Mode Helps an Economic Consultancy Become GDPR Compliant

GDPR

GDPR became law in May 2018, however, many businesses are still in the dark about how their processes and office equipment can be data risks. Mode welcomed the opportunity to discuss with an economic regulation consultancy about their GDPR obligations.

The Company’s issues

The Consultancy had realised that so many of their processes were not GDPR compliant and their equipment was vulnerable to a cyber-attack where their network could be easily accessed. As they dealt with sensitive information for their clients, they realised they had to make the relevant changes as a matter of urgency. Also, as the business was working with high-profile clients, it was necessary in retaining them,  they could demonstrate they were compliant and by not doing so could jeopardise their business.

Mode ascertained that their current print solutions and network were not secure, hard drives were not encrypted and these could be accessed via the device’s IP address, causing a potential breach. Also, without the facility of having secure printing, uncollected print jobs could be seen by unauthorised employees.

Their current equipment only had SMB1 scanning encryption and as this is older technology and has been proven to be unsecure, meaning scanning was also a potential data breach.

Mode’s solution

Mode provided a secure print software which meant that print jobs were not released from the printer unless the user was at the machine. This eliminated the risk of sensitive documents being seen or picked up accidentally. This is a feature that has become increasingly popular in the light of the GDPR law.

All new equipment was configured with an encryption, self-overwriting hard drive. The consultancy could decide when the device deleted its data and that nothing was kept unnecessarily. This meant that they became compliant under GDPR in the sub heading of “Keeping Information”.

All scans were fully encrypted when leaving the device and entering the cloud using the new SMB2 level encryption, preventing the document from being intercepted by a hacker.

Should at any point, one of the consultancy’s clients wishes to “be forgotten”, Mode’s Managed Print Suite can trace and retrieve any print, copy or scanned jobs associated with a client and with a simple command, all that information could be erased from the database.

The added value for our new clients’, was that their machines no longer jammed, and we ensured that as part of our service to them, they received maintenance checks with our service team, reducing the possibility of the equipment breaking down.

If you’re still in the dark about GDPR, then take a look at our GDPR page https://www.modeprintsolutions.co.uk/secure-printing/gdpr-understanding-your-responsibilities/

Or contact one of our team on 0345 223 2203 or on enquries@modeprintsolutions.co.uk

Will Leasing a Photocopier Work for Your Business?

photocopier

Copiers remains an essential piece of office equipment even though in the age of digitisation we all believed that this would change. The reality is we still need photocopiers for us to perform our daily duties at work.

However, when you review what type of equipment you need, purchasing a photocopier can be extremely costly. However, there is always the option of leasing allowing you to save money on copying without buying it.

Lease? Why would you do that?

Copiers are expensive particularly if you need a very good quality one! Your provider will offer you a lease arrangement lasting over a period of months meaning that you obtain the high quality of equipment your business needs for a cost that is spread over months rather than having to outlay huge costs! Also, with the lease, you will obtain the support of your provider with maintenance, supplies, service and more importantly as the copier inevitably ages, your print supplier should be able to offer you an upgrade in equipment under your lease that will match the needs of your business. This means you always have the most up to date equipment.

Know your requirements

Consider and calculate how many copies your business makes per month and ensure your proposed supplier is aware of this, so they can offer you the correct machine. However, you should ask the right questions to the supplier: how many copies does the machine do? Will it fit in the space allocated? Cost per copy? What are the functions needed for this machine?

Always remember the benefits of leasing are:

  • Smaller monthly manageable payments rather than a large one-off sum
  • Support from your provider
  • Upgrade options often available
  • A good provider will always offer transparency in their offer to you.

If you’d like to speak to one of our team about our unique product Simple, then contact us today.

3 Ways Managed Print Services can Benefit Your Business

benefits
What are Managed Print Services?

Managed Print Services depend on computer software to keep an eye on print activities; this involves seeing patterns in print behaviour, creating rules for printing, managing devices and creating established workflows. In short, it helps you make better use of your printers by giving you a way to monitor and control how your staff use them.

Did you know that by implementing managed print services in your business you could reduce your print and copy spend by up to a third? And that’s not all, here are three more ways that managed print services can benefit your business…

1 –  Cost Benefits

Have you been unable to print an important document because the toner has run out or the printer is displaying a fault and your IT department are too busy to fix it? These common occurrences cost both time and money, reinforcing the benefit of using managed print services. They give your business the maximum level of print service when you need it most.

Maintaining your old printers can help you to keep costs low in the short term, but in the long term you’ll miss out on new technologies that will provide cost benefits, while facing expenses and uncertainties that managed print services can eliminate.

2 – Up-to-date security

Implementing a print management solution is the most secure and efficient way of ensuring your business is safe guarding itself against print and data security issues.  Print management offers the most up to date technology which means better printers for maintenance, management and most importantly, security. All of your printed documents remain safe and confidential until the end user is ready to authorise and collect them.

3 – Environmental benefits

Managed Print Service providers help your business to reduce waste by regularly auditing your printing processes and upgrading to more advanced printers and functions. These functions include restricting the use of colour; printing double sided and offering pull printing, so that print jobs only print when actively requested from the printer. This means less abandoned print jobs.

Top Tips to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

productivity

If you want to give your team a boost and see their productivity improve, there are some really simple ways to achieve this. Just a few small changes to your work habits can have an incredibly positive effect on your whole company.

Here are our five simple tips for increasing your team’s productivity at work and getting the most out of your time in the office.

  1. Clean up and organise

One of the easiest ways to improve your productivity is to tidy up your work space.
Ask each department to spend half an hour at the end of each week to clean up their areas. This can even include cleaning out or organising their email inboxes. This will help maintain a clear and productive start for all on a Monday morning.

  1. Make a plan

Taking just a few minutes to plan the day will keep you and your team on top of their tasks. Work out what work or clients you need to prioritise and assign each task to a member of your team using an online work float or even a whiteboard. Ensure that everyone knows what their responsibilities are and praise your employees for completing their tasks at the end of the day.

  1. Minimise distractions

Asking employees to keep to a ‘desk ban’ of mobile phones will help them to keep on track of their work throughout the day. Notifications from personal devices are a big distraction in the workplace and should be kept to lunch breaks where possible.  If music in the office is causing a distraction, banning it may not be the answer. Music can help increase productivity, so a simple solution is to ask staff to wear headphones to listen to their favourite tunes.

  1. Take breaks

Taking short breaks from work can make a significant difference to your staff’s performance. Whether you encourage a tea break in the morning or a quick walk around the local park on a Friday afternoon, you will soon see the benefits. Exercise and activity isn’t just good for your physical health, it can have a positive impact on your work performance. Plus, physical activity has been proven to positively affect mental health and focus.

  1. Reduce meetings

Before booking your next meeting, ask yourself whether you can accomplish the same outcome via email or phone. Communication and team meetings are vital to a successful company, however having regular meetings can sometimes become a chore and take up valuable working time. Pick and choose your meetings wisely to ensure they are productive and time well spent.

Printing Solutions Are Green

Whatever size of your business, we all have a reason behind reducing our impact to the environment.

Print Solutions have often been hailed as blights on being able to be green in business, however, this really is a myth now in the age of increasing advances in technology which have considered the impact on the environment and made significant developments to reduce the impact.

Many people assume that by being more “digitally minded”, printing less paper and keeping everything online keeps them green, however, this is a misconception. You must bear in mind that all the digital equipment we have in our offices uses considerable energy which is not environmentally friendly at all! By 2030 it is predicted that we could discard between 400-700 million obsolete computers per year. When this type of equipment is not discarded in a responsible manner, it results in toxic emissions that harm the environment.

Here we give you pointers on how you can keep your print solutions green in our evolving business environment:

Choose a multifunctional printer: If you need to scan, copy, print in black and white as well as colour, the most efficient piece of office equipment you can have is an MFP (Multifunctional printer). This allows you to have all the functions you require in your office in only one piece of equipment saving you money on energy bills and reducing the amount of CO2 emissions you may have previously had by having several machines doing different functions. Also new printing solutions are greener nowadays so upgrading them will ultimately improve your environmental stance.

Switch off your machine at night: In standby, printers can use as much energy as when they are being used. You can ensure that you put the machine in sleep mode (you can find this in the settings), which means the machine will sleep automatically and this prevents energy being used unnecessarily.

Print both sides: make sure you place the settings when you print both sides reducing the amount of paper you use, particularly for those larger documents. Reducing the amount of paper, you use will significantly improve your green status.

Print preview: Always do a print preview so that you can see how your document will be printed. When you print without checking the preview and you discover that it has been printing incorrectly this can increase your paper wastage considerably!

Recycle whatever you can! Always take time to consider that you are recycling everything you can for your print solutions, and really this should become a company wide policy with your employees engaged on your new processes. Recycling paper will reduce the need to cut down trees and in turn reduces the energy used for paper production. 5million trees a year could be saved if everyone recycled 10% more paper! Landfill space is also saved when paper is reused. Also, did you know that your toners can be reused as well. This essential component for your printer has always been considered a wasteful product that does not decompose and just takes up valuable space at landfill. However, all responsible manufactures now have the capacity to recycle your toners and you can ask your supplier to provide you with information on this.

Use the correct paper: for presentation and marketing materials, you obviously need a high-quality glossy paper but if you are just printing out meeting minutes just make sure you use a normal average grade.

Create on draft documents: try printing in economy mode, it’s not a pristine finish but you can save that for the real thing and when any amendments have been made.

Release print jobs when you’re at the machine: there are several systems that are now available to ensure this happens. At Mode we use the Follow me printing system where the print job is only released when the person is at the machine and enters a pin or presents a card to the machine. This reduces paper being left at the machine and wasted.

Get a scrap tray: to further help being more green whilst printing implement a scrap tray policy then if you have printed accidentally the paper can be used for meeting notes etc.

Dispose of your old solutions properly: Old printing solutions have been notoriously bad for the environment, however, if you are working with a new supplier, they should be able to help you with the disposal of this equipment properly to get you on the road of being green!

However, it’s not just Printing solutions that need to be green, really any business should implement a wider policy to reduce the impact we all have on the environment. This could include:

  • Cutting water wastage-ask your employees how they might be able to help with that
  • Cut down on heating bills-think about how this can be done
  • Implement a whole recycling plan
  • Have energy saving light bulbs

If you want to discuss how Mode can help you be green with your printing solutions, then do contact us today to talk to one of the team.

How to Find the Right Printer for your Business

Understanding your business needs for it to function efficiently is essential. Understanding then what equipment you need, in particular the type of printers, will only aid your efficiency.

For many, printers all look the same and it can be quite confusing when deciding what will work for you.

Making a wrong choice in your printers can lead to unnecessary expense, decline in productivity and frustration! So, Mode has compiled a quick-look list that should help you decide the type of printer you need.

Running Costs: If you are purchasing the machine yourself, this can be exceedingly costly as the responsibility of servicing, supplies and maintenance will be down to you. Perhaps consider entering into an arrangement with a supplier and review the type of servicing they will include.

Office size: If you are a one-person band, then maybe a portable printer is ideal for you as you are on the go and maybe your office can be anywhere. Or if you have more people in your team, consider the size of your office and the space you have for a printer.

Functionality? You may need a printer and photocopier if you already own a fax machine, however, more common these days is the need for an all in one machine that allows you to copy, print, scan and fax.

How connected? Do you need wireless or can you be connected? Do you need to print from a mobile or will you and your business only need computer connection?

What quality do you need? Think about your needs as a business. If you are a design company then you need a printer that can print high quality so that you can show your clients your work. Or do you only print text? It would be pointless you are obtaining a high-quality printer that has the capacity to print high quality images, when really you only need typed text.

Inkjet or laser? There really isn’t any difference on price these days but think about what ink you’d like to use. Inkjets use ink and laser use toners. Broadly they offer the same quality and capacity to do the same things although arguably Laser have a broader capacity for different work.

Print Speed: Think about how much you point, you will then need to consider the speed of your machine, particularly if you are in need to printing larger volumes.

Think about a supplier! Sometimes its just easier to have someone handle all this for you. There are often so many things to consider when obtaining the right printer for your business that sometimes-seeking advice can help you reach the right decision.

If you need to discuss your printer needs for your business, then do contact Mode today.

Security in the Printing Environment

printing

Businesses cannot forget that GDPR came into Law this May. However, whilst office equipment has significantly improved over the years in terms of functionality and security, many companies still have outdated equipment that could be a potential security issue.

People often don’t associate printing with security breaches, however as cyber criminals increase in sophistication, often network firewalls and printers are insufficient in providing businesses the security they need.

You may think that that equipment is just a box in the corner of your office that allows you to print and copy but this is how your box can be putting your business at risk:

  1. Storage: devices that record images and print them are effectively storing sensitive information on the internal disks or hard drives. These can be accessed if this is not protected.
  2. Capture: These printers can easily capture and route to many destinations if hacked, potentially exposing sensitive data.
  3. Cloud Control Panel: If your cloud connectivity is unsecured, then unauthorised users could access this.
  4. Machines Control panel: Users can exploit the settings on printers from an unprotected control panel with the potential to even disable the device, making this a real security threat.
  5. Input tray: Often sensitive documents can be left at the input tray and these can be easily stolen.
  6. Output tray: This is the most common security breach, Left, unwanted print-outs that can potentially have sensitive data on and these can easily fall into the wrong hands!
  7. USB ports: Cyber criminals can easily access the printer via an unsecured USB or network ports.
  8. Network: Your network can be intercepted as your data travels from your computer to the machine unless your firewall is secure.
  9. Mobile Printing: if you have employees printing from their mobile devices, this could cause a breach because unwanted print-outs may end up being left on the machine. Many people may have access to your office and data that needs to be protected may be left exposed.
  10. Bios and Firmware: This is effectively the “Brains” of your device. It tells the printer what to do and potentially is a huge security breach waiting to happen. If you have a newer machine, this will receive updates to the Bios and Firmware, however, if it is an older printer it will probably not be updated therefore leaving your printer as a security risk.
  11. Hard drive: If your hard drive is not encrypted then ultimately you are inviting hackers to gain access to your printing devices and obtain your sensitive information.

Multifunctional devices are equipped now to ensure that your printing has the highest security. Benefits include:

  • Multifunctional Printers (or MFP’s), have more than 250 security settings
  • Follow me printing: Print jobs not released until the owner is at the machine and has accessed it via a code/user name or card.
  • Real time threat detection
  • Security improved: not only just your printer benefits from improved security but your network will benefit from using this type of device.
  • Hard drive protection & encryption

Why don’t you talk to Mode today about how we can help your printers have the best security, so your business is not at threat any more.

What Are the Challenges Facing SME’s in 2018?

Brexit, Brexit, Brexit! These words are all that dominate our headlines and news. Frankly the negative debate detracts from the real challenges that face small to medium businesses.

A recent survey conducted by the Academy for Chief Executives significantly shows a different picture as to what is concerning these size businesses.

400 members of the Academy were questioned. These Chief Executives represent over 8 billion in revenue and employ over 40, 000 people therefore the responses to the questions can arguably represent many SME’s in the UK.

In order, these were the Chief Executives main concerns:

Finding the right people: It’s imperative as you are building a business that you get the best people. You need the “A” team, all the people in the right positions so that the MD of the Company can be removed from the day to day operations and that these people have complete ownership of the role they play. Also, leaders recognised that there was a need to invest in training and development to retain the right team and engage employees fully.

Growth and managing change: You need the ability to finance your growth. There was concern that SME’s were unable to gain access to the funding they need as there are too many procedures to go through. This is a UK issue that needs to be addressed if these businesses are to unlock their full potential.

Red Tape: There appeared to be apprehension amongst Chief Execs about Government regulations locally and nationally. Unfortunately, in this area of the survey, Government did not fair well! There was also fear that the length of time it took to process planning or lack of HMRC resources meant that valuable time was lost.

Uncertainty: ok so there was concern within the survey regarding Brexit but more from the aspect that there has been too much political uncertainty over the last few years with referendums and elections and this has caused consumer activity to be hindered. Also changes to American law on International policy has affected consumer confidence and it is SME’s that face the greater impact of this.

Increasing Costs: Things are going up all the time and this ultimately impacts small to medium size businesses the most.

Changes in Technology: Chief Executives were concerned that for them to keep up to date with the technological advances occurring now, they would need to have greater investment which was a challenge in itself!

Innovation: How is an SME supposed to evolve without innovation? Chief Execs accentuated that they wanted to deliver the results but were being challenged on how they can constantly evolve their business.

Who are Millennials? So, business leaders seem to be concerned about Millennials! But who are they? These are people born between 1980 into the 1990’s and have often been described as lazy, narcissistic and prone to jump from job to job. Also, there has been concern over Millennials unrealistic expectations of working life! The survey highlighted Chief Executives concerns over understanding this whole generation, how to retain the best of them and develop them.

Stock Market and Banks: Do we trust them? It appears many leaders were struggling to have faith in these institutions.

Security: Concerns covered all aspects of this, not only physical but cyber security as well and whether SME’s had the capacity and infrastructure to protect their business.

Whilst this discusses concerns from leaders of SME’s, we have considered other aspects that may hinder businesses from growing:

Leadership: this of course won’t have been highlighted in the Academy survey as they are all leaders themselves! However, there is no academic qualification for leadership of SME’s. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re good at leadership even if you are the leader! However, to be a good leader there is a requirement of many attributes. Drive, Skill in your field and perception are key in succeeding in your own business.

Do you have a strategy? This is a simple statement to make but lack of leadership can lead to lack of strategy. Just taking time to think about the goals you want for the business and where you want it to be in 3 years and what the plans are for these goals to be realised is paramount. Involving your team could also boost moral and engage your team.

How to implement the strategy: break it down from 3 years to 12-month objectives to 90 days? That way the task ahead does not seem so enormous and you will be delighted that you have met your targets every 90 days!

Creating the right culture: This is so important. What are your values as a business. If you don’t have any create around 4 or 5 so that it’s simple for your employees to remember. This then leads to a defined culture that your teams can cultivate and nurture.

Employees first! Simply, ensure your staff are well trained and have complete understanding of what you need them to achieve. If you look after them, they will look after your customers!

Systems, processes, productivity! Many SME’s think that by having systems will make then lose that competitive edge! This cannot be further from the truth. Implementing tried and tested systems means that you will deliver your product or service brilliantly to your customers. Making the whole business aware of these, increases productivity.

Performance measurement: The truth is, if you have performance measured then tasks get done! Often SME’s struggle to identify the key metrics that should drive their business forward. However, finding those measures can be a challenge. A starting point is always to measure sales and profit, however, ensuring that all your operational departments have clear objectives to measure will help them reach their target too.

If you do not get all the above right…… several other issues will arise:

  • Cash flow issues
  • High staff turnover
  • Eroding margins

This is often because of the leader working too much within the business rather than ON the business. So many SME’s are challenged by not finding the time to focus on:

  • Growing revenues
  • Being dependant on only a few big clients
  • Competition on price
  • Raising capital
  • Cashflow

This is all a lot to take in! We know, we’re an SME ourselves, but make sure as a leader of one, you acquire the right support, even in the form of a mentor. As the leader you will need to stay energised for your team to keep them engaged with your overall objectives. Make growing this business a team event! By keeping engaged with your employees and regarding them your SME can only go from strength to strength.

In a Multimedia World, How Can Your Company Be Heard?

successful business

How do you get the message of the services that your Company offers in an ever increasing noisy, competitive digital environment? Essentially the answer is: understand what makes excellent communication and how to achieve that. Easier said than done!

There are many forms of campaign that your business can use to promote yourselves but essentially you need to remember the following steps before you embark:

Know your audience: Understand who your product or services talk to, who is your target audience, and what is it about their behaviour, buying patterns or views, you want to change? You may have a compelling message, but if that is not in front of the right audience, then the message will be lost.

Engage your team: Key stakeholders in your business are vital in collaborating on a campaign. They will be able to offer a broad definition of your audience which can be further researched.

Research: Social media can be a quick way to establish how to target the audience you want. For example, targeting professionals may require LinkedIn, whereas if you are selling to a younger market you may want to consider Twitter or Instagram.

How to create your message: When you have knowledge of your audience, you will then be able to craft the type of message you need. Your product/services need to completely differentiate from your competitors and that is a fundamental strategy for an effective communications plan. Simple, clear messaging will really cut through all the noise in the digital world and that is more effective than long lists of benefits and features.

How do you measure success? Some companies measure success by an increase of sales and these are hard hitting facts that can tell you if your campaign is successful or not. Others are looking for brand awareness and raising the perception of their company. These are metrics that are difficult to track and measure. Whilst ideally you should track this later purpose over time, so you can ascertain whether this has been successful or not, it is understandable if you don’t want to since people like and share posts all the time without really understanding or digesting the content! Let alone changing their perception of your products or services. For your communication process to be successful, you should gather data from other sources. Surveys could help with this before and after your campaign. The initial survey could act as a benchmark, whilst a later one could ascertain whether your campaign has had any impact on people’s perception of your business and the products and services it offers.

Essentially, whatever you want to achieve, knowing how to reach the right audience for you and implementing a rigorous communication plan will only help your business deliver results.

Do you have motivated employees? If you follow these 10 steps it’s guaranteed that you will

staff meeting

It has always been assumed that financial reward is all that employees need or want. Whilst this obviously contributes to a happy team, there are many more elements that you should ensure you implement in your business to maintain employee retention.

  1. Leadership that is supportive

A good leader is a role model, setting standards that are high for all their employees. However, it is crucial that as a leader, you are supportive, lending an ear, guidance and direction for whenever your employees need it. Assuming you have skilled and dedicated staff will help you to create a positive atmosphere that will increase productivity and create the ethos of a supportive team.

  1. Define your vision

Ensure all the Company know the vision and how that translates for them and the tasks they need to perform. For a business to succeed, all stakeholders should know what is expected and where the company is heading strategically.

  1. Empower the people!

Ultimately, people like to feel valued as an individual. None of us like to feel we are just a tiny cog in a big wheel, therefore it is important to allow people to express themselves. Allowing people to maybe have a picture on the wall of the car they would like to own one day, or their dream holiday means they will want to work hard to anticipate that open day they will have those things! Also allowing people to make decisions without feeling suffocated (as only the leadership team can make all the decisions!) will mean employees will feel helpless in their roles. Allow people to make decisions and be accountable for them!

  1. Training your team

Never assume that every member of staff has every skill that is necessary to perform their role. Check personally what type of skills they think they are missing and that they assume are essential for their job.

  1. Communicate

Newsletters, regular meetings, training sessions, are all ideas to keep people informed within your business. If you think people are becoming confused, ask questions to find out why and maybe review how you communicate to the whole team. Employees that feel communicated to, feel involved and valued.

  1. Engagement is key!

If you have a project, try and get as many people as possible involved in the planning and decision-making. You will be amazed at how motivated people feel if they feel their ideas have contributed and been listened to and how they will invest in completing the project to their highest capabilities.

  1. Teamwork is paramount!

Building your team can involve the office environment and out of the office! Team events/days really encourage team work outside of employees normal working routine, however, you will reap the rewards in the office environment as this well increase productivity.

 

  1. Eliminate dissatisfaction and boredom

Motivation in your role is most definitely linked to job satisfaction and the support of your leaders in your business is key in eliminating any dissatisfaction. Avoid intrusive supervision of your employees. Your staff need to know that as leaders you are aware of any problematic areas and are working on resolving these. Boredom also drains the motivation out of your employees. Routine can aid this! Allow people to be explorative and inventive, new processes for old tasks, and rotate repetitive tasks so that it’s not always the same people doing them!

  1. Lead for success

Providing positive feedback to employees that have achieved is so important and provides such motivation. Don’t wait for performance reviews, if something great has happened then tell that employee or team straight away. It will do wonders in keeping everyone motivated. Equally, if something hasn’t gone so well, its best to address it straight away that employee has the chance to rectify the situation. Sometimes having quick weekly meetings to update everyone on projects can help build strong working relationships.

  1. Incentivise

Of course, this is so important for your employees to feel valued. No matter the size of your business, there are always opportunities to reward excellent performance. Research has proven that if your employees have goals that can be achieved with potential financial reward then productivity is highly improved.

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