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Technology Solutions for Solopreneurs and VSBs

Entrepreneurs are a unique breed.  Solo entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, even more so.

If you are a solopreneur, or lead a very small business, you face some unique business and IT challenges. One of these challenges is balancing your business and your personal lives.  To do this, you want and need your technology to save you time and energy.

If you are link most solopreneurs and very small business owners, you are probably

  • Paying for duplicate services
  • Unware of features that can improve your productivity
  • Not taking time to explore ways to work more efficiently
  • Missing security and data protections
  • Not getting the guidance and support you need

At the same time, you most likely lack the time, energy, or expertise to research, select, deploy, and learn the right IT services.

Managed Services is an Answer

Often used by larger businesses, managed services provide your information technologies, support, and services as a comprehensive bundle for a set monthly or annual fee. By definition, managed services are designed to offload your IT responsibilities and place them in the hands of experts. These managed service providers should start with guidance, get your systems up and running, administer your services, and provide you with support.  If they are performing their services well, they should also help you identify features and functions that improve your work processes — make you more efficient.

Moving Towards Managed Services

Before moving forward with managed services, we recommend taking a step back and assessing how you want your IT services to help you and your business.

Start with A Goal and Objectives

  • Your technology and services need to empower you and enable your business.  Regardless of the devices, applications, and tools they use, your IT should:
    • Be easy to use
    • Save you time
    • Secure your data, and that of your customers
    • Keep your business data private
    • Support any compliance requirements you may have
    • Fit within your budget.

Focus on the Benefits

  • Discuss which capabilities will help you work more efficiently, more productively
  • Avoid the technology trap. Instead of thinking, for example, about email, calendars, and file sharing, think about automating appointment scheduling, protections for confidential information, and one-click video conferencing.

Define Your Baseline Services

  • Map your benefits to technologies
  • Base your IT decisions on your prioritized needs and wants
  • Define the minimum set communications, collaboration, and security tools to run your business
  • Explore and leverage ways to work more efficiently

Add / Enhance as Needed

  • If your business must be compliant with legal or industry regulation, add the technologies and services you need to meet these requirements.
  • If you find ways that technology can improve productivity, determine if the gains are worth the investment.

Managed Cloud Services

As the name implies, Managed Cloud Services are managed service that, whenever practical, leverage cloud services and solutions. Cumulus Global has the expertise and experience to move your business to managed cloud services. By leveraging cloud solutions, baseline services and foundational security are affordable and can easily be tailored to meet specific business needs.

Learn More

To learn more:


Google Workspace Transition Update

Google WorkspaceWhen Google announced the transition from G Suite to Google Workspace in October 2020, the deadline for transitioning was left open. This is no longer the case.

The deadline for transitioning to Google Workspace from G Suite is January 31, 2022.

As we have noted in past posts and communications, the transition to Google Workspace may significantly impact your subscription fees, with increases that can double or triple your cost. You may qualify for incentive discounts by transitioning before the end of the year.

What Does the Jan. 31, 2022 Deadline Mean?

If you do not manage your transition from G Suite to Google Workspace, Google will automatically change your subscription as early as February 1, 2022.

  • For customers on a month-to-month (“Flex”) subscription, Google will automatically change your subscription from G Suite to Google Workspace beginning February 1, 2022.
  • For customers on a subscription with an annual or multi-year commitment, Google will automatically transition your subscription at your next renewal date.

What is the Financial Impact?

Your G Suite subscription will transition to the Google Workspace subscription that matches your features and utilization.  Here are some examples:

  • G Suite Basic subscribers that also have Google Vault will change to Google Workspace Business Plus; subscription fees will increase from $11/user/month ($6 + $5) to $18/per/user/month.
  • G Suite Basic subscribers that use extra storage will change to Google Workspace Business Standard or Business Plus, based on their storage requirements; fees will increase from $6/user/month to $12 or $18 per user per month.
  • G Suite Business subscribers will change to Google Workspace Business Plus in order to maintain their Vault service; fees will increase from $12 to $18 per user per month.
  • G Suite Business subscribers using advanced security and mobile device management features included in the Google Workspace Enterprise tier licenses will most likely transition to Google Workspace Enterprise Standard; fees will increase form $12 to $20 per user per month.
  • Any G Suite Basic or Business subscription with more than 300 users will change to Google Workspace Enterprise Standard or Plus; fees will increase from $6 or $12 per user per month to $20 or $30 per user per month.
  • G Suite Enterprise subscriptions using certain security, mobile device management, and data loss prevention features will change to Google Workspace Enterprise Plus; fees will increase from $25 to $30 per user per month.

While you can mix and match licenses as needed within the Business and Enterprise tiers, our understanding is that automatic change to Google Workspace will place all users on the same license.

Next Step?

Your next step is to schedule time with one of our Cloud Advisors.  We will assess your current subscription, the impact of your transition, discuss subscription and licensing options, and determine if you qualify for incentive discounts.

 


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.

 

G Suite EDU Savings and Meet Enhancements

G Suite Enterprise for EducationG Suite Enterprise for Education Savings

As schools and districts continue to rely heavily on Google Meets, Classroom, and other services that facilitate remote and hybrid learning, Google is extending its 50% discount for full domain upgrades to G Suite Enterprise for Education through October 31, 2020.  Student licenses will remain free provided the ratio of student to faculty/staff licensing is 10:1 or less.

Click here for more information and to request a quote.

Rapid Enhancement of Google Meets

Responding to feedback from educators and competitive pressures, Google is accelerating the rollout of features for Google Meet. As announced at Google’s recent The Anywhere School 2020 event, Google Meets will see the addition of the following features, some of which (as noted) will only be available in G Suite Enterprise for Education.

September
  • Moderator Controls: Teachers will be able to end meetings for all participants once class ends, better manage join requests, disable in-meeting chats, require the teacher to join before students can enter the meeting, and prohibit participants from joining after being ejected or denied entry twice.
  • Larger Title Views: Support for up to a 7×7 grid will let up to 49 students be seen at once
October
  • Breakout Rooms: G Suite Enterprise for Education teacher accounts will be able to split classes into smaller group discussions.
  • Custom Background Support: Students and teachers will be able to blur or replace backgrounds to prevent distractions and keep things consistent for all students.
  • Attendance Tracking: G Suite Enterprise for Education teacher accounts will be able to see and track which students attended virtual class.
“Later this year”
  • Temporary Recordings: This will be available to all Education customers as opposed to the premium recordings only available to G Suite Enterprise for Education, allows teachers to record meetings and share the recording within their district for up to 30 days before the recording expires and is deleted.
  • Hand-Raising System
  • Q&A Features (limited to G Suite Enterprise for Education)
  • Polling : To Engage students (limited to G Suite Enterprise for Education)

 

Managing Chrome the Education Upgrade Price Increase

On January 22, 2020, Google is informing all Chrome Education Upgrade (aka Chrome Management Service) users that that perpetual per-device license price is increasing from $30 to $38 dollars, effective March 9, 2020.

While Google is not unreasonable in raising prices to ensure continued innovation and feature expansion, the timing of the increase is problematic for many schools.  With fiscal years starting July 1, schools and districts have drafted or completed their budgets for the upcoming year.  The timing of the increase impacts purchases planned for the end of this fiscal/school year as well.

Cumulus Global will help you manage the price increase.

You can order your Chrome Education Upgrade / Management licenses now, before the price increase.  Based on your quantity, we are offering discounts up to 10% or more off the current $30 price.  If you are unable to purchase the licenses now, you can also request a binding quote and receive similar discounts off the $38 price through August 31, 2020.

Please complete the form, below, and request your quote.


Request your quote …

5 Ways We Can Lower Your Chrome Device Costs

As part of our ChromeCycle Program, we help you manage the total cost of ownership of your Chrome devices. Here are five (5) ways we can lower the purchase cost for your next round of Chrome devices.

  1. Preregister Your Purchase: We can often secure preferred pricing when we preregister your intended purchase with your preferred Chrome device manufacturer. Letting your manufacturer know now how many units you plan to buy later helps them plan production and distribution. Some of those savings come back to you.
     
  2. Competitive Bidding: If you do not have a preferred Chrome device manufacturer, we can bid your intended purchased out across manufacturers and distributors to obtain the best purchase price possible.
  3. Trade-In: Trading in devices at the end of their life cycle can lower the cost of refreshing your devices by as much as 20%. We can estimate trade-in value now, to help with your budgets for purchases later in the year.
     
  4. Buy-Back: Even if you are not buying your refresh fleet from us, we can buy back devices you are retiring. The international market for used devices and parts can save you money.
  5. Financing Services: We work with multiple finance partners to offer both finance and fair market value leasing options. We can put your purchase financing out to bid to help get the best rate and terms possible.

Click here to learn more about our ChromeCycle services, or contact us for a no-obligation Cloud Advisor consultation.


 

G Suite Business Upgrade Incentives

G SuiteThrough June 30, 2018, you can upgrade from G Suite Basic to G Suite Business and save up to 33%.

To qualify, you must:

  • Running G Suite Basic with at least 1 user (no minimum user limit)
  • Upgrade before June 3o, 2018
  • If you are on an annual commitment plan, you can upgrade during your renewal
  • If you are on the monthly flex plan, you can upgrade at anytime
  • Contact us and let us know you want the savings

Why G Suite Business?

  • Unlimited Gmail and Drive Storage
  • Team Drives for central ownership and management of files
  • Email Archiving, eDiscovery, DLP for simple legal compliance
  • Advanced reports and admin alerts for better usage visibility
  • “Org” unit controls to adjust access and sharing rights by department
  • THE platform for new features, such as AppMaker and AI/machine learning enabled services

For more information, contact us, or see what our clients say about G Suite Business.


 

Driving G Suite Upgrades

G SuiteG Suite Business is the recommended G Suite subscription for most small and midsize businesses. Many of our clients have upgraded already, so we asked them what is driving them to make the move. In no particular order, our clients tell us that with G Suite Business, you get:

Better File Services

  • Team Drives gives you central ownership and management of files.
  • Combined with Drive File Stream, you can create a file service that looks and feels more like a file server and benefit from easier integration with desktop applications. (We blogged about this in Oct ’17)
  • Unlimited storage gives you the ability to move files from servers and workstations without worry.
  • You can offload inactive files from past projects, prior years, etc., into online, secure, searchable archives. This can save you from upgrading or replacing on-premise servers and storage.

Help with Compliance

  • The Vault service included with G Suite Business is a critical component for your information security and compliance requirements, including HIPAA, PCI, Sarbanes/Oxley, SEC, and FINRA.
  • Vault archives and provides compliant e-discovery for email, files in Drive, and Hangout chats.

Cost Savings

  • You can retire servers in remote offices with Drive and Team Drive, eliminating the need for on-premise server upgrades and replacements, backup, and support.
  • You can reduce or eliminate NAS, SAN, file servers, and local storage, all of which require local/offsite backup, maintenance, and support.
  • If you have multiple sites, you can replace point-to-point networks, MPLS, and VPNs with direct Internet access service, at considerable savings.
  • You can replace Active Directory with a cloud-based identity manager or SSO solution; you can retire your AD domain controllers.

New Features

  • With G Suite Business, you get new features, like Team Drives and AppMaker, that are not available in G Suite Basic.

If you are interested in how G Suite Business can help you and your team, please let us know.  We have special incentives in place through June 30, 2017.


 

G Suite Business Upgrade Promo

G SuiteEvery once in awhile, we have a unique opportunity to offer substantial savings on cloud services.  To celebrate the rebranding of Google Apps as G Suite, we are authorized to offer small and midsize businesses significant discounts if they upgrade from G Suite Basic (Google Apps for Work) to G Suite Premium (Google Apps Unlimited).

2 Great Promotions

Learn more ...

Learn more …

18 Months for the price of 12, a 33% savings*

To qualify for this promotion, you must …

  • Be a current customer running G Suite Basic with between 10 and 99 user accounts
  • Be on our annual prepaid or monthly flex plans
  • Upgrade before December 12, 2016
  • Contact us and let us know you want the savings

15 Months for the price of 12, a 20% savings

To qualify for this promotion, you must …

  • Be a current customer running G Suite Basic with 100 or more user accounts
  • Be on the monthly flex plan
  • Upgrade before December 20, 2016
  • Contact us and let us know you want the savings

Why G Suite Business?

  • Unlimited Gmail and Drive Storage
  • Email Archiving, eDiscovery, DLP for simple legal compliance
  • Advanced reports and admin alerts for better usage visibility
  • “Org” unit controls to adjust access and sharing rights by department
  • THE platform for new features, such as Team Drives and AI/machine learning enabled services

 

Interested? Contact us for info and a quote.

 


*Important Details: The 18 for 12 promotion ends on December 12, 2016; and we need to complete your upgrade by December 15, 2016.  The 15 for 12 promotion ends on December 20, 2016; and we need to complete your upgrade by December 31, 2016.  Monthly Flex Plan customers will see a discounted monthly invoice; Annual Plan customers will see an prorated charge and a credit for the unused portion of your current term.

 

Cloud Competition Has Growing Impact for SMBs

redmoney

Over the past few years, major cloud providers have been aggressively competing. At times, it’s been an all out price war with Microsoft, Amazon, Google and others lowering prices to beat the others. But it’s also been a race for new features and capabilities, as innovation and unique services can attract and retain customers.

The challenge for small and mid-size businesses, however, is that much of the competition as been focused on the Infrastructure and Platform as a Service (IaaS and PaaS) segments of cloud computing. And while lower prices on cloud processing and storage are great, most SMBs are using Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions.

Change is happening and you can benefit.

As an incentive for companies with Enterprise Agreement (EA) pricing to move off Microsoft, Google started things off by offering Google Apps for free until customers’ EA agreements end. The program, available to companies with 150 or more licensed users, removes the “double pay” period for companies that want to “go Google”.

More recently, Microsoft lowered the minimum licensed user count from 150 to 50 for its FastTrack program, which provides Microsoft partners with resources and customers with rebates to cover the cost of migration.  Companies with 50 or more licensed users can save up to 75% (or more) on their deployment and migration.

Enter Cumulus Global and More Savings

Focused on serving small and mid-size businesses, these programs are good, but not good enough. So, we are adding to the deals.

New to Google Apps for Work

  • Google Apps for Free through the end of your Microsoft EA term (150 license minimum)
  • 14 months for the price of 12 (5 license minimum, 12 month renewal terms)

New to Microsoft Office 365

  • FastTrack discounts and rebates (50 license minimum)
  • Migration savings of 35% to 70% (5 to 50 licenses)

From Direct to Partner

  • Existing Microsoft O365 and Google Apps for Work customers can save up to 10% on licensing and up to 20% on support and other services through our Switch & Save program.

The Next Step is Yours

To learn more about which discount is best for you, fill out the form, below, and speak with a Cloud Advisor.