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Replacing Security Guards With Cameras

In Security on August 28, 2020 at 11:17 pm

ICU SecurityStatics reveal there are more than a million security guards working in the United States. For business owners and residential property managers, having a security guard on-site is reassuring as it can help ensure the safety of property, employees, customers, and residents. Not many realize, however, that there are risks involved in relying on security guards alone. 

Lack of training. Many states mandate that security guards receive approximately eight hours of pre-assignment training, 8-16 hours of on-the-job training, and eight hours of annual training. Unfortunately, there are a lot of companies that hire undertrained security guards, hoping they will learn the skills they need as they go along. They do not always follow the proper protocols, which endangers lives and property.

Physical limitations.  A security guard cannot be in different places at the same time. Even if the guard focuses on identified hotspots, there are still details that can be overlooked. Hiring a team of guards entails costs that some businesses can not afford.

Bias. Over time, security guards form relationships with the people they are hired to protect, such as tenants and employees. This might affect their objectivity on the job.

Human error. When emotions are running high, lapses in judgment are more likely. A guard might act inappropriately or escalate a situation unnecessarily when under pressure.

Time and time again we’ve heard of security personnel involved in bribery cases. Security guards are sometimes exposed to situations where their integrity can be compromised.

Occupational hazards. Because of the nature of their job, guards are more likely to be fatally injured than the average worker. 

Left unchecked, these risks can lead to costly consequences.

Live remote video monitoring

As technology continues to evolve to become more efficient and affordable, more companies are augmenting or replacing traditional security guards with live remote video monitoring. The system lets managers of apartment complexes, industrial hubs, and office buildings view on-site cameras from virtually anywhere, which can aid in identifying and preventing crime before it happens.

Remote video monitoring is just as effective as security guards, if not better. Traditional guards have a limited view of the premises, especially in larger sites. Video monitoring technology allows operators to cover multiple areas simultaneously and see what’s going on from angles that might be difficult for guards to access.

Businesses benefit from additional savings, as remote video monitoring systems only cost a fraction of what it would entail hiring a traditional guard. Incident response time is also faster. Operators can see any suspicious activity as it happens, which lets them make judgment calls in real-time.

Surveillance systems can be calibrated to meet different security requirements; businesses can set what views they want to access and determine what the response levels are for different situations. Surveillance systems can also be equipped with audio deterrents to warn trespassers they have been detected. 

Remote video systems monitor 24/7. Having archived footage is very useful especially if video evidence is required to move an investigation forward. Unlike guards, video systems do not stop. Moreover, remote video monitoring systems take the guesswork out of surveillance as these provide a factual portrayal of what actually happened. Guards might forget some details while recalling the incident.

Security camera installation expert ICU Security works with video surveillance solutions provider Stealth Monitoring to provide Nashville-based businesses with cutting-edge remote video monitoring systems. ICU Security can assign a team member to operate the systems as needed and provide a bull horn to deter property intruders from going any further.

Established in 1999, ICU Security are Nashville-based security camera installation specialists serving communities in  Brentwood, Murfreesboro, and Franklin, TN. Get in touch by calling (615) 208-2891.

 

 

 

 

The Big Pivot: Technologies to Support a Fully Remote Workforce

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2020 at 10:21 am

ImageQuestIn this day and age, people expect to be able to work from anywhere. This requires an easy and secure way to access their files and accomplish their jobs. Moreover, remote working will be the norm for at least as long as COVID-19 remains a threat, or even longer. A Gartner survey of Chief Financial Officers revealed that 74 percent expect to shift some of their employees to permanent remote work.

VPN may soon be a technology of the past

Often defined as private gateways to the Internet, organizations have long relied on Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to access their in-house network from remote locations. VPNs encrypt and decrypt data traveling between two endpoints, such as an employee’s laptop at home to a server in the office.

The increased amount of people working remotely has brought to light the limitations of this 30-year old technology. Files don’t load as fast as needed when there are a lot of users connecting to it, creating frustration and workflow breakdowns. VPNs can also be out of date and pose potential data security risks. 

The time has come for organizations to explore new solutions.

Ensuring remote work productivity with DaaS and Microsoft Cloud

Cloud-based solutions offer more secure ways to access networks remotely: Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) and Microsoft Cloud. Access to servers is provisioned per worker and is not controlled by a VPN bottleneck.

With DaaS, all business applications, data, processing, and storage are hosted in the Cloud. There are no on-premise servers; these reside in a secure data center. Nashville-based Cloud computing service provider ImageQuest recommends DaaS for companies with massive data processing requirements such as insurance companies or healthcare institutions. A remote worker logs on to a data center through a laptop with DaaS access software. All functions take place at the data center and not on the device. Because files and software are in the same location as the data center, data processing is just as fast as when a corporate desktop is used.

Ideal for companies accessing software via the internet, Microsoft Cloud stores all documents and data on the Cloud. Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations, for example, are stored securely in Microsoft data centers spread across the United States and are constantly updated. Workers can download files to their devices and collaborate in real-time using Microsoft’s Cloud tools.

Communication and collaboration tools essential for remote work

The prevalence of remote work has led to the popularity of video technology, which is now the go-to for meetings and webinars; and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which provides remote workers with an office number that routes calls to their mobile phones, delivers voicemails over email, and keeps them connected wherever they are. Additionally, collaboration tools like Teams, Trello, and Slack enable teams to communicate internally and stay on top of ongoing projects.

Cloud-based solutions optimize business operations

Cloud data centers provide automatic patching and software updates – teams can be sure that they are using the most updated version. 

Storing data on the Cloud is an effective business continuity strategy. Measures such as Multi-Factor Authentication, system-wide updates, regular security patching, and stringent access controls reduce the threat of hacking, malware, and cyber attacks that could wipe out company and client data. In the event of a disaster, businesses can easily access and restore all data from any device with little or no downtime.

A Cloud data center can help meet regulatory data compliance requirements. Located in Nashville, Cloud computing service expert ImageQuest uses data centers with a SOC 2 Type 2 attestation, which means their data practices and policies are audited annually to ensure they follow best practices in data security and data privacy compliance.

Moreover, Cloud usage can be reduced or expanded depending on current operational requirements. This gives businesses the agility to adapt to changes in the economic landscape as they are not burdened with unnecessary equipment or outdated (and taxable) legacy systems. The Cloud offers on-demand IT capability at a lower cost compared to investing in an in-house IT infrastructure.

Bear in mind that the implementation of these solutions requires thorough assessment and planning. Remote workers must have access to broadband internet, which is currently defined by the Federal Communications Commission as 25 Mbps download annd 3 Mbps upload. Internet speeds slower than that will hamper productivity and defeat the purpose of the intended technological upgrades.

Businesses also need to consider the worker’s home internet security. What devices are used for work? Are these devices shared among family members? What security apps are installed on these devices? Teams might have to be provided with company-issued devices to ensure data security.

Being on the Cloud will be just as essential as having a business website. This will ultimately help grow your bottom line and keep you a step ahead of the competition.

If you are looking for a Managed IT company that’s in the best position to provide counsel on Cloud computing services in Nashville, Louisville, or Bowling Green, visit ImageQuest online or call 888.979.2679 for more information.

ImageQuest Clients Seamlessly Transition to Remote Work Amidst COVID-19 With DaaS

In Cybersecurity on April 17, 2020 at 12:26 pm

ImageQuest

Nashville-based cybersecurity service provider ImageQuest shares that remote work technology systems such as Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) have helped nearly 3,200 workers transition to a remote working environment amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The new virtual desktop environment is working great,” says Tom Richardson, Director of Information Technology for Houchens Insurance Group. 

“Our employees have been able to transition to working from home seamlessly during the social distancing situation. We have received a lot of positive feedback and have quite a few working from home today.

“This situation would have been a nightmare if we hadn’t have migrated to the virtual desktops. Thank you and your team for getting us here!”

Another client writes, “Thankfully we implemented the DaaS last year which is allowing us to have a portion of our teamwork remote to hopefully prevent contagion.”

DaaS is a cloud-based model that allows users to work from anywhere using any laptop or device. Multiple users can access files and software applications, all of which are hosted on a third-party cloud provider. DaaS providers manage virtual desktop infrastructure deployment, maintenance, security, upgrades, data backup, and storage. 

More enterprises are adopting DaaS solutions because of the following benefits:

It is flexible. Workers can access desktops and applications from virtually anywhere, ensuring productivity.

It is scalable. Businesses can scale up or down depending on their requirements, and they can augment their workforce during peak seasons or when deploying satellite offices.

It reduces business disruptions. Enterprises can stay up and running even in the event of a natural disaster since there are no hardware dependencies.

It is cost-efficient. DaaS providers offer monthly or annual subscription models; businesses only pay for what they use.

It is secure. DaaS offers secure user access points and simplifies desktop and app management processes.

For organizations working with proprietary information such as intellectual property, personal and health information, and trade secrets, it might take some time to deploy DaaS since it requires more in-depth preparation and planning than Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). While VPNs allow users to download data to their devices so that the user can work without an Internet connection, there is a higher risk of data theft, and businesses would be dependent on their workforce to keep devices updated and secure.

DaaS ultimately empowers teams to work safely from anywhere, even at home. Data remains in the cloud, away from unauthorized downloads, duplications, and transfers – providing the same level of protection as a corporate environment.

Servicing Nashville, Louisville, and Bowling Green, ImageQuest’s curated suite of technology solutions include managed IT, cybersecurity, IT compliance, and IT consultancy.

Why Is Audi So Special? We Asked And Got The Answer

In Automotive on February 11, 2020 at 10:49 am

GPO TuningDriving down the road a few weeks ago, one of our staffers noticed that the logos on the cars next to him weren’t all just Ford, Nissan, and GMC. He took special notice of the number of Audis that passed as he waited to turn at a red light. This raised a question about why, suddenly, were there so many German imports gracing the streets of his hometown. Living in Nashville, our correspondent reached out the Audi repair shop GPO Tuning to find out.

This is what the Audi service professionals in Nashville had to say.

Q: Why are Audis all of a sudden so prevalent in Nashville? As an Audi repair shop, you must have noticed an influx of imports. 

GPO Tuning: We have been providing service and repairs for Audis here in Nashville since 2003. Over the last 17 years, we have noticed more and more of these cars coming through the shop bays for oil changes, scheduled maintenance, and service. The reason is likely quality and an influx of people from other parts of the country, where Audi vehicles have been historically more popular.

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Nashville Business Broker Debunks Buying And Selling Myths

In Business on February 11, 2020 at 10:37 am

Beacon Exit Advisors

Nashville is ranked as one of the top five cities in which to open up shop. Because of this, people flock to Nashville’s Music City to buy a business, and many current entrepreneurs are eager to sell for a hefty profit. We recently sat down with Nashville business broker Beacon Exit Advisors to find out if buying and selling are as easy as the city’s growth would lead potential buyers and sellers to believe. What we found out was that there is a lot of work involved and that many people have incorrect notions about both sides of an M&A transaction.

Q: Thank you for answering our call today. We have many readers who want to sell or buy a business in Nashville before the Athens of the South explodes. We would like to talk about the buying and selling process.

Beacon Exit: Absolutely. But the fire has already been lit. Back in January, the Nashville Business Journal reported that not only is Nashville the fastest-growing city in the south, it is also the fourth-best location in the US to open a business.

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Nashville Business Broker Says Technology Can Boost Valuation

In Business on February 4, 2020 at 6:03 pm

Beacon Exit AdvisorsUnless you proactively keep up with the latest trends, there is a chance that your business’s technology is a bit behind the times. However, according to one of Nashville’s-based business brokers, Beacon Exit Advisors, a small investment in technology now might make it easier to sell your business when the time comes. In today’s expert Q&A, we discuss a few key ideas that business owners should keep in mind when selling is on the horizon.

Q: Hello, and thank you for sitting in with us today. We recently had a question posed by a reader asking how long it takes to sell a business, and what they could do to ensure a smooth transition. The topic warrants more than a simple answer, so we would like to dive a bit deeper.

Beacon Exit Advisors: Absolutely. That is a very open-ended question. The best first piece of advice if you are looking to sell is to partner with an experienced business broker. It does not matter if you are in Nashville or San Francisco, an entity with multiple experts on hand can guide you through the process and make recommendations on ways to speed it along.

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Game Fencing Explained By Alabama’s Straight Shooter Game Fencing

In Business on January 21, 2020 at 6:30 pm

Straight Shooter Game FencingGame fencing isn’t something that many people think that much about. However, this type of boundary makes up an important part of the American landscape. We recently sat down with the experts at Alabama’s Straight Shooter Game Fencing to find out what, exactly, a game fence is. 

Q: Good morning, we always appreciate when experts are available to answer our questions.

Straight Shooter Game Fencing: It is no problem at all, and we were thrilled to receive your call.

Q: We had a reader send us a rather interesting question a few weeks ago, and we thought you might be the perfect people to contact for the answer.

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Success is Built On A Foundation Of Failures

In Education, Private School Brentwood on January 14, 2020 at 7:32 pm

Currey IngramIf you are a parent, you already know that watching your children suffer the consequences of mistakes is hard. After all, they are our perpetual babies, and we only want them to be happy. However, the experience of trying, failing, or making a bad decision is a crucial part of the growing up process. Not only does failure mold a young person’s personality, but it is also an opportunity for self-reflection and gives them the tools to be more confident at home and at school. We recently reached out to a few boarding schools for advice on letting teens and tweens make mistakes. Currey Ingram Academy, located in Brentwood, TN (a city near Nashville), responded with plenty of practical advice.

How mistakes play a role in adolescent development

Mistakes come in many shapes and forms. As our children grow into young adults, they must learn to be responsible for themselves. The mistakes they make along the way to adulthood are an opportunity to learn about independence. For example, your child fails to read an assignment rubric all the way through and misses a crucial component. Their paper is well written, but they receive an F because they neglected to include the requested information. As a parent, one of our first reactions might be to contact the teacher to request leniency and a passing grade.

What does this do for the student? Unfortunately, it only teaches them that they always have a safety net and are not fully responsible for their own actions. Instead, allow them to take a failing grade and whatever consequences come with it. They might have to miss out on classroom rewards, but they will soon learn from this mistake and come out on the other end a better student.

Teachers who understand the special needs of school-age children with learning disabilities know that watching mistakes unfold is emotionally wrenching. However, young people must have missteps in their history as they serve as the building blocks of basic problem-solving skills. While teenagers still need guidance as they learn about the world around them, allowing them to make age-appropriate blunders builds confidence. They can also lead to resounding successes.

History is full of examples of ways that making a mistake turned out to be the best possible action. Teabags were the result of a misunderstanding between a vendor and a customer. The vendor packaged loose tea samples in a silk pouch; the client did not remove the leaves from their tiny bag before dunking it in hot water. Cornflakes were a manufacturing mistake, Post-it notes were created from a failed glue experiment, and penicillin was born when Alexander Fleming failed to properly sterilize Petri dishes in his laboratory. The point is that if mistakes were never allowed to happen, the world we live in would be much different today.

Teaching healthy responses

Administrators from the boarding school in Brentwood explain that teaching young people how to handle mistakes starts with modeling acceptance behaviors. When they see the adults in their lives accept the consequences of their actions without negativity, they learn to respond in kind. As a parent, you can showcase the practice of mistake acceptance by not overreacting when you make a misstep yourself. Forget to pick up eggs and need to bake a cake? Avoid the temptation to grumble about an extra trip to the store. Instead, load everyone up and talk about how fun your kitchen time will be.

Another way to encourage a healthy response in the face of adversity is to show empathy for errors, whether they were intentional or not. If your student gets angry with a friend and calls them the name and then feels guilty about it, listen to them. In this scenario, they may have let their emotions take over. While there are hurt feelings on both sides, this is simply a lesson in anger management. When situations like this happen at boarding schools, staff typically do not intervene but are instead on standby for moral support. 

Educators from the Nashville area special needs school often teach that making a mistake is like using a GPS. When you are driving a vehicle and miss your turn, your vehicle’s internal guidance system tells you to make a U-turn as soon as it is legal and safe. The same principle can easily be applied to make mistakes. In the above-mentioned plot, the student might need to turn around and go back to where they began, which is with their friend. Chances are, a heartfelt apology will be accepted, and they can move forward with their friendship.

Another idea is to make a point to share your own mistakes. Dr. Jane Hannah, the Brentwood boarding school’s Upper School Division head, suggests opening up a conversation about mistakes at the dinner table each evening. Talk about the challenges of your own day and how your first response may not have been the best one. Make a point to emphasize the lessons you learned along the way.

One of the most important things teens can learn is that it is okay to make mistakes and that a single bad decision is not going to ruin their lives. Teach that mistakes are not failures until the person making it refuses to take the blame.

Currey Ingram Academy is a boarding school for students with learning differences. Located in Brentwood, Tennessee, the 83-acre campus houses students from 33 states and eight countries. Visit www.curreyingram.org for more details.

All You Need To Know About Asphalt and Sealcoating

In Uncategorized on January 3, 2020 at 8:47 am

Hargrove SealcoatingIf you have an asphalt driveway or own a business or apartment community with a parking lot in Franklin, sealcoating is a service you can not afford to forgo. According to Hargrove Sealcoating, this simple and inexpensive maintenance task can save you thousands of dollars in repairs and replacement costs as well as enhancing the look of your exterior.

So what, exactly, is sealcoating? The Franklin-based company explains that this is the process of protecting asphalt pavement. It is done by applying a thick coat of coal tar or a resin-based mixture to the top of an existing asphalt structure. Its purpose is to form a protective coating for the driveway’s top layer. 

How asphalt is installed 

To better understand how sealcoating works, you should first know how an asphalt surface is laid onto the ground. Even though it is flush with the surrounding terrain, the black driveable area you see is supported by multiple layers. First, the natural subgrade is smoothed out. This is followed by adding a layer of thick granular material, usually compacted gravel 4-6 inches thick. Finally, the surface layer is poured on top. This is a mixture of aggregate (usually small gravel and sand) blended with crude oils and other filler materials. These layers are compacted and smoothed out by a rolling machine.

When to apply sealcoat

It is best to wait six months to one year before sealcoating a new surface. Because Franklin and the surrounding area get heavy rain and snow during the fall, it is usually advised to postpone until spring before sealcoating for the first time. This is because the emulsion, which seeps into the surface and strengthens the bond of the aggregate top layer, must have time to dry. Rain and ice wash away the binding agent, leaving the surface vulnerable to the elements. Sealcoating is recommended every two to three years after the initial application.

If you are unsure of the maintenance history of your asphalt surface, there are a few signs that it is time for attention. First, look at its condition. Small cracks, an uneven plane, and dull color (old asphalt turns grey when it needs to be sealcoated) are all good indications of neglect. If you are not comfortable assessing this on your own, and you live in Franklin, Spring Hill, Murfreesboro, Brentwood, or Nashville, Hargrove Sealcoating can help you make the determination and provide a quote.

Keep in mind, however, that sealcoating cannot be applied when temperatures are below 50° and when rain is on the horizon.

Before and after

There are things you can do to ensure the sealcoating process goes smoothly. Start by removing all vehicles, equipment, and toys from the driveway or parking lot. Because the surface must not be driven on for at least 24 hours, make other arrangements for these items, and park in another location. If you typically fertilize the grass, do not do this for at least seven days before your sealcoating crew arrives. Turn off your sprinkler system, even if it does not typically spray toward the asphalt. Do not clean the driveway or parking lot with water. Hargrove Sealcoating’s team will prep the surface. 

After the sealcoat is applied, do not mow or turn the sprinklers on until the next day.

Tips on choosing a sealcoating contractor

  • Avoid door-to-door solicitors. A reputable sealcoating contractor will not show up on your doorstep with a bucket of blacktop and a push-broom asking if you need your driveway resurfaced. (An exception to this is if they are already at your neighbor’s home.)
  • Check their rating and reputation. Look at your preferred company’s website for testimonials and check their rating with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Ask to see their license and insurance. Hargrove Sealcoating is fully licensed and insured for customer protection. Any business claiming that neither of these is necessary is not someone you want to do business with.
  • Request a written estimate and contract. While sealcoating in Franklin is affordable, make sure your contractor provides a written estimate that includes information on their warranty.

When applied correctly and at the right time, sealcoating every few years can double the life of your asphalt surface. The hundreds of dollars spent on this process can save thousands (possibly tens of thousands) in repairs and replacement costs associated with asphalt neglect.

For more information on sealcoating in Franklin, Nashville, Murfreesboro, Spring Hill, Brentwood, Thompson’s Station, and Lewisburg, visit HargroveSealcoating.com.