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In business, much as in life, keeping up with the Latest and Greatest in Technology is as important as doing the laundry. If you don’t stay on top of it, you can find yourself overwhelmed, without pants, and compromising on style due to lack of selection. Sure, you could hit the mall quickly and buy the first thing you see, but don’t we all like to spend our hard earned money on good quality things that we love??

AC4S Technologies is in constant pursuit of being up on all that is trending, and will also help to keep you on top of everything. We will do our best to do the research for you so that your focus can be spent on more important things, like doing the laundry! Isn’t that really the dream?

 


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 Articles, Case Studies, and Press Releases

NetApp: Changing the World with Data

By CBR Online

Whatever the future brings, data company NetApp can help any organisation make the best use of its information to provide clear insights to survive in a fast changing world.

Digital transformation is increasing pressure on IT departments to deliver ever faster change for their business or organisation.

Industry incumbents are being challenged by up-start challengers offering new services and business models in every area of the economy. Competition is moving ever more quickly in a world where constant disruption as the new normal.

Whether it is companies like Uber changing the way we order and pay for taxis or traditional retailers embracing a multi-channel approach to serving customers via shops, websites and mobile applications technology is radically changing how we find, use and pay for services.

That radical change is driven by data and the better, and quicker, ways these new companies are taking advantage of it. The multi-channel retailer can collect instant responses to new product lines and marketing strategies and use that data to inform future decisions about stock levels and wider business strategy.

The most famous example from the High Street is Zara which is built from the ground up on data and has used this to become one of the world’s largest, and fastest growing, fashion giants. It is part of a group selling one billion pieces of clothing a year and it hardly advertises.

Instead it collects data from the shop floor on what is selling, what is being returned and what customers are saying about individual products. Some of this is structured data from transactions but it also comes from conversations with floor staff on what customers are looking at and what they are saying about the clothes.

This data is used to decide on what items to restock – a process which happens not once a month but twice a week – more like a supermarket than a normal clothes retailer. Shop managers around the world talk to headquarters on a daily basis to provide a clearer picture of what is happening in the stores.

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Which Approach To Cybersecurity Is Most Effective?

By Gil Shwed – originally on quora.com (via forbes.com)

Throughout my twenty-four years as CEO of Check Point, I’ve heard of many different approaches to providing cybersecurity solutions offered to enterprises.

First, there is the approach that encourages you to buy more and more products. For every type of issue you may have, you should buy a new point solution addressing only that particular segment need. Three different firewalls, IPS, sandboxing tools, anti-bot, anti-spam… the list goes on and on. This is not the right approach. There are hardly any companies that can manage all these solutions, not just in terms of their high costs or the overhead required to operate them, and there will be security gaps and security indicators that are not shared between the products.

Second, there is the approach that emphasizes detection – finding many types of malware on your network and then trying to figure out how to act upon it. While in our physical world it might work – we can figure out how to act quickly – in cyberspace it doesn’t. Malware moves at the speed of light and it can take days, weeks and in most cases months (the industry average is several months) to remedy the problem.

This leads some people to move to the third option – focusing on remediation. It accepts that attacks will happen, assuming that if you’ll be breached in any event, you might as well focus on remediating the damages. Once again, this doesn’t work, because as soon as the attacks breach your networks, the damage is already done and remediation can be a long, costly process. A recent survey I’ve seen reported an average cost of $680,000 per incident. That is insane.

The last approach, and the one I believe is the most effective, focuses on prevention and presenting a well architected and consolidated approach to cyber security. It looks at the entire organization and focuses on creating a single architecture that covers all environments and is managed by a unified platform. It keeps every entry point to the organization secured all the time, be it the traditional network, the data center, mobile devices or the cloud server. In this approach, attack indicators are shared among all environments. Several technologies are synchronized to provide multiple-layers of protections, and all entry points are protected with no security gaps between. According to this approach, there is also a need to deliver actionable threat intelligence between every device, network, branch office or endpoint, so that even if one environment will be targeted – all the others will be able to identify the same threats and block it.

 

Entrepreneurship Week with Microsoft and AC4S Technologies

We had so much fun participating in Entrepreneurship Week! Thank you Microsoft Store International Plaza, and all who attended! We look forward to the next amazing event!

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Now’s the Time for Your Company to Embrace Managed IT Services

By Kyley Del Bosque (via business2community.com)

Technology is rapidly improving, and as it does, modern professionals are quickly discovering new ways of doing business. To an extent, they’re still reliant on their companies’ phone systems, which enable them to call up customers and business partners all over the world, but they’re quickly embracing new innovations as well.

The more channels people have, the tougher it becomes for IT managers to oversee all of them.

Cloud computing makes it easier than ever to manage and share information. Mobile devices add capability and flexibility to people’s daily lives. Text and voice chat are now possible across numerous platforms, which expedites things even further.

The only problem is that the more channels people have, the tougher it becomes for corporate IT managers to oversee all of them and prevent issues from cropping up. This is why now’s the time to consider the benefits of a managed services provider. If you’re having trouble coordinating all of your company’s communications, you can always just leave that job to the professionals.

Why managed IT is a must in 2017

There are plenty of companies out there that already turn to outside providers for managing their business phone systems, but it’s now time to go one step farther than that. According to CIO, numerous organizations are struggling with handling other aspects of IT, and they’re looking to improve.

Currently, only 60 percent of companies that consider their technology use “advanced” are using a managed service provider (MSP). The rest are dealing with IT solutions that are disjointed and siloed.

There are a few reasons they should consider switching over. One is simple efficiency – it’s far easier for employees to collaborate and work effectively when they can share information through a shared platform and avoid silos. Security and compliance are also factors. It’s tough to ensure that your data management is safe and law-abiding when you’re handling information in 10 different ways at the same time. Finally, cost savings and ROI are commonly cited as reasons to embrace MSPs.

Find the right provider for you

Once you’ve decided that an MSP is the right option for you, the next step is to find the provider that’s a perfect fit for your business.

This will depend on a few factors. One is the prior track record of the company in question. Ideally, you want to work with a partner that’s shown proficiency not just with business phone plans, but also with managing cloud data and other forms of communication and file storage.

You also want a provider that’s a good match for where you are and what you do. This means finding a company that’s proven to work effectively in your local area, for one thing. Having an understanding of the locality and the particular challenges it presents is important. You also want a company that is prepared to offer quick support if anything goes wrong. This means they need to have a presence nearby.

PRESS RELEASE: AC4S Technologies Becomes a Certified NetApp Reseller

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT:
Tara Thomas
AC4S Technologies
Product Support
(813)609.4320
tara.thomas@ac4stechnologies.com
www.ac4stechnologies.com

 

AC4S TECHNOLOGIES BECOMES A CERTIFIED NETAPP RESELLER

Tampa, FL: During the 4th Quarter, 2016, AC4S Technologies officially became a Certified NetApp Reseller and Partner to meet the rapidly evolving storage requirements and the growth of Solid State (or, Flash) Storage in today’s dynamic business environment.  This is part of a larger strategy to provide Hybrid Cloud solutions for our customers which recognizes the continuing growth in Enterprise Data Storage requirements as well as the benefits of utilizing Cloud based storage and Business Applications.

NetApp has been delivering software, systems and services to manage and store data for businesses since 1993. NetApp creates innovative storage and data management solutions that deliver outstanding cost-efficiency and accelerate business breakthroughs.

ABOUT AC4S TECHNOLOGIES

AC4S Technologies is headquartered in Tampa, FL and provides Managed IT Services, Cloud Migrations, Cybersecurity and Technology hardware and software. We are Solutions. Made Simple.

 

If you would like more information, contact:
Tara Thomas
AC4S Technologies
Product Support
(813)609.4320
tara.thomas@ac4stechnologies.com
www.ac4stechnologies.com

Is Outdated Technology Slowing Your Business Down?

By Rieva Lesonsky  (via allbusiness.com)

Small business owners have a lot of responsibilities—and all too often they can get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tasks that need to get done and challenges that need to be overcome. This is the third in a 5-part series full of tips, ideas, and solutions to help you better manage your business.

Technology has been a game-changer for entrepreneurs, enabling even the smallest businesses to compete on a level playing field with much bigger organizations. But how long has it been since you updated your company’s technology? Outdated technology not only slows you down, it also costs you money in lost productivity and missed opportunities.

Often, small businesses end up in a situation where their software solutions no longer play nicely together. One employee has version 2.0 of an application, and another has version 3.5.3. The growth of mobile work and BYOD (bring your own device) policies has added a whole new level of complexity, with different employees using various platforms, carriers, and apps on their mobile devices.

As David Smith, vice president of WW SMB for Microsoft, points out on in his blog post ROI of Modern Technology for SMBS, “two-thirds of SMBs felt that using mobile apps helps them save time and money—some as much as 150 hours and $6,000 per year.”

Updating your technology can solve all these problems—and today, it’s easier than ever. Here are some suggestions for giving your small business a technology refresh:

  • Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. If something is working for you, don’t get rid of it—just get the latest version. Upgrading familiar tools helps your business run better without a huge learning curve for your employees. For instance, Office 2016 delivers new versions of the familiar Office apps you and your team already use, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and more.
  • Simplify and streamline. Instead of patching multiple software solutions together, look for a solution that offers everything you need in one streamlined package. Office 365 combines every essential business tool, from business email and shared calendars to online videoconferencing through Skype for Business, collaboration and messaging, online OneDrive storage, and more. Since it’s all from Microsoft, you know it will all work together seamlessly.
  • Eliminate the back-end hassles. Who has time to spend troubleshooting, installing, and updating software? Instead, choose software that practically runs itself. Just add users, and Office 365 keeps itself up-to-date automatically and handles all the IT so you and your team always have the latest apps operating smoothly. As your business grows, cloud-based software easily scales up, too.
  • Get stuff done faster. Today’s technology tools offer so many quick tricks and shortcuts that you’ll be amazed at how much more you can get done. For example, Outlook 2016 helps you get on top of your email with a “smart inbox” that offers speedy search, automatically removes low-priority mail, and gives everyone on the “To:” line appropriate access to documents via cloud-based attachments. Office 2016’s “most recently used documents” list makes it easy to pick up your work right where you left off, whether on your desktop, tablet, or smartphone.
  • Make mobility easier. The ability to work remotely and to use mobile devices is vital for any small business today. Using cloud-based software and storage such as Microsoft OneDrive ensures you and your employees always have the most current data accessible wherever you are and whatever device you’re using. Office 365 works with Android, Windows or iOS devices so your team can keep their preferred mobile devices.
  • Choose solutions that let you work together. Collaboration is at the heart of today’s successful small business. With Office 365, collaboration is simpler than ever. For example, you can just click from inside any document you’re working on to instantly share it with someone else and then work on it together in real time. Shared calendars and instant messaging are built in, too, so you’re always on the same page.

 

CASE STUDY: Fishs Eddy

Written By: Vanessa Ho

From cool dishes to smart driving, small businesses rely on Microsoft’s tools for growth and collaboration

There’s no shortage of eclectic housewares shops in New York City, but Fishs Eddy stands out as an institution. Named after an upstate New York hamlet, the longtime store is a mix of vintage elegance and quirky Americana, with its classic china, Jadeite cake stands, “Brooklynese cawffee” mugs and dish towels of Teddy Roosevelt high-fiving a bear.

Good design and quality have long been hallmarks of Fishs Eddy, but much has changed in the 30 years since Julie Gaines and David Lenovitz opened their store and sold cool, old dishes.

Their once tiny storefront is now a bustling emporium with e-commerce and wholesale services. Digital accounting and point-of-sale systems do the jobs once held by a tackle box cash register and a notepad. A warehouse and modern delivery truck have replaced the couple’s dented pickup that once hauled antiques. And Microsoft tools have become an integral part of helping Fishs Eddy grow, collaborate and transform its business.

“Microsoft Office has allowed us to spend more time working on our business and not worrying about software,” says Noah Lenovitz, Fishs Eddy chief operating officer and partner. The company of roughly 45 employees uses Office apps, Exchange and Skype, and is looking to move to Office 365.

Microsoft technologies are empowering small and midsize businesses around the world, helping them grow, innovate and reach more customers. From retail stores to software startups, businesses are leveraging data, collaborating efficiently and creating modern workplaces with Microsoft’s cloud-based tools, including Office 365, Dynamics and other business solutions.

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CUSTOMER SUCCESS STORY: Carlsberg Brewing Company

To efficiently manage more than 140 master beer brands in a global market, the Carlsberg Group is using Microsoft Office 365 to foster teamwork and collaboration among 40,000 employees in 27 countries. The company accelerated the teamwork required to quickly build a single, agile, and scalable supply chain to optimize distribution to its markets. Employees enjoy increased mobility and can work better together in building a global brand that caters to local tastes.

It is past midnight at Club Tango in Beijing and a young, exuberant crowd celebrates life. On the tables, bottles of Carlsberg Chill glow green in the neon lights. On the same night, 3,600 miles away at the Time Out Bar in Moscow, a bohemian clientele mixes with tourists taking photos of the city lights, cold bottles of Carlsberg Group’s Baltika brew close at hand.

What does it take for one company to serve up great-tasting beer around the world? “When we acquire a new brewery, we don’t ask for conformity, we ask for a local beer that reflects that region’s taste and culture,” says Anders Munck, Enterprise Architect at Carlsberg Group. “Our brewers must keep true to their roots while producing a beer that anyone anywhere in the world would recognize as meeting Carlsberg’s high quality.”

To brew local favorites with global consistency requires coordinated teamwork with seamless communication and collaboration across offices in 27 countries. However, the company’s growth—from four small markets in 2000 to 80 breweries in operation today—meant that its network had evolved into more than 30 regional and local IT environments. This was a challenging scenario for deploying the global collaboration solution that Carlsberg needed to streamline processes, enable efficient teamwork, and build its brand.

Under pressure to solve this issue quickly, IT management decided not to build any new infrastructure and instead deploy the Microsoft Office 365 cloud-based business productivity solution. “It would have taken us four or five years to build a global, integrated infrastructure,” says Munck. “Office 365 is a huge business transformer. Today, our employees use the same cloud productivity services to erase the geographical barriers to effective teamwork across the company.”

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Microsoft Office 365: The smart person’s guide

By Mark Kaelin (via techrepublic.com)

Office 365 provides the productivity tools required by a modern enterprise workforce. This guide covers key details, including available applications, system requirements, and subscription options.

For just about any enterprise of any size, the productivity of its modern workforce revolves around the basic office suite of email, calendar, word processor, and spreadsheet. But as the enterprise workforce has become more mobile, the basic productivity toolset has had to adapt and change to match new requirements. This is why Microsoft updated Office 365 to be a mobile collaborative platform ready to get work done wherever and whenever it happens.

Microsoft Office 365 is the de facto productivity suite for many enterprises and it is the suite all the other competitors are measured against. So as a leader in information technology for your enterprise, it’s in your best interest to know everything there is to know about Office 365. To help you achieve that goal, TechRepublic compiled the most important details and related resources on Microsoft Office 365 into this “living” guide, which we’ll periodically update as new information becomes available.

Executive summary

  • What is it? Microsoft Office 365 provides users with the basic productivity applications necessary to get work done in the modern enterprise. It includes applications like Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneNote, and OneDrive, just to name a few.
  • Why does it matter? As the standard for productivity suites, competing products are generally measured against applications from the Office 365 suite.
  • Who does it affect? In the modern mobile-centric enterprise, Office 365 provides the tools used to get work done. This makes Office 365 important to just about every working individual.
  • When is it available? The latest version of Microsoft Office 365 is available right now. The current subscription includes Office 2016 applications.
  • How do you get it? Enterprises can purchase a subscription to Office 365 via the Microsoft website. Subscriptions range from $8/user/month to $35/user/month.

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Microsoft Office 365 is “one-stop shop for email compliance,” study shows

By Vu Ahn Nguyen (via WinBeta.org)

Just a few years ago, “cloud” was still a buzzword that instilled both fear and wonder about an inter-connected world powered by the internet. Fast forward to today, and it has become prevalent in consumer technology and integrated deeply into everyday services. A big example is e-mails: multiple service providers are now competing to hosts users’ digital exchanges, offering gigabytes of storage accessible from any device.

Things are not quite so smooth for the enterprise sector. Unlike the normal consumers who can start utilizing the benefits of having an always available, constantly updated remote repository for email, big companies have years worth of business-sensitive data scattered across multiple technologies to worry about.

“Data governance is more than the marketing term that is often linked to promotional hype or fearmongering. It’s a primary responsibility that any business that has sensitive legacy data within an archive should be aware of. Companies need to see preparedness for eDiscovery as a priority and that the safeguarding of all data is the only preemptive defense,” – Barney Haye, founder and CEO of TransVault.

The effect is even more pronounced in heavily-regulated sector like health and energy, where data compromise is a threat not only to the organization but to the government. A cloud service provider for these enterprises must be able to support the migration of legacy data in compliance with regulations in place, in addition to already adhering to regulations for email storage. According to a recent study from TransVault, a leading developer of archive migration solutions, Microsoft Office 365 fully satisfies that requirement, earning the title “One-stop Shop for Email Records Compliance”.

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Some advantages of cloud computing that today’s businesses cannot ignore

By Waqar Hassan (via examiner.com)

In simple terms, cloud computing can be defined as computing that’s done on the internet. In the past, people would usually run their programs or applications from software that was downloaded on a physical server or computer in their building. Not anymore. Now, they can use cloud computing for getting access to the same kind of software via the internet. Everyone takes advantage of cloud computing in their daily routine; we use it when we upload a status on Facebook or when we check our bank balance on our smartphone. Businesses also use cloud computing services for solving problems or overcoming challenges like using apps for workload management or sending emails while traveling.

To sum up, cloud has become the new normal and there are lots of benefits that can be enjoyed. Some of them are highlighted below:

Flexibility: Cloud computing services are deemed ideal for businesses with fluctuating and growing bandwidth needs. Scaling up your cloud capacity is easy as you can simply draw on the remote servers of the service. Likewise, you can also scale down if you wish. This level of flexibility can provide businesses with a major advantage over their competitors.

Disaster Recovery: Making an investment in robust disaster recovery is essential for businesses, but small businesses don’t have the expertise and budget. This is where cloud computing can help because it allows small businesses to avoid a huge upfront investment, it saves time and it also rolls up any third-party costs as part of the service.

Automatic Software Updates: The best part about cloud computing is that you don’t keep the servers on premises so they are just out of your hair. Some services, such as SupplierCompete, take care of them and deal with the necessary software updates such as those pertaining to security. Hence, you can save a lot of time by not spending it on maintenance. This gives a business enough time to focus on other aspects and keep it growing.

Capital-Expenditure Free: You can eliminate the cost of hardware when you are using a cloud computing service. You can just choose to pay as you go or opt for a subscription-based model if that’s more suitable. Furthermore, it is easier to set up and manage a cloud-based system so you don’t have to be scared of IT projects anymore.

Increased Collaboration: Cloud allows your team to access information, regardless of their location and via various devices. This allows them to do more and do it better. You can make updates in real time thanks to a cloud-based workflow and this makes collaboration much easier and communication a lot more effective.

Work from Anywhere: That’s the beauty of it. When you are using cloud computing services, you just need to have an internet connection. Since most services offer mobile apps, you don’t have to have a particular device either. Furthermore, with VoIP services like Cabertel, Vonage, etc., communication is even easier. Your employees can now enjoy more flexible working perks and they can achieve a better work-life balance.

Due to these benefits, cloud computing services can turn out to be a great option for your business.

Office 2016 Download – How to get your InfoPath 2013 back

InfoPath 2013 is a forms-creation and data-gathering tool that helps organizations streamline business processes. InfoPath 2013 is designed for both advanced business users and developers. Without writing code, users can design sophisticated electronic forms to quickly and cost-effectively gather information. Developers can create advanced forms for departmental and enterprise business processes, including composite applications and workflow sequences.

With the upgrade to Office 2016, InfoPath is removed from your computer (since all 2013 files are erased to be replaced, and there is no InfoPath 2016 version replacement).

No worries! If you have an active Office 365 pro Plus subscription, you can download InfoPath 2013 from Microsoft’s Download Center to reinstall it on your system:

Download: InfoPath 2013 for Office 365 ProPlus Subscription from the Microsoft Download Center

CASE STUDY: Georgia State University

The world of higher education is changing, and Georgia State University is leading the charge. To prepare its graduates to succeed in the workplace, the university is developing students’ technical skills by using Microsoft Office 365 to incorporate technology into all facets of its curriculum. Teaching students how to create blogs, collaborate in new ways, and employ the power of data analysis and visualization makes the student experience at the university more productive and gives them an advantage in the future.

Smart choices for education

Today’s colleges and universities are about more than blue books and football games. In the twenty-first century, smart institutions of higher education such as Georgia State University are finding ways to prepare students to operate effectively in the digital world, providing not just raw knowledge but also valuable experience in putting that knowledge to use.

Georgia State recognizes that technology can serve as an important foundation for its students, both for their learning while at the university and for their post-college years. The university wanted to give its students access to the best technologies available so they could become proficient users and obtain the skills future employers seek.

Best-in-class technologies

In 2012, Georgia State University adopted cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 to support learning and move away from managing its own computer systems. Given that at the start of the 2014–15 academic year 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies had purchased Office 365, the move also reflected the university’s desire to prime students for careers after graduation.

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SMBs in the cloud — managed services or in-house IT?

By Anna Beletskaya (via betanews.com)

The cloud has become a truly winning innovation for companies of all sizes, causing a significant upturn within the IT sector and business as a whole. Previously, companies went to great lengths to scale their own in-house IT infrastructure, as it was seen as a great benefit to run the business through technology maintained on-site. Now however, there is a push toward an online service delivery model, leaving organizations wondering which setup is best for them.

In many aspects, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) stand to benefit the most from cloud-based technologies. Dealing with limited budget, it has not always been easy to for small companies to take advantage of information technology — the purchase, upkeep, and eventual replacement of hardware is extremely expensive, not to mention the salaries paid to the IT professionals that maintain it. Fortune 500 companies can afford this type of capital costs, whereas SMBs could have travel outlaying that much cash.

But this has changed with the emergence of the implementation of cloud-based technologies. Instead of purchasing hardware and maintain their IT in-house, the option of managed hosting services now exists to give SMBs a cheaper alternative that will allow them to dedicate resources to other areas of need.

So just what are the benefits of managed services as compared to in-house IT? Let’s take a look:

  • Reduction of Costs: Cloud-hosted servers enable mass-scale computing power and minimize IT requirements and physical storage, providing a substantial savings. Cloud solutions are also much faster to deploy than traditional hardware, which also allows businesses to have minimal project start-up costs and predictable ongoing operating expenses.
  • Flexibility: As long as employees have access to the Internet, they can work from anywhere. You can be sure every user has an up-to-date picture of how the business is doing, no matter where he/she is.
  • Ease of Collaboration: Saving and accessing files through the cloud allows everyone to work with the same set of content, according to access and permission controls implemented by administrator.
  • Reduces Risk: When everything is stored in the cloud, data can still be accessed no matter what happens to a machine. Moreover, the cloud adds security for its users by backing-up data off-site, decreasing the potential for hackers, viruses, and other cyber-security issues.
  • Improves Efficiency: After migrating to the cloud, companies should no longer worry about space considerations, power requirements, software updates etc. Using solutions provided by a reliable and presentable cloud service provider gives the ability for SMBs to use the latest solutions on offer in their field, which is giving the small companies the chance to be more competitive.

The cloud enables your IT infrastructure to progress as quickly as your business does. Moving forward with cloud solutions will bring your small business many benefits that at first-hand impact productivity and security. No matter what brunch of business you represent, cloud computing is a practice that you will want to integrate and after all adopt it.

PRESS RELEASE: AC4S Technologies Becomes a Microsoft Authorized Education Reseller

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT:
Tara Thomas
AC4S Technologies
VP of Operations and Tech Solutions
(813)609.4320
tara.thomas@ac4stechnologies.com
www.ac4stechnologies.com

 

AC4S TECHNOLOGIES BECOMES A MICROSOFT AUTHORIZED EDUCATION RESELLER

Tampa, FL: On August 26th, 2015, AC4S Technologies officially became a Microsoft Authorized Education Reseller (AER), demonstrating its ability to meet Microsoft academic customers’ evolving needs in today’s dynamic business environment. The AER program is designed to train participating resellers on Microsoft’s Academic licensing, authorize them to purchase and resell Microsoft Academic licenses, and demonstrates to potential customers that they are approved and knowledgeable academic partners.

“We are excited to add this certification and training tool to our portfolio of products and services to meet the evolving needs of our customers,” said Hugh Campbell, President of AC4S Technologies. “We fully expect this to be yet another driver of our business and demonstrates our commitment to providing the best set of products and services to our customers in this rapidly evolving world of technology.”

ABOUT AC4S TECHNOLOGIES

AC4S Technologies, a sister company of Advanced C4 Solutions (AC4S), is an IT Service and Solutions Provider for small, medium, and enterprise businesses. AC4S Technologies provides Cloud Services, Cybersecurity, Web Design and a variety of technology Hardware products. We are Solutions. Made Simple.

AC4S Technologies is a certified minority owned firm.

 

If you would like more information, contact:
Tara Thomas
AC4S Technologies
VP of Operations and Tech Solutions
(813)609.4320
tara.thomas@ac4stechnologies.com
www.ac4stechnologies.com

 

15 Things You Can Do With Cortana on Windows 10

By Chris Hoffman (via howtogeek.com)

Cortana is one of Windows 10’s most visible new features. Microsoft’s virtual assistant makes the leap from Windows Phone to the desktop, and there’s a lot you can do with it. It isn’t just a voice assistant either — you can also type commands and questions

Open Cortana to see information it thinks you might care about. Cortana provides a lot of passive information, too, even notifying you when you need to leave to make an appointment on time.

If you can’t use Cortana yet in your country, there’s a way to enable Cortana anywhere in the world.

Set Reminders for Times, Places, and People

Cortana has a powerful built-in reminder feature, but there’s more you can do with these reminders than simply getting a reminder at a specific time.

Use the Reminders icon or say “Remind me” to get started. You can create a reminder and have Cortana remind you about something at a specific time, when you get to a specific location, or when you talk to a specific person. You can also just say something like “Remind me to take my pill at 8pm” or “Remind me to buy milk when I get to [name of a store]” to instantly create a reminder.

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OneDrive’s new sharing functionality is live, notifies users when files are changed

By Blair Hanley Frank (via CIO.com)

Microsoft’s OneDrive storage service was updated Monday to let users easily sync entire folders with other people, and add a new system of notifications to help manage what could be a burgeoning fleet of shared files.

As the company announced last week, users can now sync the contents of folders shared through OneDrive on their computers, something that previously wasn’t available through the service. Now, personal and business users can use the “Add to my OneDrive” button in the service’s Web interface to add a shared folder to the root of their OneDrive directory. The functionality works on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Mac OS X. Notably, Windows 8.1 users will have to upgrade to Windows 10 if they want to sync shared folders to their computer.

This sharing feature puts OneDrive into closer competition with its peers like Google Drive and Dropbox, which already featured similar capabilities. Prior to this, OneDrive users who had a folder shared with them would have to manually download changed files in order to have revised versions available to them on their desktop.

Starting with the update, the OneDrive mobile app will now notify iOS, Android and Windows Phone users whenever someone edits a file that they shared. Like other push notifications, Apple Watch owners will get a nudge on their wrist whenever a file they shared gets updated, which can be useful when waiting for someone to tweak a key file. Getting regular notifications for frequently updated documents, however, could be more of an annoyance than a benefit.

That may be part of the reason why Microsoft will also send OneDrive users a daily summary of updates to files that they shared. Users will be able to get a quick at-a-glance review of all the people who edited different files, so they can look for both unusual behavior and keep tabs on what their collaborators are up to without a whole lot of overhead.

Finally, Microsoft extended OneDrive’s search capabilities to users’ shared documents, so people can find files that have been shared with them based on the content of documents like PDFs and files created in Office.

Improved sharing support is important for Microsoft, since collaborative editing is one of the key new features of its forthcoming update to Office. Called Office 2016, the major release to Microsoft’s popular productivity suite includes support for working on the same document with multiple editors. In order to use the new feature, people have to store and share files through OneDrive.

 

Windows Server 2003 Meets the Zombie Apocalypse

By Pedro Hernandez

Many small and midsized businesses (SMBs) have a danger lurking in their server room can that undermine their best efforts to keep their users and data safe.

Microsoft stopped supporting Windows Server 2003 on July 14. Similar to Windows XP’s retirement a year before, this means that the software giant won’t issue any more security updates or fix bugs. Effectively businesses running the operating system (OS) are on their own, barring a costly support contract that only major corporations and governments can afford.

A month before the July 14 deadline, Softchoice, an IT managed services provider and consultancy, revealed that many businesses were still running the server software. The company’s TechCheck analysis of more than 200 organizations and their 90,000 servers found that 21 percent of those servers were still running Windows Server 2003 during the first half of 2015, a mere 11 percent drop from a year ago. Approximately a third of those organizations are small businesses.

“With less than a month to go until Windows pulls support for Windows Server 2003, it’s surprising that there still isn’t a greater sense of urgency among organizations to modernize and upgrade their systems,” said David Brisbois, senior manager of assessment and technology deployment services consulting at Softchoice, in a statement at the time.

Weeks after the support cut-off, the ancient OS still lingers, according to Chris Woodin, director of Microsoft sales operations at Softchoice. Servers running the software still numbers “in the millions,” he told Small Business Computing. “It’s actually shocking.”

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Perfect Timing: Use Windows Server 2003 Migration to Transform the Data Center

By Patrick Renzi

Most enterprise IT professionals understand the importance of a modernized data center. Unfortunately, trying to convince the C-suite to invest in a new infrastructure can be an exercise in futility.

The pending end of support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015 provides a rare chance to transform a business challenge into a big break for IT. Armed with the facts and a little bit of business savvy, IT pros now have the perfect opportunity to persuade reluctant business leaders to migrate from an aging platform and embrace emerging technologies.

That bad things will happen if the enterprise clings to Server 2003 should be an easy case to make—because they will over time. Bugs and glitches will destroy files, make data and apps inaccessible, and eventually cause the business to fall out of compliance. This means fines, penalties, auditing services. That’s a lot of hassle for an unsupported software suite. Add in lost business and lower employee satisfaction and you have a real problem on your hands.

Fortunately, the necessity of migrating from Server 2003 arises at a time when cloud computing and other modern technologies are turning data centers from storage repositories into dynamic drivers of business.

Enterprises that move data and apps to the cloud are unconstrained by the space and performance limitations of an on-premise data center. Cloud platforms allow for unlimited storage scalability—a critical feature at a time when data is growing exponentially.

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Cloud computing offers many benefits businesses cannot afford to ignore

By Robert Cordray

Cloud computing has created a range of opportunities for businesses seeking to improve their working process. The technologies, services and options that are currently available can allow workers to enjoy greater flexibility while providing employers with enhanced security as well as reduced operational costs. Cloud computing services make it easy to update a conventional working process and ensure that workers and employers are able to benefit from the unique opportunities this technology is able to provide.

Enhanced flexibility

Limiting workers and staff to dedicated terminals and systems can reduce their effectiveness. Businesses that are seeking to make the most of their existing computer systems and equipment will find that cloud computing can provide an ideal solution. Ensuring that workers can more easily make use of a wider range of systems, devices and options is often much simpler than many employers may realize.

The freedom to work from anywhere

Cloud computing services that allow professionals to access important documents or to  communicate with each other using a variety of options and services reduce the need to work from a central location. From sharing Excel reporting in Hadoop to video calls and teleconferencing, access to the right services and software applications can play a key role in ensuring employees will not be burdened by unnecessary limitations and obstacles.

Convenient collaboration and improved communication

Poor communication can quickly bottleneck group projects and tasks that require contributions from multiple employees and departments. Cloud computing services and resources such as Apache Hadoop can greatly improve communication, especially for businesses that rely upon a decentralized workforce. Services and applications that will promote more efficient and effective communication are a resource that no business can afford to discount.

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Windows Server 2003 EOS

By Patrick Renzi

For months now, it seems IT professionals have been barraged with horror stories and scare tactics (from both Partners and Microsoft) about what will happen after Microsoft cuts support for Windows Server 2003 (as of July 14, 2015). If you look at the common talk track of a sales cycle, it is certainly understandable they be skeptical. After all, IT pros are told nearly every day that disaster awaits if they don’t buy this product or that service.

Now it isn’t as if business running on Server 2003 will grind to a halt on July 15. Quite the opposite: Employees will be able to access all the files, apps, and network services running on Server 2003. It should be business as usual.

The ROI of Windows Server 2012 Upgrade

By Seth Mitchell

There’s been a lot of discussion about the 270% ROI Windows Server 2012 offers –and that’s significant. But let’s go beyond the numbers to see what else R2 has to offer.

The Windows Server 2012 R2 upgrade is exactly what you need right now for best business practices—and to ensure you’re as prepared for the next big thing as your competitors. The R2 upgrade means you have access to smarter cloud optimization, security enhancements, and business agility.

Cloud Optimization: With built-in virtualization, R2 was born to partner with the cloud. It’s flexible, and it’s portable. You can decide who has what access and ensure that everyone’s workloads are balanced, while maintaining constant flow of data in and out of the cloud, whether private, public, or hybrid.

Security Enhancements: Data is secure, and the server automatically follows service-level agreements (SLAs) to the letter. All of your employees are connected to one another, to the server, and to you at all times, with the power to do what needs to be done. It even provides you with the ability to give employees access to internal corporate websites, with individual access capabilities. With the Workplace Join feature of R2, employees can even register personal devices with the server, which means they’re happy to work wherever they are.

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5 Critical Ways Cloud Computing Has Revolutionized Business

The whole notion of cloud computing is still being realized by business owners. Unlike a tangible in-house system of computing that entrepreneurs became used to having around the office, cloud computing seems to have changed the modern workplace in ways that cause many business owners to beg for clarification. To understand if cloud computing is right for their company to indulge in, it might help to take a closer look at five ways cloud computing has revolutionized how companies do business today.

Reducing In-House IT Departments

Prior to the introduction of cloud computing to the business world, companies were under pressure to provide large amounts of space for massive computer networks. IT departments were basically a huge expense and involved a vast number of different employees to manage a company’s IT needs. Today, with the advent of cloud computing services, many companies have embraced ways of outsourcing their entire IT department to be managed by offsite cloud computing service providers who handle the IT concerns of numerous companies at the same time.

In some ways this transformation has caused IT professionals to lose jobs, which has translated to a reduction in overall costs for the companies for which they used to work. This has also created a situation where companies use websites like Directliquidation.com to sell off large volumes of IT equipment they no longer have use for in-house. As a result, companies find that they no longer need to operate out of such large office buildings either; consequently, they save money on their monthly rent costs as well by moving their IT needs to the cloud.

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4 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint with Cloud Computing

By Todd Smekens  

MUNCIE, IN – Startup companies are typically operating within tight budgets and sparingly have wiggle room to test the waters when it comes to software, hardware or other aspects of technology. But thanks to cloud computing, your new business can have access to enterprise-quality technology, minus the hefty expenditures that can implode your budget.

While streamlined disaster recovery is at the forefront of benefits when discussing cloud computing, startups must also consider the positive effect on the environment before making the shift.

Cloud computing facilitates the reduction of your carbon footprint in the atmosphere, making you a more environmentally-friendly organization. With the implementation of cloud computing comes improvements in infrastructure efficiency and a decreased need for IT support.

Increased Infrastructure Efficiency

Unlike most IT managers who must take a conservative approach with infrastructure planning, cloud providers operate much more efficiently. Because overestimating server capacity can be rather costly, providers have sophisticated tools and resources on hand to make adjustments as often as needed so the servers can run more efficiently. In addition, cloud computing systems grant access to multiple users across several companies using a lone infrastructure. The lower the number of servers in use, the lower the carbon emissions.

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Microsoft Is 40 and Fabulous, Thanks to These 40 People, Products and Moments

By Alyssa Newcomb

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Microsoft is 40 and fabulous.

The software company started by Bill Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975, is showing new energy lately, proving that the best may be yet to come.

With the release of Windows 10 and a new browser later this year (RIP Internet Explorer), Microsoft hasn’t garnered so much excitement in a long time.

In honor of the Redmond, Washington, company’s 40th birthday, here’s a look at 40 of the people, products and moments that helped define Microsoft’s first four decades.

1. Bill Gates – Harvard’s first most famous dropout (Mark Zuckerberg would come decades later) is the richest person in the world, with a net worth of $79.2 billion, according to Forbes.

2. Paul Allen – The other half of Microsoft, Allen told Fortune Magazine in 1995 that he was responsible for suggesting the company’s name when he and Gates first went into business together.

3. Microsoft’s first product: Software for the Altair 8800. By 1978, year-end sales had topped $1 million.

4. Getting a deal to provide a DOS Operating System for IBM’s computers in 1980 was a huge moment in Microsoft history, positioning the company as a software leader.

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10 Interesting Cloud Computing Analogies

by  (via cloudatcost.com)

Cloud computing, the term is itself an analogy or more probably a metaphor. In order to understand the term, a fair amount of linguistic tricks have been applied to it with each passing day. While researching cloud computing, I came across some funny, some interesting analogies which I decided to sum up in this article.

Power Grid: The oldest analogy that I heard when learning about cloud computing is that of a power grid. Cloud computing is equivalent to plugging into a central power grid rather than producing your own power. 

Thermostat: Another cloud computing analogy I came across quite often is that of thermostats, where cloud computing is like providing your IT department with thermostats, which can be turned on, off, up or down depending upon department’s requirements. If extra processing power is needed for covering the peak period, it can be cranked up — and can then be turned down when the requirement is fulfilled. 

Rental Car: A user requires a car service in order to travel from one place to another. Cloud computing is like the user hiring a taxi. Scalability is there as you can call as many taxis as you want. Flexibility is there as you can drop them anytime, anywhere if your plans change. You only pay for the distance you travel so it’s pay as you go. Booking them is easier and you can do that by yourself. Lastly, you are not responsible for maintenance of rental cars.

Pizza: Latest trend in analogies is to compare technical things with delicacies! I being a foodie, love this concept! HP cloud computing you tube video has HP Norway’s Technology Director, Stig Alstedt compare different delivery models of cloud computing with something that everyone loves: PIZZA. Stig explains that homemade pizza is comparable to building your own cloud with conventional IT infrastructure. You can exactly manage what, how and when of your requirement but resources and knowledge pose a limitation. Frozen Pizza is compared to private cloud services, where all work is done by the maker and you require doing only limited things. However, flavors and prices are fixed here.

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PRESS RELEASE: AC4S Technologies is Now Officially Open For Business
Tampa, Florida, January 1st 2014:

We are pleased to announce that AC4S Technologies. is open for business. Located at 4017 W. Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd in Tampa, Florida, AC4S Technologies is a new commercial division of the company AC4S.  It is a full-spectrum Professional IT Services company focused on helping commercial companies migrate to “The Cloud” with an emphasis on Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365 to increase efficiency and save money.

While the doors have been open since October 2013, AC4S Technologies is now fully operational and running full speed into the future of business collaboration and communication. AC4S Technologies has diligently assembled a full team of experts who are ready to compile and analyze business needs in order to provide potential customers with the best solutions.

Our Sales team is already meeting with potential customers.  The technical support team is developing solutions for these organizations.  The team will be fanning out over the country in the coming weeks to meet with customers and launch a full scale marketing campaign.

PRESS RELEASE: AC4S Technologies is Now Certified by the NMSDC

Tampa, Florida, December, 20th 2013 :

AC4S Technologies is pleased to announce its certification as a Minority Business Enterprise by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). The National Minority Supplier Development Council assures the consistent and identical review and certification of minority-owned businesses through standardized procedures.

The NMSDC provides a direct link between corporate America and minority-owned businesses helping to certify and match more than 16,000 minority-owned businesses with member corporations that want to purchase their products and services.

AC4S Technologies is a full-spectrum IT Services Provider specializing in Microsoft Solutions and in perfecting the collaboration and communication aspects of the business world. Within our solutions such as SharePoint, Office 365, cloud services, and CRM, AC4S Technologies provides managing services, implementations, migrations, custom developments, and training. We are the one stop shop for all of your business communication and collaboration needs.

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