GUTS https://www.g-uts.com Your vision our passion Mon, 30 Mar 2020 14:33:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://www.g-uts.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/cropped-Favicon-01-01-32x32.png GUTS https://www.g-uts.com 32 32 Technology in a Time of Crisis https://www.g-uts.com/2020/03/30/technology-in-a-time-of-crisis/ https://www.g-uts.com/2020/03/30/technology-in-a-time-of-crisis/#respond Mon, 30 Mar 2020 14:33:54 +0000 https://www.g-uts.com/?p=1735 The changes the entire country has undergone recently have been, in a word, unprecedented. The beginning of March saw most of us working to accommodate the upcoming Spring Breaks our children would be taking. There was very little, if anything, to suggest we would be swallowed up in a global pandemic. Yet, despite the initial […]

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The changes the entire country has undergone recently have been, in a word, unprecedented. The beginning of March saw most of us working to accommodate the upcoming Spring Breaks our children would be taking. There was very little, if anything, to suggest we would be swallowed up in a global pandemic.

Yet, despite the initial shock, most of us are continuing to run our businesses, serve our clients, pay our suppliers, and, more or less, get things done. This would have been unthinkable just twenty years ago. The rapid increases in the sophistication, the availability, and the adaptability of technology since the beginning of this century has made it possible for the economy of the United States to avoid utter collapse during this crisis. Because of the presence of various applications, software, and devices, businesses are serving customers and clients using the internet, streaming applications, and various online pay platforms. An independent coffee shop and roaster, for example, has to close its doors to its walk-in customers, but is still serving them through the internet sales of their whole bean products and other merchandise made available through their website. The integration of a virtual storefront on a website is relatively new, and a feature we now take for granted, but technology like this is saving businesses from bankruptcy.

   Similar advancements in technology are facilitating the education of ourselves and our children through elearning and online courses despite the closures of schools and universities. The ways in which an educator can reach, theoretically, any number of students with lessons, homework, and opportunities for discussion is just short of miraculous. As with anything, there are some shortcomings with online education, but these are not sufficient to keep students from progressing appropriately. These shortcomings are now opportunities for the next generation of online education to move beyond what is available today.

Beyond the technology we are touching directly is the infrastructure of technology undergirding everything we are doing. The management of the nation’s electrical grid, which literally powers all of the technology we use, is facilitated by technology we never see. Likewise, the technology within the logistics industry enables our grocery stores to inventory their stock and place orders to suppliers in real time. These orders, then, are filled and on the road in the same day. Because of the unseen infrastructure in just these two segments of the economy, we have had none of the horrible consequences of pandemics seen in previous centuries. Hospitals, emergency management, and local governments have been able to care for and protect people in unprecedented ways, because they have the technology they need to do so.

While everything about this situation is unnerving and frustrating, none of this is as bad as it could have been. The technology we possess has prevented this from turning into an utter catastrophe. Most of us are still able to keep our businesses, care for our families, and do what we can for those, who are suffering losses during this time. Technology has proven necessary to mitigating the ill effects of a crisis and bolstering the necessary actions combatting that crisis. How is technology helping you through this time?

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Opening Your Office In The Cloud https://www.g-uts.com/2020/03/11/opening-your-office-in-the-cloud/ https://www.g-uts.com/2020/03/11/opening-your-office-in-the-cloud/#respond Wed, 11 Mar 2020 18:22:59 +0000 https://www.g-uts.com/?p=1683 The cloud. What do you know about the cloud and the effect it has had on the speed and efficacy of computing today? Most people have heard about the negatives: the lack of security and reliability. If we listened to negative reports, though, would we ever leave our homes? But we do leave our homes, […]

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The cloud. What do you know about the cloud and the effect it has had on the speed and efficacy of computing today?

Most people have heard about the negatives: the lack of security and reliability. If we listened to negative reports, though, would we ever leave our homes?

But we do leave our homes, because our own experiences tell us the reports are often exaggerated. The same is true with cloud computing. Today, the Internet’s backbone has never been more secure for the commerce conducted along it. Additionally, network speeds continue to improve and thereby reducing the latency users experience.

 

So, what is the cloud?

Cloud computing services provide business applications online, which are accessed from a web browser rather than from software loaded directly onto your computer. The shift from having the software loaded onto your computer to utilizing it in the cloud enables companies to react more quickly to environmental and market changes at lower costs than the traditional method of acquiring and using software.

The expression “the cloud” is shorthand for saying the software remains on the vendor’s computer network. For example, most income tax preparation software available now is sold and used in the cloud. We no longer go down to the office supply store and buy the latest version of our favorite tax prep software, take it home, then load it on our home computers. With our credit cards next to us, we go to the tax prep software’s webpage, click the mouse a few times, enter our credit card information, then wait a few seconds before being led through the 1040. The software and the information we enter resides on the software company’s computers before being uploaded to the IRS and our states’ revenue departments. Within 21 days, our federal and state tax returns are automatically deposited into the accounts of our choice and we’re done for another year.

Using business applications in the cloud is just as easy. The cloud allows for seamless updates to software, which gives your clients uninterrupted access to you. Cloud computing puts a team of experts at your service for a fraction of the cost, which allows your IT staff to focus on more important projects. Unlike traditional software, using software in the cloud allows you to customize the software for your unique needs and changing circumstances. Simply put, cloud computing makes your office leaner and more flexible at a much lower cost.

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2020 ICTA Annual Conference https://www.g-uts.com/2020/02/25/icta-annual-conference-2/ https://www.g-uts.com/2020/02/25/icta-annual-conference-2/#respond Tue, 25 Feb 2020 14:31:57 +0000 https://www.g-uts.com/?p=1629 GUTS to attend the 2020 Annual ICTA conference Held August 5-6th in Noblesville We look forward to seeing everyone there! https://www.indianatreasurers.org/

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GUTS to attend the 2020 Annual ICTA conference

Held August 5-6th in Noblesville

We look forward to seeing everyone there!

https://www.indianatreasurers.org/

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2020 ICTA Spring Conference https://www.g-uts.com/2020/02/25/icta-spring-conference/ https://www.g-uts.com/2020/02/25/icta-spring-conference/#respond Tue, 25 Feb 2020 14:27:30 +0000 https://www.g-uts.com/?p=1609 GUTS is attending the 2020 ICTA spring Conference March 10th 2020 -Carmel Indiana   We look forward to seeing you there!   https://www.indianatreasurers.org/

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GUTS is attending the 2020 ICTA spring Conference

March 10th 2020 -Carmel Indiana

 

We look forward to seeing you there!

 

https://www.indianatreasurers.org/

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GUTS to provide KY PVA Training https://www.g-uts.com/2020/02/13/guts-to-provide-ky-pva-training/ https://www.g-uts.com/2020/02/13/guts-to-provide-ky-pva-training/#respond Thu, 13 Feb 2020 16:20:44 +0000 https://www.g-uts.com/?p=1612 2020 KENTUCKY PVA PVD USER TRAINING GUTS will be conducting a PVDNet Assessment Training session for Kentucky PVAs and their staff. DATE: March 31, 2020 (PVDNet) and April 1, 2020 (PVDManage) COURSE: GUTS PVD User Training LOCATION: Griffin Gate Marriott, 1800 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY 40511 in the Terrace Ballroom CE HOURS APPROVED:  YES!  5 […]

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2020 KENTUCKY PVA PVD USER TRAINING

GUTS will be conducting a PVDNet Assessment Training session for Kentucky PVAs and their staff.

DATE: March 31, 2020 (PVDNet) and April 1, 2020 (PVDManage)

COURSE: GUTS PVD User Training

LOCATION: Griffin Gate Marriott, 1800 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY 40511 in the Terrace Ballroom

CE HOURS APPROVED:  YES!  5 CE Hours have been approved through KY DOR for each attendee.

GUTS will provide the Certificate of Completion for each attendee at the end of the training session to turn in for Education Hours credit.

Training will begin at 9:00AM and end at 3:30PM with a lunch break from noon to 1:30PM.  There are plenty of dining options within the hotel and nearby to visit.  Check in will begin at 8:00AM until we begin at 9:00AM.  Coffee will be served during the check in hour.  Anyone that arrives after the check in time will be checked in at the first break of the day.

There will be plenty of great snacks, soft drinks, water, and coffee at the morning break (around 10:30AM).  Lunch will be from noon – 1:30PM and you will be able to dine within the hotel at their restaurant(s) or you may enjoy any of the local dining establishments.

The Griffin Gate has provided a discounted room rate for this meeting.  Please follow the link below to make reservations, if needed.  Please make any reservations with this link by March 9, 2020 and let them know that you are with the “GUTS Group” to receive the discounted room rate.

Book your group rate for GUTS MEETING

Some items currently on the agenda are:

  • Sales Comp Searches
  • Separating land from improvements
  • Data Cleanup Tools and list of reports they can run to clean up data
  • Reviewing 1st Recap to Final Recap procedures
  • Updating soils
  • Review of county activity pertaining to 911 fees
  • How to use custom reports to identify and clean up data
  • Maintenance of photos, sketches and documents
  • Field App demo

Please contact Chad McDonald at ChadM@g-uts.com or (317) 374-9887 to receive your registration form or to ask any questions.

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What Is Ransomware? https://www.g-uts.com/2019/12/11/what-is-ransomware/ Wed, 11 Dec 2019 18:44:49 +0000 https://www.g-uts.com/?p=1573 Ransomware is a form of malware that an attacker uses to encrypt a victim’s files – they typically demand a ‘ransom’ from the victim before restoring access to the data.

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Ransomware is a form of malware that an attacker uses to encrypt a victim’s files – they typically demand a ‘ransom’ from the victim before restoring access to the data.

Simply put, hackers and cybercriminals send malicious software to the victims PC and once opened, they are locked out the system. Then the victims are served with the option of either paying a ransom to regain full control or have all their operations partially or completely shut down.

Once a system or network is infected with malware, a notification informs the victim that the decryption key will only be accessible once the payment has been made. If this message is ignored, then the decryption key is destroyed and the data can never be restored.

How It Works

You will be happy to know that that you won’t face such a threat unless you open a dubious link or attachment within an email.

Here are five steps of a ransomware’s life cycle – from infestation all the way to recovery.

ransomware

The System Is Compromised

Users are sent intriguing content or promotional offers with a CTA or attachment; once opened, their systems end up being compromised.

The Malware Takes Control

If the malware has been activated, it will instantly start populating certain file types with an encryption key. Furthermore, the user will be denied access to all such files.

The Victim Is Notified

When a system has been completely taken over, a notification pops up that informs the victim about the severity of the situation; it also includes details about the amount of ransom and the way it should be transferred.

The Ransom Is Paid

When cybercriminals gain access to a victim’s system, they either halt all operations or encrypt certain file types – and access is only granted once the ransom is paid in full and as per the instructions.

Full Access Is Returned

Attackers and cybercriminals typically send the decryption key to access all locked files after the payment has been made.

Types of Ransomware

Though you may have heard about ransomware in recent times, the interesting fact is that it dates back to the late 90s.

In 1998, the PC Cyborg strain denied access to files through asymmetric encryption, but 2012 was the year when the Reveton worm surfaced. This was the first occurrence of malware that held data hostage until an agreed-upon payment was made.

Currently, there are two types of ransomware causing havoc for many users; Locker Ransomware and Crypto-Ransomware. Both of these deny access to important files until money is successfully extorted from the victim.

 

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Top 10 Advantages Of Cloud Computing https://www.g-uts.com/2019/12/11/top-10-advantages-of-cloud-computing/ Wed, 11 Dec 2019 17:02:19 +0000 https://www.g-uts.com/?p=1555 With no need for a physical hard drive, data accessibility becomes quite easy – you can gain access to all files on the cloud from any device and at any time. For instance, posting digital media files on social media portals, using a dedicated banking application to transfer funds or view your current balance, etc. can all be done through cloud computing.

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With technological innovations happening as we speak – the world as we know it has changed significantly.

One such change is the reliance and use of cloud computing; simply put, this shift from on-premise facilities to the cloud gives us the ability to remotely access our files and documents without dependency on physical storage.

With no need for a physical hard drive, data accessibility becomes quite easy – you can gain access to all files on the cloud from any device and at any time. For instance, posting digital media files on social media portals, using a dedicated banking application to transfer funds or view your current balance, etc. can all be done through cloud computing.

Globally renowned cloud computing services, such as Amazon’s AWS Cloud Services, provides a safe and comprehensive platform to store and handle all your data.

But why is everyone jumping on the cloud computing bandwagon? It’s simply because of its convenience over conventional systems, as they increase efficiency, improve cash flows, etc.

Here are some benefits you receive by running your digital operations over the cloud:

1  Cost-Efficient

The amount of resources you utilize depends on the subscription you have opted for; the more expensive the package, the more storage and accessibility you receive.

At the start, you can subscribe for a basic package and as your load increases, you can move towards a higher package. Additionally, there is no need to establish server rooms or good-sized hard drives – all your data is stored on the digital grid.

2  Around The Clock Accessibility

Almost all service providers maintain an uptime of 99.9% and all applications can be accessed from everywhere.

3  Set And Adjust Limits To Resource Utilization

You can dictate the required resources as per your needs; for instance, if you expect more traffic during a sale, you can increase the server capacity and even downsize whenever required.

4  Remote Accessibility

All cloud platforms can be accessed from anywhere and at any time – this means that you can access your software and database from the field or halfway around the world.Cloud.

5  Real-Time Updates

Constant OTA updates are sent to enhance the software’s capabilities and security policies.

6  Secure Storage And Data Restoration Options

Data is stored in the cloud, so it is protected against any malware attacks or virus infestations on your personal computer. Even if your files and applications get corrupted, you can restore them from the backup you created in the cloud.

7  Environmental Friendly

Energy is conserved, as no over-utilization of physical resources takes place. With things running over the digital grid, many users can reduce their carbon footprint by turning off their PCs, etc.

8  Enhanced Collaboration

With shared storage, teams can easily collaborate in real-time.

9  Centralized Control Of Documents

There is no need to send documents and files as email attachments; with a good cloud platform, all documents are stored in an organized manner and can be accessed by those allowed to view them.

10  Easily Manageable

Backed by a central resource administration – SLA and managed infrastructure – users are assured of on-time maintenance, proper management and prompt delivery of IT services.

 

All in all, these are some of the top benefits that businesses can gain by shifting towards cloud computing.

 

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2020 ICAA Winter Conference https://www.g-uts.com/2019/12/04/2020-icaa-winter-conference/ Wed, 04 Dec 2019 14:04:07 +0000 https://www.g-uts.com/?p=1545 2020 ICAA Winter Conference Hyatt Regency  One South Capitol Avenue Indianapolis, IN 46204 1/21/2020 – 1/24/2020 http://www.inassessors.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020_Winter_Conference_Agenda.pdf http://www.inassessors.com/conference/  GUTS Vendor Booth on Tuesday, January 21, 2020- Studio Lounge Foyer – 12 pm -4 pm GUTS User Group Meeting on Wednesday, January 22, 2020- Regency C- 8:30 am- 11:30 am

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2020 ICAA Winter Conference

Hyatt Regency 
One South Capitol Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204

1/21/2020 – 1/24/2020

http://www.inassessors.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020_Winter_Conference_Agenda.pdf

http://www.inassessors.com/conference/ 

GUTS Vendor Booth on Tuesday, January 21, 2020- Studio Lounge Foyer – 12 pm -4 pm

GUTS User Group Meeting on Wednesday, January 22, 2020- Regency C- 8:30 am- 11:30 am

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Benefits Of An Automated Electronic Field Data Collection Workflow https://www.g-uts.com/2019/12/01/benefits-of-an-automated-electronic-field-data-collection-workflow/ Sun, 01 Dec 2019 17:26:01 +0000 https://www.g-uts.com/?p=1560 Gone are the days when governmental agencies, Industries, and consultants, etc. had to collect field data manually on paper-based forms. These entities are now moving towards digital transformation through tech-infused innovations to navigate through their workflows.

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Gone are the days when governmental agencies, Industries, and consultants, etc. had to collect field data manually on paper-based forms. These entities are now moving towards digital transformation through tech-infused innovations to navigate through their workflows.

The advantages are vast and numerous but simply put, this new technology helps the user collect more field data and process it in a more accurate and efficient manner – here are some benefits of implementing automated electronic field data collection:

Data Is Made Instantly Available For Analysis

In the past, the procedure of field data collection and processing was conducted essentially by hand, using paper forms. The collected information had to then be analyzed, logged and processed (data entry) into various digital formats and software applications.

This was an extremely time-consuming and inefficient process, especially due to the large amount of data. But with electronic data collection tools, the data is collected electronically, usually on a specialized laptop or wireless device/tablet, and then directly transferred and processed from a centralized database.

This saves a considerable amount of time as manual data entry is no longer needed and analysis can be carried out swiftly; this, in turn, allows for quicker decision making and more accurate data.

Data Quality Is Enhanced

With the help of real-time analysis and reporting, data collection teams can ensure that all the data is at par with the required benchmarks and standards directly from the site location (“field”).

Here are some examples of how data is analyzed and collected in the field:

  • Completeness Checks: All required fields are properly populated, and nothing is overlooked
  • Range Checks: Cross-checking is done to ensure that all the results fall within a logical range
  • Reference Values: Verification procedures are conducted ensuring that all reference values are properly included in the acquired data

When using an electronic data collection method, the authentication of the data is measured while still in the field. Then, if discrepancies are found after comparison with historical data or trends, the team can get to the bottom of it and make adjustments while still onsite.

data quality

 

Another positive aspect is that currently, there are many tools available to upload data with the right media files (photos, voice memos, etc.). So, when the entry is revisited, all the available information such as attachments are also displayed for a complete picture.

Supporting Tools for Field Crews

Depending on the product, many tools allow the collection of data via cell phones, tablets, and laptops. Again, all of the information is collected directly from the device and populated into a centralized database electronically, perhaps wirelessly.

Mapping and GPS

Most products feature a GPS function in mobile devices (mobiles, laptops, and tablets). New locations can be entered directly and tracked using their coordinates.

Instrument Interfaces

Tools and devices such as piezometers, weather stations, drones, multimeters, etc. can collect data and directly add it to a database. This gives the option of gaining quick access to detailed reports.

Integration Of Barcode Devices

By using a barcode reader, errors can be significantly reduced, and data entry becomes more seamless.  Field inspectors can concentrate on what is important, rather than taking time out for manual entries. By simply connecting different barcodes to record data, the user can start populating their database with valuable data and information.

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Implications Of The ‘Dark-Store’ Strategy For Local Governments https://www.g-uts.com/2019/11/21/implications-of-the-dark-store-strategy-for-local-governments/ Thu, 21 Nov 2019 17:49:30 +0000 https://www.g-uts.com/?p=1566 For the past few years, a majority of American states have comes across the Dark Store Strategy – a method that is used to weigh a commercial property’s value. 

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For the past few years, a majority of American states have comes across the Dark Store Strategy – a method that is used to weigh a commercial property’s value.

Many retailers have challenged the way their properties are valued by inspectors and the interesting part is that many have been successful in lowering the value of their properties. This, in turn, means that they pay lower property taxes as these are based on the property valuation.

Simply put, big-box retailers argue that all commercial properties, regardless of whether they are vacant or operational, should be evaluated in the same manner, i.e. as per their sale price. And they justify this claim by pointing out that even if they vacate their current property, it will not be easily sold out.

As a number of retail businesses in Michigan have managed to successfully use this argument in court, it is predicted that other states will be facing similar issues in the future. And since many local governments rely on property tax as a major source of funds – e.g. Carroll County earned 36% of its revenue from property taxes – this trend is of major concern.

Determining Property Tax RevenueProperty Taxes money

Two variables are used to determine property tax revenue:

  • Taxable property base
  • Property tax levy rate

Then there are three methods used to set the value of a particular property:

  1. Comparable sales approach
  2. Income approach
  3. Summation or cost approach

Once a valuation rate has been finalized, it is used alongside the tax levy rate to narrow down to the taxable amount owed by the owner.

What is concerning for many is the fact that the commercial sector includes many retail businesses that make a significant contribution towards the overall collected tax. Hence, if the dark store strategy becomes a permissible plea, it will benefit the retail store owner but at the same time, the state will end up with less money.

The fact is that the issue is extremely complex in nature and there are different laws from state to state; this is why lawmakers to date have not been able to come forth with a concrete law to put the dark store theory to rest.

Many states are now considering laws to protect local governments from the dark store strategy – their options include shifting the tax burden on citizens or equally unpopular choices such as downsizing city employees, reducing services, capital investment, etc.

All in all, if implemented in full swing, this strategy will reduce tax revenues that will in turn reduce the overall pace of community and economic development in the country.

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