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Why Your Business Should Use a Multifunction Printer

multifunction printer

Multifunction printers (MFPs) combine a printer, copier and scanner into one convenient machine. This makes them an essential piece of office equipment. In this blog, we’ve summed up the top three advantages of a multifunction printer and why your business should be using one.

MFPs are Convenient

One of the biggest advantages of a multifunction printer is that it is so convenient to use.  Documents can be printed, copied and scanned in one place, without having to use several machines. An MFP is also space saving as you do not have to find space for multiple devices in the office.

MFPs are Cost efficient

As well as not having to purchase separate devices for each task, MFPs are cost efficient in the long run, because you only have the running and maintenance costs of a single machine. In addition, most MFPs have a very low cost per page rate for both colour and mono printing and offer accounting features that let you restrict printer use or allow default settings such as double-sided printing to reduce your costs.

MFPs are Smart

Most modern MFPs allow you to connect your printer with either your smartphone or tablet for wireless and cloud printing. This means you can print important documents, even when you are out of the office. In addition, every document that you copy, scan or fax using your MFP can be directly sent to your smartphone, tablet or laptop. Some models also allow users to check and send emails directly from the machine.

It’s easy to see why a multifunction printer would be beneficial for your business. To learn more about how we can help make your print processes simpler and more efficient with bespoke print solutions, please get in touch.

Mode Print Solutions celebrates another successful year at the 2019 annual Sales Awards and donates once more to their chosen charities.

donation

The Hertfordshire based firm celebrated another successful year at their annual Sales Awards hosted at Tewin Bury Fam, Hertfordshire.  Employees of the Company all joined together to acknowledge the success of Mode’s Sales team in the past year, as well as presenting long service awards for several employees.

Whilst acknowledging the success of the Sales Team was the focus of the night, it was also an opportunity to celebrate the success of the Service Team. Last year they responded to calls from our clients on average within 77 minutes which is an incredible industry leading response time!

The awards included Mode Academy Graduate 2018, awarded to two of our amazing graduates, Sales Manager of the Year, Top New Business Sales Executive, Manager of the year and Sales Executive of the year, along with the long service awards.

Robert Clarke CEO commented “This is a celebration for all of Mode. From the incredible Sales team whose industry leading expertise drives our business success, along with our Service Team whom in 2018 exceeded expectations in providing our high level of service and ensured we always delivered on our promises to our clients. Our focus on delivering industry leading service is paramount to our success and our investment in our people means we continue to strengthen our business and ensures longevity in our client base.”

 

Stuart Ogilvie Sales Director continued “The Mode Academy has proven to be the foundation of a successful Sales Team and our drive to continually train our employees means that we have established a fantastic process that allows our team to thrive and develop in their careers. Because of this, our employees stay with us as they know, our training allows them to succeed. Its all about investment in our people to achieve our business goals.”

As part of the Awards evening, Mode also donated £25, 000 to their chosen charities of Marie Curie, Together for Short Lives and Blue Cross

Robert Clarke concluded, “The success of Mode is underpinned by our investment in our incredible employees. Nurturing our talent and developing our team and celebrating their successes means we continue to deliver on our commitment to our clients. This is the key to Mode’s success.”

8 Steps to Ensure Your Business is Printing Securely

In any business, the need to protect your assets and information is increasingly crucial as criminal hackers become more sophisticated in their approach to either illegally gain information or disrupt your business.

You will need to ensure you print securely if:

  1. You print sensitive documents
  2. There is a need to comply with industry standards
  3. You must/want to protect your IT network from outside threats

Why are printers even considered a threat?

  • MFD’s/Desktop printers all contain hard drives that are necessary in order to queue print jobs-these can be hacked if they are not secure.
  • Printers that are not configured properly can provide access for a hacker
  • Sensitive documents are recoverable from photocopiers

Minimise the security risk

  1. Ensure you have a printer that is right for your business with the necessary security. Home printers have minimal security whereas MFP’s (Multifunctional Printers) have more sophisticated features.
  2. Perform regular software updates. Hackers are becoming increasingly smarter and evolve the way they can access your sensitive information. Hardware manufacturers regularly release security patches to counter these threats, so ensure these are done.
  3. Implement passwords and an Admin account. All employees should have passwords on their IT equipment and there should be an admin account where one person within the business is able to access the server. This way there is traceability of who is accessing the server.
  4. Review the security settings on your printers. All MFP’s should have the capacity to only release print jobs once the author is at the device, and this is only accessed by a code only known to them, or through a personalised ID card.
  5. What is the location of your machine? Ensure that it is situated in a visible position in your office so that it is less easy for people to tamper with the device.
  6. Device encryption. This needs to be implemented on the device. Hard drives store printed documents and this is often forgotten on machines, but a strong encryption will protect your data.
  7. Network encryption. This is totally necessary to protect data as it moves from the computer to the server to the printer. This is particularly important should any of your employees work remotely or print wirelessly. Devices outside your office could connect to your network and read the data you transmit to your printer.
  8. Education in your office. Talk to your employees and ensure that every action they perform is ensuring that they are all printing securely.

For more information on printing securely visit https://www.modeprintsolutions.co.uk/secure-printing/ or call us to speak to one of the team on 0345 223 2203

Are Businesses Beginning to Reignite their Love of Traditional Print?

printing at work

Digital marketing and advertising were hailed as the answer to printed marketing and predictions were rife that this would end our love affair with printed documents. However, click through rates are in decline and a surge has begun toward direct mail marketing again.

What appears to be the trend now Is that marketeers are using a combination of both to try and attract new customers and many businesses are using print to send vouchers or discounts to entice new customers, or as in some food retailers’ cases, printed food brochures with a certain amount off should you shop with them. Certainly, retailers appear to be engaging with potential customers if they have placed something in their baskets and forgotten about it, personalised printed vouchers may encourage them to remember the items in their basket and entice them to buy.

Whilst GDPR has made businesses reconsider how they contact customers, often the methods now used by direct mail marketeers are via a postcode drop and not based on a database of names and addresses. However, people still like the personalised touch and if you can identify those that have visited your website, then it is of benefit for you to send a personalised direct mail. Be careful with personalisation though as it must be relevant to that person and not just a mail merge. Also, compliance with GDPR law should be adhered should the person insist that their data is removed from your database.

However, marketeers are beginning to realise the value of print and how good quality print is attractive to customers. People are becoming bored with junk in their inboxes and immediately hitting the delete button. Whereas dwell time on printed products has increased and there is value in producing a beautiful brochure/pamphlet to entice people if your offer is right for them.

Recently Print Brain conducted research about the effectiveness of Direct Mail versus Digital marketing and the results were exceedingly interesting! They conducted a cold acquisition campaign split between direct mail and email contacting over 900, 000 cold customers. 1 third received email only and 2 thirds a piece of direct mail.

The result?

  • The email campaign resulted in just 0.02% of email recipients enquiring with a conversion rate of 42%.
  • The DM campaign resulted in almost 1% of recipients making enquiries of which over half resulted in a sale.
  • And when the calculations were made, the cost per sale for the printed direct mail campaign was 57% lower than for the email campaign!

So, whilst these results show the love affair with print reigniting, a cohesive combination of printed direct mail and email may be a winning combination in acquiring new business.

Tips to Manage a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ Workplace

A ‘Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)’ workplace is, as the name suggests, the growing popularity of employee owned devices within a company. One example of this is smartphones, but it could also include tablets, laptops and USB drives.  As with anything, there are both benefits and drawbacks to having a BYOD workplace. It saves money for the company, because devices won’t have to be provided to each employee. It can also improve employee satisfaction and general morale, thus boosting productivity.

Unfortunately, there are also risks. Malware, viruses, unsecured devices and other issues can jeopardise corporate data, including sensitive client information and intellectual property. Fortunately, there are ways this risk can be significantly reduced, through the creation and management of BYOD policy guidelines.

Users must enrol in ‘Find My Device’ so that they have a better chance of finding their gadget if it is misplaced. Remote wipe services are also great, because they will allow the user to erase the data from their device if it goes missing, so that it can’t fall into the wrong hands. Frequent backups will prevent any significant loss if a device does have to be wiped. Regardless, corporate data should be encrypted anyway, so that compromised devices are still secure. Of course, another vital security measure is strong passwords across all smart devices.

It is also possible to prevent access to sensitive documents or applications when the user is offline. In other words, the user won’t be able to download or cache data on the device when they’re not connected to the corporate network.

So, with productivity in mind, BYOD policies have become widespread and with adequate management, it is possible for it to work successfully and safely.

Tips for Flexible and Remote Workers

Today more and more businesses are seeing the benefits of offering their employees flexible working opportunities. With improved staff productivity, extended availability and reduced business downtime, flexible working can offer a number of advantages for both your staff and your business.

 

To help you get started we’ve put together our top tips to enable your workforce to stay connected and productive, at home or on the go….

 

  1. Communication

Agree with your employees how you are going to communicate and when they will be available. Set expectations around reply times to messages and working hours.

 

  1. Meetings

Keep up regular web-video meetings with your remote workers. These meetings are key to a connected and productive team.

 

  1. Pick up the phone

Even if you have a detailed email, it is still easy to misunderstand written messages. Don’t forget to pick up the phone regularly to ensure all messages between your staff are clear and understood.

 

  1. Mobile printing

It is essential to set up mobile printing options for your remote workers. Mobile printing will allow your employees to connect and use various printing services using their own devices.

Mobile printing can  be more cost effective  for your business, improve your print queues and it can still be as secure as printing from within the office.

 

  1. Keep a schedule

Have a way of communicating what all of your team are working on, this way you can all help each other to meet deadlines and learn from each others work

Three Printing Technology Trends for 2019

3D

In the last year we have seen many exciting advances in technology. The continued rise of voice control devices, cloud-based computing, as well as new developments in the internet.

All of this and more is set to transform the printing technology marketplace in 2019 and here we are going to look the top three emerging print trends that we are most excited about…

Voice control

In 2018 we saw the introduction of voice recognition capabilities within a small number of smart printers. In 2019 the focus will be on offering more ‘smart’ services that are required in today’s workplace. Voice control will remain an opportunity for industry players to position their products and services as innovative and help businesses improve their efficiency.

Sustainable packaging

The packaging industry will witness significant advances in digital printing methods, as the need for sustainable packaging increases. In particular, corrugated inkjet will drive growth in this industry with focus on corrugated board, folding cartons, and flexible plastics.

3D Printing

3D printing is a great example of a quickly advancing technology. 3D metal printing is positioned to be the next big wave in this industry. HP has its Jet Fusion model, which it hopes will make a difference in the metal parts manufacturing sector. GE has been printing metal parts for jet engines and even Nike is using this method for its trainers.

Over the next year, the print industry will continue to innovate and reinvent, and offering printing services that are more relevant to the smart workplace and the modern world will remain a very exciting and expanding area.

Cloud printing problems? We offer you the solutions

cloud printing

Cloud printing was hailed as the answer to a lot of our business issues in achieving that office mobile utopia. It allows users to print from any device on the network. It can connect your digital devices like your smartphones, laptops, tablets and any work stations with the printers in your network. This means that traditional printing, often with software driver issues or device compatibility issues have often been eliminated. Not only that software upgrades are done automatically, its greener and the IT infrastructure is a fraction of the cost!

However, what has become apparent in recent times, is that often conventional printing problems still prevail even though we should all now be able to be flexible and versatile in our approach to working.

Mode looks at some of the common issues with cloud printing you may be experiencing and how we suggest these can be resolved:

For some reason you can’t print:

  1. Check your devices are cloud print compatible
  2. If you are using Google Cloud Print, check that the printer you are using is registered properly
  3. Look at your admin tools and ensure that your printer does not have any basic network connection issues. Ensure you are using the appropriate ports (these are often 80, 8080, 5222, 5353) are open and that your router is not blocking any traffic.

Your printer is not registered:

  1. Make sure this is completed before you attempt cloud printing.

Removed/Deleted/Duplicated printers keep appearing:

  1. This is a very similar problem as conventional printing. Cloud printing requires chains of devices authenticating and relaying print jobs. Make sure old printers are removed from your devices and consoles. If necessary, remove all your devices and start again to add new devices.

Print jobs held in the queue:

  1. Just get rid of the print jobs and start again.
  2. Check your firewall and any security measures to ensure that they are not blocking your printing.
  3. Check your connection,
  4. Check for any updates, printer firmware for example as these can often cause issues with connectivity.

Legacy devices not working; this is often a term that refers to devices you have had for a while:

  1. There are often too many potential problems to list here, however, Clouding printing works better with devices that have been set up to have this functionality so getting your old device will be good luck!

As you can see there are always resolutions to your cloud printing problems but for more information on how Mode can help you with your cloud printing visit: https://www.modeprintsolutions.co.uk/managed-print/cloud/

Or call us on 0345 223 2203

Or email is at enquries@modeprintsolutions.co.uk

Cyber Security: How do SME’s protect themselves?

security

Cyber-crime has often been regarded as something a teenager does from their bedroom or criminal individuals to disrupt businesses or for small gain. However, this is no longer the case anymore. Cyber-crime is a major part of organised crime and has now become so large scale that it is being run by gangs that are able to purchase tools cheaply to perform mass attacks on businesses. Mode looks at the most common forms of attacks and what we recommend for combating this.

Phishers: Phishing emails pose as emails from trustworthy companies, they could look like they have come from a trusted company you deal with or even a customer, asking for information or even urgent action like making a payment or confirming details from yourselves. As these cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated and evolving their techniques now,  more than ever,  you must be wary of proceeding.

Check:

  • The email address. Tap on the email address to see the full email address behind it. If it looks full of gobbledegook, then you will know this is a fake address. Also look for misspellings or additional characters in the email address.
  • What details or payments are they asking you to make. If necessary, make a call to see if this is real.

Ransomware: this is where cyber criminals steal and encrypt your data and hold it to ransom until you exchange the release of that data for money.

Mobile Malware: A new sophisticated process where criminals are developing apps that look like games. Once downloaded this enables them access to steal your personal information.

What must SME’s do to help prevent cyber-criminal activity?

  • Back up: Mitigate the risk and danger of attack by backing up all your data. Think about all your operational and financial data that is important to you and that is business critical.
  • 2 factor Authentication: Consider having a password and a pin required (where this is sent by text) to be able to access software and emails. Strong passwords involving words as well as numbers and symbols will also help protection.
  • IT Policy: create one to prevent attacks but do make sure that this is easy to read for your employees. Make it the Top 10 points of cyber security but make sure it covers:
    1. Acceptable usage of your systems
    2. Password policy
    3. Social media guidelines
    4. Network security
    5. Physical security
    6. Data protection
    7. Incident response
    8. Disaster recovery
  • Finally, TEST: Staff training, simulated phishing emails, these will all educate employees and help highlight potential risk areas.

For more guidance on being Secure in print, contact Mode today

How to Prepare Your Small Business for Christmas

Although many people are complaining about the arrival of Christmas advertising and other festivities before December has even hit, it’s very important for small businesses around the world to start taking Christmas seriously in the run up to the 25th. Like it or not, Christmas is coming! Whether you sell handmade jewellery online, or you’re a freelancer to lots of different clients, here are some tips to help you prepare for Christmas:

Consider Supply and Demand

 If Christmas is your busiest period, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to meet the high demand. Ask yourself:

  • Do I have enough time?
  • Do I have enough stock?
  • Do I have enough staff?
  • Do I have enough marketing?

It’s vital that you have the resources you need to keep your customers happy, so plan ahead. And don’t forgot; a lot of people will want to take time off over Christmas, so you might need to hire some temporary employees to cover.

Think About Your Marketing Strategies

 Give your business a boost with a well thought out marketing strategy that makes the most of the festive theme. Consider your goals be and try to think outside the box and test new approaches. Here are some ideas:

  • Update your website
  • Send out a newsletter
  • Give away discounts
  • Give your packaging a festive makeover
  • Schedule your social media posts before you take time off
  • Write a festive blog post
  • Offer a gift-wrapping service for free

Stay Positive

 Christmas can be quite stressful for many people; the shops are hectic, money is tight and lots of organisation is required. For that reason, you should check in on your employees and try to keep their spirits bright as much as possible. Send your clients Christmas cards and think about getting some sweet treats (mince pies) for your staff. Overall, just try and stay positive!

With our advice and some hard work and organisation, you should be fully prepared to enjoy a fantastic Christmas. Good luck!

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