Editor’s Note: This is last year’s meeting in JRS’s space. I forgot to take a photo from our recent meetup! – CL
We are back from our summer hiatus! We met on Wednesday, August 1 at Jewish Residential Services, which is located inside of the Rodef Shalom building on Fifth Ave. Thank you to Paula and the JRS staff for permitting us the use of their lovely meeting room space!
A quick reminder: TechNow 2018 conference registration is open and we have tiered pricing this year, so nonprofit attendees are charged between $25 and $100 to attend, based on annual budget size. Learn more and register at: www.technowconference.org. (TechNow is October 3, 2018.)
Here are the notes and resources from the meeting:
- Where to find someone to do an IT audit
- Depends on what you need to have done
- Bayer Center does strategic and comprehensive tech assessments
- Hardware/network vendor will focus on the network and items attached to it, plus security
- Financial auditor will have a completely different set of checkpoints and controls
- Veterans Leadership Program has several job openings
- To look up nonprofit information including 990 tax filings
- Video streaming issues
- Having trouble streaming over cloud-based network
- Otherwise a good experience being in the cloud
- JENLOR is a good vendor for cloud networks
- Board portals
- Google for Nonprofits Group
- Paper paychecks vs. direct deposit
- 90 cents more per check for paper
- Can do ACH through your bank for free
- Kind of like thin client machines – limited functionality if they are offline
- Best for accessing Internet based apps and websites
- Can do much less with them if not connected to the Internet
- You have to become a member, but it’s free to join
- Pay nominal admin fee for software
- Can add external IT representative to account so can purchase for the org
- Be careful to read all of the eligibility and purchasing rules and requirements for each software vendor – all have different policies
About the meetup
We had lovely weather for our meetup at the Frick Pittsburgh on May 2! The grounds at the Frick are so gorgeous at this time of year. We thank Lynn, Linda and the Frick staff for hosting us!
Our meetup group will take a break for June and July, and resume meeting on August 1 at Jewish Residential Services in Rodef Shalom Congregation in Shadyside. In the meantime, enjoy your summer!
Joe and Rosemary won this month’s giveaways – an NTEN t-shirt and NTEN shoestrings!
Here are the notes and resources from the meetup:
- Website security
- Cloudflare – flexible SSL and has “I’m under attack mode” in case too many bot hits or hacking attempts
- Wordfence for WordPress sites
- Encrypted Emails
- Can attach an SSL certificate to Exchange Server (for Outlook)
- Barracuda – hardware device that is put on the network behind the firewall to scan for spam, viruses, etc.; has an annual renewal and replacement fee associated with it
- RPC over HTTPS – encryption over public wi-fi; also lets devices attach and connect to Exchange Server without using a virtual private network (VPN)
- YouTube Video: How to Encrypt Mail in Outlook (Thanks, Johna!)
- Microsoft article on how to get a Digital ID or certificate (for MS Office Suite) (Thanks, Johna!)
- Penetration Testing
- Companies that do vulnerability testing
- Is fairly expensive
- Office Phone Systems
- Handsets vs. wireless?
- Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) – phone calls go over the Internet connection; server not required
- Google Voice as an alternative
- Vendors who provide this service
- Phone systems
- Tadiran (phone system – can forward to cell phones, has greeting/voicemail)
- 7-10 years is typical phone system lifecycle
- Vendors can typically work on phone systems remotely and securely
- Converting Apple software files to PC format
- CRM Upgrade
- Google Admin for G-Suite
- WordPress Gutenberg Upgrade
- No exact date set yet, but supposed to be coming soon
- Watch make.wordpress.org for details and announcements
- Can install the Gutenberg plugin to test drive the new block level editing functionality
About the Meetup
We had a great March meetup at Grow Pittsburgh, with so many topics covered. Thank you to Rebekah and the Grow Pittsburgh staff for hosting us!
Following are the notes and resources mentioned during the meetup.
- About 50% using Windows 10
- Is 2013/2016 Office working fine on 10?
- Office 365 runs on it too
- Can make it look like Windows 7 if desired
Assorted Communications and Collaboration tools
- For vitual meetings and webinars
- Doesn’t act up as much as tools like Skype, particularly when you get more than 10 people in the virtual meeting room
- Free for NPOs
- Like Facebook for the workplace
- Protected files
- Video archiving
- Only email in same domain can be added to network
- Easier to use than Sharepoint
- Similar to Workspace (above)
- Widely used in corporate America
Moving to the Cloud
- Want to move servers, print drivers, active directory
- How will access VPN?
- Krissy DeShetler wrote a post for the NTEN blog on moving to the cloud
- Can move server to cloud & desktops if desired
- Heavily reliant on Internet – need good connection
- Can have multiple servers
- Streaming video is challenging
- VPN – looks the same when work at home, office, wherever
- Can configure to mirror your current environment
- Costs vary
- JENLOR is one of a number of companies that provide this service, also NET Xperts
- Less costly than on-premise most of the time
- One location goes down, every other location stays up
- Monthly fees vary, depending on space, # of users, support hours
- Can still get TechSoup discounted licenses & have installed on VPN
Free Video and Photo Editing software
Resources to learn about the field (or for inexpensive hardware/software)
We held our annual Holiday Meetup at Dave & Buster’s on Friday, December 15. There are no notes from the meeting – we simply chatted and networked freeform this month. Below are some pics from our annual ski-ball contest for your enjoyment!
There is no meetup in January. Our next meetup will be Wednesday, Feb. 7 at Grow Pittsburgh from 8:30 – 10 am. Join our group on Meetup.com to easily RSVP and receive meeting reminders.
Happy holidays to all! See you in 2018!!
The winners of this month’s prize giveaways!
We met at ACHIEVA for the last time this year. Thank you again to Nicole and the ACHIEVA staff for hosting us!
Our meeting in December will be the annual holiday party at Dave & Buster’s at the Waterfront on Friday, December 8 from 1-4 pm. We will have our regular meeting over lunch (everyone orders off the menu and pays individually this time), then do a “techie white elephant” gift exchange (bring a geeky wrapped gift under $10, feel free to look for odd stuff in your tech closet to wrap) and then we’ll play a few games including our annual skee-ball tourney (Cindy will bring a few prizes for the winners).
The reminder email will go out next week, so keep an eye out and RSVP for the meeting on the Bayer Center’s website or on Meetup.com when you see it.
Here are the notes and resources from this month’s meeting:
On-Premise vs. Cloud Server
Data Analysis Software
Coax to Fiber
- Coax (for example, like Comcast) – speeds are never consistent, disconnects frequently in high usage
- Coax providers tell you the minimum speed they provide, fiber providers tell you the maximum speed they provide
- Coax is generally faster, but there are many things that can affect speed
- Verizon and DQE also have fiber
- DQE owns the fiber lines
- Check packet shaping on routers/prioritize traffic to keep more important going
- Check into Level 3 Communications (owns the Pittsburgh backbone)
- Click Dimensions – mass email marketing tool that connects to MS Dynamics 365 CRM
- Ask about 30 day trial
- Want to be able to connect to database
- Email templates
NTEN Tech Accelerate
Remote IT Management
We had a great meetup at ACHIEVA earlier this month! Thank you to Nicole and the staff there for hosting us!
Our next meeting is in the same location on Wednesday, November 1, 8:30 – 10 am. Be sure to also mark your calendar for the December B&B Holiday
Party Meetup at Dave & Busters on Friday, December 8 from 1 – 4 pm. Lunch meeting, followed by a Techie White Elephant gift exchange, then some gaming, including our annual skee-ball contest!
Here are the notes and resources from this month:
When IT is kept out of the loop
- Sometimes tech staff are deliberately or inadvertently kept out of the loop on IT-related decisions (example: when HR staff choose a Human Resources Information System (HRIS) and don’t involve tech staff)
- One theory is that IT represents a large expense in an organization and not involving tech staff keeps costs down.
- Another theory is it simply boils down to organizational politics.
Why should passwords be changed frequently?
- Is every 90 days too often?
- The network admins in our group don’t think so.
- Financial auditors will actually recommend changing passwords more frequently, such as every 60 days.
Can you over-customize a database?
- Ask yourself, is the database overly complex because it needs to be or is it because business processes are overly complicated and affecting workflows in the database accordingly.
- An interesting exercise – think about what CRM you would go with if yours blew up tomorrow and was permanently un-usable.
- Fractured systems are the worst thing of all to deal with.
Software resources mentioned
- Paycom – newer company doing HRIS/payroll software.
- Mass email tools:
- Vertical Response – good nonprofit rates (first 10K emails per month are free) but gets blacklisted a lot.
- Constant Contact – costs more per month, but does have nonprofit pricing. Get a discount for paying for the whole year in advance. Doesn’t get blacklisted as often. Integrates with Salesforce, including the new Lightning interface.
- MailChimp – good and not too expensive. Doesn’t get blacklisted as often. Does not integrate well with Salesforce Lightning interface.
- Emma – possibly most costly of all, but also has the most features for marketing and fundraising included.
- Google Groups – not necessarily a mass email tool, but can do group messaging with it.
- Click Dimensions – works with MS Dynamics CRM in particular.
About 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.
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