Hosted Apps and Desktops Provide Secure, Reliable Network Connections for Telecommuting Employees

i-MigrationWorking from home. It’s the Holy Grail for a high proportion of employees, and it has certainly been romanticized in popular culture as “living the life.” However, it seems to simply not be feasible for a lot of small and medium-sized businesses. There are some things that just aren’t handled easily without an office — internal databases, for one, and sensitive information. Not to mention the hassle of setting up a desktop, phone, and everything that goes into a workspace in a bunch of remote locations. And what if somebody hacked a computer outside of your protection and gained access to critical company information?

And yet, the trend is clear. While the population of employees in the United States grew by 1.9% between 2013 and 2014, the telecommuter population grew by 5.6%. Many employees only work from home half of the time — and even that seems like a ton of work just to set up a home office for a couple days out of the week. Thankfully, there are IT solutions available today that make accommodating telecommuters easier on your IT department: hosted apps and desktop services.

Using Multi-Function Products to Master Your Law Firm’s Documentation

5-4Shelly Bryant of Bryant | Whitten, LLP had the same problem that his opponents in the courtroom had: too many documents, too much clutter. It’s an issue that plagues law firms across California and beyond. When Shelly came to us for a consultation, we provided him with a streamlined cloud solution that made his documents and files easier to access than he could have dreamed.

Efficiency is the name of the game. When Shelly goes into mediation with a client now, the opposing attorney often shows up with boxes upon boxes of paperwork. Meanwhile, Shelly simply brings his laptop and a mobile printer. It isn’t difficult to decipher which is easier — digging through all of those boxes, or a quick search and print of just the documents you need? The benefits are further-reaching than just the functional improvements, though. This juxtaposition allows Shelly to exude an image of efficiency. So, not only is he faster, but he gains reputation and client trust because clients feel their dollars are used efficiently.

How a Customized Cloud Migration Enhanced an Encino CPA Firm’s Network Security

DiamondIT Cloud“They never tried to upsell us … they looked for solutions for us, not profits for them.” The good people of Charles, Blank & Karp (CBK), a CPA firm in Encino, needed a solution to their looming IT woes. Their file server, a 2002 vintage that held clients’ most critical documents, was showing signs that it was not long for this world. When the firm’s leaders pow-wowed about how they might go forward, they talked about just getting another server. Only when they started bringing up all of the security considerations involved did they come to the conclusion that the cloud was the solution.

Like all of our clients, Jim Karp (the firm’s managing partner and CPA) found our customized approach to outfitting his firm to be a breath of fresh air. “We’re numbers people,” he says. “We live in numbers; we work with numbers; we love numbers. We also like helping people, so it’s sort of like the best of both worlds.” In that sense, accounting and IT go hand-in-hand. Behind the formulas and cold hard facts, there are people trusting in and relying on you.

In This Together: Working with DiamondIT Is like Having Your Own CIO-For-Hire

DiamondIT Thumbs upConsider the chief information officer (CIO). This individual is like the head electrician at a theme park. Without his or her efforts, the rides don’t move, and you’re stuck with clowns and over-priced pretzels. Sure, major theme parks like Disneyland probably have a CIO, as well as a head electrician, but bear with me. A successful CIO will have an intimate understanding of not only the IT of your company but what technology your competitors are using and what everyone will be using in five years.

Thanks in large part to the guidance of CIOs past and present (along with everyone from engineers to administrators), a CIO can have quite a huge impact on a company without even being in the office. Yes, standing on the shoulders of the Ghost of Information Executives Past is a new breed of virtual CIO that can leverage the same technology that gives your company an edge to seamlessly communicate with you remotely. That said, it is obviously important for this hypothetical executive to have a lay of the land and understand your network from more than just pictures and schematics. It’s important to be in striking distance of the office to oversee any issues or big changes.

How Some CPA Firms Are Quietly Maximizing Billable Hours Using Cloud Technology

Cloud technologyWhile I was an executive at a regional branch of a CPA firm, I worked with a lot of like-minded people and really learned how they tick. The CPAs and other professionals I worked with were great at keeping current in their industry and at protecting client information. After all, tax laws change regularly, and confidentiality is paramount.

But there was something they weren’t great at — CPAs, I learned, as a rule of thumb, are terrible at capturing their time. They’ll work hard with a client, only to either forget or underreport their times, costing the firm in billing revenue. Why does this happen? Isn’t optimizing billing a no-brainer?

The reason this happens is that your technology may be holding you (and your CPAs) back because CPAs meet with clients and then must wait until they get back to their desktop to log times. A cloud solution that allows for mobile time logging helps ensure that you get every dollar that you earn. We’re accountants after all — we should account for every hour!

Making Every Dollar Count: How Cloud Services Create Breathing Room in Your Non-Profit’s Budget

cloud servicesBeautiful and serene, Mount Whitney glimmers in the January sun, welcoming California into the New Ye—wait, no, that’s not Whitney, that mountain is the pile of work you’ve come back to after your well-deserved winter break. Rest is fleeting for non-profits as you return to fighting injustice one groggy email at a time. As you review your 2015 financial numbers and ponder what better ways you can spend your hard-earned budget—one of your resolutions, surely—your eyes rest on the big, ugly, amorphous cost of keeping your organization’s IT network afloat. Between upkeep, part replacement, electricity consumption, and labor, an inefficient network holds a lot of non-profits back.

Body Cameras for Police Departments Need Cloud Storage to be Effective

i-Cloud-ServicesSlowly but surely, cities around California are experimenting with body cameras on their police officers. Studies suggest that these have the potential to dramatically improve the relationship between the police and the community. It is a big decision, however; Los Angeles, for example, is weighing the hefty $57.6 million price tag for outfitting the LAPD over the next five years.1 Meanwhile, Sacramento’s mayor implored the chief of the SPD to consider body cameras to “restore the connectivity between our officers and the community.”2 That connectivity isn’t free, however. Beyond the $500-to-$1,000-per-unit cost3 of the cameras themselves, there are significant logistical issues to be worked out on the IT side of the equation: where to store the footage, how to organize it, how to keep it secure, and so on. In lieu of weighing down the police department’s IT team with several new headaches, it would be wiser (and cheaper!) to trust the right partner for storing data on a secure cloud.

Cities in the Cloud: Why Government IT Solutions are Getting More Powerful

government IT soutions Cloud-ServicesI recently saw an interesting post about how more and more cities are relying on the cloud for part of their IT infrastructure. The slideshow highlights a number of large metro areas, and it is very exciting to see places like Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Francisco take substantial steps towards leveraging the power of the cloud. The cloud gives cities abundant and powerful resources without increasing costs. Even better, the cloud makes interoperability between agencies and divisions simple and seamless. From collaboration tools to email, cloud solutions provide robust and always-on infrastructure to cities large and small around the world.

Out and About: Restructuring Your Organization to Accommodate Remote Employees

DiamondIT communication globalLooking for a reason to let your employees work from home? You shouldn’t have to look that far—many larger organizations like Dell and Samsung have work-from-home programs that reward high performers with the increased freedom and flexibility of not having to come to the office every day. And many smaller companies are doing the same as a way to reduce overhead costs and get even more out of their staff. Nearly 4 million Americans work from home at least twice a week. That represents nearly 2.5% of the entire professional workforce.1 Studies show that working from home brings greater employee satisfaction and—as hard as it used to be to believe—greater productivity (like a more than 10% increase in call volume2) as employees seek to prove they can handle the responsibility that comes from working out of the office.

Oracle, Amazon, Microsoft, and the Ubiquity of Cloud for Business

i-Cloud-ServicesThe cloud may feel new to many people, but for many organizations, the cloud has been a big part of their operations for some time. Whether through private clouds set up via on-premise servers or public clouds at remote datacenters, hosting applications and data on servers and accessing those applications and data remotely has been an important part of networks all around the world for many years. So why all the hubbub and interest now? Why has the cloud transitioned from being “the next big thing” to the current big thing?