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What Are Document Management Systems Used For?

In the not-so-distant past, businesses had to dedicate a substantial portion of their office space for storing office records and documents. Archiving and storing paper records was the only option available to keep their business processes organized. But with the advent of digitization, companies now have the option of organizing all of their records and documents properly, systematically and painlessly.  

With a document management system (DMS) in place, you don’t have to put up filing cabinets throughout your office. You can store all your paper records and documents safely and securely in one single space digitally in your document management system. A DMS not only organizes your office records, but also improves the accessibility of every single document in your organization.  

So, what are document management systems used for? We’ll look at what a DMS is, its main components and its numerous benefits.

What is a document management system?

Managing records efficiently is a prerequisite for companies of every size. You either have the option of manually filing your paper documents or use the modern technology of a DMS. While manual record-keeping is costlier, time-consuming and cumbersome, digital record-keeping is simpler, efficient, systematic and more cost-effective. Document management software can solve most of your record-keeping woes.

Simply put, a DMS is an electronic filing cabinet that can organize all your digital and paper documents. It is a system that allows you to receive, track, monitor, manage and store documents and reduce the use of paper. The system allows you to keep records of various versions created and modified by different users.

You can scan and upload hard copies of your documents directly into your document management system. Users can enter metadata and tags into their document management systems to organize the stored files.

Typically, document management systems have a built-in search engine that makes accessing files easy, even from the most extensive document libraries. Storing and sorting documents is not the only benefit a document management system offers. A DMS also helps you keep all your sensitive company information safe and secure because it has permission settings, which means only authorized persons can access the information.

Important components of a document management system

The traditional form of capturing and storing paper documents is costly because it requires manual processing. In addition, needs for storage space increase over time, with some organizations requiring warehouses to free up office space in the main building. Other issues include the following:

  • Human error – such as misplaced documents
  • Retrieval issues
  • Risk of physical damage to the documents – such as fire, flooding, accidental disposal or deliberate malicious destruction

DMS software was developed in the 1980s. With scanning technology established, organizations could digitize paper documents and store and track them easily online. However, much has changed for DMS since its creation. It has now evolved and expanded to include such additional features as security, workflow and auditing.

Around the world, organizations are taking advantage of online document management tools. Apart from cost reduction, the biggest advantage a DMS offers is the storage capacity of the server. You don’t need physical space to store your important documents – no warehouse or filing cabinets required. You can store all your documents online and retrieve them whenever needed.

Here are some of the important components of a document management system.

Metadata – Metadata is assigned to each document in a DMS. Metadata includes all the relevant information about the document – when it was stored (date), title and description of the document.

Indexing, retrieval, and search – These features allow users to locate documents and information with the help of document identifiers, metadata and content.

Security – The security features protect your information, and also supports compliance. Administrators can put in controls in place so only those who have permission can access documents.

Workflow – Administrators can create rules that determine the flow of documents within the organization.

Collaboration – A DMS allows multiple users to view and modify documents simultaneously. The system monitors document changes and history.

Versioning – Most DMS solutions allow users to retrieve the previous version of a document. The system also allows users to continue working from a designated point. Versioning is a vital feature that allows you to change and update documents as needed.

Benefits of a document management system

The benefits of document management software include optimized document handling, improved data accessibility, streamlined file searches and lower document management costs. Such tools will allow you to better control the security of your company’s files while improving collaboration by making data sharing easy.

Here are some of the major benefits of a document management system.

Cost reduction – When you can locate, update and collaborate documents from a centralized repository, it simplifies the process, reduces manual intervention in locating the document, minimizes human errors, decreases space requirement for storing documents and saves a significant amount of time, thereby reducing your overall costs.

Improves data security – Most DMS solutions provide robust security. You get configurable access options that you can set up according to your security needs. Highly regulated businesses need to especially protect their data for a number of reasons – including protection of end-users and from company liability.

Improves collaboration – A DMS brings all of your departments and stakeholders on one single platform. When everyone is on the same page, it eliminates data silos and supports teamwork, thereby improving collaboration. When people work as a single unit, it increases their productivity, which is bound to enhance your profits.

You can make your office paperless – Using paper is neither good for the environment, nor ultimately beneficial for the financial health of your organization. So, if you want to become a paperless office, DMS can help you achieve your goals. A DMS allows you to transform all of your paper documents into electronic assets. It not only makes sorting, storing and accessing these documents easier, but also means that you can use your office space for more meaningful – and profitable – purposes.

If you are looking for a secure content distribution and protection solution, DocuServe is an industry-leading cloud-based document management system that can keep your digital content safe. We can help you improve the productivity and efficiency of your employees and streamline your processes. Contact us today to learn more.


How Can Just-in-Time Management Work for Your Business?

Inventory management is a critical function for businesses in many sectors. If businesses are unable to manage their inventories properly, it can cause numerous problems. From financial losses to unsatisfied customers, improper handling can have far-reaching consequences. Therefore, to make your supply chain effective, businesses need to find ways to manage their inventories efficiently. 

That is where just-in-time (JIT) inventory management comes into the picture. Developed in Japan as a response to the country’s limited natural resources, JIT inventory management ensures minimal wastage.

Just-in-time inventory management is a business model that allows businesses to follow a lean methodology to streamline inventory handling. JIT inventory management is not only used by many companies, but also influences other lean inventory management technologies, such as Continuous Flow Manufacturing (CFM).

What is just-in-time inventory management?

The JIT inventory management model was introduced by Toyota – which is why it is also called the Toyota Production System (TPS). JIT works on the principle in which raw material orders are aligned directly to the manufacturer’s production needs and schedules, thereby significantly reducing the costs associated with holding inventory. What it means is this – you receive the raw materials only when you need them during the manufacturing process. There is no need to stockpile goods. 

For example, an automobile manufacturer that uses a JIT system can efficiently produce cars even on a low inventory because it relies on its suppliers that provide goods on an as-needed basis. Just-in-time inventory management is diametrically opposite to the age-old just-in-case strategy. In the just-in-case model, manufacturers keep enough inventory of goods at all times to meet the anticipated market demands.  

Advantages and disadvantages of a just-in-time system

When you get your JIT right, it can have many positive effects on your operations. But like any other model, it also has some drawbacks. When you don’t execute a JIT in the right manner, it can cause serious supply chain disruptions. SPS Commerce provides the following advantages and disadvantages of a just-in-time system.

Advantages

  • Lowered inventory costs Keeping less inventory on hand equals lower labor and storage expenses that were once necessary to store and manage inventory.
  • Larger Open-to-Buy Budget – Ability to spend on other items you might not have the budget for without a JIT approach.
  • Fewer markdowns: Reduction in need to offload unsold products using markdowns. Resources can be re-allocated to pursuing growth-oriented opportunities.

Disadvantages

  • Late Deliveries resulting from poor communication – For JIT to work, deliveries need to arrive ‘just in time.’ This level of synchronization and communication requires tightly integrated systems and active vendor/partner management.
  •  Imprecise forecasting risk – JIT inventory needs accurate forecasting of expected customer demand, but if these calculations are wrong, as in the case of a stock-out, you could risk losing sales.

Examples of companies that have put JIT into action

Businesses across all verticals use JIT inventory management to streamline their operations. The following companies represent the best-known examples.

Apple – The consumer electronics leader keeps very little inventory on hand. Because Apple maintains minimum inventory volumes, it is at a lower risk of overstocking. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, “Inventory is fundamentally evil. You kind of want to manage it like you’re in the dairy business. If it gets past its freshness date, you have a problem.”

Kellogg’s – The world’s leading cereal manufacturer uses a just-in-time inventory management system to efficiently manage its stocks. It manufactures strictly to meet orders and maintain limited stocks because its products are perishable. 

Zara – Zara is a “fast-fashion” chain that owns its supply chain and is capable of quickly bringing in new items to the market. The brand believes in maintaining low inventory supplies, manufacturing only 15% to 20% of a season’s line six months in advance. By the start of the season, they lock in only 50% to 60% of their line. In the case of an unexpected spike in demand in one or a few of its styles, they quickly design new styles and get them into stores to meet the demand effectively and cash in on the changing customer preferences.

DocuServe – your experienced, trusted partner in supporting JIT solutions

At DocuServe, we have been dedicated to the just-in-time manufacturing philosophy for over 20 years. In fact, we developed a content delivery platform called eServe just to address the need for the additional e-learning solutions that making the transition to JIT demands.

Since 1994, we have developed strong and supportive partnerships with our clients worldwide-helping them streamline their operations, their training and (in turn) their profits. Contact us if you want to know how we can do the same for you.


A man on a computer that is on public wifi. The wifi is a trap

Is It Safe to Use Open Public Wi-Fi Hotspots?

With data breaches increasing by the day, it is imperative to keep business and personal information safe and secure. Those who don’t take the necessary precautions risk losing their proprietary and personal data to criminals. Loss of proprietary and personal data can have far-reaching consequences, both for individuals as well as businesses. Apart from financial losses, businesses also risk taking a hit to their reputation.

There are several aspects to data security, and one of the growing areas of concern is mobile security. With the mobile device use prevalent and the practice of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) to the workplace becoming more prominent, it is vital to understand the risks associated with mobility.

Is it safe to use the internet from open public Wi-Fi hotspots?

If you are using an open public Wi-Fi hotspot, you need to be careful. We will take you through what you need to do if you have to use an open public Wi-Fi hotspot – why IT security experts consider public Wi-Fi risky, how to stay safe when using public Wi-Fi, and how a virtual private network (VPN) operates.

Why is public Wi-Fi considered risky?

You don’t think twice when using the internet from your home or office because you know the connection is secure. But that is not the case when you use public Wi-Fi. Therefore, before you start surfing the internet from an open public Wi-Fi hotspot, it is important to know why public Wi-Fi is considered risky.

When you access the internet from public places like airports, hotels, restaurants, shops, etc., you are using public Wi-Fi. We are so used to using these hotspots that we don’t even think twice before connecting to them. While it is fine to connect to public Wi-Fi for checking your social media accounts, you need to think twice before checking your emails or accessing your bank accounts.

There are numerous risks involved if you are using public Wi-Fi. While it might be necessary to brief your team in the office or provide prompt service to your customer, it is vital to understand that these networks offer almost negligible security. That is the reason you need to be careful.

Here are some of the risks of public Wi-Fi, as covered by Norton:

Man-in-the-middle attack –One of the most common threats on public Wi-Fi networks, a man-in-the-middle attack is similar to eavesdropping. When you connect your device to the internet, data from your computer goes to the website or service you access, and it is here that a third person can exploit the vulnerabilities in-between. That means, your private connection is no longer private, and a third person can access your data.

Unencrypted network – When you opt for encryption, the information you send from your computer to the wireless router gets encrypted. It means, the information you send gets coded, and only those having the key to deciphering the code can read the information. In most cases, as a default setting, the encryption is turned off when the router leaves the factory. To enable the encryption, you need to turn it on during the time of the network setup. But if a non-IT person sets up the network, there is no guarantee that he or she turns on the encryption. So, you don’t have a way to find out whether the public Wi-Fi you are using has encryption turned off or on. And, this is again dangerous as the information you share on unencrypted networks is not safe.

Malware distribution – By exploiting the software vulnerabilities, attackers can slip malware on to your computer. A security vulnerability is a security loophole that exists in an operating system or software program. It is easy for hackers to exploit this weakness. They can write a code to target a particular vulnerability and inject the malware on to your device. Your data is at risk if your device gets infected with malware.

Snooping and sniffing – Snooping and sniffing is again a very common risk on public Wi-Fi. Hackers use special software kits and devices that allow them to eavesdrop on Wi-Fi signals. With this technique, hackers can access all your online activities. From the websites you visit and the information you leave on the webpages to getting hold of your login credentials and hijacking your accounts, the attackers get every bit of information they want.

Malicious hotspots – Malicious hotspots are rogue access points that can trick you to connect to them because their name is almost similar to a reputable brand. For example, if you are staying at a Holiday Inn and want to connect to their Wi-Fi network, but you accidentally connect to HoliDay Inn, which is a malicious hotspot. When you connect to this rogue hotspot, attackers can view all your sensitive information.

Staying safe when surfing public Wi-Fi

There are occasions, however, when you have to use open public Wi-Fi.

So, what should you do?

Here is what you can do to stay safe when surfing public Wi-Fi.

Always try to use a trusted Wi-Fi network – It is vital to understand that it is difficult for any public Wi-Fi network to provide foolproof security. That is why it is important to try to connect to a trusted entity like Starbucks. Public Wi-Fi networks like Starbucks are less suspect than an unknown entity. As Wired observes, they’re already profiting from your presence there. Avoid connecting to an unfamiliar network, and when traveling to a new place, always try to connect to known and trusted networks.

Follow Google’s advice – use only HTTPS sites – Google Chrome tells you whether the site you are visiting uses an unencrypted HTTP connection or an encrypted HTTPS connection. For HTTP sites, you can see “Not Secure” on the search bar. Be aware that Chrome is the only web browser that provides this warning.

Try not to use HTTP sites from an open public Wi-Fi network because these are not secure. On secure sites , it is difficult for attackers to access your data that travels between your computer and the website’s server. 

Don’t share too much information – If you have to use an open public Wi-Fi network, make sure that you don’t share all your details. Try not to forget the first rule (using a trusted network), but in case you have to use an unknown network, don’t share all your details, such as email address and phone number. Also, avoid signing up for multiple public Wi-Fi networks. It is better to connect to a network that you are already registered with.

Make sure you limit file sharing – While using an open-public Wi-Fi network, ensure that you turn off the seamless file sharing option on your device. For example, if you are using a PC, go to the Network and Sharing Center, then to the Change Advanced Sharing settings, and then turn off the File and Sharing option. If you are using a Mac, go to System Preferences, then go to Sharing, and then unselect everything. After this, go to Finder, then click on AirDrop, and then select Allow me to be discovered by: No One. And, in case you are using iOS, go to the Control Center and find AirDrop, and then turn it off. If you do this, you can keep your files safe because attackers will not be able to get hold of your files, nor can they send you unwanted stuff.

Read the terms and conditions of the network you are signing for – Not an easy thing to do, but if possible, you should check for red flags. When you go through their terms and conditions, you can get to know the type of data they collect during the session and what they intend to do with it. You can do a web search for terms you don’t understand. However, make sure that you don’t promptly install any software the open Wi-Fi network suggests.

Always use a VPN – The best way to protect your data on an open public Wi-Fi network is to install a VPN on your device. When you use a VPN, it encrypts data that you receive or send through a secure server, which means people on the network cannot spy on your data.

How does a VPN work?

Using a VPN is the best way to protect your data on an open public Wi-Fi network.

A VPN disguises your actual IP address and location. It uses encryption and establishes a private, secure channel for your internet use. If you use a VPN, all of your information moves securely from your location to the VPN, your original IP address is masked, and your data exits to the public internet through the VPN server. The use of a VPN makes it extremely difficult for the attacker to trace the data back to you.

The use of a VPN is particularly of help to businesses that need to give their employees remote access to the company server. You can get access to the software and company resources even when you are not in the office.

So, to answer the question, you can safely use Wi-Fi hotspots if you exercise caution and common sense — as well as add the extra layer of protection that a VPN affords. Be aware that this is a less-than-ideal situation, but if it can’t be avoided, we’ve hopefully provided the information you need to identify sketchy hotspots and protect yourself as best as possible. As we always say, knowledge is power!

No matter what platform your company uses to meet its unique needs, DocuServe specializes in offering industry-leading solutions for keeping your digital content safe. Our secure document and rich media sharing app can reduce the risk of data exposure. With DocuServe, you can easily control content distributed to employees, vendors, and potential customers. Contact us to learn more.


Costly Data Breach

How Costly Could a Data Breach Be?

A data breach can have wide-ranging consequences for businesses of all sizes. Data breaches not only affect your company’s reputation, but can also cause you substantial financial losses.  With regulatory fines, remediation costs and lost business opportunities, data breaches can prove to be a costly affair to handle.

But how costly could a data breach be?

Let us look at data breach statistics. According to the 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average total cost of a data breach is $3.92 million, with the United States being the most expensive country – $8.19 million and healthcare being the most expensive industry at $6.45 million.

That is why businesses these days rely on content security to keep their proprietary content, customer information, financial data, research, corporate training materials, and other crucial information safe from compromise.

But as a business owner, it is important to know common reasons for data breaches, and steps you can take to prevent them.

Common reasons for a data breach

It is generally presumed that only outside hackers cause a data breach. But that is not always the case. A data breach can occur due to many reasons, including the following:

An unintentional insider – If an employee uses their colleague’s computer and reads files without proper authorization and permission, it is a kind of a data breach. In this case, the intention of the user is not malicious, and the employee does not share or pass on the information, but it is a breach nevertheless.

An intentional insider – If the information is accessed with the intent of sharing or using it for nefarious means, it is an intentional data breach. The person may have the authorization and permission to access the information, but they are planning to use it to harm the company or an individual, the intent is malicious, and could lead to a serious data breach.

Stolen or lost devices – If a device (laptop or hard drive) that is not encrypted or properly locked is stolen or lost, it could result in a data breach. If a hacker or malicious user gets hold of such devices, they can misuse the information. 

Hackers or outside malicious actors – When people intentionally use various methods to steal sensitive information from a company or an individual, it is a data breach. Such people are known as hackers – outside malicious actors who intentionally cause a data breach.

Preventing data breaches

With data breaches on the rise, it is important to know how to prevent one. Here are some effective ways to prevent data breaches:

Focus on asset inventory – If you want to improve your organization’s security, you need to have a clear understanding of what software and hardware assets you use in your network and physical infrastructure. You can also use an asset inventory to prepare categories and ratings so that you are in the know about threats and vulnerabilities your assets might face. When you are aware of the threats and vulnerabilities, you can better prepare your infrastructure for possible attacks.

If you need to tackle data breaches, you need to focus on endpoint protection. You cannot avert a major data breach with just an antivirus. Relying on antivirus alone can leave your endpoints like desktop and laptop vulnerable. Vulnerable desktops and laptops can cause major data breaches if not secured properly.

You can use encryption to prevent data loss and leakage. Encryption also helps you enforce unified data protection policies across all your endpoints, servers and networks.

Do a vulnerability assessment or, better still, use a vulnerability and compliance management tool – If you want to identify the gaps and weaknesses in your physical and virtual landscape, you need to use a vulnerability and compliance management tool – or at least complete a vulnerability assessment. Vulnerability and compliance management can monitor your infrastructure and keep your IT security in top condition

When you use a vulnerability and compliance management tool, it allows you to understand the security threats and things that need remediation. It also allows you to prepare an action plan to tackle security vulnerabilities and take appropriate actions.

Complete regular audits on security posture – If you want to identify the potential gaps in compliance or governance, you need to ensure that you complete regular audits. Regular audits help you validate your security posture. A security audit is a thorough assessment of your security policies, vis-à-vis your preparedness to head off threats. A security audit will let you know how you handle information security in your organization.

A security audit can bring out the following:

  • Your organization’s documented security policies and their effectiveness.
  • Your organization’s management process, escalation profiles, and the procedures you follow in case of incidents and breaches.
  • The network security mechanisms you have in place in your organization – IDS/IPS, ERP, next-gen firewalls, etc.
  • Your organization’s security and log monitoring setup.
  • Your organization’s encryption and password policies.
  • Your organization’s disaster recovery plan and business continuity roadmap.

A security audit will also bring out whether you test your applications for security flaws or not – as well as whether you have a change management process in place for the IT environment. You also learn how you back up your files and media, and who can access them. It also sheds up light on your restore procedure testing.

You also get to know whether you review your audit logs or not, and if you get them audited, when they are reviewed.

Keep your staff educated and trained on data privacy and security issues – Once you are through with the security policy audits, you can implement an employee policy that deals with data privacy and security issues. But it is important to provide regular training to your employees so that everyone in your organization is aware of their responsibilities. Make sure that you train your employees on the following points:

  • The principle of least privilege – end-user access and privileges.
  • The importance of creating and using unique passwords for computers and other devices in the workplace.
  • Recognizing and avoiding a phishing attack.
  • The documented system for those who leave your organization, be it your employees, vendors or contractors.
  • Immediate reporting of any data compromises and breaches.

You also need to ensure that you have a policy in place on how your employees should retrieve, handle, dispose of and send data. Designating a person to conduct regular training on information security issues is a good way to ensure that ongoing education and training is consistent.

With such precautions in place, it is possible to avert major (and minor) data breaches in your organization. But as mentioned earlier, if you want to keep your company information safe and secure, you need to apply a content security solution.

DocuServe is a cloud-based digital data protection company providing services that include cloud-based document management, content encryption and distribution, and digital media replication and encryption to businesses in every industry. Contact us today to learn about our full range of solutions.


Iowa Caucus App

Lessons of the Iowa Caucus: Why Is It Important to Test Software?

The Iowa Caucus is usually synonymous with launching the presidential campaign. Yet the evening of February 3, 2020 will be one that many will not forget, nor should they. Whether or not one is politically minded, there is a lesson to be learned here. 

That Monday night’s Iowa caucuses started out as a politically charged event with all the ballyhoo of political speeches and delegates making deals. Unfortunately, it will likely be associated with the mistakes that were made that led to no clear Democratic winner being declared that night. 

The New York Times reported that part of the reason behind this was a mobile app that was designed to add up and report the caucus votes of each precinct. Some questioned if the app not working was the result of hacking or sabotage. It turns out that it was a lot more mundane, and more frustrating, to boot. 

In their haste to get the app running on time, it was reported that the company that built it haphazardly put it together in two months; including not testing it properly. Furthermore, poor connectivity and bottleneck bandwidth were also to blame. To make matters worse, when several county chairs attempted to call tech support, they were on hold for upwards to two hours. NPR News reported that the Iowa Democratic Party doubled down, and refused to initially answer questions about the creator of the software or even what measures of testing, or security protocols it went through.

What Lessons Should We Learn From Iowa?

Even if you don’t require software that could decide the leader of a country, there are a lot of lessons to be learned here. One big one is that if your company is designing anything new, it’s important to make sure that proper testing and training is conducted to make sure your employees know how to use the application and minimize potential problems should they arise. 

It’s also important to make security protocols are properly being followed and allow for encryption of secure documents. Mobile and cloud content security is also crucial for any operation to run smoothly. It’s also important that such security is able to run across multiple devices. 

Finally, being able to provide a scalable support team is important in case something goes wrong on the day of launch. Improving business communication is crucial, and being able to connect your end user to a support specialist is of the utmost importance. This also allows hold times, as well as worry, to be kept to a minimum. 

DocuServe is a cloud-based digital data protection company providing services that include cloud-based document management, content encryption and distribution, and digital media replication and encryption. Contact us today to learn about our full range of solutions.


Digital Printing

Is Your Business Considering Digital Printing?

Technology has not only transformed the way we live our lives, but it has also changed the way we print. Case in point: Digital printing.

As the Xerox website explains, “Digital printing offers numerous advantages over traditional analog printing methods – such as offset printing – because digital printing machines do not require printing plates. Instead of using metal plates to transfer an image, digital printing presses print the image directly onto the media substrate.

“Digital production print technology is evolving quickly, and digital printing output quality is improving continuously. These advancements are delivering print quality that mimics offset.”

Digital printing provides the following advantages:

  • Personalized, variable data printing (VDP) – This allows such marketing materials as mailers to be personalized with the recipient’s name and other individualized information.
  • Print-on-demand
  • Cost-effective short runs
  • Fast turnarounds
  • Consistency – Every print is the same, due to not having to balance ink and water during the press run.
  • Environmentally friendly – As there are no pre-press stages, there is no need for film plates or photo chemicals.

What to look for in a digital printing company?

To get the best service and highest possible quality from a digital printing company, do your homework before making your choice. Here is what you need to look for in a digital printing company:

Check the quality they offer and deliver; research their professional reputation – Ask to see physical examples of the print company’s work – not just examples on their website. Read customer reviews and the printer’s social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to get an idea of their quality, reliability, etc. Also check their Better Business Bureau rating.

Check their customer service – Be sure you have good communication with the company’s owner or manager. As Canada Print Services advises, “It is vital that they should be trustworthy, professional and responsive. They should be able to take care of your account from start to finish seamlessly and efficiently. Good communication and troubleshooting skills are very important, as well. The company you choose should be able to work well with you. They should know how to listen and cater to your needs. The last thing you need is working with a digital printing company that will make decisions without your consent.”

Pricing is also important – Get a good quality-to-value ratio. Know what competitive rates in your geographic location are. While you don’t want to overpay, choosing the lowest bid may result in poor-quality results.

How can digital printing help your brand?

Digital printing can help your brand get personal and drive revenue, especially for magazine publishers. Digital publishing has revolutionized book publishing, created new forms of direct mail, and allows you to do targeted promotions. Here is what digital printing can do for magazine publishers:

Inkjet messaging – As mentioned earlier, digital printing allows you to get personal. In the United States, most magazine copies are personalized with the help of digital printing technology that allows them to inkjet each copy with the recipient’s name and mailing address. It does not cost you much to add additional inkjet messaging to the cover. It opens up a variety of messaging options for magazines that can be used to drive home their point.

Programmatic direct mail – Programmatic direct mail is a fast-growing marketing approach that announces the kind of content magazine publishers create. Programmatic direct mail is a method that is used to identify website visitors (also prospective buyers) based on their activities – such as clicks, searches and cart abandonment. Taking physical mailing addresses from the databases that link online identities, a customized mailing is digitally printed and mailed to the prospect. The mailer could be a mini catalog or a postcard.

Customized cover wraps – Sponsored or customized cover wraps can help magazines reach highly targeted audiences. For example, copies sent to the waiting room of an ear, nose and throat practice (ENT) can carry a promotional cover wrap of a hearing-aid brand. The cover wraps can also be customized to the extent that it lists the names of dealers nearby.

Print-on-Demand – With digital printing, publishers don’t need to worry about running short of copies. That is the reason why publishers of late have cut down on the number of “just in case” copies. In case of shortage, publishers can switch to digital printing and print the copy in time. It allows the publishers to save money because they don’t have to print extra copies, and they don’t need extra storage space.

The future of digital printing

So, what is the future of digital printing?

The global digital print market in 2013 was estimated to be over 120 billion USD. And, the global digital printing market is expected to reach over 225% of its total 2013 industry value by 2024. The growth in the digital printing market is phenomenal and steady. Here are some of the emerging trends in the digital print industry:

Service improvements – The biggest reason the digital print market is seeing major growth is its ability to offer superior service. Also, it allows businesses to increase their profit margins and opens up new opportunities. Digital printing has also taken personalization and versioning to the next level, which is extremely important in today’s competitive environment. Further, it allows businesses to reach their target audience more effectively. Also, the maturation of Big Data with technology allows businesses to find new pools of valued clientele. Digital printing is also expected to be widely used for packaging and labels.

Inkjet is set to overtake electrophotography – The biggest contributor to the digital print market will be electrophotography, according to a report by Smithers Pira. But inkjet will be the fastest-growing sector in the years to come. Inkjet is set to overtake electrophotography soon, and by 2024, it is expected to account for 53% of the digital print volume and 56% of the total value.

The print packaging sector will experience growth – Digital production techniques are likely to focus on metal, cartons, rigid, and corrugated structures in the years to come. The printed packaging sector is set to see significant growth, both in terms of volume and value in the future.

If you are looking for a digital printing services company, DocuServe has been in the digital printing business since 1994, and we can assure you of delivering high-quality at reasonable rates. From training manuals to catalogs and books, contact us for all your digital printing needs.


Docuserve FB Currency bad

Facebook Cryptocurrency in Trouble

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Facebook no doubt rules the social media roost, but its ambitious cryptocurrency plan, Libra, seems to have hit a roadblock.

In June of 2019, Facebook formally announced its plan to enter the cryptocurrency market with Libra. The whitepaper on Libra was released, and the currency set for a 2020 launch. You can refer to our earlier blog post – Will Facebook Change The Cryptocurrency Market? – to learn about Libra’s background.

But with G7 and G20 raising concerns over cryptocurrencies, it appears unlikely that Libra will see the light of day any time soon. So to try to determine what the future holds for Libra, we will examine the path it has traveled up to now.

The idea behind Facebook Libra

Libra was intended to provide a stable global currency and financial infrastructure to empower billions of people. The currency would have been built on a secure and stable open-source blockchain, which was to be governed by an independent association and backed by a reserve of real assets.

The aim was to create better and cheaper access to financial services for people, regardless of their financial status, region or standing. 

Facebook saw cryptocurrencies as both a threat and an opportunity. Cryptocurrencies can disrupt market dynamics – it can alter the way goods and services are bought and sold by eliminating transaction fees that are synonymous with credit cards. This could affect Facebook’s ad business, which influences purchases. For example, if Google or a start-up introduces a popular coin and starts monitoring the transactions, they could easily learn what people buy.

Once they know the buying pattern, they could have tried to influence buying decisions, which would have affected the billions of dollars annually spent on Facebook marketing. On the other hand, for a population of 1.7 billion who do not have a bank account, it would have been a perfect financial service alternative that offers them an online identity, as well. And, this is what Facebook aspires to become.

The G20 warns of stablecoins

But why has the G20 warned of stablecoins?

Recently the group of G20 finance leaders agreed to put in place strict guidelines for cryptocurrencies like Facebook’s Libra. They have warned that issuance of stablecoins – such as Libra – should not be allowed until all of the global risks have been addressed.

The agreement came after a G7 working group warned of stablecoins. Stablecoins are digital currencies that are generally backed by traditional money and other assets. The working group warned that if stablecoins are launched on a wide scale, it could disrupt the world’s monetary system and financial stability.

The financial chiefs of the G20 group did not doubt the potential benefits of stablecoins, but they said that their wider use could pose serious policy and regulatory risks.

The G20 group finance leaders wrote in a statement, “Such risks, including in particular those related to money laundering, illicit finance, and consumer and investor protection, need to be evaluated and appropriately addressed before these projects can commence operation.” 

Haruhiko Kuroda, Governor of the Bank of Japan, said that the G20 group is expected to start a debate on how to regulate stablecoins after it receives proposals from institutions like the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB). A report on Stablecoins is expected to be submitted by the FATF and FSB in 2020.

What this means is that Facebook is unlikely to meet its deadline for launching Libra in 2020.

According to Kuroda, “Policymakers have expressed concerns over various risks Stablecoins pose. Until they are addressed, stablecoins should not be issued. That was something agreed by the G20 members.” 

Also, the G20 group has requested the International Monetary Fund (IMF) scrutinize the economic implications, which includes monetary sovereignty issues. 

“Some emerging countries have concerns on what could happen if stablecoins backed by a huge customer base become widely used globally,” Kuroda said.

According to Kuroda, this is not only an issue related to emerging economies, but could have a wider impact on monetary policy and financial stability.

The G20 agreement raises concern among stakeholders over stablecoins like Libra, more so when more than a quarter of its founding members left the project. It is believed that many of the Libra stakeholders departed due to the serious concerns raised by the policymakers.

Also, the Finance Minister of Germany has raised concerns about Libra, and said that the issuance of new world currency should be prevented.

Kuroda also said that policymakers are expected to debate how to make the current cross- border settlement and payments systems better. But the settlement issues are to be confined to the private sector only, and there has been no discussion on the issuance of digital currencies by the central banks. 

Facebook may not have Libra, but it has Facebook Pay

As the chorus against Libra gained momentum, it appears that Facebook is not waiting for Libra to launch, having in the meantime launched Facebook Pay.

Though not a virtual currency, Facebook Pay is a payment system that allows you to use debit cards, credit cards and PayPal.

Using Facebook Pay, users can make purchases, donations or send money to individuals. Users can utilize Facebook Pay on all the apps in Facebook’s arsenal – Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. Such existing payment platforms as Stripe and PayPal will process the payments.

Facebook Pay was launched in the United States in November 2019 on Facebook and Messenger. Facebook has yet to announce a date for extending this facility on its other apps or in other countries.

With Facebook Pay hitting the market, it means that Facebook had a backup plan in place to counter the unscheduled delay of Libra.

A look at the features of Facebook Pay

You can select the apps on which you want to activate Facebook Pay. For example, you can select only Messenger, or activate it on all Facebook apps. One attractive feature of Facebook Pay is that you only have to select the preferred payment method once. For example, once you select PayPal or a Visa debit card, you don’t have to populate the payment information form every time you make a purchase or transfer money.

In the United States, Facebook Pay is offering real-time customer service to its users. Facebook indicates that it plans to gradually roll out Facebook Pay to other regions.

According to Facebook, Facebook Pay is designed to store and encrypt card and bank account numbers securely, and can detect unauthorized usage. Users can add a PIN or use their device’s biometric features (facial recognition) to transfer money. Facebook claims that it does not receive or store this biometric information.

The take-home message

Whether it is cryptocurrencies or Facebook Pay, encryption technology is more important than ever – especially in the corporate world. DocuServe has the industry experience and solutions to protect company data, keeping employees productive without risking data loss. Our eServe encryption solution provides content security in the cloud, mobile access, security at rest and in motion, encrypted data security, remote wipe and much more. Contact us to learn about our industry-leading solutions.


Platform as a Service

Five Main Benefits of Platform as a Service

Cloud computing is a growing vertical, and it offers your business many benefits. It helps you set up a virtual office, which gives you the flexibility of connecting to your business from any location at any time with an internet connection. With cloud computing in place, you can immediately access your company’s data.

And without a doubt, Platform as a Service (PaaS) is one of the most dynamic areas of cloud computing.

Platform-as-a-service offers an environment where businesses can develop, deploy and operate applications. PaaS offerings include application platforms, business analysis platforms, integration platforms, mobile back-end services and event-streaming services. PaaS also offers businesses a set of monitoring, management and deployment resources.

PaaS offerings mainly target application developers, but also have capabilities that are helpful to operators.

In the PaaS model, it is the responsibility of the cloud service provider to install, configure and manage the IT infrastructure. Businesses only have to concentrate on application development, which is a big advantage for those who want to focus on their business. With a PaaS model, you get all the functionalities in a managed and continuous process to enable immediate productivity for developers.

When you opt for a PaaS model, you can create and run applications and services to meet your specific needs. The Object Management Group (formerly the Cloud Standards Customer Council) provides a comprehensive Practical Guide to PaaS for those interested in learning more.

PaaS offers many benefits, and one of the most significant is its ability to boost a developer’s productivity. Due to continuous integration and automatic deployment, PaaS substantially improves business agility. PaaS also offers developers the broader benefits of the cloud.

  • Scalability
  • Low capital investment
  • Availability of resources on demand and reduced lead times
  • Self-service
  • Reduced administration expenditure
  • Team collaboration support
  • Minimum skill requirement
  • Allows adding new users quickly

 Let us now look at some of the specific benefits of PaaS.

PaaS allows for more time to innovate

One of the advantages of platform-as-a-service is its ability to improve business agility. The growth of the internet has accelerated the pace of innovations. If you want to remain competitive, you need to quickly convert your new ideas into real applications and make them work to meet your business and technical requirements.

It is not easy to set up a platform-level software and run applications successfully. That is where PaaS comes to your rescue. PaaS simplifies, automates and eliminates the tedious setting up process, and allows you to iterate, adapt and extend your applications quickly, thereby enhancing your productivity.

Due to automation support, PaaS allows productivity improvements and offers seamless delivery of resources. Automation and simulated development environments (test and production environment) further improves the consistency and reliability of delivery. It is this aspect of a DevOps/agile development model that is best suited for a PaaS environment.

Since PaaS services allow rapid creation and evolution of applications, the platform is capable of addressing your business requirements. It is an important consideration, especially in the context of mobile and web applications.

Scalability improves

Regardless of the size of your business operations, you need to get the right technology at the right cost. When you start your business, it is extremely difficult to keep investing in technology after every few years. You have three options if you build a platform yourself – you can optimize for your current scale, you can optimize for what you expect to achieve in a few years from now, or you build a scaling mechanism of your own. In the first scenario, you have to redo your platform and face downtime when you complete your initial set-up. In the second scenario, you are likely to waste your resources. And, in the third scenario, you will have to overspend without the assurance of the desired results.

But when you opt for PaaS, you don’t have to worry about the scaling mechanism. PaaS takes into account the growing needs of its customers. Whether you have to scale up or scale down your requirements, you don’t have to spend anything in scaling up or down your resources. You only pay for what you use.

Keep content secure

Security is another important aspect of the PaaS model. With data breaches and security threats increasing by the day, you need to ensure that you opt for a platform that offers you the best possible security. With regular updates and backups, a PaaS model ensures that your data remains safe and secure at all times. PaaS systems have built-in security and data-protection features, such as replication and back-ups.

Upgrading without the headaches

There are many components that you have to track, maintain, update and reintegrate if you deploy your application on a self-built stack. Setting up and running a platform is one thing, but when it comes to maintaining and updating your stack, it is a different ball game altogether. One mistake can ruin your configuration. And, if you have had a bad experience once, you are not likely to take the risk again. Many people continue working on their outdated stacks out of fear of ruining their system. The downsides when you don’t update and maintain your system properly are many – you miss out on the latest security updates, you miss out on new features, and it takes a toll on your productivity and performance.

But when you opt for the PaaS model, you get to deploy the best stack. Also, you get a stack that keeps pace with you over time, allowing you to run your application on the latest technology. PaaS platforms are regularly maintained and updated, so you don’t have to worry about updates and upgrades. You also don’t have to spend time and money updating the system. With the latest technology, you can focus on achieving your business goals more efficiently.

Improve business communications

How you allocate resources to your development teams goes a long way in determining your success. If you allocate multiple assets of the same type in unconnected silos, you are sure to waste your resources. And when we talk of resource allocation, PaaS helps you to share your resources across multiple development teams.

No matter which PaaS provider you choose, keeping your company’s data secure is always the first priority. DocuServe is a cloud-based digital data protection company providing services that include cloud-based document management, content encryption and distribution, and digital media replication and encryption. Contact us today to learn about our full range of solutions.


Woman Showing SaaS visual concept

What Can SaaS Do to Improve your Business?

Cloud technology has many opportunities for businesses in all verticals. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), or cloud solutions, are now increasingly being adopted by companies globally. It has become a viable software option for traditional on-premise installations.

However, there is still a fair bit of distance for this technology to travel. The reason for this is that companies are not yet fully aware of what SaaS is and how it can improve their business. We’ll take a look at SaaS so you’ll be knowledgeable enough to make an informed decision.

So, what is SaaS and how can it improve your business?

SaaS is a software delivery system that allows you to access data from any device through an internet connection and web browser. In the SaaS model, the server, databases, and applications are hosted and maintained by software vendors. The on-premise software delivery system, on the other hand, is different from the SaaS delivery model. With the SaaS model of delivery, you don’t have to invest huge amounts in hardware to host the software. As an organization, you can outsource all your IT needs to the vendor, as it is their responsibility to host, maintain and upgrade the service/system.

Apart from providing remote access to software applications and data, the SaaS delivery model is also different from on-premise software in its pricing structure. In addition, you need to buy a license to run an on-premise software, and you have to pay an additional amount, typically ranging from 15-to 20% annually for its maintenance and support. On the other hand, in the SaaS model, you only need to pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee. The subscription fee you pay includes the software license, maintenance and support costs.

What are the benefits of SaaS?

The SaaS delivery model offers numerous benefits to organizations, especially small and mid-sized enterprises. If you are a fast-growing company, you can use SaaS to increase your growth rates. Here are some of the major benefits of the SaaS delivery model:

No upfront investment – When you opt for a SaaS model, you don’t need to invest huge sums initially, as it operates on a pay-as-you-use basis. This is a big benefit for small and mid-sized companies, allowing them to utilize liquid cash more appropriately. 

It is a more cost-effective option – When you opt for a SaaS model, you don’t have to worry about buying, maintaining, upgrading the hardware and software. You also don’t need an IT team to manage, as it is the responsibility of the SaaS service provider to keep the system running.

It offers seamless accessibility – When you opt for a SaaS model, you don’t need to worry about accessibility because you can access your data at any time and from anywhere. All you need is an internet connection to access your applications and database.

You can get over your IT headaches – This is one of the strongest selling points of the SaaS model. When businesses opt for SaaS, they don’t have to worry about buying, upgrading, or maintaining any software or hardware because it is the responsibility of the service provider to take care of all your IT needs.

Integration is not an issue – With a SaaS model, you don’t have to worry about integration. You can keep working with the systems, applications, and software you are used to without any problem.

You don’t need to worry about security – Like everything else, security is also the responsibility of the service provider. These days, vendors take precautions to keep your applications and data secure. With automatic backups and disaster recovery, the SaaS model is safe and secure. 

It is a scalable option – When you opt for a SaaS model, you don’t have to worry about scalability. All you need to do is make a phone call to scale up or down your operations.

DocuServe is a cloud-based digital protection service that can keep your business’s documents secure. We also offer training for corporations through eServe, so your corporation can be up-to-date in the latest corporate technology trends and services. Contact us to learn more.


Cloud Storage

How Well Could Cloud Storage Perform for Your Business?

Globally, cloud computing is being embraced by businesses at a rapid pace. Cloud computing uses a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage and process data instead of a local server. The growth in the cloud computing vertical has gained traction because it provides on-demand computer system resources – such as data storage and computing power – without the bother of active maintenance and management by the user.

In addition to cloud drives, data analytics helps businesses become more effective by allowing them to store, interpret and process big data to help understand the needs of their customers. Businesses that use data analytics don’t have to resort to guesswork, because data patterns can systematically be analyzed to plan effective business strategies.

Why would your business consider cloud storage?

Data analysis helps businesses because it allows them to recognize patterns in a set and predict what to expect in the future. Referred to as data mining, it helps businesses discover patterns in data sets, allowing them to understand trends in a better way. But employees are unable to reap all the benefits of data analysis and big data due to lack of quick and reliable access to this information.

According to Gartner, around 85% of Fortune 500 companies are unable to leverage big data analytics due to lack of accessibility to data, resulting in missed opportunities to improve the customer experience.

But with cloud storage in place, employees can access company data remotely from wherever they want. It helps employees to serve their customers better, ultimately resulting in improved profit margins.

Apart from increasing accessibility and utility, cloud-powered big data analysis also allows your business to export all of your IT needs – such as hosting and maintaining servers – to the cloud service provider. Instead of investing in servers and other IT infrastructure, you can hire more staff and improve your product. In this way, cloud storage helps create a more competitive playing field for small companies.

TechnologyAdvice has published a comprehensive study – “Data Analytics in Cloud Computing” – which covers this important topic in detail. It’s well worth the time to read in its entirety.

What are the best ways to track performances?

TechnologyAdvice’s study covers four best uses of data analytics, provided verbatim:

Social Media – A popular use for cloud data analytics is compounding and interpreting social media activity. Before cloud drives became practical, it was difficult processing activity across various social media sites, especially if the data was stored on different servers. Cloud drives allow for the simultaneous examination of social media site data so results can be quickly quantified and time and attention allocated accordingly.

Tracking Products Long thought of as one of the kings of efficiency and forethought, it is no surprise Amazon.com uses data analytics on cloud drives to track products across their series warehouses and ship items anywhere as needed, regardless of items proximity to customers. Alongside Amazon’s use of cloud drives and remote analysis, they are also a leader in big data analysis services thanks to their Redshift initiative. Redshift gives smaller organizations many of the same analysis tools and storage capabilities as Amazon and acts as an information warehouse, preventing smaller businesses from having to spend money on extensive hardware.

Tracking Preference – Over the last decade or so, Netflix has received a lot of attention for its DVD deliver service and the collection of movies hosted on their website. One of the highlights of their website is its movie recommendations, which tracks the movies users watch and recommends others they might enjoy, providing a service to clients while supporting the use of their product. All user information is remotely stored on cloud drives so users’ preferences do not change from computer to computer.

Because Netflix retained all their users’ preferences and tastes in movies and television, they were able to create a television show that statistically appealed to a large portion of their audience based on their demonstrated taste. Thus in 2013, Netflix’s House of Cards became the most successful internet-television series ever, all thanks to their data analysis and information stored on clouds.

Keeping Records – Cloud analytics allows for the simultaneous recording and processing of data regardless of proximity to local servers. Companies can track the sales of an item from all their branches or franchises across the United States and adjust their production and shipments as necessary. If a product does not sell well, they do not need to wait for inventory reports from area stores and can instead remotely manage inventories from data automatically uploaded to cloud drives. The data stored to clouds helps make business run more efficiently and gives companies a better understanding of their customers’ behavior.

Cloud computing doesn’t have to be risky

Security concerns were common in cloud computing’s early days. However, ongoing improvements in security technology and protocols have earned user confidence. Today’s measures – combined with exercising proper due diligence – can provide the necessary data security. Here are some matters to consider in evaluating a cloud storage solution.

  • An excellent reputation for physical and network security.
  • Make sure that the cloud storage service offers multiple redundancies, as well as redundancy across several geographic locations to permit disaster recovery.
  • Learn how long it takes to delete a file across the redundant servers, and if it will ever be deleted from the cloud storage banks.

Also, mobile security is a concern, especially for those who don’t take adequate precautions to protect their digital content. With the trend toward bring your own device (BYOD) picking up, it is essential to keep your content safe. Our blog post – “What You Need to Know Before Your Company Adopts BYOD” – covers BYOD security best practices in detail.

Standard encryption cannot protect your data from internal theft, loss of devices or insecure personal devices that are used for business purposes. A cloud-based content security solution applicable for use on multiple types of devices is your best protection in case of theft or loss.

That is where DocuServe’s cloud-based content security solution comes into the picture. It is a document-centric cloud-based content security solution that can be used to secure a wide range of data, including:

  • Sales documents and marketing material
  • Internal training manuals and videos
  • Retail and wholesale pricing sheets
  • On-site and off-site inventory information
  • HR data and other internal documents
  • Executive-level communications

DocuServe provides automatic encryption of your documents and other rich media files. Your files and data stay in the cloud and not on the recipient’s device, making mobile security much safer for your business.

Contact us to learn more about what we can offer.

 

 


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