Category Archives: BMS Tech Tips

How to Make a Big Software Switch Less Intimidating

Oh no you’ve really done it this time!

You’ve met with the vendor. You’ve made the decision. You’ve cut the purchase order. And now? Now you have to go through with it!

A major software change is incredibly intimidating for many agencies seeking an update to their systems. It means dealing with a lot of information, learning new processes, integrating the system, taking the network off-line, and training employees. As a software provider for local governments, schools and utilities, we are no strangers to the intimidation factor. That’s why we’ve pledged a great deal of our efforts towards making the process as pain-free as possible. Read more >

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Five Ideas for Creating Transparency Within Your Local Agency

Paul Gillin of the book The New Influencers is noted as saying “Transparency may be the most disruptive and far-reaching innovation to come out of social media.”

Isn’t that the truth? Good or bad, social media has changed the way the government and media releases information. Social media allows people of all ages, genders, classes and interests to share, spread and consider new information in a single keystroke. It is a very powerful—and sometimes—intimidating tool.

But as the saying goes: “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Accordingly, more government agencies are accepting and embracing this new age of transparency online, which has allowed their constituents greater access to, and the ability to participate in the sharing of public information. Read more >

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Evolving Cyberthreats Lead to Evolved Cybersecurity

With more people working from home, cybersecurity is more important than ever. Threat actors are becoming increasingly bold in their attacks and ransomware continues to be the preferred method of infiltration. Cybersecurity experts, however, are also adapting with the times by focusing on a previously overlooked aspect of ransomware attacks: dwell time.

According to cybersecurity news outlet Dark Reading, “dwell time” refers to “the length of time an interloper remains undetected inside the network.” They note that traditionally, ransomware attacks operate under “smash-and-grab” tactics. Where, once downloaded, malicious files attempt to encrypt as many files and workstations as possible. Now, though, these files are lingering, allowing operators to lurk in the shadows of a targeted network, studying how it operates and identifying valuable resources to exploit or hijack for bigger payoffs. Read more >

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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 >

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

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

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