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March 4th, 2014

Facebook_Mar03_BFebruary this year was an important month for Facebook. First of all they celebrated their 10 year anniversary by presenting each user with their own video highlighting the best of their profiles. Then news broke that the platform was nearing 1.25 billion active users. Finally, the company launched a new mobile app - Paper - that changes the way you use the platform on your device.

What is Facebook Paper?

The mobile device is quickly becoming the main way people access their Facebook profiles. While some open the browser on their device and navigate to the website from there, most use the Facebook app. This app is really a smaller version of Facebook that is formatted for mobile devices.

While the app is heavily used, many users are unimpressed with the layout and general functionality of the app as a whole. It's really Facebook minus some functionality and a slight bit clunkier to navigate.

To address this and other issues the company launched a new division called Creative Labs, where teams can develop new ideas and features that could one day be incorporated into Facebook. One of the first major developments to come out of this division is Paper.

Paper is a new app for the iPhone that combines your traditional Facebook News Feed with something like an online newspaper. The whole idea of Paper is essentially Facebook reimagined into something that not only looks better but is easier to use.

How Paper works

When you download and open Paper using your iPhone you see a brief tutorial video of how the app works. Essentially, your Facebook Feed has been broken down into about 20 different categories, including: Headlines, Tech, Cute, Score, About, Photos, etc. Each section contains relevant stories and posts from your News Feed and from popular posts and publicaly shared content on Facebook. The posts are displayed differently and look more visually appealing.

These sections are then individually displayed in a horizontal manner, often with pictures and text, much like a mini article. For example, when you start the app you may be looking at the Headlines section and all relevant content. If you swipe to the left or right a new section will be brought up allowing you to view the content related to that new section.

What's cool about this app is that you are in charge of what categories you see. If you want to see the Headlines section (news headlines from around 40 sites) first, you just have to rearrange the sections. This is interesting because the app allows you to customize how you view Facebook.

Is Paper good for business users?

This app could be great news for businesses, largely because it gives them yet another avenue to have their content seen by users. The creators of the app want it to be content forward. In other words, content displayed in a visually appealing way that draws the eye and potentially increases interest. Businesses creating visually appealing posts will really shine on Paper.

Can I get Paper?

For now, Paper is currently only available for Apple's mobile devices and can be found on the iTunes store for free. Unfortunately, the app is only available to users in the US for the time being.

We are unsure as to when this app will be made available to more countries and devices, largely because the team developing this is small. We will undoubtedly see it come out in more countries and on other platforms but we can't say when.

If you are looking to learn about Facebook and how your business can get more out of it, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 27th, 2014

Virtualization_Feb24_BOften described as the future of business systems, virtualization has taken the world of IT to greater heights than ever before. With the advent of virtualization, businesses can now optimize their systems. In addition, this innovation allows them to do what they have never been able to do before, such as centralizing the control of the business environment, and a whole lot more.

While it may seem like virtualization is only advantageous to large businesses, in truth, even small companies can take advantage of this rising and sophisticated innovation. That being said, there are many companies still holding back. To help you understand virtualization, here are five good reasons why you need to virtualize your business now.

You can optimize servers

Perhaps the most compelling reason to virtualize your systems is to make your computing resources (such as the RAM and processor cycles) more efficient. And with efficient computing resources, businesses can reduce their capital expenses. Furthermore, small and mid-sized business are able to manage fewer physical servers, because virtualization allows users to combine, or virtualize, physical servers into fewer physical machines.

You get cutting-edge disaster recovery plans

Since catastrophes are possible, businesses should be prepared before they are faced with a disaster. The advantage of virtualization is that many solutions come with a disaster recovery plan to get your business back to a normal operational state after a problem strikes.

It can be far easier to fully back up your entire virtualized infrastructure than trying to do the same with separate hardware servers.

It increases business continuity

While business continuity is similar to disaster recovery, the goals of each operation are different. The aim of business continuity is to achieve zero, or minimal, business operation interruptions. However, many businesses find this difficult to achieve with traditional business systems.

Many virtualization solutions offer live migration, a feature that helps preserve the continuity of business operations by eliminating the need for downtime. This system works by rapidly transferring systems from one virtual environment to another when the original is affected. This enables a business to continue operations, despite some system failures.

It's a time-saver

Compared to setting up physical hardware, which can take months to establish, test, and maintain, setting up a virtualized system for your business can usually be achieved in a matter of minutes.

You get centralized control

Virtualization makes it possible to manage your entire system using one central tool. This is one cutting-edge advantage that suits many businesses, especially small and mid-sized ones. Moreover, security and compliance features can be built in, leading to systems that are even more secure than before.

The benefits to be gained by virtualizing can prove to be a real game changer for your business. Though it may seem complex at first, considering the new lingo and foreign functions, you’ll soon realize that it's just a matter of finding the right IT partner to work with.

Our virtualization experts are here for you and can help you from start to finish. If you want to know more about virtualization and its benefits to your business, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 27th, 2014

AndroidTab_Feb24_BAndroid is the most popular operating system in mobile technology, with millions of users throughout the world. This also means that there are a great number of potential threats facing users. Luckily, there are ways to protect your device from lurking dangers and outright attacks. Our guide will show you how to safeguard your device from physical and digital risks.

Protecting your Android device from digital risks and theft should be a priority as most hackers continue to take advantage of Android’s vulnerability. However, you don't need to purchase the best and latest software app in order to protect your device, as most of the best protection against common Android threats can be established through your device's settings.

Create multiple accounts on your device for different users

This feature is incredibly useful for shared devices. It's like having three devices in one as each user can download their own apps, customize wallpapers, and set settings according to their personal preference.

While sharing a device is useful, it can lead to an increased risk that personal and sensitive information stored in your device be leaked or seen by someone you don't want to. If you have more than one person using the same tablet, then adding a new account for them is a great idea.

Make use of the different screen lock methods

Android devices have multiple ways you can lock and unlock them, which are commonly called lock screens. These provide an extra layer of protection as they require you to unlock a device with either a unique code, pattern or even face recognition before gaining access.

Just as you would with passwords, it is wise to update your screen lock methods periodically. Just make sure that you remember the unique combination you’ve set or you might find yourself locked out of your own device.

Don’t use third party alternative sites to download apps

Google Play is the safest place to download apps for your tablet. Third party alternative sites might appear to have an interesting line-up of downloadable apps, but be wary as these could be malicious apps disguised and posted by hackers looking to gain access your device. It's not worth the risk.

As an additional tip, always read reviews before downloading apps, even in Google Play. These reviews often tell you more about the app and whether it is legitimate or not.

Be cautious about sending sensitive information over a public WI-Fi hotspot

When connected to public Wi-Fi there is always a possibility that everything you are sending, whether you are filling out an online form or uploading images, is being captured by somebody else on the network. When using public Wi-Fi, make sure to only browse sites that you won't be logging into and do not fill out personal information in online forms.

Activate Android device manager

This feature is a tool that can help you locate your device by using your Web browser or another mobile device. You can activate it by going to Settings > Device > Administrators and selecting “Android Device manager”. If your device has been stolen or is missing you can also use the manager to remotely wipe data.

Download an antivirus app

There is no excuse not to have antivirus software on your tablet as there are a number of great apps that provide full protection for free. There are even apps that automatically take a picture using your device’s front camera whenever the unique combination of your screen lock method is wrongly entered several times.

Keep an eye on your device as you would valuable items

Android tablets are considered a hot device in the market today, which means that thieves are always on the lookout for potential victims. Treat your device as you would your cash, jewelry, and other valuables. Avoid using your device in crime-prone areas so as not to attract attention and be robbed.

Continue to exercise vigilance in opening emails and avoid going to shady websites, as hackers may be phishing for your personal data such as log in information or credit card details.

As long as you keep these tips in mind, you can safeguard your device from both physical and digital risks. After all, nobody wants their tablet and the sensitive information stored on it end up in the wrong hands.

If you have any comments, suggestions or questions about your Android tablet, call us now, we are here to help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 26th, 2014

Office_Feb24_BMicrosoft Office is without a doubt one of the world’s most renowned and cutting-edge office suites. MS office can be used in any work environment because of its user-friendly and not-so-complicated functionalities. This tool can be the single most powerful and reliable tool your business needs for success. That being said, there may come a time when you need help with the program.

When it comes to helping you with solutions for your Office issues, here are five of the most common go-to places:

F1

Let’s assume you’ve already installed Microsoft Office Suite and an application is already up and running. However, the problem is you need to figure out how to do something. Finding a solution can sometimes be frustrating, so follow one of two options to get a quick answer to your questions.

The first is to press F1 to open the help database. You can then search for a solution to your problem. The second option is to press the question mark '?' located in the upper right corner of any Office program. This will open the same solution database.

MS Diagnostics

Microsoft Office failures, such as your program crashing or not launching, don’t necessarily mean that the software is corrupt or needs to be reinstalled. There might be another root cause. But there's no need to panic, as Microsoft offers an in-house physician for your Office problems called MS Diagnostics.

This tool runs a number of tests on Office programs, identifying existing and potential problems. Basically, the MS Diagnostic tool is like an MRI that thoroughly scans your Office software application, and which can usually provide repair options too.

Office Support

If the issues with your Office applications are not repaired using MS Diagnostics, then you possibly need the help of Office Support. This is one of the six main tabs on the Microsoft Office website.

Once you open Office Support, it welcomes you with an opening question: “What do you need help with?”. You can then select a specific application or product or select All products in that field. In the search box, you can also enter certain keywords that are relevant to the issue. A consolidated list of results will be generated that match any words you have entered. Many users are able to find a solution to their problems by visiting this page.

Community forums

Sometimes, the information on the Microsoft website is too general and doesn’t go far enough in helping you find the solution you need. One way to get a more thorough and updated fix for your Office application problems is to look at the various Office oriented forums on the Internet. Many of these forums tackle issues regarding Microsoft Office, with corresponding solutions that have already been tested. Joining forums can be helpful, especially when you want to learn new information, such as the latest software upgrades.

Tech support

There are some issues that cannot be resolved using MS Diagnostics, website support, and community forums. If all else fails, then you might need to get in touch with Microsoft’s technical support. You can directly air out your concerns with a person who is an expert with technical Office issues.

If you’ve tried to fix problems with MS Office and don't seem to be getting anywhere or issues keep recurring, then give us a call now and we will find the best solutions for you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 25th, 2014

iPad_Feb24_BWith most Apple devices there is at least one connection between all of your Apple devices and services and that is your Apple ID. This is an important account that you should definitely try to remember. The problem arises though if you don't use this ID on a regular basis, which results in you potentially forgetting what it is. If you have a new device, such as an iPad, this forgetfulness may cause issues.

What is an Apple ID?

Your Apple ID is how Apple identifies you. It is what you use to access and download apps on iTunes, enable iCloud, purchase from the Apple Store, and even book appointments with Apple Store representatives and tech support.

When you first set up a new Apple device, say an iPad, you are asked to sign up for an Apple ID. As with most other online accounts, you will set a password and the usual recovery questions to ensure that you can gain access to the account should you forget your password, something that happens to the best of us.

What do I do if I forgot my Apple ID password?

If you remember your Apple ID but can't remember the password you have two options. The first works if you have access to the email address you've linked your Apple ID with.
  1. Go to the Apple ID website on your iPad.
  2. Click Reset your password, enter your Apple ID and click Next.
  3. Select Email authentication followed by Next.
Check your email and there should be a message from Apple with instructions on how to reset your password.

The second option you have available is to reset your password by answering the security questions you created when you setup your account.

  1. Go to the Apple ID website on your iPad.
  2. Click Reset your password, enter your Apple ID and click Next.
  3. Select Answer security questions and click Next.
  4. Setting the birthday you used for the account and clicking Next.
  5. Answer the security questions you picked when you set the account up.
If you answer these successfully, you should be able to reset your password and access your AppleID again.

How to recover your Apple ID if you've forgotten your email address and questions

If you are not able to remember your recovery email address, password or security questions it may feel a little hopeless, but fear not, there is a way that might work.
  1. Go to the Apple ID Support page and select the Start your support request online link for your country.
  2. Click on Forgotten Apple ID security questions and follow the onscreen prompts.
  3. When you get to the next screen select either of the two options. Schedule a Call will allow you to pick a time for an Apple tech to call you, while Call Apple Support Later will allow you to enter your information and call Apple at some future point.
When you do talk to an Apple representative they will ask you questions about your account and personal information you provided when you first signed up for your ID. In many instances, the representative will be able to unlock your account or reset your password. Another option is to schedule a time to go into an Apple store or retailer for an appointment to see if they can help.

Looking to learn more about using your iPad, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
February 20th, 2014

Security_Feb17_BComputer and network security is an important issue to many business owners and managers. One of the most common security threats companies come across is phishing. Because phishing has become so prevalent, most people are aware of these underhand methods. This has led to hackers having to come up with new phishing methods, one of which is spear phishing.

What is spear phishing?

Spear phishing is a specialized type of phishing that instead of targeting a mass number of users, as normal phishing attempts, targets specific individuals or groups of individuals with a commonality e.g., an office.

Generally a hacker will first pick a target and then try to learn more about the related people. This could include visiting a website to see what a company does, who they work with, and even the staff. Or they could try hacking a server in order to get information.

Once they have some sort of information, usually a name, position, address, and even information on subscriptions, the hacker will develop an email that looks similar to one that another organization might send e.g., a bank. Some hackers have been known to create fake email accounts and pose as a victim's friend, sending emails from a fake account.

These emails are often similar to official correspondence and will always use personal information such as addressing the email to you directly instead of the usual 'dear sir or madam'. The majority of these emails will request some sort of information or talk about an urgent problem.

Somewhere in the email will be a link to the sender's website which will look almost exactly like the real thing. The site will usually ask you to input personal information e.g., an account number, name, address, or even passwords. If you went ahead and followed this request then this information would be captured by the hacker.

What happens if you are speared?

From previous attack cases and reports, the majority of spear phishing attacks are finance related, in that the hacker wants to gain access to a bank account or credit card. Other cases include hackers posing as help desk agents looking to gain access to business systems.

Should someone fall for this tactic, they will often see personal information captured and accounts drained or even their whole identity stolen. Some spear phishing attacks aren't after your identity or money, instead clicking on the link in the email will install malicious software onto a user's system.

We are actually seeing spear phishing being used increasingly by hackers as a method to gain access to business systems. In other words, spear phishing has become a great way for people to steal trade secrets or sensitive business data.

How do I avoid phishing?

Like most other types of phishing related emails, spear phishing attempts can be easy to block. Here are five tips on how you can avoid falling victim to them.
  • Know the basic rule of business communication - There are many basic rules of communication, but the most important one you should be aware of is that the majority of large organizations, like banks, social media platforms, etc., will not send you emails requesting personal information. If you receive an email from say PayPal asking you to click a link to verify your personal information and password, it's fake and you should delete it.
  • Look carefully at all emails - Many spear phishing emails originate in countries where English is not the main language. There will likely be a spelling mistake or odd wording in the emails, or even the sender's email address. You should look out for this, and if you spot errors then delete the email immediately.
  • Verify before you click - Some emails do have links in them, you can't avoid this. That being said, it is never a good idea to click on these without being sure. If you are unsure, phone the sender and ask. Should the email have a phone number, don't call it. Instead look for a number on a website or previous physical correspondence.
  • Never give personal information out over email - To many this is just plain common sense - you wouldn't give your personal information out to anyone on the street, so why give it out to anyone online? If the sender requires personal information try calling them or even going into their business to provide it.
  • Share only essential information - When signing up for new accounts online, there are fields that are required and others that are optional. Only share required information. This limits how much a hacker can get access to, and could actually tip you off. e.g., they send you an email addressed to Betty D, when your last name is Doe.
  • Keep your eyes out for the latest scams - Pay attention to security websites like those run by the major antivirus providers, or contact us. These sites all have blogs where they post the latest in security threats and more, and keeping up-to-date can go a long way in helping you to spot threats.
If you are looking to learn more about spear phishing or any other type of malware and security threat, get in touch.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
February 19th, 2014

BCP_Feb17_BLet’s accept the fact that disasters are inevitable. These kinds of situations can be threatening to human lives and business operations as well. In order to prevent further disruption in your business operations, you need to implement a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. These emergency plans can help expedite your business's recovery, making it more painless for the management to handle.

When creating a disaster recovery plan for your business, there are certain key elements that you need to consider.

Basics of a Disaster Recovery Plan

In building an effective disaster recovery plan, you should include thorough documentation that lays out the details of the ins and outs of the plan. You need to know that there is no right type of DRP, nor is there a single template that fits all. But there are three basic aspects to a disaster recovery plan: Preventive measures, detective measures, and corrective measures.

In addition, before building your disaster recovery plan, make sure that it can provide an answer to these basic questions:

  1. What is the objective and the purpose of making one?
  2. Who are the assigned team responsible when certain events occur?
  3. What is the framework and the procedure to be followed?

Plan for the worst case scenario

Since you’re planning for an unforeseen event, you might as well make sure that you have plan for the worst case scenario. That way, you’ll never be overwhelmed and you’re as prepared as you can be for any situation.

Having different tiers of backup plans is also advisable. It gives you a better assurance that when bad comes to worst, you have a system in place to make sure that these disasters are handled correctly, regardless of the disaster’s severity.

Data issues

One of the objectives of disaster recovery plan is to protect the collection of data. Almost half of the total population of business organizations experiences data loss from both physical and virtual environments. This is often due to corruption of the file system, broken internal virtual disks, and hardware failures. Thus, there is a real need for established data recovery plans such as backup features offered by many IT solution vendors.

Test-drive

Before deploying your disaster recovery plan, you need to have a sort of a test-drive to check if it works. Aside from making it work, you also need to know if it’s going to be effective. Through testing, any shortcomings can be identified and will garner corresponding resolutions to improve on your plan. Although the real score of its effectiveness can only be identified once a disaster occurs, at least you will have an idea of how your business and the recovery plan can operate during a disaster.

Building an effective disaster recovery plan is a must for your business. This might not directly lead to a positive impact on productivity but it will surely save you in the events that can possibly crush your business. Anticipating and adjusting for the things that might happen is one of the keys to a company’s success.

Setting up an effective DRP can be quite an intricate process since there are several elements that you need to consider. Should you want to learn more, give us a call and we’ll have our associates help you develop and test a plan that works best for your business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 19th, 2014

OSX_Feb17_BThe battery life of most MacBooks running OS X is in an enviable 9-12 hours or more. Perhaps it’s a pretty decent battery life for a laptop running at full-throttle, but over time battery life will dissipate. With the release of OS X Mavericks in 2013, the battery life of many laptops has improved, However, there are also other ways to save battery life too.

One of the main factors that consumers look into before they purchase a laptop is the device’s battery life. And without a doubt, MacBooks offer among the best battery life in the laptop market. They also have an exceptional operating system and powerful hardware, making it one of the best laptops in the world.

Here are four of the most effective battery saving tips you can use for your Apple laptop.

Check your battery’s condition

Before attempting to optimize the battery life of your MacBook, it is prudent to first determine whether your battery is in good health or not. This way, you’ll know if you need to change your battery because saving tips are practically useless when the battery is in poor condition.

To check the condition of your battery, follow these steps:

  1. Click the battery icon at the top of your screen.
  2. Click extra.
  3. Check if it says “Normal” or “Replace Soon”.
If it says Normal, then it is still good. If it says Replace Soon, then you need to go the nearest iStore, and have your device checked and serviced.

Adjust the brightness of the screen

Perhaps, this is one of the simplest and most effective energy saving tips you should know about. A brighter screen consumes more battery power. At full brightness, a 13-inch Mac Air measures an average of 280-290 lux - a measurement that defines how bright a screen will be.

But if you set it to 40% brightness, it’s only going to be 29 lux. Even though you are reducing brightness, the screen is still viewable. Screens with a lower lux use less battery power.

Changing the brightness of your preference is very easy with MacBooks. Just press F1 repeatedly until you can comfortably tolerate the level of the brightness. But if you want to tweak more of the display settings, open System Preferences, click Display and adjust the brightness to your liking.

Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

There are times when we don’t use WI-Fi and Bluetooth, especially when we are at the office or connected to a network. Turning off your device’s wireless radio signals is one trick to save a bit of juice.

Shut off your screensaver

While screensavers can be beautiful, did you know that they consume your device’s battery? While every small thing happening in your laptop eats up a little bit of battery power, many operations like the screensaver aren't important so you might want to turn it off in order to conserve power.

Disable backup and syncing features

Although backing up your files is a necessary task, there are times when there are no more files to backup and sync with your Mac. You can then disable backup and sync features temporarily to save up some juice for your Mac. When the need arises you can just turn these features back on.

Stop Time Machine

Time Machine is an application feature of Macbooks. It works hand-in-hand with an external hard drive to automatically back up data. When enabled, it will waste battery, even if it's not backing up. However, it can be disabled whenever you are on battery power. Go to System Preferences and open the option for Time Machine; check the box that will allow you to turn off Time Machine in battery mode.

Following these tips might be very helpful to everyone who has issues with their laptop’s battery. If you want to know more about how to give your devices more battery juice, give us a call and we’ll point you in the right direction.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
February 14th, 2014

Security_Feb11_BEven the most reliable business network security and sophisticated user credentials can be vulnerable to cyber attacks to some extent. The concept of a comprehensive layered security, called defense in depth, is based on a strategy which has been around since the time of the Romans. A multiple-layered defense is created to prevent the advancement of attack. This strategy has been proven to be an effective IT security method these days.

Just like the human body, a computer system can also be attacked by many viruses that can infect and disrupt computer operations. And what's worse is it doesn’t just disrupt the operations of your computer, but these viruses and other malware can gather sensitive information or even gain access to other private and secured computer systems on the same network.

Although computer viruses aren't deadly, they can spread at an unimaginable rate across your entire computer system, affecting your database, networks and other IT-related sources. You can get these viruses by opening bogus email messages, downloading unknown file attachments, and accidentally clicking ads that pop up your screen. This is why there is a need for a strong and effective security system to protect your network.

One of the tested and proven security strategies used today is defense in depth. This concept focuses on the coordinated and organized use of multiple security countermeasures to keep your database safe from intrusive attackers. Basically, this concept is based on the military principle that a multi-layered and complex defense is more difficult to defeat than a single-barrier protection system.

The defense in depth strategy assures network administrators by working on the basis of the following guiding principles:

Defenses in multiple places

The fact that many viruses can attack the network system from multiple points means that you need to deploy strong defense mechanisms at multiple locations that can endure all types of attacks.

Defense in depth focuses on areas by deploying firewalls and intrusion detection to endure active network attacks and also by providing access control on servers and host machines, to resist distribution attacks from the insiders. This multi-layered defense also protects local and area-wide communication networks from denial of service attacks.

Multiple layered defense

Defense in depth is an extremely effective countermeasure strategy, because it deploys multiple layered defense mechanisms between the attacker and its target. Each layer of the defense has a unique mechanism to withstand the virus attacks. Furthermore, you need to make sure that each layer has both detective and protective measures to ensure the security of the network.

The reason for wrapping the network with multiple layers of defense is because a single line of defense may be flawed. And the most certain way to protect your system from any attacks is to employ a series of different defenses that can be deployed to cover the gaps in the other defenses. Malware scanners, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, biometric verification and local storage encryption tools can individually serve to protect your IT resources in a way others cannot.

Perhaps the final layer of defense should be educating your employees not to compromise the integrity of the computer systems with potentially unhealthy computer practices. As much as possible, teach them the dos and don’ts of using the computer, as well as how they can prevent viruses and other computer malware coming in and destroying your system.

If you’re looking to give your computer systems better protection against the harmful elements that the internet can bring, then give us a call now and we’ll have one of our associates take care of you and help defend your business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
February 13th, 2014

Windows_Feb10_BTechnology has become one of the most necessary components of business infrastructure and the technology that supports almost every business is the server. Servers can host almost every system, with one of the most common being email. When many businesses look at email services, they look at Microsoft's Exchange. If you are looking into Exchange, you will likely come across Hosted Exchange.

What is Hosted Exchange?

Microsoft Exchange is first and foremost a messaging system. It offers businesses a number of services, including email, calendars, task management, address lists, and more. By integrating Exchange into your business, you can also gain the ability to access all of these servers from any location, on almost every device.

Many companies that purchase Exchange will actually install it on servers that are usually in the office. The thing with this is that it can be a bit expensive, especially for smaller businesses, and the server needed to host it can take up space that a business may not have. Other companies simply prefer to operate on cloud-based systems.

In order to meet demands, and offer a reliable product to companies of all sizes, many IT companies, including Microsoft, started to offer Hosted Exchange. How this works is your IT partner, who is your provider, makes space available on one of their servers. They then install Microsoft Exchange in a space which is only accessible to your company, over an Internet connection.

A provider is in charge of ensuring the data stored within is secure and accessible to the client, you, at all times. Many Hosted Exchange providers will also offer extra features like improved security, full-time management, and even data backup.

In other words, Hosted Exchange is the cloud-version of Exchange and is often managed by the host company. You and your employees will still be able to access it as you would if it were hosted in your business, meaning there is no real visible difference.

What benefits can Hosted Exchange offer?

There are a wide variety of benefits that Hosted Exchange can bring to companies looking to integrate it into their business. Here are four of the most common

1. It makes costs more predictable

Like many other hosted services, the majority of Hosted Exchange services are offered on a monthly, per user basis and the host will take care of the maintenance and hosting. This makes your costs predictable as you will only have to pay a fixed fee.

2. It can lower costs

If a business were to tabulate the cost of purchasing a new server, Exchange and the other infrastructure required in order to use it, plus add in any expected maintenance fees, the total and per user cost will likely add up quite quickly.

By going with a Hosted Exchange solution, you will pay a monthly fee only. For many small businesses this will usually be far less expensive than hosting an Exchange solution on premise. Add into this money saved on maintenance overhead and growth, and Hosted Exchange quickly becomes a service that can undoubtedly help reduce IT costs.

3. It's easier to implement and manage

If you were to implement Exchange in your office you would have to find space for the server, install the server and then Exchange, and then ensure that Exchange is installed correctly and working. Once it is, you will likely have to keep managing it and adding new accounts and users while reducing others. And if something happens, say the service goes offline, you will have to fix it.

For many business owners, this is simply beyond the scope of their skills and time. If you go with a Hosted Exchange solution, your IT partner will usually take care of hosting - you won't need to worry about a server - and will also manage and install it. This leaves you to focus on managing the solution, and if you don't have time some providers can even take care of this as well. In other words, a Hosted Exchange solution is far easier for many businesses.

4. It's more flexible

If you are a fast growing company, and need to scale an Exchange solution, one hosted in house is often limited by the capacity of the server. While some businesses won't go beyond this, others will. For those that don't, an on-premise Exchange solution will likely be perfectly useable.

If your company is growing it may be tough to scale an in-house Exchange solution. With Hosted Exchange, you can usually just contact your provider and they can help ensure that the space and resources are available. The same goes for if you move offices and you will likely be up and running again as soon as you have an Internet connection.

Looking to learn more about Hosted Exchange and how your business can benefit from it? Contact us today for a chat, we'd be happy to help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.