Category Archives: BMS Tech Tips

Is Social Media a Part of Your Agency’s Communication Strategy?

tree-1148032_1920#GetInvolved. #CommunityAffairs. #ILoveMyCity.

Are these hashtags a part of your strategy?

Big and small, many cities and communities are upping their communication strategy with social media. It’s in real time, it’s engaging, and for the most part, it’s free! In fact, communities can reach thousands of their constituents in just moments.

While some cities have been quick to adopt this new method of communication, some have been more hesitant. That’s because adopting social media means you no longer control the communication, but let the constituents drive it with their thoughts, comments and concerns.

But creating a social strategy doesn’t have to be completely scary. Read more >

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What To Do If You’re Getting the Paperless Pushback

Paperless Pushback-rev02The idea of going paperless is pretty revolutionary. It cuts down on waste, saves trees, is easier to organize, is easier to find, and creates a searchable document. It has been a topic of much discussion on our LinkedIn Group, The City Clerk Café, which is flooded with tips for successful implementation. So, why then, is there still pushback on going the paperless route?

Change takes time, and generations of individuals who have been working with paper for 10, 20, 30, even 40 years have a hard time exchanging a physical piece of paper for a virtual document. In addition, the prep work of scanning, storing, and organizing paperless information can be overwhelming to some. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, School Software, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Comments Off on What To Do If You’re Getting the Paperless Pushback

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 >

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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!” 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 >

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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 | Comments Off on Utilities Are Vulnerable to Cyber Security Breaches, Too!

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, Cloud Computing, Office Efficiency, School Software, Small Cities, Technology, Utility Billing | Comments Off on Is It Time to Upgrade Your Technology?

    How Schools Are Stretching Their Technology Dollars

    Budget Button

    Schools are used to doing more with less, and they never cease to amaze us. When you walk into a classroom filled with laptops, tablets and smart boards, it may seem impossible that schools are saving any money on technology at all. But, that’s where you’re wrong.

    Innovative schools, especially charter schools that are able to tap into unconventional sources for funding, are finding ways to upgrade their technology while cutting their technology budgets.

    The ability to use more technology in the classroom without dramatically increasing their technology budget is a win-win: teachers are able to tap into new sources for instruction and students are learning more with technology-driven lesson plans and instruction. Read more >

    Posted in Accounting Basics, Best Practices, BMS Tech Tips, School Software, Technology | Comments Off on How Schools Are Stretching Their Technology Dollars

    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, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, Small Cities, Uncategorized, Utility Billing | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Spring Clean Your Software and Systems

    IP Addresses

    Do you know yours and what it does?

    I2014-10-03O-Nat was an almost laughable moment when we—a software company—were trying to explain to an outside technology-marketing consultant why she couldn’t inquiry her IP address to install a simple security feature. It made us realize: if the people we work with don’t fully understand IP addresses, there are
    probably a lot of our clients who work on computers all day and still don’t quite understand them either!

    What is an IP address?

    The IP or Internet Protocol address is a unique numeric label assigned to your computer or smart machine, which allows it to communicate with other
    devices on the Internet; sort of a telephone number for your computer. Read more >

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