Category Archives: BMS Tech Tips

How to Effectively Work from Home

While opportunities for telecommuting and remote work have become more prominent within the tech sector over the last few years, working from home is now a reality for many. This digital reinvention of the workplace can be a jarring transition from regular office life, but it doesn’t have to be.  

Unlike in Japan, most American tech workers are uniquely positioned, both logistically and culturally, to easily work from home due to increases in the availability of cloud technology and access to home Wi-Fi and personal computers. Efficiency, however, can be an issue. Luckily, there are plenty of tools available to keep efficiency high or even increase it. Read more >

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Current Tax Season Scams

Tax season is now in full swing so it’s important to make sure you get a refund and not ripped off. Scammers are incredibly sneaky when it comes to exploiting people’s fears and tax-induced anxiety makes the IRS a perfect cover for shenanigans. Accordingly, we thought it beneficial to address a few common techniques (recently compiled by Infosec and reported on in the Washington Post) criminals currently employ to help ensure you know what to look out for this tax season.

Phishing

This approach is all bait—where scammers send seemingly legitimate emails that lure victims into downloading malicious software via link in order to gain access to their devices, and subsequently, their information. 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 >

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 >

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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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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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The Importance of City Permitting and How BMS Can Help

Permitting is an important and necessary process for cities and towns that controls and regulates construction to ensure that all work is done according to municipal code. It can be a long and arduous process for both the applicant and the municipality, but it is necessary to sustain the economic interests, safety, and growth of any community.

Why City Permitting is Important:

  • Permitting regulates and controls construction to ensure work meets codes and city ordinances
  • Permitting helps ensure work has been done safely and inspected (if required)
  • Permitting helps enforce safety, convenience, and aesthetic standards for the city
  • Aids in establishing and maintaining property information
  • Helps enforce zoning laws
  • Permitting protects residential and commercial property value
  • Permitting helps track growth and plan for future development of land, utilities, and public services

Though this process is generally a tedious one, Black Mountain Software offers a Permitting module designed to assist and streamline your city’s efforts. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Small Cities, Technology, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Importance of City Permitting and How BMS Can Help

Don’t Bury Your Head In The Sand Over Cemetery Management

It’s one of those things you never think about until it’s too late: cemetery management.

Often, clients don’t see the need for it until it’s a problem: a plot sold that is not available, a record that needs to be found, or an error that’s been discovered. These mishaps can be tragic for those who assume their family’s generations-worth of  plot records will be properly managed and recorded.

Poor plot management plagues the cemetery industry. Cash-strapped agencies with mismanaged funds have led to a litany of instances regarding incorrect or incomplete recordkeeping, making sacred ground more akin to a battleground. And, if that weren’t enough, these issues are not usually addressed until long after a problem is discovered. Read more >

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Onsite Data Storage Can Mean Big Risks

Natural Disasters. Hackers. Malfunctions. Disgruntled Employees.

These are just a few of the things that could lead to a data disaster and put your agency at risk of being unable to recover sensitive and necessary information.

Our data can feel safe, locked away and backed up on a server. But there are still plenty of risks that can be avoided by moving data to the Cloud. That’s because with the Cloud, there is no one single place the data is stored, making it less vulnerable to the following risks.

Risk Factors to Data

Natural Disasters

In the event of a natural disaster, any data stored on a stand-alone computer or server is vulnerable to loss. Read more >

Posted in Accounting Basics, Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Cloud Computing, Office Efficiency, School Software, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Comments Off on Onsite Data Storage Can Mean Big Risks

Technology Trends in 2017 That Will Change the Way We Live

Despite our love for creature comforts, like the warm voice on the other end of the customer service line, or an office view that is more reminiscent of a mountain resort than a tech outfit, at heart we remain a software company, and therefore prone to technological innovation. So, as we watch the world change and technology with it, we are enthralled to think where it might take us—and our business—in the future.

Remember when technology trends seemed to have decades between them? The rapid evolution of technology is so quick these days that it seems to be changing yearly—sometimes even sooner. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Cloud Computing, Office Efficiency, School Software, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Comments Off on Technology Trends in 2017 That Will Change the Way We Live

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