Press: Business Insider – Continuum Partner WAMS Named Top MSP in Legal Vertical on MSPmentor 501

June 28, 2016

BREA, Calif. and BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–WAMS, Inc., premier provider of technology solutions and IT support services to law firms and businesses since 1974 and MSP partner of Continuum®, the only channel-exclusive IT management platform company, has been designated as the top MSP in the legal vertical on the MSPmentor 501. This is WAMS’s third consecutive year making the MSPmentor 501 and first time being No. 1 in the legal vertical. WAMS utilizes Continuum’s Continuity247™, the company’s fully managed backup and disaster recovery (BDR) platform, to ensure backups continuously run 24x7x365 for clients.

“WAMS does an amazing job of utilizing Continuum’s IT management platform, including our BDR, to reliably and cost-effectively support its clients in the legal space,” said Mark Connolly, VP of Sales at Continuum. “We congratulate them on this important distinction to be recognized among the world’s best MSPs.”

The 9th annual MSPmentor 501 is the IT channel’s largest and most comprehensive list of leading managed service provider organizations worldwide. MSPs that comprised the 2016 MSP 501 list amassed a combined $9.82 billion in recurring revenue. For more information on the 2016 MSPmentor 501, visit: http://mspmentor.net/msp-mentor/welcome-2016-msp-501

“We are so honored to be included on this prestigious list again,” said Kevin Haight, General Manager at WAMS. “Being ranked No. 1 in the legal vertical as a Managed Service Provider is a testament to our ongoing commitment to our clients and success in the industry. We custom-tailor our service offerings to the legal industry specifically. We have grown to know our clients’ operations over the years and understand what our clients need to be successful in their business.”

WAMS developed its custom hosted solution, WAMS Cloud Connect, in 2012 due to the demand for law firms to meet their business objectives. The company saw the need to provide attorneys with the ability to access their business network, applications and data from any Internet connected device. Lawyers are very mobile and frequently need to have ready access to their clients’ data in order to provide legal services.

Backed by Continuum’s industry-leading Network Operations Center (NOC), Continuity247 proactively monitors and verifies backups, provides recovery and testing support, troubleshoots and ensures backups continuously run 24x7x365 for small and medium sized business clients. Having the NOC team of more than 650 technicians behind WAMS is one of the largest benefits for the MSP. For more information on Continuity247, visit: https://www.continuum.net/products/backup-and-disaster-recovery

WAMS also utilizes Continuum’s Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) platform that offers proactive problem resolution supported by the Continuum’s NOC and Help Desk, resolving thousands of alerts, 24x7x365. MSPs can realize greater margins and achieve scalable growth through strategic outsourcing to Continuum, offsetting of labor costs and minimizing of service delivery expenses.

About WAMS, Inc.
WAMS, Inc. has been the premier provider of technology solutions and IT support services to law firms and businesses since 1974. The company’s highly experienced and friendly staff works to implement proven technologies that are reliable, secure and cost-effective. Its unique TotalCARE managed service provides 24x7x365 Remote Monitoring and Proactive Server/Desktop Management Solutions to give firms peace of mind with a highly dependable, secure network system. The company also has special expertise in Document Management, Onsite/Offsite Backup and Disaster Recovery Solutions, VMWare Virtualization Technologies, Cisco VoIP Telephony, Training, and Cloud Solutions. Visit www.wamsinc.com for more information. Inquiries can be directed to alopp@wamsinc.com.

At WAMS it is our dedication to meeting our clients’ specific needs that has enabled us to provide for them and exceed their expectations. We have continued to learn, adapt, and develop based on the intricacies of what our clients require to run their businesses with ease. Our team manages thousands of servers and workstations for our clients and we continue to grow our business and surpass our goals. We wouldn’t be where we are today without our amazing clients and our entire WAMS team of dedicated professionals.

About Continuum
Continuum is the only channel-exclusive IT management platform company that allows its Managed Services Provider (MSP) partners to maintain both on premise and cloud-based servers, desktops, mobile devices and other endpoints for their small-and-medium-sized business clients. Continuum’s SaaS platform enables MSPs to efficiently backup, monitor, troubleshoot and maintain clients’ IT infrastructure from a single pane of glass, all backed by an industry–leading Network Operations Center (NOC) and Help Desk. The company employs 1,200 professionals worldwide, monitors 1 million endpoints for its 5,800 partners including MSPs servicing more than 50,000 SMB customers and Web hosting provider partners supported by its R1Soft server backup product line. Continuum established the Continuum Veterans Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing financial support to charities focused on helping veterans find jobs in IT. For more information, visit https://www.continuum.net/ or follow on LinkedIn and Twitter @FollowContinuum.

Get Faster Wi-Fi with These 10 Tips

Whether it be sending an important email to a major client or watching the season finale of your favorite series, a stable internet connection is needed. In order to gain the competitive business edge, there is literally no room for constant page refreshes and never-ending buffering. These ten tips will not only speed up your Wi-Fi but also get you ahead of the competition:

Router Centralization and Elevation

For optimal signal strength it is best to place the router in the middle of the room, away from other electronics without any doors or walls obstructing it either. It’s always good to keep the router high since routers tend to spread signals downwards, meaning the higher you place it, the more coverage you’re going to get.

Reposition Antennas

Try positioning them perpendicular to each other, one being horizontal and the other vertical. Reception is maximized when your device and the transmitter are both operating on the same plane. Former Apple Wi-Fi engineer, Alf Watt, attests to this theory: “perpendicularly positioned antennas ensure optimal wireless reception”.

Use Powerline Network Adapters

Multi-story housing prevents routers from being centrally located, so the next best thing is to use powerline network adapters. These devices work by utilizing the electrical wiring in the walls. First off you would have to plug it in near to and connect it with your router through an Ethernet cable, then plug in the second adapter after you have chosen a room for network coverage. Connection will then be delivered.

Wireless Security

Setting up wireless security prevents your network from being compromised by external threats that lead to undesired downtime. After logging into your router’s admin page, change the encryption method to WPA2 and select a password that’s easy to remember.

Utilize Heat Mapping Software

This allows you to see what your wireless heat map looks like, showing you exactly how much coverage each area is getting. With this information, you’d be able to reposition the router into an optimal position, adjust antennas or powerline network adapters to eradicate problematic areas.

Switch to 5GHz

Firstly there are two frequencies to choose from: 2.4 and 5GHz, and for homes or offices dotted with electronic devices the 2.4 GHz spectrum gets crowded pretty quickly. Solve this problem by switching to the 5GHz spectrum since it allows for more devices without cluttering the Wi-Fi.

Move to Less Crowded Channels

Living in crowded neighborhoods or buildings mean that you share the same signal space, depending on which frequency your network operates on. By choosing the right channel, interference is reduced thus speeding up the Wi-Fi. Applications such as Wifi Analyzer or WifiInfoView helps find which channels are overflowing and which ones aren’t.

Router Upgrades

Wireless and internet technology have come a long way in the past 5 years, and if your router is older than that – you might want to consider upgrading it. The easiest way to determine if your router is slowing down is to look up the model number and compare its specs with those of the internet package from your ISP.

Turn Old Routers into Wi-Fi Repeaters

When you want to extend your network but your powerline network adapters won’t do, the next best option is to turn your old router into a wireless bridge. This involves installation of custom firmware on your router. If wiring isn’t your thing, this is the best alternative of extending your Wi-Fi to the outer limits of your property.

Contact your ISP as a last resort

If nothing does the trick you should consider calling your ISP. Despite it being an uncomfortable task to accomplish it potentially saves you any future frustration. By contacting your ISP, they’d be able to diagnose the problem and provide a solution for it, at your own expense of course.
The benefits of having an efficient and stable Wi-Fi connection are endless; better communication with clients, more streamlined business operations or even watching your favorite videos without the buffering. Give your business the edge it deserves by giving us a call at 800-421-7151, we’ll gladly answer any questions you have.

NBA Team Latest Victim of Spoofed Email

For some NBA fans, the Milwaukee Bucks have long been a laughing stock on court. However, their most recent loss is no laughing matter. According to Yahoo! Sports, last month a team employee unknowingly sent out names, addresses, Social Security numbers, compensation information, and dates of birth of players to a spoofed email account operated by a hacker. However, the Bucks are simply the latest victim in what is a threat to businesses of all sizes. We’ve come up with some pointers on how to protect your business from spoofed emails.

Education is Key
There are countless cliches out there promoting the importance of education, but when it comes to cyber security, you might as well embrace them all. In the case of spoofed emails, you need to make sure your employees know what these are and how they can harm your company. They can come in several forms and look to attack your organization in a number of different ways. A good defense starts with trained employees using best security practices when it comes to emails. Knowledge isn’t just the key to success, it’s the building block of a comprehensive email security plan.

Check the Sender
The easiest way to determine a real email from a spoofed one is to view who is sending it. While your basic junk mail folder will screen the really lazy attempts at spoofing, you and your employees can’t rely on it to weed out everything. A lot of cybercriminals have gotten skilled at mimicking the look and feel of companies through professional looking graphics and signatures. For starters, you are going to want to ignore email display names as these can be deceptive. The domain name provides the best clues as to who the sender really is. For instance, if an email requesting your company’s financial documents claims to be from the IRS but the domain reads IRSgov.com, it’s a spoof email since that domain is not what the IRS uses. If you ever spot an email containing a domain you consider to be suspicious, delete it immediately. If it is from a legitimate sender, they will send you a follow up email in a couple of days.

Embrace DMARC
Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) can help reduce the risk of spoofed emails being sent internally. For businesses that do not set this up, it is possible for someone to spoof an email account that looks like it is from your business or a current employee and send it from a different server. As we saw in the case with the Bucks, these can appear legitimate to employees who will then in turn do what is requested such as turn off security settings or handover sensitive data. With DMARC in place you can prevent spoofed emails from utilizing your domains by requiring any email sent by your domain to come from your server. This greatly reduces the risk of an internal spoofed email showing up in the inbox of your employees.

Utilize Email Protections

A lot of companies believe they can get by with the simple protections that come standard with an email client. However, doing the bare minimum is rarely enough to stop spoofed emails, not to mention all of the other threats lurking in your inbox, and high-powered email and spam protection will give your organization the added layer of security it needs. Much like elite-level basketball players need the best coaching and equipment to succeed, the only way to truly reduce the risk of falling victim of a spoofed email is to educate your staff properly and then equip them with email filtering. This ensures they aren’t wasting their time constantly trying to identify legitimate emails from fake ones but are prepared when the situation presents itself.

When it comes to email security, working with us is a slam dunk. We may not have the skills of Steph Curry on the basketball court but when in the realm of IT, competitors say they want to be like us. Give us a call today at 800-421-7151 to find out more.

Shadow IT: Ignore At Your Own Risk

It’s one of those little secrets that nobody wants to talk about…

The term “Shadow IT” refers to apps and devices used at work that operate outside your company’s sanctioned policies and protocols.

Shadow IT takes many forms, like conversations on Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Gmail, or Skype. It can include software from Excel macros to cloud-based data storage apps such as Dropbox, Google Docs, and Evernote. Or collaboration spaces like Slack, Asana, and Wrike. And then there are devices: USB sticks, smartphones, tablets, and laptops within your network that you have no control over.

Robert J. Moore, CEO of RJMetrics, relates how companies like Slack and Dropbox craft their pricing models to encourage rapid proliferation. One day, a few of his engineers were using Slack, then all the engineers, then the whole rest of the company was using it. He said, “We reached a point of no return and paying for it was pretty much our only option.”

The Hidden Dangers of Shadow IT

When users on your network adopt apps and devices outside your control, protocols aren’t followed, systems aren’t patched, devices get infected without people knowing it and data breaches happen… As a result, confidential information can be exposed, accounts taken over, websites defaced, goods and services stolen, and precious time and money lost.

Not only that, you end up with siloed information in unknown places, data compliance issues and missed opportunities for bulk pricing.

The obvious solution would be to crack down and forbid use of all but company-approved devices and apps. Unfortunately, that tends to slow things down, stifling productivity and innovation.

Bringing Your Shadow IT Out into the Light

Obviously, burying your head in the sand won’t make the problem go away. Here’s what you can do to not only take control of the situation, but actually use it to drive innovation and agility at your company.

Cut loose the “control” mentality. It’s no longer feasible to simply ban certain apps. If you don’t give employees the software they prefer, they may start using their own. They can easily access a vast and growing variety of apps, all without your help – or control.

Recognize the delicate balance between risk and performance. Evaluate risk on a case-by-case basis. Then take control of high-risk situations and keep an eye on the rest.

Foster open communication. Get employees involved in creating intuitive policies. You can turn them from your greatest risk to your greatest asset by levering their input and ownership of protective protocols. This helps everyone maintain security while keeping practical needs for performance in mind.

Develop a fully tested plan. Even if it’s only 70% complete, a tested plan will be far more useful when the need inevitably arises than a 100% complete plan that’s not fully tested. Most managers underestimate the confusion that occurs in the first few days following a breach. Unfortunately, that confusion can create a defensive rather than constructive atmosphere centered on discovering how, when, and where the breach occurred. A comprehensive incident response plan can go a long way toward achieving a speedy resolution, and keep an otherwise manageable event from turning into a full-blown business crisis.

Finding the Right Balance
Focusing only on security and asset protection can drag down business performance quickly. However, balancing risk with performance enables you to maximize your return from investments in detection and response. It also helps you become more adept at adjusting as the security landscape changes. By developing your organization’s ability to recognize threats and respond effectively to incidents, you can actually take risks more confidently and drive business performance to a higher level.

WAMS can help you with this. Our proprietary Security Assessment helps you take the friction out of data protection. Contact us today at 800-421-7151 or alopp@wamsinc.com to take advantage of this offer (normally roughly a $297 value), FREE through the end of June, and put an end to Shadow IT in your organization finally and forever. 

Optimize Daily Usage of Microsoft Excel

Recent research by Burning Glass revealed that nearly 8 in 10 middle-skill jobs now require digital proficiency – and jobs that require digital skills pay an average of 18% more than those that don’t. Essentially, the more literate you are digitally, the more money you will make. This means paying extra attention in class (instead of skipping it) might actually benefit you in the long run. If classes aren’t a viable option, here are seven beneficial skills to help switch up your tech game:

Easy as pie Charts

If you’d still like stakeholders to continue investing in your business, bombarding them with endless numbers and decimal points might not be the wisest thing to do. It might be better to compile the data into a comprehensive chart. Enter the Recommended Charts tool that offers a basic visuals that depict the latest data trends. More than one set of numbers? No problem, since you can insert multiple charts onto one sheet. After entering the data into the column headers, head to Insert > Chart > Chart Type and choose whichever one you’d like.
Conditional Formatting

This tool helps you highlight any points of interest within your dataset, for example, you are presenting the latest numbers on project efficiency – any numbers lower than 80% are highlighted in red, making it easier for everyone in the office to not only see but also understand the dataset. If red isn’t your favorite color, the formatting is fully-customizable. Select the cell, click Home > Conditional Formatting > Add and voila!
Quick Analysis

Lessen the time needed to sift through and compile numbers from small data sets while also reducing time needed to create charts. Select the data, then click on the icon in the bottom right corner and bring up the Quick Analysis menu – this comprises a variety of tools such as formatting, charts, tables, totals and Sparklines.
Autofill

After Excel picks up on the pattern within your data, Autofill fills in the other rows and columns for you. This saves you time by removing the need of having to manually enter row upon row of data. Just click and hold the lower-right column of the cell and drag the column the down.
Power View

After making yourself comfortable, allow this Microsoft Powerpoint-compatible data exploration and visualization tool to help decipher large datasets to create interactive, presentation-grade reports. With Power View, not only are you saving copious amounts of working time but also minimizing any human errors that could affect the accuracy of the report. For Excel 2013, click Insert > Report.
Pivot Tables

When it comes to data analysis, Pivot Tables might be one of the most powerful yet intimidating tools in Excel’s arsenal. Summarize large amounts of data in lists or tables without having to use a single formula. Head over to Insert > Pivot Tables and select the data range, then select the fields in the top-half of the right-hand sidebar to generate the table.
VLookUp

If you think using Excel was challenging, try working across multiple sheets and workbooks, now that’s a challenge. With the help of VLookUp, you can create reports and/or summaries by collating data from the multiple sheets. For example, sales professionals can pull information on item descriptions, prices, inventory etc. without having to endlessly wander between rows and columns. Start off by selecting the VLOOKUP formula in the formula menu, then enter the cell containing the reference number. Then enter the range of data you want to pull the data from, the column for the data point you’re looking and click either “True” or “False”.
It’s safe to say that Excel is one of the most commonly used business software on the market. And yet not everyone is able to fully utilize it. For any questions on the previously mentioned, or other features on Excel give us a call and allow us to help elevate your user status from beginner to pro.

The Three Types of Virtualization

According to a Research and Markets report, client virtualization is expected to drive continual growth in the IT sector. Long gone are the days of tedious one-on-one interaction between servers and systems, it is now time to embrace the automated and virtualized alternative. Mainly, there are three options and here they are:

Presentation virtualization

As hinted in the name, it is an application delivery method that delivers desktops or applications from a shared server. This enables access to client applications from a central server that is connected with clients. This initiates a presentation session through a web portal while giving them access to a virtualized application instance on a shared Windows Server OS. The only resources shared with the client is the graphical user interface as well as the mouse/keyboard.

Benefits of this presentation virtualization range from reduced user resource needs to simplicity, since applications are installed only once despite multiple users sharing the same application instance and even server level administration since multiple users are sharing the resources of the same system.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

Sharing similarities with presentation virtualization, VDI solutions are also a remote display protocol that hosts centrally-managed virtual machines (VMs) that client PCs are connected to on a one-on-one network relationship. Also known as desktop virtualization, this method utilizes a hypervisor that is in charge of hosting a dedicated operating system VM for each client individually. Due to the fact that each client is totally separate from one another on the server, this option allows for flexibility, management, and security.

Why VDI? Firstly, it saves you more money since it has smaller software licensing requirements and it also reduces the need for staff to manage and troubleshoot problems. It also allows for secure mobile access to applications by enabling hardware-based GPU sharing through a secure connection from any device as well as better desktop security thanks to customizable permissions and settings. Lastly, it allows for easier maintenance – after logging off at the end of the day the desktop can be reset wiping clean any downloaded software customizations.

Application virtualization

Application virtualization is capable of allowing applications to run in environments that are foreign to the them, for example Wine allows some Microsoft Windows apps to run on Linux. By establishing a common software baseline across multiple computers within an organization, application virtualization also reduces system integration and administration costs. Finally, it enables simplified operating system migrations, whereby applications can be transferred to removable media or between computers without having to install them: effectively becoming portable software.

Not only has virtualization revolutionized the world of IT and computing, but it also has the potential to do the same for your business. Give us a call at 800-421-7151 and find out which option is best for you and your unique business requirements.

Stop Doing Costly, Manual Desktop Setups and Updates and Start Saving with Virtualization

Every time someone from IT manually updates an employee’s desktop in your organization, it makes a distinctive sound.

Ka-ching.

It’s the sound of unnecessary IT spending on manual efforts to keep individual PCs up to date with the latest patches or the newest versions of operating systems and apps. And the more employees and devices your organization has, the faster that spending adds up.

App and desktop virtualization can change all that. Instead of running apps and operating systems locally on each individual PC, centralize them in the data center and deliver them as a service over a network connection to the actual hardware where they’ll be running.

This approach allows IT to spend a lot less time and effort on things like software deployment and patching, desktop software installation and desktop setup and configuration, and significantly reduces the cost of employee onboarding and ongoing desktop management.

The impact goes beyond managing apps and desktops internally, too, because you can use this same approach to set up and manage off-site desktops and other systems and devices for remote workers. So it’s easy and cost-effective to set up a mobile workforce with the systems and secure access they need.

If you’re thinking “Where do I sign up?” you’ll be glad to know that’s easy, too. WAMS delivers app and desktop virtualization solutions powered by Citrix to your business.

There are lots of choices on how to deploy virtualization, based on your situation. If your employees are working on relatively new desktops, you can keep those in place and just manage them centrally. But if you’ve got a fleet of aging desktops, you can do even better than that by turning them into thin-client PCs or replacing them with new thin clients.

Thin clients have no hard drives; they don’t need them, since apps and desktop software are being distributed to them from a central location. Because they have fewer moving parts, they’re less likely to fail, so they tend to last much longer than typical PCs, for even more cost savings.

To learn more about all the benefits of app and desktop virtualization solutions from WAMS and Citrix, visit www.SolveITwithCitrix.com/infographic/ where you can access a library of resources including whitepapers and videos. Or give us a call.

Contact Ashli Lopp
alopp@wamsinc.com
www.SolveITwithCitrix.com/

Extend Legacy Apps to New Mobile and OS Platforms with App and Desktop Virtualization

Extend Legacy Apps to New Mobile and OS Platforms with App and Desktop Virtualization


Wouldn’t it be nice to adopt new OS’s when they come out so that your employees could take advantage of all the new features and benefits that come with them? A lot of IT managers view this idea as a pipe dream – fun to imagine, but not easily accomplished.

Legacy software applications and high upgrade costs have kept businesses of all sizes tied to outdated Windows operating systems. Your business might be one of them. You want to upgrade to a newer OS, but doing so would require you to either rewrite applications that are vital to your company’s day-to-day operations and were put in place years ago, or purchase a large number of licenses to upgrade third-party software for your employees. Either option can be prohibitively expensive for you, especially with other competing IT priorities which likely rank higher in terms of business value.

In the past, you might not have liked this situation, but you could manage it. But with today’s mobile requirement and the consumerization of IT in which employees are using their own devices to access your company network, doing something about it becomes a higher priority. Why? Because employees who access your network without proper security measures in place puts your company data at risk; your business-critical legacy apps probably don’t run properly on newer employee-owned cross-platform devices or have poor usability; and it’s all become too complex to manage.

Fortunately, solving this problem is now much simpler with app and desktop virtualization solutions from WAMS powered by Citrix. You can give your legacy apps a second life in new ways.

WAMS and Citrix’s app and desktop virtualization solutions allow you to run OSs side-by-side on any computing system, so when employees bring in their own devices running Windows, iOS, Android or Linux, it’ll be no problem because they can still access the apps they’re used to, seamlessly and securely.

Likewise when you migrate to Windows 10, you can extend earlier investments because you can run the older apps on Windows 10 through virtualization. (And vice versa – run new Windows 10 apps on older hardware without needing to do a PC refresh.)

To learn more about all the benefits of app and desktop virtualization solutions from WAMS and Citrix, visit www.SolveITwithCitrix.com/infographic/ where you can access a library of resources including whitepapers and videos. Or give us a call.

Contact Ashli Lopp
alopp@wamsinc.com
www.SolveITwithCitrix.com/

Simplify Desktop Management with WAMS and Citrix

Did the launch of Windows 10 this past summer get you thinking again about adopting the latest OS and desktop for your business? Did you get a slight feeling of dread at the thought, even though you’d love to take advantage of all the new features and benefits? If so, you’re not alone.

Staying current with software and hardware is a challenge for companies of all sizes, especially if you’re still doing manual updates. The number of PCs and other devices your IT team has to manage has become a huge effort as you work to maintain and update apps, patch OS’s and continually replace outdated, lost, or stolen machines.

New, employee-owned devices are probably entering into your IT environment as well – with employees seeking flexibility to work their way – creating further management challenges. These employee-owned devices might already be running Windows 10 or another OS and your business-critical apps may not be compatible, which can cause a loss in employee productivity. And when employees use their own devices to access critical business data without complying with company security policies, it puts your data at risk.

If you identify with these challenges, you should join the growing number of forward-thinking businesses that are modernizing their desktop computing environments through app and desktop virtualization. This is a cost-effective yet powerful alternative to physically managing all of your employee desktops and other devices.

WAMS provides app and desktop virtualization solutions powered by Citrix allowing you to both modernize your computing environment and transform the way you manage and support your employee desktops, laptops and personal devices. With app and desktop virtualization solutions from WAMS and Citrix, you can:

-Centrally manage and securely deliver Windows desktops and apps to any device – PCs, Macs, tablets, smart phones, laptops, and thin clients – all with complete personalization for your employees
-Adopt the latest Windows OS with ease and speed – as soon as its available
-Run multiple OS’s side-by-side on any device
-Extend the life of your legacy apps without requiring you to upgrade them for new OS releases
-Run newer apps on older hardware, extending its useful life
-Provide mobile workers with secure access to their desktops from anywhere, anytime, on any device
-Significantly reduce the time, complexity and costs associated with desktop management

To learn more about all the benefits of app and desktop virtualization solutions from WAMS and Citrix, visit www.SolveITwithCitrix.com/infographic/ where you can access a library of resources including whitepapers and videos. Or give us a call.

Contact Ashli Lopp
alopp@wamsinc.com
www.SolveITwithCitrix.com/

You Can Prepare for Any Business Disruption with WAMS and Citrix

What would happen if the power went out at your office just as you started reading this post? Or a fire alarm sounded? Or you learned you were in the path of a fast-moving hurricane or snowstorm?

Any expected or unexpected event that interrupts everyday operations and prevents people from doing their work can bring your business to its knees – not just financially, but also in terms of lost productivity, damage to reputation, and other less quantifiable but equally serious consequences.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that even if you can’t predict when an unforeseen event will disrupt your business, you can prepare. And being prepared can make the difference between operations coming to a halt or business continuing as usual.

WAMS provides app and desktop virtualization solutions powered by Citrix that help businesses like yours ensure workforce continuity during any disruption.

Our solutions ensure workforce continuity by providing secure remote access for employees to do their jobs anywhere. That means the ability to easily access everyday business applications and data using any device, with an interface that works exactly the same way whether it’s on a business laptop or personal tablet.

On the IT side of things, because secure remote access is built into app and desktop virtualization solutions from WAMS and Citrix, there’s no need to maintain a separate set of business continuity access tools and devices.

To learn more about all the benefits of app and desktop virtualization solutions from WAMS and Citrix, visit www.SolveITwithCitrix.com/infographic/ where you can access a library of resources including whitepapers and videos. Or give us a call.

Contact Ashli Lopp
alopp@wamsinc.com
www.SolveITwithCitrix.com/

WAMS and Citrix Make Mobile Access Secure and Simple

Isn’t mobility great? It makes it possible for employees to work anywhere, on any device, and be more productive than anyone could have ever imagined. But it’s not always so great for your business when it comes to making that access both secure and easy.

Increasingly, security concerns are putting companies between a rock and a hard place – having to choose whether to limit mobile access to company data on corporate or personal devices (which makes it harder for people to work at maximum productivity) or to give employees free rein to use their own devices (which makes it harder to secure sensitive data).

And don’t get employees started on the usability challenges that mobility can create. It’s hard to achieve the productivity that mobility offers when they have to use different interfaces and credentials for different devices – and even then might not be able to access all the corporate resources they need.

Fortunately, WAMS provides app and desktop virtualization solutions powered by Citrix that eliminate these challenges. By virtualizing apps and desktops, employees can work remotely, stay productive, and easily use the devices they prefer – from company laptops to personal tablets or smartphones – for mobile access over any type of network connection. They also receive the same consistent experience across all devices. And you can rest assured that business-critical information is safe because secure access to both data and apps is built in.

To learn more about all the benefits of app and desktop virtualization solutions from WAMS and Citrix, visit www.SolveITwithCitrix.com/infographic/ where you can access a library of resources including whitepapers and videos. Or give us a call.

Contact Ashli Lopp
alopp@wamsinc.com
www.SolveITwithCitrix.com/

Browser Power: 6 Great Chrome Extensions

According to Statcounter’s April web browser usage report, Google Chrome accounts for over 60 percent of the market share. However, out of all those people how many are employing any of the truly helpful extensions offered in Chrome’s web store? The answer is almost certainly less people than the number of those who have problems that could be easily fixed by one of these extensions. Read on to find out if one of our favorite extensions could solve any of your biggest browser complaints:

crxMouse Chrome Gestures

Whether you’re switching between a dozen tabs or hopping around the company website, web navigation can start to feel a bit tedious. If you’ve got two monitors, or just a large screen, moving your mouse to the top of the screen to constantly open and close tabs can really slow down your rhythm. One solution is to learn all of the keyboard shortcuts. An even better one is the “crx Mouse Gestures” extension, which allows you to assign mouse gestures to different browser actions.

Want to go back a page? Right click and drag the mouse to the left. Want to open a new tab? Right click and drag up. Gestures allows you to customize everything, including the motions themselves. In the options menu you can draw custom gestures, for example a box, and tell crx to tie that motion into opening your Gmail inbox in a new tab. It takes no time at all to incorporate the shortcuts into your browsing habits and significantly boosts your browsing efficiency.

Readability

When it’s time to slow down your browsing and read the most recent election article or a recipe you want to try, the page is often cluttered with social sharing buttons, advertisements and stock photos. With the “Readability” extension all of this gets cleared away with the press of a button, leaving you with a clean, text-only page.

In addition to allowing for customization of font, size, and color of your “reader” page, this extension also allows for you to “save for later” and “send to my Kindle”. Readability is a perfect addition for anyone doing a lot of reading who is tired of pages containing more clutter than useful content.

OneTab

After installing the last two extensions you may find yourself with a stack of tabs sandwiched along the top of your screen. Too many open tabs can cripple your available memory. A lot of us open tabs as notes, reminders, and things to check some time in the distant future, which is why you’ll love OneTab. With this extension you can condense all of your open tabs into one page that lists each of them for easy access when you’re ready to return to them.

In addition to reducing your memory usage by up to 95 percent, OneTab will let you share your condensed tab list. If you’re working on research for a client, open all the relevant tabs and with the click of a button OneTab will create a site with a shareable link so you can send them to anyone you’d like.

Black Menu for Google

This extension puts all of Google’s sites, services and apps right in your browser menu. After clicking on the icon, a customizable menu drops down with sites like Drive, YouTube, Gmail, and more. But these menu items are more than just links to your inbox and videos. When your mouse hovers over the different options it actually opens a miniaturized window, allowing you to view any of your Google services without opening a new tab or window.

Instead of opening a new tab, navigating to YouTube and searching for a video, clicking on the Black Menu icon will open a miniaturized search function. You don’t even need to open a new window or tab to watch the video; just click play and when you’re finished, clicking outside of the menu will make it like it never happened. For anyone working closely with Drive, Gmail, or Google Calendar, this extension can save a lot of time.

Pop-out Youtube

If you love the Black Menu extension, but need a little more functionality out of your YouTube experience, Pop-out YouTube is the next step. This extension allows you to turn any video into a new browserless window that stays on top of all of your other windows. If you need to transcribe something, one click of the extension will pop out the video and you can click a window behind it and start working away without spending 20 minutes trying to perfectly size the window so everything remains visible.

As a quick note, there are dozens of extensions that block ads and those annoying links that overlay your cat videos. Unfortunately, Pop-out Youtube does not include this feature and it’s a good idea to install one of those as well.

Taco

Most of the extensions listed above improve the ease and flow of your internet browsing, but Taco focuses on integration to boost productivity. At its core, this extension replaces your Chrome ‘new tab’ page with a customizable framework for all of your third-party services.
With various templates and layouts, you can organize and combine tasks and notes from over 40 services including Evernote, Google, Salesforce, Trello, and more. Any time you’re about to start a new project, open a new tab to search for whatever you need to complete it. But before you hit that ‘Google Search’ button, drag the task item into your ‘doing’ lane and off you go. Finished your work and need to check how your home team is doing in their game? Open a new tab, move the task to your finished lane and check the score.

These are just some of our favorite extensions. If you’d like more suggestions or support for anything Google related, we’re here for you — don’t hesitate to call WAMS at (800)421-7151.

iPad Pro Feedback from Early Adopters

You may still be on the fence about whether or not to purchase an iPad Pro for your business. While you can find a lot of coverage on Apple’s latest tablet online, you may wonder what actual users think. Today, you’ll discover just that. CIO, a website that delivers the latest news and tips for IT professionals, recently surveyed 11 iPad Pro users to get their feedback. Here are their thoughts on the good and bad:

The Good

Great for short, focused bursts of work – The iPad Pro is lightweight, turns on quickly and provides some exceptional iOS multitasking features. These qualities make it a perfect alternative to a laptop for short, focused bursts of work. One user surveyed noted that taking out his laptop for thirty minutes or less of work is tiresome and is also unfeasible at times. The iPad Pro solves this problem, allowing him to even get work done in taxis.

Speed – When compared to iPad Air 2, the iPad Pro has made huge improvements when it comes to speed. The iPad Air 2 is slow when opening a large file or program and when switching between apps. However, the iPad Pro performs these same tasks lightning fast thanks to Apple’s A9X 64-bit processor and 4GB of RAM.

Split View Enhances Productivity – Let’s face it, we all multi-task to some extent, and Split View has really made it easier than ever. If you’re in a meeting and need to toggle between your email and a note application or web page, Split View eliminates the now unnecessary step of hitting the home button first and then opening the other app. All you have to do is slide your finger across the display to bring up different apps you may want to use.

Works Wonders for Note Taking
– With the iPad Pro, taking notes is now like the good ol’ days when you sat in class and scratched down on a pad what the teacher said. While back then that pad was made of paper, today’s pad is digital. How is this possible? It’s all because of the Pencil stylus, which acts like a real pencil. Essentially, this turns your iPad Pro into a virtual notepad with the ability to keep all your notes in digital format in one easy and convenient place. What’s more, your notes are automatically accessible from all your devices.

The Bad

Subpar Keyboard – According to one user, there is still much to be desired from Apple’s smart keyboard. It lacks buttons such as the home key and keys to adjust brightness and volume. Also it doesn’t have backlit keys, which can make it difficult to type if you’re in a dark place.

Browser Too Often Displays Mobile Website
– The tablet tends to use mobile websites when browsing the web (which could be because the iPad Pro uses iOS 9 instead of a full blown desktop operating system). Obviously, this can be annoying as mobile websites are generally not as functional as the desktop version. With that said, the iPad Pro can handle the desktop version perfectly fine, you just have to manually switch over to the desktop version on many occasions.

Limited Storage – While the Microsoft Surface Pro allows users to add storage via micro SD memory cards, the iPad Pro has no option to increase storage. Of course, you can alternatively store overflow files and data on the cloud; however keeping sensitive data there is not ideal for many business owners.

Fragile Screen – The iPad Pro’s retina display is capable of producing beautiful images, but the screen is also incredibly fragile. One user noted that even if you drop it from less than a foot off the ground, you are still likely to break the screen, which is not an inexpensive fix.

We hope this feedback provided by early iPad Pro adapters can help you make an informed decision as to whether or not Apple’s latest tablet is suitable for your business. If you’d like to learn more about Apple products or need to service some of your own, don’t hesitate to get in touch with WAMS at (800)421-7151 or e-mail alopp@wamsinc with any inquiries.

Learning About Virtualization Licenses

Whether you only need a dozen, or a hundred, the process of deciding on and acquiring software licenses can be very frustrating. Many of us had hoped that cloud computing and virtualization would alleviate some of these headaches. Unfortunately, we’re not there yet, which is why it’s important to understand all of your licensing options when deciding on a virtualized environment – let’s take a look.

Why are Licenses an Issue?

Virtualization is a complex topic, so let’s have a quick review. Most people are starting to work the concept of cloud storage into their everyday lives. Think of virtualization as a cloud where your server(s) store their hardware capabilities and your network computers can pull from that cloud as needed.

In this scenario, let’s assume employee A and employee B have two identical desktop computers with barebones hardware. Employee A needs to perform some basic text editing while employee B needs an in-depth scan of your client database. With the right infrastructure management, both employees will connect to your business’ server for the necessary physical processing power and server-hosted software. That means employee A will request the appropriate amount of processing power to edit text (which is likely very little) from the server, while employee B requests a much larger chunk of RAM, processing and hard drive space for scanning the database.

Understand so far? Because it gets really tricky when we start asking how many licenses are required for the server-hosted software. Licensing models were originally based on the number of physical hard drives with installed copies. However, in a virtualized environment that’s not an accurate reflection of usage. Using the most recent platforms, administrators can divide up their CPU into as many virtual machines as the firm requires.

What do Current Virtualized Licensing Models Look Like?

Sadly, the virtualization and software industries are still deciding what will be the best way to move forward. The very vendors that sell the software required to manage the creation of virtual machines and segmentation of your server actually disagree about which model to use.
The company behind the popular VMware software has switched to a per-virtual-machine model after a huge response from customers, while other powerhouse vendors like Oracle and Microsoft have stuck with the per-CPU-core model that is based on server hardware capacity.

In any software selection process there is almost always the option of open source software. Under the open source model there are no licenses and usage is free, and just last month, AT&T committed to virtualizing 75 percent of its office under the OpenStack cloud computing platform by 2020.

What Should I Do?

In the end, software license considerations and total cost of ownership calculations should be a huge factor in how you plan to virtualize your firm. When discussing the possibility of an infrastructure migration with your IT services provider, make sure to ask about the advantages and disadvantages of different virtualization platforms compared with their licensing models. You may find that paying more for hardware-based models is worth it, or that open source platforms provide you with everything you need.
No matter which platform you choose, remember to list every piece of licensed software in your office. Find out which licenses you can keep, which ones you’ll need to update and most importantly what the license migration will cost you in the short and long run.

This might seem like too much to handle at first. The process of virtualizing your firm alone is enough to have you reaching for the aspirin. By contacting us you can avoid the headache entirely; we’ll walk you through all of the steps necessary to guide your organization through this next step in modernizing your business model. Call at (800)421-7151 or email alopp@wamsinc.com.

Cloud “Attitude Adjustments” for Success

Not every business owner who migrates to the cloud achieves great results. As much as the service is touted with words like “freedom”, “productivity”, and “collaboration”, realizing the full benefits of these words is not a given. So if you’re thinking about transitioning to the cloud, how can you ensure you optimize the technology for your business? Well, it all starts with your attitude before migration. Here are some mental-shifts you should make before getting started.

Consider Cloud Value Over Costs

When considering the cloud, too many administrators get hung up on costs. Instead, it makes more sense to think about how the cloud impacts their firm and saves them money. The old saying, “you have to spend money to make money” is ever so true here. And as a business owner, the cloud is no different than any other investment you took to grow your organization. That’s why you should remember the cloud provides you value, such as the ability to work anytime, anywhere, and with easier collaboration.

And of course, you shouldn’t just think of how the cloud benefits yourself, but also your IT managers and staff. In fact, before migrating to the cloud, why not go ahead and ask your IT leaders just how the cloud will benefit your business? They’ll likely mention how it can boost the productivity levels of all your employees while making everyone’s job easier.

Think “Strategy” Before Migration

Once you’ve considered the value the cloud provides, you’ll likely have some ideas of what goals you’ll want it to accomplish at your firm. If you haven’t, now is the time to do so – before signing up for the service. Let’s say for example, you want to gain the productivity benefits of your staff being able to work from anywhere at any time. How can you do this? When you roll out the cloud in your firm, have the specific goal of increasing mobile use or adoption among employees. Talk with your IT leaders to devise a plan that they can implement.
When it comes to your other cloud goals, clearly define them beforehand and then talk with your IT staff to come up with the nuts and bolts plan to accomplish that goal. By doing this, you’ll achieve much better results with your cloud service.

Learn to Love the Quickly Evolving Nature of the Cloud

As the cloud is still a new technology, it is rapidly changing. New updates, features, and enhancements are rolled out regularly, and if you want to get the most out of your cloud it’s best to keep up. Of course, this is a scary idea for many administrators and IT managers alike as the old way of doing things is rolling out new features and apps over long periods of time.

Some cloud services make it easier than ever to keep up with changes. Let’s take Office 365 for example. Adding users and implementing new changes can take mere minutes. Yes, it may be scary to do so, but remember, Microsoft and your IT managers are in your corner – they are there to support you. Of course, you may still have some bad memories from updating your legacy technology. Let us assure you, updates to Office 365 are nothing like this and require a small learning curve. Most new features are intuitive by nature, making the adjustment to these changes painless and problem-free.

One of the best ways to assure your cloud updates go as smoothly as possible is to have an IT leader who’s enthusiastic about the technology be responsible for managing it. A cloud enthusiast is much more likely to be up-to-date on the newest features and enhancements and can quickly share with you whether or not an update will benefit your business.

When it comes to cloud migration for your business, it’s pretty much an all or nothing decision (unless of course you go with virtualization, which is a different topic altogether). The cloud will become an integral part of your business, and you and all of your staff will interact with it on a daily basis. So be prepared for a big transition and a big payoff of higher productivity and connectivity for you and your staff.

Are you ready to embrace the cloud with a solution like Office 365? Give us a call at (800)421-7151, and talk with us about a cloud migration today.

Pitfalls of Business Continuity Planning

Like all things man-made and otherwise, business continuity plans are not perfect. They too have pitfalls that can result in your business’s failure if not accounted for immediately. Don’t blame it all on the IT guy, as often times the way a system is designed can also have loopholes. Here are a few of the reasons why business continuity plans fail.

Over-Optimistic Testing

The initial testing attempt is usually the most important as it is when IT service providers can pinpoint possible weak points in the recovery plan. However, what usually happens is a full transfer of system and accompanying operations to the backup site. This makes it difficult to look at specific points of backup with too many factors flowing in all at the same time.

Insufficient Remote User Licenses

A remote user license is given by service providers to businesses so that when a disaster strikes, employees can log in to a remote desktop software. However, the number of licenses a provider has may be limited. In some cases, more employees will need to have access to the remote desktop software than a provider’s license can allow.

Lost Digital IDs

When a disaster strikes, employees will usually need their digital IDs so they can log in to the provider’s remote system while their own system at the office is being restored. However, digital IDs are tied to an employee’s desktop and when a desktop is being backed up, they are not automatically saved. So when an employee goes back to using their ‘ready and restored’ desktop, they are unable to access the system with their previous digital ID.

Absence of Communications Strategy

IT service providers will use email to notify and communicate with business owners and their employees when a disaster happens. However, this form of communication may not always be reliable in certain cases such as the Internet being cut off or with spam intrusions. There are third-party notification systems available, but they are quite expensive and some providers sell them as a pricey add-on service.

Backups that Require Labored Validation

After a system has been restored, IT technicians and business owners need to check whether the restoration is thorough and complete. This validation becomes a waste of time and effort when the log reports come in a manner that is not easy to compare. This usually happens when IT service providers utilize backup applications that do not come with their own log modules, and have to be acquired separately.

These are just some of the many reasons why business continuity plans fail. It is important for business owners to be involved with any process that pertains to their IT infrastructure. Just because you believe something works doesn’t necessarily mean that it works correctly or effectively. If you have questions regarding your business continuity plan, get in touch with our experts today at (800)421-7151.