Mail room operations can be affected by many things but probably the most challenging for busy ones is the handling of mail runs which has various sizes and weights of items.Read More
Office Document Strategies Blog
"Pretty much every PC, laptop, tablet, and smartphone is affected by the security flaw, regardless of which company made the device or what operating system it runs."Read More
All of the controversy around the issues of the Russian intervention in the US and other country's elections sometimes covers how important cyber security and the ability of IT networks to be secure is to everyday activity. If the general media was only focused on the political consequences of hacking of IT systems we would not hear about how some of the daily things we do are affected.
Some headlines which show Canada is not immune to the issues:
The costs associated with building systems, acquiring protection software and spending time to keep on top of current threats are all things which we as consumers end up paying for as they get incorporated into the costs of the goods and services which we use.
A recent CNN summary itemizes some of the biggest stories which have occurred including the 145 million accounts from the Equifax hack, the announcement the total of 3 billion Yahoo accounts were hacked in 2013 and closer to home the fact an Ancaster hacker connected to Russians has now pleaded guilty to hacking up to 500 million Yahoo accounts from 2014.
These kinds of events kind of make use glaze over as we figure there is nothing we can do to protect ourselves but we do know that Canadian organizations are forced to spend large amounts to attempt to build protections for us.
We end up having to deal with less convenient systems as things like double authentication security start being applied to our online accounts. Cumbersome conventions which force us to not be able to directly connect to some financial activity without using fairly difficult security procedures frustrate people and lead them to avoid using electronic systems.
Of course the convenience provided by electronic communications including credit and debit transactions hook most of us into continuing to stay connected and to hope that our information will be held secure by the organizations we buy from. Every effort which can be made to help secure online transactions (which include most cash register systems) will pay dividends in consumer confidence hopefully.
Looking ahead to 2018 we can only hope that cyber security will remain a high priority for the legitimate IT industry and that break throughs can occur which will frustrate those who seek to illegitimately use electronic data.
Photo credit: By ITSveronica (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Since its creation in 2009/10 bitcoin crypto currency has always had a kind of unreal story. The concept of a globally exchanged currency without a nation as a sponsor or guarantor which is traded by person to person or company to company transactions without a banking system regulator was unreal until it happened.Read More
Virtually every business today has some sort of need for connectivity for its computer and IT needs. Whether it is using cloud based applications to process data and transactions or using a cloud based data backup strategy the ability to get on line safely and quickly is almost a given.
Unfortunately not all locations are equal in providing competitive options for businesses to get this needed connectivity. The greater the need and the more intensive the connected traffic then the more the locational decision for a business can be impacted.
In a couple of articles over the past month ITbusiness.ca has shown how cities and their partners are starting to look at these issues. The focus of these articles are on Toronto and the announcement about the Google neighbourhood announced for the water front and also on a plan to rate buildings in Toronto on their connectivity capability as a means to build competitive advantage.Read More
Since it became the defacto norm for WIFI network security the WPA2 security setting has been the standard for almost every WIFI network setup.Read More
What is the difference? Answer: Who does the work.Read More
People who are fans of the movie "Office Space" remember the scene where three of the players take the printer out to the field and beat it to death because it keeps giving an paper jam error even when there is no paper jam.Read More
Part of the Series from our Guide to Postage Meters in Canada:
Being notified your model or device is now obsolete? Is soon to be dropped from support? This may not be a bad message to receive. It may be an opening for you to modernize and improve your processes and review your current supplier relationship.
Options to consider if notified
Many organizations have received this kind of notice and immediately jump to the conclusion they must change their device and will just contact their current supplier. Obviously it may be a cause for concern about future availability of support, service and supplies.
Looking at such a notice another way - it may be perfect timing to check out the market and see what alternative suppliers have to offer. Look for options that give you control over how it is best suited for you to do business. Following this process lets many organizations make a switch, obtaining a better solution while planning for your future needs.
Are you feeling pushed into a Vendors Timeline?
Vendors may decide to use an arbitrary date for telling you when your machine will stop accepting postage downloads. For example one vendor Pitney Bowes has announced that the following series DM 400, DM500, DM800, DM1000, DM1100 may no longer be useable past December 2017.
NeoPost has made similar assertions, and this means that future rate changes made by Canada Post or the downloading of postage may no longer be possible for you.
The three Canadian approved postage machine manufacturers offer postage machines and the related metering devices to control postage. Over time they may inform you that your currrent model is no longer going to be supported. If this feels like you are being dictated as to when to stop using your equipment, this can be true. Why? It will take away your ability to 'fill' your postage machine with new postage, as without the meter it will no longer allow for downloading new postage or rates forcing it to be obsolete.
This could be more about trying to get you to upgrade, vs. your choice of trying to maximize your investment of a postage machine over the long term. Fundamentaly most postage machines/meters have not changed much over the last 10 years, other than recently Canada Post removed the ability for parcel rates to be built in. If parcel rates is not something you used thru your meter, then the need to update it may not matter to you and this may be more about your vendors want to change you into a new platform to support their parcel postage system.
What to look at:
There are six key components which make up a postage machine acquisition which can affect the long term value of that deal:
- Price of lease or purchase of the equipment acquired based upon the appropriate sizing and feature mix required to meet business needs.
- Process and cost for updating of postage rates when Canada post changes rates so that the postage machine will be able to produce valid postage as designed.
- Cost of supplies to keep the machine running, usually a form of ink and labels.
- Service and Support costs for any needed repair during the period of use.
- Ease of process for adding money to your account to top up the amount available within the device for payment for postage being generated.
- Ease of interaction with your vendor: after sale how easy is it to reach or contact and deal with your vendor when issues occur? Waiting on the phone for extended periods of time is unproductive use of your time.
Each of these six components becomes an integral part of the ability for an organization to use the device they acquire for postage production and control,
Rate changes critical
The ability for a postage device to have its rates upgraded quickly and easily in the event that Canada Post changes postage rates is a critical component of the functionality of the device and ideally you want this to be bundled in so you do not incurr fees everytime Canada Post decides to change their rates.
Ease of getting postage: the internet has arrived to postage
One of the things that you will learn if you look at the market today, rather than just renew on an older machine, is that the internet has come to the postage world. Using your internet connectivity vs. sharing your old fax line for update of rates or adding postage to your machine can add convenience.
Wrapping it all up:
When model changes happen by a manufacturer, this is often what forces an organization to change devices and be pushed into the uncomfortable position of the expenditure for new equipment creating unplanned budgetary costs. Hopefully this will happen at the normal end of a lease period, or a number of years after your purchase acquisition, but it is not always the case, especially if the vendor becomes the one to dictate the timing.
In evaluating a new device, ask about the date of introduction to detemine the potential lifespan of this new equipment for your organization. If it has been around a long time make sure you ask whether there is any pending obsolescence or at least that the lease term (if applicable) will be fully covered by maintenance and support? Don't take the Sales persons word for it especially if your have recently received an expiry letter from upper management.Read More
When first invented and popularized fax machines were seen as a wondrous invention. After all being able to send a piece of paper or even a whole document to someone in another office or even across the world over a phone line was pretty different than the norm at the time.Read More