Posted by: Ed Becker | May 5, 2010

Y’all Come! Business Execution Perfection.

I will be sharing the stage with Bob Kelly of IBM speaking at the Business Builder Breakfast at the brand new DoubleTree Hotel in Sterling, VA, this Friday morning, May 7, 2010, at 7:30 AM. The event is FREE and open to the public and registration is required. See my Facebook page for details and the link. I’ll be spaking on business plan implementation to make the second half of 2010 better than the first half. I hope to see some of you there!

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Posted by: Ed Becker | January 9, 2010

New Year…New Computer Security Bug…Y2K10!!

Symantec revealed the existence of a bug in their products.

The problem is that updated files released and time stamped after 11:59 PM on 12/31/2009 are treated  as out of date by the endpoint security product. Symantec has a workaround, but weren’t we supposed to have learned our lesson ten years ago?  This bug is not putting a large number of customers at risk today.  Symantec is simply dating all new definition files 12/31/2009 and giving them new version numbers so users stay up to date. Symantec says they are working on a permanent solution to the problem.

Amazing as it is, others are also suddenly finding year 2010 bugs in their software.  Both SpamAssassin and Windows Mobile cell phones are having issues with messages being suddenly marked as from the future — it is likely they are not the only ones.

I guess we did not learn our lessons in Y2K!

Posted by: Ed Becker | January 5, 2010

Will the restrictions against Microsoft Word impact you?

If you are not aware. Starting on January 11, 2010, Microsoft will be prohibited from selling one of their flagship office productivity products in the United States.

This restriction will also spill over the border to the Canadian market where it appears Microsoft can continue to sell Microsoft Word as we know it.

The Canadian market will benefit from the new versions which come out of this new restriction in the US. Microsoft Word is currently the leading office productivity suite in use today throughout the business community. i4i a software firm located in Toronto was successful in a recent lawsuit against the Redmond software giant claiming Microsoft infringed on their software patents in their Microsoft Word 2007 product. i4i claimed, and US courts agreed, that Microsoft infringed on its XML software product which Microsoft currently incorporates in their .docx document format which first appeared in Word 2007. 

First, those businesses who have purchased Office 2007 or Word 2007 can continue to use the Microsoft Office product. The fine folks at Microsoft have committed to continue the support all versions of Word including 2007. Microsoft has already promised a fix which will be compliant with the court ruling against them.

Businesses in the USA and Canada have nothing to worry about and should continue to use Word. Microsoft will have a revised version of Word for sale very soon. No release date has been announced by Microsoft.

Once again, this ruling appears to have no direct impact on established users of the products. I expect Microsoft will license the technology or develop their own which will offer similar services found in Word today. Businesses need to understand their versions of Microsoft are still usable and the leading word processing software isn’t planning to go anywhere.

Have you tried Microsoft Office 2010 Beta yet?  FABULOUS!

Posted by: Ed Becker | December 10, 2009

Sgt. Daniel Thornhill – We can all help this Patriot

This Christmas we can give back to someone

who needs our encouragement!!!

Sgt. Daniel Thornhill was seriously injured in Afghanistan two years agoby a suicide bomber.  He lost both legs, is paralyzed from the waist down and suffered severe burns on his hands, arms and body.   According to one report,  Sgt. Thornhill says, “They can possibly take my life but they can’t take what I stand for or what I believe in… and that’s one thing that hasn’t faltered or hasn’t wavered.”

See  an article about Sgt. Thornhill by clicking  here.

His parents are asking for help. No financial help but they would like to help brighten his upcoming birthday. They are asking that people just send their son a card for his birthday.   This young man has sacrificed a lot for our country and it would be great if everyone reading this could join in and send him a card. His birthday is next week.

Please help and please pass the word. This is a real simple way to give back to someone who has given so much for the American people. His address is below. Thank you.

Mailing address:
Sgt. Daniel Thornhill
Fort Sam Houston Fisher House
3623 George C. Beach Rd
Fort Sam Houston, Texas 78234

Your cards and letters will mean more than we can know to encourage this brave patriot as he recovers.  Merry Christmas to everyone!

Posted by: Ed Becker | November 24, 2009

What’s all the fuss about EMR (Electronic Medical Records)?

A hidden cost of medical care is in the lack of communication between care providers.  This can result in duplication of tests and unnecessary fragmentation of the patients care.  EMRs solve these and more issues confronting health care today.

In some cases the patient received treatment or even hospitalization without the knowledge or involvement of the primary care provider or the support team.  Even patients who are referred to a specialist by the primary care provider often return to the primary’s office without results or documentation of the outcome of the visit to a specialist.

Communication is, of course, a two-way street and patients need to take the initiative to ask for their records when seeing a specialist.  Never assume that this is happening.  In addition, patients should review their own records annually to be certain everything there is up to date, inclusive, and accurate.

The Government is emphasizing EMR systems as a means to end these problems and create communication between care providers at the speed of light.  While it will take time for EMRs to be pervasive, the first milestone is upon us.  Medical practices can qualify for up to $44,000 per physician in government funding to adopt EMRs.  The condition is that an approved system must be installed in 2010 and in substantial use by the practitioners.  Failure to meet these criteria will reduce the care provider’s compensation by $18,000 per provider in the practice and it continues to reduce each successive year.

Care providers need to start now to select and implement their EMRs with the help of a skilled, experienced, and local computer service provider.  This need not cost huge amounts of investment nor change your practice, if it is selected and implemented in a professional manner.  Practices do not need to change their care processes or flow.  With a simple and direct five stage approach, care providers can have the technology enabling their work to improve patient encounters and make their life much better…AND, the government will pay for it.  Why wait?

Patients need to be alert to care providers using paper charts and ask the care provider when they plan to have an EMR in place.  Everyone benefits and the cost of waiting or doing nothing is too great.

Additional information is available by clicking here:  http://www.beckitsystems.com/medical_er.php

Posted by: Ed Becker | October 28, 2009

Windows 7

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

Posted by: Ed Becker | May 12, 2009

Did You Hear Thunder?

As summer arrives, so does the season for stormy weather and more unforseen incidents that threaten data.  Hear how one disaster turned into a good news story!  To hear the 30 second summary, click on the link below.

Good News from an Earthquake


To download The 12 Insider Secrets to Protect Your Data, click here.

Posted by: Ed Becker | April 29, 2009

Is Pandemic Part of Your Business Continuity Planning?

 

surgical mask

surgical mask

The floods, earthquakes and tornadoes of 2008 motivated many companies to revisit or begin Business Continuity Planning. The recent news of a potential Swine Flu Pandemic is just one more reminder of the importance of having a working plan in place.  A vital piece of continuity planning is workforce planning specifically for a pandemic. This should include establishing remote access, web conferencing, and identifying backup sites incase sites go down.

In case of a pandemic, companies need to ensure that key personnel can work remotely with secure computer and internet access. Critical systems must be accessible with contingencies in place for access if key personnel get sick and their responsibilities need to be taken over. BeckITSystems includes products to secure workers and centrally manage remote desktops and laptops for all our clients.

In recent years businesses have focused on Business Continuity with specific Pandemic initiatives and virtualization server technology aimed at helping firms keep computer systems and network infrastructures up and running in the event of an outbreak or disaster.

Web conferencing will help your team stay productive and allow them to conduct business without having to travel during times of potential outbreak. Remote access to files and documents is critical to making web conferencing effective.

Locating and equipping a remote operations site during a crisis is next to impossible.  Companies such as Agility, specialize in continuity solutions that provide power, technology, space and connectivity in the event of a disaster.

This is a good opportunity for you to emphasize to your employees the normal flu season messages–hand hygiene, stay home if you don’t feel well, etc. Access to a guide for data backup and disaster recovery is located at www.ManageMyTechnology.com.  This blog recently featured a 12 part series on web-worker tools. Most of the tools are free, all are on the Internet and all provide excellent collaboration features plus management insight into the work. For more information on Business Continuity and Web-Worker Program Planning, you may contact BeckITSystems, Inc. on the web at www.BeckITSystems.com ; by email at KeepITGoing@BeckITSystems.com ; or by phone at (703) 433-0730.  

A podcast of a good success story of business continuity is found at www.BusinessTechRadio.com  I recommend this 3 minute mp3 to you!

Swine Flu Update

The recent cases of swine flu in Mexico and the US are concerning, because they have occurred in individuals who have not had contact with livestock, indicating human-to-human transmission.

The current year flu vaccine is not expected to provide protection.  And millions of Tamiflu treatment courses have been strategically positioned throughout the US.
 
Deaths have occurred in affected individuals in Mexico, and a 23 month old child in the U.S. died from this on 4/28/2009.

DHS analysis at this time is that disruptions to U.S. critical infrastructure will be low, with impacts on healthcare most likely as symptomatic individuals and worried well individuals seek medical attention.

Should the outbreak intensify, there may be additional effects resulting from increased absenteeism.

Beginning Tips for Business Continuity Planning

  • Establish one person as your Continuity Director and let your members know who that person is
  • Prioritize critical functions
  • Identify functions that could be suspended for up to two months
  • Identify positions needed to carry out critical functions
  • Build depth through cross training
  • Plan for alternative work schedules and implement a web-worker program
  • Continuity planning for your computer systems and workforce
  • Maintain a healthy work environment
  • Update sick leave and FMLA policies
  • Encourage/require ill employees stay home

 Basic precautions, such as hand washing and avoiding contact with symptomatic individuals are recommended.

 Key Points of Business Continuity Planning 

•     Establish one person as your Continuity Director and let your members know who that person is

•          Prioritize critical functions

•          Identify functions that could be suspended for up to two months

•          Identify positions needed to carry out critical functions

•          Build depth through cross training

•          Plan for alternative work schedules and implement a web-worker program

•          Continuity planning for your computer systems and workforce

•          Maintain a healthy work environment

•          Update sick leave and FMLA policies

•          Encourage/require ill employees stay home

Knowledge workers today spend extensive effort in researching and finding data on the Internet. Retain in retrieving researched data is often a challenge.  Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at any time, from anywhere. Oh yes, did I also tell you that it’s free? Like most web tools, there is an advanced feature set available on a paid subscription basis.

Evernote captures your data and allows you to retrieve it from overriding devices from the Web. The Web worker’s job is to make sure you have selected good key words. So there will be easily retrieval later. In addition, Evernot provides client software that allows synchronizing the online database with multiple Windows or Macintosh and even Windows mobile hardware.

If you are a road warrior, you will LOVE the mobile client that allows you to search on your PDA! Oh yes, did I also tell you that it’s free?

Sharing the information you have stored with coworkers, supervisors or anyone is as easy as clicking on the e-mail icon. Evernote will send the information by e-mail to your recipients. If you are already deeply engaged in the Google online tools, then you may want to use Google notebook instead. Google notebook is similar in functions and of course interacts with the other Google applications. If you later decide to leave Google behind, there is an import facility in Evernote that accepts all the Google notebook data you have created.

Posted by: Ed Becker | April 14, 2009

Web worker tool #10 — Remote Access

The expense and usability of VPNs is not recommended for Web Workers.  Secure remote access is best accomplished using a tool that allows remote control of and in the office computer. This provides access to one of business applications and network speeds with the utmost security.

Most Web worker arrangements include worktime in the office as well as worktime an alternate location. With that arrangement the Web worker has a PC already installed in the organization’s office. As a result secure access to the employees dedicated computer is all that is needed to access corporate computing tools remotely. VPN has been the tool of choice, because of its security. Today LogMeIn provides the encrypted VPN tunnel for security with remote access to the employee’s in-office computer. Best of all, operating LogMeIn is simple and highly reliable.

LogMeIn is a tool that can easily be set-up, provides VPN encryption, and, depending on the feature set required, is free or inexpensive.  Check out this wonderful application and the different versions available at http://www.LogMeIn.com.

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