Company leaders never want to think about data disasters. However, technology isn’t infallible. Natural disasters, office accidents, or user error can lead to the destruction of data. Does your business have a strong recovery strategy so that you can pick up where you left off? For example, do you have alternate emergency processes if your point of sale server goes down? Being proactive about backups and software maintenance can help you company prepare for worse case scenarios. Here are four things to keep in mind as you take data protection measures.

Hardware Backups

If your company stores business critical data on external hard drives, then strongly consider scattering these backups across multiple locations. Don’t’ keep all of your eggs in one basket. If a fire or burglary at one location makes data inaccessible, then you’ll still have copies stored in other locations. Ideally, your business should invest in a combination of cloud and local storage, so that you’re not overly reliant on any single system.

Behavior Rules

When we think of “user error,” many of us think about employees accidently deleting an important file. However, everyday office behaviors, such as drinking coffee near a server rack, can put your company at high risk for data loss. A trip, bump, or spill next to important hardware can lead to thousands of dollars lost within moments. Data disasters aren’t always accidental – your data is an asset that is susceptible to internal theft too. Create workplace guidelines to prevent internal loss or theft of data.

Data Testing

Backups are useless if the data is riddled with errors. Your IT department should schedule routine data verification to ensure that backups are working properly. If write errors are discovered, it is important to prioritize data redundancy so that your company has reliable copies to fall back on.

Cloud Storage

Cloud services have become so ubiquitous; your company can accomplish an endless amount of tasks using dedicated cloud solutions. However, it can be difficult to identify the right cloud solutions for your company. Consider working with a broker who can help your company uncover cloud solutions for your data protection strategies.

Businesses must take a multifaceted approach to data protection and recovery. If one system fails, then your employees should be able to fall back on other solutions. Preparing for data disasters now can give your team the confidence and ability to operate no matter what the future throws at you.




Once upon a time, companies used to hold on to their computers for 10 or more years. They siphoned crucial data off the hard drive until it just wouldn’t boot anymore.

Today, we change modern electronics in a heartbeat — well, every season or year or two — and require fast hardware and software to maintain communication between firms. A major computer system is a huge investment for a business, but owners must budget for upgrades to stay competitive in the marketplace.

No support equals high risk

The operating system’s manufacturer makes it a point to advertise end-of-life support for its product. Once the support ends, there are no other security or driver updates unless you upgrade the operating system.

Your computer system’s hardware may be so old that it can’t support the new software, however. Each system is unique, but it’s usually possible to upgrade a relatively new computer to the latest software. You open up your business to potential hacks so much more if you have old software running the show.

Reduced productivity

You may save a little money each month by putting off a computer purchase, but you’re also likely losing profits to low employee productivity. Your staff may have to sit for several minutes trying to download a file, for example.

A file may not even open, forcing workers to call and use alternative means to obtain the information. New hardware and software typically solves these issues, and allows workers to concentrate on more important business functions.

Average business computer lifespan

These days, a standard business computer system lasts about five years. It may still be operational after five years, but the hardware and software aren’t designed to meet current computing demands.

They could easily break down at this age, and cost you hundreds of dollars just to maintain them. A new system certainly requires a high up-front cost, but its maintenance will be minimal and often covered by a warranty.

You have to take all this into consideration when deciding whether to go for a replacement at the five-year mark.

IT employee importance

No business should be forced to buy a new system after five years. A firm’s IT professionals are essential at this point. They understand the intricacies of high-tech electronics, and can give owners an idea of what’s the right time to purchase new.

A recall could be in force at the moment, which would make it a smart move to wait until all the bugs are worked out of the new hardware or software. IT professionals typically want the best computers in the company to make their job easier, and profits tend to follow.

Discarding properly

Once a company decides to switch to a new computer system, it’s necessary to hire an IT asset management team. According to Synectic Technologies, working with the right asset team makes the conversion to a new system much easier.

With fewer worries about data transfer and configuration, an asset team makes the new computer system easier to integrate than if you attempted it without the professional assistance.

Relying on old computers with no support will usually cost a company significant revenues. If your operating system is no longer current, it’s time to start budgeting for at least one new computer.

Computer communications is crucial in almost any industry, so newer systems are pretty necessary to stay in the game.

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Thanks to the Internet, anyone can take on DIY projects that they might not otherwise attempt due to lack of skill or experience. With an abundance of videos, step-by-step articles, and forums, you can get instructions on how to do almost anything. In many cases, you can also order the parts or components you need online. Often, you’ll save money by shopping for your DIY project needs on the Internet. You may also meet others who are project experts that can give you sound advice.

Make Your Own Gifts

You don’t have to be a whiz with a sewing machine or paintbrush to make attractive gifts for others. The Internet is full of Websites that will show you how to make gifts for everyone on your list. They can be as simple as filling a jar with a special mix of goodies or as complex as woodworking projects. By watching videos, looking at pictures, and reading instructions, you can learn to make just about anything for any occasion. Get a jumpstart on gift-giving by searching for the types of projects that interest you.

Perform Minor Repairs or Renovations

Homeowners can save money by performing minor repairs or renovations themselves. Instead of calling a handyman or a contractor for these jobs, consider which ones you might be able to do yourself. Most of the large home improvement stores are staffed with knowledgeable people that can help get you started and show you what you need to buy. Their company Websites also contain videos and information that can help you with a lot of projects. Whether you’re considering painting a room of your home or installing a new commode, you’ll find all the help you need online.

Save Money on Installations

While you can pay someone to install almost anything, there are a variety of things most people can install in their homes. Although there are times when you definitely should let a professional handle the installation, doing it yourself when it is practical can save you a lot of money.

For example, you may be able to install your own home theater system, security system, or flooring. Many people who have never installed floor tile before are able to do a beautiful job after watching a few videos online. The same goes for installing shutters and window treatments. You would do well to stick with a licensed contractor for electrical and plumbing issues, but there are many things around your home you can install yourself.

Become a Gourmet Cook

It is easier than ever to become a gourmet cook these days. With the popularity of television cooking shows and online videos that provide step-by-step instructions, almost anyone can prepare gourmet meals at home. Suppose you just want to learn how to cook on an outdoor grill? You’ll find a wide variety of videos online that will teach you how to cook on almost any kind of grill. If you’re struggling with how to put together an animal or character cake for your child’s birthday, chances are good that you’ll find a video that will show you exactly how to assemble the cake.




As the medical world seems to advance by leaps and bounds, more prescription drugs are available than ever to help you with everything from anxiety to chronic disease management. Many of these drug mixtures are potentially dangerous if taken by the wrong patient or in high quantities. Take time out to work with your medical professional and go over all the drug’s specific uses before consuming it.

Talk Details

When you are at your doctor’s office receiving a prescription script, go over the drug’s use with the professional. Ask about both common and rare side effects. If you’re aware of specific effects, such as hot flashes, you can be on the lookout for such occurrences. Even ask about overdose effects, especially if the drug is narcotic. No prescription drug is without its effects on the body, making it critical for you to be knowledgeable about them.

Match it Up

Many patients receive their prescription through mail order, using bulk pricing to save on pills through a 90-day period. When you open the prescription, match the pills’ description to the label or descriptive mailer. There should be a distinct shape, color and even coding imprinted on each pill. If the pills don’t match their description, contact the pharmacist immediately. You could have a completely different drug in your hands. Depending on your condition, an unknown drug could have severe side effects.

Online Research

If you have a computer, smartphone or tablet, there’s instant access to the Internet. Research your prescription drug to further understand its use and effects. Many doctors are busy in their offices, only providing basic information to their patients. You can learn a huge amount about the drug from reputable government and university websites. If you’re concerned about some of your research’s findings, contact your doctor for a more in-depth conversation.

Stop Immediately

Common side effects, from nausea to headaches, are usually noted on the drug’s label. They can occur with anyone, forcing you to face the effects to gain the benefits of the drug itself. Severe effects, however, should be reported immediately. Stop the medication completely if you have issues such as violent vomiting or heartbeat palpitations. No drug is worth severe effects causing more harm to the body than the original condition.

Don’t be Silent

Your doctor should be the first person to contact if there’s a drug issue. The pharmacist is another good outlet as well. If you are hurt by a prescription drug, including a new chronic issue, a knowledgeable legal aid may be necessary to stand up for your rights. Always voice your issues to medical professionals to stop the effects’ vicious cycle. There may be other patients with the same issues, but they are too afraid to speak up.

With a world of information at your fingertips, the Internet gives you an instant reference point for drug uses and interactions. Don’t be hesitant about speaking up about your prescription’s potency or failure. Every person has a different body chemistry, making some drugs more effective than others for each individual.


Today’s medical field is full of outstanding cures and achievements, from treating once-lethal viruses to reattaching limbs. The human reproductive cycle is more controlled than ever, allowing women to choose when they have children, if at all. Sperm or tissue banks are scientific facilities allowing healthy men to store and donate their cells for people in need. There are an eclectic array of people who choose insemination to have that wonderful bundle of joy in their life.

Not Just an Anonymous Donor

One of the major misconceptions about sperm donation is the storage option. If a man is anticipating a progressing disease or major surgery, his fertility could be in jeopardy. These men can use the sperm bank to store their cells for their future use rather than donating them. When they’re ready for a child, they simply withdraw their donation and inseminate into their significant other. This reproductive strategy gives men a chance to be fathers even with infertility as an issue after a health scare.

Poor Sperm Counts

Not all men have a huge sperm count. They may have a chronic disorder or a natural tendency toward low sperm numbers. If a couple wants to have a child, natural reproductive strategies usually don’t work. A donor from a sperm bank is a perfect solution to make the couple a growing family. The couple carefully chooses the donor to match the father, for instance, to make the family appear more cohesive.

Same-Sex Couples

As same-sex couples become more prevalent in mainstream society, their reproductive needs are evolving. Two women wanting to raise a child can choose to inseminate one partner with donor sperm. They’ll raise the child as their own. The couple can even use random eggs from both partners to inseminate outside the body. With this strategy, the couple doesn’t know who’s egg was fertilized, making the child feel like they came from both partners.

Single Women and Children

Some women are happy without a husband or significant other. However, they may still want a child in their life. Sperm banks allow single mothers to have a child without the need for a male partner. They raise the child on their own, giving the mother the ultimate gift of love and independence.

Strict Criteria

Sperm banks don’t allow just anyone to donate their genetic material. There is a thorough background analysis, including schooling, past diseases and current health information. Banks only want the best genetic material for their customers. This strategy also reduces the risk of passing on diseases or disorders to future offspring. Sperm banks want to be reliable resources for any person desiring a child of their own.

With a college degree nearly required of all sperm donors, insemination with quality genetic material is almost guaranteed. You still have the choice to pick the donor based on a childhood photo and background history. Whether the person is anonymous or identified outright, your new baby is a product of love and scientific experience over the years.




As wine lovers know, vintage wine matures with time. Some wine varieties reach maturity and “peak flavor” after a couple of years. If given as much as a decade to hibernate, rich, red wines can morph into brilliant tongue-tingling delights.

To help your wine grow to “realize” its top flavor potential, you need to store it. Continue with this article to learn about ways you can store your valuable wines.

Store Your Wine in a Cave

Most caves will do for wine storage. Caves keep out light, which is wine’s mortal enemy. Natural or man-made, wine caves also regulate temperature. Well-built, climate-controlled wine caves give wines the best chance at preservation and flavor-maturity.

Constructed wine caves run large and are typically the domain of wine producers. Private wine collectors are more likely to choose the next option over a cave.

“Cellar” Your Wine

You say you do not have a cave for your wine? As you might imagine, you are not alone! Wine caves are rare, but you can still store your wine below ground and grow its character in a climate-controlled room.

Under the ground, temperatures fluctuate less than above it. This means you can “cellar” your wine in a root cellar or a basement, or you can construct a cellar built specifically for storing wine.

If your comfort zone does not include cellar carpentry, find a company that specializes in wine-cellar design and construction.

Turn A Room in Your Home into a Wine Cellar

You do not need to embark on a major construction project to acquire adequate wine storage. Consider instead, a “wine room” that fits inside an existing room in your home. Most wine rooms cost less than adding a cellar onto a structure. According to Vintage Cellars, consumers can easily assemble a wine room without expert assistance.

Have You Heard of “Wine Furniture”?

Another way to think of a wine room is as a large cabinet that holds wine. In fact, furniture manufacturers make a variety of climate-controlled wine cabinets. This wine storage option has a foothold in the marketplace and comes in a range of sizes. Most private wine collectors can find a cabinet size that fits their collection.

In addition to cabinets, “wine furniture” also includes credenzas with incorporated wine refrigerators.

Dig a Hole

The most low-tech method of wine storage is to dig a hole. Though unrefined, storing wine in a hole can certainly keep it cool, especially when the hole resides in a full-time shaded area.

Only use the “dig a wine hole” method to store wine while you gather the resources and knowledge necessary to build or acquire another wine storage option. Investing in wines, even if just for the flavor experience, also requires an investment in the way you store it.

Now that you have read about storing your wine to help it mature, you can pop a cork, pour, a glass and consider which of the above storage options you will choose for your wine collection.




Storage units are great things (most of the time). As long as you do your research and choose a site that’s secure, temperature controlled and with solid security, you don’t have to worry much about break-ins or extreme temperatures harming your property. It’s an excellent option for those with not enough storage at home, people who travel frequently, or if you want to allow access to multiple people without the hassle of having them come to your home (just make sure everyone is on the rental agreement).

However, choosing the “wrong” storage site can happen if you’re not careful. While you’re figuring out the best site for your holiday storage needs, look beyond location and price. A subpar site can put your property at risk, and you might even got stuck in a legal dispute over rental payments if you forego a fair contract. Here are some of the most important things you deserve in storage unit, so make sure they’re on your check list.

1. Video surveillance

Even if the site features 24-hour security, officers can’t be near every unit at all times. Knowing there’s video surveillance will deter many thieves, and if the worst does happen you’re ahead of the game for filing insurance claims and police reports. Ask for a tour that includes pointing out the cameras, which should be obvious in order to ward off burglars.

2. Temperature-controlled units

It doesn’t matter if you live in a fairly temperate zone or not. A really hot or cold day can destroy your property, even if you don’t think you have anything that’s vulnerable. Plus, if you suddenly have to dig through your belongings on a particularly chilly or sizzling day, you want to do so comfortably.

3. Easy payment options

Just because you prefer paying by check now doesn’t mean you always will. What if you go on an extended vacation or move out of state but still want to keep your unit? A site that offers multiple payment options including online payments is all about making things easy for you.

4. On-site security

In addition to video surveillance, the site should also feature security officers who are well-trained and equipped to handle anything that comes their way. This is crucial not just in the case of a burglar or vandal, but if a natural disaster strikes, having a professional to immediately report the incident can minimize the damage. If a fire breaks out and there’s nobody available to notify the fire department, your entire unit might go up in flames.

5. A sprinkler system

Speaking of fires, even the securest of buildings can be at risk. A tested and high quality sprinkler system minimizes damage and maximizes the safety of anyone who happens to be on site. While this is likely required in your state, that doesn’t guarantee that everyone’s abiding by it. Ask the site manager how often the systems are tested.

6. A friendly staff

Quality in a storage site doesn’t just have to do with the layout, but also how comfortable you feel there. The staff should be hospitable, knowledgeable and committed to making you feel at home. After all, you are paying rent here. Trust your gut, and if you don’t feel welcome is that really a place you want to be doing business?

Not all storage sites are created equally, but there’s no reason to learn this tough lesson the hard way. Do your research, but remember there’s more to it than price alone. If possible, check out a site in person and see exactly where your precious cargo may call home.



Rarely is there a single “best” medical device that every expert and patient deems premier. “Best” doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive, the most well known brand or the device that’s been around the longest. What’s best is what works the most seamlessly for you, and this can take some trial and error (which can be expensive) but it’s also about knowing what your needs and preferences are. Don’t take your doctor’s recommendation as gospel, and be wary when family or friends suggest a device because they’ve heard good things about it.

Instead, start by making a list of things you need from a device followed by “wants.” When shopping for masks for CPAP machines, for example, you may need a tough to find size due to your unique head dimensions. With wheelchairs, you may need an electric instead of manual one. You may want certain bells and whistles, and if the wants can be added to the needs while sticking within your budget, you’ve found a match.

A case for settling

Sometimes you’ll find your dream machine or gadget but it’s astronomically expensive. There might be options for used or refurbished devices, waiting it out until a new model arrives might lower costs, or perhaps low-interest financing is available. However, if it doesn’t fit into your budget without putting your financial health in jeopardy, it’s not worth it when other devices can deliver similar results. There’s a fine line between making small sacrifices for a better for you device and reckless splurging.

Comparison shopping online is a savvy move, but only if you’re perusing shops that are reputable and match their quality products with service. Check the Better Business Bureau for any complaints, check out online reviews and peruse testimonials if available. A reputable retailer that’s been operating awhile should have plenty of reviews on third-party sites as well as knowledgeable customer service staff to answer your questions.

Trading up

If this is your first time requiring this medical device, remember that you can always “trade up” in the future. It’s unlikely that you’ll find the be all, end all make and model the first time around. As science advances, you’ll want more features and comforts. Research potential outlets for selling or trading in your device as soon as you buy it. It’s easy (and fun) to keep an eye out for the latest devices but not as enjoyable to scramble for a trusted buyer when the time comes.



Adopting a new cat is a bit different than adopting a new dog. Cats are more independent and finicky than their canine counterparts, so when you make the decision to adopt a cat, follow these steps to ensure their integration into your family is as smooth as possible.

Give Him His Own (Small) Space

Cats are territorial beasts, and they love to have a place to call their own. Putting him in a big new space can be overwhelming, though, and he might spend most of his time hiding behind furniture and only coming out at night when everyone is asleep. Instead, confine him to a comfy space like a bedroom or office where he can be left in quiet to adjust to his new surroundings. Equip it with fun stuff like a cat tree and plenty of toys to keep him occupied. Take turns as a family going in to visit him for short periods of time, and play and pet him. Even if he’s not receptive to the attention, just sitting in the room and reading a book in his company will help him adjust to your presence.

Go to Your Regular Veterinarian for a Checkup

Kitties can get all kinds of respiratory infections when they’re in a rescue environment, and despite the efforts of the staff, it’s not uncommon for your new cat to come home with something resembling a cold. It’s important to keep your new cat away from your current cats until you’ve gone to your vet and gotten the all clear. Remember that respiratory infections can crop up a week or so after adoption, so practice good hand washing routines and don’t allow your new cat to share bowls with your existing felines.

Take the Introduction of Your New Cat with Your Current Cats Seriously

If you’ve had cats for a while, you know that it doesn’t take a whole lot to make them mad! While some cats are ecstatic to have a new friend, others will flat out refuse to accept the new family member and may regress with urinating outside the litter box, refusing to eat, or showing aggression towards the family. Don’t let your new cats meet face to face as soon as you bring your new one home. Instead, once your new kitty has had a few days to a week to adjust (and you have the vet’s confirmation that your new cat isn’t harboring any illnesses), exchange the bedding between the two cats so they learn each other’s scents. Let the new cat out to explore the house and put your resident cat in the room to further learn about each other. Allowing them to meet through a crack in the door is the best way to introduce them successfully before you let them together completely.

Adopting a cat can be far more rewarding than getting a pet from the pet store or a breeder. Adopted cats are often mature, litter box trained, and can quickly become productive members of your household. Remember to adopt (don’t shop!) and take care to introduce your new feline family member slowly for the most success.



This year, “engagement” has been one of the biggest buzz words in Internet marketing … and there’s no wonder about that. As indicated by various studies that focus on effective online advertising, potential clients gravitate toward websites that engage them in fun, meaningful ways.

Since engagement is what leads to increased conversion rates and greater online visibility, website owners who sell anything, from collectibles to sheet music, need to do all they can to optimize engagement with interactive media.

If this is your goal, think about implementing the following three engagement optimization techniques.

1. Share buttons

Share buttons are engaging for a simple reason: They give your audience an opportunity to forward content they find interesting to other people in their social networks. So it’s a good idea to place share buttons on your website pages — always assuming you have content that’s worth sharing with people are interested in the kinds of things you are promoting.

In addition to engaging your audience, share buttons encourage your viewers to operate in the capacity of a brand ambassador by helping you advertise your goods and services. Websites such as Virtual Sheet Music have done a good job of placing their share buttons in conspicuous, eye-catching locations to make it easier for enthusiastic visitors to take the obvious course of action.

2. Questionnaires

Periodically requesting your audience complete a questionnaires is another great way to facilitate greater engagement. To maximize the impact of this strategy, make sure to ask questions such as “What types of things would you like to see more of on this website?”

When you ask these types of questions, your alert prospective customers to the fact that you’re interested in what people have to say.

3. Create engaging content

The phrase “content is king” is a truism for a reason. Content is the primary website element that prospective clients will study when attempting to determine whether the goods and/or services you offer have any value to them. So it’s important that your content be very creative and compelling.

Also, great content should be “scannable,” which means that your readers wil be able to glance through it quickly to find the information they want. The textual elements that make a website scannable include bullets, numbered lists, and headers. Using these tools will help make your content more engaging.

When you think about the ways you can make your content as engaging as possible, remember that the type of language you use matters. In addition to taking the time to study the kinds of words that members of your target market will typically use, keep in mind that you’ll want to avoid antiquated language or overly technical jargon that makes your content and website either irrelevant or opaque.

Keeping everything contemporary and cutting edge is normally a fool-proof strategy when you’re attempting to engage a new audience.

If you’re serious about using your website to optimize online profits, remember that engagement is one of the most important goals you can go after. By implementing some or all of the engagement strategies outlined above, you’ll be able to attract interest from members of your target audience.

Subsequent conversion rates should move in the direction you hope they will. Good luck!


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