Protect Yourself from a Ransomware Attack in Four Easy Steps

Four Tips to Avoid Ransomware

Hackers finally became businessmen. Well, more like mobsters, really, so maybe we should rephrase that: hackers finally realized they could use their “special skills” to make money. And they’re doing it in droves.

Their favorite tactic is now ransomware – they silently enter your computer and take all of your files hostage: digital photos of your wedding, wills, contracts, diaries, music, the video of your little girl’s first steps … all of it. The next time you log onto your computer, you find their ransom note: $500 (or $1,000, or $10,000 …) will give you the password you need to get your files back. Otherwise, they’re gone.

So how do you protect yourself against a ransomware attack? Hint: it isn’t Google Drive (or OneDrive or DropBox).

Read more ›

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Posted in Informational

Raise Your Hand If Scanning Makes You Cringe

shutterstock_50749954You’ll Start Scanning … If It’s Easy Enough

Who’d blame you if you don’t scan everything? We all know scanning’s a chore. Scanners have been around forever, but most offices still don’t use them. Why? Well, for one thing, no-one thinks of a scanner as fast. Even now, you’re visualizing a bulb dragging slooowly across a sheet of paper.

But the real truth of the matter is, active professionals just don’t have time to waste with scanning and all of the complexities that come with it.

That’s why we have one goal and one goal only: to get you to consider scanning. You’ve dismissed it plenty of times before, but this time, it just might be easy enough … even for you. Read more ›

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Posted in Informational, Paperless Office Tagged with: ,

Are NAS Drives a Good Idea?

NAS Drive

Small offices trying to avoid the complexity of a full file server often get enticed by NAS drives – Network Attached Storage. These little appliances promise the benefits of a full file server with plug-and-play simplicity: just plug the unit into your network, go through a quick, self-guided setup, and voilà, you now have network file sharing. Simple and cheap. Are there any drawbacks to this scenario?

What Exactly is a NAS Drive?

First, let’s get under the hood of a NAS drive to understand exactly what’s going on.

From the outside, a NAS looks like a robust disk drive. So it’s easy to think that a NAS drive is, in fact, simply a network disk drive that all of your machines share. In reality, though, that NAS drive is a full-fledged computer – a very compact, very specialized server in a tiny box.

But if you think about it, that makes sense. A drive has to be managed by a computer. And the networking has to be performed by a computer. And the handling of users and user permissions has to involve a computer.

What sort of computer is it? Typically, these NAS drives run some flavor of UNIX – often LINUX. UNIX is the operating system of choice because of its stability, its low hardware requirements, and its ability to be customized and fine-tuned to very specific tasks.

So Are There Any Drawbacks to NAS Drives?

There actually are three potential drawbacks to a NAS drive, one of them minor and the others quite significant.

Low-Grade Hardware

First, NAS drives often run on slow hardware. Like we said, UNIX can be optimized to run on very low-end hardware, and that’s often what you get. On your cheaper NAS drives, the hardware might not be any more powerful than you’d find on a low-end laptop computer. Of course, you can’t generalize all NAS drives this way, and some do run on fast hardware. But we will say that when users contact our Technical Support complaining that FileCenter’s running painfully slow, as often as not, they’re using a NAS drive.

No Search

The second drawback should give you more pause. Recall that the vast majority of NAS drives run some form of UNIX. Let’s actually flip that statement around: the vast majority of NAS drives don’t run Windows. Why does this matter? In many cases it doesn’t. But if you plan on being able to search your files, it does matter. An awful lot.

You see, FileCenter uses Windows Search as its search engine. Why? Because it’s an outstanding engine. Powerful, unobtrusive, and keeps its indexes constantly current. Not only that, searching network files and sharing network indexes is transparent and automatic … as long as the network files are on a Windows machine.

And there’s the drawback. You cannot search network files that don’t reside on a Windows machine. So if that matters to you, forget about a NAS drive.

No Support for Third-Party Programs and Services

Finally, because of the closed nature of the NAS drive’s operating system, you can’t install any software on it. When does that matter? Well, let’s take backup for example. You’re stuck using whatever backup utility comes on your NAS drive (unless you run the backups from another computer).

And how about a more current example – cloud storage. Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive, SugarSync … these services have revolutionized your ability to access your files anytime you want from anywhere. That is, unless you use a NAS drive. You can’t install these services on a NAS drive. True, many NAS drives bundle their own cloud storage service. But your options at that point are limited to one single service that almost no-one else uses.

Are There Any Alternatives?

There is a great alternative. Buy a mid-range Windows desktop machine and make it your file server. It’s probably about the same price as a NAS drive, has hardware that’s at least as good, it will perform just as well, and it will still allow you to use search. It will also allow you other options that probably aren’t available on a NAS drive, like Cloud-based backup and storage services.

You see, we tend to get caught in the mindset that network file sharing requires a full-fledged server. But that’s simply not true, especially for small offices that have less than half a dozen users – the offices that are attracted to NAS drives. Any Windows machine is capable of working as a basic server. All you need to do is hire a college kid for an hour to set it up. Or, if you’re even slightly technical, find a tutorial on the web and set it up yourself. It’s not hard at all.

Conclusion

We understand the desire to keep things simple. But sometimes the “simple” solution restricts your options too much. That will often be true of NAS drives. Especially considering that other “simple” solutions exist which don’t restrict you at all.

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Posted in Small Business

A PaperPort Alternative, At Last

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Mention PaperPort and you’ll hear a lot of opinions. Some users love it, some try hard to love it, and some have just given up. Years ago, PaperPort introduced the world to easy scanning and PDF manipulation. And for years, there’s been no competition.

Lucion Technologies saw a need — a need for a streamlined scanning, PDF, and file management system built specifically around the workflow of a professional office. And yes, a system that could fulfill the paperless office dream better than PaperPort. Read more ›

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Posted in Informational, Paperless Office Tagged with: , , , ,

Client Portals: A Secure Alternative to Email

Protect cloud information data concept. Security and safety of cloud computing.

Most professionals that have been in business for the last 10+ years remember when sharing a file was a time consuming process. Sharing a file meant burning to a CD, floppy disk or even printing out the file and sending via snail mail or hand delivery.

As we watch the way our user base puts FileCenter to work, it’s no surprise to us to see how document-intensive many of your businesses are. But one thing in particular has piqued our interest: how often some of you exchange documents with your customers or clients, or even family members. We’ve seen accounting firms receive tax documents from their clients and give back completed returns, medical practices sharing lab results, and attorneys receiving old wills, trusts, or contracts and sending back newly-executed instruments. And watching all of this, we’ve noticed something: most of you use email to do it. Read more ›

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Posted in Informational, Paperless Office, Small Business Tagged with: , , ,

Cabinets: Using OneDrive or Dropbox

Combined FileCenter and Windows Folder View

One question that we field regularly goes like this: How can I store my files using OneDrive or Dropbox? Is it even possible?

The short answer is, yes, it is possible to store your files using OneDrive or Dropbox.

Understanding Cabinet Structures

It’s important to understand how we manage your files. With FileCenter, we can turn any Windows folder into a Cabinet. Think of cabinets as an improvement on Windows Explorer. They show Windows Folder Structure Viewregular Windows directories, just like Explorer does, but they improve the presentation and enforce a more uniform structure. Your files will be organized in a Cabinet/Drawer/Folder design, similar to a physical file cabinet that stores paper.

Most cloud services put a special folder on your computer for your cloud files. Anything you put in this folder (folders and files) will be synchronized to the cloud. FileCenter is completely compatible with these services. Read more ›

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Posted in Informational, Paperless Office Tagged with: , , , ,

Affiliate Program with FileCenter Paperless Solutions

Glass glowing light bulb and business sketched ideas

If there is anything that is constant, it is change in technology. Your customer’s depend on you to provide them with the proper solutions to benefit their business. By offering the FileCenter Paperless products and services through a network of business professionals and qualified technology consultants we are fully committed to providing leading solutions to help consumers and businesses become more efficient and effective.

How Does It Work?

Earn Commission
As an affiliate for FileCenter Paperless products, you earn with every qualifying sale your company refers. Commissions start at 20% and can go as high as 40% for each qualifying sale. Read more ›

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Posted in Informational, Special Offers Tagged with: ,

Expert Q & A: Organizing HR with Document Management Software

Records management is an important concern for every HR department. With so much paperwork – and so many related compliance obligations – it’s critical to have an effective, secure, and manageable way to keep track of and access critical information. Jeff Pickard, CEO of Lucion Technologies, shares some insights on using a document management system (DMS) to streamline HR-related paperwork.

Benefits

Mary White (MW): What are the main benefits of a DMS for HR departments?

Jeff Pickard (JP): Pickard states, “The benefits of document management software are all about accomplishing more by being better organized and able to find and save files. Everyone has to deal with the constant flow of computer and paper files. A good DMS will help make this part of your life easier.” Read more ›

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Posted in Informational

How to Be a Digital Hoarder and Still Be Productive

How many files do you have on your computer? How many photos do you have on your phone or tablet? If your answer is in the thousands, then you may be considered a digital hoarder of information, and you’re not alone.

files

Why We Struggle with Digital Hoarding
If I am going to be labeled a hoarder, then I would at least prefer to be a digital hoarder. I love having all of my files at my fingertips any time I need them. I am a huge culprit of holding onto my files, and I am not ashamed to admit it. It may be due to an emotional attachment or a logical one. I can think of many reasons why I would need to retrieve my tax information from a few years ago, or have all of my car maintenance records to jog my memory of when I had replaced the alternator. The efficiency the digital documents create in my office is incredible as well! Having access to a client’s documents when they call saves me an incredible amount of time, which of course leads to increased profits. Then there are the thousands of emails that we keep in our inbox. I won’t even begin to tell you how many of those I have.

Read more ›

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Posted in Informational, Paperless Office Tagged with: ,

10 Things I Wish I’d Have Known When We Were First Going Paperless

Sometimes we are so rushed to implement a new project that we don’t sit down and think of all the processes that need to take place to do the job right. In some cases, we can get away with that, but when implementing technology solutions, the majority of the time we can’t.

Over the past few years, I have been gathering some “What I wish I would have known’s” from customers and friends when it comes to implementing a document management solution. Here are the top 10 reasons

  1. Spending more time on planning out the process
  2. Wish we would have not bit off more than we could chew at first
  3. The importance of documenting our processes when we used paper and after
  4. We should have picked someone to champion the project instead of having too many decision makers
  5. Explained what the process of going paperless meant and that everyone understood the benefits
  6. Wish we would have invested in the training and consulting of the product instead of just trying to wing it ourselves
  7. We shouldn’t have put EVERYTHING into our document management program
  8. That we didn’t have to be perfect right out of the gate. Instead of prolonging the start of the project, we should have gotten started and then optimized our processes after a period of time
  9. Scheduled more time to do lunch and learns for our staff to better understand the process
  10. That we should have written down clearly defined business goals and objectives for implementing the document management solution and why we wanted to achieve them and not let the vendor dictate what they thought we needed

Do you find that these ring a bell with your office too? What are some of the things you wish you knew before implementing a document management program in your office?

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Posted in Informational Tagged with: , , ,