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November 2018 – ECHO Newsletter

In today’s organizations, technology impacts everyone and everything.  ECHO’s mission is to create a positive impact by empowering our client organizations through technology.  

 

For this month’s topic:  Getting Back to Basics:  What is IT?  

Let’s talk about the fundamentals. 

ECHO primarily works with organizations of fewer than 500 people.  Everything we do (and everything in this newsletter) focuses on these small to medium-sized companies or nonprofits. People in this world often use “IT” and “core infrastructure” interchangeably.  They see IT in terms of sunk costs – computers, networks, and other basic business needs which keep an organization up and running. 

At ECHO, we know that IT, technology, or whatever you want to call it is a much bigger world.  Data, business applications, integration, reporting – all of these higher-level pieces should be part of any strategic discussion. 

Think for a moment about the layers involved in any technology system: 

  • IT Strategy and Management 
  • Cybersecurity 
  • Core infrastructure 
  • Business Applications 
  • Integration and Reporting 
  • Business process automation 
  • Business Intelligence 

Some organizations would group the first three items into “core IT” and the last four into “business systems”. Some organizations even manage them as two separate organizations. At ECHO, we think of technology in holistic terms.  Our team knows the value associated with each of these layers, and can help you maximize the business outcomes each layer delivers.

 

Technology Tips

Personal technology tip

Spam calls from spoofed phone numbers are a significant annoyance, and the epidemic seems to be getting worse.  Here are some thoughts on how to limit these calls: 

  1. Register your cell phone number on donotcall.gov. This will offer basic protection from “legitimate” telemarketers.  As we know, spammers couldn’t care less about legitimacy, which means that protecting yourself requires a little more leg-work and ingenuity. 
  2. Enable the Caller ID feature with your cell provider. 
    1. Verizon users can download the Caller Name ID app, subscribe to the service for $2.99 per month, and enable the spam filter option from within the app. 
    2. AT&T offers its customers the AT&T Call Protect feature, which will automatically block fraudulent calls and warn you of suspected scammers. A companion app lets you track those calls and provides other features. AT&T offers a “Plus” version of the service for $3.99 per month that offers reverse-number searches and enhanced caller ID. 
    3. T-Mobile users will, by default, be notified of suspected scammers when they call. You can also activate an optional account feature called Scam Block which prevents those scammers from getting through to your number at all. 
    4. Sprint provides a $2.99 per month service called Premium Caller ID that tries to identify numbers that aren’t in your address book, warning you if it suspects a spam call. It cannot automatically block incoming calls, however. 

When you get the call do not pick up, but then select the number and block the caller/number on your phone. After several days the number of calls will start declining.  

Want to learn more about the details?  This New York Times article is a nice summary of options. 

 

Salesforce tip

For all you Salesforce admins out there, Salesforce has just come out with a simple new feature as part of its Winter ‘19 release.  

Have you ever edited a custom field and wondered where else it’s being used?  Now you can click a button to find out instead of going down a rabbit hole.  Admins can now check where a custom field is being referenced – whether it’s on a page layout, formula field, an email template, or anywhere else.  This makes it easier for admins to track the follow-on impact of changes.   

Before you go to edit or delete a custom field, make sure to click that “Where is This Used?” button! This feature is in pilot right now, and admins can request it to be enabled in their org.  You can learn more here.

 

Cybersecurity tip

Everybody is a target!  ECHO works with clients of all sizes and we know from experience that even the smallest nonprofit organizations are vulnerable.  To someone three continents away, we all have something to steal. The scammers, spammers, and other adversaries just don’t care. 

Cybersecurity is not that complicated and should not be that expensive.  At the same time, it has to be taken seriously.  In March, ECHO will be presenting at the 2019 Nonprofit Technology Conference about cybersecurity protective measures for nonprofit organizations.   

If you want to know more, please ask anyone at ECHO.  We can help.  We live and breathe this every day with all our clients.  Bonus:  Our special of the month is a heavily discounted price on a Basic Cybersecurity Assessment (see below). 

 

Procurement tip

As we’re approaching the end of the year, many clients approach us with requests to purchase equipment or services to increase their tax write-off.  Now is a great time to upgrade computers or networks.  Vendors are very motivated to sell, and the end of the year always brings the best discounts. 

If you’re willing to prepay for the ECHO services you will use in 2019, we will offer a 5% discount. 

 

Noteworthy blogs and posts:

Forgive the nerdiness, but the most exciting article we’ve seen in the past few weeks has to do with the end of the physical kilogram after a good run of 143 years.  Think about that – when the kilogram was first created, President Grant signed The Civil Rights Act of 1875. 

How ECHO Helped CoachArt Scale Its Nonprofit with a Two-Sided Marketplace 

ECHO Technology Solutions Joins Bit Alliance 

How Valuable Is Your Technology? 

 

News from ECHO

Specials of the month 

  1. Between now and the end of the year, we are offering ECHO Basic Security Assessments to our clients at a flat fee of $750 (a $1,800 value). You will need to let us know before 11/30 if you’re interested, to allow our security experts enough time to perform assessments before the end of the year. 
  2. ECHO is also offering a 5% discount for prepaid 2019 services. 

 

New additions to the team 

Boyan joined our Help Desk team in Sofia. If you need help after 6pm, Boyan will most likely be taking on  those calls and emails.

Elton joined our software development team in San Francisco. After completing his master’s degree in computer science Elton spent several years with Microsoft, AtHoc and Blackberry. He is an expert Microsoft platform developer and will also utilize his skills on Salesforce.

Boyan  Elton

 

Philanthropy

Last month, the ECHO team participated in The Arc San Francisco’s Annual Breakfast and raised more than $8,000 for the organization.  

Last week, members of the ECHO team volunteered with Operation Dignity at one of its homeless shelters in Oakland to help with dinner service.  

Does your organization offer volunteer opportunities for groups? Let us know, we’d love to help! 

Duane

Rachel and Vanessa

Dreamforce

At this year’s Dreamforce, ECHO had the honor of presenting with CoachArt on creating a two-sided online marketplace where nonprofits can connect people in need with those willing to help, removing the need for a middle-man (or woman)With support from our Software Development team, CoachArt leveraged the power of Salesforce and Community Cloud to build CoachArt Connect, its own platform where the matching process is put in the hands of volunteers to connect directly with families in need. Volunteers can log onto CoachArt Connect, and based on their coaching interests and location, find matching families with children who want to learn. Interested in learning more? Ask your project manager, or get in touch!