April News:

 
On The Calendar
  • Please join us for an informative phone system webinar on Tuesday, April 26th, from 10 to 11 a.m. for What's New in Switchvox 6.  If you're an existing Fulcrum Group Digium customer, or considering a Digium Switchvox phone system, you may want to read our Did You Know topic, below, then plan to listen in and find out more about why you will want to make the switch!   Hope to "see" you there! RSVP on our Events page today.
  • You will not want to miss The Fulcrum Group's 2016 Cloud & Business IT Summit at our offices on Wednesday afternoon, May 25th from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  This is a fantastic opportunity for many new contacts and our established clients, alike, to explore cutting edge Cloud and business technologies.  Plan on plenty of opportunities to network, enjoy great food and drinks, and learn a little as well!  If you haven't already received your invite, go directly to our Events page for more info and to RSVP NOW!
Quick links to our social media pages are accessible right from our website and in every monthly newsletter email you receive from us!  If you're new to our newsletter and you'd like to subscribe, let us know.
The Fulcrum Group Fitness FocusThe Fulcrum Group Fitness Focus At the Fulcrum Group, we like to incorporate various quarterly and monthly themes for fun and cohesiveness. The focus among our team this 2nd Quarter of the year is "Business Continuity Begins With You." Wintertime's various illnesses actually helped inspire us to want to make sure our team is robust and healthy as possible this spring.  For us to be here at work every day for our clients, and to do our best by them, being healthy and ready for the work week is top priority. Our President, Steve Meek, is a longtime user of the Fitbit Flex - which, he points out, is also a great example of an Internet of Everything (IoE) technology - and due to its ease of use, Steve thought that it would be a handy and fun tech tool to incorporate into our health goals. FitBits were provided to all Fulcrum Group employees and the following objectives were shared with everyone:
  • a company-wide goal by the end of Quarter 2 is to have taken 16,614,000 total combined steps, roughly tracing a southern-to-west coast-to-midwest-to-east coast virtual path around the United States.
  • Each employee is challenged to do their best to achieve a personal goal of 791,143 total steps per employee by quarter's end to help the company meet this ambitious goal.
Currently, our progress is illustrated on the above map - our "virtual walk across the United States" will take us from our office in Fort Worth, toward and up the west coast, across the northern U.S. states, down the east coast, and back towards our office via the southern states. Our company-wide goal will take us a total of 16,614,000 steps which equals approximately 8,307 miles and roughly 2,725 hours of walking – that’s equal to 113.5 days. So far, we have walked a cumulative 2,903,457 steps towards our goal, which means we’ve made it just north of Los Angeles as of mid-April. A fun sidenote: We've associated our new pieces of cool technology with our email addresses, so if any of our clients are familiar with our email addresses, we hope they would feel free to connect with us as "friends" through the FitBit app to help spur on some fun encouragement! We hope you'll be sure to follow us on the social media of your choice for regular updates on our progress!
 
Robert Curtis Assists In Building Lone Star Veterans Association Chapter  In typical organized and structured navyman fashion, The Fulcrum Group's own Director of Consulting Services, Robert "Captain" Curtis, is helping develop a new chapter of the Lone Star Veterans Association in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Robert comments, "As a disabled veteran myself, I know there are others out there that could use help. If there is anything my career has thought me it is to give yourself in service to others. I want to see my fellow veterans succeed in their life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Thus If I can be of any help I feel obligated to do so." We're so glad to share this worthy pursuit!
SPOTlight On: SonicWall Firewalls & High Internet Availability The Fulcrum Group - Dallas Fort Worth IT Experts Delivering Internet High Availability for Today’s Cloud-Centric Computing April is Business Continuity Month at The Fulcrum Group.  We are spotlighting SonicWALL firewall’s ability to provide Internet High Availability, which is extremely important for our clients that have embraced the Cloud for many of their applications, including email and other business critical applications.  When the Internet is down, user productivity plummets because there is no access to critical Cloud applications.  Having redundant, highly available Internet means that your users can stay productive even when your primary Internet connection is down. SonicWALL NSA and TZ Series firewalls provide small to medium organizations with business continuity and disaster recovery at levels of reliability usually reserved for larger enterprises. Advanced features include active/passive failover for distributing or load sharing outbound WAN traffic, and hardware failover for automatically activating a passive appliance to assume responsibility for forwarding traffic. Failover even extends to the VPN, allowing remote branches to connect to a secondary gateway if the primary gateway is unavailable. Business continuity Business continuity is ensured through SonicWALL WAN redundancy features, hardware failover and load balancing.  With six configurable Ethernet interfaces, the NSA Series is ideally suited for complex networks requiring a higher level of business continuity features. Internet Failover and Load Balancing On a SonicWALL firewall, one of the user-assigned ports can be designated as a secondary WAN port, ensuring highly reliable Internet connectivity and robust performance. This secondary WAN port can be configured in active-passive failover mode, providing a highly efficient method for distributing or load sharing outbound WAN traffic. Load balancing is available on all the NSA Series and TZ Series appliances.  This can allow your organization to use both Internet connections simultaneously.  You can create rules that force certain types of traffic (email, backup, web browsing) to use a specific Internet connection, freeing up your primary Internet connection for business-critical Cloud applications. Automated Failover and Failback Failover and failback technologies are integrated into SonicWALL firewalls. These technologies are designed to ensure continuous uptime for IPsec VPN tunnels by automatically failing over to an alternate WAN connection should the broadband connection fail. Once the broadband is re-established, the appliance fails back to the original WAN connection, providing the best connection speed possible. Hardware Failover SonicWALL firewalls not only provide business continuity and Internet failover/load balancing, but they also offer hardware failover.  When in hardware failover mode, if the active unit fails, the passive unit will automatically detect and assume responsibility for forwarding traffic for a greater level of reliability and redundancy. 3G/4G Wireless Broadband Networking By leveraging recent advances in 3G/4G cellular broadband technologies, Dell SonicWALL firewall appliances enable organizations to use the Internet even in locations where wired broadband access is unavailable or requires time-consuming installation and provisioning.  This allows businesses to establish high speed access rapidly for seasonal kiosks, mobile point-of-sale stations, portable ATM machines, disaster recovery networks, construction sites, and more—as either a backup to a wired line or as a primary Internet connection. If business continuity and Internet High Availability are important to your organization, or if your organization is embracing the Cloud, contact your Fulcrum Group Account Manager for more information.
 
  More Than Tech Tips:  Got Stress?  Try These Great Tips To Deal With It In The Workplace!Tech Tips from The Fulcrum Group, Dallas Fort Worth IT Managed Services Provider Stress is a workplace given. We can't eliminate it, but we can take steps to help neutralize it.  Here's a good start:
  1. De-stress your body. It seems the basis for a lesser-stressed, physically energized body lies in the simple pattern of what we eat, how (and how often) we move, and how much we sleep.  - Eating whole foods - those your grandmother would recognize as "food," not what is typically found in the growing snack aisles at the grocery store - to nourish your body is a great start.  - Exercising regularly releases feel-good, stress relieving chemicals. Every time you find your stress level on the rise, get up and move with a quick walk around the office or building. Doing so gets your blood and endorphins flowing, makes you happy, and turns off your flight or fight stress response, and can even put you at somewhat of a perspective-readjusting distance. Boost the benefits of moving by taking several deep, cleansing breathes that trigger your relaxation response. - Building time into your busy weekly schedule for regular activity - a walk with your dog, your spouse or child, meeting a friend at the gym, or just spending time working in the yard - is one of the best things you can do for yourself. - Getting enough sleep. Work stressors are magnified when we’re sleep-deprived. Crank down the a/c in the evening, unplug from your devices, be sure your body is tired with some regular activity (a must for me), and go to bed early!  If you need more sleep tips, check these out.
  2. De-stress your mind. An important key to neutralizing stress is to fuel our minds with more positive, happy, gratitude-filled thoughts in order to trigger our stress responses less often. Some ways to help that happen include - cultivating a grateful mind - each evening, write down - or just take the time to consider - three things you are grateful for. They can be as simple as seeing a gorgeous sunrise or being complimented on your new pair of shoes. - Consistent meditation practice of your choice—even if it’s only five minutes a day—may help lower blood pressure, and can help us manage the thoughts that can trigger stress.
  3. Fine-tune some important self-management skills. - Saying "no" is actually a skill, varying in degrees of difficulty for people. If you're a parent, you may already have this one.  If saying "no" doesn't come naturally to you - consider the consequences of what you are inclined to say "yes" to, if you determine they are beyond the boundary you are comfortable with, then come up with a diplomatic, nice way to say no (here and here are some great ways to actually say "no" politely). - Brushing up on time management skills that are pertinent to you - dealing with procrastination, over-committing, or simply working to get places on time - can help nix some stressful situations.
  4. Don't lose sight of your purpose. Having a purpose keeps you motivated. Knowing what you're spending a majority of your waking hours for is essential to your fulfillment. Its worth the effort to consider yours.  When our life is full of nothing but work and obligations, we begin to feel bitter, resentful, depressed, and even angry. The antidote to these feelings is to focus on fueling all facets of our life. - Disengaging from work and adding some quality social time (whether that's meeting a friend for lunch, calling a loved one, or making time for a social event), carving out some "creative" time to do what you love, and tapping into the things that feed your soul or spirituality are all great ways to rekindle your purpose. You know what your favorites are; the important thing here is to prioritize them.
Need something right now to help manage stress in general?  Here's another resource I've come across for managing stress at work - these tips include recognizing signs of excessive job and workplace stress, and if you're a manager, tips to help create a less-stressful business climate. We hope you're on your way to a less-stressed spring!
 
  Did You Know...6 Ways VOIP Can Save Your Business Money The Fulcrum Group Dallas Fort Worth IT Experts It’s no secret that business owners are always looking for ways to cut their monthly expenses. If you own or manage a business, there’s one area that has big savings potential that you may have overlooked – your business communications. Voice over IP (VoIP) can be a great option for your small or medium-sized business. Businesses often switch to VoIP to save money. Here are 6 Ways VOIP Can Save Your Business Money:
  1. Hardware - real freedom to change or update your system in real time, without any extra purchases or installation
  2. Maintenance - with VoIP in the cloud, you can easily eliminate worrisome hardware failures, and other maintenance issues that result in lost revenue.
  3. Calling Fees - with VoIP you can avoid paying any long distance or interstate fees.
  4. Free Upgrades - With VoIP phone system upgrades are covered by your provider, and you should always have access to top-of-the-line equipment
  5. Mobility - ease of mobility means your number represents your account, not your physical location, so it travels with you wherever you go. Smartphone technology makes your mobile phone an extension of your network, which allows you to take business calls on your smartphone, no matter where you are.
  6. Advanced Features - Features such as auto-assistant, call routing, music on hold, presence, find-me-follow-me, and many others help smaller businesses appear more professional and capable of exceptional customer service, which always increases business.
We'll go more indepth later in our upcoming White Paper on this topic. Until then, we hope you'll tune into our latest business communications webinar, "What's New In Switchvox 6" on Tuesday, April 26th from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Please let us know if you'd like to be there and we'll send you an Outlook appointment right away, with instructions on how to join the webinar.  Its a great way to learn more about how VOIP solutions can impact your business - hope to "see" you there!