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April 5, 2011

Greetings,

Spring is here! Which usually means a rebirth after a long winter. It also means the end of Tax Season, March Madness, and a recent breach in "the cloud"!

It's hard to believe, but we're now a quarter of the way through 2011. According to the Tax Foundation, this means only 7 more days till this year's "Tax Freedom Day" - the day where we're no longer working to pay off our tax debt to the IRS - 3 days later than last year. At least this year we get 3 more days to file - we now have till the 18th!

Did anyone catch the Final game of the NCAA Basketball Tournament last night? It was billed as the underdog (Butler) coming back for retribution after losing in last year's final pitted against the big dog Uconn. Unfortunately, it was the lowest scoring game since 1949! Butler, the losing team, shot an incomprehensibly low 18.8%. Hard to believe you'd win anything with these sort of numbers.

Speaking of hard to believe - I received this email over the weekend notifying me that I was on a list which was hacked. Little did I know at the time, but this was far more reaching than I could have imagined. Epsilon International is the online marketing company who was hacked. They serve over 2,500 different companies - companies like JPMorgan Chase, Kroger, TiVo, Best Buy, Walgreens, and Capital One. Unfortunately, this is the fear of anyone looking to move their information "to the cloud". While most data in the cloud is encrypted, it's clear this wasn't (or at least wasn't tough enough). And while the information they got wouldn't be deemed "critical" (they only got names and related email addresses), the concept of how they got in is the most troubling. How these sort of breaches bodes for the cloud still remains to be seen.

Even so, the marketing of "the cloud" is louder than ever. Stay tuned...

Craig Pollack & The FPA Team


27% of Small Businesses Using Facebook

Network Solutions recently released its 2010 State of Small Business report and it has lots of interesting information, including data on social media usage by small businesses. As the chart below shows, Facebook is used by 27% of small businesses for business purposes.

That's up from 17% just last June. This is stunning growth and another data point suggesting Facebook is taking over the web.

Read more...


Applying the Eight Building Blocks of CRM to Social Media

How to improve the effectiveness and long-term success of social CRM initiatives

The increase in adoption of social media across media, high-tech, consumer goods, and retail sectors has been prolific during the past few years, and is set to expand into other industries during the next three years. Organizations need to embrace this phenomenon as an integral part of their CRM strategy.

A decade ago, Gartner created a framework called "The Eight Building Blocks of CRM" to help organizations be more successful. This framework has stood the test of time and is still highly regarded worldwide.

Gartner defines social CRM as a business strategy that mutually benefits cloud-based communities and the business by fostering engagement while generating opportunities for sales, marketing, and customer service. The key considerations within this definition that organizations need to take heed of are...

Read more...


5 Ways Your Business Can Leverage Video To Train and Collaborate

Today's workers routinely use online video, but few leverage it effectively on the job. That can change. Companies can use video conferencing and edited videos to more effectively share information, train staff and enhance collaboration. Among the methods eWEEK discusses, are using video conferencing to help meet the collaborative needs of an increasingly virtual workforce and extend the reach of experts. The video also discusses how video conferencing and video clips facilitate familiarity to improve collaboration, let users train at their own pace, and help new workers get into the fold faster.

Read more...


5 Characteristics of Successful People

If you’ve been around long enough, you’re probably aware that most important things in life come about seemingly by accident, chance, or coincidence. Discovering what you were meant to do, meeting your spouse, finding an incredibly unique opportunity or a great job, that sort of thing.

Well, those events are not as random as you might think. Certain behavioral attributes increase the probability of these “happy accidents” occurring. And not only are these characteristics of successful people, they are, I believe, learnable or teachable.

First, here are some examples of what I’m talking about...

Read more...

FPA

Mistake #2: Using Mass-market Equipment to Run Business-class Tasks

Second to the "Set it and Forget it Mentality", we see this mistake in way too many new prospects (and some clients too!). Maybe that's why they're calling us in? While they're trying to save money by using inappropriate or outdated levels of a particular technology solution, they end up costing themselves more in the long run.

Mistake #1: Having a Set it and Forget it Mentality

I was recently asked by a new prospect what I thought were some of the most important things to keep in mind when dealing with technology for a small business. Immediately, my mind went into a flurry of thoughts - from backup to security to over extending life-cycles to under-funding to over-simplifying requirements. I was a whirling dervish before I sat down and documented all of my concerns. Here's the first in a series...

Success From Failure

Talk about proof of concept. While there's always stress when a server crashes, this week we clearly saw proof of concept both with regards to our BDR Solution as well as our Managed Service approach to IT management and support. The hard part is seeing the positives during the stress of dealing with a crashed server. Now that the dust has settled a little, we can see success from failure.

A little background - this week, the Exchange Server at one of our clients crashed (they're about a 30 user company with 2 locations). It was a complete hardware failure (the motherboard failed and needed to be replaced). The timing of this couldn't have been more interesting - we were in the midst of the project to replace their server. If we had started the project a week earlier, we wouldn't even be talking about this. So, here's how it played out...

FPA

FPA Selected to Participate in Intel’s vPro Pilot Program

FPA Technology Services, Inc., the leading full service IT Services and Support firm in the Los Angeles area, announced that it has recently completed working with Intel® in their vPro™ Pilot Program. Within this program, Intel partners with select Managed Service Providers to install and configure “seed” workstations, provided by Intel, for several clients and then testing and analyzing the performance results of the machines.

This functionality greatly improves FPA’s remote management and administration of client networks resulting in improved response to failure, meeting shorter recovery time objectives, as well as providing the ability to decrease power consumption.


FPA, Twitter, and Facebook

Just a reminder that you can keep in touch and see what's going on with FPA on a regular basis on Twitter and Facebook. Check us out!

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April Means Tax Day!

April 15 is the date that tax returns are "always" due, right? So why has the deadline been moved to April 18 this year?

It turns out that Emancipation Day, which celebrates the freeing of slaves in the District of Columbia, is on April 16th. Since that falls on a Saturday this year, it will be observed on Friday, April 15th. With a large number of workers in Washington, D.C., the IRS felt it was appropriate to move the filing date to the next business day - hence Monday, April 18.

This gives you a few more days to get your return completed (but let's hope you don't leave it to the last minute).


Programming Services

Do You Need Custom Programming?

FPA provides the design, development, and support services needed to build custom software applications. Custom programming means we can meet the unique needs a client might have.

Our development team specializes in creating software to meet the unique needs of our clients in specific industries. For example, do you know that we are the creators of KITS™, which is the only completely comprehensive software application for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) for food banks available on the market today?

Our success as software developers comes from our years of experience, our underlying business acumen, and ultimately our technical expertise in software development.

Staff Spotlight -
Layla Khorsand

Layla Khorsand initially started with FPA providing Remote Help Desk Support. She has since progressed to becoming a solid Network Engineer providing onsite support services for clients. Her enthusiasm and zest for life is contagious and many clients let us know how they "only want to work with Layla"!

Layla believes that “knowledge is the common factor across all languages.” When not working on servers, she likes to travel, which she does a few times a year, and also enjoys kickboxing and spending time with her nephews.

Client Testimonial

“I’ve been using this program you installed on my machine for a few weeks now and just wanted to say THANKS so much for the great install you did on it!

I can’t say how nice it is to click on it, have it come up and be able to use it as it should be used…to use a program without a problem…so nice!

I know I send a lot of “help” requests, but wanted to send this thanks notice to say how much I appreciate you for all you do for us and how much you help us out.”

Kathy
Cummings Appraisal Group, Inc.

Partner Spotlight


As a strategic partner of FPA, we bring The Search Agency in as a way to assist mid market Fortune 1000 clients with their online marketing needs.

They are an active member of Google, Yahoo!, and MSN advertiser councils, and regularly alpha test new features with each of the major search engines. Their philosophy is that “Success can be defined in many different ways, but ultimately we believe that success is based on results: more leads, more sales, more conversions for you as our client.”

If you’re looking for assistance with developing your online marketing strategy, contact The Search Agency at 310-582-5700 or by going to their website at www.thesearchagency.com for more
information.

I.T. 101

There are a lot of acronyms and abbreviations tossed out in IT and we forget that not everyone knows our secret shorthand like we do. So, we thought it might be helpful to define them...

VPN: Virtual Private Network

A secure private network that uses the public telecommunications infrastructure to transmit data. In contrast to more expensive lines leased or owned for use by only one company, a VPN is a communications network tunnel through another network, dedicated for a specific network. A VPN encrypts all data that passes between two Internet points, maintaining privacy and security.

Recommended Reading

MOJO: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back if You Lose It

by Marshall Goldsmith

Mojo is the moment when we do something that's purposeful, powerful, and positive and the rest of the world recognizes it. This book is about that moment--and how we can create it in our lives, maintain it, and recapture it when we need it.

Marshall Goldsmith is widely recognized as the world's leading authority in helping successful leaders achieve positive, lasting change in behavior: for themselves, their people, and their teams.

Careers @ FPA

FPA

Looking for a career change or know someone who is? We're always on the lookout for talented people to join our elite team.

Contact Us
Phone: 818-501-3390
Email: info@fpainc.com
Web: www.fpainc.com
www.fpamanagedservices.com
   
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FPA
 
Smart Quote
 
 

"Welcome the challenges. Look for the opportunities in every situation to learn and grow In wisdom."

--Brian Tracy
Business and Personal Development Trainer

 

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