Are You Operating a Data Silo?

Are You Operating a Data Silo?

Clear communication within your company is important. Clear communication with your clients is vital. If you are operating in a “data silo” you are muddying the communication both internally and externally.

But are you operating a data silo? You may not even understand the question. It’s not exactly a common term, after all.

Data silos cripple your business’ ability to understand your clients. So what is a data silo and how can you beat it?

What is a Data Silo?

A data silo is a lot like an actual silo from a farm.

Farm silos are built to hold barley, wheat, and any other grain to keep them dry. More importantly, though, they were used to keep them separated to prevent the spreading of any potential infection.

Picture your digital systems and even your different departments as these silos. Each has incredible amounts of useful information in databases that other departments aren’t able to access. We see “silo mentality” in almost every organization and 97% of executives agree, it’s bad for business.

For example, the average small business uses 14.3 different systems, each with its own information.

How do they get there in the first place?

A lot of reasons, frankly, and not all are bad.

Some are put in place for needed security. Extending access unnecessarily can bring with it the additional risk of a data breach. This was the case with Nashville Metro Public Health when an information security error led to patient information being exposed by one or more of their 500 employees. Data Silos might be necessary to protect sensitive information.

Others that are more common and detrimental to business are built due to technical restrictions in one-sided software. In this case, a lack of access hinders the productivity of your team and can make it difficult to meet client expectation.

In the case of marketing departments, silos can segment information gathered from email campaigns and restrict it from impacting social campaigns to maximize ROI.

So how can I beat “silo mentality”?

The first thing necessary to eliminate data silos is a top-down initiative. Everyone from executives down to IT staff needs to be onboard with an organizational effort to integrate data.

Data silos prevail without a useful and intuitive enterprise integration system in place. File sharing allows open access to information. Adding this type of system to your information structure allows the system to be more flexible, having a wider variety of features when integrating programs.

Remove your limitations

Data silos limit your companies ability to know your customer but they also limit your companies ability to know itself. They don’t empower those with the information but bottleneck progress on your most necessary tasks.

Odds are you are operating a data silo. The question is: what are you going to do about it?

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How To Back Up Your Online Life

How To Back Up Your Online Life

Originally contributed by Chuck Grimmett on Medium. Read the original article here. 

 

Do you use Gmail? WordPress.com? Fitbit? Facebook? How about Twitter? Your account could be shut down and you could lose all of your stuff there at any time.

This Dennis Cooper situation is a good reminder that you need to be prepared to lose anything and everything stored by online services at any time. Mr. Cooper’s art may not be my cup of tea, but I feel for him. Losing 14 years of work is devastating.

If you use free services, you have no reasonable expectation of guaranteed access to that service. Read the Terms of Service closely. Unless you are paying for them, the services don’t owe you a thing. The best approach to controlling your data is to back it up regularly.

Even if you do pay for the service (like Outlook 365 or Dropbox Pro) your safest option is to have a local backup of your data. Again, back it up regularly.

 

Below are links to export options for popular online services

After you export this data, back it up. Leave a copy on your computer, then buy an external drive (affiliate link // non-affiliate link) and move a copy to it. I’m a big fan of the 3–2–1 backup strategy and this passes it. Three total copies of your data, two are saved locally (your computer and external drive), and one is in the cloud (on the service).

These services are in alphabetical order. If there is something I didn’t include that I should, leave a comment with a link and I’ll add it to the list! (Last updated July 19, 2016, with suggestions from James Walpole)

Going Forward

I suggest you back up your online presence at least once a month. More often if it is business-critical like Slack, Trello, Toggl, Wunderlist, etc. Losing your work means losing money.

You can also do automated incremental backups of your social media accounts. I set up IFTTT recipes to automatically back up posts to my Day One journal and Google Drive. You can see the recipes I use here.

Back Up Your Devices

If you don’t do this already, take this as a reminder to back up your computers, phones, and tablets. I make full clones of my hard drives weekly and back up hourly changes with Backblaze (affiliate link // non-affiliate link).

If you don’t know how to back up your devices, here are instructions on wikiHow:

How to Back up a Computer

 

 

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Are You Operating a Data Silo?

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Have a Question?

How would you generally categorize your question?

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Getting The Most Out Of Your IT Call

Getting The Most Out Of Your IT Call

We’ve all been there. Your computer or smart device, cable box, or what have you, isn’t functioning properly and you have to make that call, sometimes the dreaded call, to tech support. You know that when you make the call you’re likely to have to go through an automated system before you get to talk to a live person.

One key point to remember: You may be frustrated and that is understandable, but getting emotional does not help the situation. It will not resolve a problem any quicker and can actually slow the process down. Remember to remain calm and do your best to remain polite, and find peace in the thought that this will always be the returning response from the technician.

This can be a stressful time, especially if your startup or small business is dependent on the malfunctioning device. It’s also stressful if it’s your personal device, but dollars may not be on the line, just hair-pulling.

Before making the call you’ve agonized over what you’re going to say, even if you don’t know exactly what the problem is. Having as much data as possible to tell a tech support representative is the key to making the call (or online chat) as painless an experience as possible. Lifewire laid out some key points that are handy to have:

Details of the problem – is there an error message? What does it say?

When did the problem begin?

Have you taken any troubleshooting measures, such as turning your device off then back on?

But, in addition to those points, here at ITonDemand, we think there are a few other things to keep in mind when calling IT support.

Verify if there have been any changes to the device environment – a recent installation of hardware or software or if there has been an update.

Have device specifics handy. In other words, what is the make and model of the problem device? Knowing a serial number can also come in handy.

Did you reboot? (That’s usually a first stop in IT questions, but it’s good to know if you have already tried.)

Another thing to know is whether or not you have Internet access. Wi-Fi can go down. And sometimes it can happen while you’re in the middle of a project and you don’t realize it. Try to open a Web browser and see if an error appears.

If you do have Internet access, don’t be afraid to Google the problem while you’re on the line with tech support. You may come across something that helps the situation.

Repeat yourself. Did we say that already? At ITonDemand, we recommend providing information to tech support in the same manner you would leave a telephone number on an answering service – with pauses and slow, deliberate intonations.

Go into the conversation with the tech support rep armed with as much information as possible. That will make things go smoothly and, hopefully, quickly. And don’t be afraid to repeat the details. Be clear and concise when talking with tech support. The better the lines of communication, the quicker the service should be.