The Number One Key to a Smooth Email Migration for Small Businesses

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Email migration is the process of moving your business’s email system from one service to another. This can be a strategic decision for your Charlotte business. Whether it’s email migration to the cloud, Office 365 migration, or email migration from one email service to another (such as Godaddy email accounts, Pop3, IMAP, or Google apps), the integration of email with office productivity and unified communications software suites makes email migration an important decision for small businesses in Charlotte and beyond.

So, you’ve decided that email migration to a new service is necessary, and now is the time. Or perhaps you’re ready for email migration to the cloud. Or maybe you’re finally ready to tackle that Office 365 migration. Now what?

If you Google “email migration,” you’ll find an endless list of available products to make it a simple transition.

Right?

Well, not exactly.

Email migration between services, email migration to the cloud, and Office 365 migration are daunting tasks wrought with pitfalls and complications. Even the most seasoned administrator or manager can get bogged down indefinitely in the complexities of such an undertaking – even with the best available products.

The number one key to a smooth email migration is having a devoted expert working on your behalf.

Thankfully, whether your business plans on migrating your current email system to a new one, putting a brand new platform in place, or setting up email accounts, our Charlotte-based team of experts can help.

Your Charlotte business needs a talented team to navigate the complexities of an email migration to allow you to focus on what matters most: running your business. Through careful planning and diligent execution, we’re able to provide a smooth transition from one email service to another.

There’s no need to tackle email migration alone. Contact us to assist your Charlotte business with our expert email migration services.

4 Things Your Small Business Can’t (& Shouldn’t) Live Without

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Sterling Technology Solutions delivers solid and stable IT consulting for small to mid size Charlotte businesses. A key component of effective IT consulting and services includes IT Management. With our Managed IT Services, Charlotte businesses can expect 24/7 server monitoring, a proactive IT management approach, automatic malware protection, and automatic notifications.

But what do those four things mean? And why are they important? Let’s explore each one.

24/7 Server Monitoring
What is server monitoring? Simply put, server monitoring is a preventative measure to help detect any server and network issues before they become problems.

Why is 24/7 monitoring important? Any down-time can have a detrimental impact on your small business. 24/7 monitoring ensures you can focus on your business without having to worry about server breakdowns, network downtime, or other IT related issues.

Proactive IT Management
What is proactive IT management? Our IT services are geared to identify and fix issues BEFORE they cause problems for your Charlotte business.

Why is proactive IT management important? Network crashes and IT problems cost time and money to fix. Identifying and fixing issues early on helps you avoid an undesirable impact on your business’s bottom-line.

Automatic Malware Protection
What is Malware? Malware is short for malicious software. It is hostile, intrusive, and a risk to small to mid size businesses in Charlotte and beyond.

Why is protection important? Protecting against Malware infection in the first place is always better than subsequently attempting to clean up the chaos created by an infection. Our managed IT services provide the protection you need, as well as automated application updates to mitigate system inefficiencies.

Automatic Notifications
If there is ever a system issue or downtime, you will be automatically notified of the problem. With our real-time system monitoring, we provide your Charlotte business an efficient and secure IT system that allows you to spend more time on what matters: running your business.

Contact us today for all of your managed IT services needs.

Non-Profit Technology Savings

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Here at Sterling Technology, we work with quite a few non-profit companies.  As a result, we frequently get asked about the advantages for a non-profit in the technology world.  The benefits of being a non-profit organization extend beyond tax implications.  As a result of the generosity of large technology companies, non-profit organizations can fulfill their technology needs at a fraction of costs that a for-profit company would incur.  We’re going to discuss of some of the low-hanging fruit that non-profit companies can take advantage of in the technology world.

TechSoup (www.techsoup.org) is a no-brainer for non-profit companies.  It’s a simple & easy to use website that includes hardware, software & services all at a deeply discounted price for non-profit companies.  It’s very easy to find the product you want by searching by vendor, type of product etc.

Microsoft products in particular are very commonly found on TechSoup.  Whether your non-profit needs Microsoft Office, Windows, Server operating systems or other licensing, just about everything can be found on TechSoup.  What is the most impressive is how deeply those products are discounted.  To give you some idea, here are some of the products we purchase the most from TechSoup compared to their regular retail cost.

Retail

TechSoup

Office 2013 Standard

$350

$29

Windows

$130

$15

Server 2012 R2 Standard

$700

$66

Server 2012 CALs

$27

$2

Remote Desktop CALs

$40

$6

 

Several other big name vendors like Symantec, Intuit (makers of Quickbooks) & Adobe make their products readily available and discounted on TechSoup.  These are all products that can both increase efficiency and worker productivity at a non-profit.  Here are a few examples

Retail

TechSoup

Adobe Acrobat XI Pro

$499

$45

QuickBooks Premier 2015

$499

$45

Symantec Backup Exec

$399

$117

 

TechSoup also offers a variety of new and refurbished hardware a fraction of what it would cost a standard business.  This equipment includes but is not limited to desktops, laptops, monitors, routers, and switches.

In addition to making their products available on TechSoup, Microsoft offers non-profits discounting for its Office365 suite of products & services.  Our most commonly used Office365 products are Exchange Online email hosting, Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, Excel, etc.), Sharepoint, Skype Pro instant messaging and email encryption.  Microsoft offers deep discounting for each of these products for non-profits.

In our opinion, non-profits are crazy not to take advantage of Microsoft’s free email hosting via Office365.  Microsoft Exchange Online email hosting is 100% free to non-profits.  Our for-profit customers pay $48/year for each user for this same exact service.  The non-profit version is 100% fully functional Exchange online.  There are not catches or surprises.  It’s just free.

If you’re a non-profit, make sure you take advantages of everything the technology universe offers you.  The savings can really add up quickly!

Google Fiber is Coming to Charlotte

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Google announced a few months ago that they’ll be bringing their high speed fiber internet service to Charlotte.  Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions we get about Google Fiber.

What is it?

Google Fiber is essentially ultra high speed internet provided Google.  The typical internet speeds that you experience today, from other internet service providers, range from 2 Mbps to 30 Mbbs (megabits per second).  Google Fiber allows you to reach speeds up to 1 Gbps, or 1000 Mbbs.  While this gigabit speed is the ideal scenario, most users will most likely experience a speed that is slightly slower.  With that being said, the average American will still receive internet speeds 100x faster than they are currently being provided.

Why do I need it for my home?

The main benefits for a home users are the faster download speeds.  Users will see huge benefits by streaming HD video with no delay.  Downloading entire movies will take a matter of seconds instead of hours.  Gamers, Netflix & Hulu users will see an enormous jump in performance.  Today most of your common software for your computer, tablet or iPhone is available via the cloud.  With Google Fiber, these downloads will be done in a matter of seconds.  Google Fiber will essentially cut down on your time spent waiting.

Why do I need it for my business?

Business users will see a variety of improvements with Google Fiber.  Users will be able to browse websites & receive emails quicker.  Additionally updating the various software components in your business will be much faster.  Offsite backup services will also work much faster, allowing business to backup much more data offsite than they ever were before Google Fiber.

Can my current equipment support this?

It’s very likely that your computer is already capable of gigabit internet speeds.  Home users will not likely need additional equipment, unless you prefer to user your own wireless router instead of the one provided by your internet service provider.  In that case you’ll need to make sure your device is a gigabit device.  Business users will need to make sure their router, firewalls & switches are all gigabit devices.

When can I get Google Fiber?

Google Fiber is currently only available in Austin, Kansas City, and Provo.  But don’t fret!  It is coming to a city near you!  Google is already underway to bring Fiber to Charlotte and Raleigh.  While there is no timetable set, Google has been drawing up plans for Charlotte since early May.  These plans have also prompted internet providers, such as AT&T, to begin developing their own gigabit fiber service.  If you want to find out more information about Google Fiber you can visit https://fiber.google.com/about/.

Dropcam: Keep an Eye on your Home & Business

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A Dropcam can be a very helpful device in both your home and business.  As Dropcam was recently purchased by Nest, it’s certainly to gain more and more exposure in the coming months.  These devices are becoming more and more popular, but many people don’t even know what they are.  A Dropcam (www.dropcam.com) is a very small camera that connects to your wireless network.  It streams live high quality video from the camera to your Dropcam account, which is viewable on their website and also on the Dropcam smartphone apps.  The Dropcam has a power cable that must be plugged into a wall outlet and also must be placed within the reach of your wireless network.  Simple plug the camera in and “drop” the Dropcam in the desired location within the range of your wireless network and it just works.

Simplicity is one of the features we’ve enjoyed the most about the Dropcam.  Upon opening the Dropcam box, we first noticed the Apple-like quality of the packaging.  After unpacking the camera, the first step is to connect the device to your computer via the included power cable that doubles as a USB cable.  Your computer should automatically prompt you to browse the Dropcam much like a regular digital camera.  When doing so users are given the option to click on one of two setup files (Mac & PC).  Choose the appropriate file and the setup process begins.  You will be prompted to create a Dropcam account by entering your email address and password.  Next you’ll be asked to choose your wireless network and enter the password.  After doing so, the Dropcam is connected to your wireless network and you’re free to place it in the location of your choice.  It’s that simple.

The bottom line is the Dropcam just works as long as it has a good wireless signal.  If you place the Dropcam on the outskirts of your wireless network, you should expect to have connectivity issues as will be evident from a yellow flashing light on the Dropcam itself.  Users will enjoy the simplicity of moving their Dropcam around to various locations.  Just unplug it and plug it back in at the new location.  As long as you place it where you have a good wireless signal, you should be good to go.

One of the great features of the Dropcam is that it has audio capabilities.  Not only does it stream the audio feed from the Dropcam’s built-in microphone, users can actually talk through the Dropcam with its built-in speakers.  When viewing your Dropcam in the smartphone app, there is a small microphone button.  Simply press the button and speak into the smartphone.  That audio is then heard from the Dropcam through its built-in speakers.

Dropcam also allows you to add multiple Dropcams to your account for those users that need multiple cameras.  Another nice feature is their recording service.  For ~$9.95/month, Dropcam will store the recorded video from your camera in the cloud.  You can view it anytime by logging onto your Dropcam account.

The cost for the Dropcam is $150.  The Dropcam Pro is $200, which has a wider 130-degree field of view and an 8x zoon.  For most users the standard Dropcam will do just fine.  These devices are an easy way to be able to remotely view your house, office, nursery, etc. on the go.