Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – September 2017

Bagels & Bytes attendees around the table, talking and laughing togetherAbout the Meetup

This was our last visit to Jewish Residential Services for this year.  (A big thank you to Paula and the JRS staff for hosting us!!) Next month, we will be back at ACHIEVA in the South Side on Oct. 4.

Hey…TechNow stuff…

If you’ve not signed up for the 2017 TechNow conference yet, be sure to do it within the next 2 weeks, before the price goes up!  www.technowconference.org

Here are the notes and resources from this month’s meeting:

Expense report software

  • Concur – $1,000/month; need web connector
  • Expensify – cannot bill against grants, but does have a QuickBooks connector available; $9/user/month
  • Lots of people are still processing expense reports via spreadsheets
  • Unit4 – variety of functions, payroll, expenses, etc.
  • ADP – has an expense report module called RUN
  • MITC tracks payroll and HR related items

Phone conferencing/bridge tools

  • One attendee looking at Zoom; less expensive than GotoMeeting; saves meetings to the cloud; price based on # of participants
  • Skype is another option, but sometimes board and staff struggle with using it
  • WebEx – similar package; stores all meetings so anyone can login and view them
  • Recommend regardless of software choice – set up some “practice” meetings prior to any important meetings (like staff or board meetings) to let people join the online meeting and work out tech bugs, get accustomed to the interface, etc.
  • Another recommendation is to mute participants on really large meetings so less background noise.

Rolling Out a New Database

  • Training is crucial
  • Walkthough all aspects of the database
  • In the first training session, go over the basics; then go deeper in subsequent sessions
  • List of procedures is a good idea – someone said “list the chapters of the book you’re going to write” meaning at least establish the headings you will need for your training/documentation/manual
  • Roll out training to power users first
  • Consider who will be doing the training – not everyone is a trainer, even if they are savvy about the software
  • Have trainees help write the user manual
  • Build the training manual as if the person reading it know nothing about the software
  • For Salesforce in particular, you can set up a practice sandbox that is a replica of the exact real database

Billing to Allegheny County

  • An interest was expressed by multiple people for batch billing software that works with Allegheny County’s billing system
  • None exists that anyone can think of

Google for Nonprofits

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Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – August 2017

This month…

…we met at Jewish Residential Services in the Rodef Shalom Congregation building. A big “thank you” to Paula and the JRS team for hosting us!!

We will meet there once again on Wednesday, September 6 from 8:30 – 10 am. See the sidebar to the right for ways to register.

Here are the topics and resources discussed during this month’s meeting:

  • CRM for Nonprofits (Constituent/Client/Customer Relationship Management)
  • Sharing Documents with People External to Your Organization
  • Salesforce Resources
  • Migrating to Google Drive
  • Outlook + Sharepoint Desktop Version vs. 365
    • Permissions have been a persistent issue for some
    • Training is a constant issue
    • User acceptance can be slow
      • 365 is more difficult to understand – the cloud and file sharing aspects of it
      • Files get saved over if don’t change file names from version to version
    • Can embed a Google Calendar inside of Sharepoint
    • Are we pushing older workers out by all these upgrades in tech?
    • What about outsourcing to the cloud completely?
      • Internet bandwidth must be sufficient to do true virtualization
      • Off-site hosting is more $ for service, less $ for backups, maintenance, licensing
      • JENLOR is one local company that does virtualization
    • Office 365 is on TechSoup
  • LaserJet 401 Troubleshooting
    • Old printer, but hates to get rid of it because has been a workhorse till now
    • Won’t print graphics, only text
      • Maybe is an issue with Windows security?
      • Perhaps an issue with a recent Windows update?
    • Where to e-cycle if decide to ditch it?
  • Listserv Usage
    • Reminds us of VCR tapes and DOS
    • Mass email marketing tools if wanting to do one-to-many messaging (like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp)
    • Group tools if want members to message each other and the group at large (Facebook, Google or Linked group)

June 2017 – Bagels & Bytes “Open Source Summer Fiesta” Meeting Notes

Bagels & Bytes attendees at Computer Reach

About the June Meetup

We had a great time visiting Computer Reach on June 7! It was pretty cool seeing their facility and learning more about the organization. A big thank you to the Computer Reach staff for hosting us and to Shawn for telling us about their programs and for the Linux demo!

We have no meetup in July and will resume our regular schedule on Wednesday, August 2 at Jewish Residential Services at Rodef Shalom. Have a good summer!

Here are the notes and resources from this meetup:

Linux

  • Clonezilla to put Linux image on networked machines
  • There are hundreds of versions of Linux, a lot are command line
    • Ubuntu” version – looks like a Mac, functions like a PC
    • Mint” – works like Windows
    • Some better for low resource machines
    • Could set up a computer as a dual boot for experimenting (try EaseUS for partitioning)
  • Libre Office for productivity (can convert back and forth from MS Office)

Computer Reach

  • Computer Reach accepts donations from schools, companies, colleges
  • Re-images and sends to countries to bridge digital divide
  • Wipes them before shipping – talk to Dave about certificates for wiping
  • Especially need laptop power cords and monitors right now
  • Goodwill no longer recycles tech
  • Salvation Army and Evolution do accept tech to recycle
  • Westmoreland Cleanways has free e-cycling if you feel like making a trip to Greensburg

Salesforce

VoIP

  • Better to host on-site or offsite?
  • Several group members host offsite (vendor Full Service Network was mentioned
  • connecTel – telecom broker – will do research for NPOs, no charge to the organization
  • Need good Internet speed
  • Expect some downtime on implementation
  • To keep service up all the time, have backup Internet

Security System Upgrades

  • Video call box on door where can dial extension of people meeting with
  • Full Service Network Installs this

 

Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – May 2017

Meeting attendees at the FrickAbout the May Meetup

We had a great meetup at the Frick Art & Historical Center on May 3! Many new faces and lots to discuss. A big “thank you” to Linda and the Frick staff for hosting us! Next month we will be at Computer Reach for our “Open Source Summer Fiesta” meetup, where we will have our usual meeting and spend some time receiving a demo of open source software and a tour of Computer Reach’s facility. Mark your calendar for June 7!

Here are the notes and resources from this meetup:

Salesforce

  • An attendee Googled their organization’s name recently, only to learn that their Force.com site was set up improperly and that their entire database was open for the world to access. Warned the rest of us that Force.com should not be set up as the main CRM tool for an organization and that when used along with core Salesforce, should still be made secure and be given 2 factor authentication.
  • If implementation goes poorly (as mentioned above), document, document, document. Also have cybersecurity insurance in place in case records are accidentally hacked or released and the organization faces a lawsuit.
  • See if old sites are on the Google Wayback Machine, which is like a cache for websites.
  • Local implementers of Salesforce include:

HTTPS/SSL Conversion

  • HTTPS protects data being transmitted to and from a website.
  • Having it in place can help to boost public perception and build trust.
  • Still need security to protect site from hacking attempts.
  • Let’s Encrypt tool is a free SSL option.
  • Need a dedicated IP with the host to do SSL.
  • Can be expensive to implement, depending on what you decide to use for SSL certificate. Hosts aren’t generally too helpful about support re: site conversions.
  • Dreamhost is a good host – very good at support and they offer Let’s Encrypt.

Upgrading Windows 7 to Windows 10

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)

  • One channel for Internet and voice data (phone systems).
  • Vendors are selling phone services based off their own servers, but it’s better to have an in-house server.
  • Cisco is a VoIP phone vendors, as is Avaya. Avaya seems to be better for smaller organizations.
  • An in house server also has the advantage of being a capital expense (can be depreciated).
  • You still have to have a really good Internet connection for VoIP to work well.
  • connecTel is a local telecom broker – will assess your contracts for free and advise you on best configuration and how to save the most money in the process.
  • DQE Communications and Level 3 Communications are fiber-optic Internet providers.

Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – April 2017

We held our last meeting at Grow Pittsburgh for this year on April 5. Thank you Deidra and the GP staff for hosting us again! The weather finally appears to be warming up and we are looking forward to seeing everything in bloom next month when our meeting happens at the Frick Art & Historical Center on May 3!

Notes and resources from this month’s meeting:

  • MAAS 360
    • Protect mobile data
    • Can remotely wipe data for lost devices
    • Can pull out app shortcuts onto your phone desktop
  • Salesforce
    • Free up to 10 licenses
    • Not free to develop it out
    • How to clean up data?
    • Sometimes have to change your business process (like how data gets input)
    • When importing historical data, its frequently advisable to clean it up first
    • There are apps available for data cleanup that work with Salesforce
    • There are dupe record catching mechanisms built into Salesforce, but if data input is too different, they won’t catch everything
    • Set your data input policies in advance (example: abbreviations vs. spelling things out – St. vs. Street)
    • Average time to convert to a new database varies, typically 1-2 years
    • Need to think about the cost of holding onto bad data
    • How much data do you really need to bring over from the old system? You don’t carry all your assets in your pocket as cash, you may not need to carry all your data around in a single system either
    • Data/email cleanup idea: send an email around offering a drawing for a gift card to see who responds
  • Email integration with databases
  • Finding funding for technology
    • Write tech consistently into all of your grant proposals
    • Don’t be afraid to write separate proposals for technology too
  • Accessibility (non-tech discussion)

Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – March 2017

Grow PittsburghWe had a great meeting again at Grow Pittsburgh! Thank you again to Rebekah and GP staff for hosting us! (We will be back at GP for the April meeting on 4/5, then we go to the Frick Art & Historical Center in May.)

Here are the notes and resources from the meeting. Note that we concentrated very specifically this month on questions and issues raised by group members.

Data security audits for nonprofits

  • Assume banking standards because of donor-related info?
  • HIPAA compliance required for health care orgs
  • PCI-DSS – annual certification needed if accepting credit cards – there’s a 120 page document used to verify compliance on various systems
  • Trustwave – scans monthly for testing purposes
  • TransArmor – a security solution from First Data
  • Think about all security systems by going through PCI certification doc
  • PCI-DSS – limited where info is stored, who has access, etc.
  • If keep paper copies of credit card data, only liable for that – must keep locked up and have procedures in places for storage and destruction
  • If using 3rd party online service, compliance is on them
  • In PA, if a single record in the database is compromised, the organization is liable for $60-70 fine per person for a mandatory three years of a monitoring service
  • Idea: take risk analysis to executive director for org (to prove need to take action and/or make case for changes)
  • Many nonprofits are already in a crisis state and don’t need additional problems added to that
  • PNC Bank does not do merchant services – they resell for First Data
  • In terms of credit card processing, there are really only three processors, with everyone else being resellers: First Data, World Link and ______ (group couldn’t think of third company)

Phone systems, vendors, best practices for implementations

  • If don’t want cloud-based system, what are options? (Want phones that work when Internet goes down)
  • Also want to depreciate as capital expenditure
  • Avaya vendor – Advent Communications (pricey for support, but don’t have to call often – very stable)
  • Can use a broker to do your telecom research and pricing negotiation for you – Connectel, Opticom Consulting
  • Full Service Network – phone vendor, cloud-based retailer – not good for Internet service, only phones
  • Computer Reach – has put in phones, vendor in California
  • Internet configuration – suggest Internet router separate from phones so heavy network traffic doesn’t knock out phone system
  • Prime Communications – sell MyTel system
  • Guardian – owned by Armstrong Cable

OneDrive for Business if no Office 365 or Sharepoint

  • OneDrive is integrated with Windows 10
  • Hotmail is also integrated into OneDrive now
  • Can now simultaneous work in docs on OneDrive
  • TechSoup has Office 365 for $0, but need to purchase other things for it to be fully functional
  • Tech Impact provides migration services for eligible organizations via TechSoup (it’s a partnership – there’s a $10 fee for an assessment first)

If leaving your tech job, what should you document and share with the incoming person?

  • Keep a list of your daily activities for one month
  • Make other lists for weekly/monthly tasks
  • Propose that your org hires you as an independent consultant for a month or two
  • Refer to job description, then list all possible jobs the person might need to do under each heading
  • Get the info out of your head and onto paper
  • Think about the spinning plates act on the Ed Sullivan show – china plates spin most easily but are hard to replace, so are more important (critical tasks). Paper plates are harder to spin but easy to replace, so are less important (busy work).
  • Verbal only – give them the political read on people and relationships – but watch what you say because it’s a small nonprofit world in this geographical area

Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – February 2017

Thank you to everyone who attended our first meeting of the new year at Grow Pittsburgh, and a big thank you to Rebekah and the Grow Pittsburgh team for hosting us!

Our next meetup will take place at the same location on Wednesday, March 1 from 8:30-10 am.

Here are the notes and resources from the meeting:

Affordable wi-fi hotspots available from Mobile Citizen, a division of Sprint

  • Up to 10 people can connect to it
  • 25 MB encryption
  • Available to any nonprofit or household
  • You pay for the Franklin R450 hotspot (~$79 + $9 shipping), then $120 for a year of service
  • Visit MobileCitizen.com and submit NPO information
  • Have to re-certify annually
  • Coverage is anywhere Sprint has coverage (Sprint owns most of the cellphone infrastructure in the U.S.)
  • Cannot tether with it
  • Tech support is reportedly very good
  • If you have questions, email Dave Sevick at Computer Reach, info@computerreach.org
  • Cradlepoint – can plug old Verizon connectivity stick into it; will act like a landline router

Salesforce Resources

Training users

  • Tell them how to do it
  • Show them how to do it
  • Have them do it

Security

  • Ransomware – story about Italian hotel computer system held for ransom by hackers
  • What are nonprofits doing about cryptoware and ransomware?
  • Education is important – educating your staff and volunteers not to fall for scams in emails
  • AV software only does so much good to guard against this
  • Don Rowe and his colleagues are working on a few scripts to help guard against this (for example, one script would unmount the hard drive so it couldn’t be hijacked)
  • Most NPOs don’t seem to be creating disaster recovery plans – we need to get better about this
  • It’s important to check your ability to restore backups on a regular basis
  • Crashplan – online data backup
  • If ransomware were to take over your computer, the best thing you can do is shut it down, disconnect from the Internet and call someone for help
  • Software tools
  • A small office needs, at a minimum:
    • Firewall
    • Spam filtering appliance
    • Antivirus
    • Anti-malware
  • Management will always make the argument of convenience vs. risk – IT is sometimes forced into poor practices (If you are an IT worker in this boat, document everything to CYA)

Password management

Steel City Codefest event, 1st week in April 2017

  • NPOs or government agencies can submit a challenge to be worked on during the event
  • Deadline to submit is Valentine’s Day
  • Developer groups/teams can also sign up
  • Visit the website to submit a challenge