State of IT 2017

As we start the New Year it’s appropriate to look at the state of I.T. and give you the JustWorks perspective on where the best path forward will take us.

First we need to remember that the basic structure of a computer has not changed: a computer uses a processor to process data that is kept on storage. The proximity of the processor to the storage is still absolutely key, and that affects how “cloud services” work, or don’t work. The larger the data being processed, the more important it is that the processor and the data it is working on are joined by a fast connection, so applications like CAD and accounting cannot tolerate a situation where the processor and the storage are separated by the typical Internet link available to most businesses today. Either the data needs to be local (in the same place, like the office) to the computer, or the processing needs to be done remotely, close to where the data is.

Using this model we can more easily understand the different cloud services that are available.

  • “True cloud” services are where both the processing and the storage are provided by the vendor, so all the user needs is a window into their systems — a good example is QuickBooks Online, where the data and the processing are done on Intuit’s servers and all you need is a web browser to see the results.
  • “Hybrid cloud” services are where the processing and the storage are not always colocated. A good example of these type of services are the cloud file services, where the files exist in the cloud but are also replicated locally so that they can be used by your (local) computer. Hybrid solutions typically require both some local systems and some remote (cloud) systems to deliver the solution effectively.

For the majority of businesses the world of cloud services has not advanced to the point where they can replace their local applications, and it may well be many years before that is true. So most businesses are stuck in between the old world of local networks and servers, and some combination of the true and hybrid cloud services.

The way forward is to be ready to move applications to the cloud when that becomes feasible, and in the meantime get as much advantage as possible from hybrid cloud services without breaking what works on the local, office-based network. This is what we have designed JustWorks 7 to deliver.

jw7JustWorks 7 is our seventh major design revision in our 21 year history, and just happens to neatly coincide with 2017 as the launch year. In designing JustWorks 7 we have preserved the ability of our customers to continue to run the applications they need on their office network, while also providing the benefits of a distributed cloud file system that is available from anywhere on any device. Customers can share their data securely with partners and vendors, enable remote working, and still have lightening fast access in the office.

JustWorks 7 provides a platform that supports local applications today, and is ready for those applications to move to a cloud service provider as soon as our customers are ready to do that. Our design is a “hybrid cloud” that prepares our customers to move to “true cloud” when the time is right.

Our new design moves the core collaboration tools of email, calendaring and file sharing so that they are cloud based, but easily accessible from the office too. The reference design for JustWorks 7 is based on using Microsoft’s Office 365 services for email, but can also accommodate anyone who would prefer to use Google, Amazon or another vendor for email. The JustWorks 7 cloud file service works equally well irrespective of which vendor is providing the email services.

JustWorks 7: designed for the future, and today.
We make IT simple.

Email encrypton added

JustWorks has added the ability for our customers to send encrypted emails.

Should you need to send secure email, for instance to the bank or other security sensitive recipient, you need only mark the email as “Confidential” in the sensitivity setting (in Outlook, or through webmail Options…).

The email will automatically generate a request to the recipient to create their own password. After they have created their password, all emails will be delivered to them as PDF documents, encrypted with their password, and attached to an email – they use the password they set to open the PDF.
There is a reply button in the PDF that allows them to send you a secure reply using a web portal.
All subsequent emails to the same recipient will use the same password. If unused for 90 days they will have to create a new password.
We can reset the password for anyone who has lost/forgotten theirs, but that will not get them access to old emails encrypted with their old password.

There is no charge for this service, and any user can send as many secure emails as they wish to as many people as they wish. Service requests for password resets and troubleshooting will be billable.

The best way to get a feel for how it works is to send yourself a Confidential email to your personal/home email address.

We hope this new feature will prove useful to your company.

New Email security from Reflexion

2fbc1856f1480bb04c0449b8eb78109dAll JustWorks customers will be moved to new email spam security services before April 30th 2016.

The old provider of these services (McAfee/MXlogic) have decided to cease providing this service, and so we are switching to Reflexion to provide the same SPAM filtering and email continuity services.

What will it cost me?

Nothing. Services remain as is, and any additional costs are carried by JustWorks, so long as you subscribe at the MANAGE service level or higher.

When will it happen?

We will let you know your exact cut-over date, which will be a weekend.

You will receive a Welcome email, and starting on the Monday the notices you receive regarding SPAM messages in your Quarantine will look a little different.

What do I have to do?

Nothing. JustWorks will handle all of the migration and transition as part of your contract services, so long as you subscribe at the MANAGE service level or higher.

You should familiarise yourself with the new web site features of the new service.

New “cloud” services for 2016

JustWorks has added some key new services to our full service managed systems portfolio. All of these services are available as extensions of your existing services, and they have all been tested by JustWorks in production.

To provide advanced services for the new “cloud” era we are offering new services to meet the following needs:

  • Messaging, fax, conferencing & phone in single unified service
  • File sharing accessible from any device, any where at any time
  • Security enhancements for your Internet connection

Messaging, fax, conferencing & phone

We are happy to announce that we have partnered with RingCentral to bring you fully unified communications in the cloud.
RingCentral can completely replace your phone system, or just add additional functionality to what you already have. The service includes “follow me” phone numbers so that you only ever need to provide a single phone number for your business contacts to reach you, no matter whether you are sitting at your desk or on the road (even where you have WiFi but no cell phone signal!). The service also includes unlimited calls and SMS messaging in the continental USA, fax and voicemail to email integration, and last but not least online conferencing for phone, screen sharing and HD video.
You can find out more at www.ringcentral.com or just call us and we can walk you through how it might fit with your needs.
Pricing ranges from $40/month for your whole company, to $40/user/month for full phone functionality including a desk handset.

File sharing accessible from any device, any where at any time

JustWorks has partnered with Egnyte to enable the extension of your in-office file sharing out into the rest of the world, all while maintaining the high levels of security you have come to expect from JustWorks solutions.
Once we have setup your cloud file server, you will be able to access all your files from any web browser, smartphone, tablet or remote computer, with ease. You can also create connections for your vendors and subcontractors to share specific files/folders securely with them.
You can find out more at www.egnyte.com or just call us and we can walk you through how it might fit with your needs. The first 2 users and 1Tb is included in our Manage service level, and pricing is $20 or $40 per user/month after that, depending on what version you choose.

Security enhancements for your Internet connection

We have migrated all JustWorks installations to the Sophos security platform – there’s nothing you need to do, this is part of our service.
Now that the Sophos security system is in place at your offices we will be able to enhance your Internet and network security with better WiFi security, email encryption, and load balancing over multiple Internet connections.

We will also offer Sophos Reflexion email security as an alternative for email SPAM filtering, as McAfee are discontinuing their service.
We will be in touch with you when we roll this out to your site.

We are excited to be able to offer these new services, and look forward to making them simple for you take advantage of.

GreenCitizen – new e-waste option

Green Citizen

 

We have just become acquainted with a great new e-waste organization, GreenCitizen, and want to pass the information on.

GreenCitizen is based in San Francisco, with four Eco Centers located around the Bay Area: San Francisco, Palo Alto, Burlingame and Berkeley. You can drop off your e-waste at these Eco Centers any time you like.

To help ensure that any data on your hard drives is handled as securely as possible, GreenCitizen offers hard disk destruction services at all of their Eco-Centers. This three-step process starts by tracking each drive down to the serial number. Once tracked, hard disks are crushed using a Department of Defense standard hard disk crusher and then shredded in a certified hard disk destroyer. Upon completion of this process, GreenCitizen will send you a certificate confirming the successful destruction of all drives. When it comes to data security, you can never be too safe – GreenCitizen can help put your concerns to rest!

If you have more than 10 items ready to go to e-waste, Green Citizen will come and pick up from you. Just fill out their form online, or call Kevin Landers on 415.287.0000 x102 or email to pickup@greencitizen.com.

 

Samsung Zero Clients

Security-and-ProtectionWhen your “desktop” is virtual and in the cloud, replacing your expensive-to-maintain PCs with low-cost, zero-maintenance devices lowers your costs and enhances the security of your I.T. systems.

We have been using and recommending the Samsung devices for some time now, and there’s been a new addition to the Samsung PCoIP “zero” client lineup, so we though this would be a good time to review the options. Samsung calls these devices “PCoIP Cloud Displays” and you can get full details at their web site.

NC220

Samsung NC220This new model has a 22″ LED display which uses less power, 0W when sleeping and 35W+ when in use. It uses innovative LED Back Light Unit (BLU) technology which saves energy—up to 40% compared to conventional CCFL screens. What’s even better is this LED panel is halogen- and mercury-free, so you’ll help conserve our planet’s natural resources and reduce carbon emissions

The NC220 has an external power supply, so that means having a brick lying around somewhere between the power socket and the device.

General pricing on the NC220 is around $500. Given that this is not much more than the pricing for NC190, we expect the NC190 to be phased out soon.

 

NC190 and NC240

These are the two original models from Samsumg and both use LCD displays. The NC190 has a 19″ display and sells for about $450 new (retail $509), and the NC240 is a 24″ model that sells for about $550 new (retail $599).

These older models have internal power supplies, which keeps things neat and tidy. But they consume more power (2W+ at sleep and 35/67W when being used) than their newer LED BLU companion.

 

All Models

All of these zero clients can only be used to connect to virtual desktops in a VMware View environment, like JustWorks Central. They have no operating system, no local storage and use a hardware PCoIP chip to control the remote display of your virtual desktop – that’s why we call them “zero” clients. This means that they are very secure (no data left on the device, ever) and performance is excellent over a wide variety of bandwidth conditions.

When you buy one of these “zero” clients you need to supply your own keyboard and mouse. Logitech_USB_stubWe have tested the Logitech Bluetooth keyboard/mouse packages that come with one of those little USB stubs, and they work just as well as standard USB-cabled keyboards and mice. All models have 4 USB ports and full USB device support, so users can access a wide range of USB peripheral devices directly through the client, enhancing connectivity whilst maintaining the security of the system.

Our experience is that microphones and USB connections to smart phones (iPhones, Blackberrys etc.) work fine, but video cameras do not work well yet – so no Skype video from one of these devices, but you can still do Skype voice calls.

Additional ports allow for attaching external speakers and second monitors for multi-display setups.

A 130mm height adjustable stand, with tilt and swivel, allow for optimal ergonomic placement on your work surface.

A 3 year warranty is standard on all models.

 

How to Change your Password BEFORE it Expires

Remember that changing your network password will require you to re-enter your new password for email from your phone, home PC or laptop with Outlook.

For help on how to change your password on your phone/mobile device use these links to helpful online articles:
Apple, Blackberry, Android, Windows Mobile.


Changing  your password on your PC in the office.

Windows  XP and Windows 7:

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete to bring up the Windows Security dialog box
  2. Click Change Password to get to the Change Password dialog box
  3. Input your current password into the Old Password text box
  4. Input the desired new password into the New Password text box and type  it again into the Confirm New Password text box.
  5. Click OK.

Your  password is now changed.

 

Changing your password through Outlook Web  Access

There are times when you need  to change the domain password, that could be when you are traveling or when  working remotely. Within the network there are many ways to change the  password, but from outside the network the options are limited. Outlook Web  Access offers an option to change the password through  the web.

To change your password within your Outlook Web Access page, click on Options on the upper right (or left  side panel  for older versions), then Settings on the left and Password icon in the ribbon.

You will be asked for your current password and then your new password twice.

OWA Password Change

Click  the Save button and that  will change your network/domain/email password.

E-Waste

In order to most efficiently and responsibly dispose of your e-waste, we’ve compiled a list of links and resources for your use. All of the major computer and electronics companies have their own recycling programs and often provide free pickup. Your local community may have state approved e-waste recycling companies. Check your local listings or visit the Computer Take Back website  to find a Responsible Recycler in your area. Many communities also have donation drives for electronic goods.

National & Local Recycling Programs

Manufacturer Recycling Programs