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time. To be eligible for the grant, you must meet the following criteria:
Be a for-profit company
Have between 2 and 50 employees
Have been in business for over a year
Have experienced challenges from COVID-19
Be in or near a location where Facebook operates
How to Access Facebook’s Grant:
To see if you are in an eligible location for this grant, follow these steps:
Local Areas Not Eligible for Grant and Where to Find Other Help:
The only companies with headquarters in our Tri-State area of South Carolina, North Carolina, or Georgia that are eligible for this grant are companies in Fulton County in Atlanta, Georgia. However, if you are not in an eligible area, you may be eligible for other benefits and ad credits for Facebook.
ADVYON is a South Carolina business and we want to help our neighbors succeed in any way we can. If you are not eligible for the Facebook grant or are struggling with any other marketing decisions during the COVID-19 crisis and want to make sure you come out on top when this is all over, reach out and let ADVYON Marketing help. Call us at (843) 324-5824 or email us at email@example.com.
Brand Standards: What Are They, and Do I Really Need Them?
As a business owner, how many times have you heard the term “brand standards”, or been told they are an important part of your marketing efforts? Is it just another term to you, jargon which goes in one ear and out the other? Why does it matter?
We’ll tell you exactly why brand standards are important and what you need to be looking for in a company when developing brand standards.
“I already have a logo, isn’t that enough? Do I really need brand standards?”
We see so many people who have a logo and think, “OK, I have a brand, I’m all done!”. However, just having a logo is not enough. Sure, you can put it on anything, but it doesn’t necessarily represent your business in a clear, recognizable way.
Think about the well-known, established brands you can recognize instantly — Nike, Starbucks, etc. Those brands have a distinctive look and feel you recognize, and it’s because of more than simply seeing their logo. They have a marketing style, ads crafted to perfectly reflect the company and brand you recognize and know. You could walk into a Starbucks, and even if there wasn’t a logo on anything anywhere, you would know you were in a Starbucks.
Take this ingenious ad, for example:
Well known, globally recognized brands take a while to establish. Doritos didn’t get started overnight. It starts with one thing: brand standards. Brand standards are the glue holding your brand identity together. It helps create a cohesive, recognizable public identity for your business which acts as more than just your logo applied to something.
The overall point of brand standards is for people to know you, your business, who you are, what you provide. For instance, when you see a Nike swoosh and you think about good shoes, it’s not because their logo, the swoosh, is literally equivalent to shoes. It’s because Nike has carefully developed their brand identity more than their logo. They’ve spent years creating a clear, consistent brand message with a guideline of exactly how they should be visually represented. And it all starts with brand standards.
Brand standards enable you to develop more recognition, so people can start remembering your business and unique brand. If it’s consistent, the more people see it, the more they remember it. There are a lot of different businesses out there and brand standards are a crucial way for you to stand out. It makes your company look more professional, more established, and provides you with the ability to compete against all the other businesses providing similar services.
“What should be included in brand standards?”
When it comes to your business, you don’t want to waste a single dollar. If you’re paying someone to develop brand standards for you, make sure the following elements are included:
Clearly defined logo usage, lockup, spacing, and colors
Specified colors & fonts
Make sure the colors and fonts are outlined for use in all instances. For example, for colors, you want to be sure to have CMYK, Pantone, Hex, and RBG versions. For fonts, make sure weights and styles are specified as well as close alternatives for digital vs print.
Style guidelines for photography & graphics
An overall standards for how your brand’s message should be represented
Brand standards are a set of guidelines which set the parameters for usage of creative elements like your logo, colors, and fonts so your brand is represented in a recognizable way, even in completely different contexts. There are many other things which can go into brand standards, but as a basic starting point, all brand standards should at least include the above elements.
Once you’ve developed brand standards, it also makes it easier when creating and designing anything new for your business – whether it’s a website or an ad. Having brand standards gives graphic designers a clear direction on how to create what is best for you and your brand.
Having a brand already developed makes creating new ideas more efficient and effective – since the base is already outlined, the creator can focus on enhancing rather than creating anew. Brand standards help to reign in the creative possibilities and focus the artist’s vision.
“When is the right time to be thinking about developing brand standards?”
It’s best practice to develop brand standards right from the start. Of course, having brand standards from the start doesn’t always happen, but it’s difficult to build something out of nothing.
Ultimately, brand standards are especially important for growth. Whether you are just starting out or your company is growing, brand standards are crucial for developing your business and presenting it to new people.
Even if you already have brand standards, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are set in stone and will never change. As your company grows, your brand standards will develop based on the industry, trends, and your target market. Take for example once more large brands like Nike and Starbucks. You can see over the years how they have changed and grown – it’s still their brand, but it’s developed and evolved over the decades.
How do you know if it’s time to revisit your brand standards?
If you’re working with a new designer and they have new ideas. If they try something you haven’t tried before or didn’t fit with your brand standards but is really good, maybe it’s time to consider adjusting. Or, if your company has grown into a different target market.
For example, we have a client we have worked with for years. He started as a handy-man Mr. Fix-It and had a brand that reflected that. From there we wanted a more professional appearance to start handling larger projects like home renovations and remodels. Over time, his business has grown and developed; when he began his business, he was serving residential clients and handling smaller-scale projects.
Eventually, his business evolved and he decided he was in a spot where he wanted to pursue larger-scale commercial projects. He realized he would need to modify his brand and message again to attract his new target market, so helped take everything to the next level. We created new a new logo and brand standards, capable of relating and appealing to his current business as well as attracting the new perspective market of commercial construction.
Is your company growing? Do you want to start developing a clear consistent marketing message? Do you need to create brand standards? Contact us today and we can help you get started.
IT and Computer network preparations for a Hurricane, high wind or water event.
When facing a storm like a hurricane, preparation is key to weathering a stressful storm. We’ve compiled a list below of best practices to protect your network from wind, water, and the worst!
For all of our Total Care support clients, we physically check and double-check onsite and offsite backups and making sure everything is working well as a part of our storm preparations. We will ensure your networks are safe if anything were to befall them.
On your final day of departure, either to go home or to evacuate for the storm, don’t forget to properly prepare your business, too! Follow the procedure below to secure your network.
1. Turn off your computers & servers.
2. Turn off your battery backups.
3. Make sure your server, computers, and battery backups are off of the ground if you are in a single-story unit. The Lithium in the batteries of a UPS are flammable and they are potentially explosive when exposed to air and especially to water.
4. Take your external backup plugged into your server home with you. Keep it in a safe location.
5. Cover your computers, servers and IT components with plastic.
6. If you have VoIP phones, take the main reception phone with you and plug it into your internet wherever you have evacuated to. If you do not, forward your phones to your cell phone or download your provider’s cell phone app and login with your provider username and password.
7. Before you leave, make sure to take pictures of everything. Take pictures of all the computers, the inside of your business, the outside.
Things to note:
Remote access will not work when your computers, internet, or server is offline. Take the files you need with you.
When you restart the network upon your return, start the network equipment first, next your server, then the rest of the computers so they connect to the server properly.
If you travel, make sure your mobile devices are secured. Storms are a great time to have iPads, iPhones, laptops stolen out of cars!
How to forward your Landline Phones:
Dial the phone number (including area code) where you want your calls to be forwarded to (e.g., *72-908-123-4567).
Press the Call button and wait for confirmation. You should hear a confirmation tone or message.
End your call.
How to forward for Nextiva customers:
Nextiva Partner Support: (800) 659-0208 – Please note only the account owner can call and should have a PIN ready.
Check with your business insurance before you leave.
Call your business insurance provider and confirm your policy and your coverage before you go. Check to see what your coverage is for hurricanes. Ask what is covered on your policy and check the coverage amounts – if your business has grown in the past year, you may need to increase the coverage amounts. Make sure that everything you want to be covered is on your policy.
If you have any important documents, it’s a good idea to put them in a safe or take them with you.
Before you leave, make sure to take pictures of everything. Take pictures of all the computers, the inside of your business, the outside – you want to be sure to be able to document everything for insurance purposes.
Above all, be safe! If you have any questions, we will be available for calls. Please dial (843) 324-5824 for questions.