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Save With Microsoft's SMB Advantage

Monday, October 14, 2013

Is it time to upgrade your server? Were you planning on purchasing new software? Perhaps your were thinking about moving to the cloud. Imagine earning payouts on products that you may have already been planning on purchasing. The SMB Advantage mimics the campaign formerly known as The Big Easy, and it's a promotion we've been waiting for all season. It really is a prime time to upgrade!

With SMB Advantage, customers in small and medium businesses earn subsidy payouts on qualifying Microsoft cloud services and on-premises products that they can apply towards future purchases of Microsoft software licenses, subscriptions, or associated services from eligible Microsoft partners like IT Resource. The IT Resource sales team can also explain campaign accelerators that are designed to provide you with additional earning opportunities.

This offer is valid until November 30, 2013, and you must redeem within 30 days of purchase. As a west Michigan based Microsoft partner, we have a long history of helping our customers benefit from these Microsoft subsidy checks. Contact the IT Resource sales team today to see how you can begin to save.

Windows XP and Office 2003 End of Support

Thursday, October 03, 2013

As you begin planning for the end of the year and finalize budgets for next year, please take into account Windows XP and Office 2003 End of Support (EoS).

Microsoft will be ending support for Windows XP and Office 2003 on April 8th, 2014. If your organization is still using this operating system and program, it is highly recommended that you begin your migration to a modern desktop immediately. Do not wait until the last minute to begin your migration as this process can take several months to implement.
What does EoS mean for your environment?
After April 8th, Windows XP and Office 2003 will no longer receive updates and patches. Environments that are not monitored are much more susceptible to security breaches. Hackers may be able to find and exploit flaws in the operating system and Microsoft will no longer update or patch these problems. This can result in complete failure of the system without the ability to recover your system or data.

You will also be limited to the type of software you can purchase as many software companies will produce new versions and updates that will not be supported on the Windows XP operating system. Likewise, many hardware manufacturers will create new products that can only be supported by newer operating systems.

What can you do?
We recommend the implementation of our Remote Monitoring and Reporting service to analyze and monitor your network to determine an exact count of XP devices and Office 2003 programs in your organization and provide a clear upgrade and migration path. Contact our sales team at sales@itrw.net or call 616.837.6930. Our team can determine what your organization requires to migrate to modern systems and minimize your security risks.

Buy Windows 8 Pro and Office Standard 2013 and Save

Thursday, April 25, 2013

For a limited time you can purchase Windows 8 Pro and Office Standard 2013 together and save up to 15%!

‚ÄčOn April 8, 2014, Microsoft will end support for the decade-old Windows XP as well as Office 2003. This means you will no longer receive updates, including security updates, for Windows XP from Microsoft. The Get2Modern offer, available now through June 20, 2013, gives you the opportunity to upgrade from Windows XP/Office 2003 to modern tools, including Windows 8 and the new Office. 

To obtain the savings you must purchase both items at the same time. This promotion applies to open business or open government (license or L+SA). A minimum of 5 licenses is required and a maximum of 249 can be purchased at the promotional price.

We recently reviewed the new Windows 8. You'll find features like a new and enhanced start screen, an app store, an Xbox music app, and the ability to sign in with your Microsoft account to any of your PCs running Windows 8 and immediately see your own background, display preferences, and settings.

Office Standard 2013 comes with a variety of applications including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher, and Outlook. It is the ideal package for creating a multitude of projects.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this offer, contact IT Resource today and one of our sales associates will be happy to help you.

2 Big Ways to Save with Microsoft and IT Resource

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How would you like to get money back on items you currently use, or products you were already planning to purchase? IT Resource has teamed up with Microsoft once again to offer you savings through their annual Big Easy promotion - a program designed to save you money on a variety of Microsoft products.

If you've considered purchasing Office 365 or Exchange, or thought about upgrading your server, now is a great time to do so. The Big Easy allows you to choose from a variety of Microsoft products and solutions while earning money back as a subsidy on qualifying purchases. The subsidy from Microsoft can then be used towards software, hardware, or services from IT Resource. Last year we had a customer who earned nearly $3000 to put towards the services we provided for their upgrade. This year eligible products that might interest you include: Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Office, Project, Visio, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Lync, Microsoft SQL and Microsoft SharePoint.

To take advantage of this promotion you'll want to act soon. Purchases must be made no later than May 31, 2013. To learn more about this subsidy, feel free to contact us directly and we can walk you through it and show you the benefits.

In addition to the Big Easy, we are also working with Microsoft to offer you savings through their Cloud Easy Program.

The Cloud Easy is valid on certain Microsoft Cloud products and works the same way as the Big Easy. It has the same date of expiration, purchases must be made by May 31, 2013 in order to receive your subsidy check, so you'll want to act soon! Call our sales team to find out how much you can save!

Expand your Productivity Horizon with Office 365

Monday, April 15, 2013

Office 365 is a cloud based service that combines applications including SharePoint, Lync, Office, Exchange, Access, Publisher, and Visio all in one place. Here are a few reasons why Office 365 would streamline your day-to-day processes and increase your business agility.

Easy Administration
In just minutes, Office 365 allows you to add or remove users. You can also easily reset passwords for users, add storage, or update to new applications. If your company has been using Microsoft (MS) programs such as Excel or Exchange; your employees are already familiar with the process. This will save you time, reduce training costs and lower productivity interferences.

Security
While many people are skeptical of cloud security, MS actually spends millions of dollars protecting their cloud. As a leader in industry privacy, it provides digital security along with professionals who monitor your systems 24-7. Office 365 applications are accessed through 128-bit SSL/TSL encryption so if a message or document is taken by an unidentified source, they will not be able to read it.

Remote Access
Office 365 can be accessed from anywhere an internet connection exists, allowing your employees to work as efficiently as possible. Even if internet is unavailable, archived e-mails and documents are still accessible offline. It eliminates the worry of not making it to the office due to unforeseen situations or inclement weather. Working remotely from home or at a customer site is now very manageable.

Maintenance
Do not waste time or worry about upgrades, updates, or patches – ever again. All the upkeep is done behind the scenes by MS. In addition, MS will be issuing feature releases annually that will increase the proficiency of Office 365 at no additional charge.
To learn more about the benefits of Office 365 and how it can help your business, attend our lunch & learn with the Whitecaps event. It will be a great opportunity to learn more, meet with our staff, and enjoy a baseball game! If you cannot make it to the event, call us at 616.837.6930 and we can answer any questions you may have, walk you through all of the processes, and ultimately migrate your entire business to Office 365.

The End of Windows XP is Getting Close

Monday, November 05, 2012

The clock is ticking. In less than 18 months Windows XP will officially be “dead”, with no more Extended Support, and more importantly, no more security patches. Hopefully, this news does not come as a surprise, as Microsoft has foretold the fate of XP since its release back in 2001. Did you realize that XP was 11 years old?!?

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide Extended Support for XP (they have already dropped “regular” support), which gives users only a short amount of time to make the leap to a new Operating System. Additionally, many third party software providers are not planning to extend support for their applications running on Windows XP, which translates to even more complexity, security risks, and ultimately, added management costs for your IT department if you are still managing Windows XP environments.

End of support is nothing short of a death sentence for XP. Make no mistake about it, XP can be considered obsolete even today, despite the fact that Windows 7 only just overtook it as the undisputed king of the OS market. With the release of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, migrating off Windows XP should definitely be on your company’s to-do list.

If you are interested in making the move, or want to see what Windows 8 can do for you, please contact your IT Resource consultant or our sales department. We'll show you how you can benefit by making the switch now.

End the Year With a Little Savings from Microsoft

Thursday, October 11, 2012

It's hard to believe, but the 4th quarter is upon us. As you look over your business expenses for the year, saving a little money here and there probably sounds pretty appealing. That's why we've partnered with Microsoft once again for The Big Easy, an annual 4th quarter program designed to save you money on a variety of Microsoft products that make your business run smoother.

If you're not sure what products to purchase, keep in mind that as of April, 2014, Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003. What does this mean for you? It means you should take action. After April 8, 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates. Running Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 in your environment after their end of support date may expose your company to potential risks. You'll want to plan ahead to get current with Windows 7 and Office 2010. This option has upsides well beyond keeping you supported. It offers more flexibility to empower employees to be more productive, while increasing operational efficiency through improved PC security and management. It also enables your organization to take advantage of the latest technology trends such as virtualization and the cloud.

Additionally, if you've been considering upgrading your server or purchasing new software licenses, now is the time to take action. The Big Easy allows you to choose from a variety of Microsoft products and solutions while earning money back as a subsidy on qualifying purchases. The subsidy from Microsoft can then be used towards software, hardware, or services from IT Resource. Eligible products that might interest you include: Microsoft Office 365, Windows 7, Project, Visio, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Lync, Microsoft SQL and Microsoft SharePoint.

By taking advantage of this promotion, you can save up to 20% on total engineering service fees. If you are considering upgrading your current licensing and/or purchasing new Microsoft products, now is the time! To learn more about this subsidy, contact us and we can show you how this program can benefit your business. Keep in mind, purchases must be made by December 31, 2012 in order to receive your subsidy check, so act now!

A Look into Windows 8

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Over the past couple of months there has been quite the buzz over Windows 8; Microsoft’s newest Operating System set to roll out on October 26, 2012. For most home users this release won’t mean a whole lot. However, for business users this could mean a change in the not so distant future. Depending on what your business has signed up for, newer computers may start coming in with Windows 8 rather than Windows 7. My main goal with this post is to touch on some of the major changes and familiarize everyone with the new Windows 8 layout. Fortunately I’ve had the opportunity to install it on my laptop here at work and use it full time.

Let’s start out with the biggest change: The Start Screen. 
  
This screen now replaces the old Start button located in the bottom left hand corner of the screen. This is the screen that you’re greeted with upon login. By default, it has tiles that show things like the weather, your mail, chat programs, and the calendar. Once you have more programs installed you can add tiles for those as well. I added tiles for Microsoft Word and Microsoft Outlook. This screen can be customized and changed however you like. Think of this screen as your Home Screen.

Windows 8 still has the old style Desktop like in previous versions of Windows. So, if there are files you need quick access to they can be located on the desktop. After a few days of use I've found that I’ve been moving away from using the desktop and focusing more on the new start menu. 

Along with the start menu change, Windows 8 also employs new login methods. When setting up Windows 8, the setup asked for an email address. I put in my Windows Live ID and continued my setup. Upon reading further, I found that Windows will automatically save your personal profile (Bookmarks, settings, etc…) and even link with a Microsoft Skydrive account. I found this to be quite handy as sometimes I have bookmarks on one computer and I would like to have access to them on my other computers, like my laptop.
Some of the other notable changes I found are an upgrade from Internet Explorer 9 to Internet Explorer 10, a new Task Manager, Built in Anti-Virus, a new lock screen, and many other additions to the operating system. Another handy feature that is a little less known is the removal of the Blue Screen of Death. Now, if Windows encounters an issue that causes Windows 8 to stop functioning, a new, easier to read error screen appears.
Overall, I expected Windows 8 to be a step in the wrong direction. However, after using it for some time I have found it’s not so bad after all. Within time, new computers ordered will come shipped with Windows 8 and users will have to switch over. While the move to Windows 8 won’t happen overnight, expect to start seeing new computers arriving with Windows 8 installed. If you have any questions regarding Windows 8, would like to know more about it, or would like to know if your next computer can come with Windows 8, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 616.837.6930 and we’ll be happy to help in any way possible!

Office 365: Perfect for Small Businesses

Monday, October 01, 2012

Are you a small business with a couple of employees and few resources, but want to be seen as professional and dependable? Is a full server setup too much for your office?  In case you’re not ready to take the plunge into the world of Windows Server and Symantec Backup solutions, there may be a different option; Office 365!

Office 365 is a relatively new solution from Microsoft. In an effort to move everyone to the cloud, Office 365 hosts services like email, video chatting, and even Active Directory right from the web without the need to have equipment on-site. Along with those options, Office 365 gives the ability to create a central site to create, edit, and host a variety of office documents. Once these documents are added and submitted, other users in your organization can log in with their account and make changes to existing documents with the permission of the publisher. Also, due to the versatility of Office 365, these changes can be made from a computer, phone, or even a tablet without the need of having Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint installed. Office 365 gives the ability to use these Office apps right from their website. However, if Outlook or any of those Office programs are already installed, don’t worry, it’s easy to configure them to work directly with Office 365.

Fortunately, IT Resource is an Office 365 Partner and we would be happy to set up and configure Office 365 for you! Contact us at 616.837.6930 or email us if you would like more information. We'd be happy to do an on-site walk through with you if you are in the west Michigan area. Outside the area we can easily do a video conference call and get you all set up.

Microsoft Serving up Changes

Friday, September 07, 2012

With the buzz around the release of Windows 8, less attention has been paid to the new version of Windows Server 2012. Codenamed Windows Server 8, Windows Server 2012 will be using the same clean and modern Metro Style User Interface as Windows 8 and the Windows 7 phone. Microsoft is leaning toward the new Metro User Interface to be friendlier with touch screen computers and phones. Along with the graphical changes, Microsoft also introduced a long list of other improvements to the operating system including changes to Active Directory, a new version of Hyper-V (Microsoft’s virtualization solution), a new file system to improve on NTFS, and something called IP Address Management (IPAM). IPAM will discover, monitor, audit, and manage the IP address space used on your network. It has the ability to look for existing servers and identify the roles they use to improve management. It can also track IP address changes and display usage across the network for easy monitoring. Windows Server 2012 included changes and improvements to help IT professionals like IT Resource to better serve our customers.

Fortunately I was able to get a hold of an early test version of the software to mess around with myself. I had an older computer sitting around that I wasn’t using so I decided this was a good opportunity to get acclimated with the new software. 
Current health and monitoring of Server Roles, Local Server, and all servers on your network:

New Start Menu and added items
Small icons have been changed out for larger ‘button’ type icons that are placed in a grid within the start menu. These icons display the frequently used tasks and can be completely customized. As with any new release, a revised user interface has an adjustment period, however, I feel it will be more handy than not. The Task Manager has been redesigned to focus on resource usage and ease of use. Using meters and percentages, the new task manager will change the color of a particular task depending on how resource intensive it is. This makes it nicer to monitor the tasks and which pesky program is consuming your memory!

New Task Manager
In the short amount of time I have tested this OS, I have found that Microsoft is making great strides to add functionality to their server line of operating systems along with increasing navigation to improve efficiency and performance. In the coming months as the Server 2012 is released, IT Resource will be sure to put it into practice as soon as we have fully tested it and deem it fit for our customers. We want to make sure our customers are up-to-date on the latest, stable technology!