Technology

Technology is an integral part of daily life. People use social media sites, online networking, and technology for everything from staying connected with family and friends to career advancement.

The benefits are extending to the classroom with innovative technology used in the classroom and for schools and teachers to connect with students, parents, and communities. Living Tree is an innovate private social network for schools that leverages technology to enhance communication, collaboration, and partnerships in the context of K-12 education.

Creating a private social network offers advantages for family communication with each other, teachers, schools, and community organizations. Teachers, schools, and school districts have implemented technology in various ways to increase family engagement in education technology for the benefit of students. Check livingtree.com to learn how easy it is to create your own private social network.

Backed by Research

Research has been conducted by the Harvard Family Research Project on how technology is being used to engage families in the education of their children. The research shows several positive results of implementing technology to engage families. The researchers found that using technology to engage families helps them become more involved in education, which offers advantages for student achievement, such as better grades in elementary and high school, higher graduation rates, better attendance, and a higher rate of students going on to higher education.

The United Way has implemented projects that are designed to support communities in improving education and reducing dropout rates using technology. Their projects utilize technologies that include text messaging and online data systems to facilitate communication between families, students, and schools.

Technology has been used in high school classrooms for several years with great success. In recent years, the use of technology has expanded, with teachers, schools, and entire school districts now using this idea to support academic performance and family involvement from Pre-Kindergarten through high school graduation.

How Technology is Used in Schools

Online data systems have been used for a number of years by school districts across the country. A username and password are supplied to parents to log in to the online data system. This enables parents to keep track of how their students are doing in school, check upcoming assignments and tests, attendance, and other details.

Parent groups, sports teams, and organizations have created their own pages and groups on social media sites for the purpose of communication and collaboration. However, privacy issues prevent many from making this leap. A private social network offers enhanced security that social media cannot guarantee. Private social networks are used by families to stay organized and communicate with teachers, schools, and sports teams. Schools and community organizations can use the network for event planning, volunteer signups, and communication. Teachers are able to engage more effectively with their students and families. 

Increasingly, people are using mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets to access the internet, send emails, and keep track of schedules and activities. A family engagement app allows parents to receive notifications and communicate with the network using a smartphone or tablet, so notifications are received and everyone gets where they need to be on time.

The accounting industry is next in line for disruption. After major disruptions in every sector, accounting is the next major field on the verge of change. The pattern keeps repeating everywhere — complacency and manual processes eventually lead to dissatisfaction.

Clients keep looking for changes in their customer service experience and management keeps searching for better financial control and eventually both converge at a technology solution that completely alters the customer experience and the way financial data is controlled and presented.

Samuel Edwards identified “5 Trends Driving Disruption in the Accounting Industry” a few months ago and rightly pointed out that technology has revolutionized operations across industries and while these advances are strengthening some businesses, accounting departments are about to be disrupted.

Edwards identified the reasons for disruption being stagnation, lack of automation and time-consuming manual processes. While most industries have been upgrading their legacy systems, the accounting industry has been slow to adopt new technologies. This has led to a great inequality as businesses that jumped on the technology bandwagon at the right time are thriving while many accounting firms are struggling.

Avoiding Disruption

Modernizing ERP accounting software is one way these businesses can avoid disruption. Accounting firms should take the advantage of the cloud ERP software that offer strong financial management features coupled with specialized add-ons such as advanced bank reconciliation. This has led to enormous gains in time which was earlier spent on manual processes and understanding complex spreadsheets.

Accounting firms that have adopted ERP software are able to focus on business operations and strategy. They are also able to better focus on client needs because of the gains in technology. Automation has led to great growths in productivity and has increased efficiency.

Firms that have also been using ERP accounting software are also able to become more customer centric since most of the tedious tasks are being handled by the ERP. Cloud-based ERPs have also led to a reduction in costs as most of the Cloud ERP vendors pay for the infrastructure such as the servers themselves.

The capital expenditure for accounting firms is less and with the pay-per-user subscription they can scale up and down according to their needs.

Features to keep in mind before selecting an ERP

Security is a major concern for many accounting firms as most of the information in the industry is generally confidential. Cloud ERP vendors have increasingly been offering top notch security and many firms have found it easier to switch to the cloud because of the great security features.

Compliance, however, is another factor that accounting firms need to bear in mind when it comes to technology. An important consideration is whether the ERP accounting software is capable of providing features that can encompass all the regulatory compliances that are being enforced by the various financial agencies.

Benefits of ERP accounting software on cloud-based system

1. Accessibility: With a cloud-based system, the ERP accounting software can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.

2. Pick and Choose: Many companies provide a basic suite of integrated programs like inventory control, accounting and point of sale. Beyond these core modules accounting firms can opt for add-ons like payroll functionality or e-commerce components when the need arises.

3. Accuracy: Once data is input into the cloud-based system it rarely requires duplication. The instances of human error are reduced and the cloud ERP’s automated systems ensure you don’t have to input the same information twice.

It is an interesting time for the accounting industry as it tries to accommodate these changes into its business model. The winners and losers from these changes will emerge based on how well they adapt to these technologies.

Television and radio broadcasters long ago learned that they could keep viewers and listeners tuned to their stations with “teasers,” or short announcements made before commercial breaks that promised exciting new information when the broadcast resumed.

Internet marketers extended the “teaser” concept into “clickbait,” which promises new or exciting information for a user who clicks a link in an email or on a social media site. The success of clickbait attracted hackers and cybercriminals, who are now using it to terrorize corporate information systems networks.

A 2016 analysis of the “Kovter” malware campaign reveals the risks that corporate networks face from clickbait and adware. The analysis suggested that corporate cybersecurity teams downplay clickbait and adware risks because of perceived greater threats from ransomware and other network cyberattacks.

Yet once a clickbait link passes a corporate network firewall, it can propagate to other network users and remain installed within the network. Cybercriminals are then able to remotely upgrade the link to give themselves greater control and access to other information on the network. Rather than crippling the network, the cybercriminals leach information from it that they are then able to sell to other hackers.

Network security personnel who try to block clickbait links from their networks are likely attempting to hold back the tide. Those links are prevalent throughout Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms, and hackers are increasingly proficient in convincing their targets to click on them. They frame clickbait links as enticing human interest stories, or they analyze a target’s social media habits and frame clickbait links to match the target’s interests. An employee who briefly lets his guard down or who is looking for a diversion from the routine of daily tasks might click on a malicious link without giving it a second thought. That one click can create a crack that later compromises an entire network.

Social media sites are one of the greatest threats to corporate networks because they are rife with ads and postings that include clickbait. Network cybersecurity experts recommend that corporations implement a number of steps to maintain their network security and to minimize the social media clickbait threat:

  • Audit your own company’s social media presence. Understand who has authority to post information and how information is secured and monitored.
  • Monitor different social media platforms to confirm that the company has no unauthorized social media presence.
  • Establish a baseline for traffic on the company’s website and social media presence, and use that baseline to detect unusual amounts of traffic.
  • Maintain strong policies that keep employees informed of what they can and cannot do online while they are signed into a corporate network.
  • Watch social media platforms for unexplained changes and deviations not just in average traffic, but also with respect to the nature and quality of information that is disseminated about a company.

Employee compliance with policies may be the most difficult step to implement and enforce. Companies should emphasize, for example, the employees should never take online quizzes or surveys that are posted on social media, that they should not provide personal information or email addresses in order to access a social media posting, and that they should stay away from sites that entice them with information about popular culture.

Even the most stringent corporate policies, however, will not provide an absolute guarantee that an employee will refrain from clicking on an infected clickbait link. When that happens and a corporate network is compromised, the company’s direct and third-party costs can exceed hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. In that case, network security insurance can be a critical tool to reduce the company’s exposure and losses. Cybersecurity insurance carriers can also work with a company to upgrade its network security and to reduce the risks of clickbait-associated malware attacks.