Category Archives: Technology

A Shout Out to the Mode Service Team!

We are always proud of our service team and their high levels of service, always going that extra mile for all our clients. Our service team are post code based so when one of our clients should unexpectedly need them, they can respond and react fast.

Mode is proud to say that in 2017 Modes’ service team to our client’s service calls within 88 mins which is an outstanding achievement.

Mode’s Service team: You are incredible, and we are proud of what you achieve.

 

Your Guide to Digital Success

Larger companies have always been regarded as having the competitive edge in being able to respond quickly to changing markets. However, due to technological advances, smaller companies are being given the opportunities to gain a foothold in markets that were previously unobtainable.

The Cloud, for instance, is accessible to all, flexible and has no upfront financial commitment. It is ideal for any business and allows you to explore new markets. There are no costly software updates, and it even has built in security, allowing mobility for businesses, reduction of office space required and accessibility on not only PC’s, but laptops and tablets and smartphones. This is allowing smaller enterprises to have access to better, faster and more productive technology with intelligent digital platforms.

The pressure is on for businesses to keep up with the emerging technologies and many are not utilising all the opportunities available to them. The lack of knowledge is one of the biggest barriers to achieving digital transformation.

Mode offers its top 10 tips for businesses to gain the tools it needs to help generate growth and allow smaller enterprises to build a framework to embrace digital change and drive higher results:

  1. Build digitisation into your business plan: What do you want your business to achieve? What tools do you need to help you do this? If you want to develop your customer relationships and build leads, you may want to consider a CRM system (Customer Relationship Management System). However, you must consider the new GDPR Regulation from the EU and consider ways you will need to protect that information.
  2. Let your customers dictate your communication: How do your customers like to be communicated? Email, phone, website? Which type of communications do they best respond to? Having this information will help you prioritise your digital tools and needs.
  3. Gather data from your customers: Are you able to place clever analytics behind your website to follow your customers browsing journey? This will help you gain valuable insight into your current customer/potential customer base.
  4. The Cloud: Cloud storage is a fabulous solution. It is cost-effective and accessible from any device. Also, if your business comes through your website, perhaps consider a cloud-based platform which brings together a wide range of innovative software and applications from ecommerce payment to shipping tools.
  5. How can your communications work harder for you: Being personal with your customers is vital to the success of your marketing communications. Once you have collected your customer data digitally and managed it effectively, you have the potential to deliver highly personalised, relevant communications.
  6. Be a Beta Trialist: Often vendors are on the lookout for businesses to trial a software platform. This may be an excellent introduction to new working practises.
  7. Consider the type of work force you want to develop: Do you have mobile workers, or would you consider flexible working? If so, you need to ensure that they all have the same tools and software as each other. Also ensure that any physical post is turned into email so that all can receive messages securely.
  8. Consider your infrastructure: There is no point investing in digital tools if you have an inadequate infrastructure underneath. Ensure that your broadband width is sufficient to support your technological systems. You may need to consider a different provider with a faster service, and you may even obtain a better tariff!
  9. Consider competitors: Try and obtain valuable information on how other businesses in your field may use digitalisation for better integrated working practises.
  10. Consider how it all works: Isolated apps/tools/systems that don’t talk or work together only add frustration to your work force. One of the benefits of digitalisation is it provides an integrated approach to your work process. Ensure you speak to your managed service providers so that everything is joined up.

Contact Mode today to discuss your digital needs and how we can help your business obtain a managed print service that is fully integrated into your working practises.

How Can SMEs Stay Safe From Cyber-Attacks?

Anti Virus Software

There have been several reports in the press recently discussing the successful cyber-attacks on high profile companies, including the NHS.

Does this mean that SME’s are at more risk now that well-known brands are being successfully attacked, and if so, how can they defend themselves? Mode wanted to address these concerns by providing tips that will help SME’s stay guarded from the increasing cyber security threat.

Two-thirds of businesses have been victims of cybercrime. However, one in four owners have admitted that they aren’t up to date on cyber security measures.

What are the priorities?

Data is the most valuable asset any business holds. Many of your electronic devices store data, such as laptops, PCs, photocopiers etc. It is rare that hackers can access data directly; typically they look to compromise end points and specific accounts. Therefore, SME’s should invest in some form of protection, such as NGAV (Next Generation Anti-Virus) and multi-factor authentication.

SME’s are often limited in financial resources and security can be costly, however, investing in sufficient anti-virus could ultimately prevent unnecessary financial stress.

Mode’s tips for Cyber Security:

  1. Review the data that your business holds to identify which assets need extra protection. Look at which 3rd parties can access it and identify whether data is adequately backed up. Consider encrypting any sensitive data or reducing network access to certain users, particularly for remote workers.
  2. Stay secure with regular IT updates and Anti-Malware updates. Recent research indicated that a third of SME owners aren’t keeping up to date with the latest IT regulations that could leave them vulnerable to attacks. Make sure you have Anti-Virus Software.
  3. Train staff. Limiting the threat is crucial. A third of employees have access to Facebook and other social media platforms whilst at work, and as half of SME’s do not provide their team with internet and computer guidelines, education is key to limit external threats. Make sure your employees know how to protect their personal information and how to behave on social media so that the company’s information does not end up on social networks.
  4. Secure your business with good passwords. Elaborate passwords ensure the protection of your data, so invest time into making a pool of passwords that you will alternate each month. The passwords should be kept in your head or only passed to trusted employees.
  5. Only use secure methods of payment. Do thorough research before establishing partner relations with different payment companies. To keep your business’ financial status secure, you need a reliable company that you can trust. The same goes with credit card information for your customers.
  6. Create back-ups. Your business can suffer negative consequences, such as a loss of a client database or budget information leakage if information is lost.
  7. Limit mobility of company computers. Do not allow employees to take computers home. A good idea would be to allow only the reasonable use of mobile devices so that information is not copied to many devices where you cannot keep track.
  8. Check the level of technical support you have. It isn’t always possible for an SME to have the resource of a dedicated IT Engineer. Outsourcing is the most practical idea to ensure the right controls are in place and that you have a trusted expert to resolve any issues.
  9. Run regular checks. SME’s must check the effectiveness of their procedures against cyber-attacks and manage any changes in risk levels.
  10. Have a plan in place. Ensure that, should you be attacked, you are able to limit the disruption to your business.

Mode offers many solutions to protect against cyber-attacks. Contact us today for more information.

3 Things to Consider When Buying a New Printer

Printer

When running an office, it is inevitable that you’ll have to replace your equipment from time to time, including your printer. Perhaps you’re experiencing frequent paper jams or your printer is simply out-dated; either way it’s time for an upgrade. Believe it or not, there’s much to consider when investing in a new printer if you want to ensure it meets your requirements and is suitable for your office. Here are three things you should think about before obtaining a new printer:

  1. What Are Your Requirements?

Different printers can carry out different tasks and some are more advanced than others. For that reason, you should think about what you’re actually planning to use the device for. For example, if you need to scan, photocopy or fax your documents, it might be a good idea to consider a multifunction printer. Although these may cost more initially, they will save on energy, which reduces your carbon footprint and overall utility bills. Having one device, rather than several, will also free up some space for other furniture and/or equipment.

  1. What’s Your Budget?

Before you can spend your money on something new, you need to know how much you can justifiably spend. Remember that you don’t always have to spend a fortune to receive a decent quality product. In addition to the initial purchase, you’ll also need to consider whether or not you can afford the on-going upkeep costs. For example, some printers have cheaper cost per pages than others, so bear this in mind before you decide.

  1. Do You Have Space?

Before you can decide on a new printer, you’ll need to make sure you have somewhere to put it. Choose an appropriate spot near a plug socket and measure the area to ensure there’s enough room. By being prepared, you’ll avoid disappointment on the day of delivery.

Developments in Secure Printing for Business

'Security' in print

In our last blog we discussed the evolution of secure printing, citing examples in the last five years of security breaches as well as the current data on number of breaches and the expense this is causing organisations in the UK.

Why Invest in Security Printing?

Security breaches are not only expensive and fatal to businesses; they represent a breach in the legal requirement of many industries to maintain data security. Secure printing is an integral part of sound business security practices.

What is Being Offered in Security Printing

A number of security options are available in the field of secure printing. Toshiba offers options that are simple to use, including user authentication, self-encryption HDD, security pattern printing, access logs, access controls, IP/MAC address filtering, private print, data overwriting and encrypted PDFs.

Xerox holds a job in queue until you release it with a passcode. It also has a Print Security Audit Service, which can monitor whether company printers are used in alignment with company policy. Other options include overwriting, data encryption, embedded faxes and removeable hard drives.

Ricoh is another secure printing option, offering FlexRelease servers, a cord authentication package, an enhanced Locked Print NX, and a Smart Device Monitor for auditing and reporting on usage.

PaperCut also offers secure printing that can be released only by the user. It tracks and records what is being printed and by whom through user based reports.

Lexmark features a secure print release with id card, or by entering credentials. It has document accounting tools which can measure print quotas, and the printer can restrict access to users.

First Steps in Security Printing for Business

The first step in security printing for business is to work with a reputable, experienced print and digital technology agency to come up with a print management solution that satisfies your business requirements and security obligations.

Security can be a problem in this expanding technological world. Fortunately, there is a solution waiting for your business.

At Mode Print Solutions, we are always available to help develop a print management solution that will enable you to have secure printing within your business, as well as the peace of mind that comes with it.  Contact Mode to get started today.

Trends: Print Management in London & Beyond

'trends' in wooden letters against wall

Louella Fernandes, an internationally respected analyst on the evolution of business printing, discusses in a recent Quocirca article the future opportunities for the print industry and what vendors are doing to survive in a changing field.

A Shifting Technological Landscape

Print management in London and throughout the world is changing. It needs to change to improve financial performance in the face of hardware commoditisation, lower margins, an increase in competition, and more demanding customers.

How Print Management Companies Are Adapting

Lexmark and Xerox are expanding their software presence through a series of software aquisitions undertaken since 2010.  All vendors are looking to discover the new markets- exploring the IoT (Internet of Things), in which everyday items can send and receive data, big data, mobile and cloud based services.

Printers For Business: Existing Opportunities

Fernandes warns that digital disruption may come from a new type of competition, one that is outside of the print industry.  This presents both a challenge and an opportunity.

Trends in the print population include a drive for services more than for products.  Clients are searching for greater flexibility.  For example, MPS (Managed Print Services) are expanding.  The SMS (Server Message Block) market has the potential to do the same, with demands for more printers offering ways to share access. Cloud delivery, mobility and security all have the potential for deeper innovation that could sway customer interest.

Smart MFPS (Multi Function Printers) are becoming more sophisticated platforms.  Workflow capabilities will likely require an innovative and efficient balance of services, software and hardware.

The IoT can be exploited by vendors utilising data from actual customer usage of services and products.  Vendors can  then begin to offer services and supplies proactively, giving them a head start on design and the innovation needed to corner the market.

Print Services: The Need to Expand Outside of the Industry

Finally, Fernandes suggests that print services expand outside their industry.  Print is already taking on new value, despite an expanding digital landscape.  Net-a-Porter and Airbnb (among others) have expanded into print recently; independent publishers have experienced a ten-year high. Perhaps this is because people trust paper- they find it reassuring in a sea of online material. Plus, research shows that readers retain more from reading print materials then from reading digital materials.

New products, channels, forms of engagement, partners, and employees should be sought out by the print industry in order to gain an edge.  By integrating the paper and digital worlds, vendors can capitalise on a changing industry with unique workflow solutions and services.

The Merits of Stone Based Paper

stone based paper

First developed in the 1990’s, stone paper has been expanding and improving ever since. Stone based paper is made from the remnants of mining; it is powder ground from stone and has some amazing benefits.  Read on to find out more.

What Is Stone Based Paper?

Stone based paper is made when nontoxic resins bond with calcium carbonate, creating a naturally white paper that is durable and eco-friendly.

Environmental Merits of Stone Based Paper

Environmentally, this paper is sound.  You can make it using 30% less power than recycled paper and there is no timber pulp needed for its manufacture.  That said, it solely uses electric power- there isn’t a washing and drying process which can add harmful particles to the air.

Calcium Carbonate is naturally white, so there isn’t a need for acid bleaching, chlorine, or any other whitening processes.  It’s also recyclable, yet no waste water is produced when it’s recycled.  Plus, it can be recycled with your paper recycling.

General Benefits of Stone Based Paper

Water resistant, durable, and silky to touch, stone based paper has a lot to brag about.  It promises that you won’t get a paper cut, while you’ll still be able to make an excellent paper airplane.  You can find stone paper marketed under a variety of trade names- it’s printable, grain free, and burns cleanly with no toxic fumes expended into the air.

There are other additional benefits to stone based paper.  It has a weighty feel that conveys a sense of luxuriousness, while being super strong and tear resistant.  You can write on it when it’s wet; divers use it underwater for their notebooks for this reason.

There are some drawbacks to stone based paper. You wouldn’t want to use it for large mailing campaigns due to its weight.  Its natural whiteness will also create some colour variation, which is something to bear in mind.  Print projects using stone paper are impressive and great for presentations and projects meant to impress.  Stone based paper is not meant to replace tree based paper- it’s more like a new, occasional alternative with some very appealing benefits.

For information on print based solutions, contact Mode Print Solutions today.

Xerox, Lexmark, Ricoh, and Toshiba Printing – Updates from Our Brands

green printing symbols

We’re proud to work with some of the best brands in the industry to provide bespoke solutions for our clients. These brands are world renowned for quality and their green credentials; just two of the reasons why we selected them as suppliers.

To help you stay up to date on the latest information and find useful articles online, here are some of the recent print highlights from our favourite brands:

Finally, Xerox have sent an extremely useful article on why you may need to reassess your Managed Print Services. If you’re under pressure to decrease your business costs, identify the hidden costs of your print equipment, or want to track and measure your printing, just get in touch to discuss Managed Print Services.

Printing from Your Phone: There’s an App for That

printing from your phone

Smartphones are ubiquitous – even if your business doesn’t provide sales people with smartphones, it’s likely that your staff have used their phones for checking emails or other work tasks at some point. If they’re doing more and more of their work from smartphones and tablets, it makes sense to let them print from those devices.

At the moment, emailing items between the devices is the simplest way of getting them from place to place. Unfortunately, this wastes time and can present problems if you need to print a particularly large file.

PrintBack from Xerox Printers

That’s why Xerox launched PrintBack – an app for both Android and iOS devices that let you print to the device at work from your mobile or tablet. It works with any printer, regardless of connection type, manufacturer, or technology so you don’t even have to have a Xerox printer to use it.

Small businesses will be delighted to know that the app is free and incredibly easy to use. There are no issues with finding the right printer since it uses the one that’s already connected to your work computer.

What Else Does it Do?

If you’re not quite ready to print, you can use the connection to your work computer to save items to the download folder or to your Dropbox account. It’s basically a fuss-free way to connect your work computer to your phone and let you move documents between the different devices, depending on where you are and what you need to do.

© MODE 2018
Site Map | Privacy Policy | Cookies |Design: Innermedia