Author Archives for ‘Jason Kallevig’

About Jason Kallevig

What is that phone?

Trying to explain why I ‘Choose’ Windows Phone

I’ve been a Windows Phone user for a long time. I love the simple, 2 Screen organization of 1.) A dashboard with live tiles feeding summary information at a glance, and 2.) An alphabetical list of everything on the phone. I recently switched to Android, because it seems like Microsoft has given up on the mobile world, and cell providers no longer even offer viable Windows devices. The ONLY Windows 10 phone TMobile offered was an Alcatel that posted half the specs of my 2-year old HTC Windows 8.1 phone and a 2 megapixel camera!?!

After a month trying to acclimate to the Android Samsung J7, I have returned to Windows by purchasing an unlocked Lumia 950 with Windows 10 from an online reseller. So 99% of readers can stop right here and go on with your day.

For the 1% with the curiosity of “What’s on the other side?” Everyone asks me why Windows? It is very difficult to explain, as so much of it is perception and inherent expectations. After some thought, I’ve realized that for me, the primary driver was Cortana, and integration with my Email and Calendar. I’ve come to realize this functionality truly saves me from hiring a part time assistant. I had taken for granted how nicely Cortana reads me texts in the car, and allows me to respond entirely by voice. After wrapping up a call, I can voice command a new appointment or reminder that is added to my Outlook calendar on all devices I use. My attempts to use Hey Google in actual work environment failed miserably with utter frustration on my part, and anyone on the road around me.

In the Android world, I attempted to customize the experience to meet my expectations using Apps, and the Gallery of Gadgets to replicate the Live Tile function inherent of Windows, and found it to be just ridiculous. Each Gadget has it’s own look and functionality, so using multiple gadgets on the same screen looks like an axe murderer had a busy day. Sizing constraints left me running out of real-estate with just a few gadgets per screen, and it was just simply ugly.

After being accustomed to a Windows phone, here is a scenario that I consider a simple expectation from a phone, and due to everybody else’s love of their iPhone or Android, I assumed everyone had:

Fade to dream sequence………
I’m driving to a client, phone connected to my stereo via Bluetooth jamming to a Spotify playlist that I created from my desktop at home. Cortana lets me know what time I need to leave to get there on time with current traffic. Along the way, the Client calls to tell me they are running late and need to push back 30 minutes. Spotify obviously politely stops playing for the call. After the call, I say Hey Cortana, call John Doe (who is also expected at the meeting). I had just added him to my contact list on my Desktop Outlook right before I left the office. Cortana pulls him from my contacts, asks me Work or Mobile? I say Mobile, and she calls him up so I can let him know about the scheduling change. The I say Hey Cortana, move my 4pm appointment to 4:30, and my calendar is updated on all devices that I use. Then I say “Hey Cortana – text my Wife I’m running a little late.” A minute later Cortana says “You have a text from Jenni, would you like to read it?” I say “Yes” and Cortana reads, Now its pizza instead of steak – Would you like to reply?” I say yes, “Very Funny”. Then I say “Hey Cortana – remind me to pick up T-Bones when I get to Cub Foods.” Spotify resumes playing. After the meeting, I’m driving right by the grocery store, and a reminder pops up – “Pick up Steak”.

Back to live..
So this has been a typical day for me ever since Cortana released with 8.1 two years ago. I just assumed that Siri and Hey Google could handle that equally, and for a month, I tried piecing together Android apps and gadgets and wizwacks and whatever to achieve this “obvious” scenario. What a cluster! So I’ve returned to the Windows Phone hippy bus, drank the Kool-Aid, and look with amazement at all these Android & iPhone users who think their phone is “So Cool” because they can play Angry Birds. LOL.

CPA & Accounting Firms are facing new pressure to drive cash flow and profits

CPA & Accounting Firms are facing new pressure to drive cash flow and profits, enhance IT security, protect client data, and attract top talent. Even the largest firms have found these challenges overwhelming. Until now.

IVDesk has addressed all of your security, mobility and compliance concerns through development of a robust, vertically-focused IT solution called CPA Complete. Created specifically for today’s most progressive accounting firms, this completely virtualized program hosts, monitors, manages and delivers all of your business data and applications to transform IT from a tactical expense into a strategic business driver.

IVDesk has built a specific, specialized practice related to the accounting industry based on our expertise in installing and running the critical applications CPAs rely on every day. This practical experience and deep understanding of your needs make us one of the leading IT partners in the industry.

  • Save Cash, Grow Profits

    By virtualizing your IT, you move almost all of your IT to an efficient OpEx model, from dominantly CapEx. No more surprises on apps, security, server software or hardware purchases.

  • Complete Security

    Our maximum security offering provides 100% protection but allows you to ease restrictions to accommodate individual user permission, preferences and other parameters.

  • Complete Flexibility & Scalability

    Moving CapEx off the table and providing a pay-for-what-you-use solution helps you gain control of IT expenses. Now you can add new or seasonal users in just minutes for a simple monthly fee.

  • Complete Mobile Access

    The ability to work from anywhere, anytime on any digital device is a key enhancement to productivity and critical for client site activity. No more VPNs, constant access issues or expensive work stations. All your current data and apps are right there with the same familiar look as your desktop.

“IVDesk has not only improved our
firm’s productivity, but reduced our
overall IT-related costs significantly.
I hardly even think about IT anymore.”
– Jan Bjork,
Partner
Pieper, Whitaker & Bjork

All Your Current Applications – Available Anywhere
Our complete, virtualized approach to IT already includes over 800+ popular business applications and also accommodates your custom solutions. Don’t see one of your apps in the list below? Ask us.

Common Accounting Applications
1099-Etc
Accounting CS
ATX Tax Prep
BNA Fixed Assets
BNA Income Tax Planner
CCH ProSystem fx Tax
CCH ProSystem fx Engagement
CCH ProSystem fx Document
CCH ProSystem fx Practice Management
CCH ProSystem fx Tax Scan
CCH ProSystem fx Client Data Conversions
CCH ProSystem fx Planning
CCH ProSystem fx Fixed Assets
Creative Solutions Accounting
EFTPS BP Application
EstateVal
File Cabinet CS
Fixed Assets CS
Judy’s TenKey
Lacerte
Laserfiche
Planner CS
ProStaff
QuickBooks Enterprise
QuickBooks Premier
QuickBooks Pro
Sage 50
Sage 100
SpeedLink
TSScan
Tax Interest
Thomson Reuters PPC (Full Suite)
ToolBox CS
TimeTrak
TValue
Ultra Tax
W-2/1099 Filer

Accounting Suite Expertise
IVDesk’s longstanding focus on serving the accounting industry has earned us a position as a premier implementer of the CCH ProSystem FX Suite and its associated applications. Since our inception more than a decade ago, IVDesk has successfully implemented, updated and supported these applications for a variety of financial firms. Furthermore, IVDesk has also recently emerged as a key implementer of the Thomson Reuters CS Professional Suite.
These core competencies, combined with uncompromising customer service, help IVDesk maintain its leadership in the Accounting Private Cloud environment to dramatically reduce costs and increase productivity while providing a far more secure environment.

Moving your business into the cloud allows your entire office to access your every application, every file, and business process as easily as before, if not better.

Running critical applications for RIAs

RIA Complete
Transforming Business

IVDesk has built a specific, specialized practice related to the RIA industry based on our expertise in installing and running critical applications RIAs rely on every day. This practical experience and deep understanding make us the leading IT partners in your industry.

Complete SEC Compliance

Moving all your IT to our virtualized platform allows IVDesk to manage and monitor all of your compliance systems, operations and audits.

Complete Reliability & Redundancy

Our unique technical infrastructure and system management make downtime a distant memory. Your systems, software and data are always available – 24/7/365.

Complete Security

Our maximum security offering provides 100% protection but allows you to ease restrictions to accommodate individual user permission, preferences and other parameters.
“We’ve wanted to make this move to IVDesk for a long time – and it couldn’t have gone better.”
– Andrea Stimmel,
Chief Compliance Officer
Mairs & Power

Complete Mobile Access

The ability to work from anywhere, anytime on any digital device is a key enhancement to productivity. No more VPNs and access struggles. All your current data and apps are right there with the same familiar look as your desktop!  Registered Investment Advisors are facing SEC compliance along with auditing and security risks like never before. Even the largest firms have found the challenges overwhelming. Until now!  IVDesk addresses all of your SEC compliance, auditing and security requirements through a robust, vertically-focused IT solution called RIA Complete. Created specifically for today’s most progressive investment and wealth management firms, our completely virtualized service transforms IT from a tactical expense into a strategic business driver.  In addition to thwarting hackers and improving overall security, RIA Complete also ensures that you can access your data securely no matter what platform you are on or your location.

All Your Current Applications – Available Anywhere

Our complete, virtualized approach to IT already includes over 800+ popular business applications and also accommodates your custom
solutions. Don’t see one of your apps in the list below? Ask us.

Critical Applications Vendor

Advent Portfolio Exchange (APX) – Advent Software
Axys – Advent Software
FactSet – Factset
Investment View – Thomson Reuters
Junxure – Junxure
Laserfiche – Laserfiche
MorningStar Office – MorningStar
Moxy – Advent Software
PortfolioCenter – Schwab
Pro Tracker – Pro Tracker Software
QuickBooks – Intuit
Revenue Center – Advent Software
Schwab Data Delivery – Schwab
Telemet – Orion Telemet

Other Applications Vendor

Assemblage – Trumpet Software
Attach Plus – Trumpet Software
BNA Income Tax Planner – BNA
ByAllAccounts (Cust Integrator) – MorningStar
Dimensional Returns 2 – Dimensional
FileZilla – FileZilla
Gifts – MicroEdge
Global Relay Archiving – Global Relay
iRebal – TD Ameritrade
LaserApp – LaserApp Software
LastPass – LastPass
Mindmapper – SimTech Systems
MorningStar Direct – MorningStar
Number Cruncher – Leimberg
PlanGuru – NewHorizon
Principia – MorningStar
Retirement Plan Analyzer – Brentmark
RoboForm – Siber Systems
Sage 50 (Peachtree) – Sage
Sage ACT Premium – Sage
Smarsh Archiving – Smarsh
TOTAL Planning Suite – Money Tree Software
TSScan – Terminal Works
Yearli – Greatland Corp

Let’s Talk.
Tell us about your current IT systems and let us show you
how our completely virtualized approach can work for you.  Contact KDS Systems for an easy, no-hassle assessment of your needs.

Beyond Business Continuity: How Backup and Disaster Recovery Benefits Your Business

Introduction

As small- and medium-sized businesses store more data on servers, business owners need to consider how they respond to everyday disruptions, such as hardware failures and server outages, as well as site-wide disasters such as fires, floods, earthquakes, and tornadoes.

These disruptions and disasters occur more often than many businesses might think. For example, even though many companies may not consider power outages to be serious concerns, a recent survey by power management fi m Eaton Electrical revealed that 37% of IT professionals “have suffered unplanned downtime due to power-related issues in the last 24 months,” with 32% of outages lasting longer than four hours.1 The downtime caused by these kinds of disasters can be devastating for organizations; a May 2013 study by the Aberdeen Group reported that the average cost to a business per hour of downtime is a whopping $8,580.2

Businesses that have a backup and disaster recovery solution in place are able to respond to disruptions within minutes or hours of an outage or disaster taking place. These businesses have a number of quick recovery options available to them to guard against the risks and costs associated with periods of downtime. However, beyond giving business owners a solution to outages and disasters, backup and disaster recovery services provide many more benefits to organizations.

This white paper explains how a backup and disaster recovery solution can help organizations avoid the high costs of downtime and preserve the bottom line.

Backup and Disaster Recovery Benefits

When downtime occurs the effects can be severe as companies lose access to important data, such as customer information, financial    data, and emails, for an extended period of time. With a backup and disaster recovery solution deployed, businesses can ensure they remain productive, maintain their clients’ trust, keep their commitments to customers and partners, keep up with the competition, and stay compliant with important regulations. Here are the key benefits that businesses gain from adopting a backup and disaster recovery solution:

Maintain employee productivity and the ability to generate revenue: Simply put, when organizations cannot conduct business as usual, they lose money. Taking orders, receiving and replying to important emails, and accessing important data are all activities that downtime can disrupt, leading to a financial drain on the firm. Backup and disaster recovery lets businesses remain productive by ensuring they can serve their customers and generate revenue, even after a major disruption or disaster.

Preserve reputation with customers and partners: Downtime can also have a severe effect on organizations when it comes to their reputation in the eyes of customers and partners. These reputational costs vary among different organizations, but in all cases they could be significant. For example, a critical hardware failure that leads to a day of downtime at a dentist’s office could lead to a loss of clients’ trust. Backup and disaster recovery ensures a business’ clients do not lose faith in the organization due to long periods of downtime.

Meet obligations with clients: Downtime could lead to the inability for businesses to meet certain contractual agreements or deadlines. For instance, if a CPA firm experiences downtime during tax season and cannot recover this data before the tax submission deadline, the client could sue the CPA firm for failing to render services. Backup and disaster recovery lets businesses meet critical deadlines, even if disaster strikes, so clients remain happy.

Prevent losing business to competition: Businesses that jeopardize their reputation due to downtime are likely to see customers take flight to competitors. As an example, if a law office experiences downtime or loses important documents, clients may question the fi m’s credibility and take their business elsewhere. The costs of acquiring new customers are astronomically high compared to the cost of merely retaining existing customers, so it is important that organizations do everything they can to reduce customer churn. Backup and disaster recovery ensures businesses do not lose business to a competitor due to downtime.

Ensure compliance with industry regulations: Aside from the long- term cost advantages of adopting a business continuity solution, backup and disaster recovery also helps SMBs remain compliant with important industry regulations and other legal requirements. Three of the most important laws governing the protection of digital data are the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Sarbanes–Oxley Act (SOX), and the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA). Though these laws apply to different industries, all of them require businesses to closely safeguard and retain sensitive digital information, a requirement that backup and disaster recovery is designed for. Backup and disaster recovery ensures organizations do not have to worry about compliance violations and legal issues related to data preservation, so businesses can focus on generating revenue and making clients happy.

Conclusion

Businesses that need to recover their data quickly and reduce the high costs of downtime need a backup and disaster recovery solution. But the benefits of backup and disaster recovery extend beyond rapid data recovery. Organizations with a backup and disaster recovery solution are in the position to withstand everyday disruptions and catastrophic disasters and eliminate the harms that result from extended periods of downtime.

No matter how large or small an organization is, who its customers are, or which industries and sectors it participates in, backup and disaster recovery is an invaluable asset for any business owner. Call us today to learn how backup and disaster recovery can help your business succeed.

KDS works with your businesses to interact with computer technology in a secure and scalable manner. We bring real world perspective and focus on security, productivity, and mobility. Our insight is based on years of experience and your business’s current adoption of technology solutions within your computer network.

 

How Backup and Disaster Recovery Works

Backup and disaster recovery solutions periodically take a carbon-copy backup of servers, store those backups on a local appliance, and send those backups off-site to the cloud. These backups can be utilized in a number of ways. If the server stops functioning (e.g. if a motherboard short- circuits), the local appliance can act as a substitute server until the server is repaired. If the server is destroyed (e.g. the building burns down), the backups that are stored off-site can be downloaded, shipped, or recovered in the cloud. In either scenario, businesses are able to get back up and running quickly and efficiently.

Common Types of Outages and Disasters Organizations of all stripes experience a number of common outages and disasters. Here are a few examples of these disruptions:

  • o Outages
    • Hardware failure
    • Software failure
    • OS corruption
    • Cyber-attacks
    • Power outages
    • Power surges
  • Disasters o
    • Floods
    • Fires
    • Earthquakes
    • Hurricanes
    • Tornadoes
    • Land Shifts

The Dropbox Problem

Introduction

 

“As the BYOD trend continues, more and more businesses are faced with the growing reality of having their workforce go mobile and the potential associated security threats it poses for enterprises.”

– Melissa Lewelling, CRN, June 24, 2013

With over 300 million users, Dropbox is the market leader in cloud file sync applications. Unfortunately, what works for family photos is not appropriate for corporate files. Dropbox is risky business. Beyond the risks of data loss, data theft, data loss, corrupted data, lawsuits, compliance violations, loss of accountability, and loss of file access, there are inherent flaws in the service that make it unsuitable for a workplace environment.

Here are some little-known facts about Dropbox — six things to consider before adopting Dropbox in the workplace.

  • Dropbox is the No. 1 most commonly blacklisted app

In general, BYOD and the advent of mobile applications has made employees more productive. But when it comes to mobility, there are some applications that companies should avoid. In a survey by Fiberlink of over 4,500 corporate and employee devices, Dropbox was the No. 1 most blacklisted app on iOS and Android. Business owners and IT administrators are blacklisting Dropbox applications because the popular file sync service lacks the administrative control and oversight necessary to avoid data leakage risks. Rounding up the top five blacklisted apps were SugarSync, Box, Facebook, and Google Drive. [i]

  • Dropbox shares can be accessed by anyone

Sharing with Dropbox is easy. Protecting your files with Dropbox? Not so easy. When a user shares a file or folder, Dropbox generates a public URL that can be accessed by anyone, without any password enforcement. In a study conducted by Intralinks, these fully clickable URLs were used to access sensitive files, including tax returns, a mortgage application, bank information,

and personal photos. Intralinks also found evidence of intermingling of personal and corporate files. All of this begs the question: when you share files and folders with Dropbox, who are you actually sharing it with? [ii] [iii]

  • Dropbox only retains deleted files and revisions for 30 days

Business-class file sync services maintain a rich file and folder history so that companies may recall historical data, including deleted files and revisions. Moreover, retention of data is important for business that handle sensitive data and legally required for certain verticals. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures, tax laws, and other federal and local statues have distinct requirements for the retention of data. Dropbox’s decision to permanently remove deleted files and revisions after 30 days is inconvenient and puts businesses at risk of legal and compliant disputes. If Dropbox customers want to retain deleted files and revisions for more than 30 days, they are directed to download and pay for a third-party application. [iv] [v]

  • Dropbox uses a single encryption key

Encryption is the primary safeguard against hacking and security breaches. Unfortunately for Dropbox customers, the keys to encrypt and decrypt files are with Dropbox – not on each user’s machines. Worse yet, Dropbox uses a single encryption key for all customer’s data. This insecure architectural design prompted Christopher Sighoian, a prominent security researcher, to issue an FTC complaint against Dropbox in 2011. His complaint alleged that Dropbox puts users at risk of government searches, rogue Dropbox employees, and even companies trying to bring mass copyright-infringement suits. In light of these charges, Dropbox scrambled to change language that appeared on its website. But the facts remain: Dropbox does not provide a way for users to encrypt files before they are transmitted to the cloud, Dropbox employees have access and can see the contents of a user’s storage, and Dropbox has exposed its users to unnecessary risk of data theft by hackers, who if given the chance to break into the company’s servers, may be able to steal users’ data and the keys necessary for decryption. [vi] [vii]

  • Dropbox reviews your data to save costs

When a user uploads a file, Dropbox will review the data to see if it has been uploaded by a different user. If it has been uploaded before, Dropbox deduplication technology will point to the previously uploaded file, thus saving Dropbox from keeping two copies of the same file. According to Dark Reading (InformationWeek), “For starters, deduplication can make it easy for outsides to know what’s already on the Dropbox servers, since the website studies a file to see if it’s seen it before.” In sum, the deduplication technology imposed by Dropbox saves the company storage costs, but places your files at risk. [viii]

  • Dropbox does not guarantee uptime or offer live support

FAQs and Forums not good enough? Because Dropbox does not offer live support, you’ll have to fill out a form for someone to get back to you. In addition, Dropbox has experienced outages, downtime, and security breaches over the years, causing business users to reconsider the reliability of the service. According to ReadWrite, “(Dropbox) checkered history of security breaches may make it a tough sell in the enterprise,” including “a (2011) bug in the company’s authentication mechanism, allowing third parties to log into user accounts and access files,” and a 2012 breach that “allowed attackers to penetrate accounts used by Dropbox employees, including a document from which they may have been able to harvest email addresses…those email addresses were apparently used to send Dropbox users spam.” In March of this year, Dropbox suffered an outage which caused errors and rendered the desktop and mobile file sync feature useless. In light of these events, a lack of live support is only the beginning of service issues that Dropbox faces. [ix] [x] [xi] [xii]

Conclusion

As your trusted IT service provider, we promise to work with you to minimize these risks and support your file sync needs. eFolder Anchor is a business-ready cloud file sync service that we stand behind and guarantee.

eFolder Anchor – Secure Cloud File Sync

  • Access files from anywhere
  • Collaborate with ease
  • Share files securely
  • Control your data
  • Eliminate FTP and VPN

 

Call us to learn how file access can be easy, safe, and secure.

 

Phone: +1 (320) 281-7033

Email: support@kdssys.com

[i] TechRepublic, Will Kelly, “Top mobile security concerns: Blacklisted apps and password protection,” December 11, 2013

[ii] ReadWrite, Anthony Myers, “How Documents Stored On Box And Dropbox Could End Up On Google,” May 7, 2014

[iii] CollaboristaBlog, John Landy, “Your Sensitive Information Could Be at Risk: File Sync and Share Security Issue, May 6, 2014

[iv] Dropbox Help, “What happens to my old and deleted file versions?” accessed on May 12, 2014

[v] ASAE, The Center for Association Leadership, “Designing a Compliant Electronic Record-Retention Policy for Your Association, July 2007

[vi] Gizmodo, Adrian Covert, “Dropbox Told Us Our Files Were Encrypted and Private. Turns Out They Aren’t?,” May 13, 2011

[vii] WIRED, Ryan Singel, “Dropbox Lies to Users About Data Security, Complaint to FTC Alleges,” May 13, 2011

[viii] InformationWeek Dark Reading, Mathew J. Schwartz, “Dropbox Accused of Misleading Customers on Security,” April 16, 2011

[ix] ReadWrite, Mark Hachman, “Dropbox To Business: Never Mind The Breaches, Come Store Your Stuff With Us!,” April 10, 2013

[x] ZDNet, Zack Whittaker, “Dropbox hit by outage; file sync busted,” March 14, 2014

[xi] ZDNet, Ed Bott, “Dropbox gets hacked … again,” August 1, 2012

[xii] Dropbox Tech Blog, Akhil Gupta, “Outage post-mortem,” January 12, 2014

Migrate your business to Hosted Voice – and never look back!!

Now is a great time to update your business
with Hosted Voice.

Get the most advanced phone systems, voice service, and data technology with no up-front capital costs. Never worry about equipment obsolescence and only pay for what you need today and tomorrow.
In today’s challenging business environment, a workforce that’s spread across the country is a common occurrence. With the Remote Teleworker solution, managedIP Hosted customers can extend the features and functionality of the IP communications system to all of its employees, regardless of their location. Employees have the flexibility to get the job done from virtually anywhere.

Benefits:

• Employee satisfaction —flexible work schedules can help boost employee morale and reduce absenteeism

• Cost effective—allowing employees to work at home versus maintaining office space

• Single platform—employees have the same features and functionality as if they were in the office, including direct-extension dialing, call forwarding, voice mail, and more

• Reduce costs—eliminate monthly phone service fees and long-distance charges between locations

• Flexibility—when hiring, you are no longer limited to the candidates living in close proximity to the central office

User Profiles:

The Remote Teleworker solution provides full-feature managedIP Hosted functionality to three main user profiles:

• Work-at-Home Employees— users who work from home, either full-time or part-time.

• Remote Branch Office Employees—users who work at a remote location (small warehouse, distribution center, satellite office, etc).

• Mobile (Nomadic) employee— users who are on the go and work in the office, at home, on the road or from a hotel and need access to their business phone.

Free Phone

IP Phone for (Almost) FREE!!

  • CloudModel-Man
  • Manage multiple cloud services from a common dashboard.

Cumulus is Here! KDS upgrades cloud management system

An exciting day for KDS! Our Cloud management platform is upgrading to a centralized dashboard. This means that we will be able to manage Office 365, Hosted Exchange, Online Backup, deploy Virtual Servers, and virtually every cloud service we offer from a common management system. A year ago this level of integration seemed impossible. We are extremely excited for how this will allow us to serve our customers more effectively and efficiently while continuing to grow KDS Systems.

Manage multiple cloud services from a common dashboard.

Manage multiple cloud services from a common dashboard.

Windows 10 Has Arrived – and man IT IS COOL!!!

Initial Testing of Windows 10 has been VERY POSITIVE!!  The upgrade process is smooth, automated, and fast.  So far we have experienced NO compatibility issues.  3rd party controller apps have worked without issue and all setting have transferred.  The new Edge browser is EXTREMELY FAST.  Cortana functionality is similar to Windows Phone, however I’m not completely sure how useful she will be on a non-mobile device.  I use Cortana for everything mobile (ie “Text my daughter”, “Open Pandora”, “Call my wife”, “Remind me to get milk when I get to Target”), however I haven’t quite figured out how useful she will be on a desktop environment.
The new interface can be summed up in one word “Perfection”.  All functionality for local and internet computing is clearly organized and accessible from the Desktop view.  The Start button has returned, but is now dynamic and learns from your activity.  Similar to Windows 8, realtime information flows into the tiles and keeps you informed without actually opening an app, however the mindshift of Start Screen vs. Desktop is now integrated with the On-Demand Start button that Windows 95 – Windows 7 utilized.
Microsoft has very nearly perfected a universal platform between mobile & fixed computing, but are they missing the boat with ‘wearable’ technology?  This concept still appalls me personally,  Business continues to focus on productivity and reliability.  Doing more with less effort.  I’m looking forward to moving new and existing clients to the Windows 10 platform with confidence, and don’t expect to be purchasing many iWatch’s in the next 12-18 months.
Like Us on Facebook for more tech tips and hints to make your workday easier!
Visit us on the web at to see our complete suite of Cloud Computing products and services.
KDS Systems, Inc. // Office: 320.281.7033 // www.kdssys.com

Hosted Desktop for Registered Investment Advisors – IVDesk Transforms Business

Registered Investment Advisors are facing SEC compliance along with auditing and security risks like never before. Even the largest firms have found the challenges overwhelming. Until now!

IVDesk addresses all of your SEC compliance, auditing and security requirements through a robust, vertically-focused IT solution called RIA Complete. Created specifically for today’s most progressive investment and wealth management firms, our completely virtualized service transforms IT from a tactical expense into a strategic business driver.

In addition to thwarting hackers and improving overall security, RIA Complete also ensures that you can access your data securely no matter what platform you are on or your location.

Key Benefits

IVDesk has built a specific, specialized practice related to the RIA industry based on our expertise in installing and running critical applications RIAs rely on every day. This practical experience and deep understanding make us the leading IT partners in your industry.
• Complete SEC Compliance
Moving all your IT to our virtualized platform allows IVDesk to manage and monitor all of your compliance systems, operations and audits.
• Complete Reliability & Redundancy
Our unique technical infrastructure and system management make downtime a distant memory. Your systems, software and data are always available – 24/7/365.
• Complete Security
Our maximum security offering provides 100% protection but allows you to ease restrictions to accommodate individual user permission, preferences and other parameters.
• Complete Mobile Access
The ability to work from anywhere, anytime on any digital device is a key enhancement to productivity. No more VPNs and access struggles. All your current data and apps are right there with the same familiar look as your desktop!

All Your Current Applications – Available Anywhere

Our complete, virtualized approach to IT already includes over 800+ popular business applications and also accommodates your custom solutions. Don’t see one of your apps in the list below? Ask us.

Critical Applications

Advent Portfolio Exchange (APX) Advent Software
Axys
FactSet
Investment View
Junxure
Laserfiche
MorningStar Office
Moxy
PortfolioCenter
Pro Tracker
QuickBooks Intuit
Revenue Center
Schwab Data Delivery
Telemet Orion

Vendor
Advent Software
Factset
Thomson Reuters
Junxure
Laserfiche
Advent Software
Schwab
Pro Tracker Software
Advent Software
Schwab
Telemet

Contact KDS Systems at 320.281.7033 to learn more about solving all of your SEC compliance, auditing and security requirements with IVDesk’s RIA Complete virtualized IT solution.

3 Little Known Risks Associated with Leading Cloud Services

Introduction

In the last few years, an increasing amount of corporate information has moved to the cloud. Office 365 and Google Apps moved productivity online; Salesforce paved the way for an entirely cloud- based CRM solution; and Box created a compelling cloud-based file sync and share solution. Rightfully so: cloud services and SaaS applications have unlocked numerous benefits including affordability, collaboration, accessibility, and mobility. Unfortunately, these inroads have not reduced the potential for data loss.

Misconceptions abound about cloud data; the most prevalent myth is that there is no risk of data loss in the cloud. This belief has led many small- and medium-sized business to eschew standard business continuity practices, such as regular backup and auditing of data, when it comes to the cloud. Unfortunately, the statistics are sobering: a study commissioned by Symantec and published in 2013 reports that more than 40% of companies have lost data in the cloud.1

This white paper aims to address several aspects of the cloud that businesses overlook. It highlights the issues of accidental and malicious data deletion, subpar data retention policies applied by leading SaaS providers, and common mishaps with data migration, export, and integration. This white paper also discusses why it is imperative that businesses employ a cloud-to-cloud backup, search, and restore solution that will minimize the risk and cost of data loss.

 

Risk #1: Accidental or malicious data deletion

 

The primary threat to cloud data is user error. Accidental or malicious deletion poses a constant threat to corporate data, and the open and collaborative nature of cloud applications increases this risk. A recent study by the Aberdeen Group revealed that user error was the number one source of cloud data loss, accounting for 64% of data loss events.2

Data, including records, emails, contacts, and documents are all susceptible to user error or accidental deletion. As an example, an employee may delete an old electronic receipt she believes she no longer has a need for, only to discover that the accounting department needed access to her copy. On a daily basis, system administrators are burdened by these types of data recovery procedures.

Malicious or deliberate data deletion is also all too common. There are several instances of ex-employees or disgruntled employees with proper credentials logging into their cloud account and deleting critical emails, documents, customer data, and more. If the cloud service being used does not have adequate retention policies in place, a timed, automatic deletion could result in permanent deletion of the data.

When data is stored in a cloud application with an inadequate or non-existent backup strategy, accidental or malicious deletion is a time-consuming and costly experience.

 

Risk #2: Subpar data retention policies

Organizations using cloud services wrongly assume that once their data is stored in the cloud, it is always accessible at a moment’s notice. In reality, most major cloud services only retain data for a limited amount of time; this often only becomes apparent when a system administrator tries to retrieve deleted information only to discover that it has been automatically purged.

It is important to note that data retention does not just come into play when files are accidentally or purposefully deleted. When an employee leaves an organization, his or her user accounts are usually closed, taking the corresponding data with them. Besides the inconvenience of lost data, there can be serious legal and financial implications if data is not retained for a lengthy enough period of time. Here is a look at the retention policies of four major cloud services:

Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft’s Office 365 has been a major hit in the business world, but its retention policy deserves a second look. SharePoint Online retains deleted data for a maximum of 216 days, after which it is purged and unrecoverable. For Exchange Online, once a user deletes an item from his or her Deleted Items folder, the item is retained in a secondary folder accessible to admins for only 30 days unless Exchange Online Archiving is added on for an additional cost (included with Enterprise E3 plans). With OneDrive for Business, deleted items are retained for a maximum of 186 days, after which they are purged and unrecoverable. More concerning is the lax retention surrounding deleted user profiles: OneDrive only retains data for 14 days once an admin deletes a user profile. Since Office 365 drives so much productivity within organizations, losing any data from this service could result in significant downtime and costs.

Google Apps       

Much like Office 365, Google Apps is the hub of emails, calendars, contacts, and other important documents for businesses that have fully embraced the cloud. Unfortunately, Google Apps’ retention policy is rather onerous. With Gmail, deleted emails stay in the Trash for only 30 days before they are purged. Google offers an archiving solution, called Vault, for an additional $5/user/month. However, Google Vault does not protect items that have been deleted from Google Drive’s Trash; these files are purged and unrecoverable once deleted from the Trash. From a data security standpoint, Google Apps is not much better than an ordinary computer that doesn’t have a backup system in place. Especially since storing and backing up most Google Apps data locally is not an option, losing data from Google Apps could result in permanent loss.

Box

Box, used by many businesses as a cloud file sync service, features configurable retention for its Business and Enterprise plans. Additionally, Box’s Retention Management feature, released in 2015 and available only for Enterprise plans, allows administrators to set “formal retention periods to protect selected files from deletion for a number of days, months, or even years.” Box does note that “at the expiration of a retention period, [Retention Management] ensures proper disposition.”5 This means that administrators who improperly set retention policies for critical data could see that data deleted permanently sooner than expected.

Salesforce

Salesforce helps over one hundred thousand organizations keep track of their contacts, opportunities, and other CRM data in the cloud. For such a comprehensive solution, Salesforce’s minimal retention policy is alarming. Once a user deletes an item (such as a record), it goes into Salesforce’s Recycle Bin. Unfortunately, just 15 days after an item enters the Recycle Bin, Salesforce purges the item. Though Salesforce offers the option to recover purged data, this process — called Data Recovery — is limited, expensive, and time-consuming. Salesforce says it “can go back no more than 90 days for production and 30 days for Sandbox from the date of deletion” and charges $10,000 at minimum for the service.6 Moreover, Data Recovery takes about 4 business weeks. Companies whose Salesforce data goes missing can suffer immensely if their sales and marketing teams are unable to access any customer information when they need it the most.

 

Risk #3: Data migration, export, and integration mishaps

Every cloud platform is vulnerable to mishaps when it comes to data migration, export, and integration. Whether it is customer records in Salesforce, information in a shared document, or contact lists, it is easy for anyone to overwrite previously existing data, either purposefully or inadvertently.

Issues related to third party software and account migration can result in cloud data loss. Moving to a new email client, for example, could result in a user’s inbox being lost, especially if multiple email accounts are being configured at once. A record management application, such as Salesforce Data Loader, could import duplicate contact information from multiple services and overwrite information at the source when syncing new data. An outgoing employee may delete her calendars without realizing her incoming replacement needs that data. Regardless of the case, undoing the damage caused by data overwrites or data loss requires a separate backup repository linked to individual recovery points.

 

Conclusion

There is no doubt that using cloud services presents companies with numerous advantages. Data, including files, emails, contacts, and documents, can be shared and accessed by multiple people across multiple devices, and businesses can save money and enjoy greater collaboration by moving productivity to the cloud.

Unfortunately, the risks of inadequate data retention policies, data deletion, and data corruption need to be carefully considered by administrators looking to utilize the cloud. Administrators eager to transition to cloud services need to consider the risks of inadequate data retention policies, data deletion, and data corruption. The sources of data loss and the limited retention policies of cloud applications make it imperative for businesses to implement a robust backup, search, and restore solution when transitioning business applications to the cloud.

Though little can be done to prevent files from being accidentally or maliciously deleted, eFolder Cloudfinder backs up the critical data stored in Office 365, Google Apps, Salesforce, and Box to ensure these deleted files can always be found and recovered. Commonly used cloud services often lack customizable retention policies in line with corporate requirements, but Cloudfinder provides an encrypted, tamper-proof SafeHaven™ with unlimited retention for all cloud data. Finally, Cloudfinder ensures that mishaps with migrations, exports, and integrations do not cause important data to be overwritten.

Cloudfinder adds value to leading SaaS applications, empowering businesses to work in the cloud without worrying about their data being permanently deleted. Learn more at www.cloudfinder.com.

1 Symantec. “Avoiding the Hidden Costs of the Cloud.” Mountain View, 2013

2 Aberdeen Group. “Who are the Heavy Users of SaaS Applications?” Boston, 2013

3 Microsoft. “Configure Deleted Item retention and Recoverable Items quotas” https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee364752%28v=exchg.150%29.aspx

4 Google. “How retention works” https://support.google.com/vault/answer/2990828?hl=en&ref_topic=3209998

5 Wacker, Rand. “The Products That Power Box for Financial Services.” Web log post. Box Blog. Box, 26 Feb. 2015. Web. 26 Mar. 2015.

6 Salesforce.com. “Data Recovery Service and Cost” https://help.salesforce.com/apex/HTViewSolution?id=000003594