Different Ways Local Governments Are Utilizing The Cloud

Different Ways Local Governments Are Utilizing The CloudCloud computing usage by government agencies is on the “rise”, and that’s not just because of its name. While many agencies were hesitant to embrace the cloud in its early years due to security concerns, in recent years, cloud security has become as secure, and in many cases more secure, than on-premise solutions. That’s because a single-site back up is vulnerable to natural disasters and cyber attacks, where cloud-based data back ups are stored in numerous locations.
In addition, with the influx of big data, data storage, and around the clock upgrades, cloud services are becoming more relevant for government agencies than ever before, increasing security, efficiency, and unlimited data storage. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Cloud Computing, Office Efficiency, Technology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer Lunch Ideas You Can Take to Work

Summer Lunch-2-FinalLet’s be honest—we need fast, easy, and convenient ideas for work meals in summer to prevent us from unhealthy snacking and eating out. Finding healthy ideas can be easier said than done. A good recipe that takes only 5 to 20 minutes to prepare can help stimulate your appetite, mind, and taste buds while preparing you to take on the daily grind with a new, food-induced enthusiasm.

BuzzFeed Recipes

BuzzFeed is great for lists upon lists of anything, but most especially, recipe ideas! Here are a few to get you started:

Read more >
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The Problem With Cyber Security Hacks Is…Humans

When selecting a technology provider, cyber security features and protocols are at the top of agencies’ considerations. But, as we described in an earlier article “Utilities are Vulnerable to Cyber Security Breaches Too!” http://www.blackmountainsoftware.com/2016/06/17/utilities-are-vulnerable-to-cyber-security-breaches-too/. But what is not often considered is the effect users of the technology have on cyber security.

“Sometimes a clearly defined error is the only way to discover the truth,” Benjamin D. Wiker.

More government agencies and users are finding this lesson out the hard way. Despite their aggressive security features, there is one common denominator in security breaches that can’t be managed by great software: users. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Office Efficiency, School Software, Small Cities, Technology, Uncategorized, Utility Billing | Leave a comment

Tips to Get You and Your Vehicle Road Ready for Summer Travelling

Road Trip Check ListSummer is here! And for many of us, this means piling our families into the car and setting out to explore new destinations or a favorite location. Maybe you plan to go camping, attend a family reunion beachside, or just want to get out of town for a few days. When planning when and where, consider the shape and condition of your family vehicle before hitting the road.

Before you travel hundreds of miles, get your vehicle maintenance up to date, and follow this quick checklist to put your mind at ease while you drive.

• Get your vehicle serviced
If your car is due for an oil change in a couple hundred miles, get it changed before leaving on your trip. Read more >

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Utilities Are Vulnerable to Cyber Security Breaches, Too!

Data Breach Unsecured Warning Sign ConceptIf you are one of the 56 million people who have suffered a breach to their credit records, credit card number, debit records, tax returns or other types of identity theft, then the idea of a data security breach is not very foreign to you. All sorts of data—not just retailer and tax data—is subject to cyber security hacks and breaches. Vulnerabilities to other lesser-considered systems that store delicate information (social security numbers and payment accounting information) such as utilities are becoming the new victims of data breaches.

In fact, these information breaches are happening all over the US: by a dishonest employee at a water sewer department in Southern California, from the stolen laptop of a utility worker at a North Carolina water department and by a contractor working at a Massachusetts water and sewer commission who lost a company hard drive. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Cloud Computing, Office Efficiency, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Leave a comment

Prepping Your Office For a Vacation or Leave of Absence

Prep office for vacation-rev01
How do you truly vacate on a vacation? Well, that’s pretty hard to do if you are sitting on a sandy beach asking yourself, “Did I follow-up with Barb on that vendor agreement?” or, “Did I forget to set an out of office email reply?”

Properly preparing your office for a vacation or leave of absence not only helps you relax while on vacation, it can help you avoid unnecessary stress upon your return. These six tips for preparing your office for your departure will help you say Bon Voyage in the most stress-free way possible.

Six Tips for Prepping Your Office For Vacation or Leave

Break Your Schedule Down. Read more >

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Communicating in the Office

Office-Communication
A recent recap of a friend’s management training experience inspired me to look into what has changed over a generation in how we communicate in the office and remotely to our customers.

The written word has been given a much better ride since electronic advancements came on the scene. Who remembers when words were spoken by a person of authority into a dictating machine and transcribed via typewriter by a clerical assistant? Who remembers carbon paper and correction fluid, or when Spellcheck was provided by a bound dictionary, or when female professionals were advised not to do their own typing?

Transitional electronics entered the scene around fifty years ago, when a computer occupied a room of its own. Read more >

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Is It Time to Upgrade Your Technology?

Technology-Art
When determining technology needs and upgrades, many important questions should be considered: Is this the right time to consider a change? How will this affect the agency’s daily workload? When should we do it? Is this right for our organization?

Changing software or technology can be a big deal. Despite what some vendors might say, it’s a significant change that requires a well-thought out plan and good decision-making that will lead to a beneficial long-term solution.

Five Key Questions to Ask Before Upgrading Your Agency’s Technology

  • How Much Will It Cost and Do We Have the Funds to Support an Upgrade?
  • Read more >
    Posted in Accounting Basics, Best Practices, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, School Software, Small Cities, Technology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    Five Efficiency Hacks for Over-Worked Clerks

    Some days you want to pull your hair out. Some days you may have put on an entire wardrobe of “hats” to wear in your job. And some days you may gaze at that tropical island themed wallpaper on your desktop and fall into a relaxing daydream of a place far from your office–and that’s ok! It happens to us all.

    It’s at these moments when our eyes are tired, we have a headache, and we can’t remember what exactly we were doing two minutes before that we say to ourselves, “How can I make this better?”

    That’s the first step towards efficiency salvation at work. Read more >

    Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, Technology, Utility Billing | Tagged | Leave a comment

    Spring Clean Your Software and Systems

    T2014-10-03O-Nahere’s nothing like a good spring cleaning to help sharpen your tools and remove the dust and clutter, but one thing we often don’t think about spring cleaning is our computer system and software.

    Early spring is the perfect time (before finalizing budgets) to seriously evaluate your software needs and tools and determine what is or isn’t working for your agency. So put down your feather duster, and instead think outside your cubicle of how you can spring clean your processes.

    Spring cleaning your software means: 

    • Assessing your software and storage needs now and for the future
    • Setting aside budget for growing software needs
    • Sharpening your software tools and evaluating if there are any new add-ons or features you would like to integrate
    • Upgrading your version of software
    • Upgrading your storage needs
    • Identifying tools that will help you do your job better
    • Investigating other options for software that better suits your agency

    First, every agency should evaluate and assess what their future needs are and if the current software is meeting those needs. Read more >

    Posted in Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, Small Cities, Utility Billing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment
    

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