Office 365 Helps Odette New York Focus on Their Craft
Starting as purely a creative outlet, Jennifer Sarkilahti made handcrafted jewelry. However, as she was inspired by the city's entrepreneurial spirit, she created Odette New York. Along the way, Sarkilahti's real challenge wasn’t finding a market for her jewelry, it was to stay connected to the creative process even as the business grew. Office 365 played a key role in Odette New York's needs, catering to their specific artistic needs as a business.
Staying small as a growth strategy
Sarkilahti was adamant about not getting too big, too fast. Keeping things local allowed her to stay in tune with the creative process as well as her manufacturing partners. “As a business, we value that we are able to make our product locally and take a slower, more thoughtful approach to manufacturing. Although the costs are higher to produce domestically, we can maintain a connection to the jewelry and the people that have a hand in making it throughout the entire process,” says Sarkilahti.
An intuitive software solution
Sarkilahti admits that technology doesn’t come as naturally to her as the artistic process, however, she credits Office 365 for helping her through this. With that help, she is able to focus on her creativity, Sarkilahti states, “I’ve found the Office 365 products to be intuitive and easy to learn, as well as capable of adapting to whatever our needs of the moment might be. We use Excel and Outlook to help us create an efficient workflow process within our studio and communicate with people outside our studio, including vendors, retailers and customers. And on the creative side, we use PowerPoint to create mood boards for new collections, photoshoots and look books.”
Their slower approach to growth is certainly paying off. Odette New York currently has over 70 accounts, including both domestic and international retailers, and has been featured in major publications such as Vogue and Elle. Perhaps more importantly, Sarkilahti spends her days doing what she loves most—creating beautiful, handcrafted jewelry in her stunning Brooklyn studio.
Microsoft launches new email marketing and invoicing tools for small businesses
[vc_row][vc_column][grve_single_image image="17396"][vc_column_text]As written by Frederic Lardinois on techcrunch.com
In the shadow of its Inspire partner conference, Microsoft today launched in preview three new tools for small businesses: Microsoft Connections, Microsoft Listings and Microsoft Invoicing. These join the company’s existing stable of small business tools like Microsoft Bookings and the Outlook Customer Manager.
Microsoft Connections allows its users to create Mailchimp-like email marketing campaigns. The new service, which is available on the web, Android and iOS, will offer the usual trappings of an email marketing campaign tool, including the ability to manage subscribers, monitor campaign performance (open rates, clicks, new customers, redemptions, etc.) and, of course, create the actual campaigns. While the details about how exactly the service works remain sparse, Microsoft says it will offer users a number of pre-designed templates for their newsletters and “simple ways for people to join your mailing list or unsubscribe.” A company spokesperson also told us that the new tools will be available at no extra cost.[/vc_column_text][grve_single_image image="17398"][vc_column_text]The idea here is obviously to tie users deeper into the Office 365 ecosystem and give them an alternative to the likes of MailChimp. Microsoft argues that getting started with email marketing “can be overwhelming.” While its competitors will surely disagree, there can’t be any doubt that those small businesses that already use Office 365 as their productivity suite of choice will appreciate the addition of this new tool.
Also new is Microsoft Invoicing, a new tool for — you guessed it — creating invoices and estimates. From what we can see, it’s a pretty straightforward service and the standout feature for many businesses is likely that it can be integrated with PayPal so small businesses can easily accept credit card payments. There also is a QuickBooks connector that lets you connect your accounting software (and your accountant) with this new invoicing tool.[/vc_column_text][grve_single_image image="17399"][vc_column_text]The third new tool is Microsoft Listings, which allows you to manage your business listings on Facebook, Google, Bing and Yelp and monitor online views and reviews. It obviously competes with a number of similar tools that do the same, but just like with the other new offerings, it’s a way for Microsoft to keep its users inside its own ecosystem.
The new applications are now available through Microsoft’s Office 365 First Release program.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Why Every Small Business Needs a BDR Plan
Why Every Small Business Needs a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan
As a digitally active business in 2016, you can’t afford to lose your data. Whether at the hands of a natural disaster, human error, or cyber attack, data loss is costly and extremely risky. That’s why you need a backup and disaster recovery solution.
What is BDR?
As a small business owner, you’ve probably asked yourself this simple question at least once: “What is BDR?” Well, the most basic definition is a combination of data backup and disaster recovery solutions that are designed to work together to ensure uptime, diminish data loss, and maximize productivity in the midst of an attack, natural disaster, or other compromising situation. In other words, BDR solutions keep businesses safe when trouble strikes.
According to research by Security Week, the total volume of data loss at the enterprise level has increased more than 400 percent over the past couple of years and the trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. With the rise of big data, cloud computing, and BYOD policies in the workplace, it’s becoming increasingly challenging for businesses to protect their private data.
IT Web suggests that the total cost of data breaches will be more than $2.1 trillion by 2019. This is in part due to the fact that small businesses don’t always take security seriously. They wrongly assume that it’s the big corporations that face the highest risks. Unfortunately, this is a false assumption.
A Verizon report says that small data breaches -- those with fewer than 100 files lost -- cost between $18,120 and $35,730. Unless these are expenses that you can easily sustain, it’s time to implement a BDR plan.
Five reasons why SBOs need a BDR plan.
When small businesses don’t have a BDR solution/plan in place, it’s typically because they’re unclear about the true value of BDR.
Let’s review some of the top benefits to give you an idea of why these solutions are so important to the health of your small business.
1. Protects against effects of natural disasters. Whether it’s a flood, earthquake, hurricane, blizzard, or other extreme natural disaster, there are plenty of uncontrollable circumstances that can cause your business to experience downtime. And, according to the National Archives and Records Administration, more than 90 percent of companies that experience at least seven days of data center downtime go out of business within a year. Let that sink in. While a BDR plan won’t prevent a natural disaster from occurring, it will protect your data and ensure that downtime doesn’t compromise your company.
2. Lessens impact of cyber attacks. As more and more data is moved online, cyber criminals are increasing their efforts and focusing on businesses that they believe are unprotected. In most cases, this means small businesses that appear vulnerable. Once again, a BDR plan can limit the impact of an attack and can prevent your business from losing valuable data.
3. Keeps client data safe. Do you store a lot of confidential client or customer data? If so, you can’t afford to lose this data or let it slip into the wrong hands. A BDR plan ensures that all of this information is properly stored and controlled. As a result, you don’t have to worry about damaging your brand reputation, should an unforeseeable incident arise.
4. People make mistakes. While natural disasters and cyber attacks are discussed more than anything else, the reality is that your own employees are sometimes responsible for the biggest data losses. Mistakes happen and a single poor choice can end up compromising data. That’s why it’s so important for businesses not only to train employees properly, but also invest in backup solutions.
5. Systems fail. Finally, we all know that hardware, machines, and other systems fail. Regardless of how much you spend on your technology, no solution is perfect. Even systems that come with 99.9 percent uptime guarantees will falter every once in a while. As such, businesses must invest in robust BDR plans that account for all of these risks.
What to look for in a BDR solution.
Once you determine that your business needs a BDR plan in place, how do you find the right solution? While every business is different, start by analyzing the following:
•Hardware compatibility. Depending on the hardware that your business uses, you may need a BDR solution that’s specifically tailored to your current setup. Keep this in mind as you compare options.
•Scalable pricing. As your business grows over time, you’re going to collect and store more data. A flexible pricing model will allow you cost-effectively to scale according to your demands.
Around-the-clock support. You never know when disaster will strike. Make sure that your BDR vendor has 24/7/365 technical support available.
•Strong reputation. Finally, it’s important to consider the BDR solution’s reputation. How long has it been on the market? What do customers say? The answers to these questions will tell you a lot.
If you can find a BDR solution that meets these four criteria, then you’ve probably found the right solution for your business.
Protect your business.
Nobody wants to assume that something bad is going to happen to their business – and hopefully you’ll never be exposed to any of the risks highlighted in this article – but the harsh reality is that you’ll likely face one of these issues at some point in the future.
There’s no way to prevent a cyber attack, natural disaster, technical malfunction or uncontrollable human error, but you can protect your business from costly data loss by investing in a solution that aids in data backup and disaster recovery. Frankly, it’s unwise to wait any longer.
Managed Solution is a full-service technology firm that empowers business by delivering, maintaining and forecasting the technologies they’ll need to stay competitive in their market place. Founded in 2002, the company quickly grew into a market leader and is recognized as one of the fastest growing IT Companies in Southern California.
We specialize in providing full managed services to businesses of every size, industry, and need.
Whitepaper: Technology Leader's Guide to Azure Active Directory
Technology Leader's Guide to Azure Active Directory
Identity and Access Management as a Service boosts organizational eff ectiveness
There’s no question that cloud offerings present businesses with ample opportunity to lower their costs while increasing efficiency and agility. But these organizations will reap these benefits only if they can overcome some of the challenges cloud technology presents.
Chief among the challenges is maintaining proper security for cloud-based applications and data. An important consideration is having an effective IAM strategy that spans both on-premises and cloud-based resources.
Azure Active Directory Premium offers a solution enabling SMBs to easily extend the AD platform with which they are already familiar to also handle cloud solutions. Not using AD? Azure AD Premium also works with myriad other directory offerings.
With Azure AD Premium, businesses can reduce their risk while improving the productivity of their IT group and ensuring compliance with internal and external policies and regulations. Azure Active Directory extends your on-premises directories into the cloud, providing a truly global identity and access management solution that delivers effective, secure and modern IT services.
Download this WhitePaper to get a full guide of Azure Active Directory's potential for the modern business.
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Technology is improving the way business is handled around the globe and small businesses are facing a new world of work. Check out our this Rise of Mobility infographic to see how the numbers reflect the changing times.
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