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Interview: Q: Patrick, what is social media? A: Social Media are the online tools that help reveal the connections between us, and helps facilitate the creation and expansion of those connections. Q: When did you start learning about social media? How did things look back then? Was their Facebook or LinkedIn? A: Online bulletin boards were probably the first form of social media I ever used. That was in the early 1990’s. From 1998-2002, I used online collaborative tools for the Integrated Marketing Communications course I taught at the UW. It was essentially a portal that classmates used to continue the conversation outside of class and share files. One of the books I used in that course was The One to One Future by Don Peppers and Martha Rodgers—a book that encouraged marketers to communicate with prospects and customers in a one to one way. That was hard with the tools available then, but social media has made the one to one future a reality. It’s an exciting time. Q: What is your advice as a 1st best step for a small business that is just starting to use Social Media? A: The first thing you need to do is determine where your customers are. If they’re using LinkedIn, use LinkedIn. Twitter? Then use Twitter. Instagram? That’s where you should be. Go where your customers are! Q: If you had to pick one Social Media site for a small business to focus on, which one would it be and why? A: I would pick the one their customers and prospects are most active on. For example, a restaurant may want to look at using Foursquare or Yelp. Social media is meant to be a social medium, not just a broadcast medium. Don’t just start blasting your constituents with content. Q: How do you measure ROI on Social Media? A: That is the million dollar question. What is the value to create a human voice for your brand? What’s the value of being able to not just talk about being authentic or talk about customer service, but to prove it? What is the value of your company being able to engage with people who are just beginning the journey to learn about companies like yours to leave them with a positive and personal experience? What is that worth to your organization? The ROI is different for each customer. The ROI potential for some companies is significantly higher for some companies than others. Q: How does social media impact search engine optimization (SEO)? A: Social media helps drive search results. Search engines like to see inbound links from sites that receive a lot of traffic, so social posts linking to your website via social media sites will positively impact your site traffic. Q: Do you think there is a one-size-fits-all social media strategy for each industry? A: Every company is different and there will truly never be a one-size-fits-all social media strategy. That doesn’t mean you can’t leverage content or best practices, but your key messaging will be different from your competitors (or at least, it better be different from your competitors). Consider 100 different law firms that offer estate planning. While these firms may share some of the same tips, every firm is run by a different group of attorneys, all with different passions and hopefully different positioning. Really, each firm should have a slightly different take on each idea. Q: How will social media help small businesses achieve marketing and sales success? A: This goes back to the discussion regarding ROI. If you think about the stages of buyer readiness, social media can make someone aware that you are out there, since birds of a feather flock together. If you have a community of people that are interested in what you have to share, the network effect will bring more people like that to the conversation. Once someone becomes a connection, they learn more about your organization over time, which will lead to consideration. If you use social media to promote your goods or services, you may very well bring trial. And if your customers try you again—if they repurchase—hopefully they will ultimately become fans that refer others. Social media is just one tool in the marketing toolkit, but during all stages of buyer readiness, it can help turbo charge word of mouth marketing and move your organization forward. We hope this gave you insight into some great next steps on your pursuit to use social media for success in your business. Thanks again for being a loyal reader of our Predictably Better newsletter. We’ll be back next month!
Today we are outlining answers from our interview with David Thomson who is the CIO of Columbia West Properties and Pineapple hospitality located here in Seattle. For more information on Pineapple hospitality please visit www.staypineapple.com. David has been with the company for 3 years and has implemented a centralized I.T. infrastructure, in some cases taking applications from the cloud in house, and employed cloud services in others in order to streamline operations for a multiple location company. A critical business need during that time of company growth was supporting multiple cities, moving from a Seattle based organization to now including Portland and most recently San Francisco. With these additional cities the company I.T. has needed to scale over long distances with minimal resources at the outlying locations. To maximize uptime with minimal IT support one piece was adding a virtual desktop solution. Question: How do you handle redundancy for the virtual desktop server? Answer: We spread our virtual desktops out among multiple servers and have enough capacity to sustain a full server failure should that unfortunate event occur. The servers that provide the connecting infrastructure also need to be spread out and prepped to support a failure. Question: What is the costs to set up a virtual desktop environment for 10 users who already have existing client hardware devices? Ball park figure. Answer: You can expect to pay about the same amount for a vDesktop infrastructure as a full desktop/server refresh, the more users the easier it is to achieve this, 10 users may pay a small premium over standard desktops, 20+ desktops will actually save over a standard desktop/server refresh. Just keep in mind getting into this with a smaller user count only makes sense if you do it all at once, as you have to overcome the initial server acquisition cost (the computer where all the desktops run). Incremental users will also be about the same cost to add, but the time to get them up and running is vastly reduced so you will save a bit on implementation costs. Just be sure to discuss your projected head count growth with you IT provider or internal IT staff so that you’re not getting yourself into a situation where you outgrow your server in the first couple years. Question: Why should a company use a hosted virtual desktop environment? Answer: One big reason is mobility. A person can log in from the office, on the road or the comfort of their own home and have the exact same desktop experience. The other advantage in using XenDesktop is the ability to connect using a PC, Mac, iPad, Linux computer or Android device, it doesn’t matter, you can connect to your vDesktop using whatever hardware you already own. You have the option of getting rid of VPN connections that may not work on all devices and have people login directly to a website connecting to their virtual desktops instead. Another great benefit of virtual desktops is the ability to create one computer configuration, getting it configured just right and then cloning it out to all your users. Build once and deploy it to as many people as you like. Get a new employee, no problem, buy another license and click a few buttons and you’re up and running with the exact environment they need. Question: How do you know if you are good fit for a virtual desktop environment? Answer: If your desktop infrastructure is up for a refresh soon, it may be almost the same cost to switch to a virtual desktop infrastructure and give you more benefits to a mobile workforce. Another instance where it would be a good fit is if you have the same or similar productivity software deployed to the majority of your workers, it can actually reduce your support calls, because you deploy once and that exact setup goes out to everyone. A virtual desktop environment is a great fit if you’re dealing with 10 or more users or you need the advantages it gives for people working remotely. Question: What industries is a virtual desktop environment good for? Answer: Any businesses that has several computers that also share similar software requirements. It would also benefit any business that wants to open a branch office or eliminate an office altogether and maintain the same file sharing and local LAN feel and workflow. Another great choice is for offices where limited bandwidth is a concern, it might seem counter intuitive but connecting to vDesktops can actually improve your internet experience when dealing with lower speed connectivity because the vDesktop is the machine actually accessing the internet is housed in a datacenter with really fast internet and your connection to this virtual desktop is only downloading screen refreshes and not doing the actual heavy lifting from the internet. Question: What is the reason Pineapple Hospitality moved into virtual desktop environment? Answer: We had a line of business application that was performing poorly in the cloud where it was hosted, after exhausting several options we moved the application into our own datacenter and deployed virtual desktops at that same datacenter allowing the application to perform like it was on our local network. This vastly improved the user experience and reduced infrastructure and maintenance costs by centralizing the environment. Question: Why shouldn’t we use virtual desktops? Answer: If you’re a company of under 5 employees the initial setup costs maybe too daunting in terms of overall cost. Also if your company already has a significant investment in very new desktops, which are less likely to see problems and may run great for another few years your might be better off letting it ride until considering a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. Another point of concern can be the number of computers connecting to specialized peripherals such as credit card readers; industrial equipment etc. while basic serial and USB peripheral pass-through to the virtual desktop are standard, sometimes specialized local peripherals can be a challenge. When evaluating for a virtual desktop environment I would suggest moving peripherals to using a network interface rather than using USB or serial whenever possible. Keep in mind basic keyboard, mouse and printer pass-through is not a problem and isn’t of any concern. Question: What business problems can I expect desktop virtualization to help me solve? Answer: Allowing full productivity where limited bandwidth is available. Centralizing applications and improving user experience. Supporting bring your own device initiatives. Allowing for remote workers and giving a standard experience for your workers wherever their connecting from. Question: Where do you see desktop virtualization heading in the next one to five years and will my investments today still be valuable tomorrow? Answer: Virtual Desktops are becoming much more common place. Shipping a thin client out to either a remote worker or branch location will be as easy as shipping a VOIP phone and allowing a remote worker to pick up work calls is now. Question: How do businesses handle the scenario when they need to use AutoCAD or Photoshop in a VDI environment? Answer: In the past, replacing a high end PC required handle lots of graphics processing for AutoCAD or Photoshop was not possible with virtual desktop but that’s no longer the case. The Virtual Desktop infrastructure has the ability to assign dedicated graphics cards to individual virtual desktops allowing for the same graphics processing to occur as people have come to expected of normal high end physical desktops. Question: Any desktop virtualization tips that I might not have heard of? Answer: When evaluating a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure make sure that it’s as flexible as your user base devices are diverse. In other words, you can no longer expect employees to only use work specified devices when working at home or at a remote location.  It’s important that your I.T. infrastructure supports what your employees already have. Another concern I have heard is that people won’t be able to support dual monitors and this isn’t the case, we use these flawlessly every day, some of my users don’t even know their working on a virtual desktop. We hope this gave you insight into whats possible with virtual desktops for your business. Thanks again for being a loyal reader of our Predictably Better newsletter. We’ll be back next month!
If you are running Citrix XenServer and tried to add more than 6 virtual disks to a VM using XenCenter, you may have received the following error: VirtualDiskError     The limitation is with XenCenter unforutnately. To add it, simply use the XE CLI. Here is a step by step guide: 1. Connect to Citrix XenCenter. 2. Click on your Citrix XenServer. 3. Click on the Console tab. 4. Enter the following command: xe sr-list name-label="Your Storage" 5. Copy the UUID. Example: 60dda71a-b381-2508-99c9-53dc77a1a4f1 6. Enter the following command: xe vm-list name-label="Your VM Name" 7. Copy the UUID. Example: eb7dce11-3c17-1e77-719b-649e9942ae28 8. Create the Virtual Disk (VDI) with the following command: xe vdi-create sr-uuid=60dda71a-b381-2508-99c9-53dc77a1a4f1 name-label="Storage7" type=user virtual-size=2193654546432 Note 1: You must change the name-label from Storage7 to the next name available. Example Storage8. Note 2: After running the above command, it will output a UUID of the VDI, please copy and paste this here. Example: bb6c2407-24f5-48d3-98c3-5bf28115ce59 9. Create the Virtual Block Device (VBD) that connects the VDI to the VM: xe vbd-create vm-uuid=eb7dce11-3c17-1e77-719b-649e9942ae28 device=6 vdi-uuid=bb6c2407-24f5-48d3-98c3-5bf28115ce59 bootable=false mode=RW type=Disk Note 1: You must change the device value. For example, if you go to Your Storage then click on Storage tab. You will see value in the position column. You will want to choose the next largest position. Note 2: After running the above command, it will output a UUID of the VBD, please copy and paste this here. Example: 2957a30a-d81a-cdec-00d6-1d8e6dde657a 10. Plug the VBD into the VM. Aka "Activating it": xe vbd-plug uuid=2957a30a-d81a-cdec-00d6-1d8e6dde657a
Windows XP is more than 12 years old and in our opinion this is a lifetime in technology years. There will be no official support from Microsoft after April 8th 2014. The only option for customers is to migrate to Windows 7 or 8. This newsletter article will help you make some choices for your migration. Before the migration, you must choose between Windows 7 and Windows 8. This is not as straightforward as it appears; the newest version of Windows isn’t always perhaps the best one. Windows 7 and Windows 8 have their respective pros and cons. Consider Switching to Windows 7 if you:
  • Want the familiar Windows UI with minimum change.
  • Value stability/compatibility over future-readiness. This should only be considered if you have an application that will never be compatible with Windows 8 or above which is highly unlikely.
Consider Switching to Windows 8 if you:
  • Want an experience that translates well across desktop and tablet devices.
  • Want a future-proof OS that will be supported for many more years.
  • Use OneDrive formerly known as SkyDrive and Office 365 extensively.
Note: Read our blog articles titled Windows 8.1 and Windows 8 is built for Business Part 1-3. Key Issues with Windows XP Migration Regardless of whether you choose Windows 7 or 8, there are a few common issues you may run into during the migration:
  • Clean install: It’s not possible to “upgrade” (i.e., keep existing files and settings) from Windows XP to Windows 7 or 8. You can only do a “clean install,” which will remove all existing data on the primary hard drive. Note that Windows XP end-users with SP3 can still upgrade to Windows 8 but can only keep their personal files.
  • Hardware requirements: Both Windows 7 and 8 demand more hardware resources than XP. For example, Windows XP requires 64MB of RAM; Windows 7 demands at least 1GB of RAM.
  • Software incompatibility: Windows XP could easily run 16-bit Windows applications or MS-DOS programs (which can still be found in many companies). Windows 7 and 8, however, do not offer native support for these applications. Instead, they utilize a virtual machine running Windows XP (called Windows XP Mode), which can affect application performance.
  • IE6 support: There is no official support for IE6 in either Windows 7 or 8. This means you’ll have to update your IE6-dependent applications to work on IE7 and up.
Tips for Effective Windows XP Migration Follow these tips for a smoother Windows XP migration experience:
  • Perform a hardware and software audit to identify potential incompatibilities. Microsoft offers an Application Compatibility Toolkit to streamline this process. You can also download the Microsoft Upgrade Assistant to test your hardware when undergoing a Windows XP migration to Windows 8.
  • Carefully consider the Windows 7 and Windows 8 upgrade paths and identify any potential issues.
  • Automate the Windows XP migration by using tools such as Microsoft Deployment Toolkit. This can help administrators bundle updates, drivers and settings in a single image for faster deployment.
  • Reduce application dependencies by simplifying the desktop environment. If possible, consider deploying virtual desktop environments across the organization. This might be more expensive initially but will result in higher savings over time by facilitating future migrations.
  • Last, but not least, create training plans and schedule training sessions to familiarize users with the new Windows 7/8 UI and features.
With no official support in two and a half months, Windows XP migration is a necessary path for your business. The only way to ease the burden is to take advantage of robust Windows XP migration plans and automation tools across the organization.
Back in 2009, Digux became a member of TruMethods who in essence helps I.T. companies become more awesome in every way imaginable. Year after year, we have participated in all aspects of TruMethods curriculum which has allowed us to accomplish goals that ultimately enable us to better service our customers. In mid-2013, TruMethods released a software program named myITprocess and it was created for companies like ours to implement standards across our customer base. myITprocess allows I.T. companies to design, implement, and manage technology best practices and show the business impact of alignment with their standards. The idea is that this software aligns our team and customers with our company way. This is a way for us to institutionalize our knowledge to consistently deliver effective strategy to our customers. For the past 11 years, Digux has been developing our best practices and we have gone through many renditions of documentation and health assessments to perfect them. Each year while technology and customer environments change, we manually applied our best practices to each customer which was a huge task. For the past two quarters, we have imported everything into myITprocess and have begun our engineer and vCIO reviews which helps us automate this process. The time and accuracy we gain utilizing myITprocess allows us to focus more on communicating with our customers and helping them become more successful. The keystone to our success is true proactive network administration and this process is critical for us and is the engine that drives world class results. Developing and managing technology standards across our client base is the only way to drive down noise, increase the value to the customer, and build our belief system. The purpose of our newsletter is not only to tell you how excited we are to gain this tool, but to provide insight into what we are doing in our continuous pursuit to better service our customers. We are constantly looking for ways to improve whether it be implementing a new tool or improving our processes.
At Digux, we have three screens on our desks, synchronized to form a single desktop. This gives us the ability to drag items from one screen to the next as we use multiple applications constantly to do our job. Our opinion is, once you have more screen real-estate, you’ll never go back to less, because it has a direct impact on productivity. Below, we share information on how you can get started, along with some other cool things you can do with multi-monitors: How to Get Started: You need this to get started with a dual/tri-monitor system: 1. An OS that supports multi-monitors (Windows, Mac, Linux*). 2. Two or three monitors. 3. Either a) two or three graphic cards or b) a graphics card that supports outputs for two-three monitors. Purchasing Advice: When purchasing your monitors and video card(s) you will want to consider several things: 1. Monitors have a few different connection options such as VGA, DVI, HDMI, and Display Port. For the best quality, our recommendation is to go with an HDMI or Display Port. However, you will want to make sure your video card supports this connection method as well. 2. In terms of your video card motherboard compatibility, you have several options to choose from, but first you need to make sure the slots are available. You can identify available slots by taking the side off of your tower and taking a peak. 3. To determine compatibility, look up the make/model of your motherboard online to see which PCI/PCI Express slots are active/available. 4. After you install the video card(s) and hook up the monitors, you will want to install the driver (If they don’t automatically), then configure the screen resolution and orientation. Drivers can be found on the manufactures web-site. Enabling the multi-monitor feature can be done by accessing the control panel of the OS and finding the screen resolution settings. 5. If you are a gamer, you will want to make sure you consult with your I.T. professional to make sure you get the appropriate setup as multi-monitors can degrade performance unless you get more advanced equipment. Monitor Mounts: Another important aspect with having multi-monitors is making sure you have space for them. If you have a big desk you can simply set your monitors side by side leaving on the base. Otherwise, you can invest in a mount that either attaches to the desk or the wall. Here is a few companies online you can find and purchase monitor mounts: 1. www.ergotron.com/ 2. www.custommountingsolutions.com/ Adding Multi-Monitor Functionality to Laptops: Mobile professionals spend time at their main office so it makes sense for them to have multi-monitor capability: 1. Matrox.com offers the DualHead2Go or TripleHead2Go adapters for multi-monitor support. 2. StarTech.com offers more of a generic dual/tri-monitor support adapters. 3. Traditionally, a docking station or port replicator that is compatible with your monitor will enable multi-monitor support. 4. Targus has a USB 3.0 Docking Station that is popular and compatible with the Surface Pro. Wallpapers: Our favorite web-sites on the Internet for multi-monitor wallpapers: 1. www.digitalblasphemy.com. 2. www.socwall.com Windows 8.1 Much Improved Multi-Monitor Support: Windows 8.1 enables us to open multiple Store apps and move them around on our monitors whereas you couldn’t do this in Windows 8. They also enabled the task bar to span across all screens. This is a much improved experience for non-touch desktop users. Summary: Multi-monitors are an inexpensive investment to help make your life easier and get more stuff done. It’s that simple.
There are a slew of reasons to upgrade to Windows 8.1. The update introduces many useful tools while fixing some of Microsoft’s more unpopular design choices Downloading the update is almost a no-brainer (It can be found in the store), after all it’s free, and enhances the experience. However, before downloading and installing the upgrade, consult with your I.T strategy partner (Digux) and work with them to make sure all of your software applications and drivers are compatible. For people who are on previous versions of Windows who skipped Windows 8, the new OS deserves a look especially after the modern UI has been made friendlier and cloud integration enhanced. Let’s take a look at some of Windows 8.1 new enhancements: Facebook App: When you upgrade to Windows 8.1 you’ll be able to run the official Facebook app for Windows which provides a native experience for PCs. The app is fast and fluid, and the interface encourages the end user to explore. Better SkyDrive Integration: Microsoft has made SkyDrive the default place to save new documents, and improved the technology on the back end to ensure our computers see everything as local files which improves searching and the overall experience. SkyDrive is awesome because you can access files anywhere, they’re shareable, and they don’t take up hard-drive space on your devices. Supercharged Searching: Just start typing from the Start Screen and you can find settings, content, apps, and information on the web. Even more awesome, we automatically have access to Smart Search which is powered by Bing. Now if you search for a subject such as Egypt it will result in what’s called a “Search Hero” which organizes everything into a visually-driven page with basic facts, photos, maps, and links. Much Improved Multi-Monitor Support: To improve productivity and screen real-estate most of us have setup more than one monitor. Some of us even have 3 or 4 monitors depending on our job role. Windows 8.1 enables us to open multiple Store apps and move them around on our monitors. This is a much improved experience for non-touch desktop users. Snap Feature Improved: The Snap feature now allows end users to have multiple Store apps open on one screen with the ability to re-size them to the width of your preference. For example, you can have Email, Skype, IE, and the Weather Store apps all open and “Snapped” beside each other all at the same time. Summary: In Short, the 8.1 improvements will enhance your Windows 8 experience. Some additional insight to the OS is that it actually takes up less storage (8-15% less), has more control around re-sizing the tile icons, automatically updates the Store apps, allows you to have the same background image on your start screen as your wallpaper, and now you can boot directly into the desktop mode. I'm sure their is many more features beyond what we dove into today. None the less, thanks again for being a loyal reader of our Predictably Better newsletter. We’ll be back next month! Happy Holidays!
The tech world has millions of software applications to choose from and as consumers we probably have at least fifty of them installed across all of our devices; but only a few of them are actually useful, or at least used on a daily basis. We realize that everyone has different preferences, needs, hobbies, devices, operating systems, etc., so the purpose of our article is to suggest some useful apps in several categories that perhaps peak your interest and or even become one you adopt in the future. As a side note, we reached out to our Facebook community and gained additional insight into what they were using so our variety was more diverse. None the less, read over our list and install one or two that you are unfamiliar with then have some fun. Social Twitter, HootSuite for Twitter, Facebook, Skype, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Foursquare, Google+, Fring, Friends Around Me, WhatsApp, Yelp, SnapChat, Bump, YouTube, Analytics App, HomeBase, Mashable, PitchEngine, Spout, Wired PR Works, WordPress, Vine, Reddit, Tumblr, and Pheed. Productivity Dragon Dictation, MailChimp, UPS/FedEx Mobile, Yammer, OneNote/Evernote, Docusign, Vignature, MS Office Suite, KeePass/7Pass, Alaska Airlines, Snipping Tool, YouSendIt, Check It, Chomp, DocsToGo, Box, Drop Box, SkyDrive, Tasker, EZ Opp, Instapaper, Package Tracker, Invoice 360, Kindle, NetNewsWire, PeakMeetings, TeamViewer Touch, Citrix Receiver, Microsoft Lync, Rackspace cloud, Toodledo, and Stardock Start8. Financial Mint.com Personal Finance, PayPal, Square, Yahoo Finance, E*Trade, Zillow Real Estate, Simple Tip Calulator, myFICO, RoadTrip, Amazon Price Check, Amazon Mobile, BlackGold, Mortgage Calculator, Venmo, Wikiinvest Portfolio Manager, My Budget Pro, Just Money, and Forbes Intelligent Investing. Utilities Flashlight, Level, WiFi Locator, Convert Units and Currency, Ruler, Shazam, RemoteDesktop, Pro-Knot, Battery Pro, Battery Performance, Quick Voice Recorder, Speed Test, Metro Toolbox, and LoJack. Sports Run Meter, WOD Journal, WOD Warrior, WTA TrailBlazer, “News, Sports, and Finance”, Winter Ski & Ride, Trailhead, ESPN Hub, Cascade Skier, Bing Sports, Live Nascar, Soccer Scores Pro, MMA Underground, NBA Time, You are your own gym, Buzztap, Ubersense Coach, Coaches Eye, and Lumosity, Fun Netflix, Hulu Plus, Flixster, Uber, NASA Be a Martian, Angry Birds, Pirq, OpenTable, PhotoSynth, Flipboard, Pandora, PhotoGrid, PhotoStream, Spotify, Weather View, Flickr, Instagram, PhotoRocket, Cocktail Flow, Untapped, Fotor, Hipstamatic Oggl, and Google Sky Map. -- Remember, all of these apps span across all different types of operating systems and mobile devices so if you do a search and cannot find it, this probably means you’re out of luck and the app is for another platform, it happens. Thanks again for being a loyal reader of our Predictably Better newsletter. We’ll be back next month!
Every business should have safe guards in place to protect their data from the various physical security threats that exist.  We have put together a short list of things you should consider doing for your protection:
  • Create a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy for employees so they are clear on how they should use phones, tablets, laptops, USB storage devices, etc. at the office.
  • If you have an on-premise server, make sure you have it mounted in a locked server enclosure. If you have a cloud server, make sure your vendor provides you with detailed information on where/how it’s physically handled (Should be in a secure facility).
  • Do not bring your backup hard-drives out of the office. In other words, if you are rotating hard-drives and taking them offsite this is a bad idea. Exposing all of your data to a trip between the office and home is a disaster waiting to happen. A myriad of secure offsite backup solutions exist that excludes human interaction with data to increase security.
  • Do not leave passwords unattended under keyboards or on your desk in plain sight.
  • Change ALL passwords at least every 90 to 120 days.
  • Disable USB storage devices on computers when applicable.
  • Do not let customers or strangers connect to your WiFi that is connected to your corporate network. Enable the guest feature or segment the WiFi completely.
  • Do not let customers or strangers use a computer that is connected to your corporate network. They could accidentally infect your computer system with a nasty virus or plug in a USB storage device that has a virus that could damage or expose data.
  • Make sure your business has cyber liability insurance.
  • Keep track of who has physical access to your office and or server enclosure. In other words, keep a list of who has keys or security codes.
  • Make sure your computers lock automatically after a certain time frame after walking away from them. This can be done with a screen saver.
  • If your computer screen displays confidential information where others can see it, make sure to pick up a privacy guard for your monitor. You can see the screen clearly, however individuals outside the viewing area will not be able to see the information displayed.
Thanks again for being a loyal reader of our Predictably Better newsletter. We’ll be back next month!
Digux’s main sense of purpose is to help all of our customers by creating valued time so they can spend it with loved ones by allowing us to deliver our customized I.T. experience. Each day our mission is to manage expectations, have fanatical discipline, take pride in craftsmanship, have an awesome attitude, utilize our time effectively, be a trusted partner for advice, and never give up on any technical challenge. We are a local company and truly care about our relationships with people. Digux is an odd techy sounding name and most of the time people mispronounce it on the first attempt. The name Digux was conceived on March 5th 2003 by founder Dustin Frost. Digux is short for Digital Unix and is similar sounding to Linux and unique like Xerox. Back in the late 90’s early 2000’s, Dustin Frost had miserable experiences with I.T. support and this was long before Digux. He found that techs were arrogant and talked down to him and learned they didn’t possess customer service or communication skills as well as the ability to follow through with projects amongst a myriad of other shortfalls. He believed an important component to successful I.T. was the ability to listen to customers and communicate to them based on their skill levels, weather it was basic or advanced, and forge long term relationships beyond I.T., understanding the customer's business so he could help them accomplish their goals. Digux started as a break/fix pay by the hour consulting service doing everything from desktop, server, networking, wireless, and web-site support to name a few.  By 2005, the company shifted slightly to become a hybrid providing block time/retainer agreements in addition to its normal break/fix. In 2010, the company transitioned from a reactive support model into a proactive Managed I.T. Services model with unlimited support that bundles optional cloud hosting services if the customer needs them. Break/fix support in the I.T. world is still common where services are provided in a reactive fashion and billed hourly. We call this model the reactive cycle of death because many reasons, but in short, companies spend all of their money on issues that result in downtime and the reactive services do not permanently solve the core underlying problem. Only 1 of the 5 core I.T. delivery areas are accounted for with this model. The downside is not always apparent, but on the surface an unpredictable bill each month and no control over the infrastructure with no proactive maintenance or advice. Companies constantly put out fires while impacting work force productivity and peace of mind. We tend to think this is the less educated way of going about your I.T. services and therefore we abandoned this model. Block time is very similar to the break/fix model with the customer assuming responsibility for communicating problems and overall requests to the I.T. vendor. For example, let’s say a customer buys 10 hours of time from an I.T. company. Typically the customer picks and chooses what support they should get as though they should even know how it all works, and generally suffer once the 10 hours is all used up. The problem with this model is the customer is left confused because they are not experts on how I.T. should be delivered, and truly never receive a formalized plan and structured proactive maintenance or advice. 9 times out of 10, business owners are not experts at I.T. service delivery, nor should they, and cannot make educated decisions to oversee all the different aspects of this critical business component -- the impact to the bottom line is dramatic. Block time is essentially break/fix paid in advance and provides no true value to a business and therefore we abandoned this model. Managed I.T. Services is a term used loosely in our industry, because every I.T. company who provides services, provides them differently. For example, some provide remote monitoring and management on the computers/network then charge an hourly rate to come onsite when things break down. We tend to think of these companies as the “Managed I.T. Service Provider Imposters”, because they are not really providing anything different than a break/fix or block time model as explained above, they just threw in a tool set and every I.T. company has one of those now. Another imposter in our opinion prices based on a fixed amount per PC, server, or network device. What they don’t realize is that this isolates them to only reactive support and not proactive maintenance or advice. Only 1 out of 5 of the delivery areas can be accounted for when pricing based on physical computing assets therefore is not a Managed I.T. Service provider. There is many other half-baked models that exist and often taint the way companies look at MSP’s. Digux Managed I.T. Services is unlimited, customized, and covers the three core components of Information Technology: infrastructure, support, and strategy. These three core components oversee what we call the 4 delivery areas: Centralized Services, Network Administration, Support, and Virtual CIO. There is a 5th delivery area we did not list simply because projects (time/materials) are not included under the umbrella of our unlimited support. However, all of our projects are quoted at a fixed price in line with our company way of being predictable in pricing. We are also highly successful at projects because our vCIO role supplies unlimited advice for trial testing and budget planning amongst other highly useful strategy components.  None the less, we dedicate a resource to each one of these roles and track metrics to determine how we are doing week to week for each customer. Digux has daily, weekly, and monthly meetings to collaborate together in their pursuit to achieve financial, sales, and operational success.  They also read one book per month and many magazines as a company to further educate themselves in technology and business. They are also involved with many business transformation communities in various industries to understand the micro/macro-economic changes that have social and economic impact. The truth is: Digux has made a decision to set a course to become world class by way of fanatical discipline, belief, self-image, and self-attitude in business planning, knowing what we sell, sales focus, being process driven, and having command of our cost drivers. By being world class we will provide careers, opportunity, purpose, passion, and enthusiasm to the world. Thanks again for being a loyal reader of our Predictably Better newsletter. We’ll be back next month!
A common question from our customers is: What is the best power protection and why do I need a battery backup solution? Please watch this video by Patrick Donovan who is the product manager and senior research analyst at the Schneider Electric Data Center Science Center who has 16 years of experience and developing and supporting critical power and cooling systems: http://www.apcmedia.com/vod/view_video.cfm?videoID=patrick_battery&internal=no&w=320&h=240
How do we leave a smaller carbon footprint? That is the big question most people have when it comes to the journey of going green or greener in most cases. We have seen this huge movement in the past 20 years with the world focusing on improving processes in technology, transportation, agriculture, energy, etc. to reduce global warming and pollution. This topic is so vast that we are only going to be-able to hit the tip of the ice-berg unfortunately. Here are some tips related to technology to go green:
  • Implement as many of our recommendations from our most recent blog article attentus.tech/going-paperless.
  • Rather than drive, fly or take the train to an in-person business meeting, eliminate transportation pollution by connecting via a Skype, Adobe Connect, or Citrix GoToMeeting group video call. Save the environment, a bunch of time, and money!
  • Virtualization and consolidation are essential to energy conservation. Do this and your server environment uses less electricity for power and cooling. Popular virtualization platforms utilized today are Citrix XenServer, VMWare, and Microsoft’s Hypervisor. Before you buy another server, make sure to think about installing a virtualization platform and scaling your environment properly.
  • If you own a boat-load of data, you need to consider having an information lifecycle management (ILM) plan. You will want to store information in the most appropriate and energy efficient storage device during its lifecycle. For example, business critical and real time information requires computer systems that offer the highest performance and reliability – and therefore demand more resources and power. When your information reaches a less critical state, migrate it to a storage device that consumes less energy. If you use the cloud, find out what your cloud provider is doing.
  • Deduplication technologies have many qualities, but for the sake of this article and focus, we will simply point out that they lower costs by reducing backup storage, bandwidth and management costs ultimately saving energy.
  • Businesses that dispose of their waste materials in an ecologically responsible manner protect the environment. Many cities offer recycling programs at little or no cost. Additionally, there is PC recycle shops all over the place that will take all the old machines from your bone yard.
This is our short list of many recommendations we encourage you to adopt. Thanks again for being a loyal reader of our Predictably Better newsletter. We’ll be back next month!

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