Whether you have practiced the art of savasana or not, you will soon understand how sweet the benefit of laying still can reboot your whole system. I know what you’re thinking, “I can lay still, I can sit and do nothing!” When I started practicing yoga 22 years ago, I thought the same thing. As I practiced all the yoga poses, I felt great stretching my limbs. Sometimes a little uncomfortable because the stretch was challenging, but then there was savasana.
What was my brain doing to me? Who invited these busy monkeys to dance around my head while I was supposed to be finding my zen? Yoga’s acute and intervention effects on cognition are evident once you try to quiet the mind. This brings me to my comparison of an IT Health check.
Does the data center ever get a rest? Do you actively maintain your systems to update, reboot, or dare I say turn off? Would you like to maximize your attention, process information at higher speed, and execute daily functions with precision? What pill do I take? Who doesn’t want to operate at full capacity? Just like you made a New Year’s resolution to work out more, maintaining regimented IT heath can be as tricky as sticking to your promised workout routine.
Savasana is often described as the most challenging pose in yoga because it requires you to simply be still – a challenge in our modern society of constant movement. What we don’t realize is that during Savasana, we are also significantly reducing our stress and anxiety levels in addition to combatting insomnia. Like other kinds of meditation, Savasana increases grey matter in the brain. This is responsible for everything from muscle control, memory, emotions, decision-making, anxiety, stress, and overall mental health.
When you tighten up your IT security and review your environment’s backup and disaster recovery procedures, savasana becomes that much easier. Having systems in place to ensure regular backup, appropriate storage, unlimited access to data, and a robust disaster recovery plan – should the worst happen – are essential failsafe tools for all businesses. Knowing your information is secure can relax those busy monkeys that keep you thinking, “what if!”
Emotions, you’ve got them, I’ve got them, but hackers do not! Hackers, viruses, and online fraud are generally getting smarter, faster, and more ambitious. This makes robust security and regular updates a prerequisite for IT infrastructure which can keep your serotonin and dopamine (happy chemicals in the body) levels up. When we put good practices in place, such as the consistent routine of end-user training and testing, policy reviews, and current user authentications, we begin to see the long-term benefits. Peace of mind will allow you to focus and excel at other inventions or networking issues.
A yoga practice enables us to move in a controlled manner into modifiable physical postures concentrating initially on relaxing the body, breathing rhythmically, and developing awareness of the sensations in our bodies and thoughts. Besides the physical benefits from sequentially completing postures, breathing (pranayama), and meditation (savasana) included in yoga lead to a clear, calm, and focused mind. Which can develop greater self-awareness! Who doesn’t want to make better decisions and improve mental health? Working out with Zunesis as your yogi master will do just that.
We are an IT solution and service provider with assessments in place to help you reach infrastructure nirvana! Our savasana is called RDCAS – Recurring Data Center Advisory Service. By implementing this service into your IT environment, you can reduce unnecessary stress and anxiety from worrying, “what if!”
About the Author
I have made many decisions in my life, some right and some wrong. We really learn from the wrong ones, but this time I learned from the right. I began my yoga journey in a practice known as Ashtanga. Ashtanga Yoga is a dynamic, physically demanding practice that synchronizes breath and movement to produce an internal heat designed to purify the body and mind. This workout came easy as I have always enjoyed being athletic, but the meditation of quieting the mind did not! It has taken many years through discipline and repetition to achieve a quiet mind, a peaceful heart, and a clear path to making the right decisions. Following this path lead me to Zunesis and one of the best decisions I have ever made. This is an incredible company to work for. The integrity of the people and what they practice is best in class.
Are you “staying safe out there”? Adapting to “the new normal” in these “unprecedented times”? Are these recent quarantine-induced clichés getting on your nerves? Well, you are not alone!
I am not mocking anyone who uses, or has used, the above verbiage. If you are reading this and happen to use those, or similar, phrasings in your daily jargon…trust that I mean no disrespect. I will, however, caution you that some of the current post-pandemic nomenclature has been overused to the point of near exhaustion in a very short amount of time.
How do I know this? Well for starters…I am a salesman at our company. I do not hold a title that would suggest I am an upper level decision maker. Looking to change your internet provider? Not, my area. Need a new window-cleaning company? Again, not me. Office snacks? I enjoy eating them but again, not my area. Yet I am still bombarded with dozens of calls and emails, every day, by companies trying to sell me, or Zunesis, something.
I noticed a huge influx in these solicitations the last 3-4 months. I understand that this timeline matches the countrywide shutdown. People were consequently being more tenacious than ever to find opportunities. Their desire was to supplement any business that was disrupted as a result of quarantine.
I can’t even imagine what my inbox would look like if I had “CEO”, or “CIO”, or even “Property Manager” in my title. As a matter of fact, I’ve spoken to customers and colleagues in aforementioned positions. They have confirmed that recent contact attempts, from various salespeople and organizations, have exponentially increased. They also confirmed the over-saturation of “pandemic lingo” . How, ultimately it has grown tired in the last few months.
At the end of the day…I get it. The demand for sales generation is at an all time high. After all, I too am in sales. A significant portion of my job involves getting in front of as many people as possible. I want to get my name out there to contacts and potential customers who have never heard of me, or the company I represent.
The question is: “how?”. The “how?” has always been a recurring question in the world of sales. It takes on a new meaning when the question now is “how do I not become ‘number 27’ in a list of 100+ emails that all propose how to ‘stay the course in these strange times’?”.
Well, I’m not going to pretend to have all the answers. As I said, I’m a salesman too and I believe there’s no “correct” method. What I DO know is what I would like to see if I was the one being targeted. No matter what titles we hold, we are ALL consumers to one extent or another.
So, I implore: if you were being solicited by an individual or organization, what would you like to see? I know for me, personally, I like fun advertising that makes me feel happy, at ease, and like I’m not being “sold to”. I also love nostalgia. When I think of all of the TV and radio ads of the 80’s and 90’s, they were dynamite! Fun video montages, memorable monikers, and most of all, insanely catchy jingles. Say what you will, I promise that you could have ZERO INTEREST in some of those 90’s products and still get their jingles stuck in your head for DAYS! For example, I’ve never eaten “Pac-Man Cereal” in my life but I know that catchy little song, from the commercials, by heart! (“You can open wide, gobble up the ghosts that are hiding inside!”) Now THAT’S powerful advertising!
Since the mandatory quarantine created a lot of down time, I figured I had nothing to lose by creating some type of advertisement that would appeal to ME. So…I reached out to, Chris DeMakes, lead singer and guitarist of 90’s ska-punk giants Less Than Jake. To my great surprise, not only did he get back to me right away…he was totally onboard with helping me create a custom tune for myself and Zunesis. I told him I wanted it to evoke the TV and radio jingles that ran rampant in the 80’s and 90’s. After sharing a few of my ideas with him,he came back with an amazing ska jingle. It was everything, and more, that I could have hoped for.
After putting together a little video to accompany the song, I unleashed my ad onto the world. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.
See what I did there? I just got you to watch my ad. Boom! It may have been a bit contrived….but I got you. Hahahaha. See, it works!
I’m just kidding, but the point remains the same. They say “insanity is doing something over and over and expecting different results”. Well my thoughts are “if you want to get your name out there, amidst the craziness, you got to spice things up!”.
The CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEER) guidelines state that funds can be allocated for any costs due to changes to the delivery of instruction due to Covid 19. Amongst other allowances, Institutions may use their funds to purchase equipment of hardware and software in support of their Distance Learning initiative.
Zunesis is stepping in to assist our Higher Education customers. We have found that before expanding (or establishing) VMware Horizon VDI-driven learning portals, we must first shore-up the underlying infrastructure. In many instances, we find legacy hardware that is not compatible with VMWare 6.7 and higher. This is necessary to ensure a secure and robust environment capable of supporting applications such as graphics heavy applications like Adobe Creative Suite or AutoDesk. Without the hardware upgrade (Gen10 technologies, enhanced memory and GPU), the Distance Learning experience risks students dropping off when frustrated with slow rendering speeds.
Zunesis considers two major requirements in creating/expanding VMware Horizon Distance Learning portals:
The ROI for the upgrading infrastructure to support these VDI expansions will be realized in both time and money savings for IT organizations far beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Having all servers in a central location means easier system maintenance and upgrades. All users get each upgrade in near real-time.
IT can also assign the exact resources each user needs, so none go unused. This is especially important for engineering applications such as AutoCad, where issuing each user a workstation would be costly – and most need the app only occasionally. Virtual environments enable multiple users to share resources, thereby increasing hardware utilization. They also reduce the need to buy and support expensive workstations.
Additionally, the enhanced Distance Learning portal will enable IT departments to save money on application licensing costs. Users who need consistent access to engineering applications may get a personalized virtual desktop with their own account. Others who need only occasional access can use pooled desktops on a time-share basis. License servers here can potentially require fewer licenses while serving up client connections more efficiently.
With ease of management and enhanced security a key concern, we also considered the number of improvements VMWare has made in vSphere 6.7 and HPE has made with their GEN10 Servers.
In conclusion, the success of any Distance Learning initiative can be measured by the number of students that continue to participate. A properly designed infrastructure that can support the intensive requirements of applications will minimize downtime. It will enable thinly staffed IT departments to function efficiently.
Contact Zunesis to find out more about the CARES ACT and the best solutions for higher education needs.
Covid. Pandemic. Work from home. Social distancing. It is amazing how these terms have become not only a part of our lexicon, but something that is said and repeated by most of us many times a day. Do you feel tired of talking about it? I sure do.
The last time I wrote something for this space was mid-March of this year. Our current situation was just beginning. I will be honest, I thought 1 month or maybe 2, and this whole thing would be passed. We would be back to normal. Now, almost 4 months later, I am not sure what was normal in February will ever be normal again. In fact, I am not sure what normal even is at this point.
At this point it is hard not to be down. It is hard to even find an article that isn’t doom and gloom. For example, I just read an article that talked about how we are “running out of new TV programming” because Hollywood has been shut down for so long. I am sure there are those out there that may not think this is a bad thing (I can just hear it now, “read a book!”). Nonetheless, this article was decidedly negative in how it communicated the current state of our television watching options. There are days where I purposely avoid all media options (TV, Radio, internet, etc), just because it is better for my mental health.
All this being said, a positive outlook and little creative thinking can go a long ways. It helps to improve my outlook and the day to day mundane that we are all now currently living in. For one, my family and I have discovered the joys of family board games. I remembered playing board games as a kid and now I find there is a whole sub industry of new and improved games I am just now getting the joy of discovering (not just Settlers of Catan, but plenty of others too!).
Also, video calls, plus plenty of time on my hands, have allowed me to connect with so many friends, family, colleagues, and customers that I normally would not have connected with (or as much). Technology in this area has been a true gift. I am so thankful that we can use this in both our personal and our professional lives. And really maybe that is the “new normal”.
Things like flexibility and creativity are what we need to focus on to drive forward our lives in both the personal or professional arenas. I saw the other day where parents rented out a several of those human hamster balls for their kids to play with friends, but avoid contact. Groups of friends meeting in a parking lot to chat while they sit on the hood of their car or lean out of a sunroof are examples of those of us who are truly thinking “outside” the box. In my wife’s world of weddings, micro weddings with super small guest counts in large venue spaces are quickly becoming the norm.
Here at Zunesis, video calls are allowing us to maintain “normal” contact with customers and vendors. We are constantly searching for new avenues of improving the quality and experience for participants in video calls. One of our sales associates even had Grub Hub lunch delivered to set up a lunch meeting with a client.
All examples of finding new ways to do “normal” activities. This creativity is helping as we continually run into roadblocks created in this Covid atmosphere. The fluctuating environment means that we have to find solutions to problems, not just once, but each and every time, as yesterday’s solution may no longer be an option.
One instance of this is the long lead time from many of our vendors on most of their major products. What used to take days or weeks, is now taking several months. Guiding our customers to innovative financing solutions which will allow them to purchase before their budgets are available and pay when the product ships and they can use said budget. Providing services (assessments, staff augmentation, etc) that will mitigate these delays. Finding ways to create implementation plans with their management to accommodate the long lead times.
Our drive to advocate, protect and serve our customers pushes us to stay flexible and creative. Thus avoiding the doom and gloom perspective. What is amazing to me is how easy it is stay positive, content, and working towards a better tomorrow. When the focus is problem solving (instead of dwelling on them) and creativity (instead of apathy). The other benefit to this attitude is it is infectious (the good kind, of course). If you feel that your organization could use a shot of positivity and creativity don’t hesitate to give us a call. We would be happy to try to bring a little sunshine to your cloudy day.
In a world of quarantines and remote work, apps like Microsoft Teams and Slack have become more useful to businesses than ever. Fostering collaboration and communication is so important to keeping employees engaged. These apps have soared in popularity since working from home became the norm rather than the exception.
After months of relying on these products, people are seeing just how useful they can be. They make it so much easier to be responsive. They allow multiple people to work on projects together, even when they are geologically separate. Now Microsoft wants to bring that technology to consumers.
Teams has always been focused on the business side of its use. The advantages it has over traditional communication applications could clearly be useful to anyone.
Back in 2018, a free but restricted version of Teams was released. It never felt like a tool that could be useful among a group of friends or family members. After more than a year of work, Microsoft made the announcement during its big Microsoft 365 reveal that it was ready to unveil a preview version of Teams to consumers. As soon as it goes live, anyone can sign up. Only Microsoft 365 subscribers will be able to take full advantage.
Microsoft does not want to position Teams as an alternative to texting apps. It is supposed to be a tool to help you plan events with friends and families, book clubs, fantasy football leagues, and other gatherings. The personal version will support multiple rooms, direct messages, attachments, video calls, calendars, to-do lists, and much more. Very similar to the business version. Since the app is integrated with Microsoft 365, you can also use it to collaborate on office documents stored in the cloud.
There are also some features specific to the consumer version, like location sharing and Safe. Location sharing being the ability to show others where you are at and when you are on your way home or to a meet up. Safe is Teams protected environment you can use to store confidential and private information like wifi passwords, website login information, or rewards accounts. Its secured with end-to-end encryption and two-factor authentication, so you know your information will be safe.
Recently renamed Microsoft 365, the suite of tools is constantly being expanded for businesses and consumers alike. For consumers, first with the Microsoft 365 family plan, and now with added features and applications. Things like the play my emails feature will enable hands free text to speech so you can listen to your emails anywhere, even on the road. Added applications include the new Microsoft Family Safety which will allow families to manage screen time across devices and make it easy to check the location of family members.
Microsoft’s focus on consumer products for families and friends doesn’t stop at Teams. They launched a new website earlier this year, named Home and Family Resources. It introduces regular people to tools that help them connect, learn, and play at home. The site has everything from blogs to guides to help the normal person get the most out of their time at home.
To use the Teams preview, you can download it from the google play store and sign up with your personal Microsoft account. If you already use Teams for work, you can link your personal account to the app. One can switch between personal and business whenever you need to.
Contact Zunesis to find out more about Teams and other solutions that Microsoft has to offer.