Business Trends for 2018 and Beyond

A number of trends are beginning to take shape for this year and into the future. Here are some of the trends that our friends at Hewlett Packard are beginning to see.

Community engagement over social media interaction

Despite the proliferation of smartphones and connected devices, companies are recognizing that social media and virtual connections cannot replace the value of live, in-person interaction with their customers, or the communities they’ve created.

Smart companies will recognize that social media and technology can enhance the value, and effectiveness, of face-to-face interactions, making them even more meaningful.

Generation Z making waves in the talent pool

Generation Z – those born after 1998 – reaching an age where they’re entering the workforce, and their influence on business is starting to be felt. Estimated at nearly 70 million strong, the upper reaches of this group are into college or joining the workforce, and will soon outnumber their Millennial predecessors.

This influx in the newest generation of adults will require companies to quickly understand – and adapt – to them, not only as consumers, but also as employees.

Livestream is becoming Mainstream

Having been steadily developed and improved over the last several years, live streaming video is now poised to become a powerful tool for businesses in the years to come. It offers a chance to create a “live” component to business, giving customers access and visibility to real people and real environments in real-time, regardless of location.

Research from Livestream shows that 80% of audiences would rather watch a live video from a brand than read a blog post, and 82% prefer live video from a brand over social media posts.

Buzzword bingo will remain a popular game

Virtual Reality (VR), Internet-of-Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Augmented Reality (AR) – the buzzword list goes on and on. But behind these buzzwords and acronyms are real, tangible technologies that have the potential to significantly impact businesses. Smart companies will begin to see through the hype, and recognize how these technologies can directly impact their businesses, such as improvements to network and device security with printers that can identify, prevent, and heal from attacks.

On-demand services meet automation

On-demand services have been a staple of the B2C market for the past several years, and they’re beginning to make their way into the B2B space. From recurring delivery of cleaning supplies to printers that automatically reorder in when they run low, on-demand services will continue their integration and adoption in the B2B space.

The war for talent

As the economy continues to grow and evolve, recruiting and retention will continue to be a critical focus area for businesses. The growth of the gig economy continues to be a force to be reckoned with. MBO Partners predicts that by 2027, 60% of the U.S. workforce will be part of the gig economy, and a ManpowerGroup survey found that 94% of respondents are open to the idea of working independently.

As these trends continue to evolve, so must the approach to recruiting, hiring, and retaining top talent.

Putting the security in data security

We’ve all seen the news and heard the reports. Large, well-known corporations have been hacked. Customer data has been compromised. And each one seems to be worse than the last. In the year – and years – to come, smart companies will focus not only on data security, but also network security, physical security, and even device security.

Communication is key

With customers. With employees. With suppliers. With everyone. The pace of business in 2018 and beyond will be faster than ever. And it will take careful, purposeful, and thoughtful communication at all levels to keep it running that way. It is said that silence speaks louder than words, but communication is key to prevent misunderstandings, or misinterpretations. And in an age where perception is reality, effective communication is critical.

Other Types of Advertising to Consider



Advertising can be a powerful way to deal with marketing challenges such as low brand awareness, a declining customer base or heavy competition. Or perhaps you simply have a desire to drive more foot traffic to your business and think advertising can help.

Most of us couldn’t afford a 30-second national TV ad during a big championship game. Luckily, there are many more affordable and cost effective techniques available if you choose wisely. Here are 7 types of advertising that needn’t cost a lot, and can fit within a small business budget:


Protecting Your Business from Negative SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a website design technique to maximize how a search engine like Google ranks and displays a website search result. This article discusses how "Negative SEO" can potentially harm your rankings and damage your business.

Negative SEO -- does it really exist?   And if it does, what is it and how can you protect your site?

Consider this post a short whirlwind tutorial for a typical small business website.

What is Negative SEO?

Negative SEO is when a third party targets a website and attempts to lower its rankings and placement in search engines.  In other words, someone with bad intent uses search engine optimization techniques to harm another site.


Oh "!*&^" Our Website Just Got Hacked!

About once a month, we get the call - "Something or someone has hacked our website, email, desktop, or server."  The calls rarely come from regular Computing Center clients but it does happen. We are there to help and have a lot of experience in recovering and restoring and getting systems going again. This article from HP descrbes the major steps that are taken to deal with hacks. You can do-it-yourself, but as we tell our clients - we do this work all the time and isn't your time better spend doing what you do?

What do you need to do to get your site back online? Three steps to recovery.

After the initial panic subsides, your mind starts racing and you find yourself asking the question, “What do I (or my IT folks), need to do to get our site back online?” Read on for more...

What are the first few things you do when the alarm goes off on Monday morning? If you're anything like me, your morning ritual includes a bold coffee blend and a quick perusal of social media before settling down at your desk for the day.


The Equifax Hack - Now What?



Each day, the news regarding the Equifax breach, where upwards of 143 million account records were exposed through a flaw in a web service, keeps getting worse.  On September 20th, we learned that apparently, the initial breach occurred sometime prior to March 2017 when Equifax hired an outside security company to review their systems but then, nearly four months went by before Equifax cyber-security personnel discovered it extent.  And then it was nearly two months later before the general public was told about it. It will likely be months or years till the full details and extent of the breach is fully understood.

There have been many other hacks and breaches over the past several years.  Many, like the Yahoo email address breach were much larger, exposing several times more user information. In the Yahoo hack, over a half billion email accounts and passwords were possibly exposed.  So why is the Equifax breach far more serious?  Because of the amount of personal data that’s stored by Equifax in one set of records. Nearly all important information about individuals including social security numbers, dates of birth, employment information, banking, loans, mortgages, and credit card information is right there. For the “bad-guys”, it’s a treasure trove.


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