Category: Tech Trends

09 Apr 2018

Price? Desktop? Lease vs. Buy? Here’s what you need to know when evaluating printer options

In a perfect world, running a business is all about watching your ideas transform into a successful enterprise. However, as an owner or decision maker, that’s not the only thing you have to think about. There are hidden costs everywhere, from the post-it notes you use to write down your newest ideas to the cost of printer ink. It can be difficult to know exactly where you can save money, and how.

At Cobb Technologies, we understand these challenges and we’re here to help! Cobb is committed to ensuring that you have a positive experience when purchasing an office printer, so we suggest keeping the following points in mind when researching your options:

  • How often do you print?

Determining how often you use a printer is a useful way to decide what kind of printer you should buy. For example, if you have an in-house marketing department, or you are constantly printing various documents, it would make sense for you to purchase a higher quality printer with full-color capabilities – for our Adobe users out there, Canon is the only brand with true Adobe Postscript capabilities built-in. If you are primarily a digital organization, you should place more emphasis on finding the right workflow solution that works with your printer. Konica Minolta specializes in workflow options that allow your team to easily sync prints and scans with each other via email and other inboxes. We highly recommend compiling your typical month-to-month print volumes before you even start comparing options. If you need help with discovering these numbers, we’re always happy to help!

Depending on what kind of business you are running, multifunction printers are recommended as a baseline. They allow for the most function out of one machine, without specialization. There are also options out there for those of you looking for something geared more toward a specific function! Wide format printers like Océ are designed to print floorplans, blueprints, posters, or anything else that needs to be printed in a large format. Another consideration depends on your industry. If you’re in the legal, financial or medical field, you should be making print security your top priority!

  • How much can you expect to pay for ink?

Typically, a less expensive model is going to cost more when it comes to ink, especially if you are opting for color. More extensive models cost less in the long run, as these cost less per page. Obviously, there are a number of variables that could fluctuate per page cost, but a good rule of thumb is that with most MFPs, you should expect something in the range of 1-2 cents using black ink, and 6-8 cents per colored page. An off-the-shelf printer from Staples or OfficeMax, while a little bit cheaper upfront, will cost your business 4-8 cents for black ink and 8-15 cents for color!

  • What is the average lifespan of an office printer?

Multi-Function printers have a much longer lifespan than any machine you can buy off-the-shelf at an office supplies store, depending on the degree to which they’re used. In order for you to maximize your printer’s life, Cobb Technologies offers a free evaluation that could save your business a HUGE chunk of change. We are able to remotely assess your organization for the most common pain points that plague print environments, including excess capacity, lack of standardization, obsolete technology and much more.

  • How much should you pay for a printer?

There are several options out there regarding office printers. Our most popular brands are Canon, Konica Minolta and Kyocera, and they are available for purchase or lease. Depending on how often you print and how mobile your business is, it may be worth it for you to consider leasing a machine instead of paying upfront for a new one. Cobb Technologies offers both options, with some leasing rates starting well under $100 a month!

  • Why should you consider an office technology partner?

It’s easy to pick up and go to your local technology department store and choose the cheapest option. However, if there’s one thing we hope you take out of this post, it’s that the easiest actions are not always the most cost-effective for your business in the long run.

At Cobb Technologies, we provide easy-access information about all of our product lines, as well as a free evaluation of all office technology that you have in your small business. Not only do we provide a range of machines for you to choose from, but our excellent sales staff is able to answer any questions that you may have regarding what sort of machine you should invest in. Additionally, when you partner with Cobb, you gain a long-term business resource. Set-up and installation is included on every machine that leaves our warehouse. In fact, we can put the new equipment in and haul out the old without you even needing to get up from your desk!

It’s our goal to ensure that your experience with office technology is as painless as possible, so feel free to refer to this post as much as possible! If you have any other questions or headaches, feel free to drop us a line! We love helping people find office technology they love, like our friends at Kim Moody Designs!

02 Apr 2018

5 Tips to Get You Started on a Computer Spring Clean

Spring is finally here! That means it’s time to break out the broom and go to town on the dust your house or apartment has collected over the past few months. Have you applied that mentality to your work or personal computer, yet?

The average worker spends about two hours of their day trying to find files that were originally saved in the wrong place. It doesn’t feel like that much time, but two hours every day during the work week adds up. We’ve compiled a few easy suggestions for making the organization of your desktop painless:

  1. File Hierarchy

A great way to ensure that your files never get lost is to create a file hierarchy on your hard drive. Sort out your different documents into main sections, and then create subsections for your specific needs. An example of the main folder would be “Emails”, with subsections such as “Personal”, “Work”, and “Spam”. You can make these subsections as specific as you need them. The more specific, the better!

 

  1. Clean Up Your Desktop

As tempting as it seems, saving everything to your desktop is not the best organizational method. Opening your computer and seeing forty different icons on your desktop is just as stressful as walking into your kitchen and realizing that every dish you own is piled in the sink. A way to combat that stress is to create a file system on your desktop. Sort out those icons into different categories, and then drop them into your different corresponding folders. Not only will this organize your desktop, but suddenly you’ll be able to see that gorgeous preset mountain background that you picked out a month ago.

 

  1. Rename Your Files

Standard Naming Conventions are a great way to ensure that you never lose a file, even if you have to use your computers built-in file search. This technique also helps you to remember what files you’re looking for. In order to pick a name, consider the kind of information included in the document, when you use the information, and what the information is used for. A good example of an SNC is “date,year_document type_company/personal use.”

 

  1. Location, Location, Location

Choosing a spot to save all of your important documents can be kind of tricky, especially if you have a lot of sensitive or private information. There are a number of options though, including an external hard drive, the cloud, or, if you are working for a company, perhaps their internal server. External hard drives are great if you are working from home or if you work in a creative field and you are dealing with larger files that could take up a lot of storage space on your computer. They also allow you to transport files from one machine to another, so if your computer crashes, you’ll still have all that valuable data.

 

  1. Explore Software Solutions that Clean for You

If your organization doesn’t have some sort of document management software in place, you’re more than likely losing countless hours of productivity. Products like M-Files make your clutter convenient, diving deep into file metadata to organize your documents and emails.

 

So, with these tips in mind, why not set aside a few hours this week to deep clean your desk AND your desktop? We bet “future you” will most certainly appreciate it. Happy cleaning!

30 Mar 2017

Have You Made the Pledge For World Backup Day?

It’s no wonder that World Backup Day comes a day before April Fool’s Day – it only takes one day for you and your company to look like fools without a backup of your business and network data.

A loss of data, no matter the cause, will affect not only your bottom line, but also your reputation, customer retention, and productivity. According to Symantec, the average small-to-mid-sized business has seen three technology failures in the past year, running the gamut from something as serious as a virus or hacker attack to something as simple as a power outage. Additionally, the cost of those outages equals an estimated $15,000 per day.

More importantly, losing your files happens more frequently than you’d think. In fact, according to a study by the wonderful people behind the backup movement at www.worldbackupday.com, 113 phones are lost or stolen every minute. Additionally, 29% of data disasters are caused by accident, and 1 in 10 computers are infected with viruses each month.

Too often, I’ve seen many small companies push “data backup” down their priority list because they’re often too busy with more pressing matters. Take the pledge today to back-up your data on World Backup Day  – www.worldbackupday.com.

13 Mar 2017

Cloud Nine? Nine Questions to Ask Before Your Leap to the Cloud

On October 14, 2012, Felix Baumgartner teamed up with Red Bull Sports to take a then-world record free fall skydive, jumping from an astonishing 127,852 feet.

In my role as a vCIO, I’ve had plenty of clients come to me with questions about their own hesitations with making the leap of faith of moving their organization “to the cloud.” I can assure you – the fears that IT managers, business owners, and office managers have are warranted. The decision to move to cloud services is a stressful one at that.

Everything you read and hear today is about how great the cloud is (and don’t get me wrong, I agree), but I find value in highlighting the potential downfalls or traps that should be investigated before the migration.

For my clients, I decided to put together a list of nine questions to ask themselves and their support staff to ensure a smooth-as-possible transition. I wanted to share this list with you, as well, so you’d be able to have another resource on-hand when making your own decision.

SECURITY

Depending on what type of cloud you are investigating (SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS – I’ll cover the difference in each of these in my next blog), security is usually the first topic that comes to mind for any business owner or support staff personnel. Having a good grasp of the security risks associated with cloud migration is essential to a successful transition.

1. Who has access to support my cloud environment? Are they bonded, and do they have background checks before employment?

2. Do I have regulatory requirements that I need to meet when moving to the cloud?

3. Is encryption being used in transit? If so, what level?

4. How is my data separated from others in the data center?

5. What happens if there is a security breach? How fast am I contacted, and what is my reaction protocol?

6. What are my disaster recovery and business continuity plans if the cloud was to experience a disruption?

With these questions in mind, you’ll be prepared to address any pre-and-post concerns with your cloud provider and ensure your staff is on the same page in the event of a security issue.

SERVICE LOCK-IN

One of the most overlooked issues with cloud computing migration is the potential for service lock-in. With so many apps and services intertwined, it can be a tough web to untangle once your organization is in the cloud – and you may not realize that your service provider has you locked in until it’s too late. These service lock-ins have caused many organizations financial headaches, especially when transferring to another provider.

7. If you have to create/modify any APIs from any line of business software you use or connections to your cloud resources, have you determined which of those processes could potentially lock you in long-term with a provider?

Save your organization time and by ensuring that your team is well-versed on the processes that are in play.

CLOUD SUPPORT STAFF

The support staff assisting you in your organization’s cloud migration should be your best resource during the process. Make sure you are on the same page before the transition.

8. Can your support staff effectively move you to the cloud with minimal disruption?

9. Once you’re in the cloud, can they maintain and manage the APIs and connections?

As I tell most of my clients, moving your business applications to the cloud is an important next step for many organizations. When it comes time for you to make the decision, take small steps and not one giant leap.