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Windows 7

Windows 7 was released to the public last Thursday. I have been using this product since it was in Beta and never had it freeze up, crash, or otherwise misbehave. While no one should run out and purchase it, when you need a new PC, it is a great operating system. Microsoft has done a terrific job with this and hit the ball out of the park! Be sure to avoid upgrading from Vista as any upgrade has issues and leftovers from the previous version. Fresh install only if you must, but best to keep what you have and then when you need new computers, purchase them with Windows 7. You will be glad you did!

Did You Hear Thunder?

As summer arrives, so does the season for stormy weather and more unforseen incidents that threaten data.  Hear how one disaster turned into a good news story!  To hear the 30 second summary, click on the link below. Good News from an Earthquake To download The 12 Insider Secrets to Protect Your Data, click here.

Is Pandemic Part of Your Business Continuity Planning?

  surgical mask The floods, earthquakes and tornadoes of 2008 motivated many companies to revisit or begin Business Continuity Planning. The recent news of a potential Swine Flu Pandemic is just one more reminder of the importance of having a working plan in place.  A vital piece of continuity planning is workforce planning specifically for a pandemic. This should include establishing remote access, web conferencing, and identifying backup sites incase sites go down. In case of a pandemic, companies need to ensure that key personnel can work remotely with secure computer and internet access. Critical systems must be accessible with contingencies in place for access if key personnel get sick and their responsibilities need to be taken over. BeckITSystems includes products to secure workers and centrally manage remote desktops and laptops for all our clients. In recent years businesses have focused on Business Continuity with specific Pandemic initiatives and virtualization server technology aimed at helping firms keep computer systems and network infrastructures up and running in the event of an outbreak or disaster. Web conferencing will help your team stay productive and allow them to conduct business without having to travel during times of potential outbreak. Remote access to files and documents is critical to making web conferencing effective. Locating and equipping a remote operations site during a crisis is next to impossible.  Companies such as Agility, specialize in continuity solutions that provide power, technology, space and connectivity in the event of a disaster. This is a good opportunity for you to emphasize to your employees the normal flu season messages–hand hygiene, stay home if you don’t feel well, etc. Access to a guide for data backup and disaster recovery is located at www.ManageMyTechnology.com .  This blog  recently featured a 12 part series on web-worker tools. Most of the tools are free, all are on the Internet and all provide excellent collaboration features plus management insight into the work. For more information on Business Continuity and Web-Worker Program Planning, you may contact BeckITSystems, Inc. on the web at www.BeckITSystems.com ; by email at KeepITGoing@BeckITSystems.com ; or by phone at (703) 433-0730.    A podcast of a good success story of business continuity is found at www.BusinessTechRadio.com   I recommend this 3 minute mp3 to you! Swine Flu Update The recent cases of swine flu in Mexico and the US are concerning, because they have occurred in individuals who have not had contact with livestock, indicating human-to-human transmission. The current year flu vaccine is not expected to provide protection.  And millions of Tamiflu treatment courses have been strategically positioned throughout the US.   Deaths have occurred in affected individuals in Mexico, and a 23 month old child in the U.S. died from this on 4/28/2009. DHS analysis at this time is that disruptions to U.S. critical infrastructure will be low, with impacts on healthcare most likely as symptomatic individuals and worried well individuals seek medical attention. Should the outbreak intensify, there may be additional effects resulting from increased absenteeism. Beginning Tips for Business Continuity Planning Establish one person as your Continuity Director and let your members know who that person is Prioritize critical functions Identify functions that could be suspended for up to two months Identify positions needed to carry out critical functions Build depth through cross training Plan for alternative work schedules and implement a web-worker program Continuity planning for your computer systems and workforce Maintain a healthy work environment Update sick leave and FMLA policies Encourage/require ill employees stay home   Basic precautions, such as hand washing and avoiding contact with symptomatic individuals are recommended.   Key Points of Business Continuity Planning   •     Establish one person as your Continuity Director and let your members know who that person is •          Prioritize critical functions •          Identify functions that could be suspended for up to two months •          Identify positions needed to carry out critical functions •          Build depth through cross training •          Plan for alternative work schedules and implement a web-worker program •          Continuity planning for your computer systems and workforce •          Maintain a healthy work environment •          Update sick leave and FMLA policies •          Encourage/require ill employees stay home

Web Worker Tools #11 — Online Capture and Retrival (anywhere)

Knowledge workers today spend extensive effort in researching and finding data on the Internet. Retain in retrieving researched data is often a challenge.  Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at any time, from anywhere. Oh yes, did I also tell you that it’s free? Like most web tools, there is an advanced feature set available on a paid subscription basis. Evernote captures your data and allows you to retrieve it from overriding devices from the Web. The Web worker’s job is to make sure you have selected good key words. So there will be easily retrieval later. In addition, Evernot provides client software that allows synchronizing the online database with multiple Windows or Macintosh and even Windows mobile hardware. If you are a road warrior, you will LOVE the mobile client that allows you to search on your PDA! Oh yes, did I also tell you that it’s free? Sharing the information you have stored with coworkers, supervisors or anyone is as easy as clicking on the e-mail icon. Evernote will send the information by e-mail to your recipients. If you are already deeply engaged in the Google online tools, then you may want to use Google notebook instead. Google notebook is similar in functions and of course interacts with the other Google applications. If you later decide to leave Google behind, there is an import facility in Evernote that accepts all the Google notebook data you have created.

Web worker tool #10 — Remote Access

The expense and usability of VPNs is not recommended for Web Workers.  Secure remote access is best accomplished using a tool that allows remote control of and in the office computer. This provides access to one of business applications and network speeds with the utmost security. Most Web worker arrangements include worktime in the office as well as worktime an alternate location. With that arrangement the Web worker has a PC already installed in the organization’s office. As a result secure access to the employees dedicated computer is all that is needed to access corporate computing tools remotely. VPN has been the tool of choice, because of its security. Today LogMeIn provides the encrypted VPN tunnel for security with remote access to the employee’s in-office computer. Best of all, operating LogMeIn is simple and highly reliable. LogMeIn is a tool that can easily be set-up, provides VPN encryption, and, depending on the feature set required, is free or inexpensive.  Check out this wonderful application and the different versions available at www.LogMeIn.com.