May 2014

Are you leveraging social media for your business? Along with this monthly newsletter, I maintain a company facebook page and twitter account. I try to make a relevant post every couple of days. This keeps us engaged and top of mind with our clients. I got a call out of the blue last week from the Kansas City Star, who noticed one of my timely tweets and interviewed me for a short article! It’s easy and it works.

You’ll notice on my regular tweets and posts, as well as the newsletter below, that very little of the content is my own. I certainly do provide my own content from time to time, especially in this monthly blog post. However, I am too busy to prepare an entire newsletter or regular technology posts on my own. I can prove with many years worth of history, that if I tried to bite off that much work, nothing would get sent out. I am able to share good content from others with just a few clicks. I have several sources for that content:
• Industry partners (you’ll note articles in my newsletter from Microsoft, Lenovo, Cisco, HP, etc.)
• Subscriptions (There is an industry group that has a searchable content database that I subscribe to, so I can quickly provide articles on specific topics)
• My own surfing – I read many other blogs and IT news sites for my own benefit, and often share from those
• Peers – Every day I see posts in my feed from other IT professionals that are great. We all borrow from each other from time to time

I don’t get a lot of feedback from these posts, but don’t get discouraged. The point is to keep our name out there, so many will see the post and move on. That’s fine! I do hear from many of you that enjoy the newsletter. However, providing the relevant content will pay off in time, just as this news article came along for me.

The news article was about the ebay password breech, and the interview and article tied in nicely with last month’s blog post about passwords. You can read the article at the Kansas City Star.

I do use a couple of tools that help. Constant Contact manages the mailing list and sends out my newsletter each month. Can you believe some people do unsubscribe from my list? Well, at least I don’t have to manage that as Constant Contact does it for me. Sendible allows me to share content on Facebook and Twitter at the same time. I also link all of my monthly newsletter blog entries to my blog on WordPress for extra exposure. Let me know how I can help!

May 2013 – Interns, Facebook, Cloud

Help Wanted – Network Innovations is looking for a responsible, mature high school or college student to help at our office over the summer.  An applicant should be pretty computer savvy and have access to a car – interested candidates can email me at for more information.

Have you considered hiring someone like this in your business?  For one thing, employing a teenager and providing job experience is great for the community as a whole, but selfishly I’ve found it’s great for our company too.  Our employees really enjoy the chance to mentor a young person, and that change of mindset can be a great catalyst for growth.  Also, some of these kids are just phenomenal!  It’s also a great way to get some of those things done that just never seem to make it to the top of the to-do list. I highly recommend you give it a try – if you have any questions about how we do it, give me a call!

This month I’ll continue my “cloud” discussion.  Probably the biggest issue we have to address is what does cloud computing really mean?  What people generally mean when they use this term is using data or an application from shared servers outside your control versus local servers that you own.

Facebook is a great example of cloud computing – you access the application across the Internet, you have no ownership or control over the servers, you aren’t responsible for outages and you didn’t have to purchase the equipment.  Applications like Facebook, however, have spread the misconception that cloud computing is free or less expensive than local servers.  In fact, for business use, cloud computing is typically more expensive than local servers if you look at the cost over 2+ years.   PROs for cloud computing include low to no responsibility for supporting and maintaining the system, easier remote or “anywhere, any device” access, and lower capital expenses.  CONs  include no control of and in many cases no visibility into the infrastructure used, dependence on reliable Internet connections, and less flexibility due to utilizing a platform shared by many users.  In most cases today, it’s not feasible to pursue a 100% cloud strategy, however you may have many applications or services where the PROs outweigh the CONS.

It’s important to be very thorough in evaluating the benefits, risks and costs of transitioning an application to cloud computing, so you understand how it will impact your business over the next 2-5 years.  Then, it’s even more important to evaluate the potential cloud partners to ensure you are choosing a stable, redundant, financially viable partner to entrust with your data.  Give us a call and we can help with this!

Now that you have a baseline understanding of cloud computing, next month I’ll try to confuse things by discussing Private Cloud and Hybrid Cloud!  Never fear, we are here to help with  your specific environment anytime!

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), Facebook Statistics

The lead article this month is about “BYOD” or allowing users to Bring Your Own Device to the company network.   Properly managed, BYOD can bring significant cost savings while allowing each user to choose the device they prefer.   AltiGen’s MaxMobile app is a key component for BYOD.  This allows an employee to use their personal cell phone, but giving your clients a company-owned phone number.   All calls go through the company phone system, so they can be re-routed, recorded, reported on, etc.  The employee has the full power of the business phone system, with the ability to transfer a call from their cell directly to another extension, conference calls, music on hold, call recording, etc.  They can also see who’s on the phone and their status, right on the smart phone.  Ask for a demo of this amazing product!

Speaking of smartphones, the chatter has increased significantly in the past few weeks about viruses targeting Android phones.  Just this week, an outbreak in China affected over 500,000 phones.  Most android attacks are still social-engineering based, meaning that the user installs the infected app.  Sometimes they are tricked, often times they are installing an app from an unreliable source.  For this reason, I’ve resisted anti-virus for my phone, but at this point it seems inevitable.  I’ve been testing an app on my phone, and it’s probably time for everyone with an Android phone to consider anti-virus.  The good news is, many AV apps include other features such as lost phone finders, remote wipe and other security measures, backup and privacy enhancements.  Let us know if you would like more information.

I’m sure you’ve seen the scams on Facebook “Find out who’s stalking your profile” and of course those apps aren’t real.  However, I have found a very insightful analytics tool from Wolfram Alpha.  This tool will analyze your friends and posts, and gives a very detailed report.  Follow the read more link for more!

To run the free app, visit and search for “Facebook Report”.  Some of my favorite information:  Word frequencies (with a cool word cloud – see below), Top Commenters, Most Liked Post, Most Commented Post, LOTS of friend demographics, etc.  If you use your Facebook profile for business, you can use this app to really tune your message.

February 2012, Do you like me?


In honor of Valentine’s Day, I will ask:  Do you like me?  Please like our facebook page at or our twitter account at  If you like our newsletter articles, you will find other great articles about technology and improving your business as I find them.   You’ll also find alerts and information that won’t keep for a monthly newsletter.


Toll Fraud is on the rise in 2012!  Toll fraud occurs when someone hacks your voicemail password, and then uses that access to make long distance phone calls from your company phone system.  We didn’t see any toll fraud issues within our client base in 2011, and we’ve seen 4 in 2012!  In most cases, the hacking is done by “brute force” with an automated system that just repeatedly dials and attempts to access voicemail until a password works.  There are many ways to reduce your risk, I will list several below.  Let me know if you would like our assistance in securing or auditing your system.

  • Use longer passwords, 5-6 digits if possible
  • Use complex passwords (don’t use the default password you were assigned, your extension number, phone number or address)
  • Delete unused extensions
  • Disable voicemail and/or calling from voicemail for extensions that don’t need it
  • Disable international calling both on the system itself and with your carrier unless required


I should have exciting updates on the AltiGen phone system next month – our dealer council meeting at AltiGen HQ is the first week of March.  Once again Network Innovations is proud to be among AltiGen’s top 3 dealers.  I have served for many years on AltiGen’s Dealer Council, and appreciate AltiGen’s willingness to allow me to help shape the future of such a great system.  I’ll be planning our annual user group meeting when I return, I hope to see you there!

Last month I promised a few more Google search tips, here goes:

  • Explicit Phrase – enclose your search phrase in quotations to only find results with that exact phrase in the same order.  i.e “AltiGen Olathe”
  • Convert units of measure – search for a phrase such as “cups in a pint” or “31 kilometers in miles” (quotes not needed in the actual search).  Instant results!
  • Google is a calculator!  Enter an equation for your search term and instantly get the result.  i.e. 45% of 39, 9*5, etc.  Read more about operators in the Google Guide:  I will include even more next month!