In March News:

 
On The Calendar If you're new to our newsletter and you'd like to subscribe, let us know.The Fulcrum Group Dallas Fort Worth IT Experts March News and Events
  • We are honored to receive Digium's prestigious Pinnacle Partner Award again!  Read about our most recent recognition here.
  • Be on the lookout for more info coming soon on our Spring Lunch & Learn with The Fulcrum Group. This is a fun, weekday lunchtime opportunity to learn more about topics relevant to small-medium businesses, coming up in early May.  Previously, we've had topics related to security, cloud computing, and social media marketing.  If you have any feedback on where you'd like us to be this season, or what topics you'd like to know more about, feel free to comment on our Facebook page - we are always open to delivering what you need to know.  In the meantime, we'll keep you in the loop via email and social media.  Make sure you're following us!
Subscribing to our blog and following us on social media is a great way to stay aware of events that pop up, best security practices, new alerts and other information for business owners and IT Managers.              
Interesting Trends in IT Staffing & BudgetingThe Fulcrum Group can assist you with your IT planning There are significant trends taking hold in IT. The IT department in a small-medium business is no longer thought of as a cost center, but as a tool to transform that business.  In addition, IT needs are now considered by multiple departments, not just the tech team. It is not uncommon for IT projects to be driven by sales, marketing, or even the executive team. More CIOs report to the COO than ever before, according to a recent survey from the Global Institute for IT Management. And tech budgets are shrinking, down from 8.1% of total revenues in 2011 to 5.5% in 2014.  There's also been a slight increase in IT staffing turnover.  Overall spending on technology training and education is down.  These shifts indicate that businesses expect IT to contribute to the bottom line while at the same time, being more efficient (doing more with less). In the same study, respondents indicated that 56% of investments for Cloud solutions will go towards internal cloud projects.  You can find more info on this topic here. And as always, if you'd like to explore more about this, visit our website at www.fulcrum.pro or give us a shout at 817.337.0300.
 
Microsoft Hyper-V and System Center 2012: A Complete Virtualization SolutionLet the Fulcrum Group help with your Virtualization needs With the release of Hyper-V 2012 R and System Center 2012 R2, Microsoft finally has the virtualization solution to compete toe-to-toe with VMware.  Below are a few features that show how Hyper-V and System Center stack up. Hyper-V stand-out features:
  • Comparable functionality to VMware (performance, high availability, manageability)
  • Next generation Virtual Machine architecture
  • Manage both Windows on-premise and Azure cloud environments
Hyper-V – Scalability, Performance, & Density Points:
  • Increase in number of supported CPUs and memory (more horsepower to run VMs)
  • Clustering Support (high availability)
  • iSCSI Virtual Hard Disk – shared storage without the SAN
  • New Virtual Hard Disk Format – improved performance and scalability
System Center 2012 Highlights:
  • Operations Manager – monitor, report, and alert on your virtual server environment
  • Configuration Manager – deploy Operating Systems, applications, and Windows patching
  • Virtual Machine Manager – data center virtual server management, including Hyper-V, VMware, and Citrx Xen
  • Orchestrator – workflow automation
  • Data Protection Manager – enterprise backup
  • Service Manager – ITIL IT Service Management best practices
Stay tuned for our upcoming white paper where we’ll dig deeper into Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization solution. As always, we strive to help you feel comfortable in contacting us if you have any questions about how these virtualization solutions can benefit your organization. .
SPOTlight On: Robert CurtisThe Fulcrum Group - Dallas Fort Worth IT Experts In looking for a Director of Consulting Services to ensure our clients are happy and well-served by the solutions we've delivered, we think we've found just the right combination in Robert Curtis. Well-versed in Customer Relationship Management, Robert shines in active listening, is naturally inclined to seek to understand what his clients need and want, and is a great customer advocate at all times. A United States Navyman since 1999, and an avid sports enthusiast, Robert wants you to know that he's been around the world twice and played basketball on 6 different continents!  Married almost 17 years now, he enjoys spending time with his family, reading and, of course, playing all sports. One simple sentence which defines Robert best?  He's an experienced, dynamic, innovative leader who thrives on empowering people with technology.  Sounds like a perfect Fulcrum Group fit - welcome Robert!  
 
  Tech TipTech Tips from The Fulcrum Group, Dallas Fort Worth IT Managed Services Providers: Some Resources For You Superfish & The FREAK Flaw Last year, a couple of notably-named security topics (including Heartbleed and Shellshock, aka “BASH bug”) made big news.  And as the month develops, looks like we have a couple of new Spring 2015 contenders.
  • The FREAK security hole or flaw – in the fewest handful of words – another example of outdated, insecure encryption code that is still in use.  ZDNet has abasic overview here, as well as a recently updated, more thorough discussion here, including who’s affected, what you can do, as well as a “freak attack client check” tool to see if your specific client system is vulnerable.
  • Superfish – Superfish Visual Discovery is a software that is prepackaged with Lenovo consumer-grade computers. In simplest terms, Superfish is man-in-the-middle adware that hijacks HTTPS traffic on new PCs. You can find some recent Superfish updates here and here.  And while we’re on the topic of horribly insecure adware, here’s some info on How to Check for Other Superfish-like Malware.
With security still on the brain, here’s an interesting article we came across detailing the Most Vulnerable Operating Systems of 2014.  If you’re interested in how these security flaws get their names (and who does the naming), check this out. If you have any questions or would like further assistance, don't hesitate to reach out.  
Did You Know...FREE SPOT Check Network AssessmentThe Fulcrum Group Dallas Fort Worth IT Experts Having a basic understanding of your IT infrastructure will allow you to make solid decisions when it comes to the current and future health of your network. Take the first step right now and request your FREE SPOT Check Network Assessment.