QuickOffice is Free for Everyone

QuickOffice Logo
As of September 19, 2013, Google has freed QuickOffice for everyone.  The result? Anybody with a Google Apps account can edit MS Office documents — Word, Excel, and Powerpoint — stored in Google Drive using any Android or iOS device.

While Microsoft is still attempting to lock users into Windows platforms in order to use MS Office, Google Apps and Google Drive users can now freely view and edit documents across platforms.

Combined with CumuluSuite Office, you can integrate MS Office on your existing Windows or Mac devices with the ability to view and edit them from smart phones and tablets.

HIPAA Compliance with Google Apps Just Got Easier

One of the challenges using any IT service are external requirements for data use and privacy.  Among the most restrictive are those imposed by the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  HIPAA regulations intend to ensure data is private and protected from accidental or intentional breach, and is only shared as needed to ensure appropriate medical care.

One aspect of HIPAA requires entities to execute a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with any organization with which Protected Health Information (PHI) is shared.  Sharing not only includes data provided to other medical professionals, sharing includes data stored on systems or managed by services.  The BAA defines each party’s roles and responsibilities with respect to data protection and privacy, and accountability in the event of any inappropriate breech or release.

For organizations using Google Apps for Business, Education, or Government, documenting HIPAA compliance just became easier.

Google Apps administrators may now complete and execute a BAA with Google covering key services in Google Apps, specifically:

  • Gmail
  • Calendar
  • Drive
  • Google Apps Vault

The BAA does not cover other services within Google Apps, nor does it cover third-party or marketplace applications.  As such, signing the BAA and implementing Google Apps as part of a HIPAA compliant infrastructure still requires planning, policies and procedures, and an examination of other systems and applications.

Contact us to learn more.


Should You Backup Data in Google Apps?

Hurricane Sandy
When running systems in-house, the need for backup/recovery and backup/restore services is clear.  Organizations must protect themselves from system failures and other events that can corrupt or destroy important information.  With Google Apps, however, the highly redundant infrastructure offers great protection from data loss due to system failures.

Why should you backup your data in Google Apps?

  • User Error: The most common form of data loss (~30% of all data loss)
  • Security Breach: A hacker gains access to your SaaS data
  • Third Party App Error: Any app downloaded in a Marketplace can have bugs – an opportunity for hackers to enter
  • Rogue Employee: User error that’s not accidental. Could happen with any disgruntled or former employee of your company
  • Software Error: Service outages and account suspension can happen

What can you do?

Deploying a cloud-to-cloud backup solution will protect your data.  Solutions  designed to backup specific solutions, like Backupify for Google Apps, provide enterprise grade features and services without breaking a budget.

Click here to learn more.

Breakfast With Google Apps and More …

Good morning
We don’t often blog about events, but this one is unique.

On Thursday September 19th at 8:00 am, you can join us at Google’s NYC offices — or via live simulcast — for Breakfast with Google.  While enjoying a full breakfast, you have the change to meet, learn from, and discuss Getting More from Google Apps with some of the best Google Apps for Business and Government experts around.

Registration is easy, and required, given limited space and security requirements.

So, even if you cannot enjoy the eggs, french toast, and coffee in person, join us online for a unique learning opportunity.

Co-hosted by Google and Cumulus Global, we are joined by supporting sponsors The 4th Bin, Google Gooru, and the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.

Cumulus Global named to CRN’s Next-Gen 250 For Second Consecutive Year


Westborough, MA, September 12, 2013
Cumulus Global announced it has been recognized for a second year as a member of the CRN Next-Gen 250. The annual list highlights up-and-coming solution providers that are new to the market, and take a smart and different approach to solution selling and integration. The Next-Gen 250 honors those solution providers focused cloud computing, unified communications, and other emerging technologies. These companies stand out from the pack when it comes to transforming their business or breaking into new technologies.

“We are excited and honored to be part of the Next-Gen 250,” stated Allen Falcon, CEO. “We appreciate the recognition of our cloud-centric, pragmatic approach to helping our clients benefit the most from the cloud solutions they choose.”

As a cloud solutions provider, Cumulus Global leverages its Google Apps Premier SMB Reseller status to offer small and midsize businesses, local and regional governments, and educational institutions a broad range of cloud-based services — from email and productivity tools to managed file services and servers and cloud-based applications.  Cumulus Global works closely with existing internal and hired IT resources, extending capabilities while saving customers money.

“The challenges facing today’s channel executives are constantly evolving, and we make it a priority to keep pace with that change to help the channel community effectively compete. The Next-Gen 250 represents the up-and-coming solution providers dedicated to addressing those challenges in a more complete and dynamic way,” said Robert Faletra, CEO, UBM Tech Channel.  “We congratulate these companies on being named to the prestigious list and look forward to covering their continued success.”

A sampling of the 2013 Next-Gen list is featured in the August issue of CRN Magazine and is featured online at www.crn.com. The complete list of 250 companies will be available in the CRN Tech News app, available for iPad and Windows 8.


IT “Kitchen” Nightmares

If you have never seen “Kitchen Nightmares” starring famed chef Gordon Ramsay, you may be missing a great IT management learning tool.  In each episode, Chef Ramsay visits a failing restaurant, figures out what is wrong, and facilitates a turn-around.  While his style may be confrontational, his analysis and solutions look at all aspects of the failing businesses.

If you watch more than a few episodes, you will notice a set of consistent issues and themes facing the businesses he helps.

Looking at IT, we see similarities when we help solve our customers’ own “IT Nightmares”.

Clean House.

Nearly every restaurant the show visits has serious issues with cleanliness.  Cooking surfaces and prep areas are filthy and disorganized, coolers are full of rotting and spoiling food, and business owners unaware of the problem and what the waste is costing them.

Look at your “IT House” and give it a thorough cleaning.  Beyond getting rid of old, unused, or impractical hardware that tends to clutter IT space and get in the way, look for rotting software and data — tools and information that are no longer of value to the business but are still consuming resources.  Decommission or replace applications; archive stagnant data.  Getting rid of the spoiled goods will free up space and resources, letting you focus on the meals you need to serve today.

As part of cleaning house, make sure your IT department is well-organized.  Clean and uncluttered work spaces, simple and clear lines of communication, and the right supporting technology give your customers (the business … the users) confidence that your IT services are professional and worth the price on the menu.

Simplify the Menu.

Managing food supplies, recipes, and quality is exponentially more difficult when the menu is too long.  In almost every episode, Chef Ramsay replaces the current, long menus with short menus that showcase the restaurant’s specialties and the local market.

The lesson for IT: focus on the applications and services that provide the best value to the business.  Work to eliminate applications and services that consume resources, time, and effort without delivering acceptable value.

Listen to your “customers” to make sure the solution you put on the menu are those they want to try or use.  As companies move towards cloud computing, this also means finding and managing “rogue clouds” that may already be in use.

Build Team Communications. 

In the kitchen, the expediter’s role is critical.  The expediter scans incoming orders and instructs which dishes to prepare so that the chefs are working in the most efficient manner possible.  Without clear and constant communication, the process breaks down, orders delay, and quality suffers.

With your IT team, communications are key.  A common understanding of priorities and objectives gets everyone on the same page.  And whether your IT Team is in-house, a service provider, or a combination of both, somebody needs to be watching to make sure priorities are met and work progresses in the most efficient manner possible.

Equip Your Team. 

Hardly an episode goes by where Chef Ramsay does not purchase a key new piece of equipment for the kitchen and/or front of house. Whether a deep fryer, a new cooler, or a POS system, poor equipment is tangibly hurting the restaurant’s chances for success.

Does your IT Team (in-house or service provider) have the tools they need to be successful?  Can they monitor and diagnose systems and applications?  Are they able to easily track projects and requests for help?  Make sure your team has the tools they need to work effectively and efficiently.

Create a Customer Experience. 

Chef Ramsay understands that changing the look and feel of a restaurant will drive success.  He regularly replaces outdated, stale, or damaged decor.  He creates clean, modern, inviting environments — inside and out — to draw in  and keep customers.

The same holds true for IT services.  From the outside, if your image is stale, old, or reflects poor quality, your “customers” will go elsewhere for what they need and want. If when they “walk in”, the experience is not pleasant and productive, they are less likely to come back.  Evaluate your IT services from your customers’ perspective (and ask them what they think, too!).  How do you look from the street?  Whether by phone, email, or on-line form, when the customer “comes in the door”, are they greeted and served well?  Is the experience pleasant, even if they need to wait for service?

Train the Team. 

The nicest decor and best wine list will not make up for a bad cook or an unprofessional server.  For many of the restaurants Chef Ramsay helps, training and mentoring are part of the success strategy.

With the pace of IT, keeping your IT team current and trained is just as important to ensuring satisfied customers.  Without the right mix of technical and interpersonal skills, your team will fail to effectively serve the needs of your customers.  And, as Chef Ramsay often notes, bad reviews spread like wild fires.

While the advice of Chef Ramsay includes a great deal of common sense, it is easy to miss the basics when working with hectic schedules and rapid business cycles.  The demand for immediate service makes stepping back, evaluating, and improving IT feel like a luxury of time that we cannot afford.  Failing to keep perspective and manage the details, creates situations that will continue to worsen over time.  Avoiding a “Kitchen Nightmare” is always easier than fixing one.

Gartner Cloud Survey Highlights Risky Behavior


A recent survey by Gartner reported that only 38% of organizations surveyed use cloud computing. Gartner also reported that 80% of respondents, including 55% of those not using cloud computing today, plan to use cloud computing in the next 12 months.

The survey, however, focuses on official cloud computing initiatives and may not consider the “unofficial” use of cloud computing services by employees. While unofficial cloud services would increase the stats, unofficial — or rogue — cloud services can hurt your business.

By their very nature, rogue cloud services expose your company’s information to external sources.  While the exposure may be your employees sharing with one another, that information is outside your control with respect to exposure, sharing, and backup. The accounts belong to your employees personally and would leave with them. If your employees rely on these rogue services, you data may never end up on your servers or sanctioned services.

What To Do:

Update Your Appropriate Use Policy (or create one). While most policies address the use of company resources for personal use, they should also address the use of personal resources for company activities.

Find the Rogue Clouds.  Scan employees’ computers and survey employees about the tools they are using, including those on smartphones and tablets. Chances are, they have gone rogue to improve access to information or to allow them to work more efficiently.

Go Legit.  Evaluate the tools that your employees have selected to improve their efficiency, select those that best fit your business, and adopt them as sanctioned and supported tools. Make the investment to help your employees work more effectively, while ensuring your data is safe and your budget is in tact.