Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Building fire knocks out network, Chromebooks help county clerk restore service

The phone call came on a Thursday afternoon and Friday morning I was in my car on my way to downtown Mount Clemens to deliver several Chromebooks to Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds Carmella Sabaugh, and her employees to help get them through this crisis...

The Fire

On Wednesday, April 17th, 2013, the Macomb County Building in downtown Mount Clemens, Michigan, had an electrical fire that destroyed the fiber, network and phone connections to the county’s data center, displacing 200 employees and several departments. See, “State of Emergency: Hackel says County Building shut down for months following fire,” Macomb Daily, April 19, 2013.

Friday, May 24, 2013

June 2013 Data Backup Survey

Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete our survey. We are surveying businesses gather their feedback about trends in data backup. This survey should take you approximately 5 minutes to complete.

The information you provide can be accessed only by our internal research team, and reported in aggregate. If you would like to be notified of the published results of this survey, you will be able to enter your email address at the end of the survey.

This survey will be available for submission until June 18, 2013. Should you have any technical problems, please contact Daniel Proczko at DanielP@NewmindGroup.com or 269-271-2688.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Build IT Together 2013 [Live Blog]

The official live blog of Build IT Together!

8:00 - We're at the Radisson setting up. Just unpacked the brand new Google Pixel and Google Glass. I'm sure you can't wait to try them on!

8:30 - First attendees are just showing up

Welcome Address

9:00 - We played a sweet movie about our experiences with IT, old tech to new tech. (I'll post it here after we upload it.)

9:05 - Daniel Jefferies reminisces about past IT practices and timelines the progressions of IT.

9:11 - Daniel Jefferies "How many people are excited about riding in self-driving car?" Only about 4 people raised their hands.

9:14 - "All that computing power is on your desk, now. All these tool were born during the personal productivity era, but it's changed again. The era we're in now. we've got all that computing, that used to be on our desks, is now in our pocket." - Daniel Jefferies

9:18 - "Many of our tools are built for me doing my own work, but most of our work, is make the team productive. Make the stuff work together." - Daniel Jefferies

9:21 - Sharing the pains of scaling and "technical debt". Technical Debt, the investment in technology and processes that makes it hard to move to new and better tech. "There is a great deal of pain moving to a new system." - Daniel Jefferies

9:25 - Attendees are being encouraged to reach out to businesses of different sizes to exchange experience and collaborate together, to better understand the pains we all face in IT.

Let's get to know each other - Activity

Congratulations to Ed Freed of the City of Kalamazoo,
who won a Samsung Chromebook!
9:26 - Attendees are working together on a peer evaluation survey. Matt Vollmar & Michael Jefferies are leading attendees through the survey.

All of the attendees are working on Chromebooks!

Questions range from IT outsourcing, to backup & recovery, networking, file sharing, to content filtering and device management. This survey will allow attendees to see real time results and compare their current systems with others at the event.

9:40 - Connecting about the pains of not having IT personnel at every business location and how working remotely has changed.

9:42 - Survey results are showing that there are many companies that have a lot of locations, yet very few IT personnel. This is very common in Government and Education industries.

9:43 - Combination of outsourced IT and in-house IT provides internal staff the ability to work on high value projects instead of projects that just "keep the lights on," like anti-virus.

9:46 - Mobility and access to files across multiple devices and platforms is difficult and can be a major pain among IT departments.

9:47 - Face-to-face video collaboration helps bring the workforce closer together.

9:49 - Question "Why would a company want to keep 10gb of email? There is a legal issue with hall that information."

"If we provide everyone with that much storage or more, images, and files are replicated multiple times, and backed up multiple times versus a file sharing program where a single file is shared to multiple people."

"A good practice may be to implement a and archiving policy and enforce it."

"As to employees using email as file storage, it may be a symptom of the email system, and file storage system being difficult to use."

Productivity sins: Inbox as to-do list, Using email as a memory vault

"Culture shift for people is the hardest part. You can give them a Ferrari, they still drive it 20mph." Meaning, you can give tools, but cultivating better use of those tools is the hardest part.

10:00 - Reporting and real-time data is very important for organizations to find their pulse or rhythm.

10:02 - Diagnosing a problem is a must, but if a problem occurs, how quickly can you diagnose and give an answer as to what the problem is?

Answers are ranging from minutes, to seconds, to the ever popular "We'll look into it and let you know shortly."

One of our attendees organizations has built a troubleshooting tool that can help employees reach a diagnoses in minutes.

"The answer and diagnosing is becoming even more difficult with the advent of multiple platforms, technologies, software, etc..."

10:06 - "The pain we see all over the place. People like us are on Facebook, email, etc, we don't know the tools to know when or how much, but to be able to go to your leadership and say, 'Let me look it up...oh, well, Johnny is on YouTube, using 20% of our bandwidth' So you can walk right over to his desk."

10:07 - Debate over open policies of network usage and differentiating between useful use and non-useful use.

Bandwidth cost is the question at hand, but the cost of bandwidth is falling fast.

10:09 - Promoting a productive culture that empowers and encourages employees to provide results of their position can help alleviate improper use of resources. Collaboration helps each employee keep each other accountable as well.

Locking employees out does not stop employees form trying to get around. So, its more important to create a cultural shift.

10:13 - Challenge: Move away from normal work-week. Let them work when they are most productive.

10:30 - Attendees have split into their respective breakout sessions.

10:39 - 6.1% of business data is lost and not recoverable, according to the IDC. Unfortunately this data cannot be picked or chosen and includes financials, confidential emails, memos, business plans, personnel data, etc.

10:45 - Both early sessions "Backup & Disaster Recovery" & "Mobility" are working in groups to identify their own pain points and collectively and collaboratively brainstorm solutions, essentially sharing experience and knowledge.

"I hate being a tape Jockey."

11:15 - Break

11:30 - Starting up sessions on "Helpdesk & Monitoring" and "Network, Mobile Device Management"

Content Filtering Solutions in EDU [Infograph]

The results of our content-filtering survey are out. The infograph below illustrates the distribution of solutions among the survey respondents and features respondents felt were lacking from their current solution.

Not too long ago we came across a new content-filtering solution that addresses the desired improvements identified in this survey. The platform is called Securly, and we really think you should look into it. Let us know if you want a tour.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

4 Simple Steps to an Effective BYOD & Mobile Policy

There is building momentum toward creating a connected & mobile workforce. This trend requires business data access through personal mobile devices. News headlines of leaked business-critical data, financial statements, corporate espionage, hacked corporate accounts, corrupted data flash across your eyes. BYOD & mobile devices won’t end in catastrophe or cause friction within your organization, but will require some change management and a mobile policy and some Mobile Device Management (MDM).

We took some time to chat with some IT directors and found some research showing that,
  • 60 percent of IT professionals believe 25 percent or less of their employees are accessing work related information on their smartphone or tablet.
  • 57 percent of users said they access work related information on their smartphone or tablet at least once a week.

It became clear that a BYOD/mobile policy is becoming a necessity and should have the following elements:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why we want to Build IT Together

Build IT Together | May 21st @ Raddisson Plaza hotel

My experiences with the Kalamazoo entrepreneurial community

For the past couple of years I have had the privilege of being involved in the growing entrepreneurial community in Kalamazoo. A series of events and meetups over the course of that time, sponsored by Startup Zoo, have brought many like minded folks together, caused businesses to be formed, partnerships to emerge and has brought me into the lives of some fantastic people.