Secure Hard Drive Destruction to Protect Your Privacy

When drafting cybersecurity policies, many IT professionals forget about an important and dangerous threat vector: old hard drives. Every computer workstation and multifunction printer an office employee uses has a hard drive that is likely to contain sensitive data. This can be company data that the employee saved to his or her desktop for ease of use, customer data kept in pre-cloud emails, or even the employee tax data.

While new business systems rely increasingly on the security benefits of cloud storage, older systems did not have this advantage, and had to keep sensitive data available locally. This makes hard drive replacement a unique cybersecurity concern. Simply erasing data is not sufficient to ensure that it never falls into the wrong hands. The actual means by which data is erased is very important.

Erase, Delete, or Wipe? The Physics of Secure Hard Drive Destruction

Secure hard drive destruction is a business necessity because of the way computers handle data. While Delete has entered the common lexicon to refer to throwing unneeded files away, Deleting data is distinct from Erasing, Shredding, and even Wiping data.

  • Deleting only tells the operating system that a particular file is no longer needed. The hard drive is free to write data over that file if and when it needs to. The data itself physically remains on the drive until it is overwritten.
  • Erasing tells the operating system to delete the file and then write a random collection of 1s and 0s over it, rendering it impossible to recover. Overwriting data is the important step to secure hard drive destruction.
  • Wiping is the process of erasing all data on the hard drive. Whereas you can erase a single file or a single application, you can only wipe an entire system, overwriting its data with a useless random information.

What About Formatting?

Most computer users have some experience with formatting hard drives. While formatting a hard drive seems to remove all of the data on it, it does not erase the data.

On early versions of Windows, formatting simply deletes an entire hard drive partition without overwriting the data it contains. As of Windows 7 onwards, normal formatting procedure involves overwriting the partition data with a one-pass write-zero overwrite. This process protects your data from most commercially available file recovery software applications.

Overwriting deleted data with random number sequences is even more effective. However, advanced hardware-based recovery methods can retrieve data after a one-pass write-zero overwrite – but these methods are expensive and difficult. Only a determined, highly capable cybercriminal specifically targeting your organization would take the time to perform a hardware recovery.

How to Protect the Data in End-of-Lease Equipment

Old desktop workstations represent a key risk when it comes to protecting company data, but more modern equipment must also be taken into consideration. For example, modern multifunction printers feature hard drives that store incoming data while preparing it for print.

Since a large number of organizations lease their print fleets, the data kept on the outgoing equipment’s hard drive can easily be accessed if it falls into the wrong hands.

For instance, Sharp office equipment features several cybersecurity features that speak to this need. Not only do Sharp multifunction printers immediately encrypt incoming documents, but they also offer automatic and manual memory clearance options. This prevents data from remaining in the system after completing print jobs.

However, the most important feature addressing the need for secure hard drive destruction in Sharp printing equipment is random number data overwrite functionality. The manufacturer’s print equipment can perform up to seven consecutive overwrites, providing unparalleled end-of-lease security to offices.

Sharp multifunction printers conduct hard disk overwrites alongside RAM overwrites for print, copy, and scan functions. For fax functionality, the devices conduct a flash ROM overwrite. This ensures that devices reaching the end of their lease cannot be abused by malicious parties.

In order to protect the sensitive data your organization is entrusted with, you must take a close look at every device your company leases and assess the risk it represents. Anything with a hard drive can potentially be misused after it leaves the office, so implement a secure hard drive destruction policy that keeps corporate, employee, and customer data safe.

Smile can help you implement a data destruction policy that ensures sensitive information does not get into the wrong hands. Find out more today.





Benefits of Document Management for Digital Growth

A simple change to the way you manage your documents can offer your organization a competitive edge in your industry. Efficient document management encourages growth – especially in the digital realm.

Traditional document management systems involve complex steps for the capture, indexing, storage, and communication of documents and the data they contain. These processes consume time and introduce the possibility of human error into the document lifecycle.

As organizations deal with ever-increasing amounts of data, the document lifecycle becomes more complex. The opportunity cost of manual document management and the retroactive correction of data entry errors start to drag down overall productivity.

Document management represents a long-term investment in your employees’ ability to deliver relevant content to business workflow applications. Enterprise document management combines both a strategic framework and a technical architecture to increase the efficiency of collaborative processes.

Additional benefits of document management include remote access capability and increased data security. All of these factors contribute to digital growth.

Benefits of Document Management by Core Functionalities

Document management is not a one-dimensional solution to a single business problem. It is a multi-faceted suite of solutions that generates synergies between different core processes.

1. Document Capture

The first step of the document lifecycle is receipt and capture. In traditional business environments, documents arrive in paper format, are scanned into a central database, and then further processed on paper. Updated versions of the document make their way to the database as employees process and create them.

This relies heavily on accurate data entry, and makes inefficient use of company resources, particularly print resources. One of the primary benefits of document management is the ability to capture documents once – using optical character recognition (OCR) to skip time-consuming data entry – and then migrate processing transactions to the digital domain.

2. Document Indexing

Effective records management is critical to ensuring legal and regulatory compliance in any industry. Whether your business needs to accommodate industry-specific compliance standards or general standards such as ISO 15489, you need a robust document management platform in place to streamline the process.

Enterprise document management platforms allow for automatic indexing. This allows employees to find documents using a broad range of metadata and tags. OCR technology allows for the creation of automatic indexes generated by a potentially unlimited number of terms with minimal human intervention.

3. Document Storage

Every organization in operation today needs to take great care when selecting the file format it chooses for document storage. Whether storing documents on a cloud-based server or an on-premises one, the portability and compatibility of document formats are critical. If your business has a volume of files that multiple people need access to, it’s time to consider a different server technology.

Professional document management platforms address these issues by allowing for automatic conversion between popular file types. TIFF files that contain high-resolution images of original documents can easily be converted to JPEG files for quick transfer, or PDF for visual clarity and text-editability.

4. Enhanced Accessibility and Security

Today’s knowledge workers are increasingly relying on mobile technology to send and receive the data they need on a daily basis. The ability to access documents through a cloud-based document management server can result in significant reduction in the average time it takes to process documents.

But alongside improvements in accessibility must come improvements in security. Document management platforms allow for advanced authorization mechanisms, including authentication and systems administrator oversight.

Why Organizations Are Deploying Document Management Platforms

Implementing a document management solution now is a decision that generates long-term value throughout the entire organization. While platforms of this type have been on the market for years, recent technological and infrastructural advances in IT make a case for growth in this field.

In fact, AmeriResearch predicts that the value of the global document management market will grow sevenfold by 2024, reaching $49 billion in global revenue. Cost of ownership is dropping while companies experience an increasing need to comply with digital document regulation and to achieve streamlined end-point access that these solutions provide.

But it is necessary to make a key distinction between professional document management platforms that are powerful and easy to use and those that are not. If a platform does not encourage everyday employees to use it, they will find reasons to avoid it, undermining its efficiency. To truly enjoy the benefits of document management, your company must deploy one designed for ease of use.

Are you ready to deploy a document management solution that will streamline your business processes? Talk to a Smile specialist about document management solutions you can implement today!




How to Stop CryptoLocker Before It Stops You

What would you do if your computer workstations simply stopped working? The scenario usually runs like this: Productivity grinds to a halt. Management remains unable to communicate with employees, who are in turn unable to act without managerial guidance. Executives fly into full damage control and customers are left confused and disheartened.

All of this can lead to large damages. Small and medium-sized businesses lost an average of $117,000 to cyberattacks in 2017, and enterprises lost an astounding $1.3 million on average. One of the most virulent ransomware variants in the wild today is CryptoLocker. This particular strain of ransomware is also one of the oldest still in action today – it was originally discovered in 2013.

CryptoLocker established many of the tropes that have come to define the threat ransomware presents to businesses today. Unlike previous versions of ransomware, CryptoLocker aggressively targets businesses and encrypts critical data including their bitcoin blockchain by using professional Microsoft CryptoAPI encryption, which is effectively impossible to crack with today’s technology.

Because CryptoLocker and similar malicious programs can encrypt your data and render it completely unusable, prevention is key. The good news is that CryptoLocker prevention is not as difficult as it sounds. Adhering to good cybersecurity practices can help you mitigate the risk of falling victim to this attack.

CryptoLocker Prevention Means Using Email Securely

CryptoLocker, like many forms of ransomware, primarily infects computers through email. The preferred strategy cybercriminals use is phishing, wherein the attacker will impersonate a trusted contact through email and convince the victim to download and open a malicious attachment.

A trusted contact can mean anyone from a co-worker to a well-known corporation like FedEx or PayPal. The attacker can reasonably assume that most people have an account with PayPal and creates a forged email that looks like it comes from the company.

The email in question will usually require some kind of urgent action. It may ask the recipient to verify his or her account, or it may send an attached spreadsheet and request verification of fraudulent payments that were never made. Whatever the case, the ultimate goal is tricking the victim into downloading the malware. Once that happens, CryptoLocker begins isolating files and preparing them for encryption.

Be suspicious of any email that requires you to download an attachment or click on an embedded link. You should be suspicious even if that email appears to come from a trusted contact. It is extremely easy for cybercriminals to forge email identities. Whether coming from a trusted third-party or from an employee’s immediate supervisor, emails demanding urgent action cannot be trusted.

Put a Cybersecurity Policy in Place

Protecting your own workstation against ransomware is easy enough, but comprehensive CryptoLocker prevention becomes a great challenge when multiplied across an entire workplace. In order to guarantee your company’s safety, you need to implement a policy that addresses ransomware risks.

Since email is the most popular vector for ransomware attacks, email security should form the crux of your cybersecurity policy. Employees should know that supervisors and co-workers will not ask for urgent action through email – the phone is better suited for immediate action.

Furthermore, employees need guidance on how to deal with suspicious emails when they arrive. The cybersecurity policy must provide for verification of suspicious emails, or risk employees losing important messages.

But the best way to reinforce a cybersecurity policy is by implementing comprehensive disaster recovery backup tools. If your company has access to a cloud-based business continuity solution, you can simply leave encrypted files where they are and work off of your last backup.

However, implementing a disaster recovery solution requires planning for every contingency. For instance, your disaster recovery backup needs to be separate from your main systems. Otherwise, CryptoLocker may very well encrypt your backups!

Another key consideration is recovery time. If you had to reboot your entire business off of your backup data systems, how long would it take before you are up and running? In an ideal scenario, you should have systems in place that allow you to immediately begin working off of your backups, rather than waiting hours or days for them to transfer.

Cloud-based cybersecurity solutions can provide comprehensive CryptoLocker prevention, but only if properly configured and deployed. Consult a cybersecurity expert when planning your disaster recovery plan.

Are you ready to protect your business with industry-best cybersecurity? Our team is ready to help you implement robust security solutions.




Ransomware Prevention Tips: Stop the Threat

On May 12th 2017, the biggest cyberattack in history took place. WannaCry infected tens of thousands of machines in a matter of hours and did untold damage, locking doctors out of patient databases in hospitals and holding vital data for ransom.

But this cyberattack – and many others like it – could have been avoided by the majority of its victims. In fact, there are several simple steps you can take to protect your data from the threat of ransomware.

In order illustrate how this is done, it’s important to define two types of ransomware and describe how it works and how these variants propagate from machine to machine.

Effective Ransomware Prevention Requires You Know Your Enemy

Ransomware operates by locking users out of their systems using encryption. The perpetrators then demand payment for the decryption key. It is a relatively simple plan for cyber extortion that nonetheless relies on some extraordinarily advanced technology. Two broad categories of ransomware exist:

  • Encryption Ransomware blocks access to individual system files by encrypting them. Examples include CryptoLocker and WannaCry.
  • Locker Ransomware blocks access to the entire computer by locking the victim out of the computer’s operating system. User files may not be encrypted in this case, but computer hardware often is. Examples include Satana and Petya.

Once the malicious applications trigger encryption and ask for a ransom, there is often no way to get your files back without paying. Modern encryption techniques are so advanced that the code is effectively unbreakable.

However, paying the ransom is not a good idea either – there is no guarantee that the cybercriminal will decrypt your files. Even if that happens, the attacker still has access to your system and can simply trigger the attack again the moment funds start running low. You will have already taught the attacker that you will pay.

The vast majority of ransomware bugs find their way onto victims’ computers through malicious emails. Email is the number one threat vector for ransomware worldwide.

People get so many emails from so many sources every day that it is easy for one bad email to slip through. Add in the fact that reports of email forgery are increasing, and it is easy to see the reason why cybercriminals prefer email for delivering ransomware to unsuspecting victims.

How to Defend Your Systems from Ransomware

Since email is one of the most important attack vectors for ransomware, one of the key steps to ransomware prevention is adopting secure email habits.

  • Forging an identity on email is surprisingly easy. Do not trust unexpected correspondence coming from authority figures through email. If you have to, call them and verify.
  • Be suspicious of any email that asks for urgent action. A typical ransomware delivery method involves impersonating a well-known business, like FedEx or PayPal, and convincing users to download malicious packages masquerading as receipts, invoices, or other paperwork.
  • Avoid clicking on embedded links in emails. A compromised link may not point to the URL it claims to. Type the address in your browser yourself or save it as a bookmark so you know where you are browsing.

Another important strategy for ransomware protection is having a backup data recovery and business continuity plan. Since many forms of ransomware encrypt local and network files, recovering a recent backup of your most important data can render the attack harmless.

However, you should be sure that your backups happen regularly and securely. One of the things that made WannaCry so effective was the fact that it would encrypt backups it found on the server. Your backup data has to adhere to the highest security protocols and be easy to recover.

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself Right Now

When it comes to WannaCry, tens of thousands of users could have protected their machines in one easy step, at zero cost. Simply keeping your Windows system updated to the latest patch would have prevented WannaCry from infecting the computer.

An entire two months before the WannaCry bug came out, Microsoft released a security patch that closed the security hole the malware used to propagate from machine to machine. Every user who kept Windows updated to the latest version was protected, and users who failed to download the security patch were punished for it.

WannaCry is unusual in that it did not use email as an attack vector. It used a file sharing protocol vulnerability that the NSA discovered and kept secret. When hackers leaked the NSA’s exploits, the institution alerted Microsoft, who quickly went to work developing the patch.

But not all Microsoft users keep their systems up to date. If you take just this small step, you can hugely improve your chances of escaping the next ransomware scare unscathed.

It’s time your business established a powerful defense against the threat of ransomware. Consult a Smile cybersecurity expert today.





Improve BYOD Security to Protect Your Company

As employees increasingly turn to their personal devices to handle business documents and data, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement continues unabated. The trend is not new, but it has only recently become a headline item.

Multiple factors contribute to BYOD’s increasing importance in Business. These include a steady rise in the number of freelance specialists hired, a greater market saturation of mobile devices, and new mobile functionalities that allow individuals to do more with their phones and tablets than ever before.

For business owners, the tradeoff is simple to understand. Encouraging employees to supply the equipment they use for work offers clear cost benefits but presents security risks. Employees with access to corporate resources from private devices may compromise important data, either accidentally or deliberately.

The major issue at stake is that employees tend to use their personal devices for work-related purposes anyways. Having a BYOD policy simply establishes rules about their use.

But those rules are extremely important. Having them in place gives you a critical modicum of control over the way your employees handle corporate data and may offer you the ability to thwart a catastrophic loss of data if you remain vigilant.

But aside also from those rules, having a strong security service provider could also be a good choice. AGB Investigative offers world-class Cyber Security Consulting services for your business. They can protect your network, data and information from a cybersecurity threat.

A BYOD Security Policy Helps You Control Data Risks

The primary way that incorporating BYOD security in your overall cybersecurity policy helps keep company data safe is through communication and standardization. 77 percent of employees say they have not been trained on the cybersecurity risks of using their mobile devices at work.

When a member of your sales team sends a customer invoice – with their address and financial information on it – through an unsecured mobile email platform, it isn’t because he or she is trying to sabotage your business or invite cybercriminal behavior. Employees simply don’t know better and will not go out of their way to protect data if there is no policy instructing them to do so.

There is also an important legal dimension to implementing a BYOD security policy. Consider what would happen if a cybercriminal incident occurs and it turns out one of your employees accidentally left the digital door open through an unsecured mobile device. Who is responsible for the damages and costs of the incident? In the absence of a policy, you have no legal recourse but to accept it and move on, this is why it is so important to pay more attention to cyber security, a Cyber Essentials Certification is  must for you organization.

A BYOD security policy lets you set the ground rules for what is and what is not acceptable employee behavior concerning company data. It establishes a precedent for handling company data on personal mobile devices and may give you insight into how employees are using that data.

Suggestions for Developing and Implementing a BYOD Policy

The first step to tightening mobile device security at work is developing a sound BYOD policy. To gather the building blocks you will need to write this policy, consider your top 20 critical security controls and view them from a BYOD perspective.

Determine whether your particular security concerns are easy to implement and maintain within the context of a BYOD security policy. This depends mostly on the unique hierarchical structure and culture of your workplace, as well as the workflow processes you use on a daily basis.

Use these concerns to set limits for acceptable use of employee-owned mobile devices. There will be many instances where you have to draw an arbitrary line, indicating which activities can be performed on mobile devices and which ones cannot be.

Consider the type of data being handled, as well. Ideally, your BYOD security policy should cover device types, communication platforms, data formats, and content in a categorical way. It should also incorporate a sitescope monitoring platform that is compatible with mobile devices – if your current monitoring solution is not, you will have to procure one that is.

Make sure your policy includes directions for training employees. A BYOD policy is only good if employees follow it. Distinguish cybersecurity training by giving it importance and explaining the thought processes involved – most employees will follow policy if they understand why they have to.

A final touch to your BYOD security policy should be to include a provision for keeping an inventory of all devices on the company network. You do not want to have stray devices connecting to your local network, so you will have to identify each and every device that uses it to connect to the Internet.

Lastly, before rolling out any new policy, always consult with your in-house counsel or attorney for additional information and legal advice.

Do you need help identifying how a BYOD policy can help your overall network security? Contact us today!





Sitting at the Big Table with Sharp at the Sharp National Dealer Meeting

Since the Sharp National Dealer Meeting in Phoenix Arizona at the end of 2017, the electronics manufacturer has been making headlines.

The event, called Pulse 17, included 939 guests representing 166 individual Sharp dealerships and took place in Phoenix, Arizona. The company took advantage of the first major dealer meeting after its acquisition by Foxconn to demonstrate that the brand has been revitalized, and is now ready to tackle some of tech’s most promising ventures.

Aside from a robust collection of high-performance printers and multifunction devices, Sharp has delved into the world of AI Technology (artificial intelligence), relying on the upcoming bandwidth advantage that 5G will offer once it becomes mainstream technology. This is apparent in the brand’s dedication to 8K video resolution cameras and its new Amazon-powered conference bridge device.

What’s New with Sharp, From Foxconn Onwards

In late 2016, Foxconn purchased Sharp for $3.5 billion. Foxconn put Tai Jeng-wu in charge of the company, tasking him with making more disciplined investment decisions and reorganizing its spending habits. Tai has overhauled the company’s compensation system, which used to be overly reliant on seniority when determining which employees would get wage increases or other bonuses.

Foxconn, well-known as the primary manufacturer for a great number of Apple iPhone parts and components, gave Sharp a much-needed cash flow boost alongside new leadership. This strategy has culminated in the December 2017 Sharp National Dealer Meeting, where the manufacturer unveiled a promising line-up of new machines.

Sharp Light Production Color Document Business Systems

Sharp retains its layered product catalog, consisting of Essential series products for small offices and Advanced and Pro series devices for more extensive operation. Some of the most exciting products the company showcased during the National Dealer Meeting are in the Pro series product line.

For instance, the MX-7090N and MX-8090N are both high-speed color document systems with multifunction features and extensive networking capabilities. Both devices are compatible with Fiery print server architecture, giving offices unparalleled control over the features and capabilities of their document systems.

These systems operate at a print output rate of 80 pages per minute and feature full edge-to-edge printing capability. This lets operators produce professionally finished full-bleed booklets of up to 120 pages in length exclusively using inline finishing options. The devices feature an intuitive touchscreen display based on the easy-to-understand user interface that Sharp is known for.

These devices represent the height of light production printing. Enterprises that need precise color control, workflow automation, and integrated job management will find the MX-7090N and MX-8090N offer versatility and power at an attractive price. Optional features include print server upgrades and specialty feeder and finishing options.

Sharp Advanced Series Monochrome Desktop Systems

The MX-B335W and MX-B445W are monochrome multifunction devices that incorporate printing, scanning, and copying capabilities in one small-format product. These two devices offer print output speeds of 35 and 45 pages per minute, respectively, and both offer industry-leading print quality for letter and legal-sized documents.

All of the manufacturer’s new devices incorporate Sharp’s new security suite software. This cybersecurity solution protects print and copy jobs from unwanted network exposure using a variety of state-of-the-art methods. Incoming projects undergo 256-bit data encryption during print processing, and then undergo a 10-times data overwrite process after the fact. The innovative End-of-Lease feature allows users to erase all personal data when trading online using an online trading platform.

New Sharp Essential Series Document Systems

The MX-M3050, MX-M3550, MX-M4050, MX-M5050, and MX-M6050 document systems make up Sharp’s new releases in its Essential product category. These ledger-sized devices are designed to meet small business needs while placing a high priority on workflow efficiency and print quality.

All of these printers are monochrome and feature print output speeds of between 30 and 60 pages per minute. Sharp also announced an entry-level color printer that operates at 26 pages per minute that is slated for release in Spring 2018.

Professional Displays and Atmospheric Water Generation

Sharp announced the release of a range of powerful high-definition display screens, including a best-in-class 8K display. 8K technology offers 16 times the pixel resolution of 1080p, firmly establishing Sharp as a leader in the display screen manufacturing market.

Among everything else, however, the manufacturer’s most interesting and unexpected product was an atmospheric water generator. Sharp has consolidated a strategic alliance with Skywell to create a combined technology solution for generating water directly out of the atmosphere.

At this stage, the Skywell atmospheric water generator is an office water solution designed to reduce employees’ reliance on plastic bottles while addressing workplace demand for sustainable solutions. The ability to generate water with help from a plumber can pave the way to greater environmental benefits inside and outside the office.

Want to outfit your office with industry-leading Sharp hardware? Talk to our product specialists about the equipment that interests you most today!




Sharp MFP Integration Options for Office and Education Users

When it comes to wireless printing and document management, the offices and classrooms of the future will be integrated. Beyond simply offering print, copy, and scan capability, today’s state-of-the-art multifunction printers (MFPs) offer innovating integration options that hugely reduce document processing time. Sharp MFP solutions are leading the way in integration, allowing users to automate complex workflows between many major third-party cloud-based services.

Nearly every organization in every industry uses one or more of these platforms to some degree. From small home-based businesses to large enterprises, cloud-based software platforms have transformed the way coworkers communicate and collaborate.

By integrating these platforms with your Sharp MFP, you can implement powerful document processing workflows without having to invest in expensive on-site infrastructure. Sharp’s ongoing partnerships with tech service providers ensures that your device will remain a central element of your most business-critical workflows.

Sharp MFP Integration Benefits

Sharp document systems seamlessly integrate with any of the following platforms. Combine your existing cloud infrastructure with Sharp hardware to streamline your most important process workflows.

1. Google Docs

New Sharp printers support Google Cloud Print. This allows users to print directly from their Google Docs drives. Importantly, this functionality extends to remote users wherever they can access their Google Drive folders. This makes it easy for remote workers to process documents and print them directly to your on-site Sharp MFP.

This functionality extends to scanning and copying as well. Your Sharp MFP can scan documents directly to a Google Docs folder so long as you have permission to edit the folder’s contents.

2. Microsoft OneDrive and Sharepoint

Offices that rely on Microsoft technology for document processing and communication can use Sharp AIP Cloud Connect to manage their MFP connections in one place. Sharp AIP is a collection of software connectors that allow Sharp multifunction devices to connect with a broad variety of cloud-based services.

The practical benefit of making these connectors part of a single toolset is that the Sharp AIP platform becomes your centralized solution center for securely communicating between various cloud platforms. It supports email, DropBox, and OnBase as well as Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint.

3. Blackboard Learn

Sharp has integrated its MFP functionality with Blackboard Learn, the industry-leading system for learning management. Blackboard Learn is a powerful tool on the academic campus, allowing students to scan, upload, and submit course material directly from any Sharp MFP.

This functionality allows students to submit handwritten and hardcopy assignments digitally. It is a powerful tool for encouraging paperless academic workflows.

4. Google Classroom

Google’s free web service empowers educators to create, distribute, and grade assignments without consuming paper. In order to facilitate the paperless workflow, the platform supports Sharp document systems, allowing teachers and professors to upload hardcopy documents for their students’ use.

New Sharp MFP devices support mobile printing for Google Classroom. This lets educators make full use of this innovative technology directly from a connected smartphone or tablet. Older Sharp MFPs are also compatible, provided the user update the device’s firmware.

5. AirPrint

Sharp MFPs support Apple’s AirPrint technology, allowing users to instantly print from any iOS or OS X device. Users do not need to download print drivers or set up network connections – Apple devices simply recognize the Sharp MFP and allow users to securely send documents to print.

Sharp’s Essential and Advanced workgroup document systems offer native support for AirPrint functionality that includes scanning and faxing in addition to printing.

6. Box

Box users can easily connect to their accounts directly through their Sharp MFP. Scanning and printing any file to Box is easy with the embedded Box connector. This connector is a Sharp OSA application included with every new Sharp device. In a few steps, you can install and use this service with single-sign-on functionality.

Implementing Sharp Cloud Connect

New Sharp MFPs come with Cloud Connect capability. SharePoint users can enjoy support for document profile metadata and subsites for better intranet document management.

Implementing this technology is simple. All you need to do is find the appropriate connector for your cloud service and utilize Sharp’s single-sign-on functionality. Once you are signed on, you can integrate paper-based workflows with your preferred cloud service.

All of Sharp’s new multifunction devices support cloud integration. Any device that access Google Chrome can use Sharp’s remote printing functions without having to install print drivers. Implementation of Sharp’s cloud printing, scanning, copying, and file management capabilities is within reach of every organization and classroom.

Talk to our team at Smile to find out how a Sharp MFP can offer you best-in-class integration for your office or classroom.



Cut Costs and Improve Performance with Managed Services

Who takes care of your organization’s network infrastructure, print fleet, and document management system? If the answer to these questions was, “the IT guy”, then you are missing out on important benefits that managed services can offer. Even if you have a dedicated IT team handling these issues, you can put that team to work generating value for your organization if you entrust a managed service provider with low-impact business-critical responsibilities. If you are interested in how technology can help your business, read here about where you can get offers to run background checks online for new employees.

These responsibilities include all of the infrastructure and tools your organization uses on a daily basis – networking, telephony, document management, and print resources. Managed services can generate value within every one of these fields by freeing up your IT resources for higher-impact work.

Trust Smile’s Managed Services to Generate Value

Smile provides managed services that address the five most common pain points our clients have when operating their own office infrastructure. We help businesses and educational institutions make better use of their resources by handling the operational needs of all devices on their networks.

1. SmileNET

Our managed network services team can deploy hardware, implement mobile-compatible services, and protect your business data. We offer comprehensive solutions for endpoint security, backup services, web hosting, and content management.

Using the latest network equipment on the market for managed print services, we can outfit your office with the servers, switches, and desktop workstations you need to streamline your digital processes. Our managed network solutions include disaster recovery appliances, onsite and offsite backup, and extensive remote monitoring. With your network infrastructure under Smile’s watch, you can dedicate IT resources to addressing client needs.

2. SmileMPS

Printing represents one of the highest operational costs for most businesses. Your IT team spends a great deal of time keeping your print fleet running, ordering consumables like paper and ink or toner on time, and deploying network-enabled multifunction devices. In most cases, in-house IT teams are overwhelmed just keeping up.

Smile managed printing services can pinpoint opportunities to save on costly expenses related to print usage. By running a comprehensive print audit and configuring your print fleet to meet the needs of each individual user, we can help you reduce unnecessary print usage, saving a significant amount of money from overhead costs.

3. SmileTEL

Smile TEL is a managed communication service that keeps your organization’s phone lines operating at optimal efficiency. The right telephone system ensures that each member of your team can easily communicate with one another – including remote workers and mobile users. By investing in managed communication, you ensure that your organization is positioned to save on telephony costs.

One of the ways we ensure cost savings in our communication management services is by ensuring our clients are properly configured for VoIP. VoIP technology lets you run calls through the Internet, reducing your reliance on expensive telephony infrastructure. We also ensure mobile compatibility and setup wireless networks in our clients’ offices.

4. SmileDOC

Losing documents is an avoidable expense that no modern business should have to shoulder. Advanced document management solutions allow our clients to implement paperless workflows for complex processes. At the same time, we ensure that a digital audit trail exists for every document processed, reducing the damage that mistakes and misfiled documents represent.

Our document management solutions strike a key balance between accessibility and security, make processes easier to complete, and reduce overall paper usage. Smile uses the most advanced document management software on the market, like DocuWare and Drivve, to generate value for our clients. In addition, if you own a health and wellness clinic, you may consider using a software like Health Wellness EMR to manage your practice efficiently.

5. SmileTEC

For 98 percent of businesses, a single hour of downtime can cost thousands of dollars. Improper maintenance is one of the leading causes of office downtime, since employees are too busy to fix what isn’t broken. Once equipment breaks, however, production immediately grinds to a halt and it is up to your IT team to react as quickly as it can.

Smile’s preventative maintenance services can transform reactionary break/fix IT policy to a progressive policy that keeps office equipment working consistently. Our maintenance team members enjoy factory certification to work on Sharp, Lexmark, Canon, HP, and Panasonic devices, among many other brands.


Smile’s managed services are key to helping small and mid-sized businesses leverage scalable technical solutions the way large enterprises do. Instead of expending valuable business resources keeping your IT team busy, free up your employees to work on creative, value-added projects and leave your infrastructure needs to us.

Ready to enjoy the benefits of next-generation managed services? Smile’s  Solution Team can help you cut costs and improve office-wide production.


Implement Managed Telephony to Boost Workplace Communication

Today, efficient business is all about efficient communication.

Cost-effectiveness is important in business, which is why advice from is relevant. Organizations that understand this deploy cost-effective means for employees, managers, supervisors, and executives to communicate with one another. While well-maintained network infrastructure ensures that individuals can communicate digitally, many parts of the business machine only operate through voice. Deploying an efficient telephony system is key to ensuring that your organization’s internal and external communication needs are met. Managed telephony is the most cost-effective way to make sure you have the most cost-effective system in place.

Smile offers seamless communication solutions to its business clients. By focusing on advanced VoIP technology, mobile-first compatibility, and wireless networking, we are able to help our clients achieve best-in-class cost savings.

Outfit Your Office with Samsung Business Phones

As a Samsung partner, we provide our clients with top-of-the-line Samsung business phones like the SMT-i6010. These devices offer numerous benefits when compared to traditional telephone systems.

  • Voice Over IP (VoIP). Instead of relying on traditional phone lines with temporary phone number  for two-way voice communication, VoIP systems create a conventional phone connection over the Internet. This lets employees communicate internally and externally without forcing the company to set up telephone cabling parallel to your existing network infrastructure.  Managed telephony allows you to make better use of your network infrastructure by running your telephone communications through it. Bypass the cost of setting up a separate communication network for telephone use and encourages a more efficient use of network resources.
  • Mobility. Although your Samsung business handset remains at your desk, there are many occasions when you may need to take a business call while outside the office. Being able to remotely switch calls between your workstation, car, and mobile device is a business must that managed telephony delivers.
    Smile managed telephony solutions allow incoming calls to ring at up to five locations simultaneously, including mobile phones and home phones. This ensures that you never miss your most important conversations, no matter where or when they take place.
  • Wireless Networking. In today’s mobile-first environment, telephone voice quality is more important than ever. People are used to receiving clear and concise data from one another, and call quality is a critical factor to ensuring that both parties are perfectly understood. Wireless Samsung business phones offer better audio quality when they have a strong Wi-Fi network to send data across. Our managed telephony service can turn your entire office into a Wi-Fi hotspot, ensuring that employees are always reliably connected. Implement our wireless solutions at key access points to keep your employees connected even while they are on the move.

Customize Your Managed Telephony Solution to Produce Results

Customization represents a key difference between Smile’s managed telephony services and those of many managed service providers. A robust telephone network allows operators to work more efficiently with one another and to connect with customers and clients better.

Every organization is different, and the data that individual employees demand of their telephones vary depending on the role they play. Customized telephony allows hardware to respond to these expectations through client-defined rules.

For instance, a customer service team handling inbound calls could benefit from a system that automatically displays caller contact information. The system can reference your customer relationship software database so that the employee who fields the call instantly has access to all the information
needed to address the call.

Custom functionality can extend to lead generation as well. Salespeople need ample access to information, especially when put on the spot by inquisitive leads. By integrating a managed telephony system to your document management system, you can give your representatives instant access to customer records they may need when making sales. You can empower your salespeople with access to convincing data, real-time statistics, and more.

Configure Your VoIP System to Cut Out Inefficiency

You can also set up VoIP solutions to save on unnecessary overhead costs, beyond the obvious savings of not installing telephone lines. For instance, you can send voicemail messages directly to email, making them available on your employees’ mobile devices. This increases customer service responsiveness and makes your workforce more efficient.

You can also include SMS messaging server in your VoIP plan. Using a text messaging solution, employees can communicate from desk to mobile phone without incurring texting costs – a useful way for employees to get information from their colleagues without putting customers on hold. Implement a managed telephony system customized to meet your business needs and enjoy the consequent savings.

Find out how Samsung Business Phones can save your organization money and increase the reliability of your telephone service by talking to a specialist now.

6 Free Web Resources for Teachers Using Sharp

Interactive Whiteboards

As school budgets tighten, educators across the United States are looking to new technology to drive student engagement while reducing costs.

For teachers in many secondary and tertiary education institutions, Sharp interactive whiteboards represent the ideal combination of innovation and long-term cost savings. Compared to traditional whiteboards, these devices are less wasteful and better-suited for modern students’ mobile lifestyle.

It is a well-known fact that education remains underfunded. The need to invest in cost-saving teaching materials is as urgent as ever. At the same time, teachers and professors are constantly looking for resources to help them improve the quality of education they can deliver.

As part of an initiative to help educators make the best possible use of their Sharp Interactive Whiteboards, we’ve compiled a list of free resources educators can use. These resources help teachers encourage collaboration, share data, and improve student interaction. Use them to obtain maximum value out of your touchscreen whiteboard without paying out-of-pocket expenses.

6 Free Web Resources for Sharp Interactive Whiteboard Users

The interactive whiteboard is a powerful tool for education. Long seen exclusively business meeting settings, the technology is increasingly part of classroom lesson plans and presentations. But not all teachers are equally familiar with interactive whiteboard technology. The following web resources offer guidance and templates for teachers to use on a variety of common subjects.

1. TeacherLED

One of the most useful places to start is TeacherLED. This website offers a set of resources for implementing common teaching tools like Venn diagrams and Cartesian coordinate systems on a variety of interactive whiteboards. TeacherLED resources are free-to-use and universally compatible with any web browser.

Setting up a lesson plan using TeacherLED resources is simple. With over 50 distinct modules, it’s easy to find a resource that matches the lesson you wish to teach. Simply find the tools you are looking for and input the figures and values that your lesson dictates.

2. TopMarks

TopMarks is an interactive whiteboard education resource website founded in 1998. This website features a broad range of modules designed for lessons in multiple subjects. Teachers can access mathematics, literacy, science, biology, chemistry, geography, music, history, and religious lesson plans through the website.
The website features both whiteboard-exclusive lessons for teachers and tablet friendly exercises for students. It is regularly updated and has an active blog full of games, additional lesson plans, and third-party resources.

3. MathFrame

This independent website offers a variety of interactive math games. The website’s founder and primary content creator is a schoolteacher who has spent years adjusting each of the games on the site for optimal student engagement.

The website also offers apps for Android and iOS, as well as printable worksheets that accompany some of the lessons. Lesson categories include arithmetic, fractions, measurements, geometry, statistics, partitioning, word problems, and more.

4. Stellarium

Stellarium is a free, open source digital planetarium that works on any Linux, Mac, or Windows computer, making it compatible with Sharp Interactive Whiteboards. It is the perfect tool for astronomy lessons, displaying a realistic night sky complete with planets, moons, stars, and constellations taken from 10 different cultures.

Stellarium contains a default catalog of over 600,000 stars. Power users can extend this catalog to contain more than 177 million extra stars and an extra 1 million deep-sky objects. It also shows realistic atmosphere conditions, including sunrises, and sunsets.

5. Zygote Body

Zygote Body is every anatomy professor’s best friend. It lets students interact directly with an anatomically correct model of the human body. Users can zoom in and out, peel away anatomical layers, identify organs, and search for specific body parts using the engine.

Basic users have access to the body’s entire anatomical structure. Premium users pay for the ability to save scenes, create their own annotations, and save lesson plans directly to the Zygote Body platform.

6. The Eco Zoo

A 3D interactive touchscreen adventure, The Eco Zoo teaches young children about the environment, basic ecology, and basic standards of eco-friendly living. The website is essentially a drag-and-drop interactive game in which individual users interact with a fanciful animal world. The website content is available in both Japanese and English.

Sharp Interactive Whiteboards Improve Student Engagement

While the benefits of interactive whiteboard technology on preschool and primary education are well- documented, the technology has much to offer high school and college-level lessons as well. While hands-on interactivity is less critical for more mature students than it is for young children, the ability to share information between subject materials in different formats is an advantage.

Are you considering the implementation of Sharp Interactive Whiteboards in your classrooms or lecture halls? Ask one of our experts to guide you through the process.