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September 18, 2013

Summer's over and it's back to school (and back to work). Whew. Made it through another summer (those of you with school-age kids know exactly what I'm talking about). We're wrapping up our various vacations here and are focused more than ever on helping our clients wrap up the last quarter with a bang...

As two of our most recent press releases state, we have some things to crow about: one - we achieved the Microsoft SMB Champions Club for the second year in a row and two - we were named to CRN's Fast Growth 150 List. While it's great to earn these sorts of accolates, more importantly, we believe they represent our success in how we approach serving our clients. The better we serve them, the more this will fuel our growth. So, we say thank you to all of our clients and partners who helped make this happen!

With September being National Preparedness Month, it's only fitting that our latest webinar is on the topic of data breaches and cyber liability. As we work with our newer clients to help them shore up and secure their infrastructures, we've found that this is a hugely important topic needing to be addressed. If you think your business is protected because technically you've "locked things down", this is only half the battle. From a business perspective, to completely protect your business you need to understand what your risks are and how you can best mitigate these risks. Sign up for our latest webinar to get the complete story.

And lastly - while the Dodgers have had an incredible summer, it was also just announced that they have selected ShoreTel as their VOIP system of choice (see below). I wish we could take credit for it, but at least all of us ShoreTeler's out here can now say we're truly on the same team!

So, there you have it. Vacation's over. Happy September! And we hope you enjoy this month's newsletter.

Craig Pollack & The FPA Team

Cyber Liability Insurance: 5 Fast Facts

In this daunting time of high-wire cyber attacks, when even the most trusted brands are falling prey to tireless hackers, there's no such thing as being too prepared. Enter cyber liability insurance, a relatively new area of the insurance industry that provides coverage where general commercial liability (CGL) insurance typically does not. Unless a cyber insurance endorsement is a part of your CGL insurance, don't count on your policy to cover the wide-ranging costs associated with a breach - attorney fees, forensic expenses, mailings, call center, credit monitoring, secondary liability expenses, cleanup costs, and so on.

Read the full article here.

Microsoft Offers Special Office 365 Pricing to Nonprofits

Microsoft announced Tuesday that it will be giving nonprofits Office 365 licenses to use in their workplace -- free of charge. Any organization that qualifies can get the cloud-based service, which comes with Office applications, e-mail, calendar, HD video conferencing, and more. This donation program is being offered in 41 countries worldwide.

Read the full article here.

Microsoft Starts to Release Windows 8.1 to Hardware Partners.

Microsoft Corp. said on Tuesday it had hit an important milestone for Windows 8.1 operating system. The company has started releasing Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 to its hardware partners. Microsoft partners are finalizing work on their Windows 8.1-based products, which will be available starting from October 18, 2013. Microsoft expects the family of devices to include tablets, lightweight notebooks, versatile 2-in-1s and other.

Read the full article here.

How to Create a Culture

It's not about setting up pingpong tables in the break room, or buying a few beanbag chairs. A company's culture is something much deeper, and it affects every facet of the business. Whether cultivated or not, every business has a character all its own, says Marissa Levin, head of communications firm Information Experts and the author of "My Company ROCKS!" Eight Secrets to a Growth-Driven Culture That Keeps Employees Happy & Engaged. The key to building a successful company, Levin says, is deliberately identifying and committing to the organization's mission, vision and core values.

Read more here.

How to Run an Effective Meeting

Meetings are the bane of the corporate world but even small businesses can't avoid them completely. Here's how to run your meetings without wasting time or money.

Read the full article here.

Despite Recent Cloud Service Outages, Security a Bigger Concern than Availability

Wow. No sooner did I finish writing about how the Google and Microsoft outages were not a reason to lose confidence in the cloud, than Amazon went down. The online retail site - and its associated cloud services - were down for just under half an hour Monday afternoon. I stand by my assertion that the sky is not falling, but there's more to using the cloud than just availability.

Over on WindowsITPro.com, Paul Thurrott summed up the hysteria over cloud outages nicely. "And of course, the cloud computing doubters - who, like global warming doubters are increasingly at odds with reality - will argue that such outages prove that our move away from on-premises hardware and local storage is nothing but a temporary trend." Let's start with some perspective...

Read the full article here.

L.A. Dodgers Keep Winning by Selecting ShoreTel as UC Provider

The Los Angeles Dodgers are putting together a great season, expecting to clinch the National League West division title within a few days. And they are also establishing a winning way with their communications system, selecting ShoreTel as their provider. The Dodgers said Tuesday that they named ShoreTel to deliver front office and contact center operations to improve communications for staff and their fans.

Read the full article here.

Preparing Your Network for UC

Your business phone system is your lifeline to your customers. But many organizations take a "let's put it on the network and see if it works" approach when installing a new phone system, and then they encounter problems with dropped calls and poor sound quality. Before you deploy an IP phone system or unified communications (UC) at your organization, you need to take the appropriate steps to be sure that the underlying network will deliver the performance and availability that are essential for a great user experience.

Here are 8 considerations to prepare your organization's network for unified communications.

Read the full article here.


Amazon Web Services Suffers Friday 13th Outage

Intermedia, World's Largest Cloud-Services Provider, Down for Several Hours

Another Amazon Outage Exposes the Cloud's Dark Lining

Computer Experts Hack Cars, Exposing Vulnerabilities

Chinese Cyberspies Are Hacking Into America's Small Businesses


Much Ado About Nothing

Seems like today's much anticipated announcement from Apple is a whole lot of more of the same. The 5C is an entry level iPhone. The 5S is a faster 5 (when we really just need it to be bigger). The visual interface for IOS 7 is flatter and simpler. Who-doggee! Sounds like much ado about nothing. Really. My bigger takeaway is that this just continues the trend that more things change, the more they stay the same.

Unfortunately, everyone (Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc.) is all out to outdo each other with announcements, upgrades, cloud this and cloud that, but without any real regard for the business end user. They say they are. But they're not.


What Makes Clients Happy?

Which is more important - giving clients what they ask for or giving them what they want? To the uninitiated, this may look like it's a redundant question. It's the same thing, isn't it? Well, let me tell you - it's not even close.

We believe one of our key differentiating factors here at FPA is our level of professionalism. This isn't something that's natural to most "techs" (I hate using this word). It's a right brain, left brain thing. So, there's a whole huge learning curve most staff must go through...



FPA Named to CRN's Fast Growth 150 List

ENCINO, CA - September 13, 2013 - FPA Technology Services, Inc. (FPA), the preeminent IT Service Provider in the Los Angeles area, announces today that it has been named to the 2013 CRN Fast Growth 150 list. The annual list features the fastest-growing solution providers in the technology industry based on two years' growth of net sales from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2012.

Read the full Press Release here

FPA Achieves Membership in the Microsoft SMB Champions Club

ENCINO, CA - August 30, 2013 - FPA Technology Services, Inc. (FPA), the leading full service IT Consulting Firm in the Los Angeles area, announces today that it has achieved membership in the exclusive Microsoft® SMB Champions Club. The SMB Champions Club is a high-value, multi-tiered program offered exclusively to Microsoft's elite Small and Medium Business (SMB) VARs. Out of the thousands of VARs in the Southern California area, approximately...

Read the full Press Release here

National Preparedness Month

National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month. Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) within the Department of Homeland Security, National Preparedness Month encourages Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities.

As of 2009, the Citizen Corps National Survey revealed that only 57% of Americans surveyed report having supplies set aside in their homes just for disasters, and only 44% have a household emergency plan. National Preparedness Month serves to encourage individuals across the nation to take important preparedness steps including: getting an emergency supply kit, making a family emergency plan, being informed about the different emergencies that may affect them, as well as taking the necessary steps to get trained and become engaged in community preparedness and response efforts.

As for your business, if you don't have one of our BDR's in place, can you really say you're fully prepared?

Upcoming Webinars

Webinar: FPA's Starter Guide to Data Breaches and Cyber Liability

Date: Thursday, Sept. 26th
Time: 11:00am PST

In this Live Webinar, we will be sharing our Starter Guide to Data Breaches and Cyber Liability. This webinar will help you understand the coming wave of data breaches, how to prevent one from happening to you, what to do if you are breached, and what your level of liability could be. Some of the topics that will be covered include:

  • the key differences between an intrusion and a data breach
  • the key threats to your business
  • the 7 steps needed to ensure you're prepared for a data breach
  • the shocking misunderstanding most business owners have about their current exposure to "data leakage"
  • the foundations for a secure, compliant, and effective approach to Security including Cyber Liability Insurance

Register Now!


Staff Spotlight - Jerry Kim

Jerry Kim

FPA is proud of its Network Operations Center (NOC) and the staff manning it. As the Manager of NOC Services, Jerry oversees all that our NOC does. He ensures that all of our systems are in place and functioning optimally to proactively monitor, maintain, and address critical alerts for the networks of our Managed Service clients. Jerry's skills and dedication to providing the utmost in support contribute to making our Network Operations Center a highly effective and critical department. Jerry's known for his calm demeanor and friendly attitude.

Outside of FPA, Jerry spends much of his time with his wife raising their daughter and enjoying restoring his Craftsman style home.

Client Kudos

"FPA is an important partner for us and certainly has played a critical role in our success and growth as a company."

Kyle Eichenbaum
Insyght Interactive, Inc.

"Just wanted to let you know that we appreciate your frequent updates. It's helpful to hear both the progress and the issues that arise along the way. The updates enable us to know exactly where we stand. They are much appreciated."

Rabbi Mitchel Malkus, Ed. D.
Temple Beth Am

Recommended Reading

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

If you're feeling indecisive, chances are you don't have the right options yet. Being decisive isn't about making the perfect decision every time. That isn't possible. Rather, it's about being confident that you've considered the right things and that you've used a smart process.

In the book, four key "villains" of decision-making are described - common traps and biases that psychologists have identified. One of them is called "narrow framing," meaning that one tends to get stuck in one way of thinking about a dilemma, or you ignore alternatives that are available to you. With a little effort, you can break out of a narrow frame and widen your options. For instance, one expert had a great quote: "Any time in life you're tempted to think, 'Should I do this OR that?,' instead, ask yourself, 'Is there a way I can do this AND that?' It's surprisingly frequent that it's feasible to do both things."

"A leader's most important job is to make good decisions, which - minus perfect knowledge of the future - is tough to do consistently...The Heath brothers explain how to navigate the land mines laid by our irrational brains and improve our chances of good outcomes." - Inc. Magazine

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're interested or if you know of anyone.

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"Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort."

- John Ruskin
English Writer & Thinker

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