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More Bandwidth and Faster Internet with Cisco Meraki

Tuesday, February 10, 2015
The internet is only getting faster which means everyone needs more bandwidth. Small retail branches and small enterprises - we're talking to you.

The Meraki MX64/MX64W is the newest Unified Threat Management (UTM) security appliance available for purchase. The first of its kind, the MX64/MX64W is the only product currently on the market to provide security with 802.11ac Wireless. With a maximum AV throughput of 200 Mbps, the appliance also delivers unified and centralized management, enterprise security, guest access and a variety of advanced security offerings including content filtering, Google SafeSearch and YouTube for schools. It is ideal for up to 50 users, and its 3 times faster than today’s 802.11n wireless.

Want to find out more?

If you think this solution could work for your business contact us today! If you’re on the fence we can request a free trial and you can test it in your own environment. Meraki will ship you the gear free of charge with zero risk. If you decide it isn’t right for you, just send it back. You can also receive a free 802.11n AP just by attending a webinar! Contact your IT Resource sales rep today and we’ll send you a link to the next one!

Cisco BE6000 Replaces the Unified Communications 500

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
In September of 2013 we shared with you that Cisco had announced the End of Life for the popular Unified Communications Series 500 for Small Business (UC 500) was January, 2014. Initially, many in our industry were disappointed that Cisco discontinued this well received, proven solution.  But, we're happy to share that Cisco has enhanced their product offerings within the Business Edition 6000 Series (BE6000).
The entire series of Cisco BE6000 solutions provides organizations a full range of collaboration tools: voice, video, messaging, instant messaging and presence, conferencing, video conferencing, contact center services and mobility capabilities.

Designed for organizations with 25 to 1000 employees, Cisco BE6000 solutions contain one or more modular, stackable servers. This makes adding more capacity to support additional users simple and easy. The servers utilize virtualization technology, allowing for many collaboration tools into a small form factor.

Cisco BE6000 solutions come with a suite of ten preloaded Unified Communications and Collaboration applications. As your business grows and changes, you can easily activate these applications when the time is right.

There are three Cisco BE6000 platform models. All are built on virtualized Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) products, which are designed for performance and density over a wide range of company sizes and business workloads.
● BE6000S: Ideal for small-scale “office in a box” collaboration deployments
Supports five fixed collaboration applications in a single integrated router/gateway/virtualized blade server platform; maximum capacity of 150 users and 300 devices.

● BE6000M:
 Ideal for medium to large-scale end to-end collaboration deployments
Supports five collaboration application options in a single virtualized server platform; maximum capacity of 1000 users, 1200 devices, and 100 contact center agents.

● BE6000H: Supports nine collaboration application options in a single virtualized server platform; maximum capacity of 1000 users, 2500 devices, and 100 contact center agents.

We have designed, installed and currently support many BE6000M solutions for our customers. And, we're excited about the release of the BE600S as this solution is ideal for our SMB customers. Please let us know if you would like to discuss your Unified Communications and Collaboration needs. We're here to help!

Microsoft Server 2003/R2 End of Support

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Microsoft Windows Server 2003/R2 Extended Support end date is quickly approaching on July 14, 2015. If your organization is still running applications and workloads on Windows Server 2003 and you’ve been putting your migration project on the back burner, now is the time to start planning your server upgrade. Don’t wait until the last minute as vulnerabilities discovered after July 14 will not be addressed or fixed and your organization will soon fail to meet industry standards and a compliance audit.

What does this mean for you?
Windows Server 2003 Support end date means no more updates or patches leaving your infrastructure volatile. To put the importance of these support updates into perspective, according to Microsoft, there were 37 critical updates released in 2013 for Windows Server 2003 under extended support. Imagine the repercussions of not receiving any of those critical updates. Even if you think you're saving money by not upgrading your systems, it will soon become more costly to maintain aging hardware and performance will steadily decline.

If you’re using Windows Server 2003 – Datacenter, Enterprise or Standard editions -- we encourage you to get in touch with us to discuss and plan a server upgrade and migration. We can discuss your options including Windows Server 2012, Azure, Cloud OS Network and Office 365, all of which will protect your business, enhance performance and remote access, and reduce storage and upkeep costs. Give us a call today and we can determine which option is right for your environment. This is no longer a choice but a necessity as July will be here sooner than you think!

March Madness : Save the Date

Monday, January 12, 2015
Save the date for our annual March Madness event on Thursday, March 19. It’ll be the first round of the March Madness tournament! Join us at Grand Woods Lounge, in downtown Grand Rapids, for a lunch & learn, then we'll watch the game on the big screen.

Watch your inbox for a formal invitation with all the details, but for now, go ahead and save the date - we'd love to see you there!

Our Fix-It Guy: Steve Nowak

Friday, January 02, 2015

People profiles give you a chance to meet our staff - the folks you may deal with on a regular basis here at IT Resource. 

Official Title: Network Engineer II

What do you do at IT Resource, and what certifications do you have: I provide customers with IT services from ranging server configuration and maintenance, to software license management, projects, and network management. Providing customers with end to end service to fulfill any IT needs they may have is what I do. My certifications include Network Engineer - MCP, Cisco Unified Computing Technology Support Specialist, Cisco Data Center Support for UC Specialist, WebEx Design and Implementation, and VMware VSP.

What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? Build my dream home on the shores of Lake Michigan. 

Do you have any hidden talents?  I am pretty good at electrical and mechanical work. The repair of small engines and home projects of sorts come naturally to me. I love to work to improve my home and assist my family and friends on their projects.

What is the best part about working at ITR? Every day is an opportunity to learn about emerging trends and to apply those to new and existing customers.

How long have you worked at ITR? Since September, 2011

If you knew then, what you know now, what piece of advice would you give yourself? Add your gut feelings in to the decisions you make with logic. Your gut may be right.

What do you want to be when you grow up? I still would like to work for the US Forest Service in the Manistee National Forest or Yellowstone National Park as a park ranger, if money is no object. Can’t get enough of the natural beauty of either location.

What is the most interesting job you’ve ever had that was not IT related? Fieldman/Truck Driver while in college for a local farm Co-Op. I drove all over Michigan and elsewhere in everything from pickup trucks to tractor trailers. I worked with farmers, and companies like Meijer, Spartan Stores, D&W, and others to make sure that the Michigan farm products (apples, peaches, etc.) were delivered and staged in the stores. 

Tell us something your colleagues don't know about you: I almost joined the US Parks Service but then found out how low the starting pay was for the job of Ranger. I chose wiser.

24/7 Emergency Technology Support Now Available

Monday, December 08, 2014
Disasters don't always work the 9-5 shift and you can't see them coming. If you receive a call that your building has encountered a disaster after hours, if you're up late preparing for a big presentation the next morning only to find that you're printer won't work, or you discover a network failure over the weekend, we're here to help.

We're excited to share that beginning January 1, 2015 we will offer and staff 24/7 Emergency Support Services. Based on a recent customer survey, responses indicated that this was a service you would like to see made available, so we are happy to oblige. 

Taking care of our customers after hours is something we have always made great efforts to do, but this new service gives both you, and our engineers guidelines as to what you can expect, should an emergency arrive. For a monthly investment of $300, the ITR 24/7 Emergency Support Service will have a 2 hour Service-Level-Agreement (SLA), at $185 per hour with a minimum 1 hour commitment. Should customers choose not to invest in a monthly ITR 24/7 Emergency Support Service Agreement, we will still provide Emergency Support. However, customers can expect Best Effort Response with no SLA, at $280 per hour with a minimum 2 hour commitment.

As our customers’ businesses have grown, the demand for Information Technology up-time and availability is becoming even more critical. We are now proactively staffing with the same engineers you are comfortable working with on a day-to-day basis and guaranteeing response times in the event you have a need for Emergency Support. The ITR 24/7 Emergency Support Service Agreement does not apply to, nor is it required, for scheduled After Hours Time & Materials and Project service work.

Please let us know if you have any questions. We are excited to offer this additional level of support and guaranteed service. If you are interested in this investment, contact us today via email or at 616.837.6930.

2014 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide

Friday, December 05, 2014
Our holiday gadget gift guide is back by popular demand! We’ve asked our staff what gadgets they would recommend for this holiday season, or which made their very own Christmas lists this year. From safety to fitness, our gadget guide encompasses a variety of tech related items that caught our eye. 
Nest Protect
The Nest Protect is a smart smoke alarm that uses algorithms and knows the difference between steam and smoke, making it less likely to sound off alarms when a shower is running or food is cooking. The Nest Protect also doubles as a carbon monoxide alarm that speaks to you and tells you what the danger is so you can make your best judgment versus just sounding off an alarm. No more chirping noises either! It lights up green when everything is working correctly and lights up yellow to tell you the batteries need to be switched out in the near future. Like other Nest products, you can sync the Protect with your smart phone and instantly know when an alarm goes off or batteries are low, no matter where you are. $99
iRobot Roomba 630
This vacuum cleaning robot is ideal for any home or apartment of all sizes. It can clean carpet, tile, laminate and hardwoods and the best part is that it takes no effort on your part. Turn it on at night or when you’re away during the day and let it do it's thing! It has a patented cleaning system and uses AeroVac Technology making it a truly unique product. Plus, it can double as priceless cat entertainment similarly to what is shown here. $349

Chamberlain MyQ Garage
MyQ Garage is a garage door opener that lets you open, close, and check on your garage door from anywhere using its app available via IOS or Android. It’s quick and easy to install and works with many different garage door manufacturers. The app is free and it has no monthly service fees. Once you buy the device, you’re good to go! $130
Fire TV Stick
This streaming media stick plugs directly in to your TVs HMDI port and from there you have the ability to stream Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Instant Video, music such as Pandora or Slacker, games, PBS Kids, news programs and much more. It comes with 1GB of memory and a free 30 day Amazon Prime trial if you’re not already a prime member. Another unique feature is its instant streaming with ASAP which automatically learns what movies and shows you like so they start instantly with no buffer time. This is your best bet for streaming TV, games and music. And for the price, you can’t go wrong! $39
Moto 360 Watch
The Motorola Moto 360 Smart Watch has the classic wristwatch design but offers much more than just the time. This watch designed for Android devices doubles as an activity tracker with a built in pedometer and heart rate monitor and it displays mobile notifications to let you view new messages from your phone. It also has a built in microphone allowing for hands free communication. It’s water resistant and comes with 4GB of internal storage, a perfect gift for the special techie in your life! $299
Pen-Ultimate 5-in-1 Geek Pen & Stylus
The perfect inexpensive gift for the road warrior or sales presenter. It’s of course a pen and also a UV light, white LED light, laser pointer and stylus. All of this crammed into one small pen that will fit easily in your laptop bag or purse. $10
Bryn Leather Tech Touchscreen Gloves
These sheepskin leather gloves by UR Powered feature micro conductivity leather on the palms which allow you to use your mobile devices seamlessly with your gloves on. No more sacrificing style or warmth for being able to utilize your device in the winter elements. Give someone this perfect mobile fashion accessory, available in a variety of colors and in men’s sizes as well. $68
Plantronics Backbeat Fit Headphones
These Bluetooth headphones are rugged and sweat proof with P2i coating. They'll provide you with top quality sound to maximize your listening experience while you’re on the move.  They come with an armband for your device that secures it in place while you’re in motion. These are a must have for the gym goers and outdoor trainers. They also have a safety eartip design that lets you be seen at night and provide the ability to hear things around you. $129
Drobo Mini
The Drobo Mini is an on-the-go storage solution that allows you to safely access your data wherever you go. It includes a battery backup system that protects everything in your memory or cache. Weighing in at just 3 pounds, it’s perfect for protecting and storing data from anywhere with power fail protection. The Drobo connects to your computer and provides redundant data protection with a capacity of 36TB. Included are 3 drive bays, 2 Thunderbolt ports and 1 USB 3.0 port. It allows for up to 4 2.5” SATA hard drives or solid state drives. $529
Fitbit Charge
An older version of this device made our 2013 gadget guide and we just can’t get enough! The recently released activity and sleep wristband is the Fitbit Charge. This device tracks distance, steps, calories burned, active minutes, sleep and even includes caller ID with compatible mobile devices that will show incoming calls right on your wrist. It comes with a rechargeable battery that lasts 7-10 days and we can attest that Fitbit offers quality, durability and simplicity in all of its products. $129

Comment below and tell us which tech gadgets made your list this year!

Happy Holidays from IT Resource

Thursday, December 04, 2014
As we celebrate this time of year, we’d like to take a moment to offer cheers to you. We’ve been blessed with the best friends, customers, and vendors - and for that, we’re thankful. May this holiday season find you feeling thankful too!

Happy Birthday IT Resource

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Aw shucks, you're making us blush. But really, the only thing left to say is thank you. Thank you to our wonderful customers, vendors, friends, and team members who have supported us throughout this journey. We wouldn't be here today, without all of you. Let's all raise a glass and toast to the last 14 years. The best is yet to come! 

10 Must Have Kitchen Gadgets

Monday, November 17, 2014
Thanksgiving is just a week away, and let’s face it, no one wants to be stuck working in the kitchen all day when you could be cheering on your favorite football team or spending time with family and friends. So, the team at IT Resource has put together a list of our favorite cooking gadgets that will make your life just a little easier. With items like a high powered blender to a simple scale, we’re giving you the 411 on the gadgets that saved us the most time and provided the best value. Let us know what your favorite gadgets are too, by commenting below.
OXO Good Grips Digital Food Scale with Pull-Out Display
We love this scale because it’s easy to use, easy to read, has an 11 pound max and the display extends out for when you are weighing larger objects. Using this scale makes weighing food more accurate and quicker than using measuring cups, especially for dry ingredients. $50
Ninja Master Prep Blender
This blender is extremely affordable and it won’t bog down when it’s full of ice and liquid. While there are plenty of blender options out there, we agree that the Ninja Master Prep is the best for your money and a must have for daily smoothie makers, we even have one in the office kitchen at ITR! $51
Presto Pizza Pizzazz
This gadget is a huge timesaver when cooking foods like pizza, appetizers, quesadillas or garlic bread. Just plug it in and it’s instantly heated and ready to cook. Its rotating base ensures even baking so you never have cold spots and it’s more energy efficient than using a conventional oven. It’s great for warming up leftover pizza, making it nice and crispy. $60
OXO Good Grips Digital Instant Read Thermometer
This thermometer is durable and accurate, displaying a digital number which makes it easy to read, and it’s super easy to clean. For your convenience, it even has the recommended cooking temperatures for various meats right on the thermometer. $20
Chef’n PalmPeeler
This tool makes peeling vegetables or potatoes quick, easy and safe! One side has a soft rubber grip that fits right in the palm of your hand while the other side has a stainless steel blade. Your hand is covered while you peel eliminating the risk of accidentally cutting yourself. $10
Cuisinart Smartstick 2 Speed Hand Blender
This hand held blender stick is an efficient kitchen staple! Making creams, sauces or dips of all kinds has never been so easy. You can even stick it right into a heated pot on the stove to thicken up the sauce. The wand comes apart for easy hand washing or it can go in the dishwasher. $35
OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner
This salad spinner is durable and works like a charm every time. It keeps your leafy greens dry and crisp which helps prevent premature spoilage and wilting. The spinner, which also doubles as a colander, dries out the leaves leaving them crisp and delicious for salads. You can even throw in herbs or berries that need drying, making your salads perfect for dressing. $30
All Clad Deluxe Slow Cooker with Cast Aluminum Insert
This top of the line crock pot has all the bells and whistles. The aluminum insert can be removed and placed directly on the stove top to brown ingredients prior to slow cooking or even sear the meat right in the pot. It has a programmable timer that allows you to begin cooking at one temperature, then change to a different temperature at a different time. $249

We certainly can’t create this list without recommending some of our old time vintage favorites! Both available in mint condition on Etsy.com
Tupperware Steamer and Strainer
This 1970's gadget will quickly steam your vegetables right in the microwave. No need to boil hot water for fresh steamed veggies anymore. This item also acts as a strainer and bun warmer too! $15
Tupperware Pickle or Olive Keeper Storage Container
This gadget will keep your pickles and olives fresh and the built in strainer allows for easy access without having to fish your pickles out with a fork. $13