3 Ways Cities are Innovating with Technology

Cities across the United States have started to work smarter—not harder—when it comes to improving their technological infrastructure. From free public wi-fi in big cities, to high speed internet in rural areas, and a general push toward financial data transparency, many cities are finding ways to use technology to innovate within their communities.

Free Public Wi-Fi

Coastal hubs like New York City and San Francisco paved the way for free public wi-fi. However, some landlocked cities have caught up and become hubs in their own right. Kansas City, for example, began by installing wi-fi hotspots across 54 square blocks of downtown in 2015. Read more >

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Why We Use Amazon Web Services for the BMS Cloud

The BMS Cloud allows our clients to simplify data management, automate updates and nightly backups, strengthen security, and improve their overall software experience. We offer a smooth transition to the BMS Cloud using in-house migration and installation services, as well by partnering with Amazon Web Services (AWS), one of the most secure, reliable and responsive providers in the industry.

Three Benefits of AWS for the BMS Cloud

Security

Security is of the highest priority for Amazon Web Services. As a customer, BMS benefits from the same security infrastructure built for larger industries, which includes multiple secure data centers, encrypted data transit, network firewalls, multi-factor authentication, and frequent vulnerability testing to ensure data is stored and transmitted safely. Read more >

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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 >

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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 >

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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 >

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The Many Hats City Clerks Wear

To be a city clerk is to know: “Multitasking is not an option, it is a requirement.”

The days of a city clerk are filled wearing many hats and accomplishing many things—from interfacing with constituents,
to taking down meeting minutes, to crunching budget numbers. So, in honor of all the roles a city clerk takes on, we thought
we’d list some of the many titles that should come after the
“City Clerk” title.

City Clerk, Also Known As…

Community-Agency Liaison:

A city clerk is the connector between the public and the government agency, making sure constituent voices are heard and governmental decisions are made public. Read more >

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Picking Good Passwords You’ll Actually Remember

Last weekend, I had a lot of online shopping to do!

I started clicking away, filling up my shopping cart, hit checkout and…declined?

“What?” I thought to myself. I just got paid! So, in complete meltdown mode I logged into my bank account and at the top of the transaction list I spotted several pending charges, including one for $1,400 to walmart.com. My card number had been stolen and my bank account was compromised.

I always thought I did everything possible to prevent being subject of an account hack or identity theft situation. I had a six-letter password, shredded all my bills and never gave up personal information on the phone. Read more >

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Stand Up for Your Heart

Things we know for certain: One, February is National Heart Month; and two, most of our clients do a lot of sitting at their desks; so it makes sense to take a break from our list of blog stories about technology, accounting, and government management and instead focus on the two things that will affect all our clients at some point—their hearts and health.

The baby boomer generation is the first generation of workers who will likely spend most of their day sitting. As we moved from an industrial era to a technological one, many laborious jobs were replaced by desk jobs, putting many workers in front of a typewriter, or computer for most of their working career. Read more >

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Signs of a High-Efficiency Worker

If doing the right things is considered to be effectiveness, then doing things right is essentially being efficient. To be efficient at your job is different than being effective at your job. They do go hand in hand—efficiency can lead to effectiveness—but effectiveness alone cannot create efficiency.

Retaining a sustainable job means being able to perform both efficiently and effectively; an employee who is just one or neither is more expendable than an employee who is both. Because
high-efficiency workers are able to effectively complete tasks in the most efficient way possible, upping your efficiency factor to increase your overall effectiveness is a great place to put focus and become an invaluable team member. Read more >

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How the Cloud is Changing Telecommuting for the Better

Technology has changed everything, and the ability to telecommute is one of those.
In fact, telecommuting trend data collected by GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com shows:

  • 50% of the US workforce has a job that is at least partially compatible with telework or telecommuting
  • 20-25% of the workforce telecommutes at some frequency (2.8% work at least part-time from home)
  • 80-90% of the workforce would like to telecommute at least part-time
  • Fortune 1000 company employees are not at their desk 50-60% of the time
  • The amount of regular, non-self-employed work-at-home employees has increased 140% since 2005

The growing trend for telecommuters and telework is not likely to decline anytime soon. Read more >

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