Can Malware Disguise Itself as Banking Software?

Hackers are becoming more and more clever when it comes to stealing your information. Of course, their end goal is to turn their efforts into income. One of the best ways for hackers to do this is to gain access to your bank account.

However, banks make it hard for hackers to do their dirty work. Most banks require secure passwords and even offer additional security features like two-factor authentication for their users. Still, hackers have found a way to get all the information they need to get despite increased security measures.

Is malware in banking a real concern for you or your business? How can you protect against these kinds of attacks? In this article, we will discuss how hackers are using new techniques to get the information they find most valuable. More importantly, we will suggest some ways to help protect yourself.

The Usual Methods of Stealing Bank Information

Malware in banking is not the most common way hackers steal banking information currently. While these methods do not use malware disguised as banking software, we still feel they are worth mentioning for educational purposes.

One of the most common ways hackers gain access to banking information is by using phishing emails. These emails are sent to bank customers and appear to be legitimate communications. Users are prompted to click a link which directs them to a fake website where they enter their login information. Most banks will not request login information by email and, when in doubt, you should always contact your bank if you have questions about an email.

Another method hackers will use to steal banking information is by installing a keylogger malware. This malware hides in the background and tracks your keystrokes. In doing so, hackers can learn your passwords and snoop on any other information you may type into your computer. Protecting against this kind of malware is as simple as avoiding any links or file attachments you do not recognize.

While these methods are well-known, they are also very effective. In many cases, some of the more primitive methods of stealing information can get past malware detection software.

Malware Disguised as Banking Software

Protecting yourself from phishing emails and keylogging software is one thing, but what happens when the malware imitates your banking software? Identifying the difference can be difficult, even for seasoned users.

This is the situation the victims of the Camubot malware attack found themselves in. So far, this malware has mainly targeted users in Brazil but there is no telling where it may pop up next. The malware appears to be legitimate banking security software that integrates with biometric verification like fingerprint login technology. Once users have logged in, the hackers have all of their information and can use it to drain bank accounts or sell account information to other hackers online.

The malware is delivered after users are contacted by the hacker posing as a support representative from the bank. Then, the unknowing user is directed to install the Camubot malware and follow the instructions. The Camubot malware is designed to appear legitimate and many users enter their information without thinking twice.

Malware Taking over Browsers

Because there is so much money at play, malware in banking is becoming very advanced. Even users who have not downloaded the banking malware themselves can be affected through malware that was previously installed on their device. This was the case for many people in Poland.

This form of banking malware is installed behind the scenes and waits for a user to navigate to their online banking website. Instead of loading the actual website, the malware will direct the browser to a fake banking website that looks like the real thing. Users enter their login information and, just like that, their information is in the hands of the hacker.

This instance of malware in banking is like a much more advanced version of a traditional phishing attack which directs users to fake websites. Instead of convincing users to click on suspicious links, the hackers use malware to hijack the browsing experience for users.

This is somewhat similar to fake banking apps that have been created for mobile devices. Google and Apple lock down their app stores well but some apps can still be installed outside the app store. These apps could appear to be legitimate banking apps, but are directing users to fake login pages.

Secure Your Banking with Managed IT Services

The growing threats related to online banking could be a threat to your business as well as your personal banking. Managed IT services from Smile Business Products can help protect your computer and your entire network from malware that seeks to steal your banking information.

Stopping malware in banking is about more than just detection. With managed IT services, your business gets protection that examines all areas of your digital footprint to provide effective solutions. Ready to learn more? Contact us today.

How Can I Tell if My Computer or Network Has Been Hacked?

These days, we use our computers for everything from business to online banking to communicating with people around the world. Many banks like Five Star Bank offer consumer checking accounts, which has proven to be very beneficial. Of course, the trust we put into these devices makes them a prime target for hackers who want to disrupt the normal order of things.

There are nearly 1 million new malware attacks released on a daily basis. Clearly, hackers are committed to gaining access to your valuable information. So, how do you know if you have been hacked? How can you prevent being hacked?

In this article, we will tell you how to tell if your computer has been hacked. In addition, we will also tell you what to do if your computer has been hacked and how you can prevent hacking from ever occurring in the first place.

Is Your Computer or Internet Browser Slower Than Normal?

A sure sign that something is wrong with your computer could be an unexplained, sudden slow down when using the device. Of course, hardware components can degrade over time and cause computers to feel slow or sluggish. However, a new computer that’s experiencing sudden performance issues is a definite red flag.

Malware often operates in the background to track keystrokes and steal your information, among other goals. When these programs are operating, your device is dedicating computing power to the nefarious processes. As a result, your computer may feel slow for seemingly no reason at all.

If your browser is running slow, it could indicate that a website or browser extension is using additional computing power as well. Crypto mining code has been found in some websites and browser extensions. This code forces your device to mine cryptocurrency like Bitcoin without your approval. The result is a slower, poorly performing experience when browsing the internet.

Are You Seeing Unexplained Popups?

The occasional popup when you visit a website is annoying, but not unusual. Continuous popups on your computer should be a little more concerning. Sometimes it doesn’t take much when learning how to tell if your computer has been hacked. The hackers make their work obvious.

One of the most alarming popups you can receive is a ransomware popup. Ransomware locks down your computer or network data and requires payment or else the data will be deleted forever. These attacks have affected everyone from personal users to government agencies to some of the biggest companies in the world.

If you operate a business, ransomware can be very scary. One hacked computer can quickly evolve into a larger network hacking scenario where multiple users have their data and ability to work affected. The cost of paying hackers is never an easy pill to swallow but neither is losing essential data.

Are You Seeing Unexplained Activity Online?

In many cases, hackers are looking for usernames and passwords so that they can access your social media accounts, online banking, and other services. If you are noticing strange occurrences online, it may be an indication you have been hacked.

One example of this is unexplained or odd social media posts. Hackers will use the Facebook profiles of legitimate users to link unsuspecting users to fraudulent websites, online stores, and compromised websites.

If you have set up two-factor authentication on some of your services, you may notice authentication emails or text messages arriving asking for verification about a login. This is one indication that someone has stolen your login information. Luckily, two-factor authentication has stopped them in their tracks for now.

How to Prevent Hacking and What to Do if Your Computer Has Been Hacked

Device hacking and network hacking are both very real concerns for personal and business users around the world. Luckily, there are some basic tips that can a long way in preventing hacking and protecting your information.

First, as mentioned above, two-factor authentication can stop hackers in their tracks if they manage to steal information. Best of all, you will be alerted about login attempts. Enable this feature whenever possible.

Next, be sure to avoid any links or emails that look suspicious. If you are not expecting an email or attachment from someone then you may want to think twice about opening it. Even a legitimate sender could be hacked and sending compromised files unknowingly from their trusted email account.

Most importantly, prevention is key. You can seek out professionals after you have been hacked, but preventing the hacking in the first place can be much more cost effective and cause less downtime. In fact, you may wish to partner with trusted professionals for managed IT services to help prevent a serious breach in your devices and network.

Learn More about Managed IT Services

From protecting your entire network from malicious emails to ensuring devices are up-to-date and protected against hacking; managed IT services are one of the most effective ways to stop hackers in their tracks.

At Smile Business Products, our experts are ready to help you ensure the safety and security of your businesses’ digital assets. Contact us today to learn more about managed IT services. Hopefully, with our help, you will never have to find out what to do if your computer has been hacked.



What CEOs Have to Know About NIST

Our growing, connected business world is fantastic for reaching new clients and markets. However, that connectivity also opens up businesses to cyberattacks. In fact, almost 60% of small businesses have been affected by some sort of cyberattack.

When people think of businesses being targeted by cyberattacks, they often believe that hackers are only interested in attacking large, well-known businesses. The truth is, smaller businesses with less developed cybersecurity plans may be more at risk than large companies.

In response, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework was created to help businesses in the United States better prepare for growing online threats. In this article, we will explain more about NIST and how it may relate to your business.

An Introduction to NIST

NIST is short for National Institute of Standards and Technology. This is an organization within the United States Department of Commerce and their focus is very broad. NIST is responsible for setting weight and measurement standards, calibration standards for lab equipment, and much more.

Small and medium businesses may interact with NIST in a variety of ways, depending on the industry they operate in. The NIST Cybersecurity Framework is a development that is designed for all businesses regardless of area of focus or industry.

What Is NIST Cybersecurity Framework?

Over several years, NIST worked with experts to develop a framework that could help businesses better prepare for cybersecurity threats. The newest version of this framework was released in April of 2018. Ultimately, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework is a set of guidelines that businesses can use when looking to assess, improve, and detect cybersecurity threats.

By using the NIST cybersecurity guidelines, businesses can develop a plan to ensure that their own network security measures are adequate. There are five main areas covered by the NIST cybersecurity guidelines.

  • “Identify” is designed to help organizations develop their understanding and identify areas of risk.
  • “Protect” lays out guidelines for developing plans to protect business infrastructure.
  • “Detect,” outlines how businesses can identify a cybersecurity attack.
  • “Respond” is the fourth section that outlines planning for responding to an attack, communicating with stakeholders, and more.
  • “Recover” provides guidelines for developing a plan regarding overcoming an attack and restoring services.

Of course, that was a basic outline of the NIST cybersecurity guidelines. Following the framework is a detailed, intense process that is designed to help businesses take control of their own cybersecurity plans.

Why Is NIST Important for Businesses?

It is virtually impossible to operate a business today without some form of connection to clients using the internet. This means that hackers may be able to find a way to disrupt business operations. Without some sort of framework, many small and medium-sized businesses may have no idea how to begin protecting their operations from cybersecurity threats.

By developing this framework, NIST has clearly outlined the best practices that businesses can put in place for proper protection. In addition, since these guidelines are meant to be used across several businesses and industries, they create a standardized method that can continually be adapted to changing needs and threats. Businesses that implement plans based on the guidelines can trust that they will be able to change their plans seamlessly as changes are made to the NIST cybersecurity guidelines.

The one downside to the NIST framework is its complexity. Many small or medium businesses are simply not equipped or staffed to walk through the guidelines and implement suggestions in a timely manner. The cost of hiring dedicated employees for this may be prohibitive as well. There is no doubt that the NIST cybersecurity guidelines are important, but their implementation may be difficult for some businesses with time and/or budget concerns.

NIST and Your Business

What is NIST? Why is NIST important? We have answered these questions and explained why franchise development consultant should consider using the NIST cybersecurity guidelines to ensure adequate protection and cohesiveness with national standards.

Of course, implementing the suggestions and findings that come from doing a complete assessment may be difficult for some businesses. That’s where managed IT services from expert providers could prove to be helpful.

At Smile Business Products, we offer managed IT services for small and medium businesses. Using the NIST cybersecurity guidelines, we can help implement a nationally recognized cybersecurity standard and maintain security as updates and changes are implemented.

If you would like to learn more about NIST or our managed IT services, contact us today.

lexmark printing solutions

In today’s business world, a printer needs to be more than just a printer. Instead of simply spitting out pages of paper, today’s office printers and copiers have become hubs which the modern office workflow runs through.

The new line of Lexmark printers is truly designed with the modern office in mind. Using the E-Task Tablet Interface and Lexmark software, these printers give employees the power to increase productivity while still enjoying the top quality performance businesses have come to expect from Lexmark printers and Lexmark copiers.

Customize the E-Task Tablet Interface

Most people are familiar and comfortable with their tablets and smartphones. Lexmark has set out to replicate that type of experience using the E-Task Tablet Interface found on their new line of printers. This interface is designed like a high end mobile device to help ensure office workflow doesn’t stall while standing at the printer.

The large, colorful icons on the E-Task Tablet Interface are easy to see and select. Best of all, these icons can be customized to ensure your most-used features are easily accessible with no need for scrolling or cycling through pages. Just tap the selection you want and go!

Not only is this interface easy to use, it also provides users with a one stop shop for many of their workflow needs. Scan documents directly to popular cloud storage services like Google Drive without the need for messy workarounds that could waste time and compromise security.

Print How, When, & Where You Want

Business today relies less and less on people sitting behind a desk. Mobile technology has enabled employees to get out, be seen, and connect with customers on a more personal level. However, many people feel that office workflow issues keep them tethered to their desk.

There is evidence that shows that mobile employees are 23% more productive and much happier at their jobs. Business owners and managers simply need to remove roadblocks and allow their staff to do what they do best. That’s where Lexmark mobile printing solutions come into play. One of the most effective workflow improvement ideas is to simply allow employees to use the tools they already have.

The new Lexmark printers allow mobile users to print documents remotely without interrupting their workflow. Users can either use Lexmark software in the form of the Lexmark Mobile Printing app or use the built-in, native printing capabilities that come with iOS and Android smartphones. Wherever users may be, whatever device they may be using; it does not matter in the modern Lexmark office workflow.

Knowledge is Power

Using Lexmark software features, IT staff can monitor usage right down to the individual user level. This gives greater insight into the trends and needs of employees. Inefficiencies in office workflow can be identified and workflow improvement ideas can be generated using the available data.

Printing infrastructure can be adjusted to best meet the needs of your business and improve office workflow. Costs can be limited by implementing print quotas to cap color printing or total print output. With detailed information, your business can become more agile with the ultimate goal of increasing productivity.

Skip the Extra Steps

Extra steps to accomplish a final goal are some of the biggest unnecessary time wasting activities within a typical office environment. It’s not uncommon for users to scan documents, email those documents to their own inbox, and then upload the file to a network storage drive.

Lexmark printers improve office workflow by removing superfluous steps. The Lexmark software packed into the newest line of Lexmark printers enables simple, one-touch scanning to a network drive. Not only does this cut out extra steps to save time, but it can also improve document security within your business.

Every additional hoop users must jump through to get a document where it needs to go is another area for potential mistakes to occur. Even something as simple as an unattended computer with an open email inbox could compromise document security and privacy.

How Can Lexmark Printers Improve Your Office Workflow?

Are you interested in learning more about what Lexmark printers could offer your business? Want to discuss workflow improvement ideas?

At Smile Business Products, we have helped many businesses improve office workflow while also enabling their staff to accomplish more.

Contact us today to see the difference that industry leading Lexmark printers and innovative Lexmark software can make in your business.

The cybercriminal’s arsenal has grown drastically in the past decade. They have released more malicious programs than ever and continue to create new ones at an alarming rate.

According to AV-Test, there are an estimated 796 million malware variants present today, which is an increase of 274% from 2009. That means today’s hackers have 796 million different ways to target organizations globally.

For businesses and institutions around the world, the pressure is on. Taking the right protective measures is important to ensure you do not become a victim of the next big cyberattack.

Managed security service is one of the most effective ways to prevent both known and unknown cybersecurity threats. In order to understand how managed security solutions work, it’s important to establish an understanding of the different types of malicious programs out there.

What Is Malware and How Does It Work?

Malware is a combination of two words, malicious and software. The term refers to software created with the intention to harm devices, data, and users. Check out here for advanced email security platform, and more

Different types of malware work in different ways. Some may target individual devices while others target a whole network of devices. For the most part, the main goal is to either corrupt the device or data or gain access to it. Cybersecurity professionals use the term “malware” to describe all of the following types of unauthorized applications:

  • Trojans. Like the Trojan horse of myth, trojans use a disguise to deceive. They act like legitimate software and create backdoors into your network, creating security threats that can go undetected for years.
  • Viruses. A virus is an infection that attaches itself to files. They cause damage to these files by either corrupting or deleting them. Viruses typically appear as an executable file, which means unsuspecting users have to open them for them to start working.
  • Spyware. Computers infected with spyware allow hackers to spy and exfiltrate any data they want from the device – from surfing habits and passwords to credit card numbers. Skygofree is a recently discovered trojan/spyware variant that targets Android devices. It allows hackers to steal audio, photos, videos, WhatsApp messages, and any other data on the device’s hard drive.
  • Worms. Worms target the overall network. Once a device on a network is infected with worms, they make their way through the network infecting all devices. To do this, they must first compromise the network’s digital certificates, which leaves devices on the network vulnerable to other malicious attacks.
  • Botnets. Botnets are a complex network of computers that work like “zombies” under the control of a master user. They are typically used for spamming and tricking people into providing personal information for scammers to use.

The above list is not exhaustive and only includes the most common malicious software. According to experienced lawyers from Casper law firm helping to cope with DUI charges, hackers have become very innovative in how they conduct malware attacks, thanks to the flourishing profits that cybercrime pays.

Since malicious software is continually evolving, new strains feature zero-day vulnerability. A zero-day vulnerability is a threat no patch or security fix can repair – it’s brand-new.

For zero-day attacks, cybersecurity professionals must develop a patch after the attack has already occurred. This puts them on the defense, forcing them to spend valuable time and resources on damage control while trying to prevent new users from being infected.

How Managed Network Services Can Help Fight Malware Attacks

Detecting and fighting malware requires more than just installing an antivirus on your workstations. While that is part of the solution, making sure all aspects of the network and its devices are consistently protected from attacks is vital. Managed security services offer organizations a stronger contingency plan against any form of attack – zero-day or otherwise.

Hiring a team of experts and allowing them to take care of your company’s network security leaves little room for accidental error. Managed service providers lay down a proper foundation and infrastructure to fight off malware attack and offer reduced reaction times when attacks occur.

Our team at Smile provides a stable foundation for network security. Some attacks cannot be prevented, but they can be quarantined and controlled before causing serious damage. Activating layers of security and reducing the level of automatic trust that your systems and departments place in one another is a key strategy for mounting a powerful defense.

Active threat detection is an important part of any comprehensive plan for mitigating malware attacks. By constantly scanning network systems for known threats and suspicious behaviors, cybersecurity professionals can deal with them as soon as they appear. This ensures business continuity with minimal downtime.

Is your business ready to implement a top-shelf security solution to protect sensitive data from cyberattackers? Talk to our security experts to learn more.

How Can Square9 & DocuWare Improve Managed Print Services for a Healthcare Office?

There are very few industries with the unique document management needs that healthcare requires. Not only is the health of patients on the line, but regulations must be met while delivering top quality care and support.

Implementing Managed print services for a healthcare office can feel daunting, especially when the needs of the team, patients, and HIPAA laws are taken into consideration. However, as technology continues to forge ahead in the industry, healthcare offices cannot risk being left behind. So, how can healthcare offices enjoy the benefits of print management while also ensuring that their responsibilities to their patients are met?

Square9 and DocuWare have the answer to that question and more. Let’s take a closer look at these two services.

What Are Managed Print Services for Healthcare?

Like any other office in any other industry, healthcare offices have a need for printing and storage of documents and requires proper pharmaceutical warehousing to help them serve better. However, unlike some other businesses, healthcare offices are bound by HIPAA which outlines the privacy requirements that protects patient’s most private medical information.

What this means is that healthcare offices have to be especially important when implementing any sort of document management or sharing system. It is not as simple as choosing some fly-by-night print management company to implement a system.

Recognizing the needs of the healthcare industry as well as other data-sensitive industries, Square9 and DocuWare have created systems that allow businesses and offices to enjoy the benefits of print management without compromising their commitment to their patients.

The Features & Benefits of Square9

The main promise of Square9 is to improve patient service, reduce costs, and ensure compliance with privacy regulations. By streamlining operations within a healthcare office, it may be possible to reduce the most common and preventable causes of HIPAA violations.

Theft, IT incidents, and loss of documents make up the large majority of HIPAA violations. The silver lining to this stat is that all of these incidents can be largely prevented.

Using Square9, managed print services for healthcare offices are combined with secure data storage, process automation, and integration with existing medical records systems. Patient information can be securely stored digitally and only accessed by authorized users. This safeguard alone stands to prevent countless compliance violations and fines.

Most importantly, Square9 enables healthcare offices to increase the quality of service offered to patients. Since document storage and workflow tasks can be automated, staff has more time to focus on patient care.

The Features & Benefits of DocuWare

Much like Square9, DocuWare aims to provide better document management for healthcare offices. By securely storing data in the cloud, the risk of theft or loss of paper patient records is greatly reduced.

Perhaps most exciting is that this now enables staff to be more mobile. Professionals are no longer tethered to their desk or office. Patient records can be securely stored and then accessed on a mobile device by authorized users. A healthcare office is now able to expand their reach without having to deal with risks that may result from taking paper patient records outside of the office.

In addition, many tasks can be automated using DocuWare. The benefits of print management are just the beginning. Instead of printing paper files to be completed and then submitted and stored, healthcare offices can automatically have forms sent for completion and submission. This reduces the need for staff to become managers of documents between patients and their pharmacy, specialists, or insurance companies.

Why Managed Print Services for Healthcare Offices is Important

These days, the benefits of print management go far beyond just sending a document to a printer. In fact, that document may not need to be printed on paper at all.

Patients cite their greatest concern regarding healthcare as diagnostic error. This could be a result of a number of factors. One way to help reduce error or confusion is to have access to all information as quickly and efficiently as possible. If healthcare professionals can see a patient’s history with just a few taps then they are better able to provide accurate, timely medical attention when needed.

With greater communication, better document storage, and automation of time consuming tasks, healthcare offices can feel confident that their patients are receiving the best care possible.

Discover the Benefits of Print Management

Navigating these sensitive issues requires experience and understanding. If your healthcare office is grappling with the rapidly changing face of technology as well as the important privacy regulations in place – then we are here to help you.

At Smile Business Products, we help healthcare offices implement the solutions that can help them meet all of their document management goals. Interested in learning more? Contact us today!

How Can I Protect My Business From Crypto Miner Malware Attacks?

Keeping up with the latest threats from hackers can seem overwhelming. Some estimates suggest there are over 1 million new malware threats released every single day. It can be overwhelming if you are not sure of what to look out for.

Recently, with the rise in popularity and value of cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin mining malware and other crypto currency mining malware programs have exploded in popularity. These forms of malware attacks can be less obvious than other attacks like ransomware. As a result, businesses may be unaware of their effects until much later after the initial infection.

In this article we will break down crypto mining malware attacks, how you can prevent them, and how managed IT services may be a part of the solution.

What is Crypto Mining Malware?

When most people hear about cryptocurrency mining they have a hard time wrapping their head around the concept. How does crypto mining work and how does it affect your network devices?

Simply put, crypto mining uses computer processing power to verify blocks of transactions. The processing power of computer hardware is used to solve increasingly difficult mathematical equations in order to verify transactions with the rest of the distributed computers.

In return for doing this work, the users who “donate” their processing power are given a reward in the form of a small amount of cryptocurrency.

So, what is crypto mining malware? Instead of people using their own computer hardware for legitimate mining purposes, they use the hardware of unsuspecting users.

Bitcoin mining malware and other forms of crypto mining malware attacks tap into the power of your computer to verify transactions while the rewards go to the hackers who developed the malware.

Essentially, you are putting up the processing power and energy to help someone else earn cryptocurrency.

Why Should You Be Worried?

Now the question shifts from, “What is crypto mining malware,” to, “How does it affect me?”

Unlike more obvious forms of malware that seek to hold your data hostage in return for payment, Bitcoin mining malware is comparatively inconspicuous. Many people could be infected without ever knowing it. So what’s the problem?

As Bitcoin mining malware spreads, it begins to consume more and more processing power and energy.

Cryptocurrency mining is very energy intensive and Bitcoin mining alone is estimated to account for 0.5% of the world’s total power usage this year. In a home setting, a single computer using extra power may not be noticed. In a business setting, an entire network of devices tapping into additional power could be very costly.

In addition, this constant use of processing power could wear down computer hardware faster than normal use. If your graphics processing unit is operating 24/7 then it is likely the cooling fans will fail much earlier than what could be attributed to regular usage. Over time, these costs can add up as expensive hardware is replaced.

Finally, your computer simply cannot operate at peak efficiency if a portion of its processing power is being used for cryptocurrency mining without your knowledge. This would be like buying a high powered sports car only to find that the dealership swapped in a lawnmower engine before handing over the keys. The efficiency of your business is harmed because of every general Bitcoin Loophole app and new Bitcoin mining malware.

How to Prevent Crypto Miner Malware Attacks

Many of the standard computer security tips apply when preventing crypto miner malware attacks.

Users should avoid visiting websites they do not trust or opening email attachments from people they do not know. While Bitcoin mining malware may be a new twist of the standard malware infection, it is still distributed the same way as other forms of malware.

Managed IT services and managed network services can also go a long way in helping preventing the infection and spread of efficiency sapping malware. In a secure network environment, it can be more difficult for Bitcoin mining malware to gain a foothold and spread to other devices.

Using managed IT services, businesses can filter malicious emails as they enter the network and prevent infected files from reaching unsuspecting users.

There is no single way to prevent malware infection. A comprehensive strategy including managed network services is the only way to ensure your business security is ready for the latest digital threats.

Get Top Quality Business Network Services

At Smile Business Products, our business network services protect your company’s data and hardware by using the best technology available today.

We invite you to visit our facility, meet our team, and learn more about how we can protect you from crypto mining malware as well as the countless other threats to your business. Contact us today to learn more.

Joe Reeves, President & CEO of Smile Business Products is featured in the September issue of enx magazine.

This is an excellent article regarding Joe’s vision and commitment over the past 21 years.


Did You Know That NJPA is Now Sourcewell? Find Out What This Means for Your Business

If your office or organization was a member of National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA) then you may have noticed the agency has undergone a name change, logo change, and website redesign. For those agencies on a thin budget that relied upon NJPA to secure affordable equipment and services, this change may have initially caused a bit of a scare. It is also advised to contact a reliable enterprise seo consultant to help your website come first in search engine results and help your prospects find you easily.

NJPA is now known as Sourcewell and they have a swanky new logo to go with the name change. Of course, names and logos don’t mean much – what ultimately matters is the product and the customer care you receive.

In this article, we will take a closer look at what has changed, what has stayed the same, and how it all affects your organization’s ability to secure preferred contract pricing.

The History of NJPA

The National Joint Powers Alliance was created over 40 years ago to help smaller agencies work together to increase their buying power and, ultimately, get better prices on the equipment and technology they need. Over time, the NJPA has grown to become 50,000 members strong.

It is no secret that non-profits and government agencies operate on thin budgets. These organizations must manage their spending, payroll, and even marketing on a reduced budget. Therefore, working together to save money on equipment and technology can provide a huge boost to a cash strapped organization.

Seeing changes made to the NJPA would understandably raise some interest among organizations that rely on this increased buying power to negotiate deals that fit within their budget. The good news is that the reputation of NJPA continues to live on despite the name, acronym, and logo being upgraded.

What is Sourcewell?

In June, NJPA officially became Sourcewell with notice being issued in the form of a letter. In that same letter, Sourcewell indicated that all of the existing memberships, contract pricing, and agreements under NJPA will be upheld under their new banner.

Essentially, Sourcewell is a modern reimagining of NJPA. The goals, value, and mission all remain the same – but the name, appearance, and logo has been updated for a more modern business world. It’s like putting a coat of paint on your family home. The home remains the same and the memories of the home are not lost. Only the outside appearance of the home has changed.

Vendors who worked with NJPA are continuing to operate as usual after the Sourcewell rebranding. Agencies and organizations who used their Sourcewell membership to negotiate special contract pricing will also not notice any changes.

Basically, it’s business as usual for Sourcewell, their members, and affiliated vendors.

What Is Changing With Sourcewell?

While existing relationships are being maintained, the Sourcewell name and logo change is more than just visual. The organization has made some promises to update the way they operate and meet the needs of their members.

Sourcewell wants to be more than just an organization that helps members increase their buying power.

Their new mission statement says that they will dive deeper into the needs of their members and exceed service expectations. What this means for individual organizations still remains to be seen as the change is relatively new. However, there does appear to be a shift in purpose for the group.

It makes sense that NJPA has rebranded to Sourcewell and taken a deeper interest in their members. With the power of the internet, it is much easier for groups to organize. Sourcewell had to update the way they operate to offer more than just a place for similar organizations to combine their purchasing power.

The visual aspects of this change can be seen on the Sourcewell website. The site is colorful and lifestyle images have been placed throughout the site to put an emphasis on more than just equipment procurement and pricing aspects. Sourcewell members are looking forward to learning more about the new and exciting changes coming to the organization.

NJPA Deals Continue With Sourcewell

Smile Business Products is proud to continue our agreement with Sourcewell to help education institutions, non-profits, and government organizations make the most of their budget. If you previously had an agreement through NJPA then you can be confident that your contract pricing will continue.

If you are wondering about any changes as a result of the Sourcewell rebranding or you would like to take advantage of your Sourcewell membership then please feel free to contact us at Smile Business Products any time. We would be happy to help you make the most of every dollar you spend on equipment and technology.

What are the Latest Innovations from Sharp for Schools & Education Offices?

The classroom has been changing rapidly over the last decade. Technology has been making learning easier for students and helping teachers present new concepts to young minds. Sharp has been a leader in helping the education industry move forward with the Sharp classroom technology products and services.

From managed print services for a school to cutting edge education technology, Sharp has been changing the way we look at education. This new technology allows students to learn in the way that suits them best and, ultimately, could help produce better results from classrooms across the country.

Sharp Interactive Whiteboards

One of the most exciting pieces of Sharp education technology is the interactive whiteboards that bring lessons to life. With Sharp interactive whiteboards, a high definition display connects students with vivid imagery while teachers are still able to provide their own context and lessons using the interactive whiteboard features.

Best of all, this technology turns a traditional classroom into an area of collaboration. This is in line with research that shows students learn better by actually doing activities rather than simply sitting and listening. Educators can invite students to participate in the lesson, or work together as a group to solve the problem being discussed.

The 4k display provides exceptional clarity while the responsive Sharp Pen leaves endless opportunity for creativity. The Sharp AQUOS board is truly an incredible step for modern classrooms and shows the best of Sharp education technology.

Cutting Costs with Managed Print Services for a School

Education institutions have one of the most important duties within society: to educate young minds. Every dollar spent within a district or school must be effectively spent to ensure that students get the education they deserve.

The company found in site offers managed print services for a school or education office that could help reduce printing costs and, therefore, allow more funds to be allocated where they can be used best. In addition, schools can help lead by example when it comes to sustainability planning.

The fact is that print waste accounts for 50% of waste in many offices. With the added user base of a large school or education office, print waste can add up quickly. Managed print services for a school looks to eliminate redundant devices and make printing more economical and environmentally friendly.

Students and staff can be given daily, weekly, or monthly printing limits to help curb unnecessary printing. In addition, multifunction devices can be used in place of single purpose devices to eliminate the need for additional devices that are unnecessary and costly.

Better Storage of Records and Information

It goes without saying that a school or education office has a lot of information to manage on a day-to-day basis. Everything from student records to permission slips needs to be retained securely. In the past, this was done using a paper filing system. Not only is this an inefficient use of space but the method opens up the opportunity for theft or loss that could compromise the privacy of students or faculty.

Sharp classroom technology is not just about beautiful displays for students to interact with. Sharp also works behind the scenes to ensure that data is securely stored but available quickly and easily for authorized users. With the right data management plan in place, educators no longer have to scramble through file folders to access the information they need.

This kind of streamlining can reduce the need for physical storage and the costs associated. In addition, information can be shared among staff, parents, or guardians quickly and simply. Of course, the ultimate goal is to ensure that the child gets the best education possible. With Sharp education technology, students are put first. You can also ensure your child’s best future and education, for further information you may read this post about The Children’s ISA!

Taking Education to the Next Level

Future generations are just beginning to discover the amazing world around them. With Sharp classroom technology, that world can come to life inside their classroom. More importantly, educators are empowered to do their best work and unlock their own creativity to reach their students.

At Smile Business Products we are proud to offer Sharp classroom technology products and solutions. If you are wondering how Sharp managed print services for a school can reduce costs, or interested in seeing the stunning Sharp AQUOS interactive display, we would be happy to sit down with you.

Sharp just announced their award-winning 8K Ultra-HD LCD Display; let us help you discover how 33 millions pixels will change the way you view digital signage. Just another way Sharp can help schools distribute educational material in classrooms.

Contact us today to learn more about how Sharp is changing the education landscape!

What Can SmileTel VOIP Managed Communication Systems Do for Small Businesses?

When a business is first starting out, conventional telephone systems are usually enough to get jobs done. The executive team of a fast-growing startup is likely to rely on their mobile phones for business communication simply out of convenience.

At first, this system works. But as growth occurs, it becomes severely limiting. Managing a group of 1-3 ambitious, highly driven employees and a handful of customers is simple enough but quickly gets out of hand when managing even a modestly sized small business.

As your team grows, so do opportunities for long-distance collaboration. Once you begin to rely on regional offices or out-of-state collaborators, the costs of communication begin to mount. Add in international customers, distributors, or vendors, and suddenly, communication becomes a complex budget line item.

It is very important that you plan for that kind of growth and the migration to a full-fledged managed communication system that follows. Implementing a VOIP managed communication infrastructure and a keen interest to  Learn More about it when your business is still small is the best way to ensure a stable, working foundation for scalable growth.

How Managed Communication Systems Save Businesses Money

It’s a fact that businesses can save up to 75% on communication costs over landline phones using VOIP. A major portion of these are direct savings – the ability to make internal calls at no extra cost is a huge differentiator when it comes to effectively managing a business of any size.

But businesses both large and small realize a significant amount of these savings indirectly as well. Any company with a developed focus on customer service can generate indirect savings that outperform the direct savings VOIP telephone technology offers on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

Some of the ways a VOIP telephone communication system can help your business save money include making customer service more efficient and maximizing outsourcing potential. These benefits manifest in multiple ways in the VOIP environment.

Let No Calls Go Unanswered

Customer service is important. Many experts believe that, in a highly developed service economy, it is the most important value differentiator a business can exhibit. In these conditions, not answering a customer phone call is unacceptable.

With a comprehensive VOIP telephone system, you can automatically route calls in an adaptable and efficient way. The best telephone systems allow you to reduce the amount of time customers spend dealing with automated response programs, sending them straight to the customer service agent best-suited to deal with their specific problem.

Engage with Customers More Effectively

SmileTel VOIP managed communication systems allow customer service agents to enjoy immediate access to key customer data without having to ask customers to provide that data. This can be a powerful tool when dealing with already disgruntled customers who don’t appreciate having to call to get their problems solved in the first place. There are a lot more about Ucaas Review to know, since they are the experts in this field and has retained a good position for a long period of time.

With a robust VOIP system integrated with a customer relationship management database, a customer service representative can immediately pull up customer details, review past interactions, and update user information in real-time. This data can prevent small customer complaints from becoming major disputes.

Consolidate Customer Service Management

With VOIP, there is no effective difference between having an employee use their office landline or a VOIP-enabled phone at home. Telecommunication is just one of the major ways that VOIP managed communication systems help companies save money by reducing the necessity of managing large customer service teams on-site.

If your company outsources customer service, or plans to do so in the future, you can leverage VOIP connectivity to offer complete connectivity to outsourced service providers anywhere in the world. VOIP technology establishes a single, simple cost structure for international calls, saving organizations money on every call they need to make.

Choose the Best Telephone System for a Small Business

Certain telephone functionalities are a must-have for modern, growth-oriented small businesses. These functionalities include mobile compatibility, wireless access, and cloud infrastructure, all of which are crucial to leveraging maximum value out of any VOIP solution.

SmileTel’s solutions offer this kind of advanced functionality alongside valuable consulting and support from trained VOIP experts. Choosing the right VOIP system requires performing a professional communications audit where your regular communication needs are identified, catalogued, and quantified.

Using this data, we can determine what kind of hardware is the best choice for your particular office environment, communication needs, network limitations, and more. Our experts can deploy bandwidth-optimized solutions and offer ongoing support and maintenance for your managed communication systems, transforming a complex need into a simple budget line item with a single invoice.

Our team’s remote desktop capabilities allow for on-demand VOIP support and assistance. With SmileTel, there is no need to wait for technical support – it’s only a click away.

Find out more about SmileTel VOIP managed communication systems by talking to a specialist about your organization’s needs. Contact us today for a quote!









SmileNet Managed Technical Support vs. In-House Technicians – Which Makes More Sense for a Growing Business?

For a small or mid-sized business owner planning on growth, hiring in-house technicians usually seems like a good idea. At first.

While relying on the attention and expertise of an in-house IT technician or a team of technicians can offer peace of mind, it also comes with additional costs. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of a single computer user support specialist is about $50,000 per year.

Employers also have to account for taxes paid on employee salaries, healthcare benefits, and other legal requirements that come with the decision to hire. This is no problem for large enterprises, but businesses positioning themselves for growth can find these obstacles to be substantial ones.

This is where managed technical support services can provide scalable, growth-friendly results at a fraction of the price. But is outsourced quality of service the same as that provided by an in-house hire? Do managed technical support providers have an incentive to offer top-shelf IT solutions to their clients?

There is a good chance that your business may find IT sourced services to be valuable assets for growth. Find out if managed IT service is the option for you.

When to Hire In-House IT Technicians

Hiring your own in-house team can pay off as a long-term strategy if you are certain about your organization’s capacity for growth. If you are well-established in your market and your team is reliably set in place for years to come, then keeping technical expertise inside your organization gives you total control over the quality of the work performed.

Essentially, you need to have a business plan that mitigates the following three risks in order to make this tactic preferable to contracting managed IT services:

  • Workload. If you know that you have enough work on your plate to provide for an open-ended hiring agreement for one or more IT technicians, then the question is one of value. Does the value of a new hire compensate for the cost?
  • Turnover. The tech industry has the highest turnover rate in the entire job market. People with technology skills are in high demand. You need to have strategies in place for employee retention if you are going to hire IT technicians – even entry-level ones.
  • Management. When it comes to technical support, managed service providers have an entire hierarchy of expertise at your disposal. It’s not as simple as hiring an “IT guy.” Someone has to account for that employee’s workload, which means you must either delegate to a manager or take on the responsibility yourself.

Why Choose Managed Technical Support

A managed vendor operates much in the same way as a hired employee. You sign a contract with the service provider for operating, maintaining, and troubleshooting your IT infrastructure. When your employees or customers have problems, they contact your outsourced IT partner for resolution.

There are many benefits of hiring an external company for this job. Advantages include the structure of managed service providers to the more diverse skill set they bring to the table.

  • Structural Efficiency. Your managed service provider may not be your own dedicated IT team, but it leverages the combined experience and expertise of multiple teams. Every single process that goes into a managed solution has been tried, retried, tested, debugged, and refined multiple times over.
  • State-of-the-Art Tools. One of the larger expenses associated with running your own support department is purchasing equipment and software licenses. Managed service providers leverage economies of scale to purchase and use the best equipment money can buy.
  • Cost-Effectiveness. Not having to make an initial capital investment in your IT support team’s equipment needs is great. Not having to invest in additional salaries, training, benefits, and potential wasted man-hours when your network is working perfectly fine is even better.
  • Skills. Regardless of how large a salary you can offer, how attractive your company is to work for, and how good your recruiters are, there are bound to be skill gaps in your in-house IT team. Network infrastructure is a complex and rapidly moving field that constantly places new demands on its professionals, from learning new programming languages to dealing with the latest cybersecurity threats.

Make SmileNet Your Managed Technical Support Solution

Smile offers managed technical support solutions designed for scalability and efficiency. With our team fielding your tech support needs, you can focus on what your company does best – your core processes – and leave the infrastructure up to us.

Ready to talk to a Smile specialist about technical support? We’re always happy to fill new clients in on the benefits of our services.








How Does the Skywell Water Machine Offer a Sustainable Office Solution & Quench Thirst?

How much water does your office consume on a weekly basis?

You’d be forgiven for not knowing the answer off-hand. Between managing your team, keeping customers happy, and fulfilling stakeholder expectations, there’s little room for thinking about the office water cooler.

But the question is a relevant one. Water delivery for an office of 21 to 25 people can cost between $45 and $100 per month. But that’s just the cost you pay. The environmental costs associated with bottling and transporting water equal a staggering 50 million barrels’ worth of oil consumption per year.

Water companies will tell you that the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) they make water bottles out of is recyclable. And this is true, but it’s also true that approximately 75-percent of plastic water bottles bought in the United States are never recycled. Most of them end up in landfills forever.

The 25-percent that is recycled mostly ends up in offshore recycling plants that make fabric, rugs, and clothing out of the spent materials. Since recycling produces no new bottles, water companies must consume more crude oil to package more water and ship it to your office on a diesel truck. The cycle continues unabated, with no clear end in sight.

But there is a solution. Instead of buying bottled water by the gallon and having it delivered, offices around the world can generate water out of thin air using an innovative new device – the Sharp Skywell.

What Is the Sharp Skywell and How Does It Work?

The Sharp Skywell is an atmospheric water generator. As every high school chemistry student learns, water molecules are made up of two elementary atoms – hydrogen and oxygen. Both of these chemicals are widely present in the atmosphere, as anyone who has seen an air conditioner dripping condensate water knows.

The truth is that the air contains more moisture than all the streams and rivers on Earth combined. But the water that drips off the coil of an air conditioner contains heavy metals and may even be corrosive or contaminated with lead. The Skywell begins with the phenomenon of atmospheric water condensation and uses it to produce pure drinking water.

This happens through a six-stage water filtration system that removes any possible contaminants in the water. These filters include mechanical filtration, ultra-violet light filters, and filtration by osmosis.

The Skywell also features an independent monitoring system that inspects the quality and consistency of the water it produces. This ensures that office employees enjoy a refreshing, perfect-tasting drink every time.

The Skywell can produce up to 5 gallons of pure drinking water per day. It can heat up and cool down water according to its users’ preference and features a mobile application that tracks water consumption and informs users of their positive environmental impact.

The Skywell Offers Portable, Pipe-Free Installation

While the environmental benefits of the Skywell water machine are commendable, Sharp knows that to make its atmospheric water generator a success, the Skywell’s cost savings have to be substantial. One of the most compelling arguments for using this water machine is its portability and ease of installation.

Since the Skywell generates water directly out of the air, there is no need to install complex plumbing or adjust an office layout to include it. All you need to do is bring it in and plug it in. The water machine will begin filtering and purifying ambient moisture from the air immediately.

This makes it a cost-effective solution for nearly any office but gives it special importance for temporary worksites and hard-to-reach places. It represents a key value for construction sites, rural areas, and temporary regional offices, among a wide variety of other potential use cases.

What About the Skywell’s Energy Costs?

The average energy costs of using the Skywell vary according to the costs of using the local municipal electricity grid and the amount of water consumed. But in an average office environment in a coastal area like Los Angeles, the Skywell consumes less than 10 kilowatts per day, equating to about $0.30 per gallon.

Every Skywell unit comes with a one-year warranty. The device’s air filter requires cleaning once per month, and its water filter requires replacing once every nine months. For a truly environmentally friendly and virtually maintenance-free office water cooler solution, the Sharp Skywell meets even the most stringent expectations.

Deploy the Skywell in your office today and take control of your office’s water consumption footprint. Talk to a Smile specialist to find out how!








Smile BPI Career Spotlight: Account Manager

Joining Smile BPI as an Account Manager can start you on a career that is satisfying and lucrative. As an organization that supplies our clients with business technology experience through innovative customer service tools and responsive professional support, Smile BPI is a unique place to start a career as an Account Manager .

What’s the office at Smile BPI like?

Smile BPI prides itself on a positive office culture that focuses on transparency, direct communication, and teamwork. We maintain a collaborative atmosphere, and leadership shares their vision openly so that all employees are given an opportunity for input and suggestions.

What else is unique about working with Smile?

Beyond the benefits of competitive pay and an exceptional office culture, there are fringe benefits such as profit sharing, bonuses, holidays, and tuition assistance. Smile BPI also provides other perks, including contests, trips and team gatherings that promote a family-like culture.

Should I work at Smile if I’m a recent college grad, or is Smile for experienced individuals?

Smile is a dynamic, progressive company where there is opportunity for both recent college graduates and more experienced professionals. Smile provides an entry level training program for recent college graduates as well as individuals who lack B2B experience.

Our company also offers career opportunities for seasoned professionals, and with our training, even helps experienced Account Reps learn new sales business processes with an educational and consultative approach.

Smile also helps our Account Managers learn and build other skills to get results for their clients.

What does Smile look for in an ideal candidate?

Smile seeks candidates with standout skills who are open to coaching, can listen effectively, and are able to communicate and build relationships. We look for talent that can grow and share in our success. A great Account Manager will also work to understand their clients and is willing to help by clearly communicating how our solutions will match their needs.

What’s the leadership team like at Smile?

Smile offers the opportunity to learn and thrive under incredible leadership. The senior management team in all departments at Smile BPI are tenured, professional, and exceptional at what they do. Many senior management officials have contributed to a culture that started 20 years ago by the vision and founder of Smile, Joe Reeves.

Joe is passionate about the company and well respected by industry leaders. He makes time to engage with customers and employees on their well being even with his hectic daily schedule.

Smile can assist with your careers, but it’s a 3-way partnership between the company culture, the support of your co-workers, and your own willingness to learn, contribute and grow. The team at Smile works to bring the most out of everyone and puts them in the driver’s seat to succeed.

We always say, “When the employees succeeds, Smile succeeds.”

Are you ready to join the growing team at Smile BPI as an Account Manager? Check out the positions we’re hiring for and apply today. The career you deserve is only a Smile away!







Be Prepared – Create an IT Disaster Recovery Plan

Don’t let a cyberattack cripple your business. Your disaster recovery plan (DRP) details the procedures your company must undertake to become fully operational when these types of events happen.

The primary obstacle organizations face when developing a DRP is effectively managing risk during the process and planning for all possible contingencies. While certain disasters come to mind almost immediately – broken pipes flooding equipment rooms, for instance – others are difficult to conceptualize.

For instance, although you’re probably aware of the most famous types of malware in the wild, the nature of cybercrime means there are potentially thousands you don’t know about. Guarding your critical data against a threat you don’t know is a difficult challenge.

But there are ways you can protect your data through disaster anticipation and prevention, with powerful tools for on-the-spot data migration. Smile’s partnership with Datto provides complete IT disaster recovery solutions to businesses at all levels of organization, from small offices to large enterprises.

What Your IT Disaster Recovery Plan Needs

To implement a reliable DRP, you have to plan for redundant processes so that you can access and use critical data even when missing key components of your business infrastructure. This lets you keep your business running even when recovering from network disasters, reducing downtime and improving restoration.

A robust IT disaster recovery plan like the ones from the it support san jose needs to benefit from independent network infrastructure. That means putting procedures in place that compensate for business technology you may otherwise take for granted. Consider planning for the following scenarios:

  • A Ransomware Attack. One or more of your business-critical systems is crippled. Your DRP needs to provide both a recent backup of that system’s data and the hardware you need to use it, fully compatible with your unaffected systems.
  • Flooding and Water Damage. Floods don’t only happen during monsoon season. A burst pipe can flood an entire office building if left unattended overnight and ruin your entire fleet of workstations, printers, and more. If your business-critical data is on the cloud, however, you can temporarily migrate to another office and continue working. You may also consider building a backup data center. You may visit sites like to learn more about modular data centers.
  • Fires and Earthquakes. Structural damage can destroy equipment, injure employees, and make communication impossible. Your IT disaster recovery plan needs to correlate with your broader business continuity plan without relying on communication – everyone must know what to do beforehand.
  • Blackouts. A blackout can immediately push your entire business back into the Feudal era. Without your computers or network infrastructure, the only tools you have on-hand are your employees’ mobile phones. Companies with a disaster-resistant BYOD policy and cloud data infrastructure in place will be able to navigate this disaster successfully.

Datto Partnership for Comprehensive Disaster Recovery

The large number of cybersecurity concerns and disaster scenarios that you need to account for makes implementing your own in-house, on-premises DRP solution infeasible. There is simply no economically viable way to deploy redundant copies of all of your business-critical data and make them available to your employees on your own.

However, with a cloud-based business continuity service like Datto, you can enjoy fully privileged access to all of the benefits of comprehensive disaster recovery in a scalable format. Housing your disaster recovery resources on the cloud offers key benefits:

  • Cloud services are physically independent of your existing infrastructure, allowing you to work despite physical damage to your office or systems. Direct cloud connection is often the best solution for enterprises.
  • Cloud services can be more secure than on-premises systems. Properly configured, the private cloud provides a framework for stringent user verification, while offering no opportunity for physical break-ins.
  • Cloud-based services allow you to create centralized backups out of decentralized systems. The cloud is location-independent, so it can gather information from any number of other systems.

Datto takes these benefits and makes them even more attractive. Datto offers unified continuity, networking benefits, complete sync capabilities, and full-featured business management options.

  • Unified Continuity. Datto allows you to restore a lost file or your entire business infrastructure using the same intuitive interface.
  • Networking. Datto helps you prevent networking downtime by ensuring that wherever you have an internet connection, you have access to business-critical data.
  • Backup and Sync. Simple, secure backup services allow you and your employees to collaborate and backup directly off of Datto’s servers.
  • Business Management. Use Datto to create a centralized security solution for decentralized business infrastructures and gain access to comprehensive data insights.

Datto makes it easy to protect your business from the broadest range of data threats. Use this technology to keep your systems safe while making your business-critical data easy to access and restore.

Are you concerned your organization may not be able to fully recover from a data disaster? Talk to our IT disaster recovery experts today and find out how our technology can help you.






Professional Customer Service Increases Trust and Loyalty

When it comes to customer service, there are two major ways of thinking. Businesses will generally try to be as present and comprehensive as possible or try to reduce costs as much as possible. These two modes of thought each have their origins in abstract appreciations of value. Businesses that subscribe to the former see customer service as an asset, whereas businesses that subscribe the latter see customer service as a cost.

When customer service is a cost, it becomes difficult to justify in terms of the value it generates. There is no incentive to treat customers any better than is strictly necessary. This leads to long call-waiting queues, automated systems, and opaque bureaucracy.

When customer service is an asset, businesses have a critical incentive to constantly improve it. The more personalized and transparent it is, the better customers respond and more reputable your business becomes.

But as good as this sounds, it is only useful if you can measure it. This is why many businesses still neglect to treat customer service as an asset. However, it turns out that with today’s data gathering capabilities, you can measure customer service ROI with greater accuracy than ever before.

Measuring Customer Service ROI Pays Off

Business leaders who accept that customer service really does drive sales can put methods in place for measuring the return that customer service investment produces. The key to doing this is implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) system that allows you to quantify the value of individual customer interactions and outreach campaigns. You may also consider using a customer experience metrics solution to grow your business. Visit sites like to know more.

You wouldn’t be the first to try this. The data is quite clear on how increasing customer loyalty and trust produces value for businesses. For instance, the Harvard Business Review found that satisfied customers have a tendency to return to businesses and spend an average 140-percent more than those who have poor experiences.

But there’s more to the customer service equation than the fact that happy customers are more likely to return to businesses who treat them right. The fact is that unhappy customers cost businesses more, on average, than satisfied ones.

A study by shows the direct benefits of actively keeping customers happy:

  • Customers are three times more likely to share negative experiences with friends.
  • It takes between 10 and 12 positive social media reviews to offset a single negative one.
  • 59-percent of customers are willing to try new brands to get better customer service.
  • For Seattle restaurants, a single star on Yelp is worth five-to-nine-percent of the restaurant’s total revenue.

Essentially, losing customers to bad experiences costs much more than the loss of a single transaction. Human beings are social creatures, and few things ignite conversation more readily than a bad customer service experience.

Use Customer Service to Establish Loyalty and Trust

It is a well-established fact that customer service can produce returns far beyond its initial cost. Furthermore, bad customer experiences can cost large amounts of money in the age of social media. But businesses don’t always agree on exactly what great customer service looks like. They don’t always agree on what customer service ROI means, either.

The key to using customer service to bolster the value of your company’s offerings is to create and test hypotheses about your customers using the data they give you. Your customers are a unique set of individuals who have unique goals that you help them solve.

When you identify the part you play in their lives, you are better able to meet their expectations. Nonetheless, there are some simple truths that are almost universal in the management of customer relations:

  • Customers Don’t Like Automated Interactions. Telephone robots, auto-callers, email spam, and junk mail are universally unwelcome among customers in every industry. Customers who take the time to call wish to be treated with the same respect by a human being on the other end of the line.
  • Customers Do Like Automated Processes. When customers fill out web forms to find out if they qualify for a service or solution you offer, they appreciate instant results. This is where automation – in the form of process optimization – makes a significant difference.
  • Customers Demand Personalized Service. In today’s “me-first economy,” customer generalizations just don’t work anymore. Businesses need to engage their customers on an individual level and develop solutions for serving their unique needs.

These facts are already established truths in the world of consumer retail and e-commerce. They are not quite yet enjoying widespread adoption in the B2B sector, though. This presents a unique opportunity for B2B businesses looking to increase their customer service ROI.

Are you ready to do business with a trusted and loyal partner? Call Smile and find out how we can help you!





4 Reasons Why You Should Lease a Copier Instead of Purchasing One

Leasing an asset vs. purchasing an asset is often a difficult decision for a business to make. When you lease a device, you don’t actually own it. You’re just renting it for a specified length of time. Think of living in an apartment. It is the same concept, but it does have several advantages for a growing organization that buying or renting a new multifunction copier lacks.

Lease a Copier and Never Look Back

When you lease a multifunction copier, you are not stuck with a device that loses value over time. Your business will have more available credit and zero maintenance concerns. Your company can also upgrade your equipment easily with a leased copier.

Depreciating Assets and Liability

With depreciating assets, leasing is beneficial. Especially when Arizona Sedan and Limousine provide excellent limousine services in Chandler. While many individuals prefer to own their cars outright for various reasons, others like to lease because cars quickly lose value. Part of the reason is that a newer model gets released every year. Demand for older models then diminishes, decreasing their monetary value. Wear and tear also factors into depreciation.

Any device or product that gets updated or used over time is seen as a depreciating asset. For example, computers and cell phones share these qualities. Printers and copiers do as well.

Cash Flow and Credit

Purchasing a copier creates a large expense right away. Leasing a copier allows for small monthly payments to be made. A slight increase in monthly expenditures is usually preferable to a significant upfront and immediate cost.

In addition to not having to deplete a large amount of capital, a business will have more flexibility in terms of their credit line when leasing a copier. More available credit translates to the ability to increase operations.

On top of that, monthly payments for equipment needed to conduct your daily operations can be written off as a business expense. So, it’s possible that choosing to lease a copier could save you money even if the lease payments add up to more than the cost of the copier itself.

It also allows you to acquire a larger machine than you otherwise would be able to. A copier that costs twice as much as your current copier would require twice as much capital in a single month’s budget. Leasing that same copier will cost more per month, yes, but the impact of that increase on your budget will be tiny by comparison.

Zero Maintenance Concerns

Most lease agreements include a maintenance agreement. The cost is often included in your monthly payments. In the case of purchasing a copier for outright, copier maintenance is a key aspect of ownership that companies have to budget for. Leasing a multifunction device eliminates the need for budgeting for copier maintenance costs since most of the time it’s included within the lease payment.


Device Upgrades

There’s also an added benefit at the end of a lease agreement: the potential for upgrades. Lessees are often able to roll their lease payments into a new copier when all is said and done. This allows your company to upgrade without the added cost.

The acquired upgrade will allow your team to print faster or more efficiently while keeping your organization up-to-date with the latest tech without even having to purchase the newest machine. When leasing multiple machines, the lease payments can be staggered so that each of them are upgraded consistently. With a leased copier, not only have you relieved yourself of the liability associated with a depreciating asset, but you enable yourself to upgrade your equipment on a regular basis.

Ditch Your Current Machine and Lease a Copier Now

All aspects considered, most businesses will want to lease a copier more often than not. While there are some situations where a company needs to own its devices outright, the benefits of leasing a copier are too numerous to ignore.

No more being stuck with a depreciating asset and the liability that comes with it. Your cash flow and credit line will be greater with a leased copier. Your maintenance woes all but disappear. And upgrades become more readily attainable.

Leasing a copier allows greater freedom and relieves you of the liability associated with buying a copier outright. Lease a copier from Smile Business Products today.




4 Key Factors Involved in Creating a Positive Work Environment

Harvard Business Review cites a wealth of academic research within positive organizational psychology showing the benefits of creating a positive work environment. Most of this research focuses on the detrimental impacts of a negative work environment, although some also suggest specific ways to create a positive work environment.

A cut-throat corporate culture that pressures employees into performing well doesn’t benefit anyone in the end. Long-term effects of stressful work environments far outweigh any short-term benefits. Chief among these include higher costs and lower productivity.

Workers in high-stress environments suffer from physical health problems as well. While we often joke about having a heart attack due to working in high-pressure positions for long periods of time, research has shown that this metaphor can actually be taken literally. A strong link has been demonstrated between being ranked lower in a stressful hierarchical organization and being at risk for cardiovascular disease.

In a negative or stressful environment, employees are more likely to become disengaged. While such an environment might foster productive competition in the short-term, it inevitably leads to burnout and emotional disillusion. The term disengagement is used to describe this state of mind.

Disengaged employees have been shown to take over 30% more sick days, be involved in accidents almost 50% more often, and produce 60% more defects and errors in their work. Disengaged employees also have an effect on the overall company that extends beyond their individual selves. Share prices and profitability tend to plummet among a disengaged workforce.

Creating a Positive Work Environment Comes with Many Benefits

By contrast, businesses often boom by creating a positive work environment. Businesses that have employees that are highly engaged receive twice as many job applications than those who do not. By this metric alone, creating a positive work environment will serve to greatly enhance the success of your business by attracting additional talent. Social connection, open communication, a culture of empathy, and a willingness to help are all key factors in creating a positive work environment. Additionally, it is advised that the employers highlight the company’s values to assess the candidate’s fit when hiring. Visit here to read the article.

Social Connection

Empirical evidence has shown that positive social interactions in the workplace provide terrific results. People in positive social environments even get sick less often and heal faster when recovering from surgery. They also learn faster and remember what they learned for longer, have greater clarity of thought and focus of mind, and suffer less depression.


People who trust their leader and believe he or she has their best interest at heart tend to be more productive. Under such a leadership structure, workers feel safe. A culture of safety produces better performance than a culture of fear ever can. To create a positive work environment, foster open communication among employees and encourage them to talk to you and feel free to raise any concerns or questions they may have.


Studies using fMRI Brain-imaging scans have shown that people who recall an unkind boss see an increase in activity in brain regions associated with negative emotions and avoidance. Those who recalled a kind boss, however, saw their brains react in a polar opposite way.

Empathetic leaders create a positive work environment by creating a compassionate workspace. People have greater strength in the face of adversity under the leadership of a compassionate person. To create a positive work environment, always do your best to get a sense of how your employees are feeling and what you might want to have happened if you were in their situation.

Helping Hands

Leaders who are always willing to help create a positive work environment by establishing loyalty with their employees. Have you ever had a boss who always tried to help to the fullest extent they could? It’s a safe bet that you had a strong sense of loyalty toward that person.

Remember These Ways to Creative a Positive Work Environment

In the end, creating a positive work environment is crucial to a company’s long-term survival. These four factors – fostering social connection, having open communication, practicing empathy, and having a willingness to help – go a long way toward creating a positive work environment.

Take stock of ways that you can help to create a positive work environment within your organization today. Your employees will thank you. You may even enjoy higher productivity, profits, and share prices as well.

At Smile we do our part in creating a positive work environment. Visit us for employment opportunities.

The True Cost of Printing to the Environment

Your print fleet includes some of the most energy-intensive appliances in your office. Printing also requires the use of consumables like toner and paper, which contribute further to the financial and environmental cost of printing.

The larger your organization is, the greater a share of preventable costs printing represents. Upon implementing duplex printing at its New York offices, global banking giant CitiGroup saved over $100,000 in five weeks.

Not only does that represent $100,000 that the bank’s print department can invest in more valuable initiatives, but it is $100,000 worth of paper and toner cartridges that will not end up in landfills. The bank also reported a net savings of 43.8 billion BTUs of energy – enough to power 430 homes for a year.

While it’s easy to expect this impressive figure coming from one of the nation’s largest banks, the truth is that every company can save significant resources and drive environmental initiatives by adjusting print processes. There are practical measures you can take to mitigate the cost of printing both for your organization and for the environment.

The Environmental Impact of Paper

Understanding the environmental costs of printing requires delving into the environmental costs of paper production. The worldwide pulp and paper industry accounts for about 6 percent of the world’s total industrial energy consumption. This makes it the fourth largest industrial energy user in the world.

At the same time, paper is one of the most often-discarded waste products generated in America. Despite the fact that it is eminently recyclable, the EPA estimates that only about 56 percent of paper actually gets recycled.

Additionally, more water goes into the manufacturing of a ton of paper than a ton of any other material in any other industry. Paper production is a leading contributor to deforestation, and paper mills emit a broad variety of sulfur-based compounds responsible for acid rain.

Environmental regulations keep the damage to a minimum. However, these regulations confer costs that paper consumers – organizations like yours – have to support.

What You Can Do to Reduce the Cost of Printing

Businesses and individuals throw away one million print cartridges every day, yet 97% of the materials used to create printer cartridges are recyclable. This means that the environmental costs of cartridge disposal are equal to the opportunity cost of recycling cartridges.

The first way your organization can reduce the cost of printing is by recycling your print cartridges. Managed print service vendors can help you with this by buying back your used print cartridges and replacing them with recycled ones at far lower prices than buying brand new OEM cartridges. Sharp takes recycling a step further by offering the Stop Drop and Recycle Program which provides free pre-paid postage bulk style recycling boxes.

Secondly, you can earn greater savings by making better use of paper. There are several approaches you can use to boost the efficiency of office paper use:

  • Use duplex printing to print on both sides of every sheet of paper. Almost all modern printers support duplex printing. If yours does not, upgrading to a duplex printer can immediately start generating savings.
  • Expand document margins so that individual sheets of paper fit more text. This helps you print fewer overall pages.
  • Reuse scrap paper whenever possible. There is no need to use new sheets of paper for one-off printing and note-taking.

Paperless workflows can reduce your need to print paper documents. While there are a handful of processes that cannot be digitally transformed, the vast majority of printing jobs can be bypassed through the thoughtful implementation of digital transformation technology.

Why Not Go Entirely Paperless?

As anyone with access to corporate accounts payable documents knows, paper and printing costs take up a surprisingly large proportion of organization’s overhead costs. Transforming workflows from paper-based processes to digital ones can represent a huge advantage for corporate accounting.

However, digital transformation requires overcoming two important obstacles. Organizations need to:

  • Reliably convert existing paper-based workflows to digital equivalents without sacrificing production or efficiency.
  • Accurately identify which processes can be safely made paperless, and which ones must retain the use of paper to some degree.

Despite advances in cloud technology, digital signatures, and digital communication, there are many situations where companies have to use paper. Expert assistance developing digital workflows can add value to the paperless decision without risking the processes at hand.

While paperless workflows will save businesses a great deal of money, they do not eliminate the need for printing altogether. Digital transformation will reduce the number of times employees have to print individual documents, which will generate significant savings when implementing alongside an environmentally responsible print policy.

Have Smile conduct a print audit of your company’s print fleet to identify cost-saving opportunities you can implement now!





The Sharp Future of Digital Signage Solutions

Today’s digital signs are far ahead of their paper-based cousins, but not far enough. Advances in Internet of Things (IoT) technology, machine learning, and personalization have much to offer the future of digital signage.

For the most part, the technology needed to fully expand the potential of digital signage already exists. As consumer attitudes towards personalized data analysis and IoT data leverage change, so too will the market space that digital signage inhabits.

Global equipment manufacturer Sharp is already ahead of the curve. The company took home six awards for innovation at the NAB show in April 2018, held in New Jersey. Right now, the major trend in digital signage is cutting-edge 8K display technology. Tomorrow’s digital signs will make use of future digital infrastructure to deliver an even more impressive experience.

Personalized Content is Key to the Future of Digital Signage

Today’s consumer tech environment is totally focused on the user. Tech companies that provide personalized experiences hugely outperform their competitors, no matter how good the competing universal experience may be.

Users are increasingly asking technology to conform to their specific needs and wishes. New advances in personalized data analysis and machine learning will make this possible in the world of digital signage.

For instance, tomorrow’s digital menus may be able to securely and privately process the health information of restaurant visitors. In this case, digital signage technology combined with IoT connectivity could suggest a meal that aligns with a specific visitor’s diet or health goals. It could even point out which menu items contain allergens or other unwanted ingredients.

Most of the technological hurdles to achieve this have already been jumped. What stands in the way right now is widespread-enough adoption of IoT technology for demand of personalized digital signage to increase. These displays will feature forward-facing cameras and connectivity options for mobile devices.

To satisfy consumers’ privacy concerns, regulation for the communication and use of user data in public places must exist. The right regulation will prevent everyday retail visitors from experiencing the Big Brother feeling.

IoT for Personalized Content, Machine Learning for Recognition

Many digital signage users will opt for facial recognition in order to enjoy the fastest and most comprehensive experience. The more data digital signs have on passersby, the more adequately the signage system can choose what – and how – to display branded messaging that speaks to consumer needs. Try to follow and see page that offers exciting and interesting signage designs to place it at your building entrance.

Data will be at the core of this new signage experience, and powerful machine learning engines will have to be able to intelligently assess the identities of individuals who have opted to be represented in the sign’s database. Advanced facial recognition applications can already accurately predict peoples’ emotional state.

But delivering personalized content means more than simply recognizing a customer in a store and greeting them by name. A smart digital sign needs to be able to respond to human social cues, which makes the recognition process more complicated.

Future versions will be able to identify individual’s cognitive capacities and personality traits. Naturally, adoption of this advanced technology cannot become widespread until the ethical dimension of predicting strangers’ private and personal lives is fully explored.

Artificial Intelligence for Automated Decision-Making

With technology in place to accurately identify individuals and to personalize content for their consumption, the next step in the future of digital signage is creating systems that can accurately deliver results based on subtle contextual clues available in the surrounding environment.

When a customer visits a store, the artificially intelligent digital signage system should know what to suggest and what not to, based on that customer’s preferences. The display can show bargains and special offers, including ones that are personalized to that individual customer, but it must be able to do with restraint.

A drugstore visitor may find automated, personalized guidance useful when purchasing a potentially embarrassing item. That same visitor would not be very happy to see advertisements based on past purchases prominently displayed upon his or her return – especially if accompanied.

Solutions to these problems are underway. The future of digital signage will incorporate the benefits of personalized, customized content with users’ expectation of privacy and respect, creating a dynamic environment that responds to peoples’ needs authentically.

To experience Sharp’s 8K display technology, visit Infocomm 2018 this week of June 6-8, 2018 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Are you thinking about implementing a cutting-edge digital signage or collaborative solutions in your place of business? Learn more about the Sharp products we have to offer. Also visit