3 Powerful Cloud Computing Solutions You Can Use Right Now

Curious about what the cloud can do for your business? Good! Cloud computing is one of the most powerful IT solutions on the market today. If you’re on the fence about whether cloud services are right for your business, you’re in the right place. The following are five exciting features of the cloud, and some of the benefits they could hold for your business.

1. Data Backup with the Cloud

Migrating your data to the cloud is one of the first steps towards true data security. When you store data in the cloud, it doesn’t just disappear into thin air, waiting for your summons to return to your computer; it’s stored in a very real server off-site, where professionals take all the necessary precautions to protect it from potential disasters. The largest cloud providers, like Amazon, Apple and Google, maintain massive worldwide infrastructures that support their cloud services.

This level of decentralization means that there are many levels of redundancy and a horde of cybersecurity experts standing between your data and any kind of disaster. Backing up your data off-site is advisable, since a spilled cup of coffee could otherwise be your business’ greatest enemy.

2. Collaborative Workspaces

Before the cloud, collaboration in a digital environment could be a real hassle. Transferring files had to be done via email (or worse, packaged in a thumb drive or external hard drive and passed between users). Multiple copies of the same document gobbled up space on your devices.

Cloud computing has changed all that. Many cloud platforms now offer collaborative workspaces where people can simultaneously work on a single file. Google Drive is the most popular of these platforms right now, but functionality is rapidly expanding.

3. Powerful Software as a Service

The idea of software as a service (Saas) has been around for a while now, but gained new meaning with the sudden rise of cloud computing. Now more than ever, companies are abandoning their traditional sales models in favor of cloud-based subscription services. Microsoft’s transition from the Office suite to the cloud-based Office 365 has been swift and effective. Netflix’s bold decision to move away from their mail-order model to become a streaming service hasn’t just put the competition out of business; it’s made a profound dent in Western culture.

Software as a service means you don’t have to worry about reinstalling your favorite software every year, since rolling updates and live support keep software from aging.

One of the reasons the cloud is so exciting is because the technology is still in its infancy. Software that was rare five years ago is ubiquitous today. In another five years, the cloud could play a role nearly every aspect of our lives.

Embrace Cloud Computing Today

Adopting the cloud and embracing it in your daily processes is one of the best decisions your business can make to speed growth. You’ll notice an immediate impact on the efficiency of your business as employees become fluent in their new tools and start streamlining their workflows. In the long-term, your business will emerge as a leader in your market, ready for the future. Having a tech-savvy culture in your office is one of the best ways to attract new young talent that can help your business navigate and thrive in an increasingly digital world.

 

If you think cloud services are right for your business, there’s no time like the present to start. Preferred Technology Solutions is proud to work with businesses around North Texas to achieve transformation through technology. The first step is to make contact – no obligations on your part. Reach out today to get the process started.

The Best Cloud Service Money Can Buy

Not to brag, but the cloud is kind of a big deal right now. The cloud can be used for personal use, to aid in medical research and response, to bring classrooms together, and to make your business thrive. The cloud is changing the face of the modern business, and we invite you to take a load off and reap the rewards only the cloud can provide. With so many services in the market, how do you decide which cloud service and provider is right for your company? Preferred has a strategy for finding the BEST cloud service available.

 

What is the Best Cloud Service?

Your company uses a myriad of devices and operating systems to survive and thrive in its market. You need a business-grade cloud service that knows exactly what you have, what you need, and what you are up against. The best cloud service is one that offers the following services and support systems:

  • Remote access and ease of use
  • Preventative measures to ensure safety and security inside and outside the office
  • An easy-to-use interface
  • Scalable services and capacities
  • 24/7/365 support
  • Data backup, encryption, and recoverability
  • Attractive pricing

 

Questions to Ask to Find the Best Cloud Service

When you are on the hunt for the best cloud service provider, it is essential to ask the right questions. The best cloud service provider will be more than willing to answer.

  1. What about the data?

Your data is the life of your company, and it needs to be cared for and protected. Ask about data backup frequencies, data encryption, and data recovery. You also need to know if you can scale your data services in the future. You must choose a cloud service that is flexible and accommodating to your business’s changing needs. Once you determine what happens to the data, you must inquire about the security of the data center, where the data is housed, and the process if the company loses your data. It is important to understand the cloud service provider’s provisions for data loss.

  1. How do I set up and what will it cost?

The best cloud service is one that accommodates your needs and your budget. You should not be paying for service and space you do not use. Ask about the pricing structure, and be mindful of upfront costs as well. Once the service is in place, you need to know how you will get up and running. The best cloud service provider will walk you through the process and support you along the way, even after your system is up and running.

  1. What about access?

Access has many faces when you are working with the cloud. You need to know who can get in, where they are going, and the strategies to keep prohibited users out. Ask the company how you and your employees are able to access the cloud. Finally, you must ask about the company’s history of downtime and periods of inaccessibility. If your company goes off-line or experiences a loss, what will the cloud service provider do to ensure your company experiences the least amount of downtime possible? Does the claim match the reported data about downtime and recovery?

 

If you need to find the best cloud service, make your first all to Preferred to benefit from the best cloud service that your hard-earned money can buy.

What Features Are Included in the Best Cloud Service?

Everyone has a cloud. If you type in ‘cloud services’ in a search engine, more than 200 million results come up. Good luck with that. Allow us to help you break it down. If you are looking for a cloud service for your business, Preferred has the solutions with the best features. Don’t settle; choose a service that offers a list of effective features.

 

5 Must-Have Best Cloud Service Features

You are going to come across a wealth of bells and whistles offered by cloud companies, but just like buying a car, don’t lose sight of what you need. The best clouds have the five following features.

  1. Ample Storage and Frequent Backups

Your company’s cloud must have enough storage to store all of your company’s critical data, without having to sacrifice data. The perfect cloud service company will provide you with storage solutions that fit your company’s immediate needs, accommodate for future goals, and scale to coincide with growth. As your company collects the data, the cloud must have a backup schedule in place that coincides with your company’s needs as well. Does certain data need to be updated immediately, or can some of it wait until the doors close for the day?

  1. Virtualized Desktop

You need a virtualized desktop so you and your team can utilize all the benefits and tools of the cloud in or out of the office. A virtualized desktop allows companies to load all of the essential programs and solutions online and then deliver them right away to other users or deploy them instantly when working remotely.

  1. Complete Email and Communications System

Your company’s email system is critical for its daily operations. Hosted email provides your company with tools and communication resources improve your staff’s communication and productivity.

  1. Compliance and Support Resources

Your company’s cloud service must be compliant. As technology evolves in all industries, it important to find a service that is both compliant and efficient. Company data and customer privacy are top priorities, and businesses have an obligation to protect both. Companies who deal with such sensitive information must choose a cloud product with a company that is industry compliant and has a track record of proven compliance.

  1. Security and Disaster Recovery

You have to ensure safety and that the cloud provider will stick around to support your company. You must ask about encryption, security support, monitoring, prevention, and eradication. Ask about data collection, secure transmission and the security of the off-site data location. After the data is collected, your company must have the ability and ease to recover data swiftly and remotely.

 

When you are looking for a cloud service and cloud provider, vet the company and the product just as you would a new employee or vendor. This is your company and its data and integrity are on the line. Demand a company be upfront about pricing, security, and terms that benefit your company, not the cloud provider.

How Network Monitoring Increases Revenue

Network monitoring is when the operation of a computer network is overseen using specific management software tools. Network monitoring is done to ensure overall performance and availability of hosts and network services. The network monitoring system can detect and report failures of connections or particular devices. When failures, exceptionally slow response or other unpredictable behavior is detected, these systems deliver alerts to particular locations such as a phone number, email address or management server, so system administrators can be notified. There are many benefits to this practice, and below we discuss how network monitoring increases revenue.

 

Early Warnings

Quality network monitoring system (NMS) software increases business value by warning IT staff and system operators of potential problems, outages and other system issues as it constantly monitors threshold settings, calculates end user response time and alerts IT staff to important log file messages. With an NMS organizations can plan proactively to repair or expand systems before a problem occurs and turns into downtime that is very costly in business.

 

Cost Reductions

When a business experiences unplanned downtime due to issues with the network, it costs them more money the longer that the system stays down. Measure these productivity costs by calculating the average revenue generated per employee per hour against the yearly hours of total downtime. Then there is the price of diagnostic and repair costs and the bills from vendors as well as the hourly salaries of IT staff to come and take care of the issues. When you have an NMS in place, you will slash these costs exponentially by getting ahead of the problems before they get out of hand.

 

Save Your Reputation

When your systems go down, it can generate lost revenue via customer transactions that have failed. This makes your business look unprofessional and hurts your reputation, leading to a loss of profits because you’re losing repeat business. An NMS can prevent this situation from occurring and keep your business running smoothly at all times.

 

Stay in Control

Get in front of your schedule with an NMS instead of being controlled by unexpected problems with your network. Since the NMS provides real metrics, you can coordinate IT easily with your business goals. Instead of operating on instinct and not dealing with problems until they are out of hand, companies can link IT assets to business functions through a business process outlook of its network. By having reports about the performance of particular servers, for example, you can decide which ones to replace first based on how they are affecting customer satisfaction levels. This paints a clear picture instead of just blindly pulling servers that may be slow, but not actually negatively impacting sales.

There are many benefits to a business that employs network monitoring. If you have any questions about how a network monitoring system can help your company, contact us today. Our friendly staff is happy to assist you!

3 Ways Microsoft Office 365 Enhances Business Productivity

Productivity is a great word, one that gets thrown around by organizations and consultants quite a bit, but Office 365 actually achieves greater productivity through its adoption and use.

With Preferred Technology Solutions’ Office 365 support you get the absolute best support for Office 365. From the very beginning of the migration process to the end, and then the ongoing support you’ll need to maintain high rates of productivity utilizing tools and features of Office 365.

Here are three ways Office 365 enhances business productivity when paired with ongoing proactive support from Preferred Technology Solutions.

Access From Anywhere With Office 365

Considering that Office 365 resides in the cloud, accessing important information and files has never been easier. All that’s needed is a computer, or other Internet connected device, to get what you need, when you need it. All changes to documents or other files are saved and backed up automatically, and collaboration in real time is easy to do.

Ease of Use and Familiarity

At its core, Office 365 is the same basic product as Microsoft Office 2013 but with more powerful and robust options to meet business and end-user needs. If you are familiar with any version of Word, Excel, and other Microsoft applications you will be able to confidently use Office 365. Even the additional options and applications of Office 365 are easy to find and simple to learn how to use.

Office 365 Offers Robust Security Features

Based on the needs and goals of your company, security can be as strict or lenient as your organization wants with Office 365. The total offering of business productivity tools offers administrators the ability to pick and choose who can access what in real time. Updated to the software and applications, including critical security patches, are all handled automatically so you don’t have to do it yourself.

To find out whether Office 365 is a large enough benefit to your organization, contact Preferred Technology Solutions today. We’ll run a completely technology audit to optimize your business through technology.

time management

5 Time Management Apps for Business

The word of the day is ‘mobility,’ and businesses need to know how to utilize its resources to maximize time management and efficiency. The face of the office has changed; it is now a screen, and now on-the-go is the only way to do business to cut costs and improve productivity. Your phone and tablet are at your side constantly, so why not use each to improve your time management in and out of the office? Five of our favorite apps can help.

     1. MightyMeeting

The whiteboard and presentation-sharing app has everything you and your employees need to collaborate, present, and host meetings. The cloud-based meeting app improves time management by allowing users to upload and store content to a secure cloud, access shared folders and account info remotely, annotate and present documents, share documents, synchronize content in a conference room, and interact during meetings.

     2. Cardmunch

The more you network and explore the field, the more you will receive business cards. What do you do with all of them so you can refer to them in the future? Gone are the days of typing each contact into your phone or stuffing the cards into a folder you can rarely find when you need it. Cardmunch improves time management by allowing you to turn business cards into contacts on your smartphone or mobile device. The app is a Linkedin product that allows you to take a photo of a business card, and then the app populates and organizes the information into your mobile device so you don’t have to.

     3. Locqus

Stop pouring over time sheets and project sheets at the office. Instead, assign and track projects from your device. Locqus improves time management by allowing users to create tasks and projects and assign them to different employees. As soon as you are finished, the task shows up in the employee’s schedule. Locqus allows business owners to do more, meet with more people, and to manage time better with the click of a button, even if they are out of the office.

     4. Dragon Dictation

Dragon Dictation, a Nuance app, is a voice transcription service that allows you to create messages, compose emails, update your Facebook status, send a clever tweet, and record spontaneous ideas while you are on the road or sitting at home. When inspiration hits, Dragon Dictation is there to capture each word quickly and accurately.

     5. Nutcache

Employers rely on the Nutcache management app daily. The company claims, “Nutcache ranks among the best collaborative solutions available.” The app allows business owners to save time by creating c teams and collaborating c online, invoicing i clients and vendors with a smart device, create tasks, monitor the company’s projects, track time on projects, and generate certain deadlines. Nutcache improves time management by allowing you to manage your team when you are at the office, in your pajamas or on the road. Wherever you are, you can use your smartphone or tablet to manage better your time and your employees’ time.

How the Apple Smart Watch Can Help You Stay Fit

Staying fit is not an easy task. Well, that is what the multi-billion industry wants you to believe. The truth is small changes can help you achieve your fitness goals, and awareness has a tremendous impact on your success. However, calorie counting and fitness tracking can be daunting and time-consuming, which suck the life out of fitness and your fitness goals. Fitness can be fun, and many of the activities you do already are contributing to your overall health. The new Apple Watch can help you track just how well you are doing and can help you identify how to do better. Apple lovers listen up. The new watch is your ideal health partner.

About the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch has an Activity app that helps you monitor and maximize your health and daily activities. The watch is ideal for athletes, active users, and people who want to improve their overall health. The app allows you to set goals for yourself; it provides you with updates about your progress throughout the day; it gives you a breakdown of your exercise stats; and it reminds you to get up and get moving. The app has three functions: Move, Exercise, and Stand. The watch keeps track of what you are already doing, such as walking to your car in the parking lot, hiking up stairs, and taking your 4-legged friend on an adventure. The watch is a fitness tracker and health coach in one.

Ring One: Move

The first ring is Move. Users can select the amount of calories they desire to burn in a single day, or the Apple Watch can suggest a goal based on current activity level and movement history. As you get closer to reaching your calorie goal, the ring closes tighter. The movement ring makes you more aware of the small movements you are taking each day to reach you calorie goal, but it also makes you aware of the areas in which you can improve. If you begin to fall behind, you will see it and can take the initiative to get up and move, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park out a little further at the grocery store. The app permits you to adjust your movement goals up or down to fit your needs and lifestyle.

Ring Two: Exercise

The Exercise ring monitors how much time you spend exercising in a single day. The app monitors how much physical activity, above a brisk walk, you do in a day. Your daily goal should be thirty minutes for a healthier heart. As you approach your exercise goal, the ring closes. The app does not reset after you complete only ten minutes of exercise; it tracks your activity for the entire day. You can complete 30 minutes in a single session, or you can break it up throughout the day to fit your routine into your busy life.

Ring Three: Stand

The third ring is the Stand ring. The Stand ring keeps track of how much you are sitting throughout the day. It may surprise you just how much you really do not move around. If you sit for longer than an hour, the watch tells you to get up. The goal is to get you to move around every hour in a 12-hour period.

Monitoring Your Health

All of the information collected with the Apple Watch can be synced with the Health app. The Health app allows you to track your progress and create a plan that help you stay on track with your current and future health goals.

The New Smartwatch From Pebble: Pebble Time

Pebble is known for the smartwatch and the Kickstarter fund raising site for creative projects. The new Pebble Time smartwatch has set a new Kickstarter record, raising $1 million in only 49 minutes, the fastest in Kickstarter history. Backers on the site can buy the Time for only $179, while the first 10,000 got it for only $159. Here’s what all the fuss is about.

 

About Pebble Time

The watch is named “Time” because time is the central guiding force. It doesn’t favor individual apps, but instead has adopted a timeline display of your most urgent notifications. The notifications are organized by what you need to know currently and then in the near future. Apps will still be there, and Time can work with the already existing software for Pebble. However, developers are focusing on moving in a direction that focuses on building software that is extension-style and provides information to a central shared interface. The goal is to steer away from a model that is app-centric, which is more appropriate for smartphones than a smartwatch accessed on your wrist.

 

Pebble Time Features

The Time is 20% thinner than the previous Pebble smartwatch model, and it now has a new color e-paper screen, where the past model was only available in black and white. Brilliant animations work at 30 fps on the e-ink display. Voice-activated controls can be performed via the Time’s built-in microphone, made with quick text responses in mind.

The straps are now 22mm, which means you can change them out easily with others in your collection. Plus, they come off without a problem because they are designed with quick-release pins, so you don’t need specialized tools to swap straps. The Time is much more customizable than its predecessor.

The Time is water-resistant like the original model, and it uses strong Gorilla Glass for the face and has three available colors for the steel bezel. Connect to devices via Bluetooth, with the aim being to see how the Time works with BLE accessories separate from any phone. Its physical buttons are still a part of the watch, as opposed to a touchscreen interface. The goal in mind with this design is so the user knows for sure that their information has been registered. Designers find this to be a perfect setup for situations where you’re setting a timer for running, dismissing an alarm or swimming.

 

Pebble Time OS

The Operating System for the Time has been completely rebuilt to support new software.

Information that will be displayed chronologically include weather, stocks and email notices to name a few. This Timeline interface will be accessed by the press of a button, allowing users to scroll to the next event in order, no matter what the app source is. If you need to go back to see what notifications you missed, simply scroll back and catch up on items like yesterday’s activity summary or the score of the game you missed. The new operating system will be able to store over 8 apps, which was the previous model’s maximum capacity.

7 Important Benefits of Cloud Computing

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By using the cloud, employees can access the resources they need to work by simply connecting to the Internet. When you make cloud computing a part of your business, there are several benefits that you’ll be able to take advantage of.

 

Mobility

With the cloud, you and your employees can access the company database as long as you can connect to the Internet. You’re no longer stuck in the office; if you need to work remotely, it’s no problem. That way, you can work while traveling or work from home if you need to.

 

Flexibility

The cloud allows you to access your information from any device – a smart phone, tablet, computer, or any other mobile device, as long as the device is connected to the Internet.

 

Security and Storage

By storing your information in the cloud, you can feel confident that your data is being kept safe. You are no longer limited to storing your data in physical locations. That way, if a natural disaster occurs and destroys your physical storage, you won’t lose all of your valuable company information.

Also, you gain almost unlimited storage capacity when you use the cloud. This saves you from worrying about using up all of your storage space and no longer being able to save your data.

 

Reduced Downtime 

When you use cloud computing, your employees can focus on their job duties instead of worrying about fixing IT issues. That way, your employees will be more productive and accomplish more at work.

 

Save Money

You can save a lot of money when you use cloud computing. Not only will you save on electricity and equipment expenses – you’ll also save on staff and operating expenses.

 

Easy Growth

Cloud computing platforms grow with your company. Whether you need to expand or downsize, you can feel confident knowing that your infrastructure can make that change with you.

 

IT Experts on your Side

When you utilize the cloud, a managed service provider such as Preferred Technology Solutions remotely maintains your system for you. That way, you can gain peace of mind knowing that experts are handling your infrastructure. This will allow you to focus on the bigger picture – like the strategic vision that you have for your company.

 

With all of these benefits, it’s easy to see why moving your company to the cloud is a great choice. Why wait? Contact Preferred today at 972-644-1992 and let’s work together to improve your infrastructure.

 

 

 

 

 

Unified Communications

How would you like to integrate your company’s communication in a way that would help your business run as efficiently as possible? It’s a no brainer, right?

We’re here to help! We understand that your business can’t run at an optimal level without proper employee communication, and we can provide you with the Unified Communication solutions you need to improve communication at work.

Our Unified Communications services in Dallas include mobile computing services, Internet services, and IP telephony and convergence services, and can help ensure that you:


Stay Connected – When you are traveling or working off-site, it can be difficult to communicate with co-workers as easily as you can when you’re in the office.  Our unified communications services enable you to stay connected – no matter where you are located!

Remain Fully Productive – When you aren’t physically in the office, you may find it more difficult to respond to critical emails, manage your calendar, or finish other tasks that would be easy to complete in the office. Don’t sacrifice productivity unnecessarily – our unified communications services in Dallas make it easy for you to work efficiently by giving you access to the applications that you need!

Gain Flexibility – Our services allow you the flexibility you need to communicate conveniently. For example, you can even make phone calls by simply using your laptop! With unified services, you’re no longer limited to traditional methods of communication.


Our aim is to help you improve communication at work by providing you with the most effective communication solution for your business. When you work with Preferred, you’ll be in direct contact with one of our certified engineers in Dallas – that engineer will then examine your specific business needs and create a communications solution that is tailored to meet those needs.

By utilizing Unified Communications, you can save time, gain superior infrastructure, and increase productivity.  It’s the most effective way for you to improve communication at work – there’s no doubt about it!