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April 4, 2013

Happy April!

And to our CPA friends - Happy almost end of tax season!

This time of year's a funny time. Not quite spring but yet no longer winter. With the first quarter just ended, it is a good time to review how things are going. So, one day recently I simply stopped. I stopped everything I was doing. I turned off my iPhone, shut down my email, and just pondered. I know, strange thing for a "tech" to do (although I don't really consider myself a tech anymore though). I did this to refocus myself. I did this because I think it's too easy to get caught up in our ongoing and day-to-day jobs - especially for us implementing and supporting technology. I think it's easy for many IT Service Providers to lose sight of the underlying purpose of this technology we're working with - which to FPA is first and foremost to help our clients do what they do, only better.

I think from time to time all of us lose sight of the fact that technology in any of its many forms is just a tool and a tool that's meant to help us do what we do better. We need to make sure we never forget this. Ultimately, what I was looking for was a better way - primarily a better way to get my priorities addressed. With all the technology I have at my command, I still felt overwhelmed at all that I and my team needed to get done. We needed a better way. For those who know me, they know how well I've leveraged Outlook to keep me pretty well organized and effective. But, I felt like we could still be significantly more effective.

After some serious reflection, I decided to go in another way. Ultimately, my quest has led us to start "beta" testing a cloud collaboration tool here internally. The goal being to help us work as a team more effectively. While we looked at a number of different tools, we narrowed it down to one that's so simple, yet looks so promising. Basically, it's a collaborative and real-time task management system. I know that within the first week, we got more accomplished using this simple tool than I think we got done in the previous two weeks combined - easily! So, now we're starting to roll it out across other teams - Accounting and Operations to start. I'll provide an update next month after we've had some more time (and more teams) putting it through the ringer, but it's looking very promising...

So with the goal of leveraging technology to increase our productivity in mind, this month's Newsletter provides some helpful nuggets that we believe will help you do what you do better and more efficiently - ultimately increasing your productivity. Because at the end of the day, the role of technology is to help increase our collective productivity. Isn't it?

And speaking of productivity, check out our latest award (in a Press Release below) - LPI's Innovator of the Year! Way to go to our very own NOC (Network Operations Center)! Out of over 3000 of their partners, our team was recognized for how well we leverage their product to proactively manage our clients' networks. This is a win for FPA and a huge win for our clients!

So, there you have it. Enjoy this newsletter and be sure to check out our upcoming webinars.

Craig Pollack & The FPA Team

10 Things To Do Every Workday

I’ve always been focused on performance. I’m a list person. I love the feeling of crossing things off. It makes me feel productive. Plus, consistent productivity has the wonderful byproduct of accomplishing more. Jeff Haden’s recent article on Linkedin summarizes the value of having a daily to-do list beautifully: You don’t wait to do the work until you get the dream job - you do the work in order to get the dream job.

Read the full article here.

How to Write a Convincing E-mail

E-mails are the most common document in the business world. Unfortunately, many e-mails are so poorly written that recipients must struggle to figure out why they're reading the e-mail and what they're supposed to do about it. Here's a foolproof method to write e-mails that get the job done.

Read the full article here.

Thumbs Down to a Lack of Mobile Manners

Ever wonder how we made it through life before smartphones were invented? How did we serve our business contacts or stay close to our friends and family? Well, for one, we didn’t have hand-held distraction machines in our pockets all the time. We valued the time we had with those people. We looked them in the eye when we spoke to them, listened to what they had to say—even enjoyed it. Too often these days, we treat face-to-face interaction with others as simply something we do until the next comment comes in on our Facebook page or our brother calls us back. By focusing our attention on those little glowing rectangles, not only are we missing out on what we should really appreciate—our IRL (in real life, duh!) relationships—we’re being downright rude.

Read the full article here.

6 Reasons You Should Have Cyber Liability Insurance

Imagine for a moment that your company has come under attack by a skilled hacker. The hacker has accessed your customers' names and contact information--and worse--your employees' social security numbers. On top of that, your website is disabled so that you can't take orders or collect the payments you need to stay in business. Wouldn't it be nice to have cyber liability insurance right about now?

Read the full article here.

Google Author Rank: What Small Businesses Need to Know

You may not have heard about Google Author Rank yet. But if you have a small business website for which you regularly create content, you need to know about Author Rank now, because its implications for search engine optimization (SEO) are likely to be huge. Google Author Rank is Google's "next big step" in its "never-ending mission to surface high quality, trustworthy content for their searchers," according to SEOMoz. Author Rank, a ranking system like Google PageRank, can significantly increase search engine rankings for content attributed to a known and trusted author, such as a subject matter expert with an active Google+ profile.

Read the full article here.

Global IT Spend Will Rise 4.1% in 2013, With Mobile Driving Growth

Gartner has just released its annual projections on worldwide IT spend over the next two years, covering sales in hardware, software, enterprise and telecoms. The overall trends continue to point up: globally we will see $3.8 trillion spent across all categories, a rise of 4.1% on 2012. That’s a sign of slight recovery on a year ago: growth in 2012 was only 2.1%. Mobile and enterprise services are fueling a lot of the good news, with declines in areas of legacy technology like PCs and voice services.

Read the full article here.

Small Business IT Trends to Watch in 2013

Forewarned is forearmed, particularly for small business owners who want to keep up with a shifting technology landscape. And similar to how innovations like smartphones, tablets and cloud computing reshaped small business IT last year, 2013 has the makings of another tumultuous year in technology. "It's getting to a point where it's very difficult to ignore technology," says McCabe. For small businesses owners, it can oftentimes seem that technology creates as many problems as it solves. Despite the challenges, there's an overwhelmingly good reason for pursuing IT solutions.

Read the full article here.

ShoreTel Advances Unified Communications for the Apple iPad

ShoreTel Mobility 6 delivers a native iPad user interface for enabling multi-modal communications. Users place and receive calls with their business persona (desk phone caller ID), exchange instant messages, listen to voice mail messages and even create multi-party calls by simply dragging names from enterprise directories together with a swipe of the finger.

Read the full article here.


Google Drive: 3 Outages in a Week

Juniper Router Failure Blamed In CloudFlare Outage

Failed Update to Blame for Outage of Microsoft Cloud Services

Hacking Attack on South Korea Traced to Chinese Address

Computer Hacker Gets 3-1/2 Years for Stealing iPad User Data


Today's World Backup Day! Seriously?

When I first hear the phrase "World Backup Day", I thought it was a joke. I mean come on. What? Are you serious? But then the more I thought about it, the more I got into it. Why shouldn't there be a day around something so critical as ensuring your business will function with minimal interruptions as possible?


File This Under: What is She Thinking?

The newly hired CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, is already making waves - and I would think from her employees' perspective, not in a good way. She recently sent out a decree that basically said Yahoo'ers would no longer be allowed to work from home (you can read the actual Yahoo internal memo here). While this might only affect 250 or so full-time remote workers (and will certainly spill over into the "remote 1 or 2 day a weekers"), it seems to be an about-face to the Gen Xers and Millenials making up a large percentage of their "dot com" the work space.



FPA Earns Level Platforms’ 2013 Innovator of the Year Award

ENCINO, CA – March 29, 2013 - FPA Technology Services, Inc. (FPA), the leading IT Service Provider in the Los Angeles area, announces today that it has been recognized by leading remote monitoring and management software provider, Level Platforms, as their Partner Innovator of the Year.

Read the full Press Release here

FPA Named to MSPmentor's 501 Global Edition for 2013

ENCINO, CA – February 19, 2013 - FPA Technology Services, Inc. (FPA), the leading full service IT Consulting Firm in the Los Angeles area, announces today that it has landed on Nine Lives Media's sixth annual MSPMentor 501 Global Edition for 2013, a distinguished list and report identifying the world’s top 501 managed service providers (MSPs). The MSPmentor 501 report is based on data from MSPmentor’s global online survey.

Read the full Press Release here



World Backup Day!

World Backup Day

Not quite your classic "Hallmark" holiday, World Backup Day is officially March 31st (note: the day before April Fools Day). It was initially created to increase the visibility around the issue of ensuring your computer information is completely and accurately backed up. While the message was initially intended for individuals, more and more companies we run across could benefit from this sentiment.

Upcoming Webinars

Webinar: Starter Guide to Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

Date: Thursday, April 18th
Time: 11:00am PST

This webinar will help you understand the threats, risks, and exposure your business faces and the level of protection you should have in place. Some of the topics that we cover include:

  • the key differences between Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, and Backup
  • the shocking misunderstanding most business owners have about their current backup system
  • the one surefire way to ensure your business will be back up and running after a disaster happens - even if your building is gone!
  • 7 security questions you should ask your offsite backup company before trusting them with your data

Register Now!

Project Spotlight

Six Million Coins


The Six Million Coins campaign is a fund raising event raising money for holocaust survivors. FPA worked with Mount Sinai Memorial Parks & Mortuaries to build a clean, easy to use website that features video interviews and audio clips while providing a way for people to easily order their Tzedakah box. The site was designed to leverage social media as much as possible.

Staff Spotlight - Art Siriyanonda

Art Siriyanonda

If you're an FPA client, then there's no doubt that you've probably spoken with Art over the years. While Art's been the anchor of our Helpdesk, more recently he's moved on to being a Senior Network Engineer / ShoreTel Engineer where he's working more as an onsite support engineer and as the core of our ShoreTel Implementation Team. Art's technical "chops" has led him to lead our charge into the VOIP arena. He recently passed one of the most stringent ShoreTel Certifications AND on his first try!

Art loves technology. When he's not working to resolve an issue you could find him hacking into a Droid phone or a Blue-Ray player. Oddly enough, when the power's off Art loves to relax outdoors camping and fishing and snow boarding.

Client Kudos

"Over the years we continue to see improvements in support, both in timeliness and quality of resolution. We love that they're willing to work around our schedule to resolve our issues. FPA is just a great team to work with."

Jonathan Soon
Royal Paper Corporation

"As a relatively new client, we have been pleasantly pleased with FPA's performance and positive service attitude. We feel we have a solid partner with FPA."

Don Gould
Gould Asset Management

FPA Backup & Disaster Recovery Solution

Recommended Reading

Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think'

by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler

"Abundance" is a deeply optimistic book that suggests radical new technologies may soon transform society and lead to an era where the concept of scarcity no longer dominates economic and social thinking. The authors believe that advances now on the horizon could potentially solve many of the world's major problems by the year 2035.

Since the dawn of humanity, a privileged few have lived in stark contrast to the hardscrabble majority. Conventional wisdom says this gap cannot be closed. But it is closing—fast. The authors document how four forces—exponential technologies, the DIY innovator, the Technophilanthropist, and the Rising Billion—are conspiring to solve our biggest problems. Abundance establishes hard targets for change and lays out a strategic roadmap for governments, industry and entrepreneurs, giving us plenty of reason for optimism.

Careers @ 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. Please contact us if you know of anyone.

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"Luck is predictable; the harder you work, the luckier you get."

- Brian Tracy
Motivational Speaker, Coach, and Author




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