A Multi-Function Printer print, scan, copy, fax, and even edit documents from one convenient hub. This has made them an office staple, leaving few reasons for an office to continue to purchase discrete devices for each activity.

Companies embrace multi-function devices because they increase device impact while decreasing their physical footprint. Multi-Function Printers increase company-wide productivity and revenue when strategically deployed in a printing fleet. Read on to learn how upgrading a company’s printer fleet to include these multi-function devices transforms productivity and profitability in the office.

How to Better Understand a Multi-Function Printer

There are many different terms for the device known as the multi-function printer. No standardized language exists, therefore the manufacturers are free to refer to their products as they like. In other words, there are several terms which appear in reference to MPS or similar devices:

  • All-In-One (AIO): A device which has a full array of document management options. This includes printing, scanning, faxing, copying, document editing, storage, and conversion.
  • Multi-function Device (MFD): May or may not be a printer, but likely has printing capabilities.
  • Multi-function Peripheral or Product (MFP): Shares the acronym MFP with multi-function printer, but it may have different capabilities entirely. Read the product description carefully.
  • 4-in-1 Printer: Typically refers to the main four functionalities: printing, scanning, copying, and faxing.
  • Small Office/Home Office (SOHO): These printers are typically multi-function because their manufacturers assume that smaller operations have less space.

Upgraded Fleets Save Money and Increase Productivity

A printer is no small investment. Professional models run easily into the thousands of dollars, which may represent a significant expense for a business. It might be tempting to hold onto an outdated model as a result, but that could be augmenting operating expenses in the long run. Upgraded fleets save money and increase productivity because they:

1. Decrease Consumable Cost and Use

The older the printer, the more expensive consumables like ink and specialized paper stocks tend to get. This is partly because they get harder to find, and partly because manufacturers discontinue parts and supplies to encourage upgrading. Likewise, modern printers use toner and ink more efficiently. They also support duplex printing and support the option to print only in black and white.

2. Cost Less to Maintain

A single multi-function device is much easier to maintain than a horde of specialized devices. Additionally, multi-function printers are so common that most technicians will have likely seen the model before, making it easier to get a device serviced.

3. Supports Increased Integration

Most modern multi-function printers support Wi-Fi connectivity, which enables integration with other office devices. Users can easily access all of the device’s functionalities without ever leaving their computer. Likewise, mobile printing adds a new layer of flexibility and mobility to the workflow.

4. Modern Features Make Printing Easy

Multi-function printers are notoriously easy to use. The users do not have to go digging around in complicated interfaces to find the print button. Intuitive color touchscreens direct users to exactly where they need to go. Automatic document feeders eliminate the need to fiddle with the machine.

Install Print Tracking Software

Upgrading the printer itself is only one way to save money and boost productivity. Offices which already have a reasonably modern printer may wish to implement another strategy to boost productivity and reduce costs: print tracking software.

Print tracking software, such as PaperCut or uniFLOW helps businesses get a better handle on their expenses and printing habits. Print tracking software allows businesses to:

  • Automate reporting which makes tracking seamless
  • Gain total visibility of the printing costs for an organization
  • Highlight areas of improvement for optimizing fleets and individual printer use
  • Manage consumables to help reduce costs
  • Restrict access to the print environment so only the people who need to print can do so

Upgrade Your Printing Environment Today

Modern businesses frequently operate on razor-thin margins, making any cost reduction potentially valuable. An optimized office print environment helps boost productivity, while reducing costs.

PaperKarma estimates that the average office worker uses close to 10,000 sheets of copy paper per year. That is the equivalent of 20 reams of standard office paper, or about 100 pounds of paper worth close to $200 per year. This article has outlined many of the ways that occur and has provided strategies to begin the optimization process.

Through the thoughtful deployment of modern printing devices, plus print tracking software, businesses can reduce this cost. Contact RJ Young today to begin strategizing your next-generation printing fleet which cuts costs while boosting productivity.

Forget projectors, ink-smudged fingers, and dry erase markers that run dry halfway through a sentence. Offices and educational institutions should enjoy the ability to create stunning visuals which deliver impactful and motivating presentations. Additionally, interactive whiteboards are a fantastic and modern way to motivate teams, inspire collaboration, and drive engagement in audiences.

RJ Young works with Ricoh to provide state-of-the-art interactive whiteboards for a variety of clients, industries, and educational institutions. Read on to learn how interactive whiteboards can revolutionize participation in a classroom or office.

Features of Ricoh Interactive Whiteboards

Ranging from 30 to 80 inches wide, Ricoh’s line of high-quality interactive whiteboards can meet the needs of large and small establishments. In addition, every device comes equipped with productivity amplifying features.

Users can enjoy the following features:

1. Workflow and Connectivity

Each whiteboard display supports an interactive experience by using touchscreen annotations. They also use apps to streamline productivity and connectivity with other platforms. As a result, enjoy full integration with Microsoft Office and connect with all devices to keep the workflow smooth and uninhibited.

2. Collaborative Capabilities

Create annotations and share screen images with remote users in real time to enhance the collaborative powers of a team. Leverage Ricoh’s Intelligent Workplace Services to create a comprehensive digital collaboration environment, which drives productivity and innovation.

3. Open Architecture

Additionally, all whiteboards come with Ricoh’s Embedded Software Architecture — this software helps maintain application compatibility across devices that many offices may use. The open nature of this software means numerous third-party solutions can also integrate flawlessly with Ricoh devices.

What To Consider When Choosing an Interactive Whiteboard Solution

The power and versatility of interactive displays have made them widely popular, leading to a vast array of offerings on the market. When choosing an interactive whiteboard solution for a classroom or business, consider the following:

  • Audience size. Consider how many people will need to interact with it. Undoubtedly, devices which support multiple simultaneous functions enable more collaboration.
  • Connectivity. The ability to link to numerous devices at once allows the audience to watch the presentation on their own devices. This benefits large lecture halls, or meeting rooms where everyone wants to take their own notes.
  • Space size. Interactive whiteboards range from 30 to 80 inches wide. In other words, this impacts how far it can be viewed from, and where viewers should – or should not – sit.
  • Software and apps. A classroom will require different apps and programs than an office. On the other hand, an office might find the ability to integrate with other document management platforms advantageous.
  • Durability. Above all, interactive whiteboards in a classroom setting must be durable to withstand student use. In other words, higher-end interactive whiteboards will find a better home in offices that want to wow clients.

RICOH Interactive Whiteboards Amplify Learning and Teaching

Interactive whiteboards in the classroom bring a variety of benefits to students, teachers, and schools. Here are three reasons why classrooms should embrace this modern technology:

1. Facilitate Active Learning

Students who are engaged with the material learn better. Furthermore, interactive learning encourages students to take an active role in the classroom. This is scientifically shown to increase learning and knowledge retention.

2. Encourage a Technological Culture

Technology in the classroom is a contentious topic. However, it is a healthy disagreement about whether or not it belongs there between teachers and students. Nonetheless, the presence of an interactive whiteboard in a classroom sends the message that an educational institution embraces technology. Interactive whiteboards also create a forward-thinking and modern culture which reflect the expectations of students.  

3. Assist with Lesson Structure

It is not just businesses who can leverage the app and connectivity capabilities of the whiteboards. Teachers can also put these tools to use to create new and exciting lessons — faster, and for less work.

Interactive Whiteboards Drive Productivity at Work

It’s not just students who get bored with one-way communication and lackluster dry erase scribbles. Interactive whiteboards bring many of the same benefits to the workplace, with the additional benefit of supporting current workflow processes which are already in place. Thoughtfully deployed interactive whiteboards in the workplace are beneficial in the following ways:  

  • Transforms lectures into brainstorming sessions that involve all participants
  • Keeps everyone on the same page with real-time file sharing
  • Supports annotations to help prevent details from slipping through the cracks
  • Connects with mobile devices and laptops to fit seamlessly into a workflow
  • Improves the quality of meetings and training sessions
  • Puts an impressive foot forward with current and future clients

Interactive Whiteboards: Technology for 21st Century Presentations

In conclusion, Interactive whiteboards are a low-disruption, high-impact update for offices and lecture halls. Create an atmosphere of motivation and forward-thinking by using an interactive display to transform presentations.

RJ Young helps businesses and educational institutions make the best selections for all of their technology solutions. Contact an expert today to start a discussion on how interactive whiteboards can benefit you.

What are Cloud Solutions?

Cloud Solutions promise it all: unbridled computing capabilities, access from anywhere at any time, and storage capacities to handle massive amounts of data modern businesses are expected to manage. It is easy to get starry-eyed about the potentials of this technology, especially when cloud computing has become so wildly popular.

Public clouds pose several risks that may make this technology inappropriate for businesses. Cloud services are amazing, but they are not a cure-all for improving business efficiency and productivity.

The Hidden Risks of Cloud Solutions

Cloud solutions are known for reducing costs, improving accessibility, and allowing companies to perform data computing tasks beyond what their native current infrastructure allows.

However, with these advantages come risks which are sometimes not obvious or carefully considered.

1. Latency and server problems will impact business operations – Companies choose cloud-based services because outsourcing infrastructure is less of a headache. However, this also means downtime and latency are outside of a company’s control. This becomes more of a problem when a company shares space with other operations on a public cloud. Just like when someone ties up bandwidth by downloading massive files, other users on the public cloud can throttle accessibility for everyone. In addition, bandwidth restrictions can throttle access to the cloud, limiting accessibility and productivity.

2. Big data has big questions about ownership – Lack of visibility with cloud services is another major factor that companies should consider. This also includes where data resides once it has been put on the cloud and exactly who owns this data.

Most contracts from major vendors indicate that whoever uploads the data owns it. However, that will not stop vendors from locking companies into contracts and rendering them dependent on the services. It also does not mean that data created on the cloud will necessarily belong to the company and not the vendor.

3. Anticipating needs and Budgets is harder than it looks – Although companies choose cloud services because of scalability, scalability in the cloud is hard to understand.

Cloud service vendors enjoy large fee structures, costs of services, and what is or is not included at each price tier. Combine these factors with a miscalculation about what a company needs and many businesses end up paying for too much or end up paying for the wrong service.

4. Compliance Requirements can get Complicated – The healthcare industry, financial services, and other similar industries have strict compliance guidelines that they are required to follow. Using cloud infrastructure in these industries can become more trouble than it is worth if not addressed correctly. A shift in the cloud infrastructure may cause a company to become noncompliant without realizing it. Therefore, companies will need to implement new compliance measures that were not previously thought of before.

Companies can also have compliance issues when they only think about the cloud compliance. In order to stay compliant, organizations must not only maintain compliance on any device used to access the cloud resource.

Concealed Costs

The other major risk associated with cloud services involves unexpected costs. Businesses are sometimes hit with unexpectedly large bills because they do not understand what they are purchasing or what their business truly needs. These unexpected bills can occur:

  • During egress from the cloud.
  • By signing up for “free” services that are, in fact, trials.
  • Through paying for potential capacity, not actual capacity.
  • By requesting services or features which cost extra.
  • As a result of bugs or glitches, which spike server traffic.
  • From rogue cloud resource usage by employees.

The true cost of cloud computing is rarely visible unless focused planning and proper governance occur. Avoid these costs through:

  • Turning services off when they are not being used.
  • Using cloud computing strategically, and not for everything.
  • Restricting access to cloud solutions on a need-to basis.

Benefits of Keeping Data Private

It may be more appropriate from a business standpoint to build dedicated infrastructure rather than relying on a public cloud or cloud service. Some of these business needs may include:

1. Control of Data – Organizations such as those handling personal health insurance need to retain full control of data storage, transmission, and use.

2. Resource Dedication – Dedicated cloud computing capabilities do not suffer from downtime or latency problems caused by neighbors on the cloud.

3. Cost Visibility – Operating private infrastructure prevents expensive mishaps such as paying for unanticipated — but needed — equipment, purchasing too much storage, or requesting support that is not included in the purchased package.

4. Better CustomizationCustomization often drives up the cost of cloud computing services. Organizations requiring customized cloud solutions may consider looking into building their own.

Do Not Stay Foggy About Cloud Solutions

Cloud solutions are a powerful, flexible way to bring new capabilities to a business and there are many instances where such technology is appropriate. However, the hype around cloud infrastructure sometimes blinds users to the risks associated, especially the concealed costs.

Avoid getting caught off guard with an unmanageable bill by taking the time to understand the nature of cloud infrastructure and the services it offers. Contact an expert at RJ Young today to learn what is right for your organization.

In today’s modern business world, technology plays a greater role than ever before. Employees are more connected, new devices are regularly introduced, and efficiency is improving. However, with new technology, there can be new needs and new risks to come. As a result, many businesses find it challenging to balance their wishes to improve technology implementation with the required investment of time and manpower.

This is where Managed IT Services can help a business bridge the gap.

What Are Managed IT Services?

Simply put, a Managed IT Service provider is a company that is responsible for the functionality of a business’s IT services and equipment. They maintain updated technology, while managing unpredictable conditions and tight budgets to help support the business’s needs.

Business IT services can be complicated. Often, existing internal IT staff struggle to keep up with the growing needs of businesses. As a result, companies are faced with the prospect of bringing in additional staff or looking for other solutions. Managed IT services is usually the obvious answer for budget-conscious businesses that want to ensure they have the best IT support available at all times.

Managed IT providers can address a wide range of IT needs including cybersecurity, helpdesk support, networking support, antimalware, email filtering, backup and disaster recovery, and more. Best of all, these services can be budgeted easily for businesses as they pay monthly or annually to retain the services of a managed IT provider. This makes projecting costs much simpler when compared with IT providers that charge on a per incident basis.

3 Benefits of Managed IT Services

So, what are the benefits of Managed IT Services and why should businesses consider hiring a managed services provider?

1. Greater Cost Control

Managed IT Services allow businesses to take greater control over IT costs. Instead of hiring new staff or enlisting the support of third-party IT support on a per incident basis, businesses can budget for the fixed monthly fees associated with Managed IT Services. Costs become less variable and businesses can then dedicate funds to other areas of the business without worrying about skyrocketing IT costs due to unexpected incidents.

The services delivered and managed by providers can also help reduce costs as a result of IT incidents. When businesses have the right tools and protections implemented, they can avoid some of the devastating costs associated with inadequate cybersecurity.

2. Room to Grow

When a small business operation quickly grows, so do their IT needs. The additional costs of hiring new IT staff can prove to be prohibitive for many businesses that are focused on growth. As an example, according to Indeed, the average IT professional in the United States earns more than $50,000 per year. Specialized IT staff can demand a salary much higher than that. Furthermore, finding and hiring these employees can be a challenge as they are in high demand. Fortunately, these considerations are not something with which growing businesses need to be concerned.

Managed service providers already have the necessary trained staff. As a business grows, their managed service provider can deliver the services required to meet their ever-changing needs. Even complex IT needs can be addressed by managed service providers, as they keep a range of skilled professionals on their staffs.

3. Better Service Made Simple

Businesses that do not use a managed service provider often have a wide range of vendors they may contact for various needs including printer supplies or software support. This can create confusion and frustration. Relying on one Managed IT Service provider ensures that the process is much simpler. All needs are processed through one centralized portal.

The same goes for managed IT support. Instead of trying to contact the right vendor for support, a helpdesk can be available for employees to reach out to in the event that they need help with their devices or programs. Utilizing just a single touchpoint, users will have no question about who to turn to in the event of an issue or a challenge.

Focus on Business, Leave IT to the Experts

Ultimately, business IT services should be in place to help businesses focus on what they do best rather than worrying about managing vendors or IT needs. Cybersecurity needs, networking needs, helpdesk support, and malware protection can all be delivered with one single service provider.

RJ Young is your one-stop shop to get exactly what you need when you need it, with no unpleasant surprises about functionality or cost. They can lighten the burden by providing end-user support with a phone call or click of a button. RJ Young can also assist your business with larger IT projects, create unique business solutions, and offer consulting services or staff augmentation to help you achieve your goals.

To learn more about Managed IT Services and the cost benefits of choosing a managed services provider, please contact RJ Young.

Choosing the best wide format printer for architecture is no easy task. Architectural firms need top-performing specialized equipment to achieve the crystalline level of detail required for blueprints, charts, and other highly technical documents. Complicating the challenge is the fact that many of these documents are printed on sheet sizes larger than what the standard professional printer can handle.

Therefore, architectural firms turn to wide format printers to meet these needs. Not only are these printers specialized, but they open the door to many more capabilities than the average printer. Here are a few things to consider when narrowing down the choice of best wide format printer for architecture.

1. Detail and Precision

Wide format printers are able to print in immaculate detail and stunning resolution. Such presentation is not merely to impress — blueprints require flawless legibility to guide builders and engineers. In other words, smudges or low-resolution — which may cause blurred lines — create costly delays or mistakes which may ruin a project entirely. At RJ Young, our team of technicians and support staff are always there to ensure optimum performance from your device each and every time.

2. Speed and Efficiency

Many printers can produce photographic-quality color printing, but it takes time. In addition, architectural firms often operate under demanding, time-sensitive conditions which require high speed and high-quality printing to keep the office workflow smooth. Some projects need multiple copies, which can lead to frustration if each takes a significant amount of time to print.

3. Imaging Technology

Architectural firms may wish to choose from a range of imaging technologies according to the type of projects most frequently printed. A wide format printer with fewer frills, gets the job done efficiently and professionally. However, firms who need to produce high-end displays and presentations may look for more advanced imaging technology. Such technology delivers superior half hones, ultra-smooth gradients, and even the ability to print in spectacular colors without hampering efficiency.

4. The Cost of Consumables and Maintenance

High-end may also mean a high price tag on consumables such as ink, paper, spare parts, and even maintenance. This becomes even truer as materials or parts become more specialized. However, this cost can be balanced by understanding the type of printing which the firm mostly undertakes. Selecting a wide format printer, which provides the features needed without going over the top, helps to balance professionalism and price to keep the firm competitive.

5. Network Capabilities

Modern office technology is built to integrate with an organization’s workflow, and that includes architectural firms. Workflow increasingly relies on cloud and network connectivity to allow documents to flow from one device to the next seamlessly. Therefore, a wide format printer with Wi-Fi capabilities can be operated across many devices or web-based applications allowing users to design and print from one consolidated station.

6. Printing Volume

Printing volume varies from firm to firm according to size and specialty. An architectural firm with a demanding print environment will benefit from a different class of printers than a small firm which only prints a few, high-quality charts each month. In other words, a smaller firm may find it beneficial to invest in a device with more specialized capabilities, while a larger firm which needs to print more, may appreciate a more efficient workhorse.

7. Ease of Use and Reliability

A robust printing system is only useful if the user knows how to use it, and it can be guaranteed to work when it is needed. As with any piece of office equipment, the best wide format printer for architecture is powerful enough to produce the required print quality in a timely fashion. In addition, it also needs to be accessible enough that users do not get bogged down with a learning curve or get stuck fiddling with advanced settings which aren’t fully understood. With RJ Young, users never need to worry about that. We have a team of training and onboarding specialists who are dedicated to ensuring the user is familiar and comfortable with their device.

8. Versatility

Printing blueprints may be a critical business function for an architectural firm, but it is not the only thing this business will print. It is worth it to track printing habits prior to investing in a new printer to get a better sense of the types of paper sizes, stock weights, inks, and custom settings which are most frequently used. 

A firm may need to print other business documents. A wide format printer which can also handle regular paper sizes will prove invaluable in these circumstances.

Choosing the Best Wide Format Printer for Architecture

Architects have specialized needs when it comes to printing, which makes the selection of an appropriate printer beyond vital. Wide format printers can meet many of these needs with their ability to handle larger paper sizes and unblemished detail. These eight considerations serve as a starting point for the many things which a firm must consider when choosing the best wide format printer for architecture.

RJ Young works with architects and engineers regularly to provide custom hardware and software solutions for their printing needs. Read about the common printing and document problems these firms face and the solutions we provide.

At RJ Young we offer a full range of wide format printers, copiers, and scanners – from industry leaders like Oce, Canon, HP, Mimaki, Ricoh and Contex. Contact us to speak with an expert product advisor who can help you narrow down your options and select the perfect device for your needs.

A multifunction printer emphasizes efficiency in the home or office. Designed to do it all, they are valued for their ability to provide several printing capabilities, even to small businesses which may not have space for numerous devices.

Businesses looking to upgrade or replace a general printer may wish to invest in a high-impact device, such as a multifunction printer. For most modern offices, they provide all of the quintessential document solutions in a compact, easy-to-use format. It is no longer only about the print quality of your black and white documents, it is about bringing all your printing needs into one device.

There are a lot of advantages to having a multifunction printer in the office. Here are four benefits, which sometimes get overlooked, but have a tangible impact on how well an office functions.

1. A Multifunction Printer Improves Document Management

A multifunction printer improves document management by putting all of an organization’s printing infrastructure in precisely one place – physically and digitally. While a multifunction printer enables printing, scanning, and copying, and often faxing from the same device, most models on the market also come with powerful software which lets any wireless or mobile device operate the printer. With the increase of mobile devices in the workplace, mobile printing is becoming a desirable function to have.  In other words, users can enjoy designing and printing a document from a single interface.

Such a feature has advantages for transforming an office into a productivity powerhouse. However, this consolidation also presents several opportunities to tighten an organization’s document management processes. Making the multifunction printer the hub through which all documents flow helps maintain visibility, security, and compliance. It also facilitates the creation of standardization procedures to support office organization further. 

2. They Make the Print Environment Easier to Control

Print environment control becomes much easier when all printing activities happen on one network. Much like with document management, access control and tracking are easier when they only occur with one device.

Controlling the print environment increases security and decreases printing costs. It cuts unauthorized printing, whether it is part of the 78 percent of employees who print personal material at work, or someone stealing confidential information. Likewise, companies who are required to mind privacy regulations such as HIPAA may find that a consolidated device in a secured area is much more effective (and compliant!) than multiple devices in discrete offices.

3. Multifunction Printers Reduce Office Costs All Around  

Multifunction printers are not only smart because they take up less space, a good multifunction printer takes up fewer resources as well. This includes:

Utilities

A multifunction printer results in a lower electricity bill because fewer machines are running. Likewise, many professional multifunction printers now have Energy Star ratings, which are 40 to 55 percent more efficient than non-certified models.

Consumables

Multifunction printers reduce the overall cost of paper, ink cartridges, and other consumables over the course of their lifespan. Part of this occurs because multifunction printers make it easier to digitize documents and turn them into other useful digital formats. Part of this occurs because improved print environment control means businesses are no longer underestimating their printing costs quite so dramatically.

Maintenance

It is easier to keep one generalized machine in working order than it is to maintain several specialized devices. Likewise, the commonplace status of multifunction printers means that spare parts are easier to find, and therefore cheaper.

4. Users Only Need to Learn One Interface

Multifunction printers are known to be easy-to-use — this faciliates efficiency so that users only need to learn one interface. With intuitive color touchscreens and simple navigation devices, users can master a simple interface and unlock all of their printing, scanning, and copying needs in a single action. For the average modern office where the documents need to keep flowing, this represents a major advantage over other powerful, but specialized printers.

Implementing integration software which standardizes the interface across devices has the same effect with the printer’s more powerful capabilities. When employees only need to learn one interface, they spend less time mastering these interfaces and more time on the processes which makes the business run.

Choosing the Best Multifunction Printer for Your Office

There are a variety of multifunction printers on the market which offer a variety of capabilities — this means that the choice is not a straightforward one. However, the right selection will transform a print environment into a productivity powerhouse.

Multifunction printers are best for offices which have demanding but generalized printing needs. They marry productivity and simplicity to provide all of the necessary features which the modern office requires. Advanced features, such as network connectivity, help make multifunction printers central hubs in the productivity hive that is an office.

As experts in printing solutions, RJ Young understands the myriad of distinct challenges which different businesses and industries may face. Let us leverage our expertise in office technology solutions to amplify your workflow. Contact us today to start a conversation about the goals you would like to meet with your next office printer.

Nobody likes to prepare for the worst, but the worst often becomes a reality when you least expect it. Such is the nature of disasters, and without an adequate recovery plan in place, a business will far exceed the average of $25,000 lost per serious contingency. These 5 steps to creating a backup and disaster recovery plan will help your business be prepared.

5 Steps to Creating a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan

What is a disaster recovery plan? It constitutes the steps a business takes to get back on track as quickly as possible following a disaster. Good plans leverage technology solutions like cloud services and have robust data recovery procedures in place.

Disaster recovery planning takes on many additional forms, however, a few universal considerations do exist. Here are five things to consider when creating a disaster recovery plan.

1. Be Proactive with Disaster Recovery Planning

Disasters can be natural or man-made, and in Nashville, there are plenty of both. Disaster planning is tricky because it must consider a spectrum of contingencies, and account for unforeseen circumstances. Some examples of disasters to be prepared for include:

  • Natural disasters
  • Cash flow interruptions
  • Cyber attacks
  • Fires
  • Intellectual property lawsuits
  • Structural failure
  • Power outages
  • Local disasters

Most business disaster planning guides recommend forming a planning and recovery team. This creates a focused, oriented task force which can methodically move through the stages of drafting procedures for each contingency. While it is impossible to account for every contingency, the most effective business disaster recovery plans are those which allow flexibility and anticipate a wide range of possibilities.

2. Identify the Organization’s Critical Functions and Infrastructure

A business impact analysis predicts possible causes and outcomes of disruptions in business processes. It also helps establish critical functions, which the business would cease to run without.

Critical functions take many forms according to the nature of the business. An online retail business might require the ability of users to complete purchases on the website in order to function. Likewise, a critical function for a financial institution might involve the ability to transmit electronic transaction data securely.

Additionally, a disaster plan should document the body of assets upon which those functions rely. This might include:

  • Intranet or internal servers
  • Cash registers
  • Websites
  • Utilities
  • Vehicles
  • Employees
  • Software
  • Machinery
  • Customer or patient records

Make plans to evacuate, recover, replace or back up each.

3. Create Emergency Response Policies and Procedures

The response to an emergency or disaster hinges on several factors, including what the law requires businesses to do. Document the correct procedures for responses clearly, in an easy to read format. Include instructions regarding evacuation procedures, who to contact, where to go, and what steps to take to reduce damage or loss of life.

Nashville managed IT services can provide a major advantage during emergency response. During an emergency, a managed IT provider can provide additional support in responding to and mitigating threats to data. This frees up employees and personnel to address more pressing concerns such as evacuating a facility.

4. Document Backup and Restoration Processes

Draft procedures to create backup operations prior to a disaster as well as policies regarding data recovery. This should include alternative methods to store and access data in the event that some infrastructure becomes compromised.

Managed IT services can help tremendously in this situation as well. Many businesses already leverage cloud services for critical backups for data recovery, a highly recommended strategy.

Managed IT providers support this through frequent backups and keeping backups available should the need arise. In the event of a disaster, a managed IT provider will also be far more organized, and able to step in and help its clients succeed in recovery.

5. Perform Routine Tests and Exercises

Making routine tests and exercises a part of the disaster planning process will benefit the recovery process immensely. Exercising a recovery plan reduces the amount of time employees take enacting it because they will already know what to do.

Testing also helps carefully examine each step of a plan to ensure that it will actually perform as needed. An organization can find out exactly what will go wrong with their plan before it needs to work.

Managed IT services can also help with stress testing a recovery plan by conducting frequent audits and reviews. Companies experiencing rapid growth and change will find this especially valuable. Risks change as businesses change, demanding the need for a recovery plan which can accommodate more variables and unknowns.

Nashville Flood: May 2010 

Nine years ago, Nashville was brought to its knees after being struck by devastating floods. Over the course of three days, torrential rainfall led to flooding that affected the area for several months, resulting in a number of deaths and widespread property damage. Rainfall exceeded 19 inches, the highest amount in more than 140 years of recorded history. Some areas accumulated 13 inches of rain within 36 hours. The Cumberland River crested to 52 feet, marking a height that hadn’t been seen since 1937 (53.9 feet).

With the floods drenching the city, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce reported 2,773 impacted businesses (14,499 workers) at the time of the flood.

During the aftermath and recovery of the Nashville Flood, RJ Young worked with companies whose office equipment had been damaged. RJ Young loaned them what they needed to keep their operations going, so these businesses had more flexibility to deal with insurance companies to get back up and running. RJ Young also provided their own conference space to one law firm, supplying a stable office environment for their attorneys to work. The firm’s building had so much standing water, they could not get into their offices.

The RJ Young family worked closely with all customers affected by the flood, ensuring they had all of the necessary information they’d need to work through insurance claims as smoothly as possible.

Do Not Leave Recovery to Chance — Plan Ahead

Well-managed IT services keep a business prepared for the worst. Whether there is a dramatic natural disaster or squirrels quietly chewing through power lines, an organization’s survival hinges on its ability to resume normal operations as quickly as possible.

Get started with backup and disaster recovery protection with a disaster recovery plan for an organization’s IT infrastructure, contact us to speak with an expert today.

In the age of digital files and communication, printed materials still play a big role in the vast majority of businesses. Everything from posters to flyers to brochures is used extensively to help a business grow and compete within their industry. However, the cost of outsourcing printing has many businesses thinking twice about placing their next order. Is outsourcing these print jobs the way to go, or should businesses seek to bring their printing needs in-house with production printing equipment?

There are a number of considerations at play here for businesses to examine. Cost is the most obvious concern for any business, but there is much more to the equation than just dollars and cents. Both options carry their own pros and cons. The better a company understands them, the easier it will be to make the best possible choice for their unique needs.

Comparing the Costs

Every business from small mom-and-pop shops to multinational corporations must adhere to a budget. Money does not grow on trees and printing budgets are no exception to the rule. In the past, outsourcing printing has often been seen as the more budget-friendly option, but that is beginning to change in the minds of business owners facing higher printing costs.

Part of this increase in the cost of outsourcing printing is that print providers have increased costs themselves, and then these costs are passed on to customers. For examples, USPS has reported increasing their rates on shipping. This means that printing companies must adjust their own rates to reflect the new costs their budgets must absorb. 

However, building a printing production facility from the ground up is also a costly investment. Businesses that do not have the capital to purchase or lease their own production printing equipment may find that outsourcing continues to be their best option.

Ultimately, in-house printing equipment is an investment that will pay off down the line. Companies that want to bring their printing needs in-house may face high upfront costs, but will see savings as they print more and more materials. Businesses that don’t have the capital for this investment or do not feel they will use the production printers to their full potential may benefit most from using an outsourced print provider.

What Materials Are Being Printed?

Businesses that decide to handle printing in-house must carefully examine what kind of materials will be printed and if the volume will justify having the equipment on-hand. Printing small posters or brochures may be feasible for businesses, but other items, like large banners or window decals, may require specialized equipment that will not be used frequently enough to justify the cost.

Sometimes, businesses may want to consider a combination of in-house and outsourced printing solutions. In-House production printing equipment can handle the basic, high volume jobs while outsourced printing equipment is perfect for more niche jobs.

Who Will Manage the Printing and Design?

Depending on the needs of the business and the size of the operation, in-house designers and managers that focus on the printing needs of the business may be necessary. One huge benefit of this arrangement is that the business has complete control over their materials and campaigns from beginning to end.

However, the obvious downside to choosing this route is the cost and effort that goes into hiring and maintaining this kind of staff. Consider a professional in-house graphic designer. According to Indeed, they could command a wage of nearly $20 per hour. When outsourced printing, the costs and logistics are managed by the print provider. Since they service multiple clients, the cost of staff is essentially spread out, which helps keep printing costs low.

The ultimate question to ask is whether or not a business wants to take on this kind of responsibility associated with in-house print production. High-volume printers with unique needs may feel the cost is justified, while lower volume businesses may not be willing to take on that kind of expense.

Who Has the Control of Timelines?

Bringing control of printing in-house versus using outsourced print providers can have numerous benefits and downsides. One important consideration is timelines. In-house print production means that the business is absolutely in control of the turnaround time needed for a project. This is one of the main advantages of in-house production compared to outsourcing. There are no other clients being serviced and, as a result, the job can be completed on schedule.

Of course, the risks of timelines and schedules can be mitigated by placing orders with outsourced print providers well in advance. What a business must ask is how valuable complete control and rapid turnaround is to them. Most outsourced providers deliver quality work quickly, but nothing can beat the scheduling benefits of printing services being brought in-house.

Outsourced and In-House Production Printing Equipment: Two Great Options

There is no right or wrong way to do printing. There are many advantages of in-house production while the cost of outsourcing printing simply cannot be beaten for businesses that do a lower volume of printing.

To learn more about the benefits of printing services and production printing equipment, and whether or not printing should be brought in-house or left to an outsourced print provider, contact RJ Young today.

The multi-function printer is designed to do it all: printing, scanning, and copying in color or grayscale. However, with the immense selection of printers available, how does an organization decide which is best? The answer depends on an organization’s printing needs and habits. Outlined below are the pros and cons of an inkjet or laser multi-function printer for business use.

Inkjet vs. Laser: What Is the Difference?

Inkjet and laser printing are two different types of printing technologies. Understanding this explains why they produce different printing results.

Inkjet printers print tiny dots of different color inks which are combined on paper, creating a wide range of colors. When printing photograph-quality images on regular paper from an inkjet printer, the print may still feel wet for several minutes since there is no heat, or an alternative method, to set the ink.

Conversely, laser printers use the same basic technology as photocopiers. A laser scans back and forth over a photoconductive drum, creating regions of static. The regions of static allow particles of toner to stick to it. When paper rolls under the drum, toner transfers to it. The fuser then binds the toner to the paper with heat, producing a dry printed product.

When an Inkjet Multi-Function Printer Is Best

Modern inkjets offer stunning color quality and flexible paper options. However, these capabilities far surpass what most businesses need. Choose an inkjet only when both needs exist:

1. Photo-Quality Color Printing

Companies that routinely print gallery or photo-quality color images may be served best by an inkjet printer. They easily print vibrant images with depth and clarity.

While recent advances in technology have led to the color inkjet multi-function printer becoming more efficient than their predecessors, inkjet printing still costs more than laser printing. Inkjet printers are not recommended as the sole printer for offices that also print business documents on a regular basis.

2. Printing on Multiple Types of Paper

Inkjet multi-function printers handle a wider range of paper types than many laser printers. Media stock is not made to withstand the heat from the fuser in a laser printer. It could melt, damaging the hardware along with the printed items. Similarly, paper stocks of certain textures may not allow enough heat in the grooves to properly bond the toner polymers.

Users should always look for products labeled as compatible for laser printers, whereas the result is more consistent with inkjet printers, no matter the paper type or stock.

When a Laser Multi-Function Printer Is Best

Laser printers remain an office staple, offering speed and efficiency to businesses that print or copy documents frequently, or in large amounts. Companies will find that laser multi-function printers and copiers are the most economical solution in their operations.

1. Crisp Printing

Businesses that primarily print office documents rely on laser printers for their ability to quickly produce clean, precise lines for fine text and form style printing. This precision stems from the use of toner. Composed of electrically sensitive polymers that immediately fuse to paper in the presence of heat, toner is a far more conservative material than ink from inkjet cartridges and lasts much longer.

For office settings, laser printers offer serious advantages in comparison to inkjet printers, where ink dots may bleed and spread in paper fibers, or where the ink does not dry fast enough, resulting in the inability to print batches of paper at one time.

2. Rapid and Double-Sided Printing

Most modern laser printers come standard with automatic document feeders with duplex printing. Here, toner is fused in one layer and dried immediately, delivering the ability to print on both sides without impacting clarity. Duplex printing gives offices the opportunity to dramatically reduce the amount of paper they use, purchase, and process. This is still not a standard feature on inkjets. Double-sided printing can be done manually by reloading prints into the paper tray of an inkjet printer; however, print quality often plummets because the ink penetrates and bleeds through to the other side.

Despite their complicated process, laser printers print much faster than inkjets. While inkjets may put several layers of ink down, laser printers only place one layer. Laser printers are also made to withstand heavier office use and built with stronger engines to produce higher output in less time.

Laser Multi-function Printers Improve Business Productivity

Today’s multi-function printer offers a range of features and sophistication, including automatic document feeders, color touchscreens, and Bluetooth connections to mobile devices. Modern multi-function printers strive to simplify the modern office with its efficiency and ability to meet every need.

Laser multi-function printers offer the widest range of applications while remaining the most cost-effective. Models such as the HP Color Laserjet Pro multi-function printer, produce professional quality printing.

If photographic-quality color printing on a non-traditional stock is not a requirement, a laser printer more effectively balances long-term costs with print quality.

Buying or leasing the right laser multi-function printer can significantly impact a business’s productivity. Start a conversation today with an office technology expert to determine the best choice for you.

The fast-paced, tech-savvy environment makes managed network services a smart move for startups and small businesses. Rather than scrambling to throw together digital infrastructure, fully managed IT services in Chattanooga, Tennessee provide professional-level expertise and security from day one. Below are three benefits of small business IT Services in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Why a Small Business Benefits from Using Fully Managed IT Services

Starting off on the right foot in the digital environment gives a leg up to any modern business and represents a critical requirement for survival in a startup-oriented economy. Here are three benefits for small business IT Services in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

1. A Managed IT Provider Increases Security and Reduces Risks

Hackers dedicate their careers to breaching security. Businesses should meet this dedication with equal vigor. Managed IT providers give businesses the same level of professional cybersecurity as the leading tech companies.

When it comes to technology, small businesses are at a disadvantage and hackers know it. Since 2011, cyber attacks have increasingly targeted small businesses because they bank on the assumption that startups and family-owned operations will not have the expertise to thwart infiltration. This approach has worked up until now.

Managed IT services provide one prominent solution to this problem. One of the largest benefits of these services involves the ability to leverage professional experience and infrastructure without needing to make the costly investment to develop them in-house.

The IT industry is rapidly evolving and that is not set to change any time soon. Hackers continue to find more creative ways to make off with valuable data. The challenge of staying on top of all their tricks may stress and bloat a company’s security budget.

This environment creates more ways for critical details to slip through the cracks and create exposure. Conversely, there exist few problems which professional cybersecurity experts have not seen before. When it comes to small business IT services there is no excuse to slack on partnering with a reliable provider.

2. A Managed IT Provider Simplifies Compliance

Finance, healthcare, and manufacturing comprise the three largest industries of Chattanooga. Regulatory compliance is far more than just a buzzword or even a best practice in these industries. Legal requirements make it a priority.

Compliance regulations cover the storage, use, and transmission of data. When correctly followed, they provide a framework which guarantees the safety of employee, patient or consumer data; depending on the industry, these may range from encryption recommendations like in NIST, to legally mandated procedures such as in HIPAA. Failure to comply often involves costly fines or even lawsuits resulting from a breach.

Managed network service providers know regulatory compliance and can help streamline an organization’s achievement of the requirements. In the case of managed IT services, the burden of compliance gets shifted to the professionals. Small businesses can stop worrying.

3. Stay Focused and Boost Competitiveness

Small business IT services keep employees focused on what matters: making the business successful.

IT problems can disrupt productivity and can cause businesses to lose money because most businesses heavily rely on digital infrastructure. The smaller the business, the greater the potential impact. Rather than focusing on profitable strategies, employees spend time detangling problems and searching for the right fix.

Adopting fully managed IT services in Chattanooga, Tennessee also gives small businesses a competitive edge, especially in the city’s startup tech sector. The city where Coca Cola bottled its first drink has a reputation for innovation. Citywide access to fiber internet and investment into startup infrastructure has attracted workers and investors looking for the next big thing which will disrupt an industry.

This means small businesses need to present a professional digital face from the start. They must convey the same stability as established companies, along with the promise of agility and creativity not found in a larger company.

A broken website, half-functioning server – or worse, a successful hack – simply does not send that message. With the right managed IT provider providing seamless support, even startups can send the message that they take security seriously.

Managed Network Services Give Startups a Boost

Managed IT providers constitute a logical choice for startups and small businesses for many reasons, and those benefits are amplified for newer businesses. Professional experience in digital infrastructure and cybersecurity ensure that a business gets off the right start.

Sixty percent of small businesses fail with six months of a cyber attack, making managed IT services a vital component of every organization. Interested in ensuring the longevity of a business? Contact us today to see how RJ Young’s managed IT services can support your business’s success.