Non-Profit Technology Savings

Written by

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 ( 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.



Office 2013 Standard






Server 2012 R2 Standard



Server 2012 CALs



Remote Desktop CALs




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



Adobe Acrobat XI Pro



QuickBooks Premier 2015



Symantec Backup Exec




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

Written by

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

Improve Dropbox and Gmail Security With Two-Step Authentication

Written by

In the wake of Mat Honan’s massive, worst-case scenario hacking a couple weeks ago, a number of cloud services have introduced two-step authentication, a feature that drastically improves the security of your online accounts.

Two-step (also called “two-factor”) authentication refers to two independent ways of verifying your identity when attempting to log into an account: a typical username/password combination plus some other method, usually a temporary code sent to your smartphone via SMS or a special app. This way, a potential hacker would have to physically have possession of your smartphone, in addition to your username/password combo, in order to get into your account.

For many people, especially those who have sensitive emails, documents, or other data in the cloud, enabling two-step verification is a no-brainer. It’s a minor inconvenience, but it pales in comparison to the headache and expense of having your online life compromised. Just ask Mat Honan.

Gmail has had this feature for some time, though most people don’t use it or don’t know it exists. As of today, Dropbox now has a two-step verification option as well.

To get started, follow Macworld’s step-by-step guide (you’ll need your smartphone and the latest preview release of the Dropbox software).

How Mat Honan Recovered From His Epic Hacking

Written by

In a follow piece for Wired, Mat Honan, whose online life was basically wiped out when hackers socially engineered their way into his Amazon and iCloud accounts, describes the process of piecing things back together:

When my data died, it was the cloud that killed it. The triggers hackers used to break into my accounts and delete my files were all cloud-based services — iCloud, Google, and Amazon. Some pundits have latched onto this detail to indict our era of cloud computing. Yet just as the cloud enabled my disaster, so too was it my salvation.

If you haven’t read the original piece yet, go ahead and do so. It should be required reading for anyone with cloud-based accounts such as Dropbox, iCloud, and Gmail/Google Apps.

A Letter from Mark Zuckerberg

Written by

Mark Zuckerberg issues a plea to help Facebook “make money”:

It seems like just yesterday that Facebook had its historic I.P.O. and, thanks to you, my net worth soared to a staggering $20 billion. What an awesome day that was for both of us.
Today was a different kind of day. Facebook shares are plunging because the geniuses on Wall Street expect us to, and I quote, “make money.” That’s why your Facebook friend Mark needs your help.
Facebook only makes money if people click on its ads. Do you know what Facebook ads are? They’re those things on your Facebook page that you have never clicked on even once.

Of course, if they just keep running ads with their users recommending 55-gallon drums of personal lubricant, I don’t see how they wouldn’t make money.