Category: d2 Business Solutions

Time to move beyond status quo & cut the hidden costs!

Eradicating Failure: Addressing Executive Management’s Fear of Downed Networks

For the past two decades, advancing technology has unquestionably enhanced the way we conduct day-today business. A stable, reliable and secure IT system means efficient operations and optimized productivity, service, and communications. It fosters greater opportunity and increased revenue potential. Today, through technology, small-to-medium sized businesses anywhere can serve customers globally twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, which was unfathomable 5-10 years ago. In today’s business world, anyone can be as big as they want to be.

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On April 14, Google formally acknowledged via a Terms of Service update that Gmail messages, both incoming and outgoing, are now being automatically scanned for the purpose of creating targeted ads. If that alarms you, keep reading!

Last month, a U.S. judge ruled that the courts would not combine the various lawsuits accusing Google of violating privacy rights into a single class action suit. Why are users suing Google over privacy rights? Because the company now admits that it scans the messages of its 425 million active email users – not just when the messages are in transit, but also when they are stored on Google servers. Google argues that users, who agree to terms of service “implicitly” (if not passively), should recognize this practice as part of the email delivery process.

Gmail’s Terms of Service now state, “Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.”

Users have a history of rolling with the changes when it comes to Google’s increasingly looming presence in their private lives – but naturally, some will decide that the company has finally gone one step too far. Those users, specifically business users, will need to find a new email support service –preferably, one that commits to a “zero knowledge” policy. They can find it in outlook2go.

outlook2go is a hosted Microsoft Exchange email service that caters to small and mid-sized businesses. The company offers three service tiers, with plans that start at only $6.95 a month per user. The highest tier includes HIPAA and FINRA compliance and encrypted email delivery – plus, the zero knowledge policy that Gmail refuses to offer.

For businesses that want to leave Gmail behind, outlook2go is offering the opportunity to try its product for free. You can request a 30-day, risk free trial of this hosted Microsoft Exchange email service by signing up at http://outlook2go.com.

Article originally posted on outlook2go blog – Google’s New Privacy Policy, Users Seeking Alternatives for Hosted Email

A number of business owners in Orange County have realized the immense value of outsourcing the IT solutions. This has led to an increased demand for Orange County computer support services. As a result, the number of Orange County computer support companies has increased steadily over the years. With all the IT companies offering these services, you need adequate information in order for you to make the right choice for your business. It is always a good idea to compare the services of a few companies as well the prices at which they offer those services in order that you may choose the best.

Irvine Computer SupportFirst, you need to inquire about the business hours of the IT support services that you are considering. It is imperative that you know what hours the IT support will be available to your business. While majority of computer support companies offer 24-hours a day services, their main offices may keep specific hours. This can be important information because you need to be confident that your business activities will not grind to a halt if a big problem occurs in your network. Some computer network support providers may troubleshoot your problems at any hour, but only provide maintenance and updates during given times. Obtain all this information upfront.

An important question that you should ask the computer technician representing the IT support service is, “How do we get support?” It is wise to ask the computer networking support provider about communication. Ask the computer technician how you will be getting in touch with the Managed Service Provider (MSP) he is representing. Do they have a single point of contact and will you be assigned a case manager? Also, inquire about the means of communication – Skype, email, phone, etc. Find out what hours your contact will be available. Having someone who works for the provider on your side can be a lifeline when things go awry.

Find out from what the Irvine computer support provider gives the highest priority to when hiring staff – customer service or technical knowledge. The response can tell you a lot about the potential vendor. However, you need to decide before hand what the acceptable answer may be i.e. which one of the two options is most important for your business. Note that there is no wrong answer. Excellent computer networking support includes technical support as well as soft skills.

Business IT support providers will typically automate your basic business processes in order for your business to operate faster and more effectively than your competitors’. Automated business processes free up the time your employees spend in routine operational task and gives them an opportunity to participate on the tactical and strategic level. Find out from the MSP which processes will be completely automated and which ones will be managed directly. The initial conversation you have with the prospective IT technical support providers will help you make the right choice. Choosing the right IT support provider will ensure your business receives the superior services that translate into profit.

It is always a good idea to look at a few service providers when looking for Orange County computer support services. Comparison shopping allows you to get as much information as you can about the companies you are considering so that you choose the best. This way, you are guaranteed of getting superior Orange County computer support services at reasonable prices. In other words, you are assured of getting the value for your money. IT is one of the most important departments of modern business so it is vital that they choose the most suitable provider; one that will give solutions for the business’s unique needs.

Computer Support

First, you need to inquire about the business hours of the IT support services that you are considering. It is imperative that you know what hours the IT support will be available to your business. While majority of computer support companies offer 24-hours a day services, their main offices may keep specific hours. This can be important information because you need to be confident that your business activities will not grind to a halt if a big problem occurs in your network. Some computer network support providers may troubleshoot your problems at any hour, but only provide maintenance and updates during given times. Obtain all this information upfront.

An important question that you should ask the computer technician representing the IT support service is, “How do we get support?” It is wise to ask the computer networking support provider about communication. Ask the computer technician how you will be getting in touch with the Managed Service Provider (MSP) he is representing. Do they have a single point of contact and will you be assigned a case manager? Also, inquire about the means of communication – Skype, email, phone, etc. Find out what hours your contact will be available. Having someone who works for the provider on your side can be a lifeline when things go awry.

Find out from what the Irvine computer support provider gives the highest priority to when hiring staff – customer service or technical knowledge. The response can tell you a lot about the potential vendor. However, you need to decide before hand what the acceptable answer may be i.e. which one of the two options is most important for your business. Note that there is no wrong answer. Excellent computer networking support includes technical support as well as soft skills.

During your initial meeting, find out from the business IT support provider which systems in your business will be automated. One of the main benefits of computer networking services is knowing that routine business processes are quickly handled, without wasting your employees’ time. The MSP typically automates a number of the basic business processes. It is important to establish from the MSP’s technical support team which of your business processes will be automated and which ones are going to be managed directly. It is also prudent to establish how these business processes will be monitored. This information will help you make the best decision for your business.

Everywhere you turn, more large companies are jumping into the cloud. They know the cloud is the secure way to store files, and they know that cloud file sharing for business is will protect their shared data in the event of a security breach. In fact, the cloud has become so pervading that now, the biggest names in business and technology are investing big budgets into building up their cloud capabilities, racing to be the first to become the dominant name in cloud computing.

Case in point: Google recently reported that it’s doubling its office space near Seattle to expand its cloud technology team and engineers. Because it is arguably the biggest name in search and it has the power to make or break the visibility of every website, pleasing Google is the goal of every smart webmaster. If your organization understands the influence of Google, then it may be of interest to you that Google values the cloud enough to significantly expand its physical property to make room for a bigger cloud team.

Who is Google competing with in the cloud race? As always, it’s Microsoft. The company that gave us the world we now live in recently invested an astounding $700 million on a new data center to support its cloud expansion. Dubbed “Project Mountain,” the data center is not located in Seattle, as one would think; instead, it is planted in West Des Moines, Iowa, perhaps as a way of positioning the data of MS cloud users literally in the middle of the country. Maybe it’s symbolic, maybe it isn’t – but it proves that Microsoft knows the value of the cloud.

In fact, Microsoft actually preceded Google in this shift; two years prior to the news of Google’s cloud expansion, Microsoft announced that 90% of its research and development investment was earmarked for cloud technology. No matter which of these big tech behemoths wins the cloud computing race, we want you to know that d2 Business Solutions has been doing business in the cloud for more than five years. We may not have the name recognition of Google or Microsoft, but we continue to reinvest into our infrastructure into providing the most high quality cloud storage services and cloud file sharing for business. The fact that these big names know the value of the cloud proves one thing: that we’re doing something right.

Originally posted on my companies blog – The Cloud Computing Race

How would you describe a small business? One that staffs less than 20 people, working at a single site? If you run a business that fits this description, consider the reasons why cloud computing can work for a small business like yours.

Small business owners are always seeking ways to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively – and in the uncertain environment we live in, they have to do it in a way that is as secure as possible. Those are the advantages that cloud computing offers. A cloud file service eliminates the need for a complicated, expensive network to be located onsite at the business. All that hardware is unnecessary, because the data center is located somewhere else – at the site of the secure, reliable cloud hosting service.

In short, small businesses should want cloud computing for three practical, cost-related reasons:

1.) Lower startup costs. Cloud based software applications, located on the web and delivered by a hosting provider, can cost a great deal less than their commercial counterparts. Plus, backing up data and storing data in the cloud can significantly lower the cost of running the network.

2.) Less space, more longevity. When you share files in the cloud and store all your data there too, there is less memory used on the computers in your office; that means a much longer lifespan for those machines. And, there is less space needed for network routing when you are on the cloud.

3.) Lower overhead. An in-house IT department is something that many small businesses just can’t afford. Some companies outsource to a mobile IT provider, but these services are expensive as well, piling on the overhead and driving down productivity while everyone waits for “the IT guy” to show up every time there is a problem.

While a cloud file service may not take the place of all a business’s IT needs, it certainly eliminates many frustrating and expensive issues. Storing, backing up and synchronizing data away from your location can make a big difference in how often you need IT support, which reduces your overhead.

Cloud computing works for small businesses, when the cloud file service you choose is competent, experienced and affordable. D2Business can be that provider; contact us if you wish to receive more information.

Originally posted on d2business.com blog Why Cloud Computing Works for Small Business 

One question I am often asked by those considering our cloud file sharing service (drive2go) or our cloud desktop solution (desktop2go) is, “Is cloud computing secure?” That is not unlike saying, “Is your bank secure?” It is a valid question, but a broad one with an equally broad answer.

Here it is: There is no 100% security guarantee with any data storage, but when you store and share files in the cloud, it is certainly more secure than “traditional” storage methods such as premise based installations managed by in-house staff. That is partially because companies that utilize in-house storage have less of a budget for data security staff, therefore they make less of an investment in it. I would say that most small to medium size business have a false sense of security. I have audited literally thousands of businesses IT infrastructures and seen more gaping holes and improperly configured backups than anything else.

Conversely, a cloud service provider has a big stake in security; in fact, it is the basis of their entire business model. If there is a data breach, their entire business goes down with the compromised data as they lose clients by the truckload. That is why cloud services like drive2go utilize private keys, to ensure that only the user has access to the data for his account. This is not the case in any other cloud file storage services that uses shared keys, which may be encrypted but are still less secure.

Services that facilitate storing and sharing files in the cloud are categorized into three service models: software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a Service (PaaS). All three types of cloud providers have made great strides in securing and certifying their data centers with methods such as encryption. But, it should be noted that the process of securing cloud file storage is not all that different than it is to secure a physical server in a on-premise scenario . Both require a strong access control policy, minimal access ports and a rock solid application layer to secure the data stored within.
With so many information security concerns being exposed by the media in recent months, it is completely understandable that individuals and companies are concerned about the security of a data storage method. I contend, as do many data security experts, that storing and sharing files in the cloud is a more secure method than traditional, on-premise storage, especially for the small to medium size business market.

Originally posted on d2business.com – Cloud Computing Security

What Makes Cloud File Sharing Better?

That is the question that many enterprisers are asking, and for good reason: Everyone is talking about the cloud’s superiority to other file storage service and backup methods, and it can be easy to assume that much of it is hype. But we’re here to assure you that it isn’t. All it takes is a look at the Microsoft earnings for Q3 2013 to be certain that the cloud is here to stay. In fact, Microsoft Office 365, which features the premier cloud product SharePoint, is now raking in 1 billion in revenues annually.
There are many reasons the cloud is the better place to store files, but these three stand out the most:

1. It saves money.
To pay for an onsite Sharepoint solution, you have purchase expensive server hardware and licensing, including web, application and database servers (a minimum of one database and one web server is required). Add in the staff to manage it all and an expensive separate license for each internal user, and that figure jumps up to several thousand.

Now, consider the alternative: a cloud file storage and synchronization service, which stores and synchronizes all your data offsite. You don’t buy the equipment, you don’t need extra staff and there are no licensing fees to worry about. For any business looking to get started on the cloud, these savings just make sense.

2. It eliminates outsourcing.
With onsite file storage, you not only need to budget for extra in-house IT staff; you also need to make room in the budget for outsourcing. This includes hiring dedicated Microsoft administrators from time to time, not to mention a new consultant every time you have a question.
On the other hand, cloud file sharing and storage allows you to step away from the management of your system; the professionals who were on hand to see the implementation of your cloud solution are handling the back end somewhere else, and you never need to see them. Onsite duties stay in-house, and hands-off automated systems take care of all the updates and implementations.

3. Updates happen all the time.
Speaking of updates, cloud file sharing and storage gives you permission to forget all about them – because they happen so frequently, you’ll never have time to stop and wonder when they’re coming. An onsite file storage product only updates every couple of years; why would you want to use an outdated product?
Of course, licensing this product is not something the average business owner can afford. That is why d2 Business Solutions offers an affordable way for companies to take advantage of cloud file sharing, backup and storage services. Contact us to learn more.

Originally posted on d2 Business Solutions Blog
What Makes Cloud File Sharing Better?

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Updated August 2016 - Matt Dubois