Productivity Suite Assessment Helps Small Businesses Choose or Improve their Cloud

May 25, 2021 – Westborough, MA – Cumulus Global is pleased to announce the launch of its new Productivity Suite Assessment, a consulting service that helps small and midsize businesses (SMBs) determine which productivity suite best meets their needs and how to fully utilize the suite to improve productivity and support business goals. Whether considering, or currently using Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace, the productivity suite is the foundation for IT services. The right match is about more than the marketing hype and basic features. The right match integrates with how you work and other systems to support business goals, needs, priorities, and budget.

“For businesses not yet in the cloud, we guide them to the best fit and solution,” stated Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global. “For those only using some of the Microsoft and Google suite services, we help them fully adopt, utilize, and leverage capabilities.”

The Productivity Suite Assessment gives businesses:

  • A comprehensive review of current technology platforms and how well they are serving the business
  • Expert analysis of challenges, gaps, and opportunities to improve productivity and efficiencies
  • Recommendations: “what” technologies are a best fit and “how” to leverage them for greatest impact and value
  • Savings on implementation of recommendations.

“We help businesses decide if Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace best aligns with their operations and technologies. More impactfully, we identify under-utilized capabilities and guide adoption,” noted Falcon. “Using these recommendations, businesses improve processes, empower employees and teams, reduce costs, and enable growth.”

The Productivity Suite Assessment follows Cumulus Global’s best-practice methods.  The three phase project includes: detailed discovery, thorough analysis; and recommendations with guidance on implementation and adoption.  Cumulus Global partners with both Microsoft and Google, providing objective analysis and recommendations. Founded in 2006, Cumulus Global has 15 years experience delivery cloud solutions to small and midsize businesses.

Cumulus Global takes AIM with Manufacturers

www.aimnet.orgApril 27 2021 – Westborough, MA – Cumulus Global is pleased to announce its Corporate Membership in the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM). Through its membership, Cumulus Global will better understand the issues and challenges facing manufacturers. As a member, Cumulus Global will help support manufacturing as a key component of a diverse, healthy economy.

“By joining AIM, we gain access to information and ideas,” stated Allen Falcon, CEO. “A better understanding of the business issues — challenges and opportunities — facing manufactures is key. This knowledge improves our ability to design, deploy, and manage technology solutions that deliver tangible business results.”

Manufacturers, like most businesses, are adopting cloud computing as a mainstream component of their technology infrastructure.  CIO magazine reports that over 90% of all businesses use some form of cloud computing.  According to IDG’s 2020 Cloud Computing Survey, investment in cloud computing jumped 59% from 2018 to 2020.

Smart strategies, investments, and management are critical.  Cumulus Global helps small and mid-size manufacturers leverage secure, public cloud services to maximize results and value. Done properly, cloud solutions help manufactures adapt and compete in our rapidly changing economy.

“A diversified, healthy economy depends on a healthy, diverse manufacturing sector,” noted Falcon. “Our AIM membership supports advocacy for public policies that enable manufacturers to adapt and thrive. This as essential for our community and our nation.”

Cumulus Global believes that manufacturing will continue to play a critical role in our local, regional, and national economies. The company shares AIM’s commitment to innovation and sound economic policy.

About Associated Industries of Massachusetts

AIM (www.aimnet.org) is a forward-looking organization of dedicated, focused, and experienced business leaders. The association works to support public policy and provide services that enable jobs creation and economic opportunity. AIM focuses on public policy advocacy, employer services delivery, business community development, and best practice guidance for, and on behalf, of its members.

Google Workspace Storage Policy Changes Impact Business Subscribers

Earlier today (April 15, 2021), Google announced changes to Google Workspace storage policies for Google Photos and the suite of collaboration apps.  For Google Workspace subscribers on the Business Starter, Standard, and Enterprise licenses, these changes will impact how your data counts against your storage limits.

Policy Changes:

Effective June 1, 2021

  • All new high-quality photos and videos uploaded to Google Photos will count towards your storage limit. Any photos or videos uploaded prior to June 1, 2021 will not count towards your storage limit.

Effective February 1, 2022

  • Any new files created in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, or Jamboard will count towards your storage limit.
  • Existing files that you modify after this date will also count towards your storage limit.
  • Existing files that are not modified will not count towards your storage limit.

Impact

Depending on your use of Google Photos and the suite of collaboration apps, these changes to the storage policies means more of your files will count towards the storage limits in the Google Workspace Business tier licenses.

Business Starter

Storage limit: 30 GB per individual user

  • Prior to June 1, 2021: If you have users that regularly use Google Photos, review their usage and determine if/when they might reach the limit.
  • Prior to Feb 1, 2022: Review usage reports to assess how quickly individual users may reach the individual 30GB limit.

Action: Upgrade specific users to Business Standard or Business Plus, as needed to ensure they have the capacity they need.

Business Standard

Storage limit: 2TB per user, aggregated across the domain.

  • Understand your storage limit. Storage is aggregated, calculate your limit by multiplying the number of Business Standard users by 2TB and the number of Business Plus users by 5TB.  As an example, if you have 10 Business Standard users, your storage limit is 10 x 2TB = 20TB.
  • Prior to June 1, 2021: Review your use of the Google Photos in the aggregate across your domain. Project the rate of growth over the coming year to assess if or when the use of Google Photos may cause you to hit your storage limit.
  • Prior to February 1, 2022: Review your use of the collaboration apps (Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.) to estimate your rate of growth and file modifications.  With this estimate, you can project if/when you might approach your storage limit.

Actions: Running Business Standard licenses, you have options: (1) You can upgrade specific (higher activity) users to Business Plus, giving those users higher aggregated storage; (2) You can upgrade your entire domain to Business Plus, increasing your storage available to all users at the 5TB per user level; or (3) You can upgrade your service to a Google Workspace Enterprise license, giving your team unlimited storage.

Business Plus

Storage limit: 5TB per user, aggregated across the domain.

  • Understand your storage limit. Storage is aggregated, calculate your limit by multiplying the number of Business Plus users by 5TB.
  • Prior to June 1, 2021: Review your use of the Google Photos in the aggregate across your domain. Project the rate of growth over the coming year to assess if or when the use of Google Photos may cause you to hit your storage limit.
  • Prior to February 1, 2022: Review your use of the collaboration apps (Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.) to estimate your rate of growth and file modifications.  With this estimate, you can project if/when you might approach your storage limit.

Actions: As you cannot mix Business and Enterprise tier licenses, you will need to upgrade your service (all users) to an Enterprise subscription. This change will provide unlimited storage.

Next Steps

Contact us if you would like help assessing your usage patterns, planning your utilization, or assessing your options. We will schedule a meeting with one of our Cloud Advisors or members of our Service Team.

Upgrade to Google Drive for Desktop before May 18, 2021

On May 18, 2021, older versions of Google Drive for Desktop (formerly Drive File Stream or “DFS”) will no longer function.  To continue using the application without interruption, you need to Upgrade to Google Drive for Desktop version 40.x or higher before this date.

To upgrade your version, use one of the following options:

You can read more about additions and improvements in the Google Drive for desktop release notes.

Exchange Server Zero-Day Threat

On March 3, 2021, Microsoft issued an emergency Microsoft Exchange Server patch alert for multiple zero-day vulnerabilities that are being exploited by a nation-state affiliated group. The order impacts on-premise Exchange Servers 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019. Older editions are past end of life and do not receive security updates. Microsoft highly recommends that you take immediate action to apply the patches for any on-premises Exchange deployments. The first priority is servers which are accessible from the Internet (e.g., servers publishing Outlook on the web/OWA and ECP).

To patch these vulnerabilities, you should move to the latest Exchange Cumulative Updates, followed by the relevant security updates on each server.

The vulnerabilities and risk do not exist for any version of Microsoft Exchange Online. The risk does not impact any version of Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Office 365.

As discussed in past posts, one of the benefits of cloud-based solutions is the integrated management of the environment. You are not depending on how well your IT provider of staff keep up with maintaining your systems and your security updates. Moving your infrastructure to the cloud shifts the burden of maintenance and operations, letting your team focus on activities that help your run and grow your business.

Want to learn more, contact us and schedule a complimentary Cloud Advisor session.

Cumulus Global Recognized as a Pioneer on CRN’s 2021 MSP 500 List

CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has again named Cumulus Global to its 2021 Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list in the Pioneer 250 category. The annual list recognizes leading North American solution providers that demonstrate innovative and forward-thinking approaches to managed services. These services help businesses and their teams improve operational efficiencies and navigate the ongoing complexities of new IT solutions while maximizing their return on IT investments. CRN’s 2021 MSP 500 list identifies the market’s key managed services players who are setting themselves apart with best-of-breed solutions that provide the business outcomes customers need.

“We are grateful for the award as a continued recognition of our commitment to helping small and midsize businesses attain their goals and objectives,” stated Cumulus Global CEO Allen Falcon. “With the added challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, our success, and our customers’ success, would not be possible without creative and innovative solutions, robust vendor relationships, and a team that puts our customers first.”

With cutting-edge approaches to delivering managed services, Manage Service Providers (MSPs) are an integral part of the success of businesses worldwide. They help empower organizations to leverage complex technologies, keeping a strict focus on their core business and balancing priorities and budgets.

“Effective MSPs enable companies to focus on their core objectives while improving the quality and reliability of their cloud computing capabilities,” said Blaine Raddon, CEO of The Channel Company. “The solution providers on CRN’s 2021 MSP 500 list deserve recognition for their innovative and forward-thinking approaches to managed services, and the ability to optimize operational efficiencies and systems to maximize return on investments.”

Cumulus Global, as a Managed Cloud Solution Provider, matches the best aspects of MSP services with a “cloud-first” perspective. Leveraging the economies of cloud computing, Cumulus Global offers robust, secure, productivity and digital transformation services more cost effectively than traditional IT services for small and midsize businesses.

The MSP 500 list will be featured in the February 2021 issue of CRN and online at www.CRN.com/msp500.

About The Channel Company (www.thechannelcompany.com)
The Channel Company enables breakthrough IT channel performance with our dominant media, engaging events, expert consulting and education, and innovative marketing services and platforms. As the channel catalyst, we connect and empower technology suppliers, solution providers and end users. Backed by more than 30 years of unequalled channel experience, we draw from our deep knowledge to envision innovative new solutions for ever-evolving challenges in the technology marketplace.

Chromebook Market Update

Google for Education PartnerWith the onset of COVID-19, schools and districts scrambled to move to remote and hybrid learning models. Demand for Chromebooks, netbooks, cameras, and other accessories skyrocketed. At the same time, the pandemic severely disrupted the supply chains. Manufactures struggled to get components from suppliers, to staff and run their assembly lines, and to ship product to customers.

Schools that waited to order Chromebooks and other devices sat on waiting lists for backorders. Some districts have yet to receive all of their devices.

Market Outlook

While many parts of Asia are emerging from the pandemic ahead of the United States, we still see significant potential challenges with Chromebook and netbook availability this spring and summer.

  • Supply is still limited. The supply chain for parts, assembly, and delivery are not fully back to normal.  While most assembly plants are back in operation, many are still operating at reduced occupancy and capacity. Additionally, backlogs for components still exist as the supply chain struggles to recover.
  • Demand will be up. We expect a significant increase in demand for Chromebooks as districts unable to purchase enough new devices in 2020 now have a larger, pent-up demand. Some districts kept older models in service beyond their planned refresh cycle. Other districts still lack the number of devices they need for 1:1 learning.

Recommendation

Given the supply and demand dynamics, we strongly urge schools to initiate your Chromebook ordering process early. Specifically you should:

  • Have us pre-register your intended purchase with your preferred manufacturer, for your preferred models.
    • With pre-registration, we can often negotiate better pricing.
    • You are also more likely to be assigned your allocation of units, increasing the likelihood of timely delivery.
  • Have us bid specs to multiple vendors, if you do not have a preferred make and/or model.
    • This process creates price and availability competition, which can work to your benefit.
  • Order Chrome Education Upgrade licenses.
    • Avoid March 9, 2021 price increase.
  • Prepare to issue Purchase Orders by the end of February or mid-March.
    • In 2020, all of the schools that ordered before mid-March received their devices in time for the fall term.

Contact us for more information, to discuss your needs, or to request quote.

Learn more about our Google for Education and ChromeCycle services.

Chrome Education Upgrade – Price Increase

ChromeOn March 9, 2021, the list price for Chrome Education Upgrade (aka Chrome Management License/Service) will increase from $30 per device to $38 per device. As key component of your Google for Education services, this price increase may significantly impact your budget.

If you are planning on purchasing Chrome devices this spring, or for the 2021/2022 school year, you can:

  1. Purchase your Chrome Education Upgrade licenses now:
    • Take advantage of Cumulus Global savings
    • 10%, or more, off the current $30/device price
  2. Add the licenses to our G Suite for Education or G Suite Enterprise for Education subscription
  3. Apply the licenses to your Chrome devices as you purchase, receive, and deploy them

Contact us for more information or to request quote.

 

Service Update: Datto SaaS Protection

Service Update: Datto SaaS Protection. The latest Datto SaaS Protection platform is now available to all of our costumers. For more recent customers, you are already on the newest platform.  For our longer term SaaS Protection (aka Backupify) customers, the transition process will begin as early as February 1, 2021. The process will complete before May 31, 2021.

Benefit:

With this move, all Datto SaaS Protection customers will have access to the latest features. These include protection for Microsoft Teams and Google Shared Drives, and the Daily Backup Success Report.

Process:

To ensure a smooth transition, any data on the legacy platform will be archived in one of Datto’s secure Microsoft Azure instances. A fresh backup set will initiate on the new platform. We can assist you in exporting your legacy backup data if you prefer to not have it stored by Datto on Microsoft Azure.

There are some unique aspects of the transition for some of our customers, our Service Team will contact you as needed to discuss your transition.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns.

Cumulus Global Goes Green with Renewable Energy Commitment

October 1, 2020 (Westborough, MA). Cumulus Global announces today that the company is now using renewable energy for 100% of its internal electricity needs. This change is part of the company’s on-going sustainability efforts. Cumulus Global switched to electricity producers using only renewable sources, directly and via Massachusetts Level 1 Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). The company participates in a Community Electricity Aggregation Program, known as Westborough Power Choice, that negotiates electric rates based on consumption across all residential and commercial users. With highly competitive rates, moving to 100% renewable energy does not materially impact cost.

“We are proud to continue our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and lower the impact of our business on the environment and climate,” stated Cumulus Global CEO, Allen Falcon. “This change demonstrates that small businesses can make changes for the better that also help their bottom line.”

Moving to 100% renewable energy is one part of the company’s sustainability efforts. The company has modified workflows to reduce paper. Employees participate in an active recycling program.  And, the company tracks the sustainability efforts of its key vendors and partners.

“Google and Microsoft have been carbon neutral since 2007 and 2012, respectively, and continue to pursue aggressive sustainability goals,” notes Falcon. “We partner with vendors that plan and act to protect the environment.”

The efficiency of cloud computing shifts the use of energy from computers, networking equipment, and HVAC systems in your business, to cloud data centers designed for efficiency.  Leveraging cloud computing helps small and midsize businesses reduce their carbon footprint while enabling their businesses to thrive and grow.

For more information about Cumulus Global and the company’s sustainability efforts, please contact us at info@cumulusglobal.com.

 

About Cumulus Global

Our core belief is that IT should clearly help you achieve your business goals and objectives. Cumulus Global successfully helps small and midsize businesses get more value from existing IT and new cloud computing services. By first understanding your business, we design and deploy secure, cloud forward solutions that empower your team and create a competitive advantage. We partner with Microsoft, Google, and dozens of vendors to match you with the right technologies. We stay with you for the long haul, supporting your team and keeping your IT systems in sync with your changing business needs and priorities.