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October 25, 2013

As the first month of Q4 2013 comes to a close, this means we only have two more months of 2013 left. Time sure flies!

While looking forward to the remaining months of 2013, we also look back at some of the things we've done this year in our ever constant quest to improve things for our clients. We've made a number of changes this past year and are seeing some of the results come to fruition. We've ramped up our Help Desk and NOC staffing which has not only allowed us to increase the number of clients we support but has also improved overall client satisfaction. We've increased our partner levels for ShoreTel, Citrix, and VMware all leading to improved capabilities in these areas. We've implemented a private cloud solution providing hosted Infrastructure as a Server (IaaS) and Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solutions for clients. We've improved our internal Help Desk notification system providing increased information about support issues. All in all, we've accomplished a number of good things.

In the upcoming months, we hope to continue this trend. In the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, the tag line was "ABC" - "Always Be Closing" in reference to their sales mindset. Here, our motto is "ABH" - "Always Be Hiring" - in that we're always looking for great talent to bring on board. And to acquire great talent, we need to be looking all the time (not just when we need it). So if you know of anyone great, send them our way.

We're looking forward to closing 2013 strong, continuing to add value to all of our client relationships, and have some great things in store for 2014 (more to come on these later...).

We hope you enjoy this newsletter and please, please, please take note of the first story below - while we haven't personally run into this with any of our clients, many other IT Service Providers we know are reporting seeing it all over the country. So, please be "computer aware" as you work...

Craig Pollack & The FPA Team

New File Encrypting Ransomware CryptoLocker Targets Organizations

Security researchers have come across a new ransomware family which they've dubbed CryptoLocker. This particular piece of ransomware is designed to encrypt files on the infected device and keep them that way until a ransom is paid by the victim.

According to experts, the ransomware is distributed via emails that inform recipients of customer complaints. The file that's attached to these notifications is a downloader that's designed to retrieve the actual malware.

Read the full article here and/or contact us immediately if you notice any suspicious activity with your network.

Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 Support Ends April 8, 2014

Just a reminder - come April of 2014, Microsoft will finally pull the plug on support for Windows XP - after nearly 13 years in the market. This means no support, no updates, and no patches. Nothing. There have now been four major Microsoft Windows releases since XP launched, yet Windows XP still holds as much as 30 percent market share on existing PCs, according to some forecasts. It's incredible to think that a large portion of today's computers run an OS that predates the original iPod, the very first XBOX, and all three Lord of the Rings movies.

Learn more here.

Windows 8.1: Six Things Microsoft Got Right

Microsoft found itself in a bind after the launch of Windows 7. Struggling for relevance in the mobile sector, the company attempted to fill the void in its portfolio by adding a touch-friendly UI layer over the Windows desktop. However, Metro came with a myriad of issues and complaints, mostly because of poor choices in usability design -- part of what we've been hoping Microsoft will fix in Windows 8.1. And it has, somewhat.

Learn more here.

Dangers of Submitting Incomplete or Inaccurate Software Audit Results

Although software compliance can sometimes fall low on a company's priority list, a software audit typically brings prior software compliance efforts into sharp focus. An audit, whether initiated by a software publisher, or by one of its representatives such as the Business Software Alliance ("BSA") or Software & Information Industry Association ("SIIA"), is a complicated and lengthy process, with rules set by the auditor.

Read the full article here.

How Technology Is Transforming the Client Experience

Neesha Hathi, head of advisor technology for Schwab Advisor Services, speaks about top tech trends among advisors, namely moving to the cloud, the use of mobile devices, how to select the best tech products to fit a firm's needs, and the ways in which RIAs can utilize technology to create a work/life balance.

Watch the video at Financial Planning here.

What's Your Technology Backup Plan?

There are times when technology doesn't do what I want it to, and all of my best intentions and intended efficiencies go out of the window. But it should never happen in front of a client or prospect. I learned that the hard way recently. I was in front of a pair of prospective clients and the meeting was going well.

Read the full article at Financial Planning here.

The Interview Question that Reveals a Born Leader

Building a great leadership team is one of your most important jobs as CEO. But it can also be one of the hardest. What makes it so hard is that you not only have to find a domain expert but a strong leader who inspires results far beyond your team's abilities. More confusing is the fact that most experienced domain experts are often terrible leaders, while great leaders often have resumes that won't make it past your screening process. And today's hiring process doesn't make things easier.

Read the full article here.

How to Sail Around Pitfalls During a Telephone System Replacement

Replacing a telephone system should bring significant benefits to a business. IT managers need to thoroughly plan in advance of a replacement. Among some of the recommendations: conduct a proper needs assessment, evaluate key features of systems under consideration, involve business users in decision-making, envision the long-term needs of the business, and initiate a network assessment.

Read the full article here.

IP Telephony Guidebook Updated for IT Decision Makers

For IT leaders, making the decision to switch to IP telephony and unified communications and actually deploying the system is no small task, particularly in a field that is evolving so rapidly. To help these decision makers with pre-decision questions and post-decision planning and implementation, we've updated our 77-page IP telephony guide, IP Telephony from A-Z - The Complete IP Telephony eBook.

Read the full article here.


Apple Online Store and Cloud Services Resume After Overnight Outage

Comcast's X1 Cable Boxes Suffer a Nationwide Outage

A DDoS Attack Could Cost $1 Million Before Mitigation Even Starts

Amazon Web Services Fails The Price/Performance Test

Hackers Compromise Official PHP Website, Infect Visitors with Malware


Just Because They Call Themselves a Managed Service Provider...

Wow! Just when I thought I'd seen it all, along comes another new client who had no idea how bad they had it. To be sure, they had some sort of "inkling" because they did call us in proactively to give their network a once-over. However, what we found continues to amaze me. Ultimately, we're righting the ship. But can you imagine...


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 Announces Hiring of New CMO

ENCINO, CA - October 21, 2013 - FPA Technology Services, Inc. (FPA), the preeminent IT Service Provider in the Los Angeles area, announces today that they have hired Brett Schoneman as the new Chief Marketing Officer for the company.

Read the full Press Release here

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

National Breadstick Day!

National Breadstick Day

Hard to believe, but yes, it's true! Every last Friday of October the country (unofficially) celebrates National Breadstick Day. Originally thought to have been created in the 14th century, breadsticks, according to a local tradition, were invented by a baker in northern Italy in 1679.

While not the healthiest of choices, October 25th also marks National Greasy Foods Day. Did you know that fried chicken is the most ordered meal in sit-down restaurants in the U.S.?

And last but not least, the last Friday in October also celebrates National Frankenstein Friday. This day celebrates the birth of Frankenstein and it's creator. Dating back to the 1800′s, Frankenstein is one of the best known horror characters of all times.

So there you have it. Enjoy today, because it's like no other!

Upcoming Webinars

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

Date: Thursday, November 21st
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!

FPA Services for Investment Advisors

Staff Spotlight - Angie Montgomery

Angie Montgomery

FPA is proud of its Help Desk and the staff manning it. As a Network Engineer in our Help Desk, Angie is one of our "first responders" when clients contact us for remote support. Angie excels at working under pressure and takes great pride in keeping FPA clients calm and happy, no matter what's going on with their systems.

Angie speaks and writes fluent German and Italian and spends her free time hanging with her friends, swimming, and bowling (not in any particular order).

Client Kudos

"I wanted to send a big THANK YOU to all over there who helped us with and coordinated this server rack project. I know it was a really big project and appreciate all the help, expertise & advice throughout the process."
- Kathy D.
Cummings Appraisal Group, Inc.

"The ongoing communication and updates are “really, really” appreciated. Thank you!"
- Isabel C.
Abernathy Insurance Agency

"Officially, my experience with Nate was Excellent. Great working with him. Good to know he's there on your team!"
- John L.
Anchor Loans, LLC

Recommended Reading

Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All

by Jim Collins

Collins, along with co-author Morten Hansen and a team of over 20 researchers, spent roughly nine years trying to determine why some companies thrive during chaotic, uncertain and unstable times while other companies do not.

Great by Choice contains a set of core concepts that define the major chapters in the book. Here is a short description of each to provide an idea of what is in Great by Choice and how Collins describes the characteristics of companies that have exceptional performance, what Collins calls 10x.

20 Mile March describes the fanatic discipline that leads you to manage for the long term rather than chasing short-term results or the fade. Essentially this is the business version of the classical Greek axiom of balance and discipline.

Fire Bullets, Then Cannonballs by being empirically creative by experimenting intelligently everywhere and exploit where you know you are having success. This is more than the idea of `failing fast'. It is a definition of innovation based on the combination of creativity, discipline and data.

SMaC describes the company's principles that are Specific, Methodolical and Consistent. This chapter in essence describes the power of common vision, direction and culture. Collins points out that SMaC is one of the more powerful ways to exert control in a dynamic world.

These concepts are all interrelated and go beyond the book' s triangle graphic. You cannot do a 20 mile march well without SMAC and both are worth lest without the preparation associated with leading above the death line.

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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"The most important decision you make is to be in a good mood."

- Voltaire
French Enlightenment Writer & Philosopher

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