March News:

On The CalendarMarch Happenings At The Fulcrum Group
  • We hope you were able to make our late February webinar, Office 365:  More Than Just Hosted Email - a presentation geared to businesses that are considering upgrading to Microsoft's Office 365. For the link to the recorded presentation, see our Events page.
  • While you're there, we hope you notice the great news from Digium - The Fulcrum Group was recognized this month as a Digium Pinnacle Partner for the fourth year!  This is an acknowledgement of partners who excel at providing Digium's Switchvox unified communication/phone system solution along with outstanding customer service.  Be sure to mark on your calendar in April, our upcoming webinar, What's New in Switchvox 6.  Register right from our Events page.  Hope to "see" you there!
  • Mark your calendars for Sharepoint Techfest on April 6th in Las Colinas at the Irving Convention Center, where this year's conference will focus on converging Azure, Office 365 and SharePoint Technologies. Register or get more info at the link above - we hope to see you there!
  • The Fulcrum Group turned 14 last month!  Did you catch our blog which shared a few celebratory moments which happened at our February company meeting?
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.
Tax Scams tips from The Fulcrum GroupTis the Season for Tax Scams The unscrupulous ways and numerous avenues criminals have at their disposal to get at your personal information is on the rise.  We have collected some resources for you that break down these various methods.  Please share this article with your colleagues, as preparedness is always the best prevention! Wombat Security on Avoiding Tax Scams Details on Phishing And Online Scams IRS MultiMedia Presentations on Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts And, as you might have been hearing much lately on local and national news, Intuit/Turbo Tax's statement on Identity Theft and What To Do If Your Identify (And Refund) Is Stolen If you've come across any helpful articles or have experienced any of these personally, feel free to share your advice on our Facebook page!  
Thinking of Switching IT Providers?Switching IT Providers Are you thinking about changing your IT provider or replacing your internal person? We've compiled some quick tips for executives planning to make a change and not sure where to start. Be on the lookout for an expanded version of this list as March's White Paper, later this month. Communication When the need for change seems imminent with your technology support, taking no action can be sometimes feel like a safer or cheaper option. Conversely, some of us are inclined to act as soon as our collective gut tells us. But, before making any big moves, you might consider what communication has been like between you and your IT person or service provider. Do you often talk business together, have you clearly expressed areas where your support team need to improve and do you meet regularly to prioritize your needs?  If you find you're receiving sub-par service, it may be worth the time and effort to discuss opportunities to improve. If you feel a change is warranted, the items listed below can help to have on-hand before you make any moves:
  • List of your computer network applications Knowing what applications are used in your business to accomplish specific tasks and being familiar with (and able to articulate to your technology support) how these applications are used will help clarify your business needs and priorities to your provider.
  • List of vendors You might know offhand who handles your websites, your ISP, phone vendors and copier vendors, but may find it more difficult to identify vendors such as accounting software support, custom developed applications, cloud applications, DNS registrar, DNS hosting and the like. Having a reference with these vendors listed will help avoid a tough support situation, in the case of renewals, an outage or if any changes are made.
  • List of license keys If your IT people have not maintained license keys to off-the-shelf purchased software or licensing agreements, it can be hard to track these down.
  • Workflows A workflow document shows how data gets from various parts of your network and applications to help you accomplish your business goals.  You, or another top producer in your organization, can meet with your technology team to map out this data.  Also, you can always have this to share with any future support teams.  Once documentation exists, adjustments can be made to handle areas where your previous person may have been falling short. A new vendor might also have access to auditing or scanning tools to help gather information and piece together a visual representation of your network, like a logical network map.
  • List of passwords Oftentimes, if things have not been rosy and you ask your IT person or vendor for a list of passwords the first thing on their mind is that you’re making a change. Best to make that kind of transition on your timeline.
  • Standardized team lists and Organization charts More than standard naming or equipment, Standardization is about lumping like work groups together, for more efficient and cost-effective use of your business technology. If your organization has 50 people but those 50 people can be broken up into 5 groups that have very similar work habits, it is easier to use templates, scripts and policies to simplify the user experience.  An Organization Chart can be used by most firms to start asking the right questions of your teams to make sure they have the right end-user hardware, right applications installed, correct permissions on file shares, are in the correct email distribution groups and have been provisioned with user accounts for third-party or cloud applications.
You may find you can interact with your current support team and a change may not be needed, but if change is warranted, we hope you can refer to this information to help you make the transition as seamless as possible.  If you would like further guidance on making a change to your technology support environment, do not hesitate to reach out to us by email or give us a call at 817.337.0300. Someone's always here, ready to offer solid advice.
SPOTlight On: Cisco's Next Generation Firewall - ASA with FirePOWER The Fulcrum Group - Dallas Fort Worth IT Experts What's the best way to respond to the threat of a cyber attack on your small to medium sized business?  With the industry's first threat-focused next generation firewall, Cisco's ASA with FirePOWER. Powered by the reliability of Cisco, ASA with FirePOWER Services delivers an integrated threat defense for protection across the entire attack continuum — before, during, and after an attack - in varying platforms sure to suit your organization's need. Learn more about Cisco's ASA with FirePOWER here and be sure to give your Fulcrum Group Account Manager a shout if you'd like to find out more how you can best protect your business.  
  More Than Tech Tips:  How To Deal With MicromanagingTech Tips from The Fulcrum Group, Dallas Fort Worth IT Managed Services Provider If you often have trouble confidently handing projects over to others, feel like you "might as well just do it yourself" or just can't resist being involved in every decision, you might be guilty of micromanaging. If you are on the other end of someone's micromanaging madness, you likely feel the pain on a regular basis!  Here are some helpful hints on how to deal with it from either end.  Feel free to share with anyone who could benefit! 6 Ways To Stop Micromanaging Your Employees Staying Involved Without Micromanaging IT Leadership:  Signs You're A Micromanager Harvard Business Review's Signs You're A Micromanager Stop Being Micromanaged How To Handle A Micromanaging Boss Without Getting Fired  
  Did You Know...Your Best Help Desk Experience The Fulcrum Group Dallas Fort Worth IT Experts The Fulcrum Group's engineering department receives regular feedback on the support we provide to our SPOT Managed Services clients and our non Managed Services clients, alike.  We want you to know we enjoy hearing all you have to say and we're constantly refining the service experience for all of our clients.  Some points to keep in mind include:
  • We typically experience highest call volumes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, all day. Best times to catch someone available on those days, in particular, are between 11AM-12PM and 2PM-3PM..
  • If you are experiencing peak-time issues it is best to email the ticket in so we can prioritize it effectively and achieve the fastest response to your situation.
  • Email or website engagement (which you can always quickly find from our home page, midway down under "Remote Support") is preferred, however, if you have an urgent need please call us right away so we can get someone working on it ASAP.
Based on recent feedback, we also want you to know:
  • We are committed to our fully managed SPOT clients first. If you are calling in about server or backup support that is managed by us you will receive the 1 hour response time to those issues. If you are calling in about a PC support issue, phone not working, software issue, or just a general question we will give you best effort support on these. If you want the faster response times and often immediate or same day support on level 1 issues please see your Account Manager on how to become a fully managed SPOT client today.
  • Regarding scheduling engineers to come onsite for a visit...Please be aware that we typically attempt to resolve most issues remotely first, before scheduling someone to come onsite.  This helps to keep costs down. We have moved to a scheduling system that allows our dispatcher to schedule engineers to be onsite. This will include a notification to you via email, phone call, or ticket update. If the time that is scheduled does not work for you please feel free to call in and ask for Tony or simply respond to the email or ticket correspondence with a date and time that works better for you.
We always want you to feel comfortable reaching out to us and want to ensure you that your feedback is important to us - we're listening!  If you have any questions, comments, issues, or concerns please reach out to our Director of Services, Robert Curtis.