Here’s how to deploy IT hardware in America’s most complex city

new york cityIf you think a major IT deployment in New York City is easy, fuggedaboutit.

That was the challenge The Legal Aid Society faced when preparing a new hardware rollout. About every seven years, The Legal Aid Society refreshes its hardware infrastructure, which is about 2,500 devices in 26 offices spread throughout New York City. Because The Legal Aid Society provides free legal assistance to some of the city’s poorest residents, its staff of lawyers, paralegals, and interns (more than 2,000 law professionals) couldn’t be disturbed by long waits for new equipment.

But while the process of deploying new laptops and desktops might sound simpler than many other IT jobs, it wasn’t as straightforward as it sounds. The Legal Aid Society had to carefully adhere to grant funding requirements, as well as manage union rules, building policies, and the logistical problems associated with a large scale IT initiative in New York City. Continue Reading…

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What’s new in Creative Cloud 2015? New ways to collaborate

Adobe Creative Cloud 2015Collaboration could be Adobe Creative Cloud’s middle name: New enhancements to the powerful suite of applications give designers new ways to work together and cooperate on projects, and a new stock image collection can accelerate the workflow of designers who spend much of their day in Adobe’s photo-editing tools.

Today Adobe announced the release of Creative Cloud 2015, which not only opens up new avenues for collaboration, but delivers “a frictionless creative process” across all devices. Included in this update are new enhancements and features for Adobe’s 15 desktop apps, as well as new mobile apps for iPhone and Android. Plus, the new Adobe Stock program gives designers access to 40 million stock photos and graphics. Because Adobe is making its software more mobile-friendly, Creative Cloud 2015’s launch should prove to be a huge productivity gain for all businesses. Continue Reading…

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4 insights on data backups from our beta test of the new Arcserve appliance

backup restore

Organizations sit on mountains of data, and losing that content because of faulty or inadequate backup solutions can be catastrophic. No matter the size of your business, data backup is often necessary to protecting your bottom line. But not all solutions or methods will achieve this objective – at least not easily.

Technology firms like Arcserve, CommVault, Symantec, and others are working to fix that. They manufacture purpose-built backup appliances (PBBAs) that solely conduct data backups and restorations. And as more organizations demand the retention and protection of data, PBBAs are adding processing power and storage capabilities, and continue to leverage the cloud for backup storage.

We recently participated in the beta testing of the Arcserve UDP 7000 Series appliance, one of the newest available. What we experienced reaffirmed our beliefs about the PBBA space – it has solutions for organizations of all sizes, no matter what field.

Here are four takeaways about PBBAs from our beta test, and why these solutions might be right for your organization. Continue Reading…

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Is your retail store ready for new tech?

retail technologyThe National Retail Federation’s Big Show was the biggest one yet, as 35,000 retail professionals flooded the Javits Center in New York City to see the newest retail technology and to stay up on industry trends. From digital signage to same-day delivery to mobile payments, the many breeds of technologies for bricks-and-mortar stores dominated conversation at the Big Show. But one key question remained unanswered: How do retailers accomplish it all?

Over the next eight months or so, retailers large and small will be planning, buying, and installing new technologies in anticipation of the 2015 holiday rush. But some organizations are better prepared than others to take the reins and lead the charge. Is your organization ready to start a major tech push, from planning and buying to rollout and support?

The health of your IT environment stems from your IT infrastructure, professionals, and policies. Ask yourself the following questions to check up on whether your IT department is fit enough to start implementing the newest retail technology. Continue Reading…

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How Autodesk’s licensing change will affect you

ArtistComputerTabletThe subscription licensing model is here to stay, it appears. Microsoft and Adobe are two of the biggest recent examples of IT leaders moving toward subscription licensing, and now Autodesk has joined the fold. In order to simplify its offering and in recognition of the fact that most of its customers are on subscription, Autodesk has adjusted its software upgrade policy for certain licensed customers.

Starting Feb. 1, 2015, Autodesk will no longer offer its upgrade program for customers that own a perpetual license to a previous version of its software. Future editions of the company’s product suite will be available through the purchase of a new perpetual license for the current version, or as a Maintenance Subscription or Desktop Subscription benefit. All Autodesk products sold with perpetual licensing are covered by this policy change except for Creative Finishing products.

Who will the new policy affect? Continue Reading…

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What retailers will be talking about at the National Retail Federation Big Show

shopping mallThanks to holiday shopping, retailers pull in 70 to 80 percent of their year’s revenue in the last three months of the year. While reports show sales were slightly down in bricks-and-mortar stores to start the holiday season, these stores still have a leg up on online retailers.

But there’s no question that online shopping is a thorn in the side of retail stores. With free shipping more common than ever before and daily (sometimes hourly) deals to entice buyers, online retailers are racing to close the gap with bricks-and-mortar stores to keep customers coming back. But physical stores are fighting back: Digital displays with dynamic price adjustments offer better in-store pricing, beacon technology and apps enhance the customer experience, and mobile payment options attempt to make shopping easier and more seamless.

These options will inevitably be the talk of this year’s National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show, being held from Jan. 11 to 13 in New York City. But it’s not just about technology — it’s about how that technology can provide a better customer experience. Retailers will try to crack the code on what the store of the future should look like, and consider the industry’s biggest mystery: How do we do it first? Continue Reading…

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IT time wasters: Why you should take a second look at your email archiving

clock in trashNo matter how hard you try, it’s seemingly impossible to solve the problem of an overloaded inbox. Organizing the endless onslaught of emails is a daunting task, and just isn’t a high priority for most users.

IT, of course, sees it all a little differently. It’s not just a matter of storage and security, but compliance as well. If your company is audited, or your lawyers need specific emails because of a pending legal case, how will they access those important documents?

For some organizations, emails can only be retrieved with a great deal of effort and no small amount of detective work among stacks of tape backups. Others stick to external hard drives and other manual backup practices, carrying out archiving so ineffectively that it could take hours — maybe even days — to access the emails needed.

How can organizations take a smart and effective approach to email archiving? How can they pull up important old emails no problem while minimizing the time they spend backing up everyone’s correspondence? By reviewing your backup procedures and enacting a few new practices, you can put this classic IT time waster to bed once and for all. Continue Reading…

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Life in the fast lane: Maintaining Ethernet that drives your IT environment

EthernetThe need for speed is a central concern for data center operators. These admins juggle server virtualization, cloud computing, LAN/SAN convergence, and big data collection, all of which require higher speeds. Not to mention the system limitations, data hogs, bottlenecks, and outdated cables that all act as roadblocks to optimal IT performance.

To keep IT running smoothly, administrators must balance their current network infrastructure with the demands of data-heavy applications. That means most data centers will need faster Ethernet at some point. But how you speed up your network depends in large part on your current system and future needs. Consider the following guidelines to kick your Ethernet into high gear.

Need a speed upgrade? Here’s how to tell. Continue Reading…

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5 ways technology can increase sales for brick and mortar retailers

shopping mallThe majority of U.S. retail sales still occur in brick and mortar stores, but maybe not for long. Online shopping has drawn dollars away from big box stores, which continue to struggle to attract customers given the convenience and discounts online retailers have to offer.

The giants of e-commerce are also swaying business in their favor through ever-shifting pricing, big data analytics, and a restless approach to capitalizing on technology. But physical stores are starting to catch up, increasingly adding new technology and methods to better serve customers. While some are taking a piecemeal approach and adopting new technologies as they go, the stores that stand a chance of competing with online retailers will look to integrate solutions for a better overall customer experience.

Consider these five ways technology can get shoppers offline and back to your business. Continue Reading…

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Intrusion prevention systems: The must-have piece to your network security puzzle

intrusion prevention system (IPS)Network security is not a one-and-done process. Organizations can no longer install a few firewalls and expect their data to remain safe from breaches. If IT managers didn’t know this already, they learned it from the Target point-of-sales attack and the Heartbleed bug — just when we thought our information was safe, hackers developed new ways to snake through our systems and steal valuable data.

The only way to get ahead of these thieves is by changing the way organizations look at network security. Too many take a patchwork approach, implementing just a piece or two of a larger puzzle. One piece alone puts your organization at risk, but when you connect many systems and measures together, you complete the security picture.

One of the more important puzzle pieces that too many organizations still don’t have in place is an intrusion prevention system (IPS). The IPS operates on the front lines of network defense, working in tandem with intelligence gathering systems that comb logs for suspicious activity, application security tools that detect and thwart attacks on vulnerable applications, and data protection systems that keep your most sensitive information locked down.

And while it’s just one part of a comprehensive security plan, IPS is a must-have in today’s era of larger, more frequent, and more damaging breaches. Yet other tools are still in use as a first line of defense against intruders, including firewalls and intrusion detection systems (IDSs). Here’s a breakdown of why IPSs should be an integral part of your larger security ecosystem. Continue Reading…

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