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:
- 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 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
- 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
About 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:
- 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 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
- It can take a while to get Windows 10 to install properly if upgrading. Installing from scratch seems to work just fine though.
- Don shared these links after the meeting:
- Dell is currently shipping many PCs as “Windows 10” but when you get them, they have Windows 7 and you have to do the upgrade yourself.
- How to keep Windows 10 from automatic discovery and installation of printers: go to File/Print Sharing and turn off the print share feature. Microsoft still has driver compatibility issues with certain copiers/printers in Windows 10.
- Turn off “User Experience Feedback” so it doesn’t slow down the network.
- Windows 10 S was just released.
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.
We 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
We held our September meetup at Jewish Residential Services again this month. We appreciate Paula and the JRS staff for hosting us! Next month we go to ACHIEVA in the South Side, Oct. 5, 8:30 am start time.
A quick reminder that TechNow conference registration is still in Early Bird mode until September 30. If you need to register, be sure to do it in the upcoming week to get the best price!
Here are the notes and resources from this month’s meeting:
- Going rate for content updates $50-150 – depends on speed of person and hourly rate
- For DIY updates, try free Easy Updates Manager plugin
- We discussed best practices for finding a developer
- Response time
- Price point
- Ongoing costs
- SNOM phone system – full service network, nice phones, less admin features than you’d expect
- Brokers (for usage analysis and recommendations, can generally get your costs reduced)
- VoIP Phones (fairly standard these days)
- UX5000 by Advanced Communication
- Google Grants – Need to be a 501(c)(3) with valid website
- Give you access to:
- Google Apps
- $10K/month in Adwords (don’t have to use it all)
- Some requirements for ads (no video, for example) (can’t just ask for money)
- Promote events, etc
- Have to login quarterly to make sure till active (& ads still relevant)
- Can use keywords/targeted words
We held our August meetup in the sunny conference room at Jewish Residential Services. Thank you to Paula, Harold and the rest of the JRS staff for hosting us! We will return to JRS for our September 7 meetup, then it’s off to ACHIEVA for October and November.
P.S. TechNow 2016 Conference registration is open and early bird rates are active! Register by September 30 to get the best rate!
Here are the notes from this month’s meetup:
Adding Search to Website
Technology Challenges Faced by New Nonprofits (and Some Suggested Solutions)
NP Tech Skill Set
Custom Software vs. Off-The-Shelf Software
- Hybrid is best- off the shelf that can be customized
- Example: want to process volunteer applications via the web
- Upload PDFs/scans, etc.
- Portal on website
- WordPress Visual Form Builder plugin
- If WordPress site, turn off Google indexing of PDFs in media library by editing robots.txt file
- Spiceworks – network monitoring, management, help desk ticketing and inventory – has concierge service and is free
Finding Nonprofit Tech Jobs
Additional Resources (Shared by Attendees Post-meeting)
Haller House at the Frick Art & Historical Center.
This month was our final meeting at the Frick Art & Historical Center this year. Thank you once again to Linda and the Frick staff for hosting us! Join us next month for Bagels & Bytes on a Boat, located on the RiverQuest boat Explorer near the Carnegie Science Center!
Here are the meeting notes for May:
For the Reading List
- What is the shelf-life of a social media channel?
- As long as the company is making money, will probably stick around.
- Look at what teens are using to see what’s up-and-coming
Zero Day Vulnerability
- Discussion about which orgs have applied the IE patch to date.
- Most are communicating instructions to staff via email.
- Also need to deal with the Windows XP security patch, which we suspect many orgs are still using, including government entities.
- Can probably keep using XP machines if stay unconnected from the Internet.
- Several people reported having good experiences with upgrading older PCs from XP to 7.
Hosted Raiser’s Edge
- Costs extra for this version, but is nice to have Blackbaud worry about data backups, security, etc.
- It is good to have a redundant Internet connection (multiple ISPs), particularly if using a lot of apps in the cloud.
Phone Service/ISP Providers
If you could tell your board anything about technology at nonprofit, what would you say?
- Even though technology isn’t splashy (doesn’t get your org’s name in the paper), it’s still important and it needs to be funded, even if it’s not causing problems.
- Need to make the investment in infrastructure.
- Tech touches every piece of what every staff member is doing – it’s critical.
- You can’t assume it’s working well just because it appears to be working.
- Tech isn’t like a utility – you can’t flip a switch and it magically works.
- Technology evolves. An org has to stay on top of it, keep evolving with it and investing in it.
- The board shouldn’t micromanage the tech function.
- The board should/could look at technology investing as part of its legacy to the org.
- Board members can be champions for technology – advocating for it.
- Techies push the wave, need to be the board thinking about tech.
- Organizations should have a technology committee.
- Have to find balance between budget oversight and over-scrutiny.
- Reporting tech-related outcomes to the board at least once per year might be beneficial.
- Sometimes tech staff sees something that could be done with existing tech, but needs backup / tech plan / support from the E.D. and board.
- Tech should be given a seat at the table, not be housed under the CFO or finance department.
- An organization can have the grandest program ideas in the world but still need tech infrastructure to make anything work.
- An org can never sit still with technology – it evolves too quickly. Orgs constantly have to be scanning and looking ahead.
- Best to chip away a little each year at tech needs and projects, rather than let them pile up and overwhelm the org and its budget.
- Never assume that your org is “done” with tech.
- IT has to be allowed to take risks in order to move the organization forward. Failures can sometimes happen and boards can be risk-averse, but risk is part and parcel of IT otherwise stagnation can result.
- An org should never do tech for its own sake. Always look at the business needs first.
We had a great time on Wednesday morning at the Children’s Museum of Pgh. and a productive, informative meeting! A big “thank you” to George, Mercy and the Children’s Museum Cafe for hosting & catering our meeting.
Meeting Topics and Resources
- Social media questions
- What networks? Linkedin? Facebook? Twitter? Blog? (Find out where your audience is.)
- Personal vs. professional – a persistent question.
- Slideshow: 10 Social Media for Business Myths.
- Virtual servers
- Is one physical server/computer that has been partitioned at the hard drive level to function as two or more separate servers (they share hardware resources, but have separated disk space and operating systems).
- VMware: “How Virtualization Works.”
- It’s good to have a second server (physical, not virtual) to back up the virtual one(s).
- Benefits – you can allocate hard drive space as needed, assign disk space “on the fly,” upfront costs are a little higher but the overall long-term costs are lower (less servers to replace).
- VMware has a feature – ability to move servers to another server easily.
- When should you virtualize? Generally if you have three servers or more, you should begin to consider it.
- Backups / disaster recovery – people typically use external hard drives or cloud-based backup.
- Sonic CDP (stands for “Continuous Data Protection”) is a good backup tool.
- Mobile app for remote access called 2X Client.
- Internet service providers (ISPs)
- Connectel is a local isp/phone broker, they get paid in commission by telecom companies, so orgs pay nothing to get their assistance. Local rep is Doug Dembiczak / email@example.com.
- Considerations: having a redundant internet line, shared vs. dedicated, up/down speeds.
- Free online speed test available.
- Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) issues
- Agency-owned vs. personal?
- Who pays? For equipment? For data plans/service?
- Important to have a policy for this.
- Data/file system housekeeping policies
- If your org has a document retention policy, use that for guidance on digital files.
- Ok (and frequently necessary) to set limits on staff’s storage space.
- A method for archiving email must be found. Gmail is easy, Outlook and other programs are trickier.
- 7 years seems to be a standard timeframe for keeping most docs, but check with your org’s solicitor for guidance.
- Duplicate File Finder – free software that will go through your file system and find/display duplicate files. Can be installed on a PC, doesn’t have to be the server.
Our next meeting will be at the Children’s Museum, Wednesday, March 6 (8:30-10 am). Hope to see you there!
The 2013 Bagels & Bytes Meeting Calendar is here.