Thursday, September 20, 2018

Attracting Women to STEM Jobs

#womeninscience is trending all over the web today, and the question keeps arising, how do we attract more women to the tech and science fields.



First and foremost, I don't think it matters what gender someone is as long as they do their job well. If your company has more men than women or more women than men, don't sweat it as long as they all do their jobs well. However, if you look around the office and notice there's not a single woman on your team, maybe your company's culture isn't attractive to women.

A lot of what I do professionally relates to vision, mission, and brand. A considerable part of your brand is your PEOPLE, and your people are attracted or repelled, by your company culture. So what makes up your company culture anyway?

Culture is the personality of your company. Employees are motivated and most satisfied when their needs and values are consistent with those manifested in your workplace. I believe there are six major components of defined company culture.

Vision: A solid company vision goes BEYOND the mission statement. It adds the "why" to what you do. It's a huge part of why people, especially women, join companies. Not all women are the same, but generally, we like to feel like we're making the world better. How is your company doing that?

Values: We all like to feel like we've found our "tribe" both personally AND professionally. We want to feel like we share common goals and values with those we surround ourselves. What does your company value? Is it your people, is it evolving tech? What makes you all get up in the morning? If you don't know, ask your employees. (hint: women tend to value family)

Practices: Your values mean nothing if you aren't implementing them. How do you show what you value? Do you offer time off for volunteer work? Great insurance for families? A maternity package worth fighting for? Unlimited time off? A ton of philanthropy?

People: Do your employees share your values? Are they implementing them? Or do you have a bunch of mean-spirited engineers who give females the evil eye the second they enter the office? Hire good people, and more will come.

Place: Why does Google have a playground? Why are more companies offering remote positions? Why does Ericsson have a nursing room on every floor? No one wants to work in a tiny cubicle all day staring at a gray wall. We are all happier and more fulfilled surrounded by things that make us happy.

Narrative: If you've gotten this far, and you've defined all of the above, now you have to tell your story. I highly recommend hiring a content writer or brand advisor to help with this. Shucks, I'm both those things. Plus, I happen to be a woman. If you'd like me to help you define your vision, and values or put together content to market them shoot me an email.

Now that I've shamelessly plugged my business let me help clue you in on just a few things women value:

Flexible Schedules: Let's be honest for a second. When a kid gets sick, who calls into work? Mom. (sorry Dads the stats are with me on this). Offer flexible leave policies, let your employees work remote some days, etc
Maternity AND Paternity Leave: Nothing attracts women more than true gender equality.
Sexism Free Workplaces: Hear your male employees making disparaging remarks about women? Shut it down.




Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Making the internet faster, one byte at a time

 25% of the internet users say they'll wait no more than 4 seconds for a page to load, and 3% will stay patient for 1 second only.

51% of the internet users say that they've encountered a website that
crashed, froze, or received an error. Half of those won't return to a website
where they have experienced a downtime or an error. Many of those will share
their bad experience online. The internet community will soon agree to either use
your website or not.

So... is Multi-CDN right for your business?

It used to be that only the largest and most lucrative companies had the means to use more than one content delivery network. Thankfully new cloud-based routing techniques are making this strategy a reality for smaller organizations.


There are two distinct ways you can run a multi-CDN architecture: automation through a single management provider or DNS load balancing.

Automated multi-CDN Load Balancing

The first is typically accomplished through a larger service provider that automatically routes traffic loads across multiple CDNs. Traffic is commonly served equally to each CDN. Automation can save you a lot of time and toil since the provider is responsible for controlling the CDNs and maintaining updates. You'll also benefit from lower pricing since the service provider is purchasing its bandwidth in bulk from each CDN vendor.

As more companies emerge offering this service it has become increasingly popular for its productivity and expense benefits.

There are a couple problems with this method. Since everything is managed through a single control panel, not directly through the CDNs, routing decisions are restricted. Also, settings and functionality are limited to what is shared among both providers.

DNS Load Balancing

DNS load balancing answers all of these issues since you can pick your providers, avoid vendor lock-in and broaden your services. That's why load balancing is the favored method among developers.

The secret lies in the DNS. The DNS, or Domain Name System, charts domains to their computer-readable IP addresses. In a multi-CDN situation, the domain points to the hostnames of the CDN providers. The CDN providers then point to the IP address of the web servers that are nearest to the end user.

When you direct traffic at the DNS level, there are no further lookups required. That means nimbler analysis and even faster page load times.

Customizing all this in-house can be quite the undertaking. So is there an even better way? A company that automates the DNS?

Friday, May 25, 2018

Top 10 Chrome Extensions 2018


Intricately Right now I'm using the free trial version but it's one of the best apps out there if you want to know what a company is paying in terms of IP services like Hosting and CDN. If it's something you think you'd be interested in you should totally use my link to sign up. It gives me a week or so of free premium service. I cannot say enough great things about this application, both the chrome extension and the native application. If you work in technical sales and you're trying to sell SaaS, CDN, DNS, Hosting, etc to clients, these are the guys you want on your team.




Datanyze is probably my second most used extension at work. One 
click and I can see all the technology a website is using. It's a lot easier than scrubbing the HTML of the site myself. It's not the most reliable system in the world but it gives me a heads up of what I'm looking at. It also frequently has a list (including emails) of some of the people who work there. Score one for the home team.

Hootlet has been a gift from the internet gods. I manage multiple social media accounts for a variety of organizations and without the ability to schedule posts in one centralized location I would probably lose my mind. The best thing about Hootlet is that I can schedule a post from any site, anytime. Rather than having to copy whatever media/information I want to share to a variety of social media sites, I can just click on my favorite little owl, and he does the hard work for me.



Ok guys, confession time, I'm using this one right now. Grammarly helps me stay on top of my grammar, punctuation, and spelling when posting online. This is how I manage not to sound like an idiot most of the time. It's certainly not perfect, but I mean, who is? You can also add it to Word to help you with your computer as well. I think it WAY outperforms native spellcheck. 


SimilarWeb links me to other websites/apps that share common factors with whatever I'm looking at. It's amazing for finding prospects or when I'm boycotting a certain site but still need a similar service.

Sidekick by HubSpot not only tells me when my emails are being read but also if someone clicks one of the links I send them. It also allows me to integrate my emails into SalesForce.


Honey, WikiBuy, Ebates and Amazon Assistant are all the personal shopping assistants I need when shopping online. I MAY have an online shopping problem, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't be getting the best possible deals! These little guys tell me when something is cheaper elsewhere, and supply me with coupon codes when relevant, earn me cashback and allow me to save things to my Amazon shopping list. I can't recommend one over the others because they're all integral to my online shopping addiction. 


And a bonus...The Great Suspender

At work I tend to have... well let's not talk about how many tabs I have open at a time. This extension automatically suspends the tabs I'm not using so they don't use up CPU.


So what about you guys? What's your favorite chrome plug-in?


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Plan Ahead to Avoid Data Breaches in 2018

In the modern age, data breaches are amongst the largest (if not the largest) threat to business security. Over the last few years, we have seen colossal companies, such as Sony, Microsoft, and Apple suffer the consequences of attacks on their data, and in some cases, breaches of their security. Identity force has a blog up chronicling the worst breaches of 2016. Even the US Department of Justice and the IRS were not safe. So what does this mean for Small Businesses? Cutting costs on security may seem like a quick way to save money, but in the long run, it can end up costing you your business.



There are two main ways you can lose data or face a breach, deliberate and non-deliberate.

Deliberate attempts to breach data or data loss typically come from criminals who have focused their attacks on cybersecurity or your own unhappy employees. As a business owner, it's important to be sure that your data is secured from those who may want to access it for nefarious reasons. Here are a few steps I suggest taking:


  •       Install a firewall and get it professionally managed. Whether you have someone on your own staff you trust to manage blacklisting and whitelisting or you want to outsource it to an IT company, be sure that you're going over regular reports of this activity.

  •        Set up stringent permissions to your network. Not every employee needs the same level of access, and those who operate outside of the office should have a "kill-switch" to terminate their remote access immediately should the need arise.

  •        I know you've heard it before, but you NEED to have robust passwords. They should be difficult to guess and I highly recommend forcing your employees to change them every 90 days.

  •         Train and educate your staff on cyber-security.

  •         Be vigilant and exercise caution! Spam filters don't catch everything, never open an attachment unless you're 100% sure it's safe.


Non-deliberate data loss or breaches can arise from hardware failures or lack of software, such as anti-virus and web protection. All hardware eventually fails. Be sure you have backups in place to minimize downtime and try to replace hardware regularly. The software also requires regular maintenance and updates. The following can help you avoid downtime:

  •         Always have up to date anti-virus,  run scans and keep it up to date. Web protection offers an extra layer of security to your terminals, which can block certain websites or malicious websites.

  •         Back up PCs and Servers remotely.

  •         Keep computers and servers in safe environments. Make sure that they are being maintained by someone whose experience and expertise you trust.

  •        Ensure devices owned by employees are secure and protected, and if they leave the company or lose the device, you can lock down data easily. Any device accessing your network is a risk. If employees are accessing the network from their own devices consider implementing security standards for those as well.

Budgeting your data security for 2018 can be a daunting task. Managed Services is an affordable solution to meeting your compliance and security needs at a consistent flat-rate.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Resume Tips and Tricks

You may have read one of my previous blogs on how to build a great resume. I wanted to add a couple things to my previous post. Over the past year I've spoken to a ton of recruiters and hiring managers and there are a few key items that can really make your resume stand out.

Spelling and Grammar
While spelling and grammar mistakes may make your resume stand out, I've spoken to recruiters who will literally stop reading at the first error and throw a resume in the "not hiring" pile. When a hiring manager has 100 resumes to sift thru small mistakes will take you out of the running instantaneously. I highly recommend using the Grammar.ly plug-in on top of whatever native spell-check your word processing application has.

Touches of Color
While infographics and photos are a great addition to most resumes, they aren't necessary for every job. Some positions might even frown on an overly flashy resume. That being said a touch of color has never been frowned upon in my experience. Consider choosing your favorite color and using it in your heading, and subheadings.

Introduction
Depending on what you're applying for you'll want to consider either a quick bio, summation of project experience or objective. Are you a sales person who has a proven track record of increasing profit for your employer? Do you smash sales goals? Are you a creative professional who's worked on a well-known project? Has your artwork been featured anywhere? Unless this is your first ever job application I suggest steering clear of academic accomplishments unless they directly correlate with your career goals. Do you have relevant volunteer experience? Try to come up with something unique to you. We all know you want a job so you can eat. Everybody does. What makes you a great employee/colleague/professional? Sum that up in an introduction.

Here's an example of my resume for general circulation. As I'm not actively seeking a new position it's just a summation of my current experience.


Be sure to create multiple copies of your resume. I have one for Business Development/ PreSales, one for Marketing, one for Telecom, one for Political Positions, a generic one, and a variety of "dream job" drafts. Be prepared to send someone a copy of your resume at a moment's notice, but also don't be afraid to craft a new resume for a specific position. 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Implementing Managed Network Services in a Law Firm

The first step to implementing any new system is always onboarding. When bringing on an MSP (Managed Services Provider) you will need to deploy a monitoring and reporting management console. This will serve as a window into your business environment so that your network administrator can see and accumulate aggregate performance, security, connectivity and availability metrics, 24/7. For most MSPs, this will be as simple as a remote care application on each PC/Workstation that will allow them to manage all hardware and software assets from anywhere in the world at any time.

While we're on the subject of monitoring. Your new MSP will set up defined thresholds on each device and configure RT (real-time) alerts, notifications, and receipts. This system of alerts will notify them of current (and possible) issues, in many cases before you are aware they happening. These thresholds will also keep them up to date on the status of an issues remediation. 

A short period of time after setting up monitoring, the MSP will take the aggregated data, interpret it, and make recommendations to align your technology with your business needs. This can include anything from security vulnerabilities to licensing or compliance issues. They may suggest new hardware or software, and proper configurations, etc. This phase of assessment will serve as your primary alignment for proactive services and give you valuable insight into the state of tech at your firm. 

Your day to day technology management may be delivered to you in a variety of ways. Some activities will be automated. Any task your MSP is automating, such as preventative maintenance, data backups, virus scans and other updates will lower your costs and free up your MSPs resources to schedule other activities. For anything that is not being automated you should have 24/7 support from the help desk. Any member of your staff can pick up the phone and get immediate remote support. If the issue cannot be solved remotely then, a technician will get in their car and drive to you for onsite support. There are a few activities that require physical onsite support. Some companies, such as TaylorWorks, schedule a technician to be onsite once a month regardless of any issues to check up on the productivity of your network. This ensures that small issues are not being swept under the rug and everything is maintained properly. 

By this point in the process, your network, software and all related processes and integrations should be fully stabilized. So your MSP will now ensure continued stabilization and peak performance by delivering a full line of security services. These will prevent viruses, malware, spam and other malicious content. The services will include hardware and software firewall management as well as uniform antivirus and external spam filtration. Plus any other additional security protocol that may have been evaluated as needed for your business. From one end to the other, all of your valuable IT-assets should be safe, secure and protected 365 days a year. 

MSPs perform system, bandwidth, equipment and traffic optimization to be sure that you are getting the best performance and comprehensive security during all hours. Therefore, they should be performing maintenance and continually be monitoring performance. At TaylorWorks you will have a dedicated VCIO meeting quarterly to go over personalized plans for optimizing your business's IT. 

The second to last step in your implementation has to be data backup. This ensures your entire network is backed up and rotated offsite. At TaylorWorks we do this using a Datto and optional cloud backup services. In the event of a data loss, comprehensive backup solutions will minimize damage, allowing data to be restored individually at the file level. Your MSP should be developing a custom disaster recovery plan for every level of breach. Whether it be a few misplaced emails, or n "Act of God".

Last but certainly not least, it's not good enough to simply tell you that an MSP is performing for you. We deliver custom monthly performance reports. These reports show you performance and security metrics and give you insight into your business' IT environment. Hand in hand with our VCIO they allow you to plan your next move. What gets measured, gets managed!


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Productivity Tips for Office Managers

I think anyone who's worked in an office environment recognizes that Office Managers end up with an awful lot of work on their desk. Whether you are acting as an Office Manager or Executive Assistant, many of the challenges hindering productivity and organization can be similar.  In small businesses, the impact can be much larger since headcount may be limited.  However, these challenges can be easily overcome by taking a step back from the day-to-day craziness to "see the forest from the trees."




There are 2 approaches to trying to streamline your own productivity. One can be to create a long list of all the areas where productivity can be improved. That approach will usually leave you with even more work, and frustration. Instead, I suggest focusing on a few areas where increasing productivity will have the largest impact.

Based on my conversations with business owners and office managers the biggest frustrations come from:

  • Overflowing email boxes
  • Prioritization of tasks
  • Delegation & Follow-Up

While Email Inbox Organization can be extremely simple it is also very hard to get started. You need to implement archiving for older messages so they aren't cluttering your inbox, set up strong filters for spam, and then read and prioritize the remaining emails. A good IT company can make this a much simpler process. Bringing in an MSP to manage your email server and put the proper filtering in place can help streamline productivity here, after that though it's up to each individual employee to read through all the remaining emails, and either delete them or create a follow-up task. In reality, each email is asking a simple yes or no question: Is this information pertinent? If it's not, delete it. If the information is pertinent to your business is there an action that needs to be taken? Create a task with a reminder to follow up on that action item. Outlook 365, and it's multitude of plug-ins allow you to easily create and complete tasks daily. 

Prioritizing tasks can be a challenge no matter what industry or position you are in. One of the largest challenges here can be keeping up with tasks across a bunch of platforms. The first step I suggest is to choose one application or service to keep track of all your tasks. Whether you choose to do this in your CRM, email, calendar or third party software/application is up to you. A good IT company can help point you in the right direction for your business. For example, if you're using a CRM (like Salesforce) chances are there is a plug-in to push/pull your appointments and tasks from the cloud to your Outlook calendar. A little bit of research on yours, or your IT company's part could save a lot of time and headache down the line. 

Delegation can be a tough egg to crack for Office Managers who on top of their own jobs and tasks somehow always end up with everything everyone else is struggling with coming to their desk. It's important to ask yourself what is my job description? What is the job description of my colleagues and employees? What needs to be done, and whose job is it to complete it? How many minutes/hours a day are you spending on tasks that aren't really yours to complete? Are you spending time on server maintenance or computer upkeep? What is the value of those minutes and hours? Does it make sense to hire an assistant, an in-house IT person, an outside sales rep, or outsource your IT to a managed services provider? Or, is there someone/something in-house that needs to be fixed so that the employees you already have can be productive? Only you can answer these questions based on your business model, but it can be great to have 3rd parties consult on your ROI (return on investment) concerning specific aspects of your company.