Mannassi IT Solutions


What's happening.

Virtually Real

Virtual Reality has already permeated the gaming world, but for business applications we are just now on the edge of possibility. Automotive, healthcare, tourism, architecture, military, retail, education, film and entertainment are all areas where VR is setting up to be a game changer.

Now is a good time to sit down and think long and hard about your business and where virtual reality may fit into it, either now or in the future. It’s not just for giant companies anymore! At the CES 2018 in Las Vegas VR was presented as the most dynamic and game changing business application since the personal computer.

Virtual Reality will advance the power of computing, making video and graphics more accessible, at lower price points and faster speeds than previously available. You won’t need to be a big business in order to reap the benefits of the developments. Time to hang on tight, it’s going to be a wild ride even here in the “real” world.

Tweet us was VR developments you're most looking forward to, @MannassiIT.

Keeping an Eye Out

Video surveillance may now common place in just about every part of the world, but for the longest time the technology never managed to keep up with the rest of the tech world. The cameras were big and bulky with low resolution images, connected via co-ax cable all leading back to some box in a closet that was forgotten, abused, and generally abandoned. When it came time to view the recording because of an incident, it was often discovered that some or all the cameras had stopped working a long time ago, and effectively the cameras had become nothing more than visual deterrent and the box a paper weight. Even when the cameras did work, when thieves broke in what was the first thing they stole or destroyed? That old box with the security camera’s recordings.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and cameras have flourished. New equipment is small, sleek, high definition, connected over a network via CAT6 cable or wireless, and most importantly, their recordings are now stored in the cloud. Security footage is now kept for years as opposed to the ancient days or weeks, and now also can also be sent directly to law enforcement. No bypassing the security cams by trashing the tapes nowadays!

The biggest bonus of the advancement in video tech? What used to cost a pretty penny to set up can now be achieved with a much more reasonable financial investment. Or bypass all the legwork entirely and go for a Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) solution. For one monthly fee get cameras, software, cloud storage, and support without the headache of monitoring it yourself.

Got questions about adding video to your security roundup? Drop us a line on Twitter or Facebook!

Service with a Smile
 Charles M. Schulz

Charles M. Schulz

Over the 20 plus years we have been in business what stands out as a critical component to maintaining a successful company is the quality of the customer service. Much of our new business comes from customer referral, our current customers know we get the job done so they’re happy to recommend us to their friends and colleagues.

So what’s the secret to our high referral rate? Well, the proof is in the pudding as they say. We always strive to deliver a personable, friendly, and understandable environment to our customers. Positive feedback from customers is a highlight of our day, and an added bonus to owning a small business. When a customer takes the time out of their day to send an email praising one of our techs for their knowledge and positive attitude it always puts a big smile on our faces, especially since many service calls are regarding something not working.  

This “service with a smile” goes hand in hand with our mission to provide customized solutions to our customers. While many companies lean more toward a “one size fits all approach” we pride ourselves on being able to match the specific needs of each of our diverse clients. Small and medium sized businesses especially have a wide variety of technology needs, and we really feel that a friendly face sitting across the table listening to their specific needs and challenges makes all the difference in transforming a prospect into a customer.

To that end, here are our four customer service mantras.

  1. Being proactive: We strive to get that quote, that proposal, that bit of needed information to the customer before they have to reach out to us.
  2. Making personal connections: In this day of unbelievable technology, it is very easy to rely on email, texting, or forms of social media to communicate. We understand that all of these venues are necessary, and even preferable at times. However, we don’t want to be a phantom company at the end of an email. We still value that good old-fashioned human interaction.
  3. Working the ears and resting the mouth: When you have an issue we want to be like Lucy in that old Peanuts cartoon, and listen. Rather than anticipate your concerns, we’d rather listen fully and then look for a solution to the problem.
  4. Practicing our guiding principle:  We want to put ourselves in your chair and treat you the way we would want to be treated. You are choosing to give us your business, and that is a choice we don’t take lightly. To us, service with a smile is more than just a marketing phrase, it’s our commitment.


What are the guiding principles of your business? Share with us on Twitter or Facebook or give us a call!

Roundup: Inspiration for Building Your Business.

We’re spending the early part of this week at Goldman Sachs 10k Small Business Summit in Washington DC. On the program are sessions from business leaders from every industry, and we’ve been franticly writing down all the words of wisdom all day. Here’s three golden nuggets of advice we’re loving from Sara Blakely, Richard Branson, and Warren Buffett.

1: Keep the fire alive.

Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, talked about keeping your passion for your business alive by outsources the mundane tasks if you can. Not a fan of Quickbooks? Hire a bookkeeper. Don’t know which way is up when it comes to business tech? Hire a managed service provider. Don’t smother your fire by weighing yourself down with tasks you dislike or find boring. There’s no shame in asking for assistance when you need it! 

2: It’s all about the little things.

Richard Branson, in addition to being Mannassi IT Solutions’ President’s former boss, is a stickler for the details. After more than 35 years of Virgin Atlantic flights he still takes the time to stop and chat with passengers. Building lasting customer relationships thrives on that human connection, and people really notice when you’re prepared to go that extra mile!

3: Focus on what you can do, not what you’re missing.

Warren Buffett is an icon in the business world. His advice today? Don’t obsess over the things you can’t change. There will always be things out of your control, try not to get too caught up in them. Instead focus your energy on things you can do something about. Namely, your customer and the service you can provide them. People are always looking for connection, and they’ll remember you and your business for their experience with you.

Were you at the 10k Small Business Summit this week? What pearls of wisdom did you walk away with? We’ve been tweeting some of our insights from DC, follow us @MannassiIT.

Head in the Clouds
cloud computing.jpg

Cloud is not only a game changer for giant companies like Netflix. Because of the huge variety of Cloud “As A Service” offerings, even small startup production companies can play in the same sandbox, without an equally epic capital expenditure. 

Cloud’s unique ability to allow you to pay on demand means that costs are only incurred while work is actually being executed. Plus, as the cloud infrastructure matures (and competition increases) prices are driven down, which is only good news for the consumer, especially in terms of budget for storage and bandwidth. Cloud is also reaching a wider audience with new technology now able to deliver to everything from smart TVs to phones, tablets, and computers.  

Every facet of the entertainment industry has benefited from the recent updates in cloud technology. Recently we attended the AVN Show in Las Vegas, and the new developments providing the ability to host thousands of webcams simultaneously has become extremely affordable, and more importantly profitable. Cloud based content delivery networks are more sophisticated and faster than ever, and available for a fraction of the price. Cloud has brought a quantum shift for the entertainment industry over the last 5 years, the next 5 will only bring more innovation.

Naughty and Nice

We are currently attending the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas in support of one of our clients, Penthouse Global Media. Online adult entertainment has been around since the earliest days of the internet, and while some still consider it the seedy side of the web, the reality is that online adult entertainment is a booming and profitable industry.

The technology required to run, maintain, and secure these sites is some of the most powerful and complicated around.  Massive server farms, content delivery networks, rendering applications, and enormous amounts of bandwidth are required to deliver a quality product on a daily basis.  With the constant demand for higher definition video, virtual reality, and instant delivery, today’s technology is pushed to its limits. Watching the end product may be culturally frowned upon, but the tech powering it is second to none. Businesses can learn a lot from how these complicated tools work together to deliver the sought-after streamlined user experience. There’s always something to be learned from a big business model, even in the most unlikely of places!

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to stay in the big tech loop.

Monkeys Banging on Keyboards: AI for Small Businesses
monkey gif.gif

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been burning up our Twitter feed of late. Every day brings a new AI development for business, and this doesn’t appear to be slowing down in 2018. Even though this tech has the reputation of being only for large enterprise businesses, there are more than a few AI developments that you can utilize for your small business as well.

With 2018 comes the perfect time to start turning your eye toward AI. This is one phenomena that isn’t going to go away. But if you’re not building Westworld-esque robots what do you need AI for anyhow?

From customer relationship management to human resources, to marketing to analysis, there’s something AI can do for you, no matter your company’s size.

A great example is Monkey Learn. This awesome machine learning platform can turn text from emails, surveys, or even tweets into actionable data! With applications in marketing, sales, and customer service, you can get the power of knowledge without having to crunch all the numbers yourself.

Of course, most people in the tech world have heard of Watson from IBM. Besides beating world champions at chess, IBM has now released a Watson Ecosystem for small businesses enabling you to do everything from translate voice to text, to build your own analytic environment.

In short, AI is not only for the big guys! Spend some time thinking about how artificial intelligence can serve your business in the new year.

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for the latest AI and tech updates.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: 2017 in Review

As 2017 now fades into the history books, we’re reflecting on the best and worst advances (or rollbacks) in technology.

THE GOOD - Software Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN)
2017 brought the explosion of SD-WAN, an amazing technology that provides high availability, failover, optimized traffic and in some cases a replacement for expensive MPLS.  SD-WAN is an affordable tech option for small and medium sized companies providing benefits once only available on an enterprise class budget.

THE BAD - Ransomware and Cyber Hacking
The worldwide pervasiveness of hacking has continued to dominate the headlines. No one is safe, whether you are a person checking your email and getting ‘spear phished’ or the Pentagon or UK National Health Service disabled by state sponsored cyber terrorism. In 2017 there didn’t seem to be anywhere safe from cyber criminals. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care, so in 2018 we’re doubling down on our vigorous backup and security regimens. While you can never be 100% safe, you can put a plan in place to mitigate disaster.

THE GOOD – Cloud Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity
2017 was the year the cloud really took off! Many companies have invested in comprehensive backup programs, but have not addressed what to do when disaster strikes. The ability to spin up servers and production networks in minutes as opposed to days or weeks, is now a reality with cloud solutions, making disaster recovery a minor headache instead of a full blow migraine.

THE BAD – Disrespecting The Technology
Computer networks are an integral component of every business, and you need to make sure you’ve got the tech that can do the job properly. In 2017 we still found companies buying technology that is just not suitable for business needs. From trying to get by with residential routers, or computers bought off the shelf at Best Buy. You’ve got to have the right tech to keep your company running. In 2018 don’t risk your business because you thought you were saving money. Remember the old adage: you get what you pay for.

THE GOOD – Internet of Things (IoT)
If you loved sci-fi as a kid you’ve probably been stoked by the advances in the IoT over the last several years. From vehicles with connected technology that allows manufactures and drivers to know when they need to be serviced or provide directions to the nearby gas station when the tank is running low to paying your mortgage by voice on your digital home assistant. This year was the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what the IoT can bring to businesses. In 2018 watch these connected goodies for even more exciting innovations. 

THE UGLY – Dismantling Net Neutrality
The big fight for the web in 2017 was certainly a low point. The current administration’s FCC has begun the process of removing the laws protecting Net Neutrality, paving the way for ISP’s to preference their own content and throttle competitors. With Net Neutrality rules in place you the consumer can load every website, app, video, .gif, etc., equally, regardless of where the content is hosted, or what its message is. Accessing Netflix is the same as sending a tweet. Without Net Neutrality there’s nothing to stop ISP’s from demanding premium prices for “premium” services like video streaming, or social media, or blocking content they disagree with entirely. The open internet is vital to small businesses, and freedom of speech so this threat is very unsettling. Here’s to hoping in 2018 congress can get behind a bipartisan effort to save the open internet.

What were the trends you were most fascinated by in 2017? Tweet us with your top hits and misses, and what you’re most anticipating in 2018.

No Smoke Without Fire

As of January 1st, California became the latest state to legalize recreational marijuana. With legalization spreading across the country, there have been a slew of new companies applying for licenses and permits to sell and grow marijuana. If you’ve got a plan to launch a new business in the fast-growing marijuana sector don’t forget to fortify your security. For too many new businesses security becomes a second thought until it’s too late.

Pot is, after all, a very valuable commodity. That combined with the fact that marijuana is still federally illegal, meaning financial institutions are not allowed to do business with these new dispensaries, and stores frequently have large stores of cash on hand. A comprehensive security strategy for both your data, and your physical location is a must to keep your investment safe.

It’s more than just your cash deposit and product that needs protection too. The client and patient data of your customers also needs to be protected. You’ll need a security plan that encompasses your digital environment as well as your actual physical business.

We’re experts at building affordable security systems that meet any business’s needs. Give us a call or shoot us an email if you’ve got any questions about how you can better protect your budding business.

As always, find us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest tech updates.


Don't Get Bit by HIPAA

Fun fact: HIPAA, the 1996 healthcare legislation that covers the security and privacy provisions for your medical information, is a lot more intensive than you may have believed. Do you know if your business is a covered entity or a business associate? Not knowing these answers could mean big fines.

HIPAA governs security for the obvious: hospitals, private practices, and medical providers. But it also covers the more unexpected: health insurance brokers, your HR department, and even your IT team. Since we began working on HIPAA compliance with clients in early 2017, we’ve found many gaps where business owners didn’t know they were required to be compliant.

If you’re sharing personal client information with a HIPAA compliant entity, even if your business has nothing to do with healthcare, you’re a business associate and you must also be HIPAA compliant! Compliance is also easy to breach; from one unlocked laptop left unattended while its user is at lunch, to not regularly changing your passwords, HIPAA can get really complicated really fast.

Here's the actual rule, straight from the HHS department: “The Privacy Rule requires that a covered entity obtain satisfactory assurances from its business associates that the business associate will appropriately safeguard the protected health information it receives or creates on behalf of the covered entity.” Do you know if your business associates are HIPAA complaint?

Don’t get too far into 2018 without double checking your security requirements. Remember, protected health information (AKA PHI & ePHI for its electronic cousin) covers any potentially identifiable information from phone numbers to official diagnoses and everything in between.

We’re happy to talk HIPAA with you any time. Follow us on Twitter & Facebook & reach out with any questions you might have!

2017 Wrap Up: 5 Tips to End the Year Right!

With the year winding down it’s a good time to double check to make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row for 2018. Here are five tips for loose ends to tie up before the ball drops.

  1. Brush up on the numbers! Contact your CPA and have them run the numbers. This helps you to see if you need to do some last-minute purchases in order to reduce your taxes.
  2. Upgrade under the wire! If you’ve considered upgrading your computer or network equipment, check with your accounting department to see whether purchasing (Capex, aka capital expense) or leasing (Opex, aka operational expense) will save you the most money.
  3. Shop til you drop! The end of the year is a perfect time to purchase, as most vendors are trying to wrap up their end of year sales. Be on the lookout for special end of year deals and grab that tech you’ve been eyeing.
  4. Clean house! Have you been holding on to old equipment “just in-case”? Now is the time to donate! Make your charitable donations before the new year so you can use the deduction on this year’s taxes.
  5. Budget now, play later! Start making a list for your 2018 budget, it may seem like not a lot of fun, but the new year is only a couple of weeks away.

What big plans have you got for the end of 2017? Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to share!

To Partner or Not to Partner, That is the Question

When Amazon announced its purchase of Whole Foods Market many people were scratching their heads—how would this seemingly bizarre new partnership affect their grocery budget? Now that the purchase has taken its training wheels off and you can order your organic groceries from your laptop while sitting at home in your PJs, we’re wondering what other surprising partnerships could shake things up and make us wonder how we never thought of it before! Other recent team-ups include Taco Bell and Lyft joining forces to bring you straight to your late-night cravings, as well as the seemingly contradictory recent link up between USPS, UPS, & FedEx.  

You may find yourself wondering how partnerships between competitors work. In the case of the FedEx x USPS x UPS dream team these three competing companies have united to bring service to remote and underserved areas. If you live in an area FedEx or UPS do not service, your ordered items will be delivered first to your local post office, then your regular mail carrier will bring them to your door. It’s this type of teamwork that expands services and builds sales relationships—with new delivery options come increased sales—making the benefit outweigh the risks of working with a direct competitor.

Are there surprising partnerships lurking out there for your company? After seeing the success of these strange bedfellows, it may be time to consider companies that may have flown under your radar before.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to keep up with all the recent tech buzz.

Tech Trends for 2018

As 2017 draws to a close, most of us start looking forward to what 2018 holds in store for us tech obsessed. So, what’s on its way to the top in 2018?

In the future, we’ll need to make smarter decisions more quickly, and that means bringing Artificial Intelligence (AI) into mainstream business practices. Customized machine-learning systems that can target a specific job using algorithms that are optimized the task are the next tech wave. A perfect example is the new driverless vehicles we’re seeing just beginning to pop up.

With the rise of AI apps will need to be more intelligent, so we should all be asking software and app vendors about the artificial intelligence strategy for their products.  AI will bring business analytics to a new level and ultimately enhance user experience. Look for AI to become pervasive in everyday life as well, we are already seeing vacuum robots that maneuver around your home and lawn mowers that cut just the grass and not your prize roses.

Also look for Virtual Reality (VR) to become more common in business. With VR you’re no longer limited to one or two monitors on your desk, but instead can have an almost limitless display that you can manipulate with the swipe of your hand in the air. All signs point to 2018 being an exciting year for technology and business, but it’s going to be a wild and bumpy ride, with new developments coming so quickly. Make sure you hang on tight!

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to stay in the loop with the latest tech trends.


The IT Elves are at Work!

We all look forward to the holidays and with them the chance to take some days off and relax. This time of year, however, can be a busy time for IT departments. While your staff is at home with their families & their favorite Netflix shows it’s the perfect time for your IT crew to perform upgrades and maintenance with the least inconvenience to you and your workforce!

Another bonus of the holiday quiet time is that often IT budgets are closed on December 31st so it can be a good time to use those remaining dollars on needed upgrades. Plus, with fewer staff in the office the more mundane tech tasks—from inventory to asset management to the exceptionally dull task of documentation—can be addressed with minimal interruptions

Have a thought for you IT crew this holiday season, maybe gift them an extra energy drink or two, because while you’re at home watching Die Hard (the best Christmas movie ever), they’re hard at work building you a better IT network!

As always, follow us on Twitter or Facebook for regular tech updates.

It's Hard to Say Goodbye

Digital PBX phone systems: they sit in some dark, dusty closet ignored by everyone, because, like the Energizer bunny, they just keep going and going.  Nortel, Avaya, Mitel, Panasonic, all these are household names in the telephone world, and we really do take them for granted No matter how tried and true these brands may be, they’re also, like, so 20th century. 

Most of these systems are now at their end of life and end of manufacturer support, so you’re forced to rely on ‘the phone guy’ to keep them running. If repairs are needed, get ready to google, because you’re going to have to dig up some old parts on Ebay or Craigslist. Yes, PBX systems have been steadfast companions for years, but sometimes, you really can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Interestingly, when we talk to company executives they consider their phones a higher priority than email, or even internet. Yet so many companies are happy to cross their fingers and only hope that these old PBX systems will keep on running.  When we perform telecoms evaluations for businesses, we find that in most cases the cost of owning an old PBX is higher than investing in a new IP phone system! Not to mention, with PBX you’re stuck with a single point of failure: hoping your phone guy can find a spare part each time a repair is needed, & praying you don’t miss important calls during the downtime.

The technology of IP telephone systems has significantly advanced in the last several years, especially when it comes to cloud hosted PBX, which now brings high availability in addition to its other features (no upfront expenses, low operating costs, and easily scalable provisioning among a vast array of other bonuses). With all the bonuses of an IP system it’s time to put your old PBX out to pasture and bring your business into the 21st century.

Bigger and Better!

Mannassi IT Solutions is in the process of investigating opening a UK division. Only a few years ago even just the thought of this would have been daunting! How to link offices, share data, and still make everything easy to operate was once almost inconceivable. Now, however, technology is readily available that can make your company’s IT infrastructure extendable and securely accessible to remote users and offices all over the world! US based telecom companies have expanded their footprint to link the USA to Europe, Asia and the wide world beyond. Cloud providers can now replicate data and applications to datacenters around the globe keeping data close to users no matter where they are and reduce the latency of opening multiple files and applications.  IP telephone systems can make 3 or 4-digit extension calls between offices across a continent as easy and seamless as those across the office. With all these technologies at our fingertips expanding is easier than ever!

If you’re ready to expand but all this still sounds a little daunting, we at Mannassi IT solutions have existing relationships with many of these international capable vendors, so we can help you navigate the big bad world of global expansion.

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to keep up with our UK expansion! Plus all the tech news that's fit to tweet!

Celebrity Death Match: Mac vs. PC

You’ve probably heard all the gossip about Macs vs. PCs. It seems like everyone has a chosen side in the battle between platforms. So how do you know which one is right for you?

Macs & PCs each have their strengths and weaknesses. Spending a few minutes thinking about what you’ll need your computer to actually do will save you a lot of potential headaches in the future. Of course, in recent years the capability gaps between Mac and PC have inched ever closer, meaning you can increasingly use either platform to meet your specific needs. Still, it’s good to know where to start when you’re looking for the most effective technology solutions.

If your focus is on multimedia editing and you need something easy to use fresh out of the box with limited setup and solid default security options, then a Mac may be right for you.

But if you’re looking to rely on network resources, regularly upgrade, and customize or if you have a limited budget, a PC might be the better way to go.

Whichever one you choose, Mannassi IT Solutions can be your tech support. We’re your one stop shop for all your computer needs, whether Mac or PC!

As always, follow us on Twitter or Facebook for the latest tech news.


Tech Mergers and Acquisitions

In one week, two of our key vendors announced major acquisitions!

Telarus, our master agent for voice data and cloud solutions, acquired another Utah based master agent CarrierSales. From a customer standpoint, this means several things:

  • Increased support with industry veterans.
  • Contact center expertise and providers (InContact, Five9, and more).
  • Mobility expertise and providers (AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint).
  • Direct access to every major ILEC at top-tier commission (AT&T, Verizon).
  • Diamond-level support with CenturyLink.
  • Access to cloud compute and cyber security engineers.

We will also have access to new providers such as: Cox, AT&T (direct), Verizon (direct), Bullseye, Fuze, Netfortris, CallTower, Intelispper, PGi, Sprint, and more. So, your options are about to expand exponentially!

Also last week Autotask, the platform we use to manage our ticket system, announced that it has acquired Datto; a world-renowned company providing solutions in business continuity, backup, disaster recovery, networking, etc. We are excited about being able to access this new range of products, and that it will now be part of the Mannassi IT Solutions managed products portfolio!

Sometimes acquisitions can sound a little scary, but they can end in much higher quality of service, and a wider range of options for you and your business.

As always, stay in the loop with Mannassi IT Solutions by following us on Twitter and Facebook.


Do You Have A Krack in Your Wifi?

The latest dent in network security is the recent announcement that hackers have figured out a way to breach Wi-Fi connections on almost every single Wi-Fi enabled device. The Krack attack is a major blow to mobile security, but the good news is that iOS and Windows are not vulnerable because of the way Apple and Microsoft implement the security handshake. If you’re an unlucky Android or Linux user however, you are vulnerable.  What it all boils down to is that millions of devices are affected, including embedded devices (otherwise known as the Internet of Things). To protect yourself you need to research all of your wi-fi devices and confirm if they are on the attack list. If they are make sure to download the most recent patch, or immediately take them out of service.

Of course, you can probably tell this can be a labor-intensive process. If it’s too much to handle you can always drop us a line for assistance or advice.

As always, follow us on Twitter or Facebook for the latest tech updates from around the globe.

We Hear You Knocking, But You Can't Come In!

A vital element of network security for any company is to have a business or enterprise class firewall protecting their network. The primary firewall role, of course, is to protect computer assets and data from attack by hackers. What many people don’t realize is that hacking is going on twenty-four-seven! , Many breaches could be prevented, if only you were aware that a person or persons unknown has spend the last two weeks  attempting to break in. Just like in a heist movie, any lock can be picked given enough time, so your firewall needs to be constantly monitoring for intruders.

You need a firewall that is either setup with an intrusion prevention system (IPS) that sends out notifications when it detects significant activity on the the firewall, or the firewall is managed and monitored 24x7x365 by a security operations center, which is known as a managed firewall or security as a service (SaaS). Building a wall alone isn’t enough, hackers can be working to disassemble it brick by brick while you’re asleep!

Mannassi IT Solutions can deploy a range of firewalls from Cisco, Fortinet and SonicWall with IPS, plus we offer security as a service as part of our managed services portfolio.  Contact us to learn more about what options might be right for you.

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to keep in the loop on the latest security updates.