Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – May 2014

Haller House on the Frick campus

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

Social Media

  • 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.

Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – April 2014

Haller House on the Frick campus

Haller House at the Frick Art & Historical Center.

Thank you to Linda and the Frick Art & Historical Center for hosting at Haller House this month! I forgot to take a photo of the group, but I did manage to find a nice pic of Haller House online (right).  We’ll be meeting at the same location next month, first Wednesday, same time as usual.

First, a quick reminder from Johna, as posted in a recent TechSoup newsletter:

“We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. Windows XP will not receive security dates and therefore will no longer be HIPAA compliant. The time to upgrade is now.”

Cloud & Productivity Software

  • Office 365
    • Multiple devices
    • Now have iPad version
    • $4 per person + $2 for OneDrive
    • Available through TechSoup
  • Concerns over going to cloud and the subsequent shift in expenses from capital to operating.
  • Some orgs really pushing for monthly donors so have more unrestricted funding with which to work.

Archiving Files

  • 7 years legal limits for saving, but most orgs also want to keep historical data.
  • Look at process on paper side for file retention and retain that process, just translate it to digital files.
  • It’s important to have a retention policy and an archiving process.
  • Archiving software: ApplicationXtender
    • One local vendor for this is CompuCom
    • Easy retrieval of files
    • Can email files from it
    • Can search easily
    • File format is Tiff (so can annotate)
  • Still need to have a staff person with designated responsibility for the archiving process and maintenance.
  • Sample document retention policy:  PDF format or MS Word format

BYOD vs. Organization-Owned Tech

  • Someone mentioned a correlation between how organizations have handled health insurance – when company pays for benefits, people tend to go to doctors way more often and some people abuse the benefits completely.  Perhaps if organizations took the approach of co-ownership of tech or having staff pay for some of the costs, they would take better care of the technology?
  • If staff members pay for their technology and maintenance with a stipend, they tend to take better care of the tech.
  • Have to get staff to take responsibility for their tech, especially their knowledge and learning.

Hiring Technology Staff (for non-technical people)

  • What questions to ask in interviews?
  • How to evaluate answers?
  • Group brainstorm:

Managing Technology (when you don’t have internal tech staff)

  • Someone mentioned the Circuit Rider model of tech support from years ago, asked if anyone was still doing this.
  • Most attendees agree that it’s better to have a relationship with a vendor – a support contract of some kind – so that you get all the expertise of the firm when you need it, rather than relying on a single person to have that much knowledge of complex technology and so you aren’t left in dire straights if the person moves away or otherwise becomes unavailable.
  • The Bayer Center maintains a directory of vetted vendors who provide technology services to nonprofits.

Social Media

  • Shifting usage – living your life in the real world, rather than online.
  • A few interesting articles along these lines, just to give you a sense of how people are beginning to think about social media:

Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – March 2014

A group of smiling Bagels & Bytes attendees standing under the colorful oversized Crane (water bird) in the Children's Museum lobby.

Bagels & Bytes attendees posing under the large Crane in the lobby of the Children’s Museum.

Thank you to all for attending Bagels & Bytes this month at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh!  George and Mercy were, once again, our gracious hosts.

In April and May, we are at the Frick Art & Historical Center in the East End. By that time, we should see some spring blooming and enjoy the lovely grounds there!

Here are the meeting notes for this month.

Technology Staffing

Windows 8

  • User experience – good, once you get past the new “top layer” it is stable and functional.
  • Vista scared a lot of people/vendors, so people still shy of upgrading.
  • The desktop environment is similar to 7, except for the touchscreen features and “charms” menu.
  • There are known compatibility issues with Terminal Server.
  • Reminder that Windows XP support expires next month.
    • Johna shared an informative email re: XP she recently received from NET Xperts:
      • Click on the link to see if your PC is running Windows XP.  http://www.amirunningxp.com/
      • For anyone who is not a computer techie, the announcement by Microsoft about discontinuing support for Windows XP may not mean much. However, from a HIPAA perspective, this is very important information because Section 164.308(a)(5)(ii)(B) of the HIPAA Security Rules includes an ‘addressable’ requirement of Protection from Malicious Software where covered entities need to implement “procedures for guarding against, detecting, and reporting malicious software”.
      • Officially, after April 8, 2014, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available. This means that there will be no more automatic updates protecting your PC and even though your computer will still work, the problem is that without these updates, it becomes more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.
      • Even if you have encryption and anti-virus software on your Windows XP computer, it won’t help because the problem is related to the flaws in the operating system itself. Encryption protects communication to and from the computer, but not the computer itself. Anti-virus can help protect a computer, but that depends on what security flaws might be found in XP after Microsoft no longer supports it.
      • Here’s what happens from the ‘hacker’ perspective. Microsoft releases an update (patch) for a supported operating system. Hackers review those patches and see if that same vulnerability exists in the old operating systems that are no longer supported. If so, then your old, faithful, reliable XP computer becomes a prime target no matter what encryption or anti-virus you have installed on it. If you have a security breach on that XP computer, you have not implemented appropriate safeguards to meet the HIPAA requirements.” ~ NET Xperts

Google Apps vs. Office 365

  • Between the two programs, file conversion and sharing can be an issue.
  • Moving to these clouds-based productivity apps requires a degree of change management, regardless of which you choose.
  • Office 365 changing name of cloud storage from SkyDrive to OneDrive. Business subscriptions start at $5/month per user.  Here’s the announcement from Microsoft.
  • Outlook 2013 – no more Public Folders, everything is a Mailbox now.
  • Mail merge feature in Google Docs has improved somewhat over time.

Responsive Web Design

Local IT Providers That Serve Nonprofits

Backups

  • Cloud vs. local backups (see extensive notes from our last meeting).
  • How to pay for?  An in-house backup device can be labeled a capital expenditure and depreciated while cloud-based solutions fall under operating expenditures.
  • General consensus wishing that funders and management understood that the world is slowly moving to the cloud and we’ll need to re-think how we fund our IT.

Book Mention

Virtualization

  • There was a request for a “101” document.  Here’s a video instead.

)

Bagels & Bytes Meetings Notes – February 2014

Bagels & Bytes attendees sitting around a conference table having a lively discussion about technology.We held B&B-Allegheny at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh this month. Thank you to George, Mercy and the CMP staff for hosting us!

We will return to the Children’s Museum for next month’s meeting on Wednesday, March 5 (8:30-10 am).

Windows XP Migration / Upgrading to Windows 8.1

  • Support to be ending for XP in April 2014
  • Some not wanting to go to Win8
    • Desktop vs. main screen
    • 8.1 upgrades sometimes fail
    • Still feel like Win 8 is buggy
    • Can revert – make 8 look like 7
  • TechSoup has Windows 7 upgrades available (32 and 64 bit)
    • TechSoup also has the Software Assurance program – a 2 year window where you can obtain licenses for updated versions of software you’ve purchased through TS
  • What about giving old Win XP PCs away to staff or otherwise?
    • Recommend sign off a hold harmless agreement
    • Make sure wipe hard drive properly
  • RAM mostly going to be issue – many times can upgrade
  • Win 7 wipes old operating systems, does a fresh install
  • Window Easy Transfer tool is helpful
  • Don’t see value for 8 if no touch screen
  • Can add a program called Classic Shell to revert Win 8 to older look and feel
  • general consensus that IT staff are still getting numerous help desk calls about Win 7 – there is concern that upgrading to Win 8 will only increase help desk calls
  • Win 8 seems more geared to personal users
    • Win 8 has a different method for connecting to a network – Map Drives no longer there
    • No more file paths, have to search
    • Geared more toward the non-techie, it seems

File Transfer & Cloud Storage

Donor Management Databases

Social Media

  • Should/does it fall under Marketing or Tech?
    • Content support – marketing function
    • IT – for integration w/ website etc.
    • If small shop, sometimes have to do both
    • Different skill set for each side, content and technical
    • Facebook and other Ads – should come from marketing’s budget
  • Social media policies are a good idea (sample policies available here)
  • Social media committee also useful way to manage it
  • Google places – have to get verified
    • Can “claim” address etc. & include logo & keywords

Office 365

  • Desktop component
  • Online component
  • Office 365 info sheet for nonprofits (thanks, Johna!)
  • 2013 “Cartoonish” looking
  • Exchange 2013 lacks public folders (mailboxes instead)
  • NPOs get discount ($4.50/user per monthly)
  • Can access apps offline
  • Get bigger exchange mailbox
  • Better collaboration included in 365, but easier for tech savvy folks
  • Capital vs. operating expenditures (Always a concern)

Backups

Document Management Systems / Board Portals