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Don’t Let Technology Be Your Weak Link in 2015!

2015Happy New Year!

If growth is in your plan for 2015, we encourage you to think about IT as an engine that powers employee productivity, data efficiency, business continuity, & security. A poorly structured network, bad technology advice, and pesky daily issues can bog you down. Despite how talented and motivated you and your team are, IT could be the weak link that stagnates your growth. Don’t let it be!

Here are the top technology projects for business owners and top management to consider for 2015.

1. Upgrade and migrate your server!

We can’t stress this enough: if you’re running Windows Server 2003, please plan on upgrading before Microsoft suspends support in July of this year. Beyond July, you will be exposed to major security and compliance risks. Don’t wait. Need a place to begin? Click here and let us know if you have questions.

2. Make sure you have a working, reliable data backup system — and business continuity, too!

Do you know for certain that your backup is working? Many businesses we come across, especially small/mid-sized businesses, don’t have a good system for backing up their data. It might be too manual (subject to irregularity and user error), or too risky (no one is monitoring it or being alerted if it fails), or too short-sighted (it can perform backup but not restoration or security of data). Even more businesses don’t have a continuity plan, should any disaster strikes that renders operations non-functioning for days or weeks! For the sake of your hard work, demand a reliable, holistic, & scalable backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity solution. Don’t wait until it fails for you to realize that your system is not adequate.

 3. Secure — secure — secure!

Security is on everyone’s mind – as a consumer and business. We hear of all the high-profile hacks on big companies and think: that will never be us. Hackers don’t target us. This is true, but it doesn’t mean small businesses can slack off, because while not actively targeted, small organizations (and their owners!) can fall victim just the same. Be vigilant about updating and monitoring anti-viruses, anti-malware, and firewalls. If you’re a Be Structured client, you have our people, processes, and state-of-the-art monitoring tools to protect you.

4. Get solid technology advice 

If you have a big move, or an expansion, or a merger this year, you need to enlist expert consultants. Why not include IT?  Our clients choose us – and continually rely on us – to plan alongside them.  We conduct thorough and regular planning sessions throughout the year that encompass not just IT but business considerations as well. Holistic planning can be a reality, if you have a trusted partner who can strategically map out how best to invest in IT that suit your goals. That last phrase is the most important element: if your IT consultant doesn’t take your business and your industry into account, you may be paying for the wrong expert.

We wish you Peace of Mind and Productivity in 2015!

Posted in General Tech Articles & Trends, Tech Tips | Tagged | Leave a comment

If you’re still running Windows Server 2003, please read this

An IMPORTANT Security Warning For Businesses Running Windows Server 2003

If your organization is currently running Microsoft Server 2003 on one or more servers in your office, you need to know about a dangerous security threat to your organization that must be addressed very soon. Please take a moment to read this important announcement.

As your local Microsoft Registered Partner, we are aggressively reaching out to all businesses within the Greater Los Angeles Area that use Microsoft Windows Server 2003 to alert you to this serious security risk to your organization and inform you about what you need to do now to protect your company.

Server 2003 Changes Must Be Made Between Now And The Middle Of 2015

Microsoft has officially announced that it will retire support on the Server 2003 operating system on July 14, 2015. Once support ends on this 11-year-old product, there will be no further patches or security updates, exposing any company running this software to major security and compliance risks. Any server with this software installed will be completely exposed to serious hacker attacks aimed at taking control of your network, stealing data, crashing your system and inflicting a host of other business-crippling problems you do NOT want to have to deal with.

Unless you don’t care about cybercriminals running rampant in your company’s server, you MUST upgrade any servers running this operating system.

FREE Windows Server 2003 Migration Plan Shows You The Easiest, Most Budget-Friendly Way To Upgrade

As a local Microsoft Certified Partner, Be Structured has committed to helping businesses in the Greater Los Angeles Area by offering a Windows Server 2003 Migration Plan for FREE.

The first step in any major project is preparation. At no cost, we’ll come to your office and prepare a customized Server 2003 Migration Plan for your office. In this plan, we will map out the exact steps you need to take to ensure proper migration, including the need for planned downtime, software and data restore procedures, and alternative migration options that minimize the costs involved.

It takes approximately 90 days for the migration to complete – so don’t wait until July to contact an IT consultant!

To secure your FREE Server 2003 Migration Plan, call us today at 323-331-9452.

Or go to this page for the Contact Form and short survey:  http://www.bestructured.com/server2003/

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Considering Office 365?

365CloudAs a business decision maker, you might be wondering whether Office 365 is a good fit for your organization. After all, it’s a change, and it’s an investment, and it’s in the cloud. On the other hand, there are clear trends in employee mobility, productivity, and security, that pull you towards services like Office 365. Does that describe you?

Full disclosure: we have successfully migrated clients to Office 365 when the benefits to their organization outweigh the costs. Therefore, we know that an educated decision is the best kind of decision.

We recommend taking the following steps:

  1. Get confident and get an overview.  Study the features of Office 365 in your own time, without sales people or IT people in the room to push you. A simple internet search yields quite a lot of info, or, check out our overview to start: Office 365 for Small Businesses. (Download a PDF when you click the link)
  2. After which, contact an IT expert. Because at the end of the day, there are pros and cons to the service. The most important considerations you have are specific to your organization — your budget, your size, your requirements and timing. Don’t be afraid to ask for an economic analysis, or to insist on great Technical Support, improved security and mobility; and of course, ask for a comprehensive list of potential drawbacks for your organization. Get specific.

Let us know if this is helpful.

Or if we can help you determine what’s the best next step, contact us!

E-mail: ContactUs@BeStructured.com or Call: 323-331-9452 and mention Office 365 Help.

Posted in Cloud, Microsoft Office, Productivity | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Don’t upgrade your server until you read this!

cloudcomputing_networkCloud computing is a concept that could save your business quite a bit of money on software, hardware, upgrades and services. Instead of purchasing hardware and software for your office, with cloud computing you put your programs on a highly secure “super-server” online. All you need is an Internet connection to your office and you’re in business. Here are 9 reasons why “cloud computing” has caught on FAST with small to medium businesses, and why you might consider it too:

  1. Create An INSTANT Virtual Office. Access and work from any secure PC, laptop or device. If you have employees who travel, are in remote locations or ever need to work from home, this is an ideal solution.
  2. Save Hard Dollars On Software, Hardware And Support. Never purchase, install or maintain servers or other network equipment again.
  3. Less Downtime and Fewer Problems. Software in the cloud runs on extremely fast and reliable systems that include some form of redundancy. Compare that to your own server going down; until you get it fixed, you’re unable to work.
  4. Automatic Disaster Recovery. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it 100 times: make sure you back up your data. But when your data is hosted in the cloud, the backup is done automatically for you and accessible from anywhere you work.
  5. Less Expensive To Scale Up Or Down. With cloud computing, you pay only for what you need and increase or decrease storage or resources when necessary.
  6. Hassle-Free Software. All of your software is loaded on a server in a datacenter and then shared over the Internet. There are no software disks to manage, organize or file.
  7. Environmentally Friendly. Cloud computing uses significantly less power in your office. You also won’t have to upgrade your hardware as often, which means fewer PCs, laptops and other components piling up in landfills.
  8. No More Expensive Software Upgrades. Networks in the cloud benefit from automatic software upgrades; best of all, they are done FOR you.
  9. Reduced Maintenance. When your software is in the cloud, patches are automatically applied, meaning fewer reboots and downtime for maintenance. It’s all taken care of for you.

Free Cloud Readiness Assessment And Cost Analysis

Wondering if it’s a good thing for your business? After all, not all small businesses are alike. Depending on your operational concerns and constraints, the Cloud could be a God-send.

At no cost or obligation, we will come to your office and conduct a comprehensive Cloud Readiness Assessment to help determine if your business could benefit from moving to the cloud. We are an independent party and can give you an honest opinion. No strings attached. Now you may ask: Why can’t I do this from the comfort of my computer screen? Well, this type of assessment cannot be accomplished via a check list or an online survey, because it encompasses so much more — and you may not know all the answers to the questions we ask, and decide to take action under unrealistic or false expectations. You don’t want that! We can do it in 30-40 minutes.

Three ways to request Cloud Readiness Assessment from us:

  • Call us at 323-331-9452 and mention “Cloud Readiness Assessment”
  • E-mail us at ContactUs@BeStructured.com with title “Cloud Readiness Assessment”
  • Fill in this form below and someone from the office will contact you!

 

Posted in Cloud, Tech Tips | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Scary Thought: What Would Happen If Your IT Guy Quits?

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Here’s a scary question most businesses don’t think about: What would happen if your computer guy suddenly quit? Most business owners think it would only be a temporary inconvenience when, in fact, the opposite is usually true.

How much are you at risk? Ask yourself the following 6 questions:

  1. Do you have written network documentation about your computer network? What software licenses do you own? What are the critical administrator passwords to your systems and devices? How is your computer network structured? What hardware do you own and when do your equipment warranties expire? Are there cloud vendors for email, online storage, hosted line of business applications, etc. that you don’t currently have? You should never allow a single IT person or company keep this information under their full control over your network and company. If they suddenly left for any reason, this could lead to huge consequences for your company.
  2. Do you know where your backup files are stored and if they are being stored properly? If you are like most business owners, you’re too busy dealing with “crisis of the day” to think about system backups and probably leave tasks to your internal expert. If your database gets fried and your tech is nowhere to be found, you might be in a lot of trouble.
  3. Do you have a written plan for restoring your network fast in the case of a disaster? If you don’t have a fully tested disaster recovery plan for your office, you could be at serious risk without ever knowing it until something happens.
  4. Do you know where all your software is stored? Bad things can happen to computers and servers, and the situation can be made worse if you are not prepared. Taking a minute to organize and store your software in a secure place can save you a considerable chunk of money in the event that you need to restore a program on your systems. If you don’t have access to the software or don’t know where it’s located, you might be forced to buy the software again.
  5. Do you know what routine maintenance is being done on your network? I know the very idea of learning about and keeping track of all the servers, workstations, and peripherals on your network is about as welcome as a black cat crossing your path, but it is important information to maintain. If your in-house expert leaves, who will take over?
  6. Do you know how to protect yourself from an ugly security breach? What happens if your IT expert splits with no warning AND has access to your company’s network? As soon as humanly possible, you should disable his or her access, including remote access to your network and all cloud based applications.

If you answer NO to any of the above questions, you need to get the answers now before it’s too late.

Being scared is fine for a fun Halloween, but not when it comes to your business. How about some peace-of-mind instead?

Posted in General Tech Articles & Trends, Tech Tips | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment
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