What you need to know about Windows XP Retirement

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Well it is finally here. The end of Windows XP support from Microsoft. It is said that 211 million people still use it worldwide. While most of us have moved on, some of us are still in the dark ages. Even the bank’s ATMs are. I just read that 95% of them use Windows XP. This to me, is not good. It is time to say goodbye. What happens if you don’t stop using it? Well, immediately there are three top reasons to say goodbye:

#1 Top drawer is security. With no new security updates from Microsoft, viruses and malware will target Windows XP leaving YOU vulnerable. Windows XP users are 6 times more likely to get attacked.

#2 Other software. Software just isn’t compatible with it. So chances are when you try to upgrade to cutting edge software, you will need to say goodbye to Windows XP.

#3 Hardware compatibility. If your printer breaks down, good luck in finding one that is XP compatible.

Whatever you decide to do, you should be aware of the security risk you have. Contact GWA to discuss this further or write to me.

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My little green men are gone now

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My little green men are gone now. They are back in the pages of my novel and off my phone. I read a timely article on the nine best apps for Android and while in my review of these found a free AVG anti-virus. We use the paid one in the office successfully. AVG found that my “scan” app was causing the issue. So far so good! I downloaded the flashlight app while I was on there so I will see if the greenies reappear!

Today a publication I read “Baseline” announced that Verizon is not coming to Canada. I find this very disappointing. Canada needs some competitors in the game as far as wireless goes. What really annoys me most is that I can’t call anywhere in Canada and use my minutes up. If I forget to put the 1 in front, then I hear this annoying message telling me to do so the next time. Why? This is my question. In the US I don’t have to press 1 – it just calls the number. No long distance charges. No annoying message. I would like to start my own petition to stop this nonsense in Canada. This one change alone would help countless users that travel in the day just outside their zone and have to call home or call their child’s school and end up getting a long distance charge. We put in a voice over IP system and all the calls are normal calls. And…like Verizon, I have a flat rate per month with unlimited minutes. Let me know what you think about the petition. As always, I want to be organized about this!

Little green men… continued

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I read a timely article from itincanadaonline.ca on how bad it really is with Malware. It is designed to attack my device. This is not good. McAfee suggests I put security software in quickly. The article which is really quite scary, made me very uncomfortable. Furthermore, I will need to put some software on my phone to be able to lock or wipe it if I lose it. A few years ago, I was going on a cruise and put my Blackberry in my luggage and it was stolen. In those days I did not have email on it only contact information. But now, if I lost my phone, ALL of my contacts are on there. What would happen then… And my email for the last 2 weeks is on there as well. So now I have to put two solutions on my phone – anti-virus and security software.

We partnered with a company called Soti a while ago and bad me has not installed their software on my new Android. So, I will be doing this right away. Next I will be looking at the anti-virus. I want to do more research
before I just put security software on there. There are lots of options and some of them are existing partners with us but I want to get the best one. I will keep you posted.

Little Green Men Belong in Books

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Being a sci-fi fan, I am used to seeing little green men; but not on my phone! I have been a loyal Blackberry user but after much deliberation decided to switch over to a Samsung Galaxy 4. Don’t get me wrong, I love the phone but did not even think about the security not built into the Androids. Unlike Blackberries, the Androids seem to have forgotten about malware. So now, every day I have little green men. I delete them, any apps I have installed and they are gone. Then the next day, like magic, another one appears.

A friend of mine is an Android expert and said he thought he fixed it. For a week, I was little green men free. But, alas they reappeared. Worse, yesterday while I was reviewing a new client’s CRM needs, my client showed me her new Blackberry which has no little green men. She said in all the years of Blackberry use, she like me before was virus free.

So now I am researching my options. I didn’t have to do this with my Blackberry. I will update you on my quest and solution to rid myself of these little green guys. Little green men belong in the pages of paper novels or movie screens not creating havoc on a phone.

Total Cost of Ownership

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Costs:

1. Cost of hardware (many times this is overlooked).

2. Cost of upgrading infrastructure such as cabling and internet cards in existing hardware.

3. Cost of back up – everyone forgets this – is it better to back up in the cloud or locally?

4. Cost of an outside professional analysis – many companies don’t get the proper help “before” they buy the software” and either buy the wrong software or perhaps miss some key areas.

5. Cost of database – the data has to be stored in a database – which one and do you own it?

6. Cost of software.

7. Cost of software maintenance (from vendor).

8. Average cost of an upgrade.

9. Cost of custom forms and reports (this is a big missing link). Get your reports organized and keep them to a minimum at first.

10. Cost of annual maintenance plan from the implementor.

11. Cost of initial implementation (ensure that the analysis is done so you can get an accurate estimate).

12. Average cost of change requests from your vendor.

13. Customizations – are any required?

14. Training room (do you need to use one off site).

15. Travel costs.

16. Any conferencing costs.

17. Remote access (how will your staff access the system from outside)..

18. The cost of your staff’s wages.

Help to Offset Costs:

1. Government grants to hire new staff.

2. Funding for the actual project.

3. Tax credits through special programs.

GWA Named a Finalist in 2013 CDN Channel Elite Awards

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Nominated in the Best Service Organization Category, Toronto-area technology services provider GWA is recognized for their continually high quality customer service.

Toronto, Canada – August 13, 2013 – GWA Business Solutions, Inc., provider of software and technology consulting services, with expertise in manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, job costing, retail/POS, recruiting and CRM, was selected by Canada’s leading technology digital news-magazine Computer Dealer News (CDN) as a finalist nominee in the 2013 CDN Channel Elite Awards in the Best Service Organization category.

As a software and service organization that specializes in helping customers get “Solutions That FitTM,” GWA is honored to be recognized for their high level of commitment to servicing their customers through this nomination.  GWA is no stranger to recognition as they were nominated by the CDN Channel Elite Awards in 2011 as a finalist in the Best Small Business Solution and Solution Provider of the Year award categories. Also in 2011, Gail Wilson, GWA President and Founder, was recognized in the top 25 Women in the IT Channel by CDN.  Under Gail’s leadership, the GWA team continues a long standing tradition of providing excellent service and value for their customers.  According to Gail, “It’s imperative that our customers implement software that will meet their needs now and in the future, and to have the processes in place to support their operations. Our methodology and service ensures exceptional results for our customer.   We take great pride when our clients meet or exceed their goals. ”

With 30 years experience in the technology industry, providing top notch service through their professional certified consultants and technical team is a cornerstone of GWA.  Their customers rely on the expert knowledge and prompt response to issues or questions, and GWA delivers.  GWA’s customers appreciate the ongoing straight shooting approach to solving their issues. Not only does GWA consult with their clients, they dig deep and aren’t afraid to tell clients the hard realities in order to go above and beyond solving the issue. Training and education provided by their expos and a highly anticipated yearly customer conference confirm GWA’s commitment to customer service. Dave Schofield of Savage Arms shared his GWA conference experience, “The conference allowed me to learn about resource planning and information management solutions, applicable to small and medium sized business. I liked having the wide variety of vendors and workshops to create a customized learning experience.” These events and the high service levels make GWA a standout in the technology service sector.

GWA’s mission to match customers’ needs with the right software and their commitment to providing timely, high quality customer service, along with a track record of improving their customers’ business results has earned the nomination in the Best Service Organization category in the 2013 CDN Channel Elite Awards. As an award finalist, GWA is invited to the gala evening event at the Paramount Conference & Event Venue on September 11, 2013 where the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners will be announced.

About CDN

Since 1985, CDN (Computer Dealer News) has been the leading information source for Canadian IT solution providers. CDN is Canada’s national digital news-magazine and Web site designed to provide VARs, system integrators, system builders, ISVs and retailers with the most comprehensive coverage of news, events and issues in the IT channel. CDN also publishes special issues such as the Channel Elite Awards, the Top 100 Solution Providers, the Women of the IT channel and the Top 25 Newsmakers each year. CDN continues its online venture with a new design CDN Web site as well as CDN Now the daily e-mail newsletter that includes the latest channel news with industry commentary from top VARs and editors. CDN has the most well read channel blog in the country called VARBose, with more than 85,000 readers in 2012 alone.

For more information about Computer Dealer News, visit http://www.computerdealernews.com.

About GWA Business Solutions, Inc.

Since 1983, GWA Business Solutions uses a straight shooting approach to technology and business software. GWA provides business owners with “Solutions that FitTM” and their “Do it Once” implementation approach to eliminate repetitive tasks and enable their customers to stay ahead of the competition in this fast-paced world.   GWA takes businesses from where they stand today, finds out where they want to go and gets them there with the right technology and their team of experts. Whether a business needs a Sage solution or a niche software solution, GWA is dedicated to getting the right fit, it’s their trademark.

For more information about GWA Business Solutions, visit www.GWAbiz.com.

Find out if you qualify for the funding you need to automate your business

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Take back manufacturing! This is a great phrase – but where do I start? Is there any government funding? What types of systems are out there? What about financing? How can all of this really help my manufacturing operation?

If you have been asking yourself these questions and more, then attending this online webinar is for you.

Date:        Thursday, August 8, 2013
Time:       11:00 am – 11:45 am EDT
Location: Online session – Enjoy from the comfort of your own desk
Cost:        No Charge

Register Now https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/750976478

Our experts will answer your questions regarding:

• Government grants
• Learn how you can tap into this funding.
• Two experts will teach you about how these work.
• How are companies “really” getting grants today.

• Automation
• Learn the secrets of what other successful companies.
• How do companies combat manufacturing challenges?
• Find out what the “cloud” is.
• Discover how bar coding and scanning works.

• Financing
• What are the options for financing?
• How easy is it for financing to be obtained?
• Are any software companies helping you in this area?
• How can “I” benefit from the various financing today?

Find out if you qualify for the funding you need to automate your business.

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Take back manufacturing! This is a great phrase – but where do I start? Is there any government funding? What types of systems are out there? What about financing? How can all of this really help my manufacturing operation?

If you have been asking yourself these questions, then attend this online webinar on Thursday, August 8 at 11am EST. Our experts will answer your questions regarding:

• Government grants
• Learn how you can tap into this funding.
• Two experts will teach you about how these work.
• How are companies “really” getting grants today.

• Automation
• Learn the secrets of what other successful companies are doing today.
• See how companies with needs from as few as 2 to 100 users are combating the issues of today’s challenges in manufacturing.
• Find out what the “cloud” is and why some manufacturers are choosing this strategy to get up and running quickly and cost effectively.
• Discover how bar coding and scanning works.

• Financing
• What are the options for financing – how easy is it for financing to be obtained?
• Are any software companies helping you in this area?
• How can “I” benefit from the various financing today?

Reserve your webinar set now at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/750976478

GWA Business Solutions Canada Inc. celebrated 30 years on July 15

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July 15 – Tim McGraw sings a song – “My Next Thirty Years” and GWA celebrated 30 years on July 15.

I remember when I had the business for only 30 days. So much has changed – and so much hasn’t. Back three decades ago, there were no laptops, everything you looked at was through a “green” screen, and huge floppy disks didn’t store much. Software and data was stored on one disk. Most people thought only real estate and mobsters had cell phones. Today, most people have some form of computer and almost everyone (even in really poor countries) owns a cell phone.

What I find is that even though there is all this technology owned and available, most people don’t use it. One reason is time. We think we don’t have time. Another is money. We don’t have the money to improve productivity and efficiency. Sounds a little crazy, but all of us in some way or another have these two reasons why we don’t do things. Well there is help. There is Canadian government funding.

GWA is holding a webinar on Thursday, August 8 to help you find out about government funding – Reserve your webinar seat now at https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/750976478.

GWA is dedicated to help you do things once. Here’s to the next 30 years!

Mobility

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The end of the week has come and my last blog post for the week is on . I touched on this in my blog yesterday. I decided that I should expand on this. What is true mobility? It means taking your data – data that is important to you – with you. Yes, with you; or, having access to it on the web through your mobile device. More and more places have free wireless internet.  Now yes gone are the days when you could drive through a neighborhood and find free internet (well I guess that depends upon where you live), but internet is free in lots of places. McDonalds has it in their parking lots even.  This means that sales people can place orders. Catalogs can be viewed on a tablet while visiting with a client. Service orders can be entered. Deliveries can be recorded. Complaints can be entered (hopefully you don’t get too many of these). Reaction to customers’ problems is something that your competitor is doing or will be doing. You don’t want to be caught behind. The world is in transformation. The world is running faster than ever. You need to get mobile and do things once. Take care, and please let me know what you are thinking. Signing off.