VMware View Price Increase

The price of VMware View will be increasing by 10% on September 28, 2012. Therefore, if you have been looking to deliver virtualized desktop services from the cloud but have not pulled the trigger yet. Now is the time to do so. If you would like to learn more about VMware View or other IT management products, contact NMGI at (620) 664-6000.

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10 cool things about HP ProLiant servers

used with permission from HP Technology at Work

In today’s data centers, an IT manager’s life is more hectic than it should be. Error alerts, system events, installation and update issues, and calls to support desks make it hard to get anything done. But HP’s next generation of servers—HP ProLiant Gen8—revolutionalizes that experience. Allowing IT professionals to monitor networks remotely and lightening their loads via a slew of automated, intelligent features, these really are the world’s most self-sufficient servers. Here’s why:

  1. Early video. We designed in the ability to display video within 3 seconds after the server is powered on. This is in contrast to previous generation servers which could take one or more minutes to receive video, thus giving customers status and error alerts where previously they would receive a black screen no boot error.
  2. HP Intelligent Provisioning. Everything you need is pre-loaded for painless system setup and deployment. In fact, this leads to 45% fewer steps and 3 times faster deployment.
  3. HP Active Health. Your 24/7 mission control for automated monitoring, diagnostics, and alerting. The goal of HP Active Health is to log potentially useful information before any failure occurs, giving you 5 times faster problem analysis.
  4. Agentless Management. Get all core management functions for internal system components including health monitoring and alerting without ANY drivers or agents installed. Enhanced intelligence = higher performance for managed systems.
  5. HP Smart Update. Part of our new “smart movement” in Gen8 servers, this technology lets you sequence, stage and schedule consistent updates across hundreds of servers at once, resulting in 69% less admin time.
  6. HP Smart Storage. Smart drive carriers and solid state-optimized, HP Gen8 servers provide a balanced system architecture consisting of HP Smart Storage, HP SmartMemory and HP Flexible Networking technology, delivering 6 times faster solid state storage performance versus previous generations.
  7. Discovery Services. With embedded intelligence across three dimensions (location, power utilization and thermal demand), users gain a unique level of visibility and control over their data center energy efficiency.
    • HP Location Discovery Services: Enable energy-aware workload placement and automate asset management.
    • HP Thermal Discovery Services: Reduce energy usage and increase compute capacity.
    • HP Power Discovery Services: Eliminate power configuration errors and precisely track power usage by rack and server.
  8. HP Insight Online. The industry’s first cloud-based management and support portal gives you anywhere, anytime, any-device (and user-friendly) access to track server health and events and rapidly resolve issues.
  9. Elegant system design. Virtually eliminate common problems that cause downtime and data loss with designed-in quality throughout and intuitive simplicity—like a Smart Socket Guide to eliminate bent pins.
  10. FlexibleLOM. A choice of LOM gives you flexibility, cost savings, and component serviceability. In fact, you can customize your server’s networking today and change to meet future needs without overhauling server infrastructure.
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Microsoft Surface: What’s It All About?

 

Time will tell if the speculation that Microsoft’s Surface is indeed the “iPad killer”. The launch of Surface was met with mixed reviews; Microsoft’s Windows division president Steven Sinofsky’s demonstration showed Surface encountering issues surfing, playing games and smoothly playing media. Despite the frustration of a less than perfect first look, Surface still looks like it will live up to Microsoft’s hype.

At first sight Surface looks like the offspring of a laptop and a tablet. It is sleek and slim at just 9.3-millimeters thick with what Microsoft calls a “revolutionary” 3-millimeter keyboard/cover. The pressure sensitive cover magnetically attaches directly to the tablet. The integrated kickstand eliminates the need to purchase an additional cover with a stand. Built tough, Surface has a VaporMg casing that is made to protect the hardware inside and boasts a smooth finish.

At 10.6 inches the 16:9 widescreen HD display is large enough to share a viewing experience with a co-worker or friend. Surface is media friendly with auto-adjusting screen intensity and an SD card slot. Microsoft notes that Surface’s screen can be seen indoors or out. Surface is being promoted for use at home, in the office or on the go. Microsoft is calling the battery “great” but not revealing how long the battery actually lasts. Surface features a USB port for printing, charging your phone or sharing.

Surface will come in two different versions running different operating systems, one geared towards business clients and the other geared towards home users. The business version will run Windows Pro 8, and the home version will run Windows RT. RT is designed to run Metro Apps and will not be able to run full programs that Window’s users are accustomed to. However, those who have and use a Windows phone will find RT very easy to understand and use. Surface tablets that are running Windows 8 will offer a 42 W-h battery and options for 64gb or 128gb storage. The storage options for Windows 8 Pro models offer double the storage of RT models. Additionally the Windows 8 Surface is 13.5-millimeters in thickness, slightly thicker than the RT model.

Beyond tech, Surface has a fun side and has covers available in five vibrant colors. All in all, there are still many unknowns regarding Surface including ship dates and the all-important price tag What we do know is that Surface looks great and offers several standout features that may not make it the “iPad killer” but may make it a contender in the tablet market.

*Used with permission from Microsoft at Work

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CPAs make a case for customer relationship management

BY SETH FINEBERG

Despite best intentions and good advice, accountants have long avoided or been mystified by the concept of customer
relationship management practices and tools. To be fair, many in the profession still barely understand what CRM is or
can do for a CPA practice, but times are changing.

In 2011, our survey of the Top 100 Firms found that CRM was the most popular technology plan among those that were
planning on implementing anything new that year.

Firms discovering the benefits of the latest CRM tools are doing so for the purposes of better communicating with their
existing client base, marketing services, building practice areas, or as a key component to overall firm growth.
Below is a small sample of the CRM solutions CPAs selected, how and why they chose them, and their overall experience
of working with them.

Creating processes

Firm: WebsterRogers / Florence, S.C.
Size: 120 staff
Product: Results CRM
Commencement date: January 2012
On record: Director of practice development Tim Allen
Challenge/objective: Wanted better tracking and management of the sales processes across eight offices.
Amount spent: Five users for under $2,000. This was a one-time fee, plus extra customer care costs for one year, which
includes upgrades.

Process: Allen was hired in June 2011 and was already speaking about CRM at a high level in different parts of the firm.
Once he garnered partner buy-in on the idea of adopting a CRM system, he began researching them, demoed a few, and
made a recommendation in September 2011.

“I had been tasked with managing the sales process; apart from keeping track of activities, we needed to manage that
better. If we wanted to grow by $2.4 million, we need to bring in $200,000 worth of business each month, and without
CRM we’d have no idea what’s in the pipeline,” said Allen. “It’s an evolving activity in our firm. Many of our partners have
little to no familiarity with CRM systems; some may have no idea what a CRM system is. I said we need to have this tool
for the firm and was tasked by the executive committee to go out and research and make recommendations.”

Results CRM was recommended by an outside IT consultant, and Allen, along with the firm’s managing partner and client
services manager, liked what they saw. Once approved, Results CRM, a cloud and on-premises-based system, was
deployed in November 2011 as a pilot, and by January 2012 the firm started using it collectively.

“We really liked the ease of use, and compatibility with our existing [accounting and practice management] systems was
also a key driver,” said Allen. “It eventually came down to pricing, and it was one third to half the cost of the next logical
CRM choice. Because we wanted to do it slowly, we wanted the system on our servers, but we will eventually move to the
cloud.”

Results/lessons learned: Allen admits that because of tax time, they are not currently using the system as much as he’d
like. The current challenge is making certain all data entered into Results CRM system is “clean,” meaning correct contact
information, names and titles. This, he explained, is a large part of working differently throughout the firm.

“It’s not something we’ve historically thought about – we never had to have the information in that manner,” said Allen.
“Having the system is not the be-all and end-all, there are growing pains as well as a cultural change, and they have to
gather complete information on their prospects and clients; otherwise, this will not be effective. As much as I’d like it to be
a revolution in the firm, it’s turning out to be more of an evolution.”

Next steps: The firm will likely have more active sales partners on the system after busy season, as well as education to
help partners identify a “qualified prospect.” Allen is not expecting immediate results.

“We have aggressive growth goals and we are sticking to them. We’d rather reach for the stars and fall short than be
conservative and just hit numbers,” he said. “This is going to be a long process; it’s not something our partners have a lot
of experience with. Partners and accountants in general are not used to a systematic approach to sales.”

**Click here to read the full Accounting Today article**

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Support is ending for Windows XP and Office 2003

Keeping your technology up-to-date is good for your productivity and security—as well as your bottom line. 

Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) and Office 2003 will be reaching end of support in April 2014. We want to help you avoid the risk of running an unsupported version of Windows & Office, and to assist with your IT planning for 2012. The objective of this letter is to highlight the potential risks involved with the upcoming end of support of these products and to outline the options available to mitigate these risks.   

What is the situation and potential risk? 

Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 will no longer be supported from April 8, 2014 onwards. After this date, Microsoft will notprovide any public support for these products, including security patches, non-security hotfixes or incident support. 

Running Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 in your environment after their end of support date may expose your company to potential risks, such as:  

  • Security & Compliance Risks – Unsupported and unpatched environments are vulnerable to security risks. This may result in an officially recognized control failure by an internal or external audit body, leading to suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organization’s inability to maintain its systems and customer information. 
  • Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) & Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Support – A recent industry report from Gartner Research suggests “many independent software vendors (ISVs) are unlikely to support new versions of applications on Windows XP in 2011; in 2012, it will become common”. And it may stifle access to hardware innovation: Gartner Research further notes that in 2012, most PC hardware OEMs will stop supporting Windows XP on the majority of their new PC models. See Creating a Timeline for Deploying Windows 7 and Eliminating Windows XP SP3, June 2011.

What are the available options?

  1. Upgrade – This option affords customers the best return on investment by deploying a modern PC with Windows 7 Enterprise and Office 2010. Whether you’re a small business or the largest corporation with offices worldwide, moving to a modern PC with Windows 7 Enterprise and Office 2010 offers your business the ability to improve productivity for your employees and increase operational efficiency through improved PC security and management.

    To help customers with the migration/deployment process, NUMGI offers several options including proof of concept (POC) and production pilot programs, to help you achieve a successful upgrade to Windows 7 Enterprise and Office 2010.  

  2. Purchase a Custom Support contract through Premier Support to stay on unsupported products – If, for any reason, you decide to remain on Windows XP SP3 or Office 2003 after support ends, you have the option to purchase Custom Support. As a condition of buying a Custom Support contract, you must have a Premier Support agreement and Microsoft asks that you have a migration plan in place. The cost of Custom Support is significantly higher than regular support, and rises annually due to the rising costs of supporting a legacy product. 
  3. Do nothing – Microsoft recommends customers avoid this option for it can put you at risk of potential security and compliance issues.  

Where can you find more information?

  • Full details on Microsoft product support lifecycle is available at: http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle
  • Full details on end of support for Windows XP and Office 2003 is available at: www.microsoft.com/endofsupport 
  • Full details on Microsoft deployment guidance, training and free deployment tools for your IT Professionals at: www.microsoft.com/springboard

We can work with you to help you upgrade your PCs for today’s business environment. Contact us if you would like a personalized evaluation of your current PCs.

Use with permission from Microsoft.

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Providing IT Services and Technological Solutions for Your Financial Institution’s Needs

Network Management Group, Inc. has a very long and established history in the financial services sector. In the last 30 years of providing IT and technology services to financial institutions of all sizes across the country, we have seen the vast and dramatic changes in regulations and required security protocols. In just the last few years many previous system implementations and strategies have been rendered outdated and ineffective, which requires many financial institutions to implement new solutions that are both cost effective and deliver proven results. As a result of our extensive experience, NMGI specializes in protecting revenue from lack of productivity, lack of security, and unnecessary operating costs.

In today’s market, no matter the size of your business or where it is, you simply must have security features in place for all of your computers, data, records, and electronic communications. Your well-being, your customer’s well-being, and the future of your business depend on it. Further, your employees need to be aware of, and vigilant towards, all new security threats. It comes down to mitigating risk, and a technology security breach is a very real risk today. Developing risk management strategies and implementing effective IT solutions require professionals who know the ins and outs of the financial sector, including the regulations that govern banking and financial professionals.

Among other services for the financial sector, NMGI specializes in providing critical solutions for secure data backup that meet regulatory standards for disaster recovery. Our experience with the financial services industry spans three decades, so we can assist you with your operational and technology processes including business continuity planning. We are not strictly a technology or IT consulting firm because we have extensive banking experience. Our Consultants specializing in banking and finance have first-hand knowledge of operational problems and are available to speak with you today.

Services Include:

  • Compliance and regulatory agency assistance
  • Security Assessments
  • Security awareness training for GLBA compliance
  • Secure email
  • Platform Integration
  • Policy Generation, Review, and Management
  • FedLine Advantage integration done properly
  • ATM patch management and secure routing
  • Technology Planning
  • Technology Product Selection
  • Marketing Assistance
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FREE Data Protection Webinar with Randy Johnston

Randy Johnston50% Of businesses who lose data file for bankruptcy within 10 days!

How much revenue would your business lose if you lost access to your network data? Many small businesses without data protection services that experience catastrophic data loss never recover, even when the data loss is only for a day. From accounting records to company files, your business relies on having continual access to its data. According to research by K2 Enterprises, 50% of companies without a data recovery and system recovery plan, who experience a data loss of 10 days or more, file for bankruptcy immediately and 93% file for bankruptcy within one year. With a sudden halt to operations and subsequent loss of revenue, your operating expenses still continue. A comprehensive system recovery plan is a vital asset that ensures your business is not stopped in its tracks in the event of a disaster.

Network Management Group Inc. (NMGI) develops and hosts a wide variety of data protection services. In the event of a catastrophic server failure or natural disaster, our remote servers provide a backup of your server and can reproduce your data in as little as 10 minutes for files, 30 minutes for individual servers, and 24-48 hours for entire systems. Compare this to conventional backups, which may take several days for a full system recovery. This rapid recovery helps you resume business operations as quickly as possible and minimizes lost revenue
Remote backup is one of the easiest ways to protect your company’s data.

Don’t take chances with your company’s data. A fully integrated disaster recovery solution will give your company piece of mind. Network Management Group Inc. (NMGI) will host a FREE webinar that you are cordially invited to attend. In this FREE, informative data protection webinar, Randy Johnston, a leading industry expert will discuss topics essential for maintaining the success of your company and avoiding a potential disaster. Some of the many notable topics to be discussed include data protection, backup of server, system recovery, back up and recovery as well as many others.

Don’t leave your company’s future to chance!
Register for your free, no obligation data protection webinar today! http://www.nmgi.com/backup

You can also call (620) 664-6000 for immediate help!

FREE Data Protection Webinar with Randy Johnston

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Is your business prepared for an emergency?

Disasters happen. Is your business ready?

Preparing for an emergency is a key factor to business continuity after a disaster. Wherever the threat comes from – whether it’s physical, virtual, network failure or cybercrime-related – it’s important your business is equipped to deal with the problem.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates over 40 per cent of businesses never reopen following a disaster. And when we consider these potential consequences, it’s important you have a disaster preparedness plan ready. In creating such a plan Cindy Bates, Microsoft US SMB Vice President, recommends you consider the following: [Read more…]

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How to delete an Excel table without losing data or formatting

Let’s say you’ve created a table in Microsoft Excel. You don’t want the table, but you want to keep the data or formatting. The solution is simple: convert the table back to a data range.

Note: For this to work, you need to have an already completed table. You can also watch the video version.

  1. Click anywhere on the table. This displays the Design tab under Table Tools. A cell in the table must be selected for the Design tab to be visible.
  2. On the Design tab, in the Tools group, click Convert to Range.
  3. Click Yes. Now you have a data range without table options.
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Disruptive Technology

Disruptive Technology

Can you make it to the end of this article without getting distracted?

I admit, in writing an article advocating less technology, I feel as sheepish as Anheuser-Busch must feel in posting the “Enjoy Responsibly” tag at the end of one of their million dollar Super Bowl commercials. But this problem of office distractions has been gnawing at me since Outlook began popping up email notifications some 10+ years ago. Ding! Hey, there’s another one… [Read more…]

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