student data security

Student Data Collection and Data Security

With Common Core, there is a greater push for the collection and use of student data to help guide teaching and learning. It’s an often debated topic for educators and parents, with growing concerns about student privacy and the security of student data. In Arlington, Virginia, a panel of education experts and stakeholders met at the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) Leadership Summit.

Student Data Privacy and Data Security

The SETDA deputy executive director, Geoff Fletcher moderated the panel discussion at the Summit. He explained that student privacy and data security are two different things, and the panelists agreed.

Student data privacy deals with ensuring only authorized individuals have access to student records. Authorized individuals are those who are using student data to improve student learning and achievement.

Student data security deals with ensuring the data is protected from data breaches, hackers, and malicious use.

The role of vendors such as LIMOTTA IT in the protection of student data cannot be underestimated, and should be addressed with parents to relieve concern that their children’s information is stored securely.

Transparent Data Collection Policies

Parents should be informed about all student data collection and how it is used with complete transparency. If they can’t get answers to their questions about data collection, it is likely they will feel schools are trying to hide something, and become uneasy with the process. Here are some tips for sharing student data collection information with parents:

Explain the Value of Student Data – parents should know how the student data is being used and what the school is already doing to protect both data privacy and security. If you work with LIMOTTA IT for our Education Cloud +Plus solution, parents can even log in to view their student records.

Identity the Information Collected – parents should know exactly what student data is being collected.

Show how Data Collection Helps Students – the only purpose for collecting student data is to improve their performance, their learning, and create new educational opportunities for students.


5 Healthy Snacks For The Office

Staying healthy when you are at the office can be exceptionally challenging. Workers are haunted by vending machines, coffee carts, and confectionary platters that tend to pop up around special occasions. Sugar and fat follow us everywhere, including to the office, and the immediate satisfaction can have long-term effects on your overall health. Don’t fall victim to the office junk food plague; pack the right snack for a healthier day.


Things to Consider When Packing Snacks

When you are shopping for or packing snacks for the office, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Consider all of the cravings that may arise throughout the day: sweet, salty, creamy and crunchy.
  • Choose high-protein foods to keep you satisfied.
  • Always pack water to keep you hydrated and away from the soda or coffee machines.
  • If it says fruit, make sure it actually has fruit and not just fruit-flavored sugar
  • Pay attention to the calories and serving sizes.


5 Healthy Snacks for the Office

Here’s the thing: you want variety so that you are not bored with your snack by lunchtime. Mix it up without loading up on calories.

  1. Protein pack

Make small containers that contain a handful of nuts, dried or fresh fruit, and a small 1-inch cube of your favorite white cheese.

  1. Yogurt and toppings

Pack Greek yogurt and your favorite topping. To keep it interesting every day, change up the toppings throughout the week: fresh fruit, honey, granola, cinnamon, dark chocolate shavings, peanut butter, etc…

  1. Fudge bar

Yes, you can fit chocolate into your snacking schedule, and without all the guilt that is supposed to accompany sweets. When you are at the store, pickup a box of sugar-free, natural fudge bars. When you don’t want to reach for a rice cake, head for the freezer and open a sweet treat instead. A fudge bar has minimal calories and zero guilt.

  1. Low-fat chocolate pudding with a banana

Again, change up your schedule so you don’t get bored, and chocolate pudding is always a good way to go. Pack a low-fat chocolate pudding and a fresh banana. When you get a hankering for sweets, or the cookie tray opens its jaws in the break room, reach for the pudding and toss it with fresh banana slices.

  1. Apple slices and almond butter or hazelnut spread

You can’t go wrong with an apple. There are so many different varieties that it is hard not to find one you like. Apples are food superstars and they have the ability to keep you fuller longer. Pre-slice your apple before work and pack it with a small container of almond butter or a hazelnut spread. If you aren’t in to dipping, slice your apple and put it in a Ziploc bag with a tablespoon of cinnamon. Shake the bag so that the slices are coated in the decadent spice. Use regular cinnamon, not a cinnamon-sugar mix.


Do you have healthy snack options at YOUR hotel? What’s your favorite workday snack? 

Let us know in the comments below!

cloud computing

4 Ways Cloud Computing Benefits The Hospitality Industry

Cloud computing can be very beneficial for all kinds of businesses, including hotels. By implementing a cloud computing solution, you can give yourself a competitive advantage and make your life easier at work.

And that’s not all! Here are 4 more ways cloud computing benefits the hospitality industry.


Cloud Computing Helps Hotels Cut Costs

With cloud computing, you only pay for what you need. That means that your upfront costs are low because you only pay for the cloud storage and computing power that your hotel needs.

You also cut hardware costs, energy costs, and operational costs with the cloud. Your need for excessive hardware in your hotel is reduced and, as a result, you won’t burn throughout as much electricity. The cloud also cuts project time, which results in cut costs and higher productivity.


Cloud Computing Solutions Are Reliable And Secure

With the cloud, you store your data securely and remotely instead of in an on-site physical location. That way, you don’t have to worry about losing all of your data if a natural disaster or security breach occurs at your location.


Cloud Computing Gives You The Flexibility To Work Remotely

Ever wondered what it would be like to work remotely?

With cloud computing, you can find out! The cloud gives you the flexibility to work from anywhere. All you need is an internet connection and a device, like a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. Then, you can access all of your critical business application from anywhere.

The whole world is your office, and you can work remotely without having to sacrifice productivity!


Cloud Computing Helps You Improve The Guest Experience

With cloud computing, you can improve staff collaboration immensely. So, if your guests need assistance, your staff can be more responsive in a quicker and more efficient way. Not only that – cloud computing helps you reduce downtime. That way, you and your staff can keep your guests happy and keep them coming back to your hotel in the future.


Overall, it’s clear that cloud computing benefits the hospitality industry. Not only that – your hotel can benefit from cloud computing in a major way. LIMOTTA IT can help you implement the exact cloud computing solution you need.

Contact us today for a free consultation!

Finding a Work-Life Balance When You Work in the Education Industry

For individuals working in the education industry, maintaining a healthy balance between work and a personal life can be tricky. Not only are educational professionals responsible for the loved ones at home, but they are also taking on many responsibilities for others at the job as well. At times, balancing is more of a juggling act of various demands and expectations, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Bring enjoyment and balance to your life with five easy routines. Start tracking your time to see how you are actually spending your time – and then create a plan that balances it better. Think about how much attention and devotion you give to yourself and your priorities. Here’s how to get started:


1. Monitor your health

You will be of no use to your coworkers or your family if you are constantly tired and unhealthy. You are understandably strapped for time, which means your body is likely the first thing to suffer. When you are overwhelmed, your stress levels go up, nutrition and activity levels decline, and your sleep slowly diminishes. Purchasing a health-monitoring band will help you monitor and control your health better. It is very important that you incorporate healthy habits into your daily routine: stop working by a specific time so you can sleep, take the stairs instead of the elevator, avoid the morning sugar-loaded coffee drink, avoid the donut and bagel tray, and always carry water around with you.

2. Prioritize

What means the most to you? Think about what it is you want to accomplish with your life and make that the number one item on your priority list. After you make the first commitment, consider the second, third, fourth, and fifth most important things you want to focus on. If your family is a priority, make a conscious effort to include them on your list and remind yourself of your dedication to your family. Do not forget that downtime can be an invaluable priority on your list, and don’t forget to say “NO” when you have too many things to do!

3. Start the morning off right

Mornings are critical at home and at your place of work. Many professionals find that a family meeting is just as helpful as an office meeting. Make sure everyone is on the same page and knows what is expected of him/her. Use the morning to ready yourself, your coworkers, and your loved ones for the day. A creative and engaging family meeting will set the tone for a better, well organized day; it also gives your family members the attention and voices they deserve in the family as well.

4. Motivate the ones around you

Your leadership is important at work and in your family. You are responsible for making sure your employees and your family members are energized, engaged and productive. You can accomplish this by motivating them and providing the leadership example your family and workers need to complete goals and projects.

5. Remember your goals

Keep reminding yourself why it is you are doing what you are doing. If you are reading this, family and your personal life are very important. As an educational professional, your work is also a passion of yours. Keep that in mind when you are around your family. When you are at work, focus on work. However, when you are at home, that is family time. Unplug, read a book, ask about your loved ones days, and share a meal together if you can. Learn to separate the two important areas of your life and you will start to experience a better work/life balance overall.



create a secure password

4 Tips to Help You Create a Secure Password

How safe is your online identity? If you are like a majority of users, many of your daily tasks are related directly to your online presence. From banking, to school, work, social media, and cloud-based services, much of your life is online, and you need to take steps to secure your online identity. The decision should not be taken lately, but you can still have a little fun with it.


Most Common Passwords of 2013

CBS News published an article in January 2014 that highlighted the 25 most common passwords of the previous years, and it is still surprising to see that users still resort to the same, hackable passwords. The top five on the list were:

  • 123456
  • Password
  • 12345678
  • Qwerty
  • Abc123


4 Helpful Tips to Help You Create a Secure Password

We live in a world that asks us to define our lives with a series four to 20 characters that includes upper and lowercase letters and symbols. Do not be bogged down by the password requirements, but do not get lazy either when you are creating your online password; it can cost you your identity. To create a secure password, consider the following four tips.

  1. Use a password vault service

If you know right off the bat that you will never remember all of your strange passwords, use a third-party service that stores your passwords for you. When you access the site, it will provide you will your login information for each of the sites you visit. You can also have the site save your login information so that you are automatically logged in to your sites when you access them.

  1. Get creative and be random

Use numbers and symbols to replace letters in a password. For example, K@r3n instead of Karen. Some experts also recommend that users append the first three letters of the site’s name to the end of the password: AMA for Amazon, FAC for Facebook, etc. You can also be completely random when you are choosing a password. Look around your space, what do you see? 3penTissuec@t.

  1. Use acronyms

Use acronyms to replace your favorite words or phrases.

  1. Combine your favorites

If you work with some of your favorite foods, cars, places, actors, song, etc., you can come up with many clever password phrases such as Tesla$wiftnacho. The passwords are strong, funny, and easier to remember.


Need more help with security and protecting your valuable data? Contact Limotta IT today!


Getting the new iPhone? Here’s What to Do With your Old iPhone

Recently, Apple released a much anticipated new iPhone – the iPhone 6. Die hard iPhone fans scooped up the new device with over 10 million orders in the days following its release. So, what can you do with your old iPhone short of selling it? Here are some suggestions to keep your old iPhone usable.

Use your old iPhone for Fitness

One primary feature of the iPhone is that it also doubles as an iPod. This is not lost once the old iPhone loses cell phone service. Your old iPhone can still connect to Bluetooth and be used in the car or at home to play music. This can be seen as especially useful for workouts and bringing your old iPhone places that you might not want to bring your old iPhone. By using your old iPhone as an iPod you won’t be obligated to fill your new iPhone up with songs. That space can be used by other applications.

If you do choose to bring your old iPhone to the gym there are a wide variety of apps that allow you to track work outs. Various apps even provide you daily works outs. You are able to plans meals and track your daily nutritional intake. By using the plethora of apps gears toward health and physical fitness you will be able to meet your goals. In addition, there are apps that can be useful for other hobbies such as hiking or mapping your progress as you run.

iPhone Apps are Useful Educational Tools

Phones are expensive, and parents do not typically allow their children to play with their phones. Downloading educational apps on your old iPhone can teach your children responsibility while they learn! This also ensures that there are no accidental purchases or phone calls made, which can be problematic when parents share their phone with their children. Often times apps can be used that pair with what your child is learning in school.

Another unconventional way to use your old iPhone is to turn it in to a way to manage finances and spending. In addition to apps that let you log your everyday spending, there are also apps that allow you to manage grocery bills, stock up on coupons and compare product prices at your local stores. Some stores have their own apps, while other apps give you a comparison of many store prices, coupons, sales and deals.

Your old iPhone can prove to be extremely useful. Don’t miss out by trading it in or using it as an alarm clock!


The 5 Best Tablets Available Today

The tablet war is in full swing and with no end in sight. Technology is getting better, functionality is improving, and deals are being made. Consumers have the most to gain from the tablet wars, but which tablet is the best for you and your needs? Let us take a look at what could very well be the five best tablets on the market today. We will look at reviews, prices, and functionality to help you decide which tablet is right for you:


  1. Amazon Kindle Fire HDX

You can choose a Kindle Fire HDX that fits your needs and size preference. The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch is easy to use; it is priced at $349 and supported by on-demand Kindle support. The slightly more compact 7-inch Fire HDX is priced at $229; it offers a crisp screen, live tech support and fast processing. The Kindle Fire HDX collection is ideal for frequent Amazon users.

  1. Samsung Galaxy Tab S

There are a couple different Galaxy Tab S sizes you can choose from: 10.5-inch and 8.4-inch. The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 starts at $399; it features a slim design, high-definition display, the latest version of Android KitKat, and blazing speed. The larger 10.5-inch cohort is priced at $499; it is slim, lightweight, and offers 16GB storage.

  1. Google Nexus

The Google Nexus 7 is a leader in the small-screen tablet market. The $229 price is just as impressive as its functionality and battery life. The tablet features quad-core performance, a 1920 x 1200p, 7-inch display that is crisp and clear with 323 PPI. The tablet weighs only 10.2 ounces, and it is designed with cameras in both the front and back of the device.

  1. Microsoft Surface Pro 3

We like the Microsoft Surface Pro because it combines the best features of both worlds: laptop functionality and tablet portability. The only downside is the $779-$799 price tag. The productivity machine has a 12-inch display with a 2160 x 1140p screen. Microsoft equipped the 2-in-1 tablet with a kickstand and digital pen. The Surface Pro 3 is thinner and lighter than the previous two models.

  1. Apple iPad Air 2

It is no surprise that Apple is the number one tablet in the market today. The price for the Apple iPad Air 2 is between $489 and $499. The tablet is the CNET Editors’ Choice for Oct ’14, with an overall 9 out of 10 rating. The iPad is ideal for individual and professional use. Apple designed the tablet with the amazing new Retina Display screen with anti-reflection technology. The new A8X chip delivers astounding speed, and the 8-MP iSight camera offers superior photographing and video resolution. The Apple iPad Air 2 may be 18% thinner than its predecessor, but it has an amazing 675,000-app capacity.

the internet

How The Internet Has Changed The Way We Live

As I sit down to write this, I realize that I am using my internet connection to write this post, stream my music, check my Facebook updates, pay bills online, and wait for a video call from a coworker. In my office chair, I am surrounded by everything that I need to function on a daily basis, and that’s thanks to the internet.

The internet celebrated its 25th birthday this year, and it has accomplished a lot by the middle of its twenties. According to Socialnomics, an estimated 2.4 billion people go online each day; 600 million websites are online; and 500 million Tweets are sent every day. The internet has completely transformed the way people live their lives, so what are the billions of people doing each day?


Building relationships

The internet allows us to “talk,” without ever having to get on the phone. It seems as if our phones are simply around so we can avoid the people we don’t want to talk to, while texting and tweeting the ones we do. Old flames are connecting; families are communicating more; friends never have to go without seeing each other; and professional connections can flourish. There has also been a spike in online dating; no more awkward pickup lines at the bar and strange blind dates set up by your friends, who are certain they found someone who is “perfect for you.”

Shopping online

When was the last time you bought something online? If you are like many of us, it was probably in the last week or even the last hour. We can read reviews, research ratings, find the best price, and pay for an item without having to put on shoes.

Communicating face-to-face

Video calling has been taken out of boardroom and put in the palm of our hands and on our home computers. We can connect with friends, family and coworkers in nearly every corner of the world. Face-to-face communication has also made it possible to connect with members of the military when they are away from home.


We can work while drinking coffee or going to the bathroom. The internet allows us to do more at once and from different devices. You can work in one screen, follow a recipe in another, and update social media.

Diagnosing illnesses

Come on, we have all done it. Sometimes sites like WebMD reassure us that yes, in fact, we are as sick as we think we are. According to the Washington Post, 72% of users go online to self-diagnose, and 50% of doctors do as well. Let that sit with you for a moment.

Keeping up-to-date on everyone and everything

The internet has taken away the wonderment that is a personal life. We know everything about everyone, and at any given moment of the day. We know what our friends and our favorite celebrities had for breakfast.


We don’t have to stroll through the endless lines of movie rentals and CD cases. Thanks to the net, we can watch television and movies whenever we want, and we can listen to an endless supply of music. Not to mention, we don’t have to buy an entire CD just to listen to the only one good song.

Avoiding bank lines

Another favorite feature is online banking. With a click of a button, we can pay a good majority of our bills online, send people money, and request money from others. We don’t have to stand in long lines or wait a week for a check to clear. Apple Pay and Google Wallet have also made it easier to pay for goods and services without shuffling for the credit card.

disaster recovery plan

Disaster Recovery: Are You Prepared?

With winter quickly approaching, we are all reminded of what can happen when unexpected troubles come our way. Feeling like you are prepared doesn’t always mean that you are actually prepared. We have heard time and again how poor planning has led to unnecessary loss. Disaster preparedness is taxing to think about, and it can be hard to make it a priority.

Planning for Disaster Saves Businesses Money

Business owners have a lot on their plates, so it’s easy to put IT headaches on the back burner. This is no different than preparing for winter. We all know that there is a chance we could be hit by a big snow storm, but how likely are we to take those important steps to prepare? (Not counting the milk, eggs, and bread as storm preparation that many of us rush out to buy when we hear of an incoming snow storm!)

The number one way to prevent loss is to prepare for the worst case scenario. When an unexpected snow storm comes, would you rather your town have too many snow plows or not enough? This is the same idea that can be applied to your office practices. When it comes to IT infrastructure, costs can add up quickly. Pick and choose exactly what you will need in case of an emergency, so you can continue operating business as usual even when faced with storm damage, data loss, or equipment malfunction.

Develop a Plan and Follow Through

Once you develop a loss prevention plan be sure to follow through. Having the plan won’t do you any good if you wait until it’s too late. Everyone knows that snow plows hit the streets before the snow falls, salting and sanding the roads. What good would it do if they waited until after the storm passed? Implement your plan and perform quality checks on how well your backup system would work before you actually need it.

Don’t underestimate potential threats to your company’s valuable files and data. Adapting a half-baked approach to IT protection while hoping for the best is a waste of time and money. When serious snow storms are underestimated, the results have been tragic. Don’t allow this to be you! Statistically, 8 out of 10 businesses report a financial loss due to poor disaster preparedness – and many will never recover after data loss and wind up out of business! Don’t allow yourself to be a part of this statistic.

When you take time to develop a plan which safeguards your company’s wellbeing you are showing your employees that you are also taking care of them. This is extremely important. Employees take notice when there is a diligent and well thought out plan. If you don’t care enough about your business to invest in damage control why should employees care about their performance? Take steps now to safeguard your business and your livelihood. LIMOTTA IT offers both proactive and reactive IT Support plans to help businesses, schools, hotels, and breweries prepare for disaster. Contact us to learn more about our disaster recovery services.