Buying a printer can be overwhelming. There are so many options available from different brands, and buying guides galore. Yet we still often see people with printers that aren’t the best ones for their needs. That said, we’re offering five tips to help you find the right one for you.
#1 Identify Your Needs
What are you going to use that printer for? Is it for family use? Home office use? Just as a backup for occasional documents you need to print and sign? For printing photos? For printing graphic designs? Your needs for quality, efficiency, speed, and color or black-and-white prints will influence your choice.
Different printers offer distinct perks. You may want one that prints quickly or one that is compact. Or perhaps you want one that holds a lot of paper. If your priority is photos, you may need a printer that can handle many types and sizes of paper.
If you are running your office from home, you may want to invest in a multi-function printer. These not only print but also scan and copy.
A laptop can hold your life. If you’re working from home, it’s essential to your income. For students, it’s where you keep all your notes and essays. Plus, there are the personal photos and videos. And you sometimes use it to stream your TV shows, or to video chat with friends and family. You may even make music, create art, or be writing the next bestselling novel on your laptop. So, you want to keep it in great shape. Here are five tips to protect your laptop.
#1 Don’t drop it
Or throw it, or stand on it, or expect it to withstand any serious impact. OK, that’s pretty obvious. You also don’t want to use your laptop in the bathtub or at the pool. Even a simple water spill on a laptop can damage the circuitry. If you do get your laptop wet, immediately turn it off and unplug everything attached to it.
#2 Open carefully
Laptops are getting thinner in every iteration. Some now even have foldable screens. The thinner and more flexible screen may look sleek and cool, but it’s also less rigid, which makes it more prone to damage. Especially on lower-cost laptops, the screen can flex if you open the computer up from just one side.
Yet, many of us hold a laptop in one hand and open the lid with the other. This can cause the screen to twist. Use both hands to open the laptop. Or get into the habit of opening your laptop from the center to avoid flex.
You invest a lot of time researching the best technology for your business. Your Apple computers work well for your needs, plus, the sleek desktops look great in client-visible locations. Yet occasionally, something comes up that you can’t do on an iMac. It doesn’t work on the Mac operating systems (OSs); only on Windows. That’s where a virtual machine can come in handy.
Manual drafting is so old school. Engineers, architects, and construction managers have all moved to computer-aided design (CAD). CAD can provide 2D and 3D visuals of designs and streamline plan development and modification. Yet not every CAD computer is the same. Here’s why we should build your next CAD computer.
Your laptop computer may feel like a lifeline. It has everything important on it, both personal and professional! Regrettably, the time does come when you need to replace it. Yet, some computer problems could be solved instead by replacing the laptop battery.
Some computers now come with a variation on the car dashboard indicator light. You may see a red X on the icon that shows you the power level for your battery. Those with computer models with Windows 7 and up get a message saying, “consider replacing your battery.” But not all of us have this useful warning, in which case you’ll want to be on the lookout for these sure signs that battery replacement is needed.
#1 You Have to Charge the Computer Often
When you buy a battery-powered device the marketing boasts of the many hours it can hold its charge. Expect a fully charged laptop battery to last six hours (depending on the programs used). But as the laptop battery ages, it doesn’t hold its charge for as long.
You might plug it in overnight and wake up to find it still has charging to do. Your solution may be to keep your laptop plugged in at all times, but this cuts into the very mobility a laptop promises, plus, it can be a fire risk.
#2 Your Lap Is Heating Up
You’re working away on your tasks and the computer becomes an unexpected warming blanket in your lap. That didn’t used to happen! Now, your battery is having to work harder to power applications. This causes your computer to overheat, which can strain your computer. Plus, it can be a fire risk (yep, that again).
Most of us can differentiate between hardware and software. But how many know what firmware refers to? More importantly, is your business securing its firmware against security vulnerabilities?
Your business knows it needs to keep its operating systems (OSs) up to date. Installing patches as they are released helps protect your OS and software applications from attack.
Yet firmware can be easily overlooked when setting up cyber protection. You’re opening up Explorer every day, and your business relies on its Excel spreadsheets, but you don’t think about the basic software that runs the hardware as intended – that’s the firmware.
Without firmware, your computer wouldn’t know how to detect its hard drive, and the gears on the business printer wouldn’t spin to pull the paper through the device. There's firmware in network and sound cards, routers, range extenders, keyboards, and more. Firmware also makes your webcam or surveillance camera work correctly.
The Need to Update Firmware
Cybercriminals aren’t known for their lazy reliance on just one tactic. Instead, they are constantly finding new ways to exploit business devices and systems, and this includes attacking firmware. Without securing your firmware, you run the risk of bad actors:
A firewall sounds like a pretty intense thing – unless you’re an action-movie stuntman. Yet when it comes to internet security, you may not have as much firewall protection as you need.
Many internet security products bundle antivirus and firewall software, and many users think this is enough. But first, let’s be clear about what a software firewall actually does:
- It regulates data through port numbers and applications.
- It allows you to block incoming traffic from certain locations.
- It distinguishes between computer programs allowing data to one program while blocking another.
- It blocks traffic attempting to leave a device to access other devices on your network.
There are drawbacks, though. Software firewalls work only on the computers on which they are installed, and you’ll need to buy multiple licenses to protect several computers.
You also need expertise to administer the firewall to keep up with changing threats. And there are security threats. Bad actors target software firewalls. They're right there on the computer they seek to exploit.
Beefing Up Your Firewalls
Many businesses also use hardware firewalls to add security. A hardware firewall around your office network acts as a perimeter boundary. The hardware firewall is like the border guard keeping an eye out for dangerous traffic. The firewall inspects incoming internet traffic to protect you from malware and cyberthreats.
If you want to scare someone who works in IT, start talking to them about ransomware. There are few things as scary for IT professionals as the prospect of their systems locking up with hackers demanding money to return things back to normal.
When discussing it, you may notice them breaking into a sweat and starting fidgeting as they contemplate one of the most terrifying cybersecurity threats computers face.
How does ransomware spread?
There are several ways that ransomware can get into computers.
Email is one of the most common ways in. Hackers will send bad files that can trigger a ransomware infection when opened and quickly spread across your network.
Another favorite way to spread ransomware is to send bad URL links that download ransomware when they’re clicked. This ‘drive-by downloading’ can happen without anybody noticing that anything has happened until it’s too late.
This is the digital age, and no matter your industry, it’s safe to say there has been digital transformation. Yet there’s still a need for printers and paper copies, and it might be time for you to partner with a managed print services (MPS) provider.
An MPS provider is a third-party that handles document printing with more efficiency. They manage printing services to find savings, maximize productivity, and ensure security. You get expert help with your business printer technology and usage. Let’s consider the benefits of partnering with an MPS provider.
#1 Matches your printer equipment to your business needs
You might have a highly capable printer, with the operating costs to match, that your business doesn’t need. An accounting firm needs a different printer from a graphic design outfit. The numbers folks might get away with a desktop office printer, whereas those working with fuchsia, salmon, and coral pinks need a high-quality color printer. The MPS provider can identify the best copier for every budget and different needs.
#2 Identifies cost-saving opportunities
You know your business, and you know it well. An MPS has insight into the value of different printer features for your environment. They make recommendations to increase productivity and reduce costs related to printers.
As an example, you might have two printers on each floor of your business. One is in constant use, while the other is seldom touched and in great condition. Instead of overworking a costly printer, the MPS knows when to rotate your equipment. This can avoid downtime and extend the equipment lifecycle.
You love your technology and probably have a lot of it at home. You might not think of computers, smartphones, printers, or routers as a fire risk, but they can do real damage.
Microwaves, laundry machines, and air conditioners are the top sources of residential fires, but computer equipment is also responsible for fires that injure and kill homeowners.
So, what should you do? Keep in mind that your technology generates heat when it’s switched on; that’s why it’s designed with venting. But desktops, laptops, routers, modems, and printers can all overheat.
Desktop computers have fans to push out the air, but they can get clogged with dust or blocked. Often, we’ll see computers pushed up again a wall, covered with papers, or kept in a small alcove that gets no airflow.
Laptops can also overheat. People often sit with their laptops literally on their lap, or on a blanket or pillow. If you’re blocking the device’s exhaust port, the laptop can’t cool down.
The global economy is in a slump. But believe it or not, now could be a good time to invest in technology priorities.
You may already have streamlined processes. You had certain technology tools and systems in place to get things done. It all was working fine. Yet 2020 brought many challenges to the way business functions. The technology you relied on in the past may not be the best answer to your current business needs.
You might have been putting off cloud migration, as most work was onsite, or you resisted remote working out of concern that employee productivity would suffer. Perhaps your business didn’t want to secure a “Bring Your Own Device” workplace.
Now, you need to rethink how your employees report for work. You could be facing any of 2020’s familiar challenges such as:
- a server that could support your teams overburdened by remote workers;
- a reliance on email document exchange causing difficulties with version control and accountability;
- not having enough software licenses to accommodate employees working from home;
- employees lacking the technology to get work done offsite.
Businesses need to act now to address their new technology needs. Keep in mind that many vendors are offering discounted services, plus, you may find it easier to access business loans for tech investments.
How long have you had your home printer? Maybe you have a printer that came as a package deal with your desktop or free with your laptop purchase. Look in many home offices and you’ll probably see a less-expensive inkjet printer sitting beside even the swankiest monitor. Here’s why it’s time for an upgrade.
You should know that printers are often sold at cost or even as a loss leader (below cost to get your business). After all, once you get that cheap/free inkjet printer, you’ll pay for ink cartridges for the life of the printer. To make sure they get your money, manufacturers often sell new printers with half-empty ink cartridges from the start!
You’ve heard “you get what you paid for,” right? Well, that’s definitely true for low-cost printers. Manufacturers are cutting production costs to keep the price down. These printers are not built with longevity in mind. Printer owners encounter all kinds of problems:
- multiple sheets pulled from the paper tray at once;
- paper jams;
- slow printer response;
- drop off in print quality;
- ink smearing.
Frustrated customers soon discover they’ll pay more to fix their printer than they would to buy a new one.
Upgrading to an Office-grade Printer
Our solution? High-performance commercial printers. Office-grade printers are designed as workhorses. These robust printers are built to withstand heavy use with speed and reliability. Yes, they cost more, but they are also less prone to problems and more likely to be a long-term, valuable addition to your home office.