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We Made the MSP Pioneer 250 List!

CRN MSP 500 ListYesterday, CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, named Smart Dolphins IT Solutions on its 2017 Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list in the Pioneer category. This annual list recognizes North American solution providers with cutting-edge approaches to delivering managed services. Their offerings help companies navigate the complex and ever-changing landscape of IT, improve operational efficiencies, and maximize their return on IT investments. More specifically, the Pioneer category recognizes organizations “whose approach to delivering managed services is one innovative step ahead.”

In today’s fast-paced business environments, MSPs play an important role in helping companies leverage new technologies without straining their budgets or losing focus on their core business. CRN’s MSP 500 list shines a light on the most forward-thinking and innovative of these key organizations.

“Managed service providers play an increasingly important role in the day-to-day operations of businesses across North America,” said Robert Faletra, CEO of The Channel Company. “MSPs help organizations streamline their spending, effectively allocate limited resources, and benefit from advanced expertise in the latest technologies. We congratulate the service providers on CRN’s 2017 MSP500 list, who have continually succeeded in meeting their customers’ changing needs and help them get the most out of their IT investments.”

Way to go POD!

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Pwned
Use this Site to Check for Email Breaches

Want to know if your information has been breached? Check out Have I Been Pwned:

https://haveibeenpwned.com

Created by Security Developer, Troy Hunt, this FREE resource allows anyone to see if their information has been put at risk. I had my colleague, Meghan try it out with her personal email and two breaches came up:

1) The May 2016 Linkedin breach which resulted in the leak of 164 million email addressess and passwords
2) The 2013 Tumblr breach with resulted in the exposure if 65 million accounts

Data breaches are rampant so, when it comes to protecting yourself (or your organization) user education is a must. Arrange for some basic security awareness training and implement a safe computing policy.

Not sure where to start? Set-up a network assessment with a Dolphin.

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Our Podtionary

PodtionaryYou’ve probably seen our smart cars with fins cruising around Victoria or maybe even met a Dolphin or two over the years. Not surprisingly, our references to one particular aquatic mammal doesn’t stop there. We’ve developed an entire PODTIONARY and we thought we’d share some of it with you…

  • All Fins – A bi-weekly meeting with all Dolphins.
  • Team Aquarific – Our internal team that leads our fun activities.
  • Dolphin Defenders – This is one of our proactive teams. These brave Dolphins have regularly scheduled onsite visits with our clients to bring them into alignment with our standards.
  • The Dolphin Code – Our “Code of Conduct” that guides us to success.
  • The POD – That’s us! We’re the passionate, dedicated group of people all focused on helping local organizations better leverage technology.
  • Dorsal Pride – one of our 5 core values that just too magical to define.
  • Technology with Porpoise – That’s the world class standard that we offer our clients.
  • Breakwater – Our service platform design to improve our customer service experience.
  • Finley – Our mascot. You’ll find him in most of our branding.
  • Pod Pointers – Our tech tip email newsletter created by our own Dolphins since May 25 2011. Subscribe to it here.
  • Core Dolphins Award – A bi-weekly award that goes out to the Dolphin that receives the most praise by fellow Dolphins.

 

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Free up Space on your iPhone!
Free up Space on your iPhone!

If you’re an iPhone user, you may find that over time, even if you do not add more apps or videos, you start to run low on available space. The culprit particularly with social media apps and text message/imessage is something stored called “Documents and Data.”

You can clear your documents and data with this simple trick. I took a look at my colleague’s iphone to demonstrate. She had an older version of Twitter downloaded but that app was using 84.5 MB of space. We simply uninstalled it and re-download it from the App store and freed up some space.

Free up Space on your iPhone! 1

It takes months and months to build up a significant app cache, but once it happens you’ll really notice the pinch on available space on your device. Keep in mind once you re-download an app you will likely have to login again, so be sure you know your login information. Examples of apps prone to this are: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and more.

Clear “Documents and Data” by following these simple steps:

  • Open the “Settings” app in iOS
  • Go to “General” and then go to “Storage & iCloud Usage”
  • Go to “Manage Storage” under the ‘Storage’ section
  • Find the application(s) that have the ‘Documents & Data’ you want to delete, then tap on that app and choose “Delete App”
  • Now go to the “App Store” and search for and re-download the app you just deleted
  • After the app has finished re-downloading, if you return to the same Storage screen you will find it now consumes less space because the documents and data has been cleared out

 Thanks!

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Why Outsource your IT?
IT. Here’s the top 4 reasons we think you should consider:
Smart Dolphins

Productivity. Productivity. Productivity.

Smart Dolphins help professionals be productive. Whether we’re implementing a new software or upgrading technology, our goal is to help your organization be successful.  With our IT solutions, we can get your employees out of the day-to-day IT management, so that they can focus on what they do best. 

Save Time

You can save time with IT outsourcing. The POD is made up of professionals who know how to do things quickly and efficiently. You won’t be the one responsible for these tasks anymore, so you can focus your time on what matters.

Save Money

Cost is always the biggest issue we hear about when it comes to IT. So many professionals we meet with have no idea what their IT costs are. We’ll sit down with you and help you understand how you can save money by strategically aligning your IT with your business goals.

More Services

When you outsource your IT, you get more services. We become your IT department. One common misunderstanding is that Managed IT Service Providers are simply an IT support desk. But our IT support desk is just one of five areas of service delivery. We lead organizations out of IT mediocrity by delivering a complete range of proactive IT services.

 Want to learn more? Let’s meet for coffee. Contact us today for an assessment.

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Boost your Productivity with Focus@Will
Boost your Productivity with [email protected]

Many people listen to music while working. Personally, this is one area where I have had trouble mixing work and pleasure. Music is great, but I found it problematic to listen to my personal music library while working – it was distracting. I’d either get distracted by a good song or I’d be busy skipping stuff I was tired of. I did occasionally get in a zone as the right music blocked out the many other distracting noises around me.

Recently, I learned of [email protected]. This is a music service that shares music specifically engineered to address the issues I was having. There aren’t any words and it isn’t stuff that you would normally hear in your personal collection. You can choose from a wide variety of styles and even adjust the “Music Energy Level”. One of my favourite parts to the service is the simple timer that you can set. I like to give myself 25 minutes of focused time and then I take a 5 minute break (called the “Pomodoro Technique”, a technique we previously shared by the way). You can even rate your productivity after a session and you can see how your perceived focus changes over time. If that wasn’t enough, the site offers up a mix of (non-distracting) images. 

They offer a free trial and then a pretty inexpensive monthly and annual option. They even have a team account. If you do want to try it, use this link and I get a free year! Thanks!

 

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ManicTime
Track your Time with ManicTime

ManicTime is time tracking software that runs in the background on your computer. If you’re like me, you spend most of your day at your computer. ManicTime gives me lots of useful information about what I have spent my time on. Having this data, helps me stay productive.

ManicTime tracks things like:

  • When your computer was in use and when it was idle
  • What applications you were using at any given time
  • What documents you were working on at any given time
  • Your Day Start and Day End times

It’s great for individuals, even better for teams. For more information about visit http://www.manictime.com/

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Pomodoro Productivity
Pomodoro Productivity

Simple Pomodoro is a simple time management Chrome extension that allows you to quickly set a timer for tasks. Just install the extension here and set the timer (in five minute increments) while working on a task and it will pop up when your time is up.

The Pomodoro Technique® was created by Francesco Cirillo following his search to improve his own study habits. The concept is simple: use a timer to break your work into focused time blocks separated by a 5-minute break. Each 25-minute work block is called a “pomodoro.” After 4 pomodoros, take a longer break. Watch this video to learn more.

Will getting that report finished really only take ten minutes?  Need a little push to get through your email backlog in twenty minutes? Try Simple Pomodoro.

Pomodoro Productivity 1

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The Smart Dolphins Service Desk

The service desk is the most familiar area of the IT support business. A client contacts a service desk representative when they perceive a need, usually when something is broken or when there is a change in the business (i.e. a new computer is added to the network for a new hire). The mission of the Smart Dolphins service desk is to provide quality and comprehensive reactive support for our client’s IT challenges. It is just one of our five service delivery areas.

The Service Desk team is organized so that it can handle a large volume of “tickets” in an efficient and friendly manner. Customers can call and have their call answered by a real person or they can choose to email or electronically submit their problem through “Breakwater.” Breakwater allows our clients to create new service requests, attach screenshots, upload files, view their service history and more. It’s a service software designed to improve the overall customer experience.

Once a ticket has been submitted, it is then assigned to the appropriate technician and the client is notified. The technician follows up, troubleshoots and resolves the issue.

The success of our reactive team is determined by key metrics, such as tickets closed and our customer satisfaction score (CSAT). We receive very high feedback scores, which is a challenge given the nature of the work.

This team is also responsible for helping the proactive roles identify systemic problems and patterns to ongoing issues so that the root problems can be corrected by our proactive functions.

Service Desk

Daniel, Chad and Ross

Our service desk is made up of three tiers:

Triage/Level 1 Technical Support – Ross Speirs

Level 2 Technical Support – Danny Tew, Daniel Knippshild, Werner Baron

Level 3 Technical Support – Chad Ryan

There is no limit or additional costs associated to how much our Support Team is called on. You can even call the Dolphins up for “How To” questions!

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Get a Glimpse with Gympse
Get a Glimpse with Glympse

Meeting up with somebody and want to keep them abreast of your location and ETA?

Glympse allows you to share your current location in real-time with anyone you choose via email, SMS, Facebook or Twitter.

Recipients don’t need to download the app to view and your location is shared for only as long as you specify.

No more confusion or sending multiple texts on your ETA. Let Glympse do the work.

Available on iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

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