There are a few standard products we recommend for common services (like email or anti-spam). For line-of-business applications though you are likely to have specific needs so we do not make "general" recommendations. Instead, we can assist you in finding a suitable product, or in determining if a product you have found will be a good fit for your business.
Once a suitable product is found we can identify any issues you need to know about and make a plan to ensure the transition to your new product goes smoothly. And if you are moving from an existing database we can take care of the often daunting task of moving all of your existing data into the new system.
In most cases you'll find you don't need any ongoing support with cloud services. Once we help you get up and running a decent cloud service should Just Work!
Office 365 (Email & Collaboration)
Office 365 is a group of email and collaboration tools by Microsoft. At its heart is email that Just Works - your mail, contacts, calendars and tasks are automatically synchronised across all of your devices - Outlook, smart phones and tablets, and webmail.
Other Office 365 plans include Skype For Business, a SharePoint intranet (often used for posting policies and procedures, or for document control), and OneDrive For Business (Microsoft's file sync tool - similar to Dropbox). Higher-end plans also include the Microsoft Office programs:
The email-only plan costs $5.60(inc)/month for each user. IT Zen can assist you with setting up Office 365, linking it to your own domain name and copying across existing email and other data. For very small companies this can take as little as 4-5 hours. For larger businesses budget for 1-2 hours per user.
Zoho Mail (Email)
Only have a few staff members and don't want to pay ongoing fees for email? Zoho Mail may well suit you. It is free for 25 staff members, it lets you use your own domain name (so you can have email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org) and it will synchronise your email between your devices.
Zoho Mail isn't as polished as Office 365 but the only big noticable difference is that other information like calendar entries, contacts and tasks can't be synchronised to Outlook. If you only care about email this may be the product for you.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
CRM software lets you track and manage all of your interactions with customers. It's great for keeping track of correspondence and opportunities. And once you have your database of information in your CRM tool you can be very targeted in your advertising. For example, you can get a list of everyone that placed an enquiry between 3-6 months ago but didn't go ahead. You might choose to email these potential customers offering a discount if they purchase now.
IT Zen can assist setting either product up, migrating your existing customer data into the new system, and setting up a web form so that enquiries from your web site go directly into your CRM system.
Dropbox (File Syncing)
If you need access to your files on multiple devices (computers, phones and tablets) then Dropbox provides a system that will copy your files over the Internet to your other devices. This happens automatically (for files you save to your Dropbox) - the next time you open one of your other devices your new file will magically be there.
Dropbox has a plan that is free for 2GB of data (which equates to thousands of Word and Excel documents).
If you are receiving too much spam we strongly recommend a cloud-based solution. Worldwide, around one trillion spam messages are sent each week - far too many to manage with rules.
By far the most effective anti-spam systems are those based on a system called IronPort. This system doesn't just look at the content of messages (which is a constant 'cat and mouse' game), but instead looks at where email is coming from. Every Internet connection in the world is monitored for outgoing email and if a connection suddenly starts sending out an order of magnitude more email than usual it is clear their computers are sending out spam, so are blocked.
We resell Firstwave IronPort as our premium anti-spam offering, which is the best value IronPort system available in Australia. Pricing is around $5/month per user (depending on the number of users, and how long you sign up for).
Need a way of managing the smart phones and tablets in use at your company? Meraki is probably the perfect product for you. It is able to automate:
Setting up email accounts
Connecting to WiFi
Connecting to a company VPN (ie. network)
Locking the device down (ie. block use of iCloud, or even lock the device to a single app)
Track where devices are
Perhaps its most important features though are regarding control when a device is lost or stolen, or when an employee quits or is fired. Meraki will allow you to lock the device, change the passcode, or wipe the device. In the event of an employee leaving you can even do a selective wipe - where only corporate data and apps are removed (leaving the users personal apps and data in tact).
This can all be done without needing physical access to the device.