Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – September 2014

This month, we met for the final time this year at Jewish Residential Service at Rodef Shalom Congregation.  Thank you to Paula and all the JRS staff for hosting us!

We are also grateful to Julie and Tim from LANtek, who provided us with a demo of Office 365 during this month’s meeting.  The notes from the demo follow.

Office 365 Demo Notes

  • Office 365 is 1 of 3 current products in Microsoft’s cloud portfolio
    • Office 365 is the productivity suite, similar to regular MS Office
      • Scaleability
      • Social web analytics
      • Mobility
      • Live data feeds
      • Advanced analytics
    • Cloud OS – Windows Azure is the brand name of their cloud server service (Windows Server is still the name of thelocally-installed network operating system software)
      • run MS apps on cloud-based server
      • Other apps (QuickBooks, etc.) – must run on local server(though can get most of these in cloud-based forms these days)
  • Bandwidth is important  – 10 MB can typically support 10-50 users easily
  • Is HIPAA compliant, has all the certifications (SOX, SAE, etc.)
  • Email encryption possible + rights management (can control printing and reading)
  • Also can host MS products and all your other apps on a data center (LANtek has a local data center)
  • Email is usually the 1st thing that goes into cloud – easy to uncouple, gives IT admins most grief.
  • Typical challenges – midsize business
    • Anywhere access
    • Work together
    • Easy IT
    • Best Value
  • Included in Office 365
    • Word
    • Excel
    • PPT
    • Access
    • Publisher
    • Project and Visio extra
    • Business email – Outlook
  • Document sharing – via SharePoint
  • Web conferencing – voice and video from PC (need mics + cams of course)
  • There are levels of licensing
  • Can still set up shared resources (conf. rms, etc.)
  • Shared mailboxes (info@) are free
  • Staff profiles/org charts feature included
  • Real-time document collaboration
  • Can share w/Lync if need to give read-access to a lot of people
  • Online meetings – videos, presentation, chat features – also remote desktop control capabilities (via Lync session)
  • MS makes Office 365 for iPad now too (cross platform support)
  • OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) gives 20 GB cloud storage per user
  • Encrypted in flight and at rest (per HIPAA compliance requirements)
  • Can choose to enter credentials each time or to cache credentials
  • Use pass phrases, substituting numbers for letters
  • Don’t have to worry about backups anymore
  • Still have to add/delete/manage user accounts
  • Anti spam + AV built-in > AV vendor recently acquired by MS – up to 8 AV engines
  • 99.9% uptime and get credited for downtime if happens
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Online community
  • Various packages/levels of help desk support
  • Replicated across multiple data centers
  • Sometime redundant internet useful (if truly redundant, not different carriers on same poles – must go through separate paths)
  • Instead of big upfront cost, smaller predictable monthly cost
  • Licensing available on TechSoup
  • E3 – biggest pack corp. ($20/user/month)/called A4 for nonprofits ($6/user/month)
  • 1 user can login from anywhere – up to 5 devices can load office software
  • No longer have to purchase Office with devices (Laptops/Desktops)
  • Don’t have to worry about uninstalling home use licenses with 365 – simply uncheck a box in admin panel and user gets a notice that software license expired when tries to use software
  • Phone systems can be integrated with voicemail several ways (depends on system)
  • Migration
    • Federation and Dirsync for single sign on
    • No support for Exchange 2003/07 migration
    • There are third-party tools to assist with migration (Skykick, Quest)
    • Public folders – can of 50 GB on store in 365
    • Outlook – 2003 and earlier – not supported
    • Address auto-complete, signature block, etc. – not migrated by default
    • Can do staged migration or cutover
    • MX record can take up to 72 hours to propagate
    • SkyKick – email migration tool, cloud-based (Outlook assistant) – only available through MS partners
    • OneDrive build on SharePoint technology (was named SkyDrive originally)
    • Choose domain name wisely – very hard to change (tenant space name)
  • Still need AV on desktop PCs to monitor for viruses
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Bagels & Bytes on a Boat Meeting Notes – June 2014

Bagels & Bytes attendees waving from the deck of the Explorer.We had perfect weather for our summer outing, Bagels & Bytes on a Boat!  A big thank you to RiverQuest and to the riverboat staff who made this meeting possible!

As usual, the Bayer Center gave away prizes during the meeting, including a one-year individual NTEN membership, a NetSquared mug and a bunch of NetSquared stickers!  (Thanks, Eli!!)

Note that B&B-Allegheny goes on hiatus for July and will return the first Wednesday of August at the usual time.  We’ll be meeting at Rodef Shalom in Shadyside.

Bagels & Bytes attendees waving from the deck of the Explorer (close-up photo).

Here are the notes from the meeting:

Generational Differences and Tech

  • The younger generation knows tech, the older generation knows business need.
  • Both generations can learn from each other.

QuickBooks Online

  • Doesn’t work well with Windows XP.
  • QuickBooks support, however, is really good.  They will help you with workarounds if needed.

Local Tech Vendors

Other Tech Vendors / Websites

The Cloud

  • If your org is mostly or wholly cloud-based, you need excellent Internet speed.
  • The cloud isn’t for everyone.  You have to be okay with being heavily reliant on your Internet connection and on the third party software or hardware providers.
  • Important to find reliable cloud-provider companies.

Funding the Cloud

  • Capital vs. operating expense
  • Tech-wise, nonprofits aren’t much difference from small businesses.  Where they differ the most is that businesses tend to be better about having a tech plan and about budgeting for tech.
  • More difficult to get grant funding for operating expenses like cloud hardware or software.  Foundations tend to look at those expenditures as the cost of doing business.

Other Topics and Ideas

  • BoardBookit – board collaboration and management software (cloud-based)
  • Tech Committees are a good practice for all orgs.  It’s important to put together a diverse group of people across organizational functions and with varied skill sets.
  • Office 365 – the migration is reported to be pretty smooth.  Cost is ~$4.50 per user per month and can be purchased at TechSoup.  Rollouts go best when staff is prepped in advance and provided with training post-migration.
  • Lantek – provides informational sessions on Office 365 periodically.
  • Re-Use Technology Collaborative
  • GTECH
  • Office 2013 – slight difference in menus (saving files, etc.)
  • There is an MS SharePoint group that meets monthly in the Microsoft building on the North Shore.