Question: delete or archive emails?

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One of the most important business tools is email. It allows us to stay in touch with the office and each other regardless of our location. While email is useful, it’s not perfect. One issue is that we receive so many emails, with up to a 100 a day or more. This has led to many an overload and meltdown; there’s just simply too many emails to get through. So, what do most people do? Delete them. However, this deletion could lead to problems.

When it comes down to it there are usually two options for users to keep their inbox from overflowing. They can either archive or delete emails.

Archiving or deleting emails These are features that are available to most email clients. By archiving email you essentially remove them from your inbox, usually into another folder. When you archive emails, they are still retrievable, and you are still able to search for them and access the information within them.

Deleting emails on the other hand is different. Yes, your emails are removed, but they will usually not disappear instantly. Most email programs move deleted emails into a trash folder. Some clients are set up to empty the folder on a daily basis, while others delete instantly or when they’ve set the program to. However, once you empty the trash, it’s very hard to get these deleted emails back.

To archive or delete? The issue of whether to delete or archive emails is a bit cloudy. For personal accounts it’s a little easier: If the email is junk, spam, or contains useless information, it’s safe to delete it. For businesses, you can go ahead and delete junk emails, but for many other emails it may be a better idea to archive emails. Here’s a number of reasons why:

It’s the law Depending which country and industry your company operates in, there may be rules and regulations that state how long you should keep emails in your system for. For example: The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FCRP) in the US state that if a company can anticipate legal action from information contained within a message, or series of messages, it must keep/store (archive) them.

The EU has similar, yet slightly more complicated rules. The Data Protection Directive (DPA) of the EU states that, “Personal data must be stored, but no longer than necessary…The subjects of emails, the “Data Subjects,” have the right to access information about the storage and access to their personal data and to request accurate copies. If you operate in the EU, you must furnish personal information stored in email or otherwise, if asked for it. The kicker is: If you’ve deleted emails with such information, you are obligated to provide these as well.

Most other countries have laws similar to these, so it’s better to err on the safe side and check with a lawyer to ensure you know exactly what the rules are.

Storage isn’t an issue In the past, emails took up precious storage, so you really had no other choice but to delete messages. Nowadays, that’s not an issue, especially for users of services like Gmail who get upwards of 10GB (more than enough to store all of your emails). This allows you to archive emails while keeping your inbox clean, and not having to worry about the law.

Email is a form of data Data is becoming big business. While it’s highly likely that many small to medium businesses won’t be implementing Big Data practices anytime in the near future, data in emails is still important. Say for instance you get an order for X amount of Y last year, and you were so busy you just filled the order but didn’t fill in the proper records. When that client emails again, the only other information you have is from previous emails. If you delete it, that information is gone.

Beyond that, many decisions are made through and recorded in email these days, delete that important email with next year’s budget decision on it and you could be in trouble.

Archive or delete? We’re not suggesting you should keep all of your emails. In fact, the above reasons for archiving all have one thing in common: Useful information. This is key, as if information in an email isn’t useful to you, your company or colleagues, or is stored in another location, you can probably delete messages.

Some people disagree with this view though and in fact some lawyers advise deleting emails due to the fact that they could turn out to be a liability one day. There are tons of stories of someone sending an inappropriate email to friends, only to have it leak to an unintended recipient. Situations like this could ruin your company.

What do you do/think? Do you delete your emails or archive them? Let us know.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Managed Services = Optimum Efficiency + Productivity

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If you’re worried about how much outsourcing costs, think about how much you’ll spend hiring a consultant or pulling someone away from their normal job every time you have a computer breakdown or outage – and how much money your business loses during that downtime.

These days businesses are increasingly dependent on IT, making it essential to have experts to handle the regular maintenance of your IT infrastructure. However, most small and medium businesses cannot afford to hire a qualified, full-time IT administrator. Managed Services is the best solution, since it allows you to concentrate on what you do best  managing the core competencies of your business.

When you choose Managed Services, all of your IT operations are handled by a highly qualified and knowledgeable provider who assumes ongoing responsibility for monitoring, troubleshooting, and managing selected IT systems and functions on your behalf. The Managed Services Provider is in charge of network equipment and applications located on your premises, as specified in the terms of a service-level agreement (SLA) established to meet your company’s specific business needs.

Why is Managed Services important for your business?

1. Managed Services is cost effective.
If you’re not an IT expert, you’ll need to hire consultants for basic IT maintenance  and this is usually too costly for small and medium-sized businesses. The downtime during breakdowns of computers or outages will cost your business more money in the long run than outsourcing costs.

2. It’s easier to predict how much you need to spend.
Managed Services offer a choice of service levels which may be priced on a per-month or per-device basis. This subscription model gives you more predictability in expenses as opposed to the as-needed time and billing models used by consultants.

3. Managed Services Providers take full responsibility, but business owners have full control.
Although Managed Services are outsourced, you do not surrender complete control of your IT infrastructure. You decide which aspects of your network the service provider will take care of and what you want to handle. You are also informed of everything that happens in the process and management of your systems.

4. Managed Services involves 24/7 IT support.
With Managed Services, you get support whenever you need it. You don’t have to wait in line for whatever system problems you need resolved.

5. Knowing your IT is in good hands gives you peace of mind.
Knowing that your IT system is in the hands of experts, you are assured that somebody is there to do proper maintenance of all your computer hardware and software. You can also be confident that if you encounter any problems with your IT, there are experts who will help you fix them immediately.

 

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

MS Outlook Integrates Account with Social Networking Websites

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The people behind MS Outlook have now integrated social networking into the system through the Outlook Social Connector.

Outlook has long been the staple in many business communications – it is truly one of Microsoft’s feats of genius given how prevalent it is in professional correspondence between businesses and organizations today.

In order for the platform to conform and adjust to current norms, the people behind MS Outlook have now integrated social networking into the entire system through what they call the Outlook Social Connector (OSC). What the Outlook Social Connector basically does is enable the user to connect his or her email account with his or her LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, and Windows Live accounts. You’ll be able to receive updates from these social networking websites through MS Outlook.

Outlook Social Connector is compatible with versions of MS Outlook beginning with 2003 and up, and boasts features such as adding friends into social networking websites through the new Outlook People Pane, as well as receiving updates from friends and contacts whose email address is also listed in their social network account. Also, like a social network, the OSC allows you to set privacy settings and select the kind of information you want made public.

 

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Why Entrepreneurs Should Consider Managed Services

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Most entrepreneurs are not IT professionals or IT experts. Outsourcing IT services to experts is a definite advantage for business owners.

The term Managed Services is defined as “the practice of transferring day-to-day related management responsibility as a strategic method for improved effective and efficient operations”. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Managed_services) While large corporations regularly choose this technology solution, many owners of small and medium-sized businesses are still hesitant to go this route. Here are some reasons Managed Services can benefit all sizes and types of business:

1. IT is an integral part of most businesses.
Especially in recent years, the business world has become increasingly dependent on IT. Almost all businesses rely on some sort of technology. With this increased use of IT comes an increase in problems and outages – and even loss of data – all of which result in loss of productivity.

2. Faulty or under-supported IT causes costly downtime.

Small, in-house IT departments of one or two people are usually not able or equipped to handle occasional IT breakdowns, and employees must call on somebody else for help, sometimes resulting in hours or even days of lost productivity. This downtime greatly affects the bottom line of your business.

3. Technology is constantly improving.
Improvements in technology are continuing at a rapid pace. Equipment is upgraded and new specialties in IT are emerging. Small to medium-sized businesses are not equipped to keep up with these constant changes.

4. IT Managed Services provide state-of-the-art solutions.

Managed Services providers are experts in the field of technology, and bring knowledge and experience in the latest solutions to your business. And taking advantage of scale of economies, the Managed Services model gives you access to affordable state-of-the-art technologies previously only available to large enterprises.

5. Many businesses involve special compliance requirements.
Even small to medium-sized businesses can have complicated compliance requirements, but most owners do not fully understand how to comply with these regulations. Many Managed Services providers stay current on these regulations and requirements, and can help you translate them to your technology needs in order to stay compliant and avoid fees – and possibly worse.

6. IT Managed Services cost less in the long run.

With today’s economic downturn, IT budgets have been slashed in most companies. But bear in mind that businesses still depend heavily on IT, and work increases as resources diminish. This can bring about low morale for employees and lost productivity – and ultimately customer satisfaction suffers. While IT Managed Services may cost more in the beginning, lost productivity and lost customers cost a lot more.

The question is, are you an expert in IT? Most entrepreneurs aren’t. If you want to concentrate on your company’s core competencies without having to worry about your IT infrastructure, outsource your IT services to a reputable Managed Services provider.

 

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.