Headshot of Mark Roy Long.

Mark Roy Long

Mark Long is a former technology textbook publisher and commercial writing instructor. As a freelance writer, he has written on topics ranging from project management strategies to software reviews to designing data centers. Most recently, he was a national news reporter for Knowhere News. When not writing or researching a forthcoming article, Mark can likely be found on a Waco, Texas, disc golf course or at a craft beer brewery.

Recent Articles

Windscribe VPN Review
Windscribe VPN is built for small businesses that need endpoint security across multiple platforms. In this review, we detail Windscribe VPN's best tools and more.
CyberGhost VPN Review
CyberGhost VPN creates an encrypted tunnel on networks to protect user data and personal information. In this review, we highlight CyberGhost VPN's best features.
A Small Business Guide to QR Codes
QR codes can instantly enhance your marketing, customer service, and engagement opportunities. Here are four ways to leverage QR codes in your small business.
NordVPN Teams Review
NordVPN Teams is a VPN with multiple encryption protocols, a kill switch, split tunneling, and more. We've reviewed NordVPN Teams' best features and benefits.
Surfshark VPN Review
Surfshark VPN has an encrypted tunnel that allows you to surf the net anonymously and safely. In this review, we highlight Surfshark VPN's best features and more.
TunnelBear VPN Review
TunnelBear VPN creates an encrypted "tunnel" that protects your data while you're on the internet. We've reviewed TunnelBear VPN's best features and tools.
ExpressVPN Review
ExpressVPN is a virtual private network that offers enterprise-grade level security and reliability for individuals. We've reviewed ExpressVPN's features and more.
Okta vs. OneLogin: How Do These Worthy Competitors Stack Up?
Okta and OneLogin are two enterprise-level identity management solutions built to protect your company's network. We compare both head-to-head; find out who wins.
ProtonVPN Review
ProtonVPN is a VPN solution with advanced security features that allow you to access blocked websites. We've reviewed what we like and what we don't like.
VyprVPN Review
VyprVPN is a virtual private network provider that offers a secure connection and protects identity. In this review, we outline VyprVPN key features and more.
A Small Business Guide to Creating Network Diagrams
A network diagram illustrates a company's computer network consisting of servers, routers, and other devices. Learn how to make a network diagram in five steps.
A Beginner's Guide to Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)
Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) software collects network data and analyzes information. Here are the three benefits of using SIEM software.
Okta vs. Azure Active Directory: Medium-Size vs. Goliath
Okta and Azure Active Directory are two powerful identity management solutions that offer similar features, but which is a better fit? We compare both; you decide.
A Beginner's Guide to SSO
Using single sign-on (SSO) in your business can give you robust security, increase productivity, and reduce workloads. Learn how SSO works and the four types.
Dashlane Review
Dashlane is a multi-password manager that alerts if your login credentials are compromised. In this review, we highlight Dashlane's best features and more.
Bitwarden Review
Bitwarden is an easy-to-use password manager that features 2FA, advanced security reports, and a password generator. We've reviewed Bitwarden's best tools.
Zoho Vault Review
Zoho Vault is a password manager for businesses that securely autofills your passwords on different sites. We've reviewed Zoho Vault's best features and more.
3 Ways Positive Customer Reviews Help Your Small Business
Positive customer reviews can bring in a wave of new customers to your small business. Here are three tips to help you get better reviews and boost conversions.
A Beginner's Guide to Pipedrive Workflow Automation
Extend Pipedrive's power when you incorporate workflow automation. Here are three Pipedrive workflow automation features to facilitate your sales strategy.
A Small Business Guide to Pipedrive LeadBooster
Pipedrive's LeadBooster add-on can enhance your lead prospecting and qualification process. Learn how to qualify more leads faster with this add-on tool.
A Beginner's Guide to Pipedrive Reports
Pipedrive reports give you insight into your sales pipeline to identify areas of strength you can leverage. Learn how to create powerful Pipeline reports.
1Password Review
1Password is a password management application that stores all of your passwords in a secure vault. In this review, we outline 1Password's top security features.
LastPass Review
LastPass is a titan in the password management industry. Its applications can protect your business. In this review, we outline LastPass's best tools and more.
Google Cloud Identity Review
Hackers often target companies' networks and data, so to stay one step ahead, learn how Google Cloud Identity's security tools can protect your small business.
Windows Azure Active Directory Review
Windows Azure Active Directory is an enterprise identity management software designed for IT departments. In this review, we highlight its features and more.
LastPass for Business Review
LastPass is an identity management solution with robust password management and multi-factor authentication. In this review, we detail LastPass's best features.
OneLogin Review
OneLogin is an identity management solution designed to protect your digital assets. In this review, we highlight OneLogin's best features and benefits.
Okta Review
Okta is an identity management solution with multi-factor authentication options. We highlight Okta's best features, benefits, and more in this review.
How to Create a Strong Password
As more computer networks expand and connect additional devices, having a secure password is critical. Here are six tips for making a strong password.
A Beginner's Guide to Endpoint Security
Endpoint security software protects devices such as servers, laptops, and smartphones connected to a network. Learn how to protect your endpoints with these solutions.
The 10 Best Help Desk Applications for Your Small Business
Looking for help desk software that takes your IT management and customer service to the next level? Here are the best help desk solutions for small businesses.
A Small Business Guide to Inventory Carrying Cost
The amount of money your business spends to keep products in stock is known as your inventory carrying cost. Learn how to calculate and reduce carrying costs.
A Small Business Guide to Setting up a Barcode Inventory System
Barcode inventory systems track information like product, manufacturer, and pricing data. Learn how to set up your own inventory tracking system in five steps.
A Beginner's Guide to the Change Control Process
When changes are introduced into a system, change control processes minimize operational disruptions. Learn how to implement controlled changes in five steps.
Revel POS Review
Revel POS is a restaurant point-of-sale (POS) platform with robust reporting tools. We've detailed Revel POS's best features, benefits, and more in this review.
A Small Business Guide to FOB Shipping
Free on board (FOB) shipping means you have more liability if something happens during shipping. Decide if FOB shipping is the right option for your business.
A Beginner's Guide to Tokenization
Tokenization replaces the customer's digital data with a randomly generated number that offers more security. Here's an inside look at how tokenization works.
The 5 Best Lead Generation Applications for Small Businesses
Lead generation software can help you find valuable prospects so your business stays laser-focused. Here are five options to help your small business thrive.
A Small Business Guide to Analytical CRM
An analytical CRM solution uses collected data to make smart decisions about the customer. Learn how to leverage this data so your small business can benefit.
3 Types of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems for Small Businesses
Choosing the right customer relationship management (CRM) software is critical if you want your business to succeed. Here are three types that can help your small business grow.
A Small Business Guide to Buying Wholesale
Business owners are always looking for suppliers to buy products at wholesale prices. Here we outline how to find wholesale suppliers for your small business.
A Small Business Guide to Collaborative CRM
Collaborative CRM works to facilitate the customer experience to maximize profitability. Here's how a collaborative CRM works within a small business.
A Small Business Guide to Generating Sales Leads
Generating your own sales leads can make or break your business. The Blueprint outlines a five-step process for how to generate leads for your small business.
The 5 Best POS Inventory Management Systems for Small Businesses
Looking for a point of sale (POS) system to process payments or provide inventory management? Here we outline the best POS systems for your small business.
A Beginner's Guide to Utilizing POS Data
Your point of sale (POS) system captures data that can help you make informed business decisions. This guide explains five ways to utilize your POS data.
Freshworks CRM vs. Salesforce: A David vs. Goliath CRM Showdown
Freshworks CRM and Salesforce are two industry giants in the customer relationship management (CRM) arena. We compare both to determine which provides the most value.
A Small Business Guide to POS Reports
Point of sale (POS) systems are packed with powerful POS reporting features for analyzing data. Learn these five essential POS reports for your small business.
A Small Business Guide to Mobile POS (mPOS) Systems
A mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) system expands your sales footprint and transaction opportunities. In this guide, learn how to set up your own mPOS system.
5 Benefits of Using a CRM for Your Small Business
Customer relationship management software helps keep customers on board and simplifies the customer acquisition process. Here are some benefits of using a CRM.
A Small Business Guide to Configuration Management
Configuration management allows your IT team to operate the network efficiently and securely. This guide explains how to get started with configuration management.
Inventory Control: A Small Business Guide
Inventory management is an essential part of keeping track of stock levels. The Blueprint covers inventory control processes and tips to help your business.
A Small Business Guide to Software Project Management
Software development is complex, and good project management can mean the difference between success and failure. Here's how to manage a software project well.
A Small Business Guide to IT Risk Management
Threats to your IT network are steadily increasing, and you should learn how to mitigate the effects. The Blueprint lists three tips for IT risk management.
A Small Business Guide to the Security Operations Center (SOC)
As your data needs increase, you may need a security operations center (SOC) to protect your data. There are benefits of creating a SOC for your small business.
A Beginner's Guide to the Network Operations Center (NOC)
If you've outgrown your IT help desk, then it's time for a network operations center (NOC). The Blueprint outlines NOC best practices for your small business.
How to Create Runbooks: A Small Business Guide
IT runbook documents go through an approved IT process for activities and events. The Blueprint details how to create a runbook for your small business.
A Small Business Guide to Software License Management
Good software license management can avoid software and licensing violations, saving you money. The Blueprint covers software license management best practices.
A Beginner's Guide to ISO 20000
If your business is ISO 20000 certified, then your IT department meets rigorous guidelines for service design. The Blueprint covers the benefits of ISO 20000.
A Guide to POS Terminals for Small Business
Your small business may need a point-of-sale (POS) terminal to process payments, but POS systems offer even more benefits, both practical and customer-focused.
A Beginner's Guide to Customer Service Training
A well-trained team can take your small business's customer service from good to great. The Blueprint covers how to set up a customer service training program.
Creating a Relationship Marketing Plan for Your Small Business
Use relationship marketing to build customer loyalty and long-term engagement. Our guide shows you how to implement this CRM strategy for your small business.
Groove Review
Groove is a customer service software that has an easy-to-use inbox interface. The Blueprint goes through Groove's best features in this review.
Kayako Review
Kayako is a full-service customer support software with expanded support capabilities. The Blueprint covers Kayako's best features and more in this review.
Help Scout Review
Help Scout is a web-based customer service platform that can expand your customer service capabilities. The Blueprint covers Help Scout in this review.
A Beginner's Guide to ITIL Change Types
Using ITIL change management protocols will minimize the risk of IT service interruptions. The Blueprint covers the uses of ITIL change management.
A Guide to Buying Software for Your Small Business
Purchasing new software can be an unsettling experience and can lead to buyer's remorse later. The Blueprint covers how to buy software for your small business.
The 6 Best Project Management Collaboration Tools
More teams are working remotely, so using the best project management collaboration tools is essential. The Blueprint lists the best tools your team should use.
Airtable vs. Asana: Which One Should Your Small Business Use?
Airtable and Asana are two popular project management softwares for small businesses. The Blueprint compares Airtable and Asana's best features in this review.
Salesforce Service Cloud Review
Salesforce Service Cloud is a comprehensive customer service solution. The Blueprint covers Salesforce Service Cloud's strengths and weaknesses in this review.
LiveChat Review
LiveChat is an online chat feature for your website and creates IT help desk tickets. The Blueprint takes an in-depth look at LiveChat's hybrid functionality.
Trello vs. monday.com: Which Is Better for Your Small Business?
Trello and monday.com are top-rated project management software solutions. The Blueprint compares both so you can decide which one is best for your business.
How (and Why) You Should Integrate Trello and Jira
Teams often use project management software like Trello and Jira to collaborate. The Blueprint goes through how to integrate Trello with Jira.
The 7 Best Project Management Tips for Beginners
Projects can be overwhelming as you learn how to manage people and workflow. The Blueprint goes through some helpful project management tips for you to succeed.
A Small Business Guide to ITIL Service Request Management
Improve your IT help desk processes with service request management. The Blueprint covers how the service request management process works.
A Small Business Guide to ITIL Problem Management
ITIL problem management can streamline and standardize many of your IT department activities. The Blueprint covers how to help implement problem management.
WordPress.com Review
WordPress.com is a popular website builder due to its features and customization options. The Blueprint covers WordPress.com's best features in this review.
A Beginner's Guide to Chargeback Protections
Chargebacks are inevitable. You'll never eliminate chargebacks, but you can minimize them. The Blueprint goes through steps to protect against chargebacks.
Spiceworks Review
Spiceworks is an online community of IT professionals who trade information and collaborate. The Blueprint covers Spiceworks in this review.
A Beginner's Guide to ITIL V3
ITIL V3 consists of 5 core processes within the IT service lifecycle that should be integrated into your business. The Blueprint shows how to implement ITIL V3.
BigCommerce vs. Shopify: Do You Want Features or Support?
Two big e-commerce players squaring off are BigCommerce vs. Shopify. The Blueprint compares both to help you choose which is the better platform.
Freshservice Review
If you're using emails in lieu of help tickets, you need a help desk solution like Freshservice. The Blueprint covers its features and more in this review.
SolarWinds Service Desk Review
Make the leap to a full-fledged service desk solution like SolarWinds Service Desk. The Blueprint reviews SolarWinds Service Desk best features and more.
A Beginner's Guide to Document Archiving
Your business needs a document archiving policy to protect your records. The Blueprint discusses the steps to create your own document archiving policy.
Shopify vs. Etsy: Which Is Right for Your Small Business?
Two top e-commerce platforms squaring are Shopify vs. Esty. The Blueprint compares them head to head. Who will come out on top?
5 Best Payment Methods for Your Small Business
There are several payment options available to capture the full range of payment methods. The Blueprint goes through 5 payment methods for your small business.
A Beginner's Guide to Document Retention
It's critical to create and maintain a document retention policy for your small business. The Blueprint shows you how to develop a document retention strategy.
A Beginner's Guide to Content Management
A website is an integral component to generate revenue and grow your customer base. The Blueprint goes through steps to creating a content management plan.
Toast POS Review
Toast POS has robust features for sales, inventory, and employee management. The Blueprint covers your need-to-know info about this popular POS system.
Wet Signatures: What are They and When Do You Need Them?
The wet signature is a standard signature that's been accepted for decades. The Blueprint covers today's best practices for wet vs. e-signatures.
The 8 Best Alternatives to ActiveCampaign
ActiveCampaign is one of several players in email marketing. The Blueprint goes through 8 ActiveCampaign email marketing alternatives for your business.
The 5 Best Retail POS Systems
Choosing the right POS system for your retail business is critical. The Blueprint looks at 5 retail POS systems that could be the best option for your business.
A Beginner's Guide to Accepting ACH Payments
As a small business owner, you need to use payment methods for customers beyond just cash. The Blueprint will help you set up direct deposit ACH payments.
Clover POS Review
Clover POS handles payments for small-to-midsize restaurants as well as other vital tasks. The Blueprint explores if this point of sale system is right for you.
9 Email Marketing KPIs to Track for Your Small Business
Email marketing is integral to growing your customer base and increasing revenue. The Blueprint goes over important KPIs to track so you can maximize results.
A Beginner's Guide to Assembling Work Reports
Writing work reports is directly related to your company's success. Streamline the writing process with these five easy steps from The Blueprint.
How to Prospect for Sales for Your Small Business
You must have a well-developed sales prospecting plan to grow and increase your customer base. The Blueprint goes over the steps for effective prospecting.
Shopify POS Review
Looking for your first POS system or thinking about changing providers? Shopify POS has multiple plans for businesses of all sizes. The Blueprint takes an in-depth look at this.
A Beginner's Guide to Accepting Credit Card Payments
Do you want to accept credit card payments for your small business? The Blueprint walks you through the process to set up a point of sale (POS) system.
The 6 Best Client Management Software of 2021
Looking for the best client management software for your small business? Manage your clients and build relationships with these top 6 CRM software solutions.
A Beginner's Guide to Lead Qualification
Businesses must grow their customer bases to generate more revenue. The Blueprint covers how to effectively qualify leads to maximize sales.
How to Perform a Value Chain Analysis
Business owners are always searching for a competitive advantage. In this guide, The Blueprint takes an in-depth look at how to perform a value chain analysis.
A Beginner's Guide to Email Automation
Ongoing communication with your customers is critical. In this guide, The Blueprint explains how to create email automation for your small business.
How to Develop a Business Contingency Plan
Every business experiences unexpected disruptions that impact day-to-day operations. The Blueprint shares a comprehensive business contingency plan.
How to Produce a Business Impact Analysis
A business impact analysis (BIA) helps a company determine its risk tolerance and disaster recovery plans. The Blueprint breaks down the steps required to conduct a BIA for your business.
How to Build a Successful Cross-Functional Team
To succeed in business, collaboration is essential. Learn how to successfully and strategically incorporate cross-functional teams into your organization.