How The Cloud Can Add Value To Your Firm’s Business

Imagine an IT service that could revolutionize your law firm. The moment you sign up, your company will instantly be overwhelmed with oodles of dollars, raining down from heaven, via the magic of (drumroll please)…the Cloud. Have you heard this before? Okay, maybe this is a bit exaggerated, but we’re sure you’ve heard of the Cloud and the supposed revolutionary transformation it can have on your firm. The real question is, what is its true impact? We’ll take a closer look in this article.

You might say that many firms sign up for the Cloud because it is touted as a revolutionary technology. And if you’re one of those that has already hopped on the bandwagon, you may actually be among the soon-to-be disappointed.

The reasoning behind this is simple. Firms who get the most out of the Cloud know which specific problems it will solve for their organization before they even sign up. They know which workflows and tasks can benefit from, and have their efficiency boosted by, Cloud technologies. And they’ve identified how the Cloud can rewire their work processes.

The true purpose of the Cloud

Did you catch the word “efficiency” in the block of text above? If you did, then you’ve identified the true value the Cloud brings to a firm. Don’t believe the hype that the Cloud will somehow magically boost your bottom line. Although it has that potential, the Cloud is all about efficiency. It can save you time searching for important documents, updating software, and replacing documents stored on a lost laptop. And it enhances efficiency and collaboration among your staff. What’s more, when your business is in the Cloud, your business is everywhere. And that means increased efficiency.

Where businesses go wrong with the Cloud

Besides jumping on the Cloud bandwagon without considering where it can benefit your firm, a major reason the Cloud fails for SMBs is because they’ve chosen the wrong vendor. The truth is, some vendors are going to try and sell you on a cheap platform that (supposedly) will provide everything you need. But in actuality, law firms are unique in that they require many different applications/software (think time and billing, case management, document management, custom macro packages…), and you need to have a customizable platform that enables your firm to be productive.

Secondly, if you’re a small business, make sure the IT provider you’re talking to caters to small businesses. If their target customers are large enterprises, you’re likely going to be overpaying for a service that doesn’t align with your business model.

Does the Cloud really add value to my firm?

Have no doubt that the Cloud can improve efficiency if you know where to implement it. A study of 757 SMBs by Exact and the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research found that one in five SMBs surveyed had implemented Cloud technologies, and 78% of those were operating at levels above industry standards.

In conclusion, is adapting the Cloud going to instantly start making you money? Likely not. But it will impact your firm in other valuable ways for the long run. You’ll have increased flexibility, scalability, improved processes and streamlined workflow. Is all this good for business? Well, what do you think?

To figure out how the Cloud can effectively fit into your business model, contact us today or learn more about our Cloud solution here.

WAMS, Inc. Named to Managed Service Provider 500 List by CRN

Company Recognized for Exemplary Approach to Delivery of Managed IT Services

Brea, CA, February 25, 2015 – WAMS, Inc., the premier provider of IT support and solutions to law firms, today announced it has earned recognition on The Channel Company’s 2015 CRN Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list as one of the MSP Pioneer 250. This annual list distinguishes the top technology providers and consultants in North America whose leading approach to managed services enables their customers to improve operational efficiencies, elicit greater value from their IT investments, and successfully leverage technology to achieve greater competitive advantage.

In today’s world of outsourced IT, the expertise of MSPs has become increasingly important to organizations. The plethora of choices in terms of consumption and procurement of technology can become overwhelming. To help facilitate companies’ selection and adoption of managed services and providers, CRN, the leading media outlet for technology vendors and solution providers who serve end-user customers, has identified the top 500 MSPs.

This year, CRN’s industry‐focused directory highlights the Top 500 MSPs in three categories: 100 Hosting Providers who are experienced in providing mainly off-premise, or cloud-based, services; 150 Elite Service Providers who are large data center-focused solution providers with a strong mix of on-premise professional services as well as off-premise services; and 250 Progressive Service Providers who have a business model heavily weighted toward managed services geared toward the small and midsize business market.

WAMS has been serving small businesses and law firms since 1974 and has always focused on innovation and exemplary service to our clients. Our clients enjoy the option of either keeping their computer networks on-site or they may choose to eliminate the need for on-site equipment and migrate their entire system to our secure and flexible cloud platform.

“The allure of Everything-as-a-Service to organizations is largely rooted in the appeal of predictable operational expenses, cost-cutting, resource allocation and access to on-demand/pay-as-you-go technology. Therein lies a great need for the expertise of managed service providers,” said Robert Faletra, CEO, The Channel Company. “We congratulate the managed service providers who have engineered, or re-engineered, their businesses to deliver the services their customers rely on for future growth and ongoing success.”

“We are honored to yet again be chosen to be a part of this prestigious list,” said Kevin Haight, COO, WAMS, Inc. “Our focus has always been to provide top-notch solutions and services to our clients, and we appreciate The Channel Company recognizes our achievements.”

Coverage of the MSP500 will be featured in the February 2015 issue of CRN and online at www.CRN.com,

About WAMS, Inc.

WAMS, Inc. has been providing law firms and businesses with comprehensive, high-quality IT/computer consulting and support solutions since 1974. Our legacy of superior quality and service continues today as we design, install and maintain a vast network of both on-site and cloud based computer systems specifically tailored for each unique law firm, legal department and business client. We offer a variety of services, including our low-cost ManagedCARE offerings, our hosted WAMS Cloud Connect platform, or you may select what individual services you need from our IT menu.

Learn more at www.wamsinc.com.

About the Channel Company

The Channel Company, with established brands including CRN, XChange Events, IPED and SharedVue, is the sales channel community’s trusted authority for growth and innovation. For more than three decades, we have leveraged our proven and leading-edge platforms to deliver prescriptive sales and marketing solutions for the technology sales channel. The Channel Company provides Communication, Recruitment, Engagement, Enablement, Demand Generation and Intelligence services to drive technology partnerships.

Learn more at www.thechannelcompany.com.

Security Threat Alert! Poweliks

Most of us have suffered the horrors of a computer virus at some point, and we know the damage that can be caused by these security infections. Our work gets disrupted as IT systems go down and, if we’re really unlucky, sensitive and valuable data might be lost or even leaked. But there’s a silver lining to most viruses, worms and other such malware in that they can at least be tracked down and removed. Well, not always – enter the invisible Poweliks, which even your most sophisticated anti-virus software might not be able to protect you against. So, what do you need to know and how can you protect yourself?

What is Poweliks?

Security firm Symantec describes Poweliks as a trojan horse that performs malicious activities on the compromised computer. But it’s no ordinary trojan – unlike the majority, which infect your computer with malicious files, Poweliks is a silent and invisible threat that hides away in the memory registry of your system. It’s not entirely new for a virus to seek to cover its tracks by making itself “file-less” but, in contrast with Poweliks, most are wiped when you restart your computer and its memory is cleared. Worse still, Poweliks hijacks the legitimate processes and applications running on your network, inserting its code into them where it can largely evade detection.

First discovered back in August 2014, Poweliks has therefore created something of a headache for firms behind conventional security solutions like anti-virus software. Symantec and others have admittedly managed a number of updates to their protection in response to the threat posed by Poweliks. But although very minor records of the presence of the trojan are left behind by way, for instance, of registry logs, the signs of its destructive presence are much lower key than the computer world is used to, meaning Poweliks is unlikely to show up on most system scans.

Poweliks has links to Kazakhstan, the home of two servers the malware connects to once it is up and running from within your computer. The servers in Kazakhstan then send commands to the bug to tell it what to do next. In theory, this then makes way for the tool to be used to download other undesirable programs that could infect your system without your knowledge. It could equally be used to steal and disseminate data from your network.

How can I best protect myself?

As well as the anti-virus updates that have gradually been released – but which are still likely to have only a limited impact on threats of this type compared with those of the past – a number of Poweliks removal guides are now available online. Nevertheless, prevention as ever, remains better than cure. One method reported to have been employed in the distribution of the Poweliks infection is embedding it in a Microsoft Word document, which is then sent as an attachment to spam emails, and which the attackers hope your curiosity will lead you to open. Among the senders that these spam messages have masqueraded as being from are the United States Postal Service and Canada Post. Of course the best advice remains to be suspicious of any and every email attachment you open, particularly if you weren’t expecting mail or it’s from someone you don’t know.

Should I be concerned?

Revisiting your everyday security precautions is probably pretty good advice all round, since experts predict that this type of threat is likely to become ever more common as attackers seek to exploit the techniques of Poweliks in order for their infiltration to remain unnoticed for as long as possible. Sure enough, a number of copycat threats have already been detected by security specialists as of the start of 2015.

General awareness around web sites you choose to visit is also recommendable in particular, since others have also reported the bug making its way onto their systems thanks to so-called ‘drive-by download attacks’ – whereby simply visiting a malicious web site is enough to trigger the infection and actively downloading a file isn’t even necessary. As a result, organizations may wish to consider more comprehensive filtering of internet access, or at the very least reactive blocking of known malicious sites, in order to prevent employees from inadvertently infecting a company network.

To find out more about IT security solutions and protecting your technology from attack, contact us today.

4 Ways Technology Can Foster Productivity

We all know technology is evolving rapidly – at times it can feel like software companies release a new update each week. It can be exhausting to keep up. But when it comes to business, technology is either helping your company to succeed or holding it back from doing better things. To make life easier, here are four ideas on how to use technology to keep costs down and staff productivity up.

Work together from anywhere

With the onset of Cloud technology, it’s now possible for your employees to work easily from anywhere – be it Bangkok, Belize or Boston. With a Cloud platform, employees can log on from remote locations and access company files. All they need is a web-enabled device.

Cloud-based technology also makes it easier than ever for your staff to collaborate. While one employee is in a coffee shop in Vancouver and another is at a desktop in your office, they can both be editing the same document at the same time. This makes it easy for your staff to remain on the same page, both literally and metaphorically, which in turn boosts both productivity and profits.

Keep all your data in the Cloud

The fact is that searching through spreadsheets for information stored in bloated data sets can be a huge waste of time. By having all your data in the Cloud, all your information will be in one place. So when you’re looking for that critical client receipt for your taxes, you’ll know where it is immediately.

Thanks to its remote access and collaboration possibilities, the Cloud also gives you and your staff easy access to all of your data wherever in the world you are.

Identify bottlenecks and upgrade your technology

Facing the facts about your current technology is key to increasing productivity. Yes, we know you love your tablet from way back in 2008. You even named her Susie, after your niece, because they’re both so darn creative. But let’s face it, Susie is old now and is slowing down your business. She’s served you well, but it’s time to upgrade.

And desktops aren’t the only technology that can slow you down. There are also unreliable internet connections, obsolete software and outdated email providers. The list goes on…

The solution is to take a careful inventory of your current IT technology and see what’s keeping your business from reaching its true productivity potential. After you have your list, update your technology accordingly. Then create a plan to regularly upgrade your IT resources, so your employees are never being slowed down.

Outsource your IT

As the old saying goes, ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Whether you have a part-time contractor or a fully-staffed IT department, the mere presence of tech staff onsite in your workplace can be a distraction. When you’re focusing on sales or setting up meetings with potential clients, a knock at your door from your IT colleague – because he or she has just discovered a glitch in your system – can take you out of the flow of the task at hand.

On the other hand, outsourced IT departments are proactive in preventing technical issues from popping up in the first place. They’ll fix problems without you even knowing they existed, and without distracting you from your core work. All of which means a great boost to your day-to-day productivity – and therefore profitability.

Want to know more ways IT can enhance your company’s productivity? Contact us today to learn how.