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Featured Service :: Unified Messaging

Wednesday, December 07, 2016
Gone are the days of utilizing multiple devices to check your email, voicemail, and fax messages. Voice and unified messaging solutions let you take control of your communications and maximize productivity. Whether you seek a basic voicemail solution, or a robust solution that integrates all your voice, fax, and e-mail messages in the same inbox, we’ve got a solution for you.

Unified Messaging Benefits
- Access messages through your computer or phone
- Create a single login for voicemails, emails and faxes
- Sync messages so they only show up once
- See your voicemail messages via text which is convenient if you're in an area where you can't hear

If you would like more information on Unified Messaging and how it can benefit your business, contact us today.

Big Tax Savings for 2016 with Section 179

Tuesday, November 29, 2016
How would you like to upgrade your equipment and save some money on taxes? Sounds like a pretty great deal, and it's something you can take advantage of now. With only a few weeks left in 2016, it’s time to start thinking about the Section 179 tax break and how it can be applied to your year-end business purchases. This is a great opportunity to maximize your purchasing power by taking a large tax deduction on qualifying equipment and software.

The limit for 2016 is $500,000 and a 50% bonus depreciation will be extended through 2019. Businesses will be able to depreciate 50% of the cost of equipment or software that is put into service during 2015, 2016 and 2017.

How does it work?
The Section 179 tax code allows business owners to deduct the full purchase price (up to $500,000) of purchased or leased equipment from your gross income instead of requiring the cost to be depreciated. Once the equipment is purchased, you will complete a special IRS form and you’re all set!

What qualifies for the deduction?
Any physical equipment or software that is purchased for business use and put into production between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016. Some of the qualifying purchases are:
· Computers
· Business Vehicles
· Office Equipment
· Off-the-Shelf Software - any software without a custom code, that is available for the general public and is used in your business as an income producing activity.

Use it or lose it!
If you plan on purchasing business equipment including computer hardware or software, it’s financially in your favor to make those purchases prior to the end of the year so that it will be in place by midnight, December 31, 2016. Use this handy calculator to see how much you could save and check out all of the equipment and software that qualifies!

What should you do now?
· Schedule a time to talk with your financial advisor or accountant to determine how your business can best utilize this tax break.
· Contact your sales rep or our sales department and we can begin planning these purchases with you.

Happy saving!

SBDC Webinar :: Making Quality Technology Affordable for Business

Monday, November 28, 2016
Our Director of Technical Services, Andrew Smith will be hosting a webinar with the SBDC of Michigan on Wednesday, December 14, from 11am to 12pm.

Many free tools and services exist in today's world of technology. While it may be tempting to use them for your small business, sometimes you really do get what you pay for.

Attend this webinar to learn the ins and outs of using quality technology in your small business, and how business-grade systems can even be more affordable in the long run. We'll cover topics such as the differences between consumer-grade and business-grade tools, service level agreements, and much more. Can your small business afford to NOT be using quality technology?

Register for this free event here.

2016 Gadget Gift Guide

Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Christmas is right around the corner and that means it’s time to find the perfect gift for the special person in your life. Here is our annual list of staff suggestions for the best 2016 tech gadgets. We've got ideas for every budget and you can’t go wrong with one of these gifts!

Echo Dot
This Amazon device is hands-free and voice controlled with a small built in speaker.The Echo provides information, news, sports, weather, music and more.



Surface Book
If you have a larger budget to work with, you can’t go wrong with a Surface Book. We recommend the 512 GB solid state drive, 16 GB memory, Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce graphics.



MyQ-Garage

This device allows you to monitor, open, and close your garage door from anywhere, using your smartphone. You can also set up alerts when the garage door opens or closes.



LifePrint Photo and Video Printer
LifePrint has created a portable photo printer that can attach to social media or their platform and when the picture is viewed the video plays over top of it. A special memory to carry around, or just to use as a quick color printer on the fly, this device is just plain fun!



R2-D2 USB Car Charger
This is not your ordinary car charger. R2-D2 whistles sadly when a device runs out of power, and when devices are charged fully he bloops and bleeps – which means “yay!”.



Google Pixel
The Pixel has the highest rated smartphone camera, a battery that lasts all day (seriously!) and endless storage for your podcasts, videos, and photos. We speak with experience when we say this phone is awesome and worth the investment!



Google Home
This is a competitor to Amazon Echo and is also a voice activated speaker but the Home is powered by Google Assistant. You can easily use this device to control your home, plan your day, and manage tasks. If you already have Google Play or Chromecast, Google Home will integrate seamlessly.



Mofily YoCam
This is a super action cam that is waterproof out of the box without any extra accessories and can mount on a tripod or on a variety of accessories to fit bikes, cars and other items. The pictures are high quality and yes, it really does work underwater!



BaseCamp
The Biolite BaseCamp cooks for you and makes power from the heat at the same time. It converts heat into usable electricity for large-format cooking and charging. Use fallen branches or small pieces of firewood to make wood-fired meals and charge devices all at the same time. This is a must have for the adventurer in your life.


Did we forget something? Let us know what gadgets are on your list by commenting below or posting on our Facebook page!

Featured Services :: Wireless Solutions

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Giving your employees the freedom from being tied to one location can increase productivity and teamwork. A well-managed wireless solution can integrate voice and data, and make critical business systems available to all employees throughout the organization. Whether your business requires a simple access point or a fully integrated mobility solution, we can provide a cost effective and secure wireless solution customized for your needs.

A SOLUTION FOR INTERNET SPEED AND BANDWIDTH ISSUES
When students from a Big Ten University complained about slow internet speeds and sub-par bandwidth, we were brought on to find a solution. Our technicians conducted an internet-speed test on the existing system and, to no surprise, the findings were unacceptable: 11 mbps for the download speed and 10 mbps for the upload speed, well below the acceptable standard. A case study was done on the situation and the findings were featured in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon publication, The Record. Download the story here to see how we remedied the situation.

Featured Service :: Remote Monitoring & Reporting

Thursday, November 10, 2016
We handle the problems so you don't have to. Frequent backups, a fast and efficient internet connection, and virus checks are all vital to your organization. But when the day-to-day operations of running the business come into play, those important elements become easy to overlook - that’s why automatic monitoring is so important.

Remote Monitoring and Reporting is one of the best ways to effortlessly manage risk. The program provides daily monitoring and monthly reports so if an issue arises, our staff is notified immediately and will contact you to work to resolution, should you desire. Remote Monitoring and Reporting works by automatically detecting new devices in your environment and invoices accordingly.

Increased Efficiency
In addition to taking the responsiblity off your organization, remote monitoring can alert you of any issues before they take a toll on your business. Our Remote Monitoring and Reporting program works to increase efficiency at the most cost effective price while embedding IT automation into your organization. With Remote Monitoring and Reporting we are able to look for the following issues:
- Health checks, including backups, updates, and antiviruses
- Internet connection monitoring and alerting
- Enhanced internal device and network monitoring and alerting
- Software patches & deployment
- Backup management
- As needed bandwidth and network utilization reports

Beneficial Reporting
Remote Monitoring and Reporting can also provide beneficial information and reports for the following:
- Info Management
- Backup
- Asset Analysis
- Updates
- Patch Health
- Events
- Inventory
- Service Statistics
- Intrusion
- Disk
- Antivirus
- Usability

Investment
Our customizable plans will work with any size organization because your monthly investment is calculated by the number of items being monitored per month, and the type of device.

Starting at only $2 per device, IT Resource can offer your organization management monitoring for all of the following managed devices:
- Workstations, servers, printers, and mobile phones
- Network attached storage (NAS) devices
- Uninterruptible power supply
- Network: VoIP devices, cameras/scanners, firewalls, routers, and switches
- Network Wi-Fi access points & controllers

ADDITIONAL OPTIONS
Mobile Device Monitoring
Need to secure your mobile device? Mobile Device Monitoring covers smart phones, tablets, mobile internet devices, cameras, and more. A monthly report is generated to give highlights of inventory, summary, and data usage. There are tools that can be utilized to increase employee efficiency and provide a manager or supervisor with solid reports to back it up. Mobile Device Monitoring increases efficiency by routinely monitoring and reporting with ease.

Mobile Device Key Features
- Remotely wipe or lock any device if it becomes lost or stolen
- Geographically look up and locate any device
- Constant monitoring and alerting if an unforeseen issue rises
- Restriction and block features
- Employee restrictions from websites, YouTube, use of camera, etc.- Detailed data usage tracking - Historical device location to monitor employee’s past location(s)

VoIP Monitoring
VoIP Monitoring allows IT Resource to be alerted immediately when an issue pertaining to a phone system arises. This allows for increased efficiency and prompt service on our part. For a nominal fee, this data can also provide solid information if anything needs to be revisited concerning a phone call. It is helpful in phone training to review or listen in on actual calls.

VoIP Key Features
- Automatic alerts if any phone system issue is shown
- Provides reports of overall health of VoIP performance
- Monitor live calls

Software Asset Management

Control costs and optimize software investments with Software Asset Management, which can improve security and compliance, and anticipate future software needs.

Bandwidth Utilization
Know how network resources are used so you can properly distribute bandwidth between applications. Some applications may not receive enough bandwidth, while others like video streaming can use large amounts. And, because viruses and malware can consume large amounts of bandwidth, monitoring can be utilized in discovering these issues early on.

Bandwidth Utilization Key Features
- View bandwidth any time
- Alerts when bandwidth is reaching historical highs
- Pinpoint where higher bandwidth is coming from
- Locate bandwidth bottlenecks within your organization and proactively increase efficiency

Have the peace of mind that your entire network is being remotely monitored by an IT professional. Contact us to get a quote.

Randy Bednarz

Thursday, November 03, 2016

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 hold Mitel, Executone and Vodavi certifications. I’ve been a voice expert since 1985.


How long have you worked at ITR? I've been working here since July, 2016.

What's the most interesting job you've ever had that was not IT related? I was in the United States Air Force

What was the last book you read? Patrick of Ireland

What's one thing you can't live without? Bandwidth

If you could meet one famous person, dead or alive, who would it be? George Patton

What's your favorite movie of all time? Monty Python and the Holy Grail

What's the best place you've ever travelled to? Nevis, a Caribbean Isle

What do you consider to be your greatest success or proudest moment in life so far? My kids are pretty awesome

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received? Everything is a lie

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? A fighter pilot

How Technology Has Changed the Presidential Election

Wednesday, November 02, 2016
Back in the good ol' days presidential candidates relied on solid handshakes, kissing babies, and heartfelt speeches to win votes on election day. But those days are long gone as candidates strive to reach each and every voter by means of social media, e-mail lists, website advertisements, and analyzing analytics. Each of these strategies relies solely on the internet - making technology one of the most, if not the most, crucial way to connect to the American public. 

Over the last decade we've seen a shift in the way politics and elections are discussed. What used to be common banter at casual dinner parties has turned into conversations over social media and the internet. Here are a few ways technology has shifted the way we support, discuss, and view our political candidates; and how they're reaching out to the public:

Social media
A platform that was barely a consideration when Obama initially took office has become a commonplace for conversation and debate on the respective parties. While Facebook and Twitter have allowed many Americans to seek advice and news they may not have gotten otherwise, it's not necessarily all good. Social media isn't controlled, and at times allows views and stories that aren't necessarily truth to spread like wildfire.

Targeted campaigning
Gone are the days of waiting until the polls came out to see how you're doing in the race. The data and analytics that are available on the internet make it easy for a candidate to see what campaign tactics are working, and which aren't. This allows for smarter campaigning, better use of time and funds, and a better understanding of where voters are and what turns them on and off.

Convenience
In day's past candidates would have to rely on voters to be present during televised debates or radio announcements, but with the internet we can easily stream the debate or watch it at a later date, whenever it's most convenient. This also allows for a greater number of voters to be reached. Candidates can send a message to a broader audience in less time and with less cost - and it's more convenient for the American public.

New technology issues to debate
Cybersecurity and global technology threats are just a few of the topics that must be covered when candidates square off. Hackers are getting more sophisticated and the threat of a compromise on a local and national level could wreak havoc on business and government. Americans need to know where candidates stand on these topics and what they're going to do to help keep security threats at bay.

All is seen and heard
Candidates have to assume that no matter what they say or do, there's always going to be someone with a smart phone near by. Any conversation, comment, or physical gesture can be posted to the internet in a matter of seconds and the time it takes to go viral is even quicker. Candidate's families are no exception, they're oftentimes scrutinized just as much as the candidates themselves. Being under a constant microscope and knowing that every slight move can be documented changes the way a candidate carries themselves, speaks, and acts.

This will be an interesting conversation to pick up in another 4 years. As technology continues to evolve we're going to be witnessing new trends in how candidates campaign and how voters seek information. Stay tuned, as no one can really predict where technology will take us in the future.

Happy Birthday IT Resource

Tuesday, November 01, 2016
It's hard to believe it's been 16 years since we opened our doors. We've been so fortunate to have grown IT Resource, worked with amazing customers and team members, and helped so many businesses with their technology needs. Above all, we want to thank each and every person who has trusted, cheered for, and supported us over the years. We wouldn't be here without each of you. Cheers to another 16 great years ahead!