What’s Office 365?

25 10 2012

In the past it has been fairly expensive for a small to medium business to keep up with technology.  Most business owners that I have worked with often prefer to maintain a lean networking budget but have the need for  solutions that improve productivity and business process.  These solutions can become and complex and expensive quickly. Finally the businesses are getting a break.  No longer do they have to surrender to this undesirable expense.  Microsoft Office 365 is here to change the game.

Microsoft is one of the biggest names in software. Every computer user in the world has likely used a Microsoft product at some point. They’re one of the most trusted developers of PC software in the industry.

Microsoft Office 365

What is Office 365?

World-class, familiar tools including Word, Excel , PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote on your computer

  • Cloud-based professional email
  • Video conferencing and IM
  • Share files inside and outside your organization
  • Easy and secure administration
  • Financially backed reliability
  • Predictable monthly costs with no up-front infrastructure costs
  • Ability to view and edit documents with your colleagues from almost anywhere
  • Communication using audio, video and IM from almost anywhere
  • Ability to focus more on your business and less on your technology

Why Use MS Office 365?

Familiarity with MS Office Suite makes it easy to use MS Office 365. People unfamiliar with previous versions find the learning curve very small compared to other types of business software. Microsoft Office 365 is truly a productivity solution for working professionals, and businesses of all sizes.

This inexpensive, innovative way to share business brings all aspects of Microsoft Office together in a continually updated cloud computing environment.

Technology is an ever-changing part of the way we do business.  Don’t worry about getting left behind anymore!

If you would like to find out what Office 365 can do for you please contact me for a free consultation.  Click here for my contact info

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Is Your Computer Infected?

24 04 2012

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The following information can be accessed at www.fbi.gov under the home page story, “DNS Malware: Is Your Computer Infected?”

According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, there is a danger of losing internet connectivity in July if your computer has been infected by a particular malware. The full story is available here:

http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2011/november/malware_110911

A very short summary: A criminal hacking group worked to plant malware on pc’s that redirects websites to phony DNS (Domain Naming System) servers, so that a user might click on a web ad and be redirected to a phony server instead of the real one. The details specific to this are not important to what’s happening now. What is important is that, because this was discovered to be very widespread, the FBI set up their own DNS servers to redirect the incorrect web queries to the correct servers. Maintaining those servers is an ongoing job, so at some point the FBI is going to have to stop maintaining those servers. That date has been set for July 9, 2012.

If your computer is infected, then on that day that the FBI servers are taken down, your internet browsing will fail. Your internet connection will still be up, but pages you try to get to will not resolve properly, so it will appear the internet is down. There is a quick and easy way to tell if your computer is infected. Go to the following website. If it is green, your computer is free of the malware. If it is red, your computer is infected and will need to be cleaned by the above date.

www.dns-ok.us

If you discover computers that are infected, please don’t hesitate to contact us to assist, or you can follow the instructions at the FBI website.

Guest Blog written by Joseph Conklin, Engineering Services Supervisor @ Absolute Networking Systems.





Windows What? Windows 7 and What to Expect Beyond

27 02 2012

Yeah I know, it is getting quite confusing.  Are you even on Windows 7 operating system yet?  Me neither.  Now Windows 8 operating systems is coming out.  I hope these resources provide a little guidance for the individual and business as to what to do next.

One of the most important things to consider is the current applications you are using.  Are they compliant with the operating system you are looking to go to?  It is important you get confirmation before proceeding in any way, you can create quite a lot of nightmares for yourself if you have application issues. Here are a couple of tips to consider:

1.  Confirm important applications you use work with the new operating system

2.  Confirm all old files will work with the new operating system

3.  Confirm your computer meets operating requirements.

Why change?  Well if you have older computers simply replacing them may be in order and you may be force to go to the latest operating system. Your older operating system may no longer be supported and if your computer crashes you may be plumb out of luck.   Here is a good reference to see what is Windows 7 Compatible:  http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/windows-7/en-us/default.aspx

If you have anything older than Windows XP, er, uh, you are outdated.  Otherwise, here are some life cycle details of current, active ,Microsoft Windows Operating systems:  http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/products/lifecycle

For the enterprise here is a nice post about some thoughts that need to be evaluated:  http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/how-and-when-will-enterprise-apps-be-made-windows-8-ready/11898

Take your time, do the research. Today, most of our business and personal life is on computers. You know what, you are worth it!

P.S.  I liked this recent blog post identifying a couple of Windows 8 features you may not be familiar with:  http://bit.ly/AaDNWT

Guest Blog Written by Michael F. Ross, President @ Absolute Networking, http://www.allcommunicate.com/blog





Are Hosted or Virtual VoIP Telephone Systems Right For You?

17 10 2011

Trying to decide what phone system is best for your business can be a very painful task.  It’s very important to work with a trustworthy communications expert and evaluate your options.

Hosted VoIP systems are popping up everywhere.  They are also being referred to as Virtual VoIP systems.  Don’t let the two different words make you think one is better than the other.  They’re the same thing.

The are a number of disadvantages of hosted VoIP telephone systems including:

  • Internet dependency
  • Call Quality Issues
  • Being locked into a single vendor
  • Scalability Issues
  • Ongoing Cost

Internet Dependency

For most business your telephones are the front door to your business.  This is the way the majority of your customers communicate with you.  A major point of failure for a Hosted VoIP System is the internet.  If your internet is down, your router fails, your switch quits working, or the power is out your phones WILL NOT WORK.

Call Quality Issues

As with all VoIP telephone systems call quality is going to be an issue that must be addressed, running your Hosted VoIP telephone system over less than adequate bandwidth can be detrimental when it comes to maintaining calls.

You need to ensure that Quality of Service (QoS) is established and enough bandwidth is assigned to your VoIP calls.  This can be done with most modern firewalls as they have QoS settings that allow you to prioritize bandwidth usage.  If your network is not set up to properly support a hosted system get ready for headaches.

Being Locked In To A Single Vendor

If the hosted VoIP solution you purchased was bought on the internet good luck getting help.  Especially if you’re trying to find local help.  Most service providers will require you to sign up for a minimum term contract, which effectively locks you into their service and even with poor service it can be very difficult to get out of.  Once your out then what?  Chances are your hosted system wont be support by another hosted VoIP provided.

Scalability Issues

The scalability of hosted VoIP phone systems can be very expensive and cumbersome. To effectively expand your  Hosted Phone System you will need to increase the bandwidth to accommodate every few new users.  This can add up fast.  Another issues I have seen Hosted customers run into when expanding the phone system is the old phones are no longer compatible with new phones or software versions could be different.

Ongoing Cost

Just because the hosted solution was cheaper up front doesn’t mean it will always be cheaper.  With most hosted solutions you never own the equipment which means you never stop paying for it until you trade it in for a system you can own and depend on.

Hosted Market

Hosted Phone Systems do have their place in the market or they wouldn’t be around.  If you don’t care about the ongoing expense, have the proper network infrastructure established, a back-up plan for when the internet is down or  if you only have a handful of users at several locations possibly working from home.  This might be for you.