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Meet Ryan Camp :: Network Engineer

Monday, February 08, 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

But this title sounds much snazzier: The Professor (But you have to say it like on Doctor Who…Nerd alert)

What do you do at IT Resource? I use my experience and knowledge to assist customers with their technology needs. My certifications include ITIL, and CCENT. I also have a Masters in Information Assurance from Davenport.

What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? Open a brewery

Do you have any hidden talents? I can cook a mean meal and brew a yummy adult beverage!

What is the best part about working at IT Resource? The people, the atmosphere, and the drive!

How long have you worked at IT Resource? Since August, 2015

If you knew then, what you know now, what piece of advice would you give yourself? Some choices will affect your life dramatically. Think before you leap.

What do you want to be when you grow up? An actual brewer with my own brewery…if only I had a million dollars!

What is the most interesting job you’ve ever had that was not IT related? I worked at the local fairground/race track as a cook then as a manager. Not really interesting, but it had its ‘perks’, if you will…

Tell us something your colleagues don't know about you. I enjoy gardening, canning what is grown, and being able to appreciate the fruits of my labor. I also grow my own hops for my homebrew.

Comparing Office 365 Business Plans

Wednesday, February 03, 2016
When it comes to choosing the right Office 365 Business plan, the process can be downright confusing. It's a great product because it can be modified for all business sizes, but selecting the right plan has left many people scratching their heads. It’s important to understand what’s included in each plan and the different ways these plans can be purchased. IT Resource is a certified Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) which means we’re qualified to be your trusted cloud advisor and we're here to make sure you choose the right Microsoft cloud solution for your business. Our team makes the process of purchasing, acquiring and migrating to Office 365 a breeze. And right now, all monthly Office 365 Business plans include free unlimited level 1 helpdesk support for anyone in your company. 

A few things to keep in mind regarding payment options:
All Office 365 Business Plans have a user max of 300, with the exception of Enterprise plans, which have unlimited users. Choose from an annual payment plan or a monthly payment plan with an annual commitment. Annual Payment plans offer user discounts.

The 3 different plans in a nutshell:
1. Office 365 Business Essentials
- Online versions of Office including Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint
- OneDrive 1 TB file storage and sharing
- Business Class email with 50 GB mailbox
- Unlimited online meetings and video conferencing

2. Office 365 Business
- Fully installed desktop versions of all Office applications
- OneDrive 1 TB file storage and sharing
- Ability to install Office on up to 5 PC’s, 5 tablets and 5 phones
*Not included: business class email and online meetings

3. Office 365 Business Premium
- All combined features listed in Business and Business Essentials

Remember, all Office 365 Business plans have a maximum cap of 300 users but Enterprise Plans have no limit. If your organization requires more than 300 users, we can discuss the various Enterprise plans as well as education, government, and non-profit discount plans that Microsoft offers. Give us a call at 616.837.6930 or shoot us an email to discuss your Office 365 migration plan today.

Cisco Meraki Announces End-of-Sale date for MX80 Firewall

Tuesday, January 26, 2016
On January 26, 2016, Cisco Meraki announced its End-of-Sale for the MX80 medium branch Cloud Managed Security Appliance. You can still order the MX80 through August 30 of this year, or as long as the product is still in stock. After this date, the MX80 will be unavailable via all channels.

The End-of-Support for this device is August 30, 2023. This means if you currently have an MX80 in production, the product will still be supported by Cisco for the next 7 years. The model replacing the MX80 will be the MX84. The good news is there will not be a price increase and the MX84 has a slew of added features. Features of the MX84 include increased throughput, a faster CPU, nearly double the performance and capacity of the MX80, dedicated WAN ports, and two GbE SFP connections for fiber connectivity. The MX84 also features an increased number of LAN connections with 8 Ethernet ports (versus only 4 on the MX80). Fundamentally, a better product for the same price.

Figure 1: MX84: Cisco Meraki MX84 Cloud Managed Security Appliance

If you’d like to learn more about Cisco Meraki solutions, give us a call at 616.837.6930. We can take a deep dive into all of the Meraki security, switching and wireless options. And, don’t forget to visit our IT promotions page where you can register to attend an upcoming Meraki webinar where you'll receive a FREE access point!

A New and More Robust Email Security and Protection Service

Tuesday, January 12, 2016
We're always looking for the best possible solutions when it comes to all things information technology. Since the industry is ever-changing it is of the utmost importance to make sure we utilize the latest trends. That's why we’re excited to announce that we have partnered with Reflexion Networks, an email security and protection company, powered by Sophos, to provide Reflexion Total Control (RTC) to our customers.

RTC is a hosted email security service that blocks spam, network viruses and other unwanted email messages before they enter your network. Additionally, it protects against directory harvesting and denial of service (DoS) attacks. RTC is consistent, affordable and can be customized to fit a wide range of customer requirements.

Unwanted email not only wastes valuable employee time; it can also pose a major security threat to your organization. Spam emails can contain viruses, phishing scams, malware and other threats and if just one employee clicks on a bad link, your network can be at risk. You shouldn’t have to rely on your employee’s ability to discern whether an email is safe or spam. It’s time to eliminate these threats before they enter your network.

What makes RTC different from the competition?
· Protective addresses – an unlimited supply of alternate addresses
· 100% configurable and customizable
· User based customizable lists and block lists
· Blocks spam, volume based attacks, and viruses
· Address-On-The-Fly - protects the primary users email addresses by providing the user with a unique, redeeming capability for releasing email aliases as an alternative to their primary email
· A built-in control panel for every user
· Automatic inbound email queuing for 14 days in the event of a local power outage
· Geographic and language filtering

RTC has a low monthly fee calculated per mailbox, meaning one user can have RTC on multiple devices. There is also no additional charge for email aliases. To learn more about how RTC can protect your business and work against a network virus, email us or download our data sheet.

Meet Our Director of Technical Services

Monday, January 11, 2016
We are thrilled to announce the addition of an integral member to our management team! Please welcome Andrew Smith, the new Director of Technical Services for IT Resource. Andrew is responsible for managing the day-to-day activities of our engineering and help desk teams. He also assists in strengthening the delivery of our engineering services, hardware and software. He is the point of contact for all technical resources and supports these team members by doing whatever it takes to get things done.

Andrew is originally from Indiana but spent most of his life living in Kentucky where he held a variety of positions in the technology field. He was most recently in charge of consolidating data centers and support for a large enterprise. Prior to that, he was in pharmaceutical research as a Global Director of IT quality. With an IT background in a wide variety of industries, we’re certain he will provide valuable insight to our own teams and customers.

Andrew is a man of many hobbies ranging from short story writing, blogging, professional photography and just tinkering around with cars, or anything broken for that matter. During his interview, he said he was impressed with our employee's passion and drive to do good work for our customers and this is what made him eager to join our team. 

Please help us welcome Andrew to the IT Resource team. We're delighted he's on board!

New Partnership :: OpenDNS Security Umbrella

Friday, January 08, 2016

We are excited to announce that we're now a partner and reseller of OpenDNS. This innovative solution, now a part of the Cisco family of best of breed solutions, helps organizations predict security attacks before they occur. OpenDNS Umbrella provides Advanced Threat Protection, creating a layer of cloud-delivered protection in the network security stack, both on and off your organization’s network. Umbrella works anywhere, across any port, protocol or app. It’s delivered via the cloud so it’s extremely fast and easily scalable.

To learn more about how your organization can benefit from the cost-effective OpenDNS and added network security, contact us today to setup a demo. We are Grand Rapids' premier provider for network security issues.

IT Outside Sales Team Welcomes Craig Lowrie

Wednesday, January 06, 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: Sales Account Executive

What do you do at IT Resource? I handle Outside Sales by actively pursuing new customers to help IT Resource continue to grow.

What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? Travel to space

What is the best part about working at IT Resource? The people and the teamwork - everyone is working towards customer satisfaction and a collective success.

How long have you worked at IT Resource? Since May, 2015

If you knew then, what you know now, what piece of advice would you give yourself? Take more pictures and save more money.

What do you want to be when you grow up? A professional golfer, or maybe just a good caddy.

What is the most interesting job you’ve ever had that was not IT related? I used to build mini golf courses on cruise ships.

Tell us something your colleagues don't know about you. I spent 3 weeks building a golf green and bocce ball court for Jack Nicklaus. It was an awesome experience, especially the day I wore my U of M hat - he's an Ohio State man.

Welcome 2016 :: Information Technology Resolutions for the New Year

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Photo via Statistic Brain
According to Statistic Brain, 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, yet only 8% are successful in achieving them. Of the resolutions made, 47% are for self-improvement, 38% are weight related, 34% are money related, and 31% are relationship related. This got us thinking: What are your New Year’s IT Resolutions and how can IT Resource help you successfully achieve those goals?

We've found that the top IT concerns for most organizations this year are increased security, compliance requirements, business continuity and disaster recovery planning and cloud strategy. Is one of your IT resolutions to enhance your network security, meet your compliance requirements, update or create your disaster recovery plan or develop a cost effective cloud strategy? We can help achieve your resolutions by conducting a Business Review. Understanding your organization’s plans and resolutions for 2016, coupled with where you have been from a technical point of view, helps us make the best, most cost effective recommendations possible for your Information Technology needs.

So what else does it take to make those resolutions achievable? Nancy Anderson recently shared in Forbes, Six Ways to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick. Specifically, she mentioned the following tasks:
1. Set Short Term Goals
2. Write Down Your Goals and Share Them
3. Create Momentum
4. Pick Your Game-Changer
5. Get Some Skin in the Game
6. Nudge Yourself

Contact your sales rep today to setup your IT Business Review. Working together, we can help you set short term goals, create a plan and get some skin in the game to help you achieve your New Year’s IT resolutions.

2015 Gadget Gift Guide

Friday, December 04, 2015
The results are in! We asked our very own IT professionals what tech gadgets they’re hoping to receive from Santa this year. If you have a gadget lover in your life, these are some great gift ideas!

Nest Protect
The Nest Protect 2nd Generation is a smoke and carbon monoxide detector that sends alerts to your smartphone when the device identifies smoke, carbon monoxide, a low battery or a sensor failure. For true piece of mind, it tests itself over 400 times a day and a green color on the device indicates it’s working correctly. $99

Tool Pen Mini
Originally on Kickstarter, this handy multi tool is both flexible and useful! Gone are the days of carrying around an entire tool belt or a variety of different screw drivers, the Tool Pen Mini gives you up to 5 different bits all in one simple pen. Interchange bits while storing the unused bits in a barrel inside of the pen. It’s perfect for working on small electronics, jewelry and watches. $89

Amazon Echo
This gadget has been getting a lot of attention and it’s well deserved! The Echo is an interactive device that’s entirely controlled by your voice using far-field voice recognition. Alexa, the “brain” behind the Echo, is a cloud based voice service that can hear you from across a room. Alexa will answer your questions, give you the news, music, weather, traffic, tips, etc. $179.99

Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit
This gadget is perfect for extra peace of mind when you’re not at your residence. The Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring kit gives you immediate alerts on your smartphone if there’s any entry or motion in your house. It can also secure specific areas of your home and even control electronics and appliances. This will help assure that while you are away, all is well at your home. $249

RFID Blocking Wallet
Specifically, the Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. RFID Blocking Wallet, is a product that protects your personal identification cards and banking cards. The RFID Blocking Wallet has a built in faraday cage to block RFID transmissions. It’s an inexpensive way to ensure that the information in your wallet doesn’t get picked up by a laptop, recorded, and saved onto a cloned card. $19.99

Moto 360
The Moto 360 is a smart watch that keeps you connected to endless applications, email, music and it even includes a built-in activity tracker with fitness coach. Its Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to use the apps on your watch even when you don’t have your phone, now that’s convenient! It’s also entirely customizable so you can create a style that’s unique to you. $299.99

Fitbit Charge HR
We have a handful of people here who already own the Charge HR activity tracker and they love it. If you’re on the fence about which activity tracker you want, we say go with this one! The ease of use and 5-day battery life is truly what sets Fitbit apart from the competition. Another advantage is that it has a built-in heart rate monitor and SmartTrack technology which automatically recognizes when you exercise and records it in the Fitbit app. $149.95

BackBeat Fit Headphones
Ditch the old ways of plug-in headphones and make it easier to stay active with these wireless headphones. They’re water (and sweat) proof and have an 8-hour battery life! Another nice feature, if they accidentally get lost, you can view the location using the Find MyHeadset application. This is an excellent gift for the fitness gadget lover. $129.99

Remix Mini
An Android desktop PC computer that can be used to browse the web in HD and also fit in your pocket. Priced at only 69.99, you’re getting a computer that’s fully configured with Remix OS 2.0 with 16 GB internal storage. This product was originally a Kickstarter and made as a super quick and easy system that just plain works. A great gift for the Android fan! $69.99

Amazon Fire
The Amazon Fire is a tablet with a 7 inch display, Wi-Fi, 8GB of internal storage and we’re not even to the best part – it’s only $49.99. As far as tablets go, this is money well spent. Enjoy movies, shows, music, apps and games all at your fingertips. Stay connected with email and web browsing including calendar support. $49.99

HP Spectre x360
This notebook has lighting fast speeds, an extended battery life and a 360-degree hinge, allowing you to turn or flip it any way you want with seamless transition. Included is Windows 10, a vivid display, a solid state drive, and an Intel Core i5 processor. Its slim design makes it versatile and portable, weighing only 3.17 lbs. Add on a 1 or 2 year CarePack to protect against accidental damage and you’re good to go! $899.99

Apple Watch
The Apple Watch is a smart watch that runs apps via Wi-Fi, tracking your activities, displaying notifications and it even allows you to answer calls if your iPhone is within range. Also included is a heart rate sensor and ambient light sensor. It comes in a variety of different bands and editions so you’re sure to find one that matches your style. Note: it’s only compatible with iPhones. $549

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

Here’s to New Traditions

Thursday, December 03, 2015
This year we decided to switch things up. During the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, our office collected nonperishable food and household items for our local charity, Coopersville Cares. We were so pleased with the turnout and it’s really motivating to see many ITR staff and their families stepping up to the plate to donate a variety of items. We received many kitchen and household staples along with many Thanksgiving food favorites. It’s a busy time of year for many people but we think it’s important to take a moment out of your day to do something that supports your local community and give back to the people around you.

We’re also delighted to announce that IT Resource will be adopting a local Coopersville family for Christmas this year. Our employees are collectively raising money and in a couple weeks, that total will be matched by the owners of IT Resource. All of our donations will go towards the needs and wishes of each family member. We're helping a family who is right in our back yard by making sure they receive warm clothing, new toys and food items for the holiday season.