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CTN Solutions has been serving the greater Philadelphia area since 1997, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Instant Messaging Is a Valuable Tool for Businesses

Instant Messaging Is a Valuable Tool for Businesses

Once thought to be just a cool feature of the Internet--or the entirety of the Internet to your Great Aunt Maddie--instant messaging has a long history on the web. In fact, one could argue that it was the first great Internet-based application. Today, we take a look back at the history of Instant Messaging and how your organization can use it to create a better business.

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Just How Important Is the Data Recovery Process?

Just How Important Is the Data Recovery Process?

Data recovery can make you break your business continuity plan, and you absolutely cannot underestimate how important this is for the future of your organization. There are countless ways your business could lose data, and if you encounter even a single one of them, your organization could be put at serious risk. We’ll take a look at operational data loss and how your organization needs to strategize data recovery.

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Improving Your Collaboration Can Improve Performance

Improving Your Collaboration Can Improve Performance

With the exception of a sole proprietorship, a business of any size relies on its team in order to function properly. As a result, this team needs to be able to work together towards a common goal in order to succeed. To accomplish this, collaboration technologies are becoming more and more common in office environments, and generally benefit the performance of the business in its operations.

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Help Desk Support Benefits Small Business

Help Desk Support Benefits Small Business

Technology support can be one of the major pain points for businesses, and it’s not something that your organization wants to invest in without thinking about the details. Technology support as a service has a lot to offer when compared with the break/fix method. We’ll help you make the right decision by explaining why remote IT services are a major benefit for any business.

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How to Intelligently Approach Business Analytics

How to Intelligently Approach Business Analytics

A solid business decision needs to be based on more than just a gut feeling. It takes quantifiable data to choose the right path for your company, leveraged in a process known as business analytics. Today, we’ll explore this process, as well as discuss a few ways you can use it to your advantage.

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Getting Our Bearings: The State of Business Technology in 2018

Getting Our Bearings: The State of Business Technology in 2018

At every turn, it seems as though there’s another best practice or upcoming trend to learn and implement in the realm of business technology. Are you doing all you can to keep your company up to date, relevant, and competitive? Below, we review some of 2018’s biggest IT revolutions so far.

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Is E-Commerce an Option for You?

Is E-Commerce an Option for You?

The Internet has made quite a few common processes easier, including buying and selling goods and services. However, while e-commerce is experiencing extreme growth, it may not be the right fit for every business. There are a variety of considerations to balance out to determine if e-commerce is something that you should be leveraging.

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Leave Your Moving Stresses In Your Old Office

Leave Your Moving Stresses In Your Old Office

There’s nothing quite like signing off on your first business space. It’s like officially saying, “My business is up and running. Visit my office today!” What’s even more exciting, is when your organization is growing so quickly that your business space becomes cramped or too small to grow unhindered. Either way, the way you set up your office is going to be an important part of running your business.

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Tip of the Week: Lead Your Remote Workers to Success

Tip of the Week: Lead Your Remote Workers to Success

Organizations that have a workforce outside of their normal office location are presented with a unique challenge. In the case of remote employees, businesses have to figure out how to keep them connected to the workplace, productive with their time, and part of the organization’s culture. This week’s tip is dedicated to helping your organization’s remote workers become more successful.

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Business Communications Are Changing Rapidly

Business Communications Are Changing Rapidly

Communication solutions for business are changing rapidly. Most of the new solutions use existing technologies, allowing organizations to get more for the services they already pay for and save money.

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A Short History of Data Backup and Storage

A Short History of Data Backup and Storage

Data backup has become an essential piece of the modern business computing infrastructure but the act of protecting data from being lost is centuries old. Before there was recorded civilization, there were humans writing on the cave walls and carving notches into bone to aid counting and other primitive mathematics. Today, we take a look at the history of backing up data, and how it has brought us to where we are now.

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How to Fire Stress from Your Business

How to Fire Stress from Your Business

Stress is a reality of everyday life, especially in the workplace. Of course, different people find different things to be stressful, as well. Here, we’ll review some of the biggest sources of stress to be found in an office environment, and what some of the effects of this stress can be.


Who First Experienced Stress
While it may not feel like it during the experience, stress is actually the body’s way of trying to protect you. The nervous energy and hyper-awareness that come with stress were meant to help our ancestors survive dangerous situations, which in turn allowed them to develop more advanced cultures that allowed these situations to largely be mitigated. However, as culture developed, these reactions didn’t, and now come into play in the workplace environment.

This can be both helpful and problematic. While stress can effectively boost focus and productivity, the brain doesn’t differentiate between stress that comes from a physical source, and that which comes from mental and emotional stimuli. Therefore, a particularly pressing deadline can cause the same effects that a mugging would on you, both physiologically and psychologically.

Why This is a Big Problem in Today’s Workplaces
It is no secret that the workplace can very easily be a stressful place, for a variety of reasons. There’s a veritable laundry list of sources, known as stressors, that a work environment can easily provide. They are:

  • Physical Stressors - These create stress on the body, and usually take the form of regular exposure to some uncomfortable aspect of the work environment, whether its noise, the presence of some unpleasant substance, or unideal ergonomics.
  • Social Stressors - Those conflicts and poor relationships that cause distress and tension in the office, whether it is applied by an abusive supervisor or coworker, through harassment in the workplace, or even by clients and customers.
  • Career Stressors - Many people find their careers stressful, perhaps due to a feeling that they don’t have many opportunities, that their job security is lacking, or even that they are overqualified for what they are doing. There are other kinds of stressors that are closely related to this.
    • Task Stressors - Whether you’re under pressure to complete your responsibilities, they’re highly complex or mind-numbingly monotonous, you’re constantly being pulled away, or you just have a lot to do, your workplace tasks can easily be a source of stress.
    • Role Stressors - Your role in the organization can also provide stress, especially if it isn’t apparent what that role explicitly is. Furthermore, if your work role interferes with your role at home, this can contribute to stress as well.
    • Schedule Stressors - If you have inconsistent hours, work for long stretches of time, and often work long overtime hours, you likely suffer from schedule-related stress to some degree.
    • Organizational Change Stressors - Change is uncomfortable, so when mergers, corporate downsizing, or new technology is brought to the table, it is easy for it to become a source of stress in the workplace. These can also contribute to the other kinds of workplace stress.
  • Traumatic Stressors - These stressors are perhaps the most obvious and are most frequently seen in particular industries that are prone to traumatic situations. However, these can also take the shape of workplace disasters, like fires, floods, and other similar events.

Each and every member of your organization could be susceptible to at least one of these sources of stress, and as a result, each member could potentially have their health, well-being, productivity, and potential put at risk. Fortunately, by adopting and cultivating some policies and cultural shifts in your company, you can do your part to keep the work environment relaxed and progressing.

How to Remove Stress
There are a wide variety of ways that you can help to mitigate stress in your office, ranging from small touches to large endeavors. On the small scale, encouraging your employees to move around more on their breaks can give them a chance to release some pent-up tension and nervous energy. Starting a walking group can not only give participants some exercise, but also encourage coworker camaraderie. Be clearer and more positive in your communications to your staff, as this will make their jobs and responsibilities easier for them to grasp and empower them to succeed in their efforts. Staff lunches and Bring Your Pet to Work days can also be a refreshing switch from the norm, and a great way to have a bit of fun.

Even switching over the office coffee at noon from regular to decaf can help de-stress people, because nothing goes together better than stress and a stimulant like caffeine.

If the stress in your office is severe enough, you may consider implementing a few larger changes to your organization. For instance, excessive, generally purposeless meetings only serve to keep employees away from their other responsibilities, adding to the pressure on them. Eliminating these wherever possible will allow your staff to focus on more pressing matters, while other methods of communication can be used to get the message you needed to share, to the people who need to hear it.

Additionally, while we did say that changing technology can be a source of stress, a bigger source of stress can be the use of insufficient solutions. Updating the systems your employees rely on will make their jobs much easier, and ultimately reduce their stress in the long run.

At CTN, we specialize in solutions that help to minimize the stress that your employees feel when doing what they have to do - and we’re always here to help them out when they need it. Call (610) 828-5500 for more information.

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Has Your IT Team Attained these Goals Yet?

Has Your IT Team Attained these Goals Yet?

For any business to be successful, it needs access to the technology solutions that allow it to operate efficiently. Your IT team is responsible for ensuring that this access is not interrupted, which is not an insignificant responsibility. However, by clearly defining goals for your IT team to strive for, you provide a benefit to all members of your staff.

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Is Your Business Prepared to Do Away with Paper?

Is Your Business Prepared to Do Away with Paper?

There’s no denying that digital records have quite a few advantages over paper documentation. Benefits of ‘going paperless’ include simplified search capabilities, more efficient storage, heightened security, and automated backup capabilities. There are plenty of sources around the Internet that discuss making the switch to paperless documentation. To keep your business documents safe, start your research here.

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Why You Need to Be Certain You’re Using Licensed Software

Why You Need to Be Certain You’re Using Licensed Software

Using pirated software or abusing your software licenses is highly frowned upon in business. However, many software companies, in an attempt to protect their products, have unleashed a practice that can actually reward those who let it happen.

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How Does Your IT Stack Up to These Standards?

How Does Your IT Stack Up to These Standards?

Selecting a managed service provider should be like selecting any employee. You need to make sure that your expectations are going to be fulfilled, and that your selection will be there when you need them to be. However, the criteria you examine your potential IT service provider by should be a little different than how you evaluate your other prospective team members.


To help you out, we’ve assembled four of the big considerations to weigh when choosing an MSP.

Industry Experience
Having an MSP with plenty of experience isn’t enough. You need to make sure that your MSP candidate has experience with the information technology needs of your particular industry. Otherwise, you may find yourself stuck with a provider who doesn’t have the know-how that comes from dealing with certain things hands-on.

Response Times
It’s one thing to work with a technology resource who knows what they’re doing, it’s another thing entirely to work with one who knows what they’re doing and gets right to doing it. Your time is valuable--too valuable to waste waiting for your IT management resource to start working on your problem, and the same goes for your employees. Time is money after all, so the longer it takes to return the given resource to productivity, the more it will cost.

Scope of Service
Returning to the thought of hiring a new employee, one of the big considerations that is taken into account is how well-rounded his or her experience is. After all, having an employee that can serve one purpose isn’t nearly as helpful as an employee who has the ability to step into whatever function you need them for. Your MSP should be the same way. Your company’s IT covers a wide range of solutions and devices, all of which your MSP should be able to manage and repair if needed.

On-site Services
While a great many IT issues can be identified and resolved remotely, there are some that need a hands-on approach. Your MSP needs to be willing and able to visit your location and attend to your technology issues if it should become necessary. While remote maintenance is preferable for many reasons, there are occasions that call for a technician to be present. You will want a reliable resource if your hardware is on the fritz and the only way to return to production is to have functional hardware.

At CTN Solutions, we hold ourselves to these considerations and strive to live up to them every day, making us an excellent candidate to fulfill your IT requirements. Give us a call at (610) 828-5500 for more information.

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Unpaid Invoices are a Major Problem For SMBs

Unpaid Invoices are a Major Problem For SMBs

While many different people open businesses, the primary reason that they all do so is to make money. A positive cash flow is essential if the business is to generate funds that support a cause or provide a decent living. However, to collect this cash flow, a business must have their invoices returned. As it happens, this doesn’t often occur in a timely manner.


Whether you own a business or work for one, you need the business to make money so you can make money to settle your finances and debts. This becomes challenging when the status quo dictates that payment terms can stretch the time, up to three months, for an invoice to be paid. This delay between the transaction and the actual payment has led to many operational difficulties in many businesses.

There’s a good chance that you know about this from firsthand experience, as these difficulties are exceptionally common. Estimates have attributed 5 percent of the national gross domestic product to unpaid invoices. 81 percent of invoices are past due by 30 days or more, with the average small business waiting for approximately $84,000 to come in from invoices that have yet to be paid. This average business also only has about 27 days of assets saved.

Added up, estimates say that businesses were owed $825 billion in unpaid invoices in 2016.

It is pretty clear that outstanding invoices are a considerable problem for small businesses, and in some cases medium-sized establishments as well. Improvement and innovation simply can’t happen if all of a business’s funds are tied up in sustaining themselves as they wait for payment. When was the last time you had to postpone something as you waited for money to be available for it?

Sometimes you have to spend money in order to make money. With the services we offer at CTN, you can have your capital spend reduced by budgeting your IT costs into a predictable monthly rate. We’ll provide you with software to keep track of from where, and when, you should expect a payment.

For more information about line of business applications and the other solutions we have available, give us a call at (610) 828-5500.

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Battle of the Benefits: Break-Fix vs Managed IT

Battle of the Benefits: Break-Fix vs Managed IT

As a managed service provider, we’re naturally going to be a little biased when comparing the positives and negatives of an in-house IT team versus an outsourced approach. However, each has its benefits in the right situations, and each can have its downsides. Today, we’ll discuss each to establish which is the better choice for your situation.


The In-House Team
One of the biggest benefits to relying on an in-house team to manage your technology is that you can hand-pick the members of your team. As a result, you have some level of control over which aspects of IT you want to prioritize for the benefit of your company. Having an in-house team also means you have staff right at your fingertips that you can direct at any time.

However, small to medium-sized businesses may encounter some difficulties when trying to maintain an in-house IT team. First and foremost, training your new staff members can be a difficult process without another experienced IT resource on staff to oversee the process. Furthermore, maintaining an internal IT team can be expensive, and if you want to hire experienced technicians who can tackle modern problems, it’s going to typically cost more.

A Managed IT Provider’s Team
One of the biggest advantages an MSP can provide to a business is predictability. When subscribed to an MSP’s services, a business will have its technology maintained and monitored for issues, all for a budgetable, fixed monthly fee. The MSP is also more likely to have kept up to speed with new technologies and solutions, gaining knowledge that they then pass on for your business’s benefit. Partnering with an MSP also gives you an improved means of expanding your business when the time comes. Instead of hiring a new internal staff member, your business just needs to scale accordingly.

The only issue with bringing in an MSP to handle your technology is the fact that you are relinquishing total control over your company’s IT to another company. As such, if you elect to employ an MSP, then you must find an MSP that you can trust.

CTN Solutions can be that MSP for you, should you find that a managed IT service provider better suits your company’s current and future needs. Call us at (610) 828-5500, for more information.

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4 Benefits You Won’t Believe About Managed IT

4 Benefits You Won’t Believe About Managed IT

How does your organization manage its mission-critical technology solutions? We know that most small businesses have some trouble with this topic, either due to constraints in budget or a lack of personnel. Either way, we know that there is a better way to manage your business’s technology, and it’s all thanks to an approach called managed IT services.


Some small businesses rely on their staff to ensure technology maintenance occurs regularly, however, this might be a mistake. Your employees don’t have the same skills and certifications that a trained IT technician will have. Furthermore, if you don’t have an in-house IT department, chances are your employees simply don’t have anyone to go to if they are having technology troubles, forcing them to figure out the problems for themselves.

You didn’t hire these specialists to do their job, plus IT maintenance. You hired them to do a job--and chances are that they are spending more time than necessary on troubleshooting their technology and not being productive. Your business doesn’t have the time or resources to wasting on continuous technology troubles. Instead, let the IT professionals at CTN Solutions handle this responsibility. Here are four benefits that your organization can take advantage of with managed IT.

User Productivity
When your employees can reach out for assistance with their IT troubles whenever they need it, they are much more productive. Too many decision makers are concerned over how much money break-fix IT maintenance is going to cost their company. However, when employees don’t get the IT help they need, they can’t focus on work, creating a revenue problem. With managed IT, your technology is maintained in a more effective, proactive way. With your workstations running better, your workforce can be more productive.

Fewer IT Expenses
Managed IT means that your business’s technology is going to be maintained regularly, which can reduce costs for your organization. You’ll also be at a reduced risk of hardware failure because replacing expensive equipment like workstations or servers is largely preventable, when properly maintained.

Higher IT Staff Productivity
Let’s say that you have an in-house IT department. Chances are that they don’t have time to address all of the responsibilities they have been given. They likely only have time to devote to helping your employees with their technology problems, or implementing new solutions designed to enhance organizational productivity. By working with a managed IT provider, you can supplement your IT staff so that all of your IT issues have coverage.

Greater Return on Investment
Break-fix IT is a problem for many organizations because it accrues major long-term costs. Add in a couple of hardware failures, and the downtime they cause, and you have a major issue at hand. Managed IT resolves these issues for a small monthly fee, rather than a major up-front expense. Therefore, you pay less for more, offering a greater return on investment.

Does your business’s budget need some relief? You’re not alone--plenty of small businesses need the flexibility that managed IT can provide. CTN can help your organization succeed by improving the way you manage your technology. Call us today at (610) 828-5500.

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3 Steps to Successful Business Continuity Planning

3 Steps to Successful Business Continuity Planning

By now, you’ve probably heard about the importance of business continuity and disaster recovery planning for small businesses. More businesses have continuity plans than ever before, according to FEMA. With so many SMBs looking to secure their future, there are a few aspects of business continuity planning that today’s businesses must comprehend. After all, there is more to it than just data backup. Disaster recovery is something that needs to be planned, practiced, and updated.

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