Our physical location is situated between the three points of Tampa, St Petersburg, and Clearwater, but Microsoft 365 and Office 365 know no boundaries. Sarasota and Bradenton are just over the bridge to the south. And Orlando is a few exits away on I-4. But your Microsoft data center – the physical location of your stored documents – might be in Atlanta or at another East Coast facility. Microsoft has over 100 of these data centers worldwide. In addition to this primary copy of your data held in the closest proximity to your location, redundant copies of your data might be stored in separate geographical regions.

​Just like any managed IT services provider, at least over 95% of our work is performed on a remote basis. Our helpdesk professionals might be in Clearwater, but they might also be in Toronto. And our high-level technical engineers (that require no personal contact and don’t need to speak perfect North American English) don’t need to be in Saint Petersburg at all. If a server needs such expertise, then we sometimes rely on a pool of outsourced techs from a reputable partner in the Detroit area.

For the remaining 5% of the time that an on-premises service call is absolutely required, we will send a qualified and vetted technician to your business. But do we keep plenty of trained staff on the payroll and waiting for that fraction of the time that it is critical? No, instead we use WorkMarket’s cloud-based software to find the appropriate skills at the precise time that these tasks are required. This method can not only provide prequalified experts to your door, but we can arrange scheduled or even emergency visits on an as-needed basis. In most cases, this is a cost-saving operation, which can indirectly be passed on to the client. And if the visit is scheduled enough time in advance, then it’s possible that you might see a familiar face and not a different tech each time.

While we are surrounded by prospective business clients within the Tampa Bay region, our reach extends far beyond this area. We currently have clients from Cape Cod to California. But our service environment exists within one interconnected cloud.

There has been a paradigm shift to the cloud. It’s been going on for over a decade, but many IT providers and their clients are still mired in dubious beliefs and legacy habits. No, you don’t need a server. No, you don’t need a VPN. No, you don’t need a local IT firm.

One of the most important factors in this dilemma is the protection of your organization’s property – your data. We previously locked down everything within the perimeters of the workplace, but now we use our company desktop and we use personal mobile devices beyond the local area network to access company information as we demand remote work capabilities. Now your data is locked down at the document level.

 Gone are the days of buying software. You never really owned it, but you purchased the right to use that software, that is, until it had to be replaced by a newer version. Now we subscribe to software-as-a-service apps, such as Salesforce, DocuSign, QuickBooks Online, Google Apps (G Suite), and Office 365 (Microsoft 365). Even giants like Adobe (Creative Cloud) and Autodesk (AutoCAD) have embraced the subscription-based model with strong hooks to the cloud. Salesforce has long had integration and Autodesk recently announced  integration  with Office 365.

With the advent of remote tools and AI, most every mundane task is, or will be, automated. The examples are endless here.

Need to get back into your account? No problem, just change the password yourself.

One aspect missing from the lists above would be the mention of teamwork versus individual accomplishment, responsibility, and notoriety. Now those attributes have moved to the team. As a case in point, a milestone metric  released today says that there now 13 million active daily users of Microsoft Teams, which puts Microsoft Teams ahead of Slack’s 10 million. 

HelpDesk 365 | Annual Remote SupportIn the spirit of Fourth of July sales, we thought this half-price offering might interest you:

As a July special, we’re offering a blend of both training and help desk support at a 50% rate for 3 or more end-users at $174.50 per person over an entire year. Max 9 licenses.

For smaller businesses (normally under five end-users), we offer a limited helpdesk service. Helpdesk 365 is only available during specific hours and incidents are limited to five (5) tickets per user per month, and one should bear in mind that an email message sent to [email protected] initiates a ticket in our system. A chat message sent within the Microsoft Teams support channel is not initially considered a ticket, nor does it create one automatically like an email does, however, a chat message might evolve and eventually attain ticket status.

helpdesk 365 is not a managed services plan. There are no proactive measures, not even monitoring in an ongoing basis, although we will install a remote agent that collects basic system information and alerts us of the most critical events, as well as the agent enables remote control as a reactionary remediation tool.

Regular Price:  $349 per person per year
Sale Price: $349 $174.50 (minimum 3 licenses)

Click here to schedule 1-hour onboarding session 

RIT | Optimum 365 | Managed IT Services | 4 pages | (30 downloads)

According to a 2015 report from the US Small Business Administration, there were over 30 million small businesses (under 500 employees) and the average small business had 10.5 workers. It’s probably safe to say that these numbers haven’t changed much over the past 4 years.

Ten years ago, though, almost all of these businesses with about 5-25 employees had an on-premises server. There was a server rush in the mid-2000s when Microsoft came out with Small Business Server 2003, which included email services, document storage, printer sharing, line of business application hosting, and identity management. It was the Swiss army knife of the small business. I know because I was there – I had an IT practice on Cape Cod in Massachusetts that primarily sold these custom-built servers and maintained them as a ‘managed services provider’ or MSP.

But now Microsoft’s website reveals that not only is Small Business Server a thing of the past, but its replacement, Windows Server Essentials, is deprecated, meaning that its core functionality has been stripped, including one of its endeared features, Remote Web Workplace. There are no more dashboards or wizards to set up your services – this all has to be done manually, just as it has always been done in the plain old version of Windows Server.

The second paragraph of that recently updated web page (June 19, 2019) tells the reader that Microsoft now recommends Microsoft 365 business as a replacement:

“We highly recommend Microsoft 365 for small business customers as a replacement for all versions of Windows Server Essentials. Microsoft 365 is a modern solution for file sharing and collaboration, and includes Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security.”

The article goes on to specifically recommend Microsoft 365 Business, which is good for businesses with up to 300 end-users:

“Evolve your business further with Microsoft 365 Business, which includes even more Office features, like e-mail and calendaring, file storage in the cloud, data protection, and more. Microsoft 365 Business will help your small business achieve new levels of productivity.”

My opinion: It’s about time. I retired my own on-premises servers in 2008 and I’ve never looked back. As I mentioned in a conversation earlier today, if my laptop falls in the drink, then I just buy a new one, log in to Microsoft 365 portal and download my applications along with all of my documents and settings. Done.

microsoft teams live training
Resolute IT has a new branch of business – RIT U

Launch
microsoft teams live trainingThe first course is now offered in triplicate, that is, three identical courses will launch on July 8, 2019. One begins at noon EDT that day, followed by a 2-3pm class, and the last class of the day will happen from 4-5pm. This popularly requested learning topic and buzzing business movement will be Microsoft Teams.

When?
The courses generally run over the last 3 weeks of the month (every month) and take place 3 times per week (Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday). Just choose your preferred time of day for your class or simply go to any class whenever one is held – students have life access to the courses they purchased. We also have a ‘focus week’ about once per month, where we’ll go through all 9 modules over the course of 3 days (3 classes x 3 afternoons).

Description
This course covers an in-depth overview of Microsoft Teams from its roots in Office 365 to general navigation, terminology, and best practices all the way to Connectors, Bots, Apps, and Services. We cover file sharing, conversation types, meeting types, PSTN calling, guest members, and audio/video settings. Finally, you will learn Microsoft Teams administration through the Microsoft 365 portal or with options using Windows PowerShell.

What It’s Like
Each class consists of about 20 minutes of lecture delivered by PowerPoint and Zoom, then about 10 minutes of live demonstration by sharing the desktop screen in Zoom, which is followed by one-half hour of live lab experience in Microsoft Teams. The first half of each class is held using Zoom for desktop sharing by the instructor, but the lab portion of the class is held within Microsoft Teams itself and monitored by the instructor. Each student is given personalized attention, as needed.

Ongoing
Training continues after the course is over – every student who completes the course is given free access to the RIT U | Graduate Team in Microsoft Teams, where follow-up questions are answered by chat at no additional charge. For those requesting additional and ongoing training, we have an annual subscription called HelpDesk 365, which are help desk services provided per individual.

Customized Group Classes
Unique class schedules are available for you and your firm’s special needs, perhaps as a shorter overall course time and with fewer sessions. And if you have an immediate need for training in another Office application than Teams, then we can talk about that, too.

Discounted Group Rates
We have three pricing tiers above the standard retail rate of $249 per single student (less than five in a group); then we have a 5-9 tier at $175; a 10-19 tier at $150 per student; and $125 per student for 20+ in a prepaid group.

$249 – Retail (per single seat under 5 seats)
$175 > 5 seats
$150 > 10 seats
$125 > 20 seats

Push-back Remedy
Outsourced training puts the onus on another party in regard to ‘learning push-back’. Establish organization integrity by reinforcing the firm’s required best practices through the mouthpiece of a live instructor.

The Instructor’s Mission
As a veteran of the IT managed services provider focus for the Small to Medium-Sized Business (SMB), Scott Abbotts shows his depth and breadth of experience when helping people learn new technologies with the maturity and respect due to fellow professionals. Our mission is to leave a legacy of empowered, productive workers, and conquered challenges.

Scott Abbotts
Resolute IT | RIT U
https://training.resolute-it.com
[email protected]
(727) 300-4940

microsoft teams hub for teamwork

From Microsoft Teams, you can access almost every resource from apps to data.

 

SharePoint: Open Teams and go to the Channel of a Team to find the Files tab, which is a reflection of the Channel’s folder, which resides within that Team’s SharePoint document library.

 

OneDrive: While in a private chat, share a document with a colleague. When you do, then that document stays in your OneDrive with sharing permissions for the colleague.

 

PowerApps: Create a PowerApps app for your mobile team to input data. View that app and its corresponding data on the web, within the mobile PowerApps app, or within a Teams tab as a connected app.

 

Kaizala: Very soon, we’ll see Kaizala as a new addition to Teams. The two will interop especially in terms of chat messages.

 

OneNote: The digital filing cabinet, OneNote, can also become an app for collaboration, especially when OneNote is added to a tab within a Teams Channel.

 

Flow: Microsoft Flow creates workflows that automate repetitive work tasks triggered by your Microsoft Teams data.

 

Planner: Work on your task-related project from within Teams or in Planner on the web, remove or delete your plan, and get notified in Teams when a task is assigned to you in Planner.

 

Scott Abbotts | Resolute IT | (727) 300-4940

 

The top ten technology concerns for the SMB:

1.    Data

2.    Digital Transformation

3.    Cybersecurity

4.    Compliance

5.    Integration

6.    Cost

7.    Talent Scarcity

8.    Scalability

9.    Choice

10. Adoption

========================================================

1.    Data: Management, Analysis, Utilization, & Storage

Where do I put it all? How? What is it doing for me? How do we find it? Do I have capacity to store it all?

OneDrive, SharePoint and Azure Storage are the three storage technologies from Microsoft that can respectively provide personal, team, and organizational data repositories. Power BI can provide greater insight into your data. And connect to a wealth of resources with Microsoft Graph. Use Microsoft Teams as a ‘filing system’ and Azure Information Protection to classify and then share documents without worry for where any company data might be stored or located.

2.    Digital Transformation: Paperless Office | Remote Workforce | Keeping Up with Moore’s Law | Recognizing the Value of New Technologies (IoT, AI, AR, VR)

Everything is happening online. Can I avoid it? How can I determine the best investment?

Scan your paper documents with OneDrive right from your mobile device. Leverage the power of the cloud to speed up processes. AI is built into Windows 10, Microsoft Teams, and every other Microsoft application. Add LTE or 5G redundancy to your current internet access. And include WiFi probes to diagnose network performance and receive alerts to significant events or intrusions.

3.    Cybersecurity: Reducing the Attack Surface | Recognizing the Human Element

Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection helps with Safe Links and Safe Attachments. Multifactor Authentication reduces the risk of infection by a whopping 99%. Windows Defender AV is now a world-class antivirus solution, competing with the rest for the top spot in recent reviews, and now coming the MacOS. The best solution is a holistic one – don’t break up your security defenses into disparate services, but instead use the entire synergistic Microsoft ecosystem of security tools with industry best practices.

4.    Compliance: Abiding by Laws and Regulations | No GDPR in the USA – Not Yet | Govt. and Industry Regs

If you engage in business with any other business under the mandate of GDPR, then your business must comply, as well. And it’s only a matter of time before GDPR (in some form) comes to the US. Already we have HIPAA and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, so we must take measures to comply. If not, then the business can be fined heavily to the extent that it can possibly affect the longevity and integrity of the business.

5.    Integration: Will It Work with Existing Tech? | Connecting Widgets

The biggest mistake is to buy software the old-fashioned way – to supposedly ‘own it’. But these conventional and static versions of Office 2016/2019 do not keep current with continuous upgrades as they do with the Business and Pro Plus versions that come with Office 365 licenses. Keeping within a holistic ecosystem can avoid integration pitfalls. Use Intune and Windows AutoPilot Service to deploy new or existing devices to remote workers.

6.    Cost: Technology Is Not an Option | Average Tech Budget is 40 Percent

In today’s world, a business without technology is not in business. The average spending budget for SMB’s is 40% of overall operating costs. Using the cloud and subscription-based technologies such as Office/Microsoft365 reduce high capital expenses by leveraging lower monthly operating expenses instead.

7.    Talent Scarcity: Finding the Right Provider | Is Your IT Provider Skilled with the New Ways of the Modern Workplace?

This is a topic that confounds me. Too few of my peers are proficient with Office/Microsoft 365 as a single cohesive platform – most only see it as a perpetual expense for the MS Office software suite alone. But an IT provider must understand how to harmonize the entire Office/Microsoft 365 platform.

8.    Scalability: Ability to Grow Up or Down | Seasonal Peaks or Growing Pains

A CPA firm might need more resources during tax time and less afterward, or a new business might experience unexpected and exponential growth. Office/Microsoft 365 licenses can be added or removed, as needed.

9.    Choice: Which Tech to Choose? | So Many Vendors of Similar Tech

Again, it is my best recommendation to stay within the ecosystem of Office/Microsoft 365. In most cases, you will find an integrated solution that works with the rest of your Office applications. For example, build your own PowerApps application to enable your unique mobile force.

10. Adoption: Will My Employees Embrace New Ways? | If I Build It, Will They Come?

It’s got to be fun. It has to become part of your business culture. You can produce a thousand videos or online courses, but if they don’t watch them, then they don’t learn. There has to be a human element of enthusiasm when an engaged champion brings their excitement for apps such as Microsoft Teams to their peers. Who’s the next hero in your firm?

Toward the end of 2008, a bit more than ten years ago, I shut down my previous business on Cape Cod, shut down the old Microsoft Small Business Server 2003, and shut down a few other servers for the last time. Instead, I went to the cloud. Ironically, I became certified with Microsoft as a Small Business Specialist in mid-2008, the same year that I abandoned Small Business Server for myself.

To replace the email functionality of SBS 2003, I went to Microsoft’s Hosted Exchange, actually provided by a Canadian company, SherWeb, who is still very much in business and still a Gold Microsoft Partner. For only a few dollars (I think it was $10-12) a month, I had all the features of the on-premises server-based Exchange, as well as document storage in the cloud with SharePoint, which came with the subscription as part of the packaged bundle.

For my two line-of-business (LOB) IT management tools, I elected each of their cloud-based versions. Same with the phone system – the IP PBX was now placed in the cloud.

I kept running QuickBooks locally for some time, although the data file and the backup file were both stored in SharePoint. Inuit doesn’t recommend this, but I was solo at that point, so there was no sharing of the working QuickBooks file. Eventually, though, I moved to QuickBooks Online.

Microsoft Office 365 was officially launched in late June 2011. I stayed with Microsoft’s Hosted Exchange for about six months but then moved to this new platform in January of 2012. That was over 7 years ago.

Since then, I have been introducing Office 365 to my customers, and no one is left that isn’t subscribed to this cloud-based platform.

When I first started with Office 365, what is now OneDrive for Business was then called SkyDrive Pro. I can’t tell you what improvements I’ve seen since then. What an evolution that I’ve experienced first-hand.

And now I use Microsoft 365 Business, which is a bundle of Office 365 Business Premium, Windows 10 Pro, and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS). EMS is the umbrella for several Microsoft technologies, such as Intune for device management, Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, Azure AD, and Azure Information Protection. My subscription was a break-even upgrade from Office 365 Enterprise E3, which was also $20 per month.

I also have an Office 365 Enterprise E1 account for [email protected], which is more closely related to the Hosted Exchange account I had long ago with SherWeb. But with this Enterprise account, I can associate my Phone System and Calling Plan subscriptions. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s VoIP offering cannot be added to Microsoft 365 Business, but only available as an add-on to an E-level plan. I have to say that after using many VoIP systems in the past, I am very pleased with this Office 365 and Microsoft Teams-integrated phone system.

It’s been a long ride and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

 

The last few times that I bought a new mobile phone, I had the device syncing all emails, contacts, documents, etc. by the time I hit the exit door. The same principle should apply to laptops and even workstations. All of these devices are vessels into which one pours data and applications.

A common scenario is to buy a new computer. But quite often, an existing computer will have hard drive issues. Instead of bothering with expensive recovery methods, just pop a new drive into the machine and boot to a pre-configured USB drive to re-install the Windows 10 operating system.

When you have a pristine computer, the first thing to do is to get it connected to perform updating. Protect the temporarily vulnerable environment by the latest Windows Updates and by the latest virus definitions for Windows Defender.

The next thing is to log into the Office/Microsoft 365 portal to gain access to the Install Software button. This installs your Office applications of course. While in the portal, go to OneDrive and click the Sync button to start getting copies of your documents represented on your machine. The same goes for SharePoint, which also uses the OneDrive sync utility. Depending on your settings, full documents will be downloaded or merely place marker icons will be established as Files On-Demand.

At this point, you’re nearly done. If you have a line-of-business (LOB) application for your industry, then install that. In most cases, though, LOB apps merely tap into the data you need from the web or from an online account. The data storage is cloud-based.

If your managed services provider maintains your computers, then they will have an installation file for you to install the remote monitoring and management (RMM) agent. During the installation of the agent, it communicates with the cloud-based system.

In some cases, your IT organization will manage your device with Intune, Microsoft’s own device management tool included with Microsoft 365 Business. Intune is tied directly to the identity management platform of Office/Microsoft 365, Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), so when you first log on to a pristine installation of Windows, the end-user will enter their work email address and password, which will join the machine and its respective user to Azure AD. The result is that the machine can be maintained remotely by your IT people, as well as the end-user only gains access to their appropriate data and applications.

The time it takes to complete these tasks? 15 minutes to open your machine and insert a new SSD drive, 20 minutes to install the operating system, 20 minutes for updates, 15 minutes to install Office, 10 minutes to establish OneDrive sync for OneDrive and SharePoint, and maybe another 30 minutes for various other installations and settings. In less than two hours, your IT person can have you back up and running as you were before.

Just like when you crack a wine glass and then reach for a new one, so can you do the same with your devices.

 


From Wikipedia: “Form follows function is a principle associated with 20th-century modernist architecture and industrial design which says that the shape of a building or object should primarily relate to its intended function or purpose.”

The form that your IT infrastructure takes on or manifests also relates to the functions of your business. Your company might have frontline workers that share a computer, or you might have people that have a dedicated workstation, as well as they have a mobile device or two.

An aspect to consider here is the trend for organizations to extend their presence beyond the four walls of their primary HQ building, perhaps in the form of branch offices, home offices, or co-working spaces such as WeWork and other office sharing locations offer.

Just like in architecture, many business structures are cookie-cutter in nature, but these generic plans fail to address the unique needs of every business. Likewise, IT managed services are often offered as generic Bronze, Silver, and Gold packages, but not every organization fits perfectly into one slot of the other. And certainly, not every company fits into a one-size-fits-all scenario, such as where your IT provider multiplies the number of your users or devices by a certain amount to determine a monthly fee.

In architecture, before a building is designed there must be a site plan developed to understand the landscape and how a structure might best fit. Similarly, in businesses we see a wide terrain of varying operating systems, differing machine vintages, line-of-business applications that are respective to your industry, and unique end-user abilities. And as email hosting, identity management, and file storage are all moving to the cloud, then less on-premises servers will determine the size and cost of your telco closet.

Culture is another consideration in both architecture and technical solutions. Societal culture can be defined as an evolving set of collective beliefs, values, and attitudes, while business culture is related to behavior, ethics, etiquette, etc. For example, a current trend in new office spaces is for architects to include ‘huddle rooms’ for teams of 3-6 enthusiastic people rather than traditional conference rooms fit for a dozen staid board members. Huddle rooms must be outfitted with technology to fit the smaller collaborative group with WiFi, digital whiteboards, webcams, and multiple or side-by-side displays.

Before you choose a metal-colored package, please consider that your firm is a unique entity and environment. Design your technology to harmonize with your business’s own culture, its own spirit, and its own purpose.