Information Technology

Technology is constantly changing, so how can you be sure your systems are up-to-date?  We can help you learn how to manage and use the technological tools you need to operate efficiently.  You'll also find easy and affordable ways to outsource your information technology needs, ensuring the security and optimal effectiveness of your systems.  Because let's face it ... unless you are in the IT business, you probably need some help.

Cyber Security Resources

cyber threatsThe threat of a cyber attack on your small business is very real.

SBAM has put together a variety of resources to help you become informed. Click here for details.


Managed IT Services

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With the proper technology and implementation team, your company can realize dramatic productivity and profitability gains. NuWave Technology Partners' unique approach provides clients with a single point-of-contact for all their telephone and data needs, and covers the spectrum from servicing existing phone systems to complete new installations.

Related News

The Mobile Security Risk

By John Westra, Director of NuWave Government Solutions. From SBAM’s member-only Focus on Small Business magazine.

DANGER!!! Unsecured mobile devices can result in identity theft, data loss and personal embarrassment! Although we may never see a warning label like this on the packaging of our next smart phone or tablet computer, the risk is still very real!

These mobile computing and communication devices are in reality very powerful small computers. Most of these devices have more processing and storage capacity than the first personal computers many of us owned. The response by software vendors has been equally amazing and there are now tens of thousands of mobile applications to choose from; everything from games like Angry Birds to social media, personal development, health management and even mobile banking. In addition to their advanced computing capabilities, these devices come equipped with mobile broadband and/or WiFi communications and GPS functionality that turns them into always-connected, geo-locatable data conduits.

It’s the combination of lots of data, much of it personal in nature, a built-in communications channel to the outside world and the high value of the hardware itself that is turning mobile devices into a prime target for thieves. The worst part is you don’t even have to have your physical device stolen to be robbed!

There is a growing threat from malicious applications or simply poorly written software. These apps can intentionally or by accident, reveal personal and business information such as phone numbers, banking information, health information or whatever other information is stored on the device.

How Risky are Mobile Devices?
To judge the risk you face from this type of data loss, imagine all of the data on your mobile device being printed on sheets of paper and distributed to A) known criminals intent on stealing your identity and any money they can get their hands on or B) the members of your church, business or social club? If the thought of having all of your information distributed like this doesn’t bother you, you probably don’t need to read any further. However, if reading this paragraph made your mouth drop open and created a sudden feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach, read on to find out what you can do to minimize your risks.

Physical Security
This is the easiest and yet most challenging problem for many people to solve. After all, who hasn’t left their cell phone somewhere? Making a point to always put your cell phone back in its case, your pocket or purse is a good habit to keep it from getting lost. Conversely, never set your device down on a public table or counter, where it can be easily forgotten.

Keeping the Snoops Out
All modern mobile devices come with some type of time-out and password “lock” system. Like any other computing platform, you will want to use a password that is random and difficult to guess. If you are using a key-swipe style of password, don’t use an “L” or simple “/” swipe code. The good news is this will deter casual data snoopers. The bad news is it will take a dedicated cyber criminal all of about two minutes to bypass this minor annoyance and access your data.

Password Protection
It’s not just the data that’s on your mobile device that’s at risk if it gets stolen. Most people are now using their mobile devices to access a variety of business and personal online web content. If a criminal gains access to your mobile device and you’ve set up your mobile browser to remember passwords to those sites, it becomes a Pandora’s Box of badness.
To combat this particular risk, we encourage our clients to install a password security management app like LastPass (www.lastpass.com). This was one of the apps we reviewed in a previous article,

Making The Web Work For You -- 7 Applications To Maximize Your Web ROI

Never fear, we’ve found some terrific applications for you to “Maximize Your Web Surfing ROI!” The list of applications contains a mix of browser “plug-ins,” cloudbased applications and local applications.

Before we get started though, allow me to make a quick plug for security. No matter what applications you use while on the Internet, securing your system is the best way to increase your overall web ROI. Make sure your operating system is kept up to date and you have current antivirus / malware / spam defenses in place. Never download software from Warez or Torrent sites or in response to pop-up offers of any kind.

Since we started by talking about security, the first application I’ll tell you about is one that will help you organize all of the passwords and site log-ins you use every day.

Application Name: LastPass
Website: www.lastpass.com
Type: Browser Plug-in

LastPass is designed to work with all of the major browsers, including those found on the most popular smart phones. Last-Pass is designed to create and manage all of your passwords and common web data in a secure online vault. The only thing you have to remember is one ultra-secure password for your LastPass account itself.

Each time you visit a site that requests you to create a password, LastPass will offer to generate and store a random password, containing a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters, designed to offer maximum security. It then stores this password, along with the site ID in your “vault.” The next time you visit the site, LastPass will automatically fill in your login information.

For sites that you have already set up passwords for, LastPass will offer to remember your existing login information for future visits. Once you install LastPass, I highly recommend you use the LastPass password generator and change all of your existing passwords.
LastPass can also store commonly requested information, such as your name, address, etc. to make it easy to fill out web forms with a single click. You can have multiple profiles for home, work, etc. Best of all, you can securely access your LastPass Vault and password data from work, home and your Smart Phone. Want even more security? LastPass now offers fingerprint access control and encryption! There is also a multi-user commercial version of LastPass available for organizations that want to centralize web password management.

Application Name: nitro pdf
Website: www.nitropdf.com
Type: Desktop Application

Ironically, despite the information on the web being electronic, one of the most frequent tasks people perform on the web is, you guessed it, printing! Tens of millions of pages of content are printed from the web every day. This printed information is either for temporary use, for reference or to share with others. Often it is thrown away within hours of being printed.

Nitro pdf is a tool that allows you to “print” any web page you visit to a pdf file that can be viewed, stored, shared and indexed, without needing any paper or a connection to the Internet. Pdf files, made popular by Adobe Acrobat, can be viewed on PCs, Macs, Linux systems and most current smart phones.

This particular application is useful both on and off the web, allowing you to create pdf documents from any application you would normally print from. One of the most frequently used web applications for nitro pdf is printing copies of forms and receipts that are created online.

Application Name: Evernote
Website: www.evernote.com
Type: Plug-in/Desktop Application

If you’ve read my previous reviews on mobile applications or heard me on SBAM’s new radio show, Business Next, you already know I love Evernote! Evernote is a “Cloudbased” service, with corresponding browser and desktop applic

Yes, Social Media is even for you, and you and you!

Social media marketing is growing in popularity and is being used by companies small and large. Through the networks for social media marketing, people share information, share opinions, tell people what they think about products, share their positive and negative experiences with brands or products and services that they’ve bought, and even influence buying decisions of their buddies who are on these networks. That’s why social networks have become a powerful tool for companies of all sizes to listen to, learn, and understand what their target audience may be saying about them or their products and services.

Social media marketing is fun. Social media marketing is addictive. And Social media marketing is labor intensive. Social media marketing is a huge opportunity for small business owners because it helps level the playing field. Small business owners can reach global audiences and extend their reach just as if they were a larger company because they can leverage the Internet to do so.

Impact of Social Media on Our Daily Lives
Our daily lingo has changed to include cryptic phrases like “tweet me,” “hit me up online,” and “skype me.” If you haven’t succumbed to this cryptic phraseology, Congratulations! But then again, don’t get too happy, you’re going to start talking in the same weird lingo very, very soon!

As if the weird lingo (including short forms such as LOL, ROFL, BTW, L8TR, etc.) isn’t enough of a shock to deal with, almost on a daily basis our emails are bombarded with invitations to join this social network or that. Yes, I know right! There’s barely enough time in the day to do our work, never mind join yet another network!

The Business Owner Dilemma
To go online or not? To engage on social media platforms or not? How to find the time? How to determine how much time to spend online? Who to assign to do the online marketing? Hire an outsider or give it to the admin to do it as part of her job? Do it themselves or hire an intern? How to calculate ROI (return on investment) of their online investment? And so on and on and on…you get the point!

Social Media is Just Another Channel
As a business owner, you must look at Internet Marketing as “yet another channel and the MOST cost-effective channel” to promote your business.

If we could all afford to place an ad on a billboard that is on the most popular highway in town, we’d all do it, right? Similarly if as business owners we could afford radio and television advertisement, we’d all do it in a jiffy. But those media are all expensive and not really cost-effective for most of us.

This is where people are flocking to search, recommend, discuss, and influence buying decisions. So why shouldn’t you be there?

Social Media for Lead Generation
You go to networking events to meet people in person to help showcase your business. The more you meet them the more you learn about them and their business. Over a period of time, this becomes your trusted network for leads and new business opportunities.
Similarly, social media websites allow business owners to conduct networking except it is online so it provides ease of use and allows you to reach a wider audience. The purpose however remains the same as face to face networking: build relation-ships with others, create a trusted network, find new referral sources, and influence buying decisions.

Traditional Marketing Versus New Media
Internet marketing doesn’t replace the need for traditional marketing activities that still do work. There are traditional marketing methods that do work such as email marketing (Yes, I call it traditional), radio, television, and yes even billboards and direct mail. These traditional marketing methods can complement your social media activity or vice versa.

The “Smart” (Phone) Money Is on Apps to Win & Tablets to Show!

(By John Westra is Director, NuWave Government Solutions. From the Small Business Association of Michigan’s member-only Focus on Small Business magazine.)

Why are (apps) running on iPhones, iPads and Android powered Phones & Tablets fast becoming an indispensible part of every “Smart” Small Business Toolkit?

In the past 24 months, we’ve witnessed an explosive growth in the use of “Smart Phones.” In 2007 an In-Stat study, commissioned by CIO magazine, estimated “The number of smart phones in use throughout the world will increase by an average of 33 percent each year through 2012.” A report released this November by Canalys, a company that tracks technology market data, reveals 3rd quarter 2010 smart phone sales “grew by 95 percent, compared with the same period last year, with total sales for the quarter reaching 81 million devices!”

The key factor driving this incredible growth in smart phones is Mobile Applications (Apps). People have fallen in love with the incredible variety of personal and business applications at their fingertips. These mobile apps keep them constantly connected to their friends, business associates and an ever-expanding wealth of information in the Internet Cloud. People also love the touch-oriented user interface of mobile applications that allows them to quickly touch, flip, drag and click their way to the information they want.

These mobile applications are so popular; they are also driving record sales of a whole new class of mobile device, the “Tablet Computer.” Tablet computers like the iPad and Android-powered Samsung Galaxy are listed as the most frequently asked for technology item for Christmas 2010. They are so popular, they are expected to outsell netbooks, the smaller less powerful cousins of laptops and the darling of Christmas 2009, by a ratio of 2:1!
Tablet computers and apps offer the same type of “instant-on,” touch-based user interface as smart phones, with the advantage of increased screen real-estate and more peripheral options. These peripheral options, which are also available for some smart phones, include wireless keyboards, mice, external storage and docking stations that offer a quick connection to larger displays, wired network connections, printers, etc.

Between their use on smart phones and tablets, the number of apps being downloaded is staggering. Earlier this year, Steve Jobs of Apple was quoted as saying: “Three billion applications downloaded in less than 18 months – this is like nothing we’ve ever seen before.” The market for Android applications is no different, with the main Android app Market reporting over 100,000 applications available for download as of October 2010, and tens of thousands downloaded each day.

Although iPhones and Androidbased (Droid) phones are the fasted growing mobile application platforms, Rim (BlackBerry) still has the largest installed base of legacy smart phones. Their latest Torch (smart phone) and PlayBook (tablet) offerings are the first BlackBerry devices to include a touch-style application interface. Nokia, another once dominant smart phone vendor, uses the Symbian touch-style interface on their latest phones. Microsoft has just introduced their Windows Phone 7 series that sports a unique style of touch interface that may or may not appear on future tablet devices. Unless there is some type of divine intervention, the pioneering Palm (HP WebOS) smartphone platform is dead (R.I.P.).

So what does this mad rush towards mobile applications have to do with Small Business? Mobile applications give you and your team the ability to be productive and stay connected to each other, clients/customers and prospects 24/7/365, limited only by increasingly ubiquitous carrier and WiFi access. Mobile applications are also transforming the way people connect with advertisers in a way the traditional media channels of Print, Radio, TV an

QR Codes

By John Westra, Director, NuWave Government Solutions. From the Small Business Association of Michigan’s member-only Focus on Small Business magazine.


You’ve probably noticed codes like the one shown here. They are popping up on in-store displays, print media and even Real Estate signs. They are called QR Codes and are a type of 2D scan code/tag. Next to the more familiar 1D barcode, QR codes are the most widely adopted form of scan code being used today. Microsoft has a competing and colorful 2D solution called Microsoft Tags, but very few content publishers have adopted it.


Besides linking to online web content, you can use QR codes for:
  • Contact information that will create a contact record on most phones
  • Email address that will open the smart phones email client and fill in the “To” address
  • Geographic (GIS) information that will allow people to quickly navigate to a destination
  • Almost any other free-form data you want people to have.

As the number of people using smart phones increases, you are going to see more of these QR codes being used. Like any other new technology, the greatest rewards will come to those who find a way to use it to add value, before their competitors!

Ready to get started? Connect to the Internet with your Smart Phone and point your mobile web browser to www.scanlife.com. The website will automatically detect if your phone is supported and you will be prompted to download the ScanLife software.
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