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 a small office or large 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 printing 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 feeder 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 and wi-fi connections to a smartphone or tablet. 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.
Choose RJ Young for Your Multi-Funcation Printer
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.
Despite the best efforts of individuals and businesses alike, cyber security incidents rose sharply in 2018. This, despite increasing awareness of the importance of cyber security. While some recent cyberattacks, like the Facebook attack, proved to be very public and well-known, other attacks often go unnoticed or unreported in mainstream news.
Why is the number of cyber security incidents rising, despite strong efforts from professionals around the world? There are several reasons contributing to this rise, which all businesses should know about. Education is the best tool for increasing prevention of these cyber security incidents.
New Types of Cyber Security Breaches
One of the biggest reasons for an increase in cyber security incidents was cryptocurrency mining malware. Cryptocurrency was not well-known until recently. That all changed in late 2017, when cryptocurrency prices rose to all-time highs. What was once an obscure method for exchanging funds online had suddenly become a popular investment tool for many people, which created a new target for hackers.
Even though cryptocurrency prices dropped steadily throughout 2018, there is still value in these digital currencies. As a result, hackers have developed malware that can use the processing power of victim’s computers to mine cryptocurrency. The funds are sent to the hacker, while the victim may be unaware.
The challenge for individuals and businesses is that malware lowers productivity, slows devices, and can lead to premature device failure.
Cyber Attacks are Big Business
As new types of security breaches are developed and discovered, the potential gains for hackers continue to rise. In the past, many cyber security incidents focused on stealing online banking info and other important pieces of information from individuals. While this was profitable for hackers, it pales in comparison to the scale of some recent cyberattacks targeting businesses.
It is estimated that cyber attacks cost the U.S. economy more than $100 billion per year. This is due to the increasing value of these devastating attacks. For example, ransomware can encrypt a company’s important data and hold it ransom until payment is made. Some businesses without proper backup plans end up paying large sums of money to have their data unlocked.
One of the most high profile recent cyber attacks using ransomware involved the city of Atlanta. City services were disrupted, public data was likely accessed, and the final cost had the potential of reaching millions of dollars for the city.
Governments are Getting Involved
When many people think of a hacker, they think of a computer geek sitting in a dark apartment with a bright screen and lines of code flashing past. Of course, those scenes from movies that form our imaginary idea of what a hacker looks like are not always accurate. In fact, many hackers may be sanctioned by foreign governments and even working out of government buildings around the world.
Countries like Russia and China have ramped up cyber attacks against other nations and companies around the world to disrupt operations or glean sensitive information. The United States recently accused China of corporate espionage and alleged that Chinese hackers backed by the government had been accessing and stealing sensitive data from American businesses.
As governments continue to consider cyber attacks as a legitimate form of espionage or warfare, hackers may find that they have greater support and backing to carry out their deeds. This may be one explanation for increased cyber security incidents over the past year.
How to Protect Against All Types of Security Breaches
Perhaps the only good news to come from recent cyber attacks is that awareness and vigilance will continue to increase. Hackers rely on security weaknesses to carry out their attacks and, with proper prevention, many cyber attacks can be stopped.
Education, awareness, and implementation of security best practices can greatly reduce the chances of falling victim to cyber security incidents.
To learn more about cyber attacks and how to keep your data safe, please contact RJ Young today.
Cyber security is a major concern for any business, from small mom and pop shops to major multinational corporations. In fact, it is estimated that cyber crime could cost users and businesses $6 trillion globally by 2021. That is a staggering figure that could seriously hinder the growth and operations of any business. Perhaps one of the scariest issues surrounding cyber security is that hackers are constantly finding new ways to attack devices and networks. Businesses must stay on their toes and work hard to eliminate threats before they become legitimate targets. To help prevent threats, IT professionals should be aware of the top IT security trends for 2019.
The Growth of IoT
IoT (internet of things) refers to the many different connected devices that are entering mainstream business. There was a time when businesses mainly had to concern themselves with basic connected devices like computers, multifunction printers, and other essential network devices.
Today, businesses need to consider things like connected speakers, smart assistants, tablets, smartphones, connected light switches, among a whole host of other devices. It is estimated that the IoT industry could grow by up to 15% year over year through 2020.
This poses an interesting dilemma for businesses and cyber security professionals. Do they embrace IoT and the potential risks that may be associated or ignore the rapidly growing trend? Businesses that hope to be a part of the future may not have much choice. Rather than ignore one of the biggest IT security trends for 2019, businesses should get ahead of this issue.
Cryptocurrency Mining Malware
Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, were a part of the mainstream consciousness as prices reached all-time highs in late 2017 and early 2018. After a major crash in the value of cryptocurrencies, there was much less discussion about this modern investment and payment technology. However, cryptocurrencies have not disappeared and neither have the threats associated with them.
Although the value of cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, are not as high as they once were, they are still widely accepted online and still have potential for growth in the coming years. This makes cryptocurrency mining malware a very real cyber security threat in 2019 and beyond.
This form of malware is installed on unsuspecting devices without users being aware. It covertly takes control of processing power to mine cryptocurrency in the background while users complete normal daily tasks. This leaves less processing power for users to take advantage of and, in some cases, could lead to premature equipment failure. This ultimately costs businesses money as they replace devices much sooner than they should need to.
The Rise of Mobile Technology
The way people do business is changing. 80% of people are using smartphones today. In addition, more and more apps are being released that make doing business on mobile devices more efficient and effective. This is a huge opportunity for businesses, but could also become a major cyber security threat if handled incorrectly.
One of the biggest IT security trends for 2019 will involve employers embracing the mobile workforce and its associated challenges. How can employers ensure that devices are secure without holding their employees back with outdated security efforts?
Mobile employees will need the right devices to ensure they can do their job wherever they may be. This enables employees to do their best work at any time but, of course, companies must first embrace this technology.
Bringing Cloud Security Down to Earth
The business world may be on the edge of a data revolution. More and more businesses are moving data and services to the cloud. While this enables businesses to become more agile and move away from physical storage, it also introduces new security concerns.
When businesses move to implement cloud services, they must ensure that their organizational security is ready to handle this new technology. Luckily, cloud services can be made to be as secure as any other data storage method – as long as the right steps are taken.
There are also potential savings for businesses that choose to adopt cloud services. Large spaces for data storage equipment will no longer be required and associated costs, like electricity, can be cut as well. This cost-benefit will certainly make cloud security and implementation one of the biggest IT security trends for 2019.
Keeping Step with Technology and Cyber Security
Predicting technology and cyber security trends can be a challenge as the industry moves so quickly. It is impossible to say what the next great app, service, or device could be. However, having a trusted partner is essential to keeping up with the constantly changing technology landscape for businesses.
To learn more about the cyber security trends of today and tomorrow, contact RJ Young and learn about their managed IT services that can protect businesses from new threats, while allowing them to embrace new technologies at the same time.
In our digitally connected world, it has become easier than ever to conduct business. However, the connections people create among themselves and organizations online have also created a profitable environment for hackers who want to steal money, data, and disrupt business leaving business owners to wonder, how can Managed IT Services protect my company from VPN hacks & ransomware attacks? As technology continues to advance it is safe to say that threats from hackers will continue to grow hand-in-hand.
In recent years, hackers have been focusing on businesses and large organizations to maximize their profit potential. Last year, in just a single quarter, Maersk reported a $300M loss due to hacks and the costs associated. Of course, they are not the only business to be affected. Some companies may be unwilling to share details of hacks, which makes estimating the true scope of these hacks nearly impossible. Businesses of all sizes across all industries need to be wary of growing digital threats.
What Are Ransomware Attacks and VPN Hacks?
Both ransomware attacks and VPN hacks have become much more popular in recent years. These hacks are growing more and more sophisticated with each passing day. In fact, nearly 1 million new types of malware are released online every single day. Keeping up with hackers is a constant, ongoing battle.
Ransomware is, as the name suggests, a type of malware that requests a ransom. Of course, in order to demand a ransom, the hacker must have a hostage. In this case, the hostage is your valuable data that could include employee files, sales contracts, customer data, and more. Most ransomware attacks encrypt data and give victims a limited window of time to pay the ransom or lose their data forever. Typically, ransoms are paid in the form of hard-to-trace cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Monero.
VPN hacks are much more sophisticated hacks usually carried out by large organizations rather than small hacker groups or individuals. Using a virtual private network (VPN) to protect your information is a great online security practice. However, a VPN is only as good as the security behind it. Using outdated protocols or simple security keys can make it easier for cybercriminals to access a VPN and the information or devices on the network.
The Best Offense is a Good Defense
No business is immune to hacking attempts. The question for business owners and managers should not be “if” a hacking attempt will be made but, rather, “when.” To be prepared for ransomware attacks and VPN hacks, prevention is key.
This is where managed IT services can make a world of difference. Caring for an entire company’s IT services is no small task. There are day-to-day maintenance activities as well as security patches, updates, and other preventative activities that need to be done. In many companies, these tasks are simply too much for a single salaried staff member. One missed update or patch could spell disaster as it is essentially an open door for hackers to walk through.
In addition to preventing against existing attacks, an IT service provider must constantly be learning and research to stay ahead of emerging threats. If all of this sounds like a lot for one person to take on, that’s because it is a lot for one person to take on. Instead, working with an entire team dedicated to IT services and protection against online threats means there are more hands on deck. Think about it this way: if you were going to move to a new house, would you try to move all of your furniture yourself or would you ask a few friends to come by and help?
Get Constant, 24-Hour Protection
When you are settling down for a night of rest, hackers on the other side of the world may just be starting their day. One of the main advantages to choosing managed IT services is that the team is available at a centralized help desk for whenever a problem may arise.
On the other hand, a salaried IT employee can only work so many hours. They need rest, vacation time, and time with their family. It is simply unrealistic to expect a single person to always be available when a problem may come up.
Should the worst occur and you need to restore services from a backup, managed IT services can begin work immediately and reduce total downtime. This is a level of responsiveness you simply cannot expect from in-house staff.
Protect Your Business with Managed IT Services
RJ Young has been providing managed IT services to small and enterprise level businesses for over 25 years. Their experience, professionalism, and dedication are essential for new and emerging threats.
Want to learn more about how managed IT services can protect against attacks on your business? Contact RJ Young today.
With new technology, social media platforms, and ways to reach audiences, people often believe that tried, tested, and true forms of print media have fallen out of favor. However, despite new mediums and forms of competition, print media still plays an important role in the success of businesses. Print is a tangible medium that still delivers great results for businesses that use it to help grow their customer base. Plus, as other technologies have entered the fray, printing technology has continued to advance and adapt to an ever-changing environment. There are several various ways that show that printing is still a very valuable information and marketing tool for businesses. Digital printing technology has given businesses more great ways to reach out to customers in order to grow their business.
People Still Love Business Cards
Smartphone ownership is exploding with 92% of people age 18 to 29 owning one. Today, most companies use smartphones for everything including setting calendar appointments and storing contact information. Many people thought that this would spell the end for paper business cards.
However, business cards are still as popular as ever. Despite the modern technology team members carry in their pockets, the trusty business card continues to be a tool in every professional’s arsenal. How have business cards survived the growth of smartphones?
It ultimately boils down to human nature. When professionals interact with one another, there is no better way to kill a conversation than to look at a smartphone. Entering a contact into a smartphone as someone provides the details is an awkward, impersonal experience. Instead, handing over a business card is a physical touchpoint that provides the same information in a way that allows the recipient to stay engaged in the conversation.
In addition, business cards are a great way to build a brand. Colorful business cards with bold logos are much more memorable than simply saving a phone number into a contact list. Digital printing technology has made business cards more exciting and unique than ever before. Plus, with print on demand services, it’s possible to replenish business card supplies quickly and easily.
Print Allows More Information to Be Shared
Print media is one of the best ways to get information out to people. When someone receives a flyer, for example, they are able to read the information at their own pace and as many times as they wish. They can keep the flyer to consult later at their own leisure.
This is in stark contrast to other forms of marketing. Radio and television only give advertisers 15- or 30-second time slots to share their message. An online advertisement is usually short and requires viewers to click on it in order to see more information.
Using print, advertisers do not have these constraints. A business can advertise multiple services, share several locations, and go into greater detail about products or special offers. There is also no telling how many different sets of eyes may view a flyer or other form of print marketing. People post flyers in their workplace, pass them to friends, and share them on social media.
Print Advertising Can Be Targeted
Many people talk about online marketing as the best way to target specific people. However, print marketing can also be very effectively targeted to specific users. For example, a niche product store may want to create a monthly print newsletter for their clients to take home. This newsletter can share information about products and services that clients are interested in.
Businesses are always looking to close more sales when customers visit their location. Creating a handy, one-page buyers guide that provides helpful information about products is a great way to keep products in front of potential clients. If they don’t make a purchase right away, they will have a unique piece of marketing with them to ensure a business stays top of mind. With print-on-demand services, companies can ensure that their buyers guide is always up-to-date and fit for the season.
Stand Out with Stunning Display Printing
Many people underestimate the importance of standing out and capturing the eye of potential customers. Trade shows are one of the best ways to reach potential new customers. Businesses need to ensure that their display will stand out among the competition, which may be, quite literally, right beside them.
Detailed, colorful display printing can instantly make a trade show booth more attractive to potential buyers. With advances in digital printing technology, the only limit to the design put into display printing concepts is creativity.
Once a company has drawn people in, they can provide them with other printing marketing materials that may be specific to the trade show. This combines some of the methods discussed above. Of course, print-on-demand services can help ensure that companies are ready with whatever documents are necessary.
Stand Out in the Best Way Possible
From business card to display printing, there are still plenty of great ways to incorporate digital printing and print marketing into an overall marketing strategy.
If you need assistance with your digital print marketing, or you are looking for print on demand services to bring your idea to life, contact RJ Young today.
For many businesses, the most secure and affordable way to handle their network is by utilizing an external company’s expertise. By using managed IT services, companies are able to focus on their business, while simultaneously meeting compliance and security standards. In the age of network breaches and cyber attacks, it is more prudent than ever for businesses to understand how managed IT compliance and managed IT security differ and why it matters.
The Ins and Outs of Compliance and Security
Prior to learning about the differences between managed IT compliance and security, it’s imperative to understand IT compliance and security.
Compliance Is External
“IT compliance is the business of making sure that everyone is following the rules. The question is, what rules are they compliant with?” – Chapter President of ISSA – Chattanooga
The external rules facing companies are typically found in the form of statutes or laws. These can be laws relating to specific industries such as the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) for Education or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for Healthcare. Other standards are used as a means of risk management for national security. A prime example of this is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). This standard was put in place to protect credit card users from schemes.
Rather than focusing on the technical needs of the company, compliance is used for reporting purposes and aimed at meeting regulations to keep legally running their business. With hundreds of IT standards to meet, companies often enlist managed IT compliance services from another company. This decision allows them to focus more of their time and energy on their operations, while the IT services ensure the company’s IT network is meeting the benchmarks set by their respective regulatory committee to avoid paying fines that can reach up to $1.5 million per violation each year.
Security Is Internal
Whereas compliance focuses more on satisfying an external entity, security is about protecting the company’s internal network and confidential information. A company that provides IT security to businesses, when broken down into its simplest form, finds ways to mitigate any network issues and prevent harmful threats from ever occurring. Essentially, the company is hiring someone who has a broader range of capabilities and offerings to protect their business. While internal IT may have some ability to safeguard a business’s network, they may not have the manpower to handle a company-wide security threat. Managed IT services have teams dedicated solely to protecting the client’s entire company from threats. This kind of security guarantees that a business’s data and sensitive information is safer than it would be using the capabilities it possesses in-house.
The Security and Compliance Relationship
Compliance standards are all about ensuring companies are meeting certain levels of security in order to protect individual users on a national, and sometimes international, level. There is a certain level of IT security that a business inherently has when they are meeting regulatory compliance. From this standpoint, security and compliance seem to go hand in hand with one another. While meeting the compliance benchmark may seem to provide a sufficient amount of security for a business, this is often not the case.
“Being compliant does NOT mean you are secure, as many recent breaches have shown.” – Chapter President of ISSA – Chattanooga
Meeting bare-minimum compliance standards in an effort to reduce costs associated with information security leaves a company vulnerable and highly susceptible to a cyber attack. Another reason to avoid simply meeting compliance targets is the ever-changing nature of Information Technology. A business is never truly finished protecting itself. Constant upgrades and improvements are being made to protect businesses from threats that are more adaptive and intelligent in design.
Why Managed IT Is the Proactive Solution
Compliance benchmarks, though they may be updated periodically, are reactionary in nature. After a large breach, action committees need to get additional laws and amendments passed to alter the original law. Unfortunately, this process takes time and requires evidence of need -such as a large breach- before it is enacted. Needless to say, simply being compliant prevents a business’s IT security from being up to date. As formerly stated, managed IT services help put a company’s focus back on managing their business rather than staying compliant. When a company employs the help of managed IT services for regulatory compliance, they acquire a team of IT professionals. This team uses its expertise to provide an advanced-network security program that not only meets compliance standards but exceeds them. They proactively seek out potential hazards in the pipeline in an effort to eliminate any threat before it happens.
Is your business safe from the next wave of cyber threats? Learn more about how RJ Young’s Managed IT Services can help your business stay secure and meet your industry-specific regulatory requirements by filling out our contact form or calling us at 800-347-1955.
The healthcare industry has some of the most stringent standards in terms of data-related regulatory compliance. HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) applies to 18 different aspects of individual health information that could potentially be used to identify someone. HIPAA privacy rules apply to both written and visual information. Privacy rules are only one aspect of HIPAA. While the entire act revolves around patient privacy, it’s not only organizations within the healthcare industry that need to be concerned about HIPAA compliance. Any covered entity or business associate that interacts with healthcare information also falls under the jurisdiction of HIPAA and must meet the requirements set forth by the HIPAA security compliance checklist. The good news for healthcare providers, dentists, and doctors is that document management providers are able to ensure they remain compliant with HIPAA.
The HIPAA Security Compliance Checklist
The HIPAA compliance checklist is just what it sounds like – a checklist of criteria that organizations must meet in order to comply with HIPAA regulations. The requirements of HIPAA are broad so they can be applied to all organizations that come into contact with Protected Health Information (PHI). There are five main technological safeguards that must be in place, according to the HIPAA compliance checklist. These HIPAA security rules include:
- Implementation of a means of control
- The inclusion of a verified authentication method for ePHI
- Tools for encryption and decryption
- Introduction of activity logs and audit controls
- Facilitation of automatic log-off for network-connected devices
Failing to adhere to HIPAA compliance comes with a heavy cost. Fines for violations can be as high as $1 million when sensitive information is concerned. Needless to say, any organization within healthcare or related to healthcare cannot afford to neglect security measures that involve Patient Health Information.
HIPAA Compliance & Document Security Equipment
The primary challenge of medical software is dealing with document management. Because such software is essential to processing large numbers of documents, most healthcare providers utilize these systems. Some of the key features of quality medical document security software include ease of use, strictly defined structure, and data security. Security solutions at the software level mean little without the hardware necessary to implement those solutions. Document security equipment includes medical office multi-function printers, medical office scanners, and network security, which helps to deal with issues that all organizations must concern themselves with today.
Other than requiring an inventory of all hardware containing ePHI, the HIPAA compliance checklist does not define specific hardware requirements. However, the entire list, when taken as a whole, implies that the proper document security equipment has to be implemented. This includes everything necessary to prevent or detect breaches if and when they do happen. In order to provide an integrated-document security solution, multi-function printers (MFPs) can be outfitted with wireless access points with pre-installed security-conscious firmware. With medical office managed IT, this integration can be accomplished without the need for piecing together every detail on your own.
High Quality HIPAA Compliance
External Managed IT services can provide services that will further integrate the necessary components of HIPAA security compliance into an office’s overall infrastructure. This eliminates the worry concerning the chance of a data leak or a security breach happening in some unexpected corner of document security services.
Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals have enough to worry about. By placing document-security, for both paper documents and digital files, concerns in the hands of experienced professionals, healthcare offices are able to have a HIPAA-compliant infrastructure that is tailored to meet the needs of their team and patients. Medical offices also benefit from a more efficient workflow that not only keeps them in compliance with HIPAA, but adapts to their changing needs.
Want to learn more about the available IT security options that RJ Young offers to hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other healthcare organizations? Contact us today to learn more about the latest HIPAA compliant document security innovations.
Few people understand the importance of workflow efficiency better than employees in a medical office or hospital. Keeping documentation organized, ensuring sensitive data remains secure and making sure they stay HIPAA compliant are just a few of the tasks medical offices face daily. Fortunately, these practices can focus on other tasks thanks to medical office document management services.
What Are Document Management Services?
Initially, Document Management meant digitizing all of the documents in filing cabinets to make them easier to access and search through. For many organizations, the promise of automation for document capture, routing, and access remained unfulfilled with older systems. These systems were cumbersome or confusing, leaving employees to resort to old, manual processes. With recent developments in software and technology, however, document management can transform a work environment in several ways. This includes so much more than just scanning services – especially for healthcare.
Document Security & Regulation Compliance
Once documents are digitally stored, they instantly become more secure. Whereas physical copies can be picked up by anyone in the immediate vicinity, digital copies require multiple steps before they can be accessed.
Sometimes it is necessary for hard copies to be made. With the workflow solutions provided by modern document management software, medical practices can securely print hard copies of sensitive information with the use of badge swipes or codes. This provides an additional layer of security by only allowing authorized users access to health records and other patient information.
The best way to ensure HIPAA compliance is by controlling who has access to medical records. With medical office document management services, digital access for medical records can be solely provided to authorized individuals. By meeting HIPAA’s privacy regulations, compliance indeed becomes achievable.
Saving Green by Going Green
Recent reports have shown that medical practices produce over 1000 faxes per month. By opting for electronic documents and cutting out these faxes and subsequent copies, medical offices can reduce costs. These funds can then be allocated to more significant areas. These savings do not just come from cutting down on the cost of paper. Offices enjoy additional benefits due to a reduction in toner and ink cartridge replenishment, fewer equipment servicing requests, and smaller storage requirements for documents.
How Document Management Is Saving Today’s Medical Office
Studies have found that over 80 percent of doctors use EHRs(electronic healthcare record systems). Most doctors and physicians assume that their EHR software is the only piece of document management that they require. Though EHRs are a significant improvement from traditional paper practices, they can still be improved. Document Management software can integrate with EHRs that are already in place. This helps fortify security for patient information and lab results and ensures automation processes are operating at maximum efficiency.
Reducing Human Error
Even though an overwhelming majority of doctors are now utilizing electronic systems, most are still relying on paper-based documents for processes that could be automated such as patient intake forms. By holding onto these paper-based practices, sensitive documents are subject to one of the most severe threats to HIPAA compliance – human error.
The best way to reduce human error is to simplify processes and make systems more organized. Paper files allow for human error to occur more easily than digital ones. Misplacing confidential patient records is more prone to happen when files are physically stored. These hard copies can be placed in incorrect folders, which can lead to false information being relayed. By holding onto paper copies of patient data, there is also a much higher chance of being in violation of HIPAA due to the information being less secure.
Human error and HIPAA violations can be minimized when document management is implemented. By keeping all files digital, professionals can simply search the database of files to find the most accurate patient information through secure means. Additional security measures can be placed on electronic files to make sure that only approved users have access. This is a much better way to ensure HIPAA compliance than locking documents in a filing cabinet. Essentially, medical office document management maximizes efficiency by minimizing the chance of errors.
Improving Workflow Through Automation
One of the largest benefits of implementing document management can be seen in patient records. Prior to automation, medical facilities would pull patient records and fax them to provide patient information to other professionals. Due to human error and large reserves of files, the documents sent over might not be the most recent files. After an office incorporates automation into their daily practices, they are able to guarantee that the files they pull and send are the most up-to-date ones. With superior organization and search capabilities, electronic systems improve almost every single process that the healthcare industry uses.
It’s All About The Patient
Medical Office Document Management helps transform an office into a more patient-oriented organization because they spend less time worrying about documents and more time on the patients themselves.
Find Out More About Medical Office Document Management
IT services are among the most important services a business requires in today’s connected, digital world. Millions of malware threats are released every year and the time required to manage, update, and patch all devices used within the business is far greater than a few years ago. For many, having in-house IT services makes sense. There is always someone in the building that can assist with any issues that may arise. So, if this solution is the right one, why are so many smaller businesses opting for managed IT services?
What are the differences between these approaches? Which one makes sense for businesses that need quality IT services that meet their needs and budget? Let’s take a look at managed IT services and compare them with in-house technicians to help your business choose the right service provider.
What Are Managed IT Services?
Managed IT services may be a new concept to some businesses who have always had dedicated, in-house IT services. With communication technology making major leaps forward, many businesses have discovered that quality service does not necessarily mean the IT technician has to work in the same building.
With managed IT services, a dedicated provider delivers service, support, and advice to a number of companies. If the cost of IT services is spread out among a number of businesses, then a larger team with better services can be provided at a lower cost to individual businesses. For small and medium-sized businesses that may be running on razor thin budgets, this price makes managed IT services very attractive.
Is There a Cost Benefit?
When any business is considering managed IT or an in-house technician, there are several reasons why they make their final decision, but the main contributor is cost. IT services are important for every single business of any size and people who offer those services are in high demand. In fact, the salary of a management level IT professional can easily exceed $100,000 per year, plus benefits. That is a huge cost to small business owners and businesses of any size.
Small business managed IT services are usually less costly than hiring in-house IT services. In addition, the cost of managed IT services typically includes services that even the best in-house technicians cannot offer. Services like after-hours support, network monitoring, malware protection, and more are all offered by managed IT services. Not to mention, with managed IT services, your business can count on support every single day. A single in-house technician has to sleep, go on lunch breaks, and take vacation. During those times, they may be unavailable, and, therefore, cannot always be relied upon.
Keep Up With Changing Technology
One look around your office can reveal that technology has changed dramatically. Having managed IT services helps ensure your business is ready for changing trends.
You have likely heard the phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” No phrase is a better description of in-house IT technicians. Most are very skilled at what they do, but it is nearly impossible to provide adequate IT services without several people collaborating. Remember, IT services encompass network security, device deployment, software updates, issue resolution, employee support, malware protection, and more.
With managed IT services, you get an entire team of people working to help you. No single person is expected to be a master of all areas of IT services. When you have managed services for your business, you can count on getting responsive support from knowledgeable staff, no matter what the concern may be.
What other options do businesses choose for IT?
Small and mid-sized business often have a friend, family member, or a ‘guy they know’ handle their technical support. When it comes to cost and scheduling, consultants are often the worst possible option for a growing business. Consultants will charge for everything they can, and friends and relatives aren’t always the best option when it comes to managing your business. Bringing a friend or relative into the workplace can cause issues internally. Friend and relative relationships aren’t always conducive to a company’s work environment. Choosing a managed IT partner limits the cost for support and implementation, and eliminates a lot of the issues that hiring a friend or a family member brings into an office setting.
Which IT solution is best for my business: The Verdict
Having an in-house technician dedicated to your business and only your business may seem appealing at first. However, when comparing in-house services with managed IT services, there is a clear winner. Managed IT services offer better support, greater expertise, and a lower cost to businesses than alternative options.
Small and medium-sized businesses have little room for spending in excess. Choosing managed IT services over an in-house technician can have a dramatic influence on your business’s bottom line. That additional money can be reinvested in other areas of the business. This ensures that you can make all areas of your business stronger. At RJ Young, we have over 25 years of experience providing exceptional IT services to businesses of all sizes.
Still unsure if managed IT services are the right move for your business? Learn more about the benefits of choosing managed IT services and consult with us about your unique needs.