There’s No Room for Slack in Teams

Once the darling of the group communication platform market, Slack is lacking compared to one of the newest market entries. Microsoft Teams aims to challenge Slack in every aspect with fancy features and robust capabilities.

The team behind Slack, the wildly popular Internet-relay chat (IRC) platform, raised nearly $20 million in funding for its first endeavor, a role-playing virtual world video game named Glitch. Appropriately named, Glitch was “deactivated” just over a year after launch, and the team took everything they’d learned in those initial few years and again raised nearly $20 million to fund Slack.

In 2016, Slack was ranked #1 on the Forbes Cloud 100 list, and in 2017 it was valued at over $5 billion. Cloud-based collaborative software helps teams stay organized, maintain a solid but transparent communication base, and receives real-time updates. To the transparency point, the name Slack is an acronym for “Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge”.

Slack advertises itself as a “freemium” product – a free product with a selection of premium features that are offered at a cost. Within 24 hours of launch, Slack documented over 8,000 users signing up for the platform. Within two years, that number increased to 10,000 new daily active users signing up each week and now boasts more than four million daily active users. Considering there are more than one million paying customers using the premium model, at $80-$150 per user per year, the valuation isn’t farfetched. Users that add a Google Apps subscription are saddled with another $60-$120 a year, for a total of $140-270 per user price tag. It’s no surprise that in 2017, TechCrunch recognized Slack as Best Startup of the Year at the Crunchies Awards.

Transparency was indeed a major factor behind the rise of cloud-based collaborative software demand, as was the growing popularity of the remote workforce. Telecommuters now represent a much larger portion of the professional presence in every organization, from small teams to global enterprises. Slack was created to marry the Internet chat room with the topical forums populated by so many IT professionals, but also file storage and direct messaging needs. Designed as an organizational tool, the communication platform is widely used as a community forum with its social focus. The key professional tools are there, but Slack also includes memes and emoji and, to a degree, a semi-customizable user interface.

This is what Microsoft is up against with its Microsoft Teams product.

Is the Slack vs. Microsoft Teams showdown the modernized tale of the underdog vs. the giant? Microsoft already has Skype for Business in its product suite, allowing organizations to utilize a professional digital communications platform for text chat, voice calls, and video conferencing. Adding a collaborative spin seemed like a natural progression from the organization that delivered Microsoft Word, OneDrive, SharePoint and a myriad of other software applications catering to productivity needs. You might think, wouldn’t acquiring Slack and integrating the platform into its family of products make more sense from a practicality standpoint? Microsoft may have been thinking along these same lines in 2016 when the rumor mill was working overtime with hints of a Microsoft bid to acquire Slack. However, when you can create what you deem the perfect product as the at-large experts, why buy something you’d then need to break down and re-build to integrate?

Slack likes their position as the underdog. Some features that are considered benefits by some are viewed as hindrances by others:

  • Text-heavy and line-oriented user interface
  • Secret commands for user customization
  • No email or file storage
  • Data is stored on proprietary cloud servers
  • No built-in integration with many professional productivity apps
    • Integration with platforms like Trello, Zendesk, and Github is supported

Slack prides itself on its open source platform, its personalized approach to customer service and overall user experience. To this point, Slack paid for a full-page advertisement upon the launch of Microsoft Teams with a thinly-veiled condescending “welcome” message full of advice aimed directly at Microsoft upon its entry into the collaborative market with Microsoft Teams.

Did Microsoft feel threatened? Doubtful. First, Microsoft Teams is an integrated part of the subscription-based Office 365 productivity suite, with no additional account sign-up or downloading/onboarding. What does this mean? Ultimately, the standout point here is that there is no added cost per user/seat. Microsoft Teams simplifies onboarding further without a free or standalone tier since it’s already included with Office 365 Business Essentials, Business Premium, Enterprise E1, E3 and E5 plans. Because of Office 365, users know others in the same Groups, and can create smaller private Groups.

Microsoft Teams also integrates with Skype for Business, offering one major element that Slack lacks: a calling feature (audio or video). Perhaps the feature that users are going to love the most is that Microsoft Teams incorporates every app in Office 365 suite into Microsoft Teams in custom tab format.

  1. Click a particular team
  2. Select “Add Tab” in the top right corner
  3. Then add your Microsoft choices:
    • Word
    • Excel
    • Meetings
    • Notes
    • Planner
    • PowerPoint
    • SharePoint
    • OneNoteFree (from the iTunes Store)
    • And others

These apps are “opened” within Microsoft Teams with full functionality, and each integrates seamlessly. Slack and Microsoft Teams have slightly different target markets, to be fair, but the gap is closing. Users with an Office 365 Business or Enterprise subscription are paying closer to $60 annually for the Business Premium tier. Users also have access to Exchange email, a terabyte of OneDrive for Business storage, Skype for Business, and Microsoft Teams with this subscription, and upgrading to the full suite of desktop Office apps with the E3 plan goes up to $240 per user per year. The intrinsic value is apparent.

  • When a Team is created in Microsoft Teams, a SharePoint directory is also provisioned with a folder for each channel automatically. Content is still easily searchable.

Microsoft Teams is the brainchild of a global enterprise that has 85 million commercial customers with ideas to keep them close to home. Including Microsoft Teams and deploying for use is simple enough, and no doubt intentional.

If you or your organization is interested in exploring Microsoft Teams as a solution for your organizations colalboration and productivity, get in touch with our team at Imagis and we will work with you to create a proof of concept deployment and adoption plan for your digital transformation journey.

Time to Bring Back That Lovin’ Feeling

There are few things worse than feeling trapped in an unfulfilling relationship – especially when it’s a vital business relationship.

Technology is an integral part of everything your business does, which raises a few important questions about your current IT set up. For starters, what is your relationship like with your technology systems – rock solid, or more than a little rocky?

How about with your technology service provider – are they always there for you when you need them the most? Do you still love your technology service provider the same way that you did the day you first met? Does your relationship with them still make you happy, and leave you feeling confident and supported in everything your business does? Can you count on them to help you reach your goals and achieve your dreams for the future?

One last question – has your passion for your network faded, leaving you frustrated, disappointed, and longing for happier times? If the answer is yes, then we have some good news for you… Your IT cupid is here to help you get back that lovin’ feeling. Let Imagis rekindle your passion for your business technology. Something that is such a core part of your daily life shouldn’t be a constant drag on your mood, your productivity, and your success.

You deserve better. You deserve a technology company who puts you first and treats you like you’re special. IT and IT support are in no way one-size-fits-all. Your technology infrastructure should be as unique as your individual business, and tailored to meet your specific needs. Everything from the software you use to the way your data backup system is configured should take into account the way your company operates, and what your employees need to have access to in order to be effective and efficient.

A cookie-cutter IT infrastructure can’t help your business grow and thrive. If your IT company can’t or won’t treat you like you’re not just another client, it’s time to look for someone who will be more than happy to treat you right.

If you’ve stopped feeling that spark from your tech support when you pick up the phone and call them, it’s a surefire sign that the relationship is no longer working for you. Dreading making a call to the IT Service team because you know that you’re going to, at best, get an apathetic response from the person on the other end of the line is not a good feeling. This is a company you’re trusting with your business’ most valuable assets, and if they can’t make your needs a priority? That’s a serious problem.

What happens when something goes seriously wrong, and you know that your emergency is going to be treated like just another service ticket? What could possibly be a worse feeling than that?

It’s time to put your foot down and stop being taken for granted by IT companies who have become complacent, thinking that you will always be there for them to come to when they feel like it. You can’t afford to be kept waiting each and every time you need something from your IT provider, and you can’t afford to leave your technology in the hands of someone who isn’t interested in helping you get the most out of your IT. Technology is evolving fast, and having someone there to help you take advantage of innovative solutions can make all the difference to your business’ future success.

Like any good relationship, your IT provider shouldn’t only pay you attention when there is something broken that needs to be fixed. They should want to spend time with you, and work on building a solid, trusting rapport with you and your staff. They should want to take the time to learn what your business’ goals and values are, and connect with you without you always needing to be the one who makes the first move.

No relationship should ever be one-sided. If you’re doing all the work, then what’s the point of keeping that IT company in your life? If they’re not giving you everything you need and more, it’s time to let go, move on, and find someone who deserves your business.

Here’s our number: 888-526-4283. Whenever you’re ready to chat with us, give us a call. We’d love to sit down with you, get to know your business better, and find out what we can do to help you get the most out of your current technology and future technology investments. We want to help you reach your business goals, and offer the best possible service to your customers.

And of course, you’re welcome to ask us anything you’d like to know about who we are, what our values are, and what we have to offer. We’re an open book.

Ready to set up that first date and talk technology with a team of professionals who truly care about your business? Give Imagis a call at 866.462.4474 or email us at today.

Leading ‘As-a-Service’ Trends in Technology

The advent of cloud computing brought with it more than just a place to store data, the cloud could be used for running, as well as building, applications and other software.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is the most commonly used of the cloud services model. This is where a third party distributes software over the internet, making them available to everyone. This could be email, customer relationship management, and healthcare-related applications. 

  • SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) – A software distribution model where a third-party hosts the application and delivers it to customers via the internet. SaaS is one of three main components of cloud computing. The other two are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

There are several important characteristics tied to the SaaS model. These are how they differ from the traditional software model and what make it ideal for some businesses versus the traditional way of doing things.

  • It’s a uniform platform for delivery. There is no need to pay extra operational overhead for software users to go through different distribution channels. It’s all done in one platform with a single avenue of distribution.
  • It has centralized hosting and delivery. No more different software packages for different operating systems or platforms. With SaaS, it functions on a single platform (the internet) with a uniform interface.
  • It allows for open collaboration and sharing. With SaaS, platform tools like automated user provisioning and self-service account management provides users with the necessary tools to control how and when they share things like tasks, data and information with other users either inside or outside their company.

It’s easy for companies to streamline their support with SaaS because vendors perform all the maintenance and upkeep: updates, runtime, servers, storage, data, etc. SaaS is one of three main components to cloud computing, along with Platform as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

  • HaaS (Hardware-as-a-Service) – A procurement (the series of activities and procedures necessary to acquire IT products and services) model similar to leasing or licensing. The hardware belongs to the managed service provider and is installed at a customer’s site, then a service level agreement is signed that fills out what both parties are responsible for.

The Hardware-as-a-service (HaaS) model can be a cost-effective way for a small or mid-sized business to provide employees with state-of-the-art hardware in a cost-effective manner. HaaS can be contrasted to infrastructure-as-a-service where the hardware is housed at co-location site.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is for running applications and providing cloud components to software. Basically, the customer is using the provided platform, such as Microsoft Azure, to use libraries, languages, services and other tools supported by the platform provider.

The same way that you would make macros in Microsoft Excel, PaaS allows you to create applications using software built into the PaaS. Applications that use PaaS will inherit cloud capabilities such as scalability, high-availability, SaaS enablement and more. It reduces the amount of coding needed, it automates business policy and it helps migrate apps to a hybrid model.

Some vendors of PaaS use open source platforms while others use more of a proprietary version. Open source might have the advantage of being portable, but a vendor specific version will probably have a better support model. Your business should take into account these versions before picking their PaaS. Portability is very important for organizations that seek flexibility to move between cloud platforms as their strategy evolves.

  • What are the benefits of PaaS?

One benefit is cost reduction; the other is that you can deliver web apps quickly without installing any tools or software.

  • What costs are associated with PaaS?

PaaS is usually billed using the same model as your utility bill, you pay for only what you use. It eliminates the need to install hardware or software that you don’t need.

  • What type of businesses can benefit from PaaS?

Development teams who want to speed their application’s time to market can benefit from PaaS; businesses looking to put their applications on a common architecture; and organizations who need critical support would also benefit from using PaaS. It reduces IT costs, complexity of operating systems and increases scalability.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a cloud infrastructure service that is a self-service model for accessing, monitoring and managing remote data centers such as compute, storage, networking and networking services such as firewalls. So instead of buying hardware outright, you pay for what you need as you go. It’s consumption based, much like your electricity is now.

Unlike PaaS and SaaS, IaaS users are responsible for managing data, runtime, apps and operating systems on it. The provider still manages core networking, hardware virtualization and storage architectures. Many providers now offer databases and other services. But the user is responsible for updating if there any updates.

Want to learn more about which cloud strategy is right for you? Contact our team at Imagis via our contact us page.

10 Business Intelligence Trends to Follow in 2018

Getting more out of your business data is quickly becoming an industry all its own, and there are some exciting things on the horizon to help you do more, learn more, and grow more.

Data has long been your business’ most valuable and essential asset, and Business Intelligence (BI) solutions are changing the way you use that data. A modern BI approach is a sure-fire way to lift your business above your competitors, using savvy analytics to make better data-driven decisions. There are a ton of fantastic and innovative BI technologies and strategies available to today’s businesses, and these 10 trends are projected to lead the pack heading into 2018.

1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Science Fiction paints a pretty terrifying picture of what advancements in AI will mean for humankind, but in reality, this technology is already proving to be a huge asset to analysts. As machine learning technology continues to improve, it’s becoming easier to automate tasks that would otherwise be labor-intensive time suckers for your staff. With the tedious work done for them, analysts can instead focus on thinking strategically about the implications of their results, and start planning next steps for your business. Unlike some other technological advancements, machine learning isn’t meant to replace human employees. Rather, its goal is to enhance the work your staff is already doing.

2. Natural Language Processing (NLP)

It’s estimated that half of all analytical queries will be generated using voice, search, or NLP by 2020. The power of NLP will allow staff to pose more nuanced questions of your data, and get more accurate and helpful responses as a result. While this is exciting enough on its own, the real gains where analytics are concerned will come from what developers and engineers alike are able to learn from looking closer at how people are using NLP. That way, we can make sure NLP is being applied to the types of workflows where it can have maximum impact and value.

3. Crowdsourced Data Governance

Self-service analytics are gaining popularity, granting users access to new perspectives and new information that is inspiring more innovative ways to implement governance. More than just using the wisdom of the crowd to get your hand on the right data, governance is about making sure the wrong data stays out of your system. BI solutions and analytics will be making use of this modern governance model in 2018, giving IT departments and data engineers the ability to cultivate trusted data sources.

4. Multi-Cloud Strategies

There has been an ongoing debate about multi-cloud solutions as more and more businesses sour on the idea of being tied to a single cloud solution. Multi-cloud strategies allow for business to work with multiple providers, finding the right vendor for a specific project or need. This increased flexibility comes with a higher overhead cost and requires your IT personnel to become familiar with multiple platforms. However, with 70 % of businesses expected to have a multi-cloud strategy in place by 2019, it’s a good idea to start looking seriously at how best to make this strategy work for your business.

5. The Chief Data Officer

Chief Information Officers (CIO) are nothing new, but as data and analytics become more critical to your operations, the need to strike a better balance between security and innovation has lead to a new C-level position – the Chief Data Officer (CDO). Adding a CDO or even a CAO (Chief Analytics Officer) to spearhead business process changes allows your business have a firm grasp on analytic strategy, making sure it’s part of the conversation from the get-go.

6. Rise In Data Insurance

Several recent high-profile data breaches serve as a reminder of the risks and costs associated with these types of security incidents. Data is now a commodity, which means it’s only going to continue to become a bigger target for theft in the future. Quite often, there is no real consequence to the perpetrator when data theft happens, so there’s not much to deter a cybercriminal from setting their sights on your data. For that reason, more companies are expected to invest in cybersecurity insurance to protect their valuable data assets in the coming year.

7. The Location of Things

A subcategory of the increasingly popular Internet of Things (IoT), the “location of things” refers to devices that are able to sense and share their geographic location. The ability to capture this data can help users to add the context of location to data when assessing usage patterns. This technology can be used to track both assets and people, and can even interact with devices like smartwatches for a more personalized experience. This extra layer to typical usage data can help better inform your business strategies moving forward.

8. Increased Role For Data Engineers

The movement to use data to make better business decisions necessitates a larger role for data engineers in today’s businesses. With over 3500 open positions currently listed on LinkedIn, the demand for this specialty is obvious. As the need to leverage data in new and innovative ways becomes more essential, having someone on staff with a deep technical knowledge of your systems and architecture, and the ability to understand your business’ wants and needs becomes crucial.

9. Universities Offering More Data Science and Analytics Programs

By 2021, its estimated that 69 % of businesses will prefer job candidates with data science and analytics skills, with jobs like Data Insights Miners and Bionic Interface Designers emerging by 2030 thanks to advancements in AI and analytics. A number of universities, including the University of Sydney and Victoria University, began adding data science courses to their offerings back in 2015, with more and more institutions adding these types of courses now and in the near future.

10. Liberal Arts in the Analytics Industry

The need for technology specialties is decreasing as technology platforms become easier to use. As a result, businesses are looking to other specialties such as the liberal arts to bring new perspectives into the mix. Not only can these individuals fill vacant positions within your data analytics team, but they can help you better use your data to create a vision for the future of your business that goes beyond just technical or scientific insights.

Want to learn more about the value Business Intelligence solutions can offer your business? Contact our team at Imagis via or 866.462.4474. We are the Cloud Centric IT Solutions Providers businesses trust.

10 Apps to Help You Keep Your Resolutions

The new year is fast approaching, and with it comes a slew of resolutions we will all struggle to keep. Whether you resolve to quit smoking, fall in love, or learn a new language, there’s an app for that.

Weight Loss

If your new year resolution is to shed some pounds, why don’t you try MyFitnessPal. With this app you can keep track of your health, no matter where you go. MyFitnessPal has a plethora of knowledge not only about calories, but other nutritional information as well. This app has a database of over 5 million foods, and you can even scan items in the grocery store to find out what you’re really buying as well as how it will affect your health.

Make Better Habits

With HabitBull you can manage your habits- good or bad. You can monitor your success at making or breaking your desired habit through the apps simple, user-friendly interface. Not only will you be able to log how much time you spend biting your nails, but you can also log things such as the number of drinks you’ve had, as well as how much time you spend in the gym.


There has been an increased interest in saving the planet this last year, and for good reason. But sometimes it can be difficult to do your part and recycle as often as you should. It can be challenging to know exactly what you can recycle, or to find the appropriate places to do this. To improve the frequency and effectiveness of your recycling, try using iRecycle. This app tells you where to find recycling centers, as well as what items can be disposed of and how to recycle them properly.

Learn a New Language

If your new year resolution is to learn a new language and increase your understanding of the way other communicate around the world, look no further than Duolingo. Duolingo is the Rosetta Stone of language learning apps, and it will help you keep track of all that you’ve learned in your virtual French, Spanish, Russian, or other language class. You can also join groups dedicated to speaking only in your desired language where you can practice. And if you’re not comfortable with this, you can chat with virtual friends, who will quickly have you saying “parlez vous pas Francais?”

Find Love

The dating app market has exploded in the last year or two, and it can be difficult to find someone who doesn’t have a Tinder or Bumble account. But we all know that love is not found through a dating app, it is found by speaking and getting to know other individuals. Welcome to 36 Questions– the icebreaker app sure to help you get over those first few awkward moments. With 36 Questions you and another person take turns answering questions meant to reveal your true character. The questions come in sets of three, and are meant to increase in difficulty- as well as intimacy- as you continue.

Travel More

We all wish that we could take time to travel the world, and now you can get your travel plans organized with the app ChatnbookChatnbook will help you check into hotels at your leisure. You are also able to set preferences such as the hotels rating, their wifi availability and more. You can make sure that you’ll have a place to stay as soon as you arrive, instead of having to worry about whether you and your bags might end up on the street. With all this stress taken off your shoulders, you can focus your attention elsewhere; like taking a walk to that hidden waterfall you’ve heard so much about.

Save Money

It seems like every year we find ourselves thinking of different ways we can cut expenses and build our saving accounts. Yet, we find ourselves in the same position year after year, meaning that there is no change in behavior. To assist you in your endeavors try using Digit. Digit will help you set goals and keep track of what you are spending. You can even transfer money to a savings account- a way to make sure you can afford that trip to Peru later this year.

Organize Your Life

If you are interested in organizing your hectic life, try Quip. With Quip you can create notes, lists, documents, spreadsheets and more- all from your mobile device. Not only is this app useful for home, but it is also great for organizing your work life. The simplicity of this app makes it more efficient than using email to communicate important information- and thus saves you time. Keep everything organized and under control, and even pair it to other devices if you need to.


We are a highly stressed society, so it is no surprise that many people resolve to relax more in the new year and stop stressing out so much. Something that might help you is meditation, and I know what you’re thinking, ‘I don’t plan on sitting in a foreign darkened room, legs crossed, repeating some sort of mantra for hours’. I’m here to say that you won’t have to. With Headspace you can learn the basics of meditation at your speed and in the comfort of your home- or wherever you’d like since it’s on your mobile device. This app will let you partner with another person to keep each other motivated, and works in 10-minute-long sessions. This is short enough that you could do it on your lunch break or even stuck in traffic- because you know that’s when you need it the most.

Be Happy

If your new year resolution is to be a more positive, upbeat person, consider Happify. With Happify you can shake off the gloom of the winter, and look on the brighter side of life. This app offers activities and games to boost your spirit, and may work as a little bit of a distraction as well. Sometimes you need to take your mind off of things that are bothering you, and with Happify, you can do just that. 

Insure Your Cybersecurity For 2018

Cybersecurity, no matter the size of your business or how many employees you have, is a vital part of today’s business. Everyone in your organization needs to be up to date on how to spot a cyber threat and what to do about it.

There are some fundamental things that you should be doing to help protect your business from cyber threats. As hackers find new and innovative ways to come at your data, you need to be a few steps ahead of them. Let’s discuss a few areas in which you can “seal the breach” from hackers:

  • Educate your staff on social engineering attacks

Social engineering attacks trick people into giving up sensitive information usually by posing as someone within the company or a vendor. Educate your staff on what to look for and how to protect themselves and the company from these malicious attacks. Phishing is one of these social engineering attacks that disguise a virus within the email. Once the attachment is opened, the virus goes to work attacking data and sending information back to the hacker. Make sure your employees are questioning anything that seems odd or out of place.

  • Use up-to-date anti-virus software and firewalls

You should be checking for updates periodically and installing them automatically. Cyber criminals will happily exploit any unsecured system for a one-time breach or even an ongoing theft.

  • Establish company policies for handling and storing sensitive data

Not every person in your organization needs to have access to sensitive data. Restrict who has access and make sure they are changing their passwords every ninety days at least. Also, don’t keep more data on a client than you need, and don’t hold it any longer than you have to. The less data you have on hand, the less you lose during a breach.

  • Establish guidelines for company wide computer use

Your employees should not be using company computers or devices for use with family or for personal use. This prevents them from inadvertently sending out sensitive data. This goes the other way too. Employees should not be allowed to use their own personal devices to download business data to. This should include items such as thumb drives, tablets and phones.

  • Institute a mobile device policy

Set up a protocol so that employees may access data from a secure location on their phone, but without having to download the data. Enable access codes, encryption and remote wipe software on all company devices, then keep a log of all issued and approved devices and who they went to.

  • Stay up-to-date on software patches

Make sure you are installing every hardware and software an operating system update. This keeps hackers from being able to take advantage of vulnerabilities. Be sure that these updates take place across the board. Have every computer in your organization update and make sure it gets done to avoid any breaches.

  • Use passwords

Use the built-in password functions of the laptops and other devices. Don’t allow employees to store passwords on their work computers or devices. And make sure they are using a combination of letters, numbers and symbols in their passwords to make strong passwords. You also want them to change it at least every three months.

  • Encrypt sensitive files

You want to keep out unsavory types and those meddling hackers, so encrypting your files is a must. This way, even if they get ahold of your data, they can’t view it or alter it. Encrypting data that is being sent over the internet or to the cloud for storage is also a good idea. So even if the data or files get intercepted mid-stream, they are still unable to be read or changed.

  • Dispose of old files and devices properly

Simply deleting a file on your hard drive does not mean that it is gone forever. Deleting only tells the hard drive that the space if freed up and can be used. The data can still be retrieved. The only way to insure that hackers or anyone else can get at the deleted files is to destroy the physical drive. When you upgrade equipment, such as computers, remember to destroy the old drives. But computers aren’t the only drives that you should worry about. The copier has a hard drive as well. Think about what else in the office might have data on it and secure it.

  • Back up your files

Keep copies of your data separate from your original files. Whether online in the cloud or offline at separate site from the original, always backup your data. It is best to have it backed up on the cloud and offline in another location. This way, if you are hacked or data gets lost, you will have a much better idea of what is missing and be able to get it back.

Cyber security is a big deal, and a big job. But it is never foolproof. You have to stay vigilant and uncompromising in your security measures. Don’t let hackers take what you’ve worked so hard to build. With ransomware and other cyber-attacks happening more frequently than ever before in 2017, you want to start 2018 off on the right foot.

Give Imagis a call at 888-526-4283 and let one of our consultants show you how to build a better security framework

Is It Time for An All New IT Upgrade?

There’s no denying that in today’s world, information is more accessible and easier to obtain than ever before. From the internet, tablets, smart phones and even your laptop, information is everywhere and can be accessed from anywhere. But do we know all the ins and outs of making this “connect from anywhere” information stream work?

As a business owner, big or small, why would you put yourself under the pressure and stress of maintaining your own IT services, as well as trying to run your company and turn a profit, when you can let someone else take on that worry. Hand that stress over to someone who knows IT and whose sole job is to handle things like data storage and server maintenance. Thus, freeing you up to worry about other aspects of the business, like sales.

An IT services provider is equipped to handle issues that can lead to devastating downtime or loss of function. The service provider will have the knowledge and the current technologies to handle the problem and get you back up and running with minimal downtime or effect on your business. In other words, you don’t have time to play at IT. You need someone who can BE IT.

If you’re still on fence as why you should hire an outside source to maintain your IT services, take these points into consideration:

  • Efficient cost management

This is probably the number one reason any business would want to switch over to outsourcing your IT services. It lowers costs and frees up funds for other aspects of the business. Who doesn’t want to save money?

  • Reap the benefits of freed up resources

As a business owner, you are running on limited resources already, so why use up even more of those resources maintaining something that you know little about? Let someone else take over the management of your IT services. You can finally free up Bob from accounting to do his job and let an IT professional fix the busted laptops.

  • Share the risk burden

Another big positive of having a third-party company handling your IT services is that you share the infrastructure risk. This will allow you, as a business, to become more flexible and agile, delivering better products over the long run. Again, this goes towards lowering costs and the stress of having to maintain a network when you may not understand all the ins and outs of that network.

  • Re-focus your priorities

If your worrying about your network or data storage issues you’re not focused on your business. It is not productive to split your time between six different computer issues and trying to make a sale to stay in the black.

  • Access to data management expertise

If you were an IT pro, you would be in the managed service provider business. So why try maintaining your own network? Allowing an MSP to maintain your network and handle your IT services gives you access to experts in the field who know the most efficient way to run data storage or supply you with the most up to date equipment for your computer network.

Using an outsourced IT company frees up your staff to do the job that they were hired to do, and to shine. With how rapidly tech changes, how is Bob from accounting supposed to keep up? Plus, the professionals that work for the outsourced IT company are experts in their field and are paid to keep up with the most up to date tech out there.

Now that you’ve seen the benefits of switching over to outsourced IT services, the next step is determining what you need to turn over to the IT professional. The easy answer is everything that has to do with tech, such as computer maintenance and networking. But there is much more to a smooth-running office than just computer failures.

An outsourced IT provider can handle many things for your business:

  • Data center operations,
  • Business continuity,
  • E-Commerce web design functions
  • Basic support services (help desks, etc.)
  • Security management,
  • E-Mail marketing management,
  • Virus protection,
  • Data backup and recovery,
  • Wireless support,
  • Purchase consulting,
  • And network architecture.

It is up to you to insure that your business is running at its peak performance. Your employees need to be able to send and receive emails, order supplies and communicate with clients. If your staff couldn’t communicate with clients and vendors, how long would your business last?

With Imagis you will have access to first-class technology, allowing you to streamline processes that makes them more efficient and productive. And this will help your company to be able to take advantage of opportunities much quicker.

Call Imagis at 866.462.4474 and see how we can make first-class technology work for you!

5 Reasons Why You Need to Make the Switch to Office 365

If you run a business, chances are that you’ve thought about moving to a productivity suite. The two most popular in recent years are Google and Microsoft’s Office 365. Touted as “innovative” and “the next big thing”, Microsoft’s productivity suite is a revolutionary concept when it comes to operating systems and computing. But why choose Microsoft over the other guys?

  1. Its cloud based. Having all your computing done in the cloud means that you always have access to your files, as long as you are connected to the internet. You can use all of Microsoft’s Office tools on any PC/Mac, tablet, or smartphone. With 365, you can use the online versions of the productivity suite or install them to your device.
  2. Its secure. Whether using the version of Office installed on your machine, or the cloud version, you get the same level of security and encryption. The same set of Rights Management Services applies to both. None of your files can be accessed without the proper user credentials, set up and monitored by Azure. This provides the best security and control over your Office 365 data.
  3. Data is replicated. Microsoft’s Office 365 does offer its own form of checks and balances, 24/7 replication that is always on and OneDrive to store all your files. But it is never too much to have an extra layer of protection in the form of a Managed Services Provider (MSP) who can provide true cloud backups that can protect your data and add an extra layer of security, should your data become compromised or lost.
  4. Pros (and cons) of switching to Office 365. As with anything worth doing, there are pros and cons with the decision to move your operations to the cloud. There are some major advantages to the cloud, but ultimately, the move is up to you. A few key advantages to Microsoft’s cloud are:
  • You can work anywhere. If there is an internet connection, you can use your data from anywhere and on any device. You can check emails, access files, and work on a project all from the same place. Even If that place happens to be the other side of the world.
  • Easy collaboration between coworkers. How many times have you had multiple people working together on the same project, only to have one version go missing or you risk losing it. With Office 365, collaborators can work on the same file and get changes in real time. You can also share files as links right from the OneDrive, rather than as attachments.
  • Access to the latest versions of programs, always. Imagine having access to the most current versions of Word, Excel, and Outlook without having to pay extra or reinstall programs. All the most recent versions of everything in the Microsoft Office Suite are available with an Office 365 subscription.
    • Great security features. How secure the cloud is, depends on what security measures you have in place. With Office 365, there are quite a few built in security features to keep your data safe. These include:
    • Encrypted email. Only the intended recipient can read the email.
    • Data loss prevention. Checks and insures that sensitive data (social security numbers, etc.) does not get sent out via email.
    • Mobile device management. Allows you to control Office on your employee’s phones, protecting company information.
    • Advanced threat analytics. Learns and protects company data, alerting you to suspicious activity on the network.

Alongside all the advantages to using Office 365, there are also a few cons:

  • Subscription based model. You must pay a monthly or yearly subscription for your Office 365.
  • If the internet is down, your data is down. Considering that Office 365 is cloud-based, if the internet goes out, you could be without access to your data. Even working on a slow connection could make working in a cloud-based system not ideal.
  • Most people don’t use all its features. Most users don’t use everything that Office 365 has to offer. Most only use email, file storage, and access to Office programs. This isn’t a terrible thing, but it means you’re paying for features that aren’t getting used.

5. Microsoft throws in some great extras. Office 365 comes with 1TB of storage space in Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service, free web hosting and the tools to use it, and a full 60 minutes of Skype minutes to make calls to a landline every month.

Microsoft Office 365 is a very good example of not just what a cloud service can be, but what more businesses are turning to for their cloud needs. Cloud computing is becoming a big part of more and more company’s tech strategy and Office 365 an excellent way to jump into the cloud.

If you’re in the market for an IT expert to walk you through getting onto Microsoft’s Office 365, give Imagis a call or contact us through our forms!

Why You Need to Create a Business Continuity Plan

Data loss is always a concern for businesses, and now with cloud storage there is more concern than ever that data stored there could be stolen or lost. “It can’t/won’t happen to me” attitudes among small businesses could end in disaster, costing these business owners a pretty penny.

Lost profits, lost productivity and damage to your businesses reputation are just a few things that could come from loss of data…and those are the best-case scenarios. Small businesses can’t afford to lose data. Almost 60% of small businesses go under within six months of a major data loss.

The good news is that a majority of small businesses already backup their data, whether it is locally, on the cloud or both. To prevent a catastrophic loss of data, it is important that you follow some simple guidelines to preserve your data. Backup the data for starters, preferably on a daily basis, but at least a couple times a week. You also want to have a Business Continuity Plan in place.

A Business Continuity Plan is a process put in place to respond to any catastrophic loss of data with a documented and clear set of plans to recover that data. The plan includes step-by-step instructions how to recover the loss and get your network or system up and running as swift as possible to avoid a major loss in productivity or revenue, and get back to work.

Your data recovery analysis should include hiring a Managed Service Provider for your IT recovery needs. They are specially qualified to handle data recovery and to get your business back up and running after an IT disaster better than you are. They will help with the analysis and show you the best way to safeguard your data so that, in the event of a catastrophe, they can help get that data back.

What can cause your data to be lost? There are a few main causes for the loss of important data, including:

  • Hackers – A lot of times data loss is due to poor cybersecurity. Without the right preventative measures in place, hackers can infect a system with ransomware and compromise all of your files. Ransomware is likely today’s biggest threat to your data. You hear about it everywhere, including how to defend against it before they get in and take over your files. You don’t want that ransom note.
  • Human Error – Backing up files, moving files and deleting old files is something that we do every day as part of our business routine. So it is inevitable that we accidently delete the wrong files or backup an outdated version of a file. Human error is inevitable so have a plan in place for when this happens to you.
  • Software Failure – We’ve all been there. You have a dozen programs running at once as you try to accomplish a dozen tasks at once. You’re working in one of those dozen programs when the computer starts acting sluggish then crashes. Now all that data is gone because you didn’t save or back it up before the crash. Similarly, if you are using outdated software you’re asking for problems. Don’t fall victim to this. Keep software up to date and don’t over task the hardware.
  • Hardware Failure – Hard drives fail all the time. 140,000 hard drives fail every day. Some just get worn out but others fail due to extenuating circumstances such as:
  • Water Damage
  • Fire Damage
  • Overheating
  • Power Surges
  • Getting Dropped
  • Cyber Viruses and Malware – Viruses and malware are a real threat in today’s ever-connected world. The internet has immense value and you’re probably connected to it at all times, but this also leaves you open for computer viruses as well as hackers that want to steal or hijack your data, or corrupt your entire network.
  • Power Failure – The loss of power to your system might seem as if it is low risk, but that’s not always the case. A power failure to the computer can result in loss of data or even worse, hard drive failure.
  • Natural Disasters (hurricane, tornado, etc.) – A tornado doesn’t care how long it took you to backup your data or that you didn’t backup at all. A server room could flood or a main work area could suddenly cave in or be swept away. If you live somewhere prone to natural disasters, you should already be backing up data.

The best way to protect your data from hackers and other problems is to have a reliable recovery solution in place by an IT professional. The biggest threat to your data and your business is not being prepared. Get together with your Managed Service Provider (MSP) and come up with a Business Continuity Plan that works for your business.

Strategize Your Way To A Stellar 2018

With the right guidance and advice, strategic IT planning can set your business on a path to greater success in 2018 and beyond.

2017 isn’t quite behind us yet, but already many businesses are turning their attention to the year ahead. Planning out your objectives and goals for the coming months is a great way to make sure your business is prepared to meet those challenges, and that starts with taking a look at how you faired in the previous months. Now is the time to make sure your plan for 2018 is ready to go, and covers all aspects of your business. This means focusing not just on your operations, but the many moving parts that keep your operations running.

Did your business meet all its goals and objectives for 2017? Hopefully, you were able to cross most, if not all, of your goals off of your list. But those areas where your business might have come up short, or the objectives you didn’t quite get around to tackling are a great starting point for your plans for 2018. And while it’s important to keep the big picture in perspective when making decisions that will have an impact on your future success, it’s just as important to focus your attention where it’s needed.

I’m talking, of course, about your business technology. Have you thought about technology and the role Information Technology can play in making sure your business continues to be successful? Information Technology plays an important role in every company’s success, regardless of how big or small your operations are, or what your company specializes in. Technology is the driving force behind just about everything a modern business does, from accounting and administration to shipping and manufacturing, and all things in between.

Having the right technology in place to improve, enhance, or completely change the way your staff works can make all difference, both short-term and long-term. And having the right IT strategy can help to make sure your business is in a position to accelerate growth, increase operational efficiencies, and ensure maximum productivity for all departments and employees. Strengthening your internal operations through innovative technology investments can be a game changer for your business.

Of course, it’s not just the things that happen behind the scenes that need to be a part of your planning. The right strategic IT plan can ensure your team is able to market your business to your ideal audience and help your sales teams to win new sales opportunities by staying a step ahead of your competitors. The agility and speed offered by today’s technology, when implemented correctly and used to your full advantage, allows your staff to do more for your clients and prospective clients and exceed expectations.

It’s just a matter of knowing where and how you want your business to grow in the coming year, what changes need to be made to make that growth happen, and how to get the most out of the technology at your disposal.

If your business doesn’t have a strategic IT plan ready to roll out just yet, now is the time to talk to trusted technology professionals about your goals and learn what your options are. Your business can and should use technology as a foundation to build up a framework for success in the coming year. Whether it’s something as small as upgrading your accounting software to help streamline payroll and billings, or something as huge as finally migrating your systems and servers to a cloud-based platform, planning is everything.

Don’t let that fact that the focus of this planning is on your goals for 2018 keep you from starting this conversation in 2017. Procrastination will only hold you back, and keep your business from benefitting fully from everything new technology can bring to the table. You don’t have to run out tomorrow and start making purchases, but the sooner you start planning, the sooner you can start putting that plan into motion.

You might have a very clear idea of the kinds of changes you want to see and the milestones you intend to strive for, and that’s great. That certainty will help guide your business. But if all you have is a vague idea of where you’d like to see your business end up when 2018 comes to an end, that’s where advice from an IT professional can make a big difference. Just knowing what services and solutions are available for your business to choose from can help guide you onto the right path. It’s just a matter of knowing which questions to ask.

Better yet, engage an IT Service Provider that knows which questions need to be asked to help your business leverage technology into massive growth and success in 2018 and beyond.

Ready to start on a strategic IT plan for 2018? Contact Imagis Innovations at or 866.462.4474 today to book a consultation with a strategic IT advisor. We’re the technology experts growing businesses trust.