Office Manager LLM Capital Partners was selected as our IT Service Provider offering a secure, cost effective and simple solution to our complex IT needs. The 100% cloud based solution we chose is a perfect fit for our entire team. It provides safe and fast access to all company data and email regardless of location.

As a financial firm we are required to adhere to strict compliance rules and regulations with a focus on data/email archiving, protection and retention. provided us a solution that met all those requirements and offered the peace of mind that our firm was looking for.

Suzanne Rudin

Office Manager LLM Capital Partners

3 Ways CIOs Can Remain Relevant in a Cloud-Driven World

The role of IT departments is changing, as businesses increasingly move files and applications to the cloud. Once IT staff are no longer called upon to install software or restore a file from server backup, the entire department could suddenly find itself with extra time on its hands.

In actuality, though, CIOs are finding their roles are rapidly changing within the corporate structure. Instead of being a separate entity, tasked with completing help desk tickets and changing backup tapes, IT now finds itself becoming a liaison between business leaders and third-party service providers. This is a much more high profile role that often intensifies longstanding relationships between CIOs and other upper-management staff within the organization. Here are three major ways CIOs can help their teams remain relevant in the new cloud-driven marketplace.

Cloud Services Facilitation

When dealing directly with cloud vendors, CEOs and CFOs are often presented with a variety of options. A CIO can work with both the vendor and business leaders to ensure that choices are in line with business goals. Such decisions as whether to go public or private with a cloud move, whether a particular SaaS application will meet compliance requirements, or negotiating SLAs often require the advice of an expert who knows both the business and technology sides of things.

Business Partnerships

In this new frontier, CIOs are increasingly finding themselves working side by side with CEOs and CFOs as they drive the direction of the organization. Tasks like creating disaster recovery plans should involve leaders from multiple departments as they work together to prepare for an event that would have an impact on the entire organization. In this sense, CIOs are being seen more as business partners than user support.

Project-Driven Leadership

Offloading mundane tasks to the cloud allows CIOs and their teams to focus more intently on projects than day-to-day IT operations. Technology has become so closely interwoven with business operations that it’s difficult to separate the two. CIOs may find themselves working with team leaders to find an app that will make field operations more efficient or to oversee the creation of a mobile app that will reach out to customers.

These exciting changes present opportunities to those who have forged a career in information technology. By finding ways to work with business leaders, CIOs can redefine their own roles within their respective organizations, ensuring their longevity.

Public, Private and Hybrid Clouds: The Difference (and when it matters)

A decision maker at an SMB is trying to keep things simple (or at least no more complicated than they have to be). Saving money for outsourced services gets everyone’s attention, and the promise of Cloud Computing undoubtedly gets yours. While most of the technical details are delegated to your hard working CIO, Directors, and foot soldiers, there are some concepts it’s good to have an overview of – because of their effect on your data security and your bottom line.There are three categories of Cloud Computing Environments you’ll hear your IT staff talking about – a Public Cloud, a Private Cloud or a Hybrid Cloud. The differences between the three involve the capital investment of each, and the data security level provided by each.

The Public Cloud

According to TechTarget, A public cloud is “one based on the standard cloud computing model, in which a service provider makes resources, such as applications and storage, available to the general public over the Internet”. In the Public Cloud, all the infrastructure and maintenance are provided off site. This is the ideal choice for most SMBs.

Advantages:  A Public Cloud:

  • Takes all of the overhead of IT operations off of your shoulders.
  • Simplifies accounting in that you pay fees instead of overhead and effort involved in Capital Expenditures.
  • Increased demand is simply a matter of purchasing more bandwidth and/or services. For example, If you need more capacity during the Christmas buying season, you can purchase more capacity during the season (as opposed to purchasing equipment and systems that must have capacity that is not needed for a majority of the year).

Disadvantage:  You are using shared resources with other organizations, which makes a Public Cloud less secure than a Private Cloud.  However, It is important to note that the resources of a Cloud Vendor are far greater than a typical SMB, and that the environment of your Cloud Vendor is still more secure than an environment in the traditional IT space

In short, a Public Cloud is ideal when:

  • a standalone IT Operation represents major overhead to your business,
  • You use standard applications (Such as Microsoft Office),
  • You use Cloud applications by major vendors (such as Adobe Creative Cloud or SalesForce), or:
  • You do a lot of collaborative projects over a disbursed area.

Private Clouds

A Private Cloud is one where a Cloud Infrastructure is used by a single organization. It provides the most security, but requires that the organization have the resources to maintain the environment (and typically an SMB is turning to the Cloud to avoid that overhead!). Recently, Public Cloud Vendors have started offering Private Cloud Services at a premium– i.e., Cloud Environments which are segregated from their public services.

Because of the extra overhead and/or premium costs, Private Clouds are only desirable if you are in an industry with stringent security or data privacy demands, or your business is by nature financial data, intellectual property, or being a custodian of either. Consider leasing Private Cloud Services from your vendor if you have a genuine need for top level security, but don’t have the resources to support it in house.

Hybrid Clouds

A Hybrid Cloud is one that, as the name implies, have elements of a Public Cloud. For example, you have Financial Data you want to maintain in a Private Cloud, but also have collaborative efforts for which you want to use a Public Cloud. Large corporations with vertical markets are potential candidates for a hybrid cloud; a typical SMB would not have a need or have the resources to support one.

All businesses have unique needs, and you know your business better than anyone. The right Cloud Service Provider works with you to find the best solution for your unique situation.

Top Tech Trends to Watch in 2014

While 2014 likely won’t bring flying cars to our skies, technology is definitely progressing with each year. These trends are usually a progression of the technology we loved the previous year–more social media sites, exciting new gadgets to make our lives easier, and innovative ways to do the things we do every day.

As businesses wind down 2013, they’re likely approaching 2014 with excitement and uncertainty. How will they need to adjust their marketing efforts in the new year to meet the changes in the market? Should they replace their aging equipment with mobile devices, connected to the Cloud? These top trends to watch can help businesses gear up for a successful 2014.

Online Order Fulfillment

Whether through the use of 3-D printing of products or local delivery, e-commerce sites will find unique ways to fulfill customer orders. As 3-D printers become more widespread in the marketplace, businesses will find ways to craft and ship products to customer specifications. Clothing can be designed in the color and cut a customer wants, for instance, or jewelry could be printed to specifically match an outfit uploaded by a customer. With companies like Amazon experimenting with local delivery, consumer expectations will rise. To compete, smaller businesses will be required to find ways to get items in the hands of customers more quickly.

Body Meets Technology

Wearable technology will grow as a market in 2014, with smartwatches and fitness trackers showing up on wrists and clipped onto waistbands in increasing numbers. One company has created a Near-Field Communication-enabled ring that can unlock doors and transfer information. This could be the first step toward NFC-powered payments in stores. As more consumers show up wearing smartwatches and other pieces of wearable tech, it will become more mainstream, eventually eliminating the need to have a smartphone in hand at all times.

BYOD Grows

With each year, an increasing number of companies are allowing workers to add their personal mobile devices to their enterprises. This is especially true for smaller businesses, who find BYOD is more affordable than purchasing devices for each worker. However, the growth of BYOD brings security concerns with it, forcing business owners to put security policies in place to address potential issues.

2014 is likely to be another exciting year in technology. As the population increasingly incorporates technology into every facet of its working and personal lives, businesses are challenged to deliver the information and goods consumers demand.

CFOs and CIOs can keep up with Business’ growth with Cloud Computing, discovers Deloitte report

The latest issue of CFO Insights from Deloitte investigates the role of cloud computing and focuses on the benefits and decision-making concerns offered by transitioning to this new technology environment.The assessment from Deloitte’s report addresses technology decision-makers, notably the CIOs and CFOs, who will soon need to face the reality that they need to transition their organization’s computing technology, it services, and data to “the cloud”. As cloud computing technology attains wider usage, more businesses will soon have to deal with the decision to shift from an on-premises technology setting to a cloud based one.The idea of cloud computing has prevailed for a long time. The basic premise behind it is that the business can outsource daily management of resources on a need-only basis, identical to buying utility services, such as water and power. However, one crucial factor is that the cloud computing resources are delivered over the Internet.

The Deloitte report underlines the need to have a productive working relationship between the CFO and CIO. The decision to embrace cloud computing is broader in scope than just the information technology department. The CFO can strategize cloud computing to execute financial objectives, and at the same time create a risk intelligent culture. The CIO can increase the visibility of the technology department as an esteemed part of the organization.

Cloud resources can broadly be classified into these four categories: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Most individuals assume SaaS to be the only cloud computing resource, which involves the administering of software applications on demand. The software applications can range from email, backup and file storage solutions to customer relationship management (CRM) and financial applications.

However, there are other use cases for cloud computing. For example, PaaS is used a software development platform to develop new applications, whereas IaaS is used an on-demand hardware resource platform.

The Deloitte report advocates the introspection of relative costs and benefits of different cloud resources before taking the decision. Most organizations reserve the use of cloud computing to low-risk projects, or tasks ideally unsuitable for on-premises technology.

The most cited benefit by various CFOs and CIOs in their interviews is the flexibility that cloud computing offers; it can scale and react to technology changes very quickly. Significant reduction in infrastructure costs and IT support staff requirements are also a few of the other benefits cited.

However, the CFOs and CIOs also raised a few concerns in their interviews regarding the safety and reliability of using cloud computing. Is the data safe? Where is it stored? Is the data backed up? What should a business do when it needs to shift from one cloud technology provider to another? These are all the questions that are asked frequently an organization before embracing cloud computing.

Nevertheless, the CFOs and CIOs also reported that cloud vendors are more likely to provide higher levels of performance and better security. The vendors have to perform as their business depends on it; if they fail to provide a good service, then they will lose all their clients and reputability.

The report recommends the business to assess its technology needs in the context of its purpose and needs. As the business changes and evolves, the technology also needs to keep up with it. By evaluating the business’ administrative concerns and how the availability of cloud technology will influence the organization, the CFOs and CIOs can make sure that their business transits fluently into a cloud computing environment.

If you’re interested in learning how can help your business save money by utilizing cloud services, be sure to reference our cloud computing consulting services.

Things to find out before you enter the Cloud

Taking your business into the Cloud is a big step.  When working with any vendor you should learn a few things to help better understand both what you want and what they are offering.

What Kind of Successes Have You With Other Clients?

Even if a vendor has had a lot of successes in the past, are they with clients that are similar to your business?  Also, bigger isn’t always better.  Larger companies often have traits that smaller businesses don’t have, and vice-versa.

Try Before You Buy

One of the things that make the Cloud popular is its flexibility and scalability.  I want this software as a service, this to back up to there, so forth and so on.  It can mean that what you want is unique.  Unique is as precise as it is unproven.  So it’s best to ask if there is a try before you try option.  That way you can see the ROI before you invest anything.

What Is The Disaster Recovery Plan?

Hope for the best and plan for the worst.  If something goes wrong, what will the vendor do?  The whole point of the Cloud is to maximize the productivity of your data that cannot happen if your data goes up in smoke.  If IT infrastructure goes down, what’s the back up and what’s the plan to get things back to normal?  These are important questions.

The ability to adapt makes and breaks businesses.  Your choices should be based on the most up-to-date information.


Google Compute Engine What You Need to Know

In June 2012, Google announced that it was making a cloud computing service.  So how does it work and what can it do for you?

The Basics

The Compute Engine is Google’s answer to Amazon’s EC2 web service.  Essentially both are cloud infrastructure services.  What that means is that Google and Amazon are offering digital resources: disk space and computing power.  Instead of buying a dozen fancy servers, you can run your network off theirs.  These networks are all about centralization.  If you have offices all over the place, they don’t need to have their own major IT hardware, it’s all under Google’s purview.


Initial beta testing reviews show that Google has stepped up to the challenge.  According to Gigaom, GCE is about four times faster in booting virtual machines and about twice as fast at writing ephemeral disks.  Like all Google products, the pricing will range from free to premium.  The highest pricing tier will cost $150 a month.  Application hosting will be free for the first 28 instance hours (reset daily) for on-demand front-end instances and 8 cents an hour after that.

Latest Trends in IT Managed Services

Your company’s arrangement with its janitorial service or break-room supplier may not have changed much in the past 20 years, but chances are you’re looking for something much different from your IT managed services provider than you did even a year or two ago. And if you’re not, maybe you should be.

Here, then, are four important trends in IT managed services that you may want to consider.

1. BYOD. You’re probably heard the acronym for “bring your own device” before, but if you haven’t talked with your IT company about it, it’s about time. If your workers are using company email or accessing your network on their iPads and smartphones, you need to know how to keep confidential data safe, and how to make the most effective use of the amazing technology that we all carry in our pockets these days.

2. The Cloud. This is another term that’s been on most of our radar screens for a few years now. Yet when it comes to one of the most obvious uses of the cloud, offsite data backup, only 33 percent of small businesses have signed on, according to a 2012 survey. Managed Services providers should be able to explain which cloud functions you might want and help you manage them efficiently and securely.

3. Managed Print Services. The paperless office is a nice idea, but most businesses still have a significant need to print materials, whether for internal or external uses. Managed print services can unify and streamline printing, help reduce costs, and give telecommuters access to secure printers. That might explain why the number of total printers managed by MSPs jumped from 86,000 to 107,000 over the past year alone.

4. Thought Leadership. IT companies once functioned something like plumbers—they were someone you called to fix problems and then go away. Now, businesses’ IT strategies are becoming a big part of their overall strategies. A good MSP can become an insider that understands your company and finds new ways to make it work better from top to bottom through technological innovation.

It’s possible all these trends may not be relevant to your business, but there’s a very good chance that at least some of them are. If you’re not sure how, you might try setting up a meeting with your managed services provider to ask some questions.

Study Shows Data Gives the Edge

Francis Bacon said that knowledge is power.  In today’s world, that saying couldn’t be more true.  Recent findings by the Economist Intelligence Unit has shown that companies that have a data-driven culture rate themselves ahead of their peers financially.

Relying heavily on data is nothing new.  The general tradition is to have data analyst to go over the numbers to make recommendations.  However, there is an emerging culture of having the data integrated into the day-to-day doings of business.

With data is more hands, it allows employees to understand what and why they are doing.  Individuals with the gumption may even make recommendations of their own.  As long as they use the data to present their case, there’s no out right reason to dismiss them.

In the end, having more minds thinking about the data will edge out those who limit the pool.

Is Cloud Accounting Right For You?

Everything seems to be going up into the cloud.  Is accounting in the cloud for you?  Should your books be accessible from anywhere?  Here are a few things you should know before answering those questions.

So Who Owns What?

Unlike desktop versions of software, cloud based products tend to be subscriptions based.  People still run their old versions of Quickbook and Word that ran on Windows 95.  This won’t be the case with cloud based software.  The advantage of this is that with cloud based software like Office 365, you can pick and chose what features you want.  Desktop software tend to come out in one format or a tiered system.  Now you can pick and chose what you pay for.

Where Is Your Data?

If you’re using a cloud based software, then your data is stored offsite.  It’s not on your local hard drive.  It’s some where out there, in the cloud.  So is it secure?  Well, you paying another company to store your data and give you access to it all the time.  This is the biggest crux that the cloud community has to deal with.  But think about your ATM.  You could have all your money stored locally, like in a shoe box under your bed.  Or you give it to your bank and they give you access to your money via tellers, ATMs, etc.

Who Is It for?

In my opinion, cloud based software is really for the medium guy.  If you’re a tiny business and you can count your daily sales on one hand, then this isn’t for you.  A simple double ledger spreadsheet in Excel would do you better.  If you’re a mega-corporation then you would build or higher your own accounting department and have an in-house system.  However, the medium business that is always on the go and in flux will have use for a cloud based accounting system.  As your business grows and changes the cloud is more apt to scale.  It’s going to be easier than making that tough choice to spend a whole lot of money on a software upgrade.