ITP, in a joint effort with our partner, Converged, is holding an event on February 11th at the Chophouse in Madison that will display two of today’s most valuable technologies for business. If you want to understand more about how you can guarantee network availability for your business; or how unified communications are changing the way businesses communicate with their customers, then you should attend this event. Featuring live demonstrations of Stratus Avance high availability software and Shoretel VOIP phone systems, you will see how you can drive business through innovative, always available communications.
MILWAUKEE, Wis., January 1, 2011 – Information Technology Professionals (ITP), a computer services consultancy serving the IT needs of the greater Milwaukee and Madison community, announced today the addition of software and services expressly designed to protect clients’ most important applications against downtime and data loss. ITP is now a channel partner of Stratus Technologies, a global leader of hardware, software and services that ensure the highest levels of uptime to critical applications.
“Reliable computer operations is critical to the success of nearly every small and medium businesses today, but typically difficult and costly to achieve” said Joe Ulm, President of Information Technology Professionals. “Guaranteeing 99.999% network uptime, complete with an enterprise-level disaster recovery solution, all for a price that’s affordable to small and medium-sized businesses is unheard of today. The ability to provide that will fundamentally change the way small and medium sized businesses deploy and manage their technology. ITP is proud to be the only firm in the Madison and Milwaukee markets capable of delivering this revolutionary technology to its clients.”
Stratus offers software and hardware approaches to availability, both with extensive built-in technology for service and system management to protect against downtime – planned and unplanned – and data loss. The Stratus Avance software now offered by ITP provides simple, affordable high availability to ordinary Intel-based servers. The Stratus ftServer system is a single server that delivers the industry’s highest levels of uptime. Both Avance and ftServer products support Windows and Linux applications, as well as virtualization technology.
“ITP has developed an excellent reputation for technical knowledge and quality of service, and we are pleased to be affiliated with the team,” said Eric Dougherty, Stratus vice president, channel sales. “ITP’s clients can now have essentially the same availability technology developed over three decades that many of the world’s largest financial institutions and manufacturing companies use to protect their critical systems from downtime. We expect this will be a very successful partnership for both companies.”
About Stratus Technologies
Stratus Technologies delivers uptime for the applications its customers depend on most for their success. With its ultra-reliable servers, software and services, Stratus helps to save lives and to protect the business and reputations of companies, institutions, and governments the world over. To learn more about worry-free computing, visit www.stratus.com.
What’s new at ITP
The new year brings us new challenges, new opportunities, and of course, new technologies for us all to review and consider. For many businesses this constant expansion of technology is both a blessing and a curse. Technology can be a great tool in fostering greater efficiency, productivity, and competitive advantage for businesses, but it can also be incredibly time consuming to navigate through, deploy, and maintain. As strange as it may sound, it’s no different here at ITP. Certain technologies like Microsoft are staples within the business world, but most others require rigorous investigation and testing before we can recommend them to our customers. As 2011 begins, ITP has added to our portfolio one of the most exciting technologies we’ve come across.
ITP is proud to announce its partnership (link to press release) with Stratus Technologies. Stratus Technologies’ Avance product guarantees 99.999% network availability. Yep, that’s 99.999%. With today’s need for businesses to be instantly responsive and “always available” to customers, this is great news for small and medium-sized businesses. See more about our partnership here www.itprosusa.com.
Google street view is a handy tool to use when you need to know what that building your looking for should look like from your car. These Google cars traverse the U.S. and 30 countries taking pictures and sending back GPS data about locations around the world. Recently Google has admitted to the F.C.C. that they were in fact in violation of Federal privacy and wiretapping statues when these cars were equipped with WiFi detectors.
Google originally set out only to mark the locations of wifi devices. Recently though, for a yet explained reason, Google cars actually capture Wifi data on unencrypted Wifi connections. Google in the process capture emails, web data and other traffic from thousands of unsuspecting citizens.
Once notified Google did delete the data and reported themselves to the authorities and no further legal action has been taken but privacy watchdogs are not happy with the lack of follow up but the federal government.
For businesses this is a stark reminder of how easy it is to let data outside the network. Wifi is a handy tool but carries with it some risks when not properly configured and monitored. We recommend all our clients with Wifi secure them with at least WPA+ security or higher and all passwords on public facing routers meet complex password policies. Your firewall and routers simply cannot have the same basic passwords they must be complex and include no words in the dictionary.
Most businesses today think with anti virus and a firewall that is sufficient given they don’t have any “private” data or regulatory restrictions. Keep in mind that PCI compliance requires network security and applies to almost every company that takes credit cards.
Do you have reports confirming your networks safety?
Facebook announced an online press conference which was held yesterday. The internet was a buzz about a possible Facebook phone or Facebook tablet-like device. Instead they announce 3 rather simple features around privacy and control. I found the anti announcement odd because if you are a Facebook user you know that Zuckerberg and his team change whatever they want about the interface whenever they want without warning or consultation. Anyway enough confusion here is what these changes can do for you and your presence online.
1. Groups. New groups feature will allow you to group your friends and have different statuses to different groups. I think most will pass over this feature but for our business customers this means they can use their main Facebook account but create a “Clients” group and provide selective information and posting. I think this may really help break the barrier to entry for some business people afraid to merge their business and personal Facebook life.
2. Download your personal data. This is an interesting new option. You can download recent posts/information/pictures kind of like a WordPress backup. I think this is an attempt to create a standard in interoperability between social media platforms. When I first read about it I was hoping it was a way to EXTRACT all your personal data out of the hands of Zuckerberg but no luck its just a backup.
3. A new Dashboard for apps. Those pesky applications which keep piling up can now be more easily added and removed like your iphone Apps. A nice feature but hardly worth a press conference.
So there it is in a few short paragraphs… I will be holding my won press conference to announce that I just had a press conference shortly.
So you have heard about Net Neutrality and don’t know enough to have an intelligent discussion about the issue. First a few resources on the subject: (Note this is a political issue and a technical one so read both sides of everything)
Net Neutraility represents the issue of the internet, or our access to the internet which not matter who your provider is will eventually rely on one or more of a small group of major wire runners in the U.S. folks like AT&T and Verizon. There is currently no regulation on the internet. This is in some ways by design, there is no regulation, no tax etc. to allow the internet to bolster the U.S. economy and allow the free market to run free. The other side of the lack of regulation coin is that in theory, though never done, AT&T and Verizon could one day decide to give preference to certain traffic for compensation. They could allow traffic to and from say the New York times go through faster than the traffic to this blog. Some argue that its Verizon’s right to do so given the costs they have experienced laying copper and fiber throughout the U.S. Others see this as an opportunity for great abuse and perhaps a real challenge to small businesses. Would facebook gotten off the ground if they could have only support 100 users because they couldn’t PAY for enough speed to be allowed to their site?
The second link about is to the proposers of the most current legislation, no not your senator, but Google. Google, a private company with Verizon are trying to pass a moderate version of a bill in order to get some protection on the books now. Note that this proposals balance point is that it curiously makes an argument that wireless net neutrality should not exist. Perhaps they are biased since they are buddies with Verizon, perhaps not.
What is important is that Net Neutrality could drastically alter our daily internet experience. The great power of the internet comes from the ability for everyone to have a voice on the same playing field. Its up to us and our government to help find the balance on this issue before an offer to an ISP gets too big to say no to.
I have to confess – I find the growing situation between Google and China to be very interesting both in terms of an ethical and business standpoint. In short, the situation is this:
In the past, the Chinese government required Google to sensor search results on topics they find objectionable. Last Monday, Google began sending Web searchers in mainland China from the China-based Google.cn to Google.com.hk based in Hong Kong where an “open” Internet is available. On Tuesday the Chinese government responded, using Internet filters to prevent results from being displayed for certain search topics. For example, searches related to pro-democracy returned errors saying the page couldn’t be displayed and in certain cases, the web browser disconnected for a short time. Clearly Google risks significant revenue by taking the stand they have, yet they’ve also likely gained quite a bit of respect from many users. In my opinion the situation is a game of “chicken” presently. The Chinese government hasn’t prohibited Google from doing business in China and Google hasn’t stopped censoring searches on the Google.cn domain. Yet, the situation is definitely tenuous. So what would you do if you were Google? Their stock dropped 1.5% this week on news that they’re effectively “thumbing” their nose at potentially the largest market. Interesting. Very Interesting.
A ton of information exists about this topic. I’ve included a few links below – silently glad that none of them are sensored…
Google services available in mainland China: http://www.google.com/prc/report.html#hl=en
General information: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100323/ap_on_hi_te/as_china_google
Google co-founder Sergey Brin urges US to act over China web censorship: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/mar/24/google-china-sergey-brin-censorship
The world is taking a break from everything this last week and watching the images coming from Haiti and I think we are all taken back. It is a great new year in 2010 and we have so much to be thankful for here in America. One of the technology innovations making a difference in this crisis is the ability to text and donate $10 to the Red Cross. So join us here at ITP and text to help:
Text HAITI to 90999 to donate 10$ to American Red Cross
From time to time we like to take a break and recognize our clients and their online work. One client we are particularly proud of his continued investment into his online marketing through blogging is Attorney Tristan Pettit of Petrie & Stocking. Tristan is both knowledgeable and personable and you can see by his large online blog following a clear expert in the field of landlord tenant law and eviction in the Milwaukee, WI area. Whether you are a property owner, know someone who is a landlord or just interested in good writing- do yourself a favor and read through a quality, informative blog. Wisconsin Landlord Tenant Law blog by Tristan Pettit
Watch the first episode of the Social Media Forum discussion on social media issues. The first episode covers why businesses engage in social media and what some of the challeneges and drawbacks people face. Watch for more episodes as we cover the issues facing your social media campaigns.