Author Archives: Black Mountain Software

Be Your Own Hero: How to navigate the journey through cyber security

Imagine you’re at your desk receipting utility payments, answering phones and helping customers. It’s Friday and you’re cruising toward the weekend. With your day already half over, you leave for lunch with a smile. But when you return something is amiss.

You log back into your workstation and the screen flickers with static. A sinister winky-face emoji slowly emerges. Beneath it a “Donate Now” button flashes insistently.

You click around. Try to restart. But your entire system is locked. All you can do is click the Donate button. When you do, horns erupt from the emoji’s forehead and an evil laugh bursts from your speakers. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Cloud Computing, Latest News, Small Cities, Technology | Comments Off on Be Your Own Hero: How to navigate the journey through cyber security

No power? No Problem!

BMS was literally left in the dark with two consecutive, midweek power outages. The most recent lasted only a few minutes and served as a minor but exciting inconvenience, whereas the previous outage lasted quite a few hours after a frog tripped a breaker and shut down the entire county in a single leap. Absurd? Absolutely. Catastrophic? Not at all, but it easily could’ve been.

Fortunately, our office and network infrastructure are equipped for dealing with emergencies. Yet the event served as a teaching moment, a testament to precisely why planning for the worst is the best way to confront the unexpected when it rears its ugly head. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Tech Tips, Cloud Computing, Office Efficiency, Technology | Comments Off on No power? No Problem!

Financial Data Transparency: Build Better Taxpayer Trust and Confidence

A recent Gallup poll shows Congressional approval at an unprecedented historical low of seventeen percent. There’s an endless amount of reasons one could posit as to why that is the case—political dysfunction, legislative gridlock, corruption, a lack of transparency, and virtually everything in between—but regardless, the level of distrust in governmental institutions is growing and even trickling down to the state and local level, which is frustrating for both elected representatives and their constituents.

Before we all sharpen our pitchforks, fire up the torches and start a revolution, though, there is a silver lining worthy of note: a growing trend of public institutions willing to share their financial data with the citizens they serve and a panoply of technological options to do so. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, Small Cities | Comments Off on Financial Data Transparency: Build Better Taxpayer Trust and Confidence

The Importance of Continued Education

As fall approaches and children, teens and college students head back to school, consider what continued education could do for you. Even if you think an un-pursued interest of yours—interior design, writing, graphics—has nothing to do with your current work, dedicating time to learning a new skill fosters so much more than what appears on the surface. The very pursuit of knowledge can lead to improved health and overall happiness.

At Black Mountain Software, we believe in the continued effort to sharpen the brain through sustained learning. That’s why we offer a series of courses and publish educational information throughout the year to help our clients gain new skills and create understanding of topics related to technology, accounting, and human resources (check out our Event Calendar). Read more >

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Prepping for Back to School in a Three Week Timeline

Back to School. Those three little words have the power to overwhelm almost immediately. The saying, “You eat an elephant one bite at a time” comes to mind when thinking about Back to School prep. As you and your family prepare to go from summer daze to school days, remember to do so by planning your to-do’s over the course of weeks, and not days, so you can digest that elephant one bite at a time.

A Back to School Preparation Timeline

3 weeks before school starts:

  • Begin with taking an inventory of your child’s clothing. Discard items that are too small by reselling or donating the items to charity (don’t forget to grab a receipt for end of year tax purposes!).
  • Read more >
    Posted in Back to School Tips, Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Prepping for Back to School in a Three Week Timeline

    Benefits of Going Paperless with a Tablet

    a storage room with Computer Network hub

    Tablets are quickly becoming every city administrator and office superstar’s favorite way to keep it all together in the office, abroad, and at conferences. You can keep all of your files in one place and the best part—it’s all portable! Since there’s been a lot of chatter about the benefits of going paperless with a tablet in our LinkedIn Group, City Clerk Café, we thought we would share these reasons to go paperless with you.

    Five Benefits of Going Paperless

    1. Cuts back on paper waste
    Not only does cutting back on paper waste benefit you because all of your files can be found in one place instead of scattered throughout various file folders, but it cuts back on the amount of paper you’re using in general. Read more >

    Posted in Best Practices, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, School Software, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Comments Off on Benefits of Going Paperless with a Tablet

    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 | Comments Off on Different Ways Local Governments Are Utilizing The Cloud

    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 >
    Posted in Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Office Efficiency, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Summer Lunch Ideas You Can Take to Work

    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!” https://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, Utility Billing | Comments Off on The Problem With Cyber Security Hacks Is…Humans

    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 >

    Posted in Best Practices, City Clerk Cafe, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tips to Get You and Your Vehicle Road Ready for Summer Travelling

    Stay Connected with Black Mountain Software

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