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Expert Showcase

Featuring press clippings and posts by some of our internal experts.

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Table of Contents Byline Articles 1 | Desktop Virtualization Enables BYOD in the Classroom 2 | Investing in Peace of Mind 3 | What Business Leaders Need to Know About Virtualization 5 | Supporting Today’s Anywhere Workers 7 | How to Create a Cost Effective BYOD Policy

Featured Articles 1 | IT firm Annese looks to expand services in New England 2 | IT and Software Sales Drive Tech Firm Growth 3 | Annese Expects To Relocate Local Office To Aid Growth 4 | Creative Employees In High Demand Among New Tech Hires 5 | Four Sisters Growing Their Father’s Communications Legacy

Guest Blog Posts 1 | 3 Wireless Networking Pitfalls to Avoid 3 | 6 Key Factors that Influence Employee Culture 6 | The 3 Building Blocks of Customer Intimacy 8 | 2013’s Cisco Partner Summit “Best Yet,” Says Ray Apy 9 | The Musings of a Roaming SCCM Consultant 11 | What Would Happen to Your Business in an IT Shutdown?

Heard Along the Thruway 1 | Customer Testimonials

Author Biographies 1 | The Bios Behind the Bylines


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Byline Articles


Byline Articles

Desktop Virtualization Enables BYOD in the Classroom NYSCOSS Councilgram | April 2013 | Jason Beiter Many districts have struggled with how to best implement a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy that would enable teachers to securely leverage personal mobile devices in the classroom. The BYOD wave was ushered in quickly with the consumerization of smart phones and tablets, which placed a heavy burden on IT staff. On one hand, they want to satisfy the demands of their user base; on the other, they are hesitant to create additional management headaches or security vulnerabilities. To ease these concerns, it is imperative to first align your IT strategy to your business goals and identify the potential challenges that your users could face. Then develop a BYOD policy and outline the tools needed to support BYOD initiatives. Current implementations vary widely. Some districts have chosen to “open the floodgates”’ requiring little to no restriction on who can access what device and when, while others are in favor of tighter control, granting limited access to their users. The majority, however, is trying to find a happy medium between a flawless user experience and maximum security. Moving to Virtual Desktops (or VDI) has many advantages, particularly around: • user flexibility, • simplified management, and • increased security. VDI allows IT staff to provide access to educational resources that support new teaching methods across a variety of devices without compromising security. While this certainly is not a new concept, today’s virtualization providers are upping the ante. Rather than using smart phones and tablets as simple terminals to access a virtual machine, faculty and staff are now using their devices natively. This means that personal data and applications can be isolated from shared resources within the district, allotting users to switch back and forth as necessary. Leveraging Active Directory, single sign-on capabilities, configurable authentication, and robust security policies, users can take advantage of their own personal devices without fear of data loss. Sandboxed applications such as e-mail and web clients can be provided to further minimize risk. This feature set can also help districts meet the requirements for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing. Over the past few years, Annese has seen wireless models evolve from a mere “nice-to-have,” to an absolute districtwide necessity. Access points are now placed in every classroom. There are a number of reasons for this, but with PARCC testing becoming a mandated requisite, the wireless network is considered the gateway to meeting these online testing requirements.

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Investing in Peace of Mind NYSCOSS Councilgram | June 2013 | Christina Nordquist Over the past decade, we’ve seen multiple instances of bullying, vandalize, natural disasters, and armed intruders play out on K-12 campuses across the country in one tragic headline after another. These events have rattled our communities, placed school administrators on high alert, and planted fear in parents and students alike. While many schools have taken significant steps forward in safeguarding their campus environment, statistically speaking, there is room for improvement. According to the recently published 2013 Campus Safety Yearbook: • 43% of schools lack a visitor management system. •

33% have radio systems that cannot interoperate with first responder radios.

• 25% of schools admit they are not prepared to respond to active shooter incidents. Moreover, The National Center for Education Statistics reported 359 victims of assault from 2009 to 2010 among students ages 12 to 18, With an astounding 74% of public schools reporting at least one incident of crime or violence. The mounting regularity of these incidents amplified by the data reflecting schools’ readiness to respond, underscores the urgency district planners are up against in identifying and implementing technologies to protect students and staff from potential threat. Supplementing human effort with advanced communications systems can dramatically shorten response time, increase communications within and outside the impacted area, and improve standardization of school safety procedures. The most powerful tool in a district’s shed is its network. Optimizing and integrating it for real-time collaboration and information sharing is key to an efficient, reliable, and automated security approach. Disparate investments in systems and applications can be far more cost-effective when they are bonded over an integrated IP network. Some of today’s most effective market-driving applications geared toward educational institutions include: • Emergency Response/Notification: This tool allows campus officials to place an emergency call from anywhere they are in the building which can trigger an automatic alert to security personnel, initiate mass dial-out to phones through text or audio messages. It even features a real-time location tracking database so first responders can pinpoint the caller’s location. • IP Surveillance: This high definition camera examines designated areas and notifies administrators if suspicious behavior is detected. • Access Control: This application enables school personnel to lock and unlock doors remotely as well as allow them to indicate who can enter the building. • Digital Signage: These LCD screens are ideal mediums to stream up-to-date notifications, instructions, or alerts on campus. The system allows campus personnel to push critical information out instantly to large congregations of people.

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Byline Articles

What Business Leaders Need to Know About Virtualization IT Business Edge | May 2013 | Tom Gdula Many IT organizations have already moved to a virtualized server infrastructure, while others are still operating a physical server model either for part, or all of their business application needs. Even today, organizations must ask — why virtualize — and the answer must satisfy the CFO, the CEO, and the end users, just as much as it satisfies the IT support team. While it may be true that starting a new virtualized infrastructure carries a higher acquisition cost than a single dedicated physical server, that spend can quickly turn into savings as additional virtual servers are added vs. the physical model. A principle reason for this is that most servers running in the physical model are only about 20 percent utilized over the course of their useful lifecycle. According to Cisco, when combined with a physical storage model (where the storage the server utilizes is dedicated to that server), overall utilization drops to around 15 percent, compared to virtual servers leveraging shared storage.

So What is Server Virtualization and What are the Benefits? A physical server is a dedicated machine running a single instance of an operating system which supports one, two or a small handful of applications or services such as File and Print and Active Directory, or a SQL database, or an enterprise/line of business application such as Epicor. When configured with enough RAM and processor capacity to meet peak usage of that application or service, the physical server model will only utilize 20 percent of that capacity over time. With server virtualization, that same piece of hardware would run a hypervisor that hosts multiple instances of operating systems, or servers, on top of it. While in the physical server model, that hardware can only host a single application or a small handful of applications; in the virtual model, the same hardware can host many servers, each running multiple applications. Generally speaking and with thoughtful design, it is reasonable to virtualize 10 virtual servers on a single hardware host. Some organizations may even choose to run more depending on requirements and capabilities.

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Six Benefits of Implementing Virtualization Servers. 1. Efficiency: If your child has ever missed the bus, then you understand server virtualization. Your car represents a single, dedicated physical server running your child to and from school. The school bus represents a host running a large number of students to school. Each student is still very much an individual, just as each virtual server can continue to support an individual purpose; yet, they are all sharing a ride and better utilizing resources. The financial impact to each household (i.e.: business unit) to procure and operate a bus fleet is lower than the impact on time, wear, resources, infrastructure, and frustration that would result from driving each student to and from school in their own car.

2. Speed of Deployment: Speed of Deployment: Since virtual servers are considered applications to the host, adding a virtual server is a quick task. In fact, virtual servers can be templates that IT can copy and turn on in minutes vs. the weeks it typically takes to procure and configure a physical server.

3. Improved Administration: With the configuration and rollout of virtual servers easily standardized and centralized, the reliability of installations and the ease of maintenance improves, as does IT’s ability to meet SLAs and user expectations.

4. Higher Availability: Virtual servers are applications to a host, which means that they can essentially run on any host, making virtual servers easily transportable across physical hosts and across disparate infrastructures. Should a hardware host fail, any and/or all of the virtual servers running on that host can be automatically restarted on another host in that data center or elsewhere.

5. Disaster Recovery: Due to the portable nature of virtual servers and the ability to standardize the virtualization configuration, a DR site can be much more easily and affordably established for a virtualized model than for traditional physical servers.

6. Lower OpEx: Virtual servers running on fewer hosts can do the work of many physical servers. This enables less power consumption and heat generation, and also reduces the number of physical assets for IT to update and maintain. Coupled with a more efficient administration model, server virtualization will lower your overall IT overhead costs.

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Supporting Today’s Anywhere Workers Technical Support Magazine | Fall 2013 | Rob Buckland With 26% of employees working from home and 12% working in public places like coffee shops at least once a week – up from 18% and 6% in 2010 respectively – businesses can no longer ignore employees who are out of sight. Working from home brings several advantages to employees, notably flexibility, but it can also bring a number of challenges – many of which can be solved by employers providing the right tools workers need to be productive, from simple telephone and Internet connections to videoconferencing hardware and document-sharing solutions. As more employees work from home, business networks also become more susceptible to security breaches, if the right precautions aren’t taken. However, too often businesses leave their virtual employees left to fend for themselves and their networks unprotected. Fortunately, supporting a remote workforce does not have to be a frustrating experience. By adhering to three simple principles, it is possible to create a productive and secure telecommuting environment:

1 | Making Your Environment Accessible What good is a remote workforce if they cannot access the tools and systems they need to get their work done? Here are some suggestions to create a safe and productive environment for your remote employees: • Web-Enable Applications: Many applications can be web-enabled, making them useable from any PC or laptop with a web browser. This gives the telecommuting worker the flexibility to use their device of choice without any additional security or compatibility concerns. • Leverage the Cloud: Some tools such as e-mail, company Intranet portals, and document storage can be moved to the Cloud to make them easily accessible. In addition to providing ease of access, placing these resources in the Cloud can also enhance security as the traffic for these services will be directed to the Cloud service provider’s network and not the company’s network. • VPN Access: For employees that require access to resources only available on the company network, a certificate-based VPN solution offers the most secure method to access those resources. Employees with laptops can connect to the VPN using a software client. This type of VPN solution is also ideal for employees who often work in locations where they utilize public WiFi services such as those found at airports and coffee shops. Employees who require a permanent connection from their home office to the corporate office can utilize a LAN-LAN VPN connection. The ever shrinking costs for consumer grade hardware routers with VPN endpoint capabilities make this a cost efficient option for many telecommuters. • Voice/Video Communications: Modern phone systems provide many options that can be used to support telecommuting employees. Through the use of a VPN connection and a softphone client, a remote employee can have an office extension with all of the functionality that an employee who reports to the office everyday has in their desk phone. Most softphones, when paired with a laptop containing a video camera, can also allow remote employees to participate in video conferences as well. Many phone systems also allow a cell phone to be paired with a local office extension. This is ideal for remote employees who tend to move around a bit; cloning their cell phone to their internal extension ensures that they will never miss a call from the office.

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Byline Articles

2 | Securing it All Securing a network that supports remote workers is really not any different than properly securing a network for internal use. The big difference is that if good security concepts are neglected, these oversights are more likely to be exploited when allowing remote access. Remember some of these basic concepts: • Passwords: A strong password policy should require minimum level of complexity. In addition, user-level passwords should change at least once annually. Generic shared passwords should never be used for remote or telecommuting employee logins. • Use SSL Certificates: The use of SSL certificates for remote access adds an additional layer of security over a password. In addition, the SSL encryption provides protection to the data passing between the remote device and corporate servers. • Monitor: Whether network traffic originates form an internal source or remotely, having the proper monitoring infrastructure is important. In addition, the IT team must be diligent in reviewing the output from the monitoring tools. Perhaps the best security measure that can be implemented is a sense of diligence among the IT staff.

3 | Supporting Your Remote Workers Telecommuters, like their internal counterparts, require the same level of support from your IT staff. Providing your IT staff with the ability to remotely connect to Telecommuter’s PCs will provide a level of support that is nearly equal to the service provided to in-house employees. It helps to have spare serviceable equipment on hand in the event of a hardware failure. A loaner pool does you no good if it is too old to run the apps in use today or is plagued with defective or failing equipment. In today’s world, even a few hours of unnecessary downtime can outweigh the cost of having serviceable spare equipment on-hand.

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How to Create a Cost Effective BYOD Policy TMCnet Feature | August 26, 2013 | Jason Beiter Over the years, we’ve seen technology shift from the beginnings of the Internet to IP telephony, pervasive video and desktop virtualization, and more recently we’ve witnessed the explosion of mobile devices. Not only has this impacted our personal lives, but it has also drastically altered how we work. And with so many new devices now entering the workplace, businesses must have a proper BYOD policy in place. So how do you find the happy medium that provides a BYOD experience to users that balances security and flexibility, while avoiding a management nightmare and controlling costs? An effective BYOD policy must allow users to experience the benefits of personal technology in the workplace through efficiency and productivity gains, mobility and an overall improved work experience. However, these benefits need to conform to information retention and security policies, administrative overhead and even legal compliance. Of course, like most technology projects, the benefits need to produce an ROI that matches overarching business goals, whether it be to improve customer service, create a more collaborative environment, or increase productivity and employee satisfaction. To do this, executives must first understand the access employees need on their personal devices in order to work efficiently and not be hindered by connectivity issues. With the ongoing migration to Web and cloud-based applications, this is increasingly simplified. The BYOD policy may only need to consist of allowing connectivity to a handful of Web servers and Internet access. Many organizations need only to provide connectivity similar to what is already provided for guests. A wireless controller can be placed in the DMZ and used as an anchor for BYOD and guest clients, which makes for a very simple and secure deployment. Some environments may provide this type of access as a quick way for employees to gain access to the Internet on any device that may not need access to corporate resources. IT staff can also provide access to internal resources for users that can meet the requirements set out by the policy; for example, having a certificate installed on their machine, having an active directory credentials or even conforming to a posture assessment to verify things like the OS being up-to-date, antivirus software being installed and updated, as well as a slew of other possible metrics. Some solutions can go so far as to allow IT staff to build out and enforce the policies set forth by the organization. For example, network access can be provided based on who the user is, the type of device, applications installed and other factors. In lieu of more sophisticated solutions like this, existing VPN solutions can be reused to provide connectivity onto the corporate network with RADIUS servers providing some of the more basic security enforcement of certificates and AD credentials forgoing more granular control. It’s worth mentioning that the advent of virtual desktop solves many of the challenges impeding BYOD. Many organizations today are evaluating VDI solutions in one way or another. In addition to management simplification, the more prominent benefits revolve around data protection and mobility. Virtual desktop environments allow BYOD policies to be as simple as providing users with secure connectivity to a connection broker which gives users access to a fully functional desktop with access to all of the resources they would have at their desk from any device. The lines of devices are blurring quickly, we now have tablets that run phone and video apps, phones with USB and HDMI ports that serve as VDI clients and now the ability to virtually partition smart phones and tablets to separate personal and professional use on the same device – meaning it’s now the time to implement a BYOD policy that allows you to better reap these technologies’ many benefits.

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Chapter 2

Featured Articles


Featured Articles

IT firm Annese looks to expand services in New England The Business Review Feature | Jan 22, 2013 | Richard A. D’Errico Annese & Associates, which designs, installs and services computer networks, will expand its New England sales territory, pushing beyond Connecticut and Rhode Island into Massachusetts and beyond. The company reassessed its plans for New England after a salesperson in Connecticut left last year. It decided to hire an account manager, Rob McDermott, and now plans to expand beyond Connecticut and Rhode Island, where it has four clients, and move into Massachusetts and neighboring states.

Ray Apy, president of Annesse & Associates, moved the computer networking company headquarters last year from Herkimer, NY to Clifton Park in fast growing Saratoga County. The company, which had $66 million in revenue last year, now is expanding New England sales territory to include Massachusetts.

“Whenever we lose a salesperson outside our core area in New York we do a reevaluation. Do we need to be there, and what are our core reasons for being there?” said Yvonne Annese LoRe, vice president of corporate projects. In the end, the company decided to increase its efforts in New England, which right now represent less than 1 percent of its revenue. It’s been selling in Connecticut and Rhode Island for two years. New England represents a multi-billion market. Annese’s include state and local governments, K-12 education, higher education, the financial sector and health care. “We’re looking at expanding our market in surrounding states,” LoRe said. Annese also has offices in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and the Putnam County village of Brewster. The company also hired its first director of managed services. Mike Decker, who worked at Annese from 2008 to 2011 as a service manager, was rehired to oversee all products that

Annese supports remotely. “That’s where we’re seeing all the growth,” LoRe said. “We just needed someone to be on top of the technology and see what’s coming in the future and add more items to our offerings to customers.” These are just the latest moves the company has made in recent months. Last year, Annese, which closed the year with about $66 million in revenue, moved its headquarters from Herkimer, where it was founded in 1970, to Clifton Park, about 70 miles east. The company has about 100 employees. It was just recognized as one of the 30 Best Companies to Work for in New York State. It will receive its award on April 30 at the Albany Marriott on Wolf Road in Colonie.

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IT and Software Sales Drive Tech Firm Growth The Business Review | March 2013 Months after moving its headquarters from Herkimer in central New York to Clifton Park, Annese & Associates Inc. finished 2012 with 5 percent revenue growth, as total sales reached $67 million. The 42-year-old firm, which designs and installs computer networks, recently announced plans to expand its New England territory. CEO Raymond Apy estimates that 70 percent of the company’s business comes through public-sector contracts. Annese’s client roster has included the New York State Police and the State University of New York. Half of the region’s 20 largest technology companies rely heavily on government contracts. The largest of which is Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corp., operator of Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. Bechtel has seen contract revenue grow by more than $200 million in the past five years, adding 400 jobs to bring payroll to 3,000.

Ray Apy, President and CEO featured above.

Annese, which ranks third on The Business Review’s 2013 Technology Companies List, is among 11 companies that compete in the IT, data management or software sectors. Another four of the companies on the list manufacture high-tech products.

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Annese Expects To Relocate Local Office To Aid Growth CNY Business Journal | April 2013 SALINA — Annese & Associates, Inc. could soon be looking for new space in the Syracuse area. The firm, which installs and maintains video, voice, and data networks, has been adding more services to its offerings in recent years. The move has been driving growth companywide and in Central New York. Annese is nearly out of room at its 3,700-square-foot office on Elwood Davis Road in Salina. The firm’s lease at its current office is up in the next 12 months and the company expects to begin looking for a new, larger location in the Syracuse area. The company plans to look for around 5,000 square feet, says Christina Nordquist, a spokeswoman for Annese. The firm will probably add two to three new employees in Central New York in the next year and about five companywide.

Steve Heath, VP of Sales (featured above) works from his office at the companies Syracuse location.

Current and expected growth in Annese’s services businesses is sparking the hiring, Nordquist says. The firm employs 100 people total and 30 in its Salina office. The Central New York office is Annese’s second largest after its headquarters in Clifton Park and includes employees in sales, services, operations, marketing, human resources, and information technology. Annese generated $66.9 million in revenue in 2012, up from $63.7 million in 2011 and $53 million in 2010. The company recently shifted its sales strategy from a focus on its technology products to its services, Nordquist adds. The firm has focused its services offerings in two areas. Its collaboration focus includes services like video conferencing, digital signage, voice, messaging, and more. Its data center specialty includes services like desktop and server virtualization, disaster preparedness, storage, and backup. Annese is not leaving its product business behind, Nordquist notes. The change in strategy just means the company will lead with its services first, she explains. “It’s not like anything is going away,” she says. “It’s just more focused and there’s more clarity around what our expertise is.” It’s something customers have been seeking, she adds. Clients no longer want a company that will just sell them a piece of hardware and then walk away. Customers are looking for an organization that can support them with expertise for the long term, Nordquist says. Annese has clients in higher education, K-12 schools, government, the commercial sector, and health care. The firm has additional offices in Buffalo, Herkimer, Chester, Rochester, Binghamton, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The firm also opened an office in Brewster last year and is chasing more business in the New York City area, says Steve Heath, Annese’s vice president of sales. He says he’d like to add more sales reps there as well as in Central New York. And while the company is focusing more on its services offerings, its product business will continue to be important, Heath says. Annese got its start working in telephony, a business need now largely handled through data centers, he notes.“That’s an everchanging environment,” he says. “It’s critical that all that is tied together.” Annese was founded in 1970. The firm’s founder, Frank Annese, retired at the end of 2008. Ray Apy, who had been with Annese since 1998, took over as president and CEO.

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Creative Employees In High Demand Among New Tech Hires Forbes Magazine Online | July 2013 New jobs data shows creative jobs like software systems and software application development are in higher demand than jobs such as those in systems administration positions, suggesting that companies are looking for knowledge-based employees over technologybased ones. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the number of U.S. employees working in applications and systems software developer jobs increased by a combined 5.5% from 2011 to 2012. That was compared to the combined 2.6% increase in the number of employees working in database, network and computer systems administrator occupations in the same year. Information technology trends like virtualization, mobility and the cloud are evolving the technology landscape, but the impact on the U.S. workforce hasn’t been widely discussed much, said Raymond Apy, president and CEO of Annese & Associates Inc., a communications systems provider based in Clifton Park, N.Y. In terms of relevant skill sets, there will always be a place for the very technical, but the more business savvy a person is, the better they will adapt to the fast-changing industry, Apy said. In fact, people who are the most successful are those who have a degree in marketing with a business background and can pick up technical background while they work, he added. “You can’t just hope to be hiding in the back room anymore,” Apy said. “It’s more important to be college-educated and an excellent communicator. There is work for talented skill sets, but eventually, the folks who can’t build the communication skill set are going to get left behind.” Over the years, IT has grown away from being mainly an in-house function. With the emergence of the cloud and outsourcing, companies are looking for talent that can sell the concepts of IT in creative ways with storytelling skills, translating the nuts and bolts to the decision-makers in terms they can understand, he said. Five to 10 years ago, the typical IT worker didn’t have a college degree but likely had some certifications. Today, with the amount of complexity increasing, IT experts need to not only understand how to do something but also how it relates with other systems, Apy said. That complexity is being challenged by Big Data, for which analytical skills training is expected to grow sharply over the next five years, according to a recent study by American Management Association, providing professional development and performance-based learning solutions. Fifty-eight percent of respondents already say analytics are “vital” to their organization, and in five years, that number is expected to increase to 82%, according to the study, commissioned by AMA and conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity, which surveyed nearly 800 business executives in more than 50 industries and 40 countries. Analytical skills are vital because they involve putting together complex plans and designs across multiple organizations, Apy said. “I relate that to people who can look at the complex and make it work together, then assess costs, expenses and investments and tell that to people who need to make the decisions,” he said. “With Big Data comes creativity because there is no algorithm out there to do this stuff, so people who are tasked with it are having to put the tools together.” In the next five years, he expects an even further shift from IT assets in-house to the service provider market, and that will require that IT talent continue to pick up the ever expanding creative skill set or get left behind.

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Four Sisters Growing Their Father’s Communications Legacy The NextWomen Business Magazine | July 2013 Founded in 1970 by Frank J Annese and now run by his four daughters Michelle, Yvonne, Andrea and Francine, Annese & Associates is a women-owned integrated communications systems provider serving New York State and New England. After Frank’s retirement in 2007, sole ownership of the company transferred to his daughters, ensuring that the family owned organizational dynamic remains intact. As owners, the sisters have taken the leadership model they learned from watching their father, Frank, and applied it to growing the business he founded in 1970. In January of 2010, Annese & Associates became officially recognized as a Woman Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) in New York State; and later the same year, they received WBE status in the state of Vermont, with plans to gain additional certifications throughout New England. Michelle Annese started with Annese in 1985 as a salesperson. She left after a year to pursue a career with MaryKay Cosmetics. Michelle returned to the company in a sales capacity in 2009 and currently oversees all WBE initiatives. She is Vice Chairwoman of the Board. Yvonne Annese LoRe has been with Annese & Associates since 1987. She is the company’s VP of Corporate Projects, Chairwoman of the Annese Board of Directors, and has a seat on the Leadership Team. She sits on the Board of The CNY Ronald McDonald House. Andrea Annese Como is Annese’s Wellness Advisor, working to support the corporate culture of employee satisfaction and overall wellness. Andrea is Treasurer on the Annese Board of Directors and had been with the company since 1989. She is an Ovarian Cancer survivor and advocate, also sitting on the Board of Directors of “Caring Together” in Albany. Francine Annese Apy is Secretary of the Board, VP of Human Resources at Annese & Associates and sits on the company’s Leadership Team. She has been with Annese since 2000. Francine is married to her husband, Ray, who is President & CEO of Annese & Associates.

We spoke to the Annese sisters about the challenges and potential pitfalls of family business; the secret to successfully mixing work and family; and whether they’d like their children to run the company one day. TNW: What do you see as the main advantages of a family business? Francine: Our employees tell us that people like the thought of being a part of a family business because they are not just a number but a member of the team where ideas, thoughts and hardwork can bring advancements both personally and professionally. TNW: What are the potential pitfalls of a family business and how can they be avoided? Yvonne: A family business is no different than running any other type of business. Both financial and strategic decisions must be based on the overall health of the business. As a company we focus as much on employee satisfaction as we do on customer satisfaction. It is not as much of a pitfall as it is a challenge to ensure that every employee feels appreciated, listened to, and cared about. We were ranked as a Best Company to Work For in NYS three times, coming in at #3 this past year. This award is very special to us because it is based on employee surveys. TNW: What’s the secret to successfully mixing work and family, whilst maintaining good relationships? Do you discuss business

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Featured Articles matters in family situations, or keep it strictly separate? Andrea: The secret to maintaining balance is understanding that everyone in the family has a different role within the organization and deserves an equal amount of respect. Decisions made are not personal, just an individual’s way of thinking based on years of experience and their expertise in a specific area. When we are all together, which is often, family always comes first and any work related differences are left at the office. TNW: Michelle and Francine, you both worked outside the family business before rejoining it. What lessons did you take from working for non-family businesses and bring to the table when you rejoined Annese? Why did you choose to rejoin the family business? Michelle: Prior to rejoining Annese, I had been in a management/leadership position for a major company for over 20 years. Interestingly, the company of over 1 million people nationwide, was run by the golden rule “Do unto others, as you want them to do to you.” What I saw every day, was the owner of this company treat each person with the highest respect. She would never ask or expect anyone to do anything she would not do herself; she led by example. I also learned that customer service is the most important thing…and that everyone just wants to feel like they are special and that they matter. Those principles are the same ones that my Dad has always run our company by, which made for a fairly seamless transition. When I decided to rejoin Annese & Associates, my dad was retiring and I wanted to get involved in the family business again. Having been away from it for over 20 years, I have enjoyed working with my family again as well as many of our employees, who have been here for ten years or longer. Francine: My profession has always been in the HR field. Prior to joining Annese in 2000, I worked for four other companies as an HR professional. The experience I gained from those opportunities was invaluable. One key area that stands out to me that I learned in my experiences as an HR professional is the human side of business. While it is important for HR to understand the bottom-line, ROI, and profits, it is just as important for me to be the voice for the employees, and truly create a great place to work, where people want to come to work and do a great job. Happy employees impact the bottom-line. We can have great results on both sides. Joining Annese & Associates was an easy transition for me because since the beginning, we have always strived to be an Employer of Choice and create a great work experience; and as an HR professional, I couldn’t ask for more. TNW: How is the future of Annese being planned? Would you like your children to run the business one day? If one of them does lead the company in the future, what advice will you give them? Michelle: Back in 1970, our father never envisioned that his four daughters would one day be running the company. It was through years of hard work and dedication that he realized the business could be transitioned to his four daughters. It brings him great pleasure to see the direction of the company and the growth and expansion of the “family” to over 100 employees. The four of us feel it would be an honor if the next generation showed the love and dedication that we did to continue their grandfather’s legacy. TNW: How does Annese balance keeping the founding ethos of the company alive, whilst adapting and changing to the needs of a modern business?

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Andrea: The golden rule is to always stay relevant and treat your employees well. We live by our core values. They are not just words to us; they are what we all believe in and are guided by. Collectively, we aspire to maintain the highest standards of Integrity, Innovation, Excellence, Teamwork and Leadership in all of our daily interactions with our customers, our partners, and with each other. TNW: Is there anything we haven’t asked you, but you’d like to share with our community? Yvonne: We believe it is all about the people. If you recruit and retain the best people, then you are destined for success. We pride ourselves on working together to make the company stronger and at the same time treating our customers and partners as family. We also pride ourselves on the work we do individually and collectively to help organizations and companies in our communities that are less fortunate than us. We support several charities throughout NYS and encourage our employees to give back. Offices adopt a family during the holidays and participate in local walks and runs.

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Chapter 3

Guest Blog Posts


Guest Blog Posts

3 Wireless Networking Pitfalls to Avoid Annese Blog | February 2013 | Jason Beiter Preparing for a wireless network can take tremendous planning and opens up a lot of questions. Consideration for the user experience, security requirements, coverage model, even aesthetics come into play. Fortunately Annese has helped many customers through this process and can help them avoid the common pitfalls. I’m Jason Beiter, one of Annese’s presales consultants. My role is to work with our customers in the design and planning phase of a technology project. Though my expertise spans many technologies and solutions, wireless has become a significant focus. I’d like to share some of the common issues we’ve come across and ideas on how to address these.

1. One of the first concerns to address in a wireless implementation is understanding the amount of access points that will be needed. Accounting for client density and building architecture is important and while a site survey can help to overcome this, it can also be costly and time consuming. In cases where wireless connectivity is critical, (a hospital for example), a site survey may be warranted. In most cases, Annese can provide a predictive survey using software and floor plans to provide a recommendation on the number and placement of access points (APs). We can also generate a heat map which shows a rough idea of what the coverage will look like. This allows customers to save the cost and time involved with a site survey which may allow for more AP’s providing additional coverage and capacity. To provide validation of coverage, we recommend a post deployment walk through to look for any coverage gaps and provide remediation through power level adjustments. Though some fine-tuning or positioning may be necessary, we’ve found this to provide the same end result without the expense of a site survey.

2. Security concerns are also brought up early in the process. There are many ways to address this. For some organizations a preshared key like you may have in your home wireless may suffice. For others, perhaps integration with active directory using a RADIUS server and certificates to authorize users or machines may be required to meet security policy and minimize risk. Cisco’s Identity Services Engine (ISE) can give us a lot of flexibility with how users can authenticate and what type of access they get. ISE can handle the RADIUS component but also offers device posturing and profiling which allows policies to be created specific to each customer’s environment. If you’re tasked with implementing a BYOD strategy and are torn between securing the network and providing a good user experience, ISE can help to provide the best of both worlds. Annese is among the first partners to have achieved the ISE Authorized Technology

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Guest Blog Posts

Provider (ATP) status, allowing us to design and implement ISE. For example, let’s say your environment has a mix of both corporate owned and employee owned iPad’s. ISE will allow you to broadcast a single SSID but provide different access based on who the user is and who owns the machine. ISE can also provide NAC functionality and limit access if a device is missing security software like antivirus.

3. Managing and troubleshooting your wireless network can be difficult without the right tools in place. We’ve heard countless stories of wireless issues that are hard to pinpoint or replicate. These types of issues are frustrating for an administrator and an end-user. This is where Cisco has really differentiated their wireless offering. It starts right on the access point with a dedicated clean air”chip” providing spectrum analysis. Cognio, who Cisco purchased for this technology, used to offer this spectrum analysis for thousands of dollars as a USB dongle. This intelligence is now on-board Cisco’s 1600, 2600 and 3600 access points and integrated with the back-end management software. These AP’s can use the intelligence gathered as part of it’s Radio Resource Management (RRM) to automatically make the best use of the RF spectrum. This spectrum information can be archived by the Mobility Services Engine (MSE) to provide historical data which can be very useful for troubleshooting purposes. BONUS TIP: Annese offers a cloud wireless service which can take this a step further. We understand how critical wireless is to an organization and what modern users now expect from their workplaces. Our cloud wireless platform offers all of these services with no additional hardware. Our expertise in managing and maintaining the system on the back-end can help overcome security concerns, meet BYOD initiatives, and minimize the administrative impact to provide a a seamless wireless experience for users while minimizing administrative overhead.

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Guest Blog Posts

6 Key Factors that Influence Employee Culture Annese Blog | February 2013 | Merry Bhattacharjee I recently read an article called, “5 Little-Known Factors That Could Affect Your High Performance Organization,” posted by Doreen McGunagle. It noted that Passion and Creativity are key contributors to success as well as recognizing and learning from Failures. In the HR world, I take these suggestions to heart. Our employee culture is our baseline for our “High Performance Organization.” Sure, we can be trading buzz-words here but bottom line: Are we living our company Values? Are we aware of the Employer Mission or even the Employee Mission? And do we behave in a way that is in line with what we say we are going to do? Often the employee culture is defined by words and themes that are first introduced in the New Hire Orientation and then reinforced on printed collateral or the company website. However, when walking down the hallway, are they mentioned in passing? Are they referred to in meetings when leadership is making decisions? Do employees think about how they represent the company when they speak to peers, colleagues, or clients? I hope it is the norm to work for a company that walks the talk, and in doing so, the employer will support the employees during tough times. I feel lucky to be working at Annese where corporate culture is important at every level of the organization. It is something that is spoken about during the interview process, during on-boarding, during meetings when we are looking at bringing a new system inhouse, and even during those tough times of reorganization. Employee satisfaction grounds Annese in every decision making process. In my mind there are a few items that are the glue to the corporate culture; not the big defining pieces that make an organization unique or different, but the little everyday pieces that hold it all together. So here it goes... I present, what might seem like my “grade-school playground rules” of factors I believe, directly influence corporate culture. They are:

1. Communication I can appreciate brevity, but nobody likes a surprise when it comes to the workplace. Open and honest communication elicit trust in leadership and in the direction that they are steering the company. There are plenty of venues for communication, and at Annese, an Integrated COMMUNICATIONS Systems provider, the word communication means SEVERAL things! We have an open policy about communication for staff to share opinions with managers, through suggestion boxes and provide meetings such as the annual All Employee Conference, weekly staff meetings, bi-weekly manager meetings, video conference calls, internal newsletters, internal email announcements, the list goes on for different ways to get the word out! Bottom line, share information!! It is the key for everyone to be successful.

2. Trust I believe that 99.99% of the time, we make decisions with the best interest of others (and ourselves) at heart. We do try to look out for the bigger picture and although we cannot please everyone with every decision, we do need to trust those that we work with and for to do the right thing.

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Guest Blog Posts

Trust in your co-workers that you all are working together, in the same direction. Trust in leadership and the direction they are steering the company, they see the big picture and all the moving parts. Good leaders do not want to work in a vacuum, so they solicit opinions and options, and once they have gathered them, they make the best decision for all involved.

3. Teamwork We all have a to-do list that keeps us busy each day. Some joke and refer to it as job security, others dread the never ending list, and some just always seem to have their priorities in order... (How do they do it??!!). Regardless of what your list is made up of, find time to ask those that you support and that support you, as well as the person that sits by you, how they are doing. Is there anything that you could help out with? Would it make a difference in their day if you were able to help with a small task so they could address something else on their plate, or be able to take a longer lunch, or just come up for air. For those of you who do this, it feels kinda cool to lend a hand every now and then. Doesn’t it?

4. Transparency I know someone that is affectionately nicknamed, “Fibs,” short for fibbing. Not that they outright lie or are deceitful, but they add on that little extra “umph” to a story, or omit a small piece that has an impact on the big picture. That kind of storytelling can be cute coming from my two year old. It can be fun from my Grandpa when he is embellishing a memory from long ago. However, it is not okay in the workplace, not okay from co-workers, and not okay from management. We make the best decisions we can with the information we have – and it is only as good as the data itself. Footnote: Whenever you are unsure, fact-check. Do not be quick to rattle off an answer when you are not 100% confident in the data; and most of all, be transparent about the decision. Tell someone the real reason you made a decision or went in a different direction. By offering the “why” and “now what” of the decision, the likelihood is greater that everyone will understand the reasoning behind it and will be in a better position to move forward together, on the same page.

5. Recognition “Thank you” are two very powerful words when combined with sincerity and gratitude. Appreciation for a job well done publicly or privately is important for individuals to know that they are on the right track, they did it right, and someone took notice! Annese provides many avenues for recognition that embody the philosophy of public praise from peer-to-peer shout outs, personal service awards as employees embrace the Corporate Values, as well as celebrating anniversary milestones with the company. Each award expressing the company’s thanks for work performed on the job, in the community, and with clients.

6. Playtime Growing up, my dad would always say, “Glad to see you haven’t lost your sense of humor,” when I would laugh at his numerous jokes and gags that usually left me as the punchline. I think this is very relevant in the workplace (...Sense of humor, that is, not me as a punchline!). We need to have a sense of humor, put a smile on our face, forgive ourselves and colleagues when we make mistakes, and find humor in small things. There is plenty of time to be serious when we get down to business, but enjoy who you work for and those you work with, make ‘em smile every now and then. I have to add my plug in that time to decompress together is always a good thing! Take the Annese All Employee Conference that is

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Guest Blog Posts held annually for two days to bring the staff together for company updates, awards, recognition, and team building! It is a great time to build those personal relationships and reconnect. This line of thinking holds true for any fun Friday lunch or spontaneous event!

So What, Now What? Although I am still relatively new at Annese, I feel as though I can walk into any one of our office locations and see what we are about, not only from our collateral and awards down each hallway, but from anyone that I encounter. I strongly believe that when a company creates a corporate culture in which employees know they are cared about, then each employee will be proud to represent their company in a positive way. Check Annese out for yourself. We made the Best Companies to Work For in NYS List in 2008, 2009, and now again in 2013, due to the fabulous people that work here! The best part is we are continually looking for great people to join our team. Take a peek and you might find something that you have been looking for in an employer!

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Guest Blog Posts

The 3 Building Blocks of Customer Intimacy Annese Blog | May 2013 | Vito Lovecchio Customer Intimacy is one of those terms that get thrown around haphazardly by resellers. What is the real definition of Customer Intimacy and how do you achieve it? Let me first tell you what Customer Intimacy is not – it is not repeat business. Repeat business could be the result of many things: lowest price, good products, free consulting services. I believe Customer Intimacy isn’t something you achieve; it’s something you earn. Let’s face it, many of our products and even some of our services have become commoditized. In every industry, your customers (whoever they may be) are being pursued by and occasionally meeting with your competitors. Even as consumers ourselves, we know how many different buying options we have available to us. So, as an Account Manager, how can I be confident that my customers will continue to work with me? I think the key is differentiation; differentiating yourself and your company from the competition is what helps build the genuine relationship that you foster with your clients. Intimacy is when the customer chooses you in the face of competition, whether it’s features, benefits, services, products, or simply price. The solution lies in your management of the relationship, understanding and appealing to their strategies, team, and vision. In my opinion, there are three ways to build Customer Intimacy:

1. Build Emotional Loyalty In today’s cost-conscious climate, a customer who often purchases many products from you may stray if a new reseller comes along offering cheaper prices. If the customer, however, has a personal relationship with you and your team, you’re intimately familiar with the inner workings of their systems. Because of that acquired knowledge, your engineers are invaluable when it comes to delivering smooth and seamless project deployments. New providers are less likely to have the depth of knowledge necessary to provide that same level of service. Best case scenario: When new competition comes calling, your customers choose to continue doing business with you. That is emotional loyalty, a true partnership.

2. Ensure You Are Highly Relevant Aside from being able to provide what my clients need today, I try to continually build that emotional bond by taking what our team knows about the inner workings of their network and proposing solutions that can solve problems that my customers have yet to anticipate. In most cases your foresight is appreciated, as these ideas will typically wind up saving money or headaches down the road. I have adopted the philosophy “Business First, Technology Second” when consulting with our customers. Emotional loyalty and relevance build the bridge to Customer Intimacy. Forget about the immediate need for a second; sit with your internal team and zoom out of the tactical discussion. Pursue a solution that satisfies or enables multiple initiatives. This extra time and

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Guest Blog Posts thoughtfulness is always appreciated and often unforgettable.

3. Know Your Customers Knowing and understanding the needs of your customers beyond just the basics takes time and tenacity. It means a lot to me when a customer shares their personal life stories, goals, and aspirations in addition to what their company really needs. I consider many of my contacts within the accounts I manage my friends. This level of detail and intimate knowledge of my contacts’ personal needs or restrictions fuels me to reciprocate that loyalty and trust. I know it sounds simple, but getting to know your customer is crucial to establishing trust and building relationships. Understand who your customer is, and, what, why, and how they buy. With each conversation, I try to: Learn more about who my customer is by understanding their market, the trends, the frustrations, the gating barriers to success. Ask what the reasoning is for each buying decision. A hospital would deploy wireless for a completely different reason a school district might. Technology is often the same, but the use case is generally very different. To be relevant, I always want to know more about the “what” to get to the “why”. Understand why my customer is buying a particular solution or service, as everyone has a reason why they make a specific choice. I try not to assume I know what their needs are or reasoning is. Determine how the buying decision is made. Sometimes knowing “how” is equally as important as knowing “what” and “why”. If your solution is the right fit but you know there is no money or resources available, you can look at other ways to approach the situation instead of postponing the project. Our industry will continue to increase in complexity, but taking the Customer Intimacy approach has helped me to build a loyalty and trust with my customers. I push myself to be relevant and get to know the people behind the decisions and the brand. Frank Annese once said, people buy from people, and it stuck with me.

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Guest Blog Posts

2013’s Cisco Partner Summit “Best Yet,” Says Ray Apy Annese Blog | June 2013 | Ray Apy Cisco Partner Summit 2013, held in Boston, was the best I have attended yet. In prior years, I have always left the partner summits motivated and inspired by Cisco’s innovation and market leadership, proud and thankful to be a partner. But there have been times when I also left with a slight nagging feeling of being overwhelmed or confused, wondering how they are going to succeed with so many areas to focus on, and wondering where our little company fits into such a big machine for the long haul. Cisco’s expansion into consumer goods and the homeowner market was one example that had me concerned in the past. However, on Tuesday morning in one concise statement, Cisco’s Chairman and CEO John Chambers put any lingering confusion from the past behind us all. Then he proceeded to set forth a vision for the future of intense logic and clarity. Moreover, that very same messaging was consistent, clear and laser focused throughout all levels of channel, engineering and sales professionals that we met with and spoke to during our time in Boston. I left Boston more excited than ever to be a Cisco partner! I know they are headed in the right direction -- a direction that will sustain their innovation and market leadership in collaboration and network, and will vault them into an indisputable #1 position in IT very quickly. Annese will rally around this well oiled machine called Cisco Systems and we will do our part to drive success together with Cisco within the geographies, vertical markets and technology focus areas where we “live.” Every day since John Chambers built the channel for Cisco some 25 years ago, has been a good day to be a Cisco partner. But never has there been a better time than now. Annese is ready and willing to be part of Cisco’s vision and mission to transform the world for the better and turn a fair profit along the way. We can’t wait to get started! Our leadership team already met this afternoon to review the concepts and discussions from Partner Summit, and to begin the job of building around them. On behalf of the Annese Team, I thank John Chambers and the entire Cisco team profoundly for their leadership, innovation and consistent VAR channel committed and friendly approach.

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Guest Blog Posts

The Musings of a Roaming SCCM Consultant Annese Blog | July 2013 | Mark Amyot Follow the Yellow Brick Road to compliance, consistency, visibility, and the complete lifecycle management of your Microsoft environment – the musings of a roaming SCCM consultant.

What is SCCM? This is how Microsoft defines the System Center suite:

Microsoft System Center 2012 is an integrated management platform that helps you to easily and efficiently manage your datacenters, client devices, and hybrid cloud IT environments. System Center 2012 is the only platform to offer comprehensive management of applications, services, physical resources, hypervisors, software defined networks, configuration, and automation in a single offering. Configuration Manager (the “CM in SCCM”) is presented as the solution to enable users to work anywhere on whatever device they choose. But SCCM is so much more! The successful SCCM Administrator is a bit like the man behind the curtain. He (or she) can, with the manipulation of a few dials and levers, tell you nearly anything you want to know about your environment.

“How many instances of Visio 2010 Professional have we installed?” A report can be generated to tell you not only this answer, but also how many people actually use it. At several hundred dollars per instance, this is good information to have. This query can be applied to any piece of software installed in your environment as well. What else can your SCCM admin do? SCCM can help with these scenarios – and more. SCCM is one of those rare products whose usefulness is limited primarily by the imagination of its handlers. Problem: Need to install (some application) on every workstation that has (some application, setting, location, group of users…). SCCM Solution: Create a collection of devices or users based on those requirements and deploy the silent installation of the program. We can even uninstall it when it no longer applies to that group. Problem: “We need to upgrade all PC’s to Windows 7 (or 8) but don’t want to lose everyone’s files, settings and applications.” SCCM Solution: Operating System Deployment task sequences allow a very granular approach to capturing user state, deploying a new operating system, adding the machine to the domain and reinstalling applications. Problem: Managing Windows (and third party updates) SCCM Solution: Automatic Deployment Rules can be configured to target specific collections of devices with the latest updates as they happen. Comprehensive reporting provides a high level “red light/green light” view as well as allowing you to drill in for granular details.

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Guest Blog Posts

Problem: How to manage BYOD? SCCM Solution: Manage BYOD through registration of personal devices and assign the required resources. Problem: Streamline the software request cycle SCCM Solution: Self Service software provisioning web portal with integration to System Center Orchestrator Additionally, the Forefront client is now integrated as System Center Endpoint Protection.

When to use SCCM: SCCM is part of Microsoft’s core CAL. If your environment is large enough for a Microsoft agreement, it can be managed more efficiently, and at a significantly reduced cost, through the proper use of SCCM. Where the experienced SCCM admin can make your environment run like clockwork, this is a powerful tool to put in the hands of the uninitiated. Let Annese help you make the most of your SCCM investment.

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Guest Blog Posts

What Would Happen to Your Business in an IT Shutdown? Annese Blog | October 2013 | Mike Decker There have been 17 government shutdowns since 1977, most only lasting for three days or shorter. The longest, 21 days, occurred in December, 1995. We all know that 21 days can equate to a lifetime in the business world—just think, some of us are hesitant to take a week’s vacation for fear of losing valuable productivity. As thousands of “non-essential” government workers are furloughed and several federally funded agencies come grinding to a halt in the midst of the government closure, I can’t help but speculate on the ramifications businesses would endure if the department responsible for managing the foundation of their operations suddenly shut down. In my 25 years in Information Technology, I have seen this scenario play out in whole or in part many times and in various ways. While the risk presented to the SMB space is of a different scale and scope than the corporate enterprise, the threat to sustaining critical business operations is very real indeed.

Risk to the SMB In the small to mid-size business world, there is typically one person (i.e. IT Manager) in charge of the company’s technology environment with possibly one to two additional support staff members. The Manager normally runs the department and maintains all the legacy knowledge of the infrastructure/applications, as well as the strategic plans. Should the IT Manager leave the company, there is often not a smooth transition or a transition at all. Critical elements such as documentation, passwords, current projects, and operational activities are not transitioned to anyone. This is panic time when the corporate management realizes they don’t know the risk to the business and keeping IT operational is now a crisis. For all practical purposes, the IT department is shut down. At this point the business struggles to keep the IT running at a bare minimum until they can create a resource and technology plan from the ground up.

Risk to the Enterprise The enterprise segment is subject to a different risk, as they typically have a larger and deeper staff to support their technical operations and projects with specialists in various areas—servers, storage, applications, phone system, etc. A specialized resource leaving the department often poses a major loss, depending on the skills and dependency. This change may not shut down the entire IT department but it will still severely impact the IT support and operational needs of the company. Let’s be honest, very few companies have enough IT staff and skills to support all its needs for operations, tactical projects, and strategic planning. Not to mention, implementing a solid, annually tested Disaster Recovery plan. If they can cover all these bases, they either have a very unique disposition or an overworked and stressed out IT team. Like any other company function, the IT staff deserves a normal working schedule and quality of life outside of work.

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Guest Blog Posts

The Managed Services Gain Managed services, or outsourced IT support, is a highly effective solution to maintaining business as usual, despite workforce interruption. Annese Remote Managed Services (ARMS) offers various levels of remote monitoring and support, up to and including 24x7x365 for critical networks and infrastructure. ARMS provides proactive monitoring and support to supplement an existing IT staff, large or small. ARMS offers complete coverage for nearly all aspects of an IT infrastructure including servers, unified communications, infrastructure (routing/switching/connectivity), applications, wireless, PCs, and more. The goal is to offload monitoring and operational support while allowing the existing IT staff to focus on more strategic goals and initiatives. The service also provides off-hours coverage allowing the staff to maintain a healthy work/life balance. Having ARMS engaged nearly eliminates the business risk of a critical staff member or skill-set leaving or becoming unavailable at a critical time. ARMS provides a built-in continuity plan for ongoing operational support for any size organization.

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Chapter 4

Heard Along the Thruway


Heard Along the Thruway

Customer Testimonials Dr. Andrea Lorenzo Molinari, The Blessed Edmund Rice School

James Clement, Monroe Community College

“From day one, I have always felt that Annese has genuinely listened and responded to our particular needs. I look forward to our continued association together and I wholeheartedly recommend Annese & Associates to anyone interested in video teleconferencing.”

“Through each project phase, we worked with a member of the Annese team to track equipment, replace end-oflifeproducts, and ensure that we got the most value out of our investment. This implementation has enabled the College’s growth plan to scale.”

Kaushika Patel, Rockland BOCES

Mary St. Peter, Casella Waste

“I have to commend the Annese team on their commitment and professionalism during installation and implementation of this project. The staff at Annese is always prompt and effective to the on-going needs of our District.”

“Annese has not only provided Casella with the technical resources that have enabled us to standardize our customer communication process; they have become a strong extension of our MIS team and true partner to our organization.”

Kevin Stillman, SUNY Central Administration

Pat Kaufman, Mahopac Public Library

“Annese’s highly skilled network engineers and superb project management truly made the infrastructure upgrade a painless experience. With Annese we were able to complete the installation very quickly and make the transition seamless to our users.”

Shaun Black, Le Moyne College “Annese has been instrumental during this process. We wouldn’t be where we are today without their unmatched level of professionalism and experience. As a result we hope for a long-lasting partnership.”

“Annese’s understanding of contemporary technology and long-term vision of Mahopac Library’s needs gave us the capabilities we didn’t even know we needed.”

Elaine Harrison, (formerly of) Otis Technology “I like the fact that I can call (Annese) anytime. They know who I am. They get the information they need and they start working on (the problem) right away... ARMS is like having an extra seven or eight people working with us.”

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Justin Schaef, Washingtonville CSD “Annese’s commitment to the technological needs of the Washingtonville School District is unprecedented. It has far surpassed any previously seen with other vendor partners. They have demonstrated the importance of customer success by creating strong and enduring relationships through persistent dedication and hard work.”

Mac Carlton, (formerly of) Bethlehem CSD “We continue to choose Annese because it feels like we’re dealing with a small, family business in terms of the service and personal contact we receive, yet we also get the diversity and depth of service of a much larger company.”

Eric Brosius, Hudson River HealthCare Where I don’t have the resources inhouse to meet my IT needs, I immediately turn to Annese. They help me bridge the gap.


Chapter 5

Author Biographies


Author Biographies

The Bios Behind the Bylines

Mark Amyot

Ray Apy

Jason Beiter

Systems Engineer, Data Center Virtualization

President & CEO

Solutions Architect, Enterprise

Mark has an expertise in the technical aspects of Data Center and Virtualization technology product set. Involved tactically in projects to execute in area of specialization encompassing installation, configuration, troubleshooting, cutover support, and knowledge transfer. Mark is a dedicated father, husband, friend and continues to be a seeker of adventure for those who he can bring with him.

Ray is the driver in the design and successful execution of overall corporate strategies and the development of target growth, profit, and operating objectives. Ray loves ski-mountaineering and skiing, and travels each winter to climb and “ski the extreme.”

Jason assists in the presales process and is tasked with presenting all technical concepts and deliverables to Annese’s customers. In his spare time Jason enjoys playing video games, and even met his wife online while playing World of Warcraft.

Reach Ray: rapy@annese.com

Join up with Jason: jbeiter@annese.com

Message Mark: mamyot@annese.com

Merry Bhattacharjee

Rob Buckland

Mike Decker

Human Resource Manager

IT Manager

Director of Managed Services

Rob engages in strategic information technology planning, project management, and process reengineering with full expertise in all lifecycle phases through deployment. Rob was born in Alaska and lived in Europe for 3 years.

Mike is responsible for the vision, planning, implementation, leadership, and day-to-day operation of managed services and related support functions. In his free time Mike enjoys watching sports and making donations to local casino.

Reach Rob: rbuckland@annese.com

Mail Mike: mdecker@annese.com

Merry ensures that Annese has the best practices to provide an employee-focused, high performance culture that emphasizes empowerment, quality, productivity, and high standards for a superior workforce. Merry has a love of travel and has visited The Grand Canyon, Costa Rica, Jordan, Egypt, and The Gulf of Mexico. Message Merry: mbhattacharjee@annese.com

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Author Biographies

Tom Gdula

Vito Lovecchio

Christina Nordquist

Practice Manager, Data Center Virtualization

Regional Sales Manager

Marketing & Communication Associate Manager

Tom leads a team of highly trained and certified Solutions Architects and Systems Engineers committed to providing stateof-the-art Data Center Virtualization services to solve customers’ business challenges. Tom enjoys hiking the Adirondacks, touring wine country, and cheering on his kids at their sporting and/ or music events.

As Regional Sales Manager, Vito ensures sales coverage of his territory is adequate to qualify and develop existing and prospective accounts. Vito climbed to the top of a mountain in Old Forge to proposed to his wife on a beautiful fall day. Visit with Vito: vlovecchio@annese.com

Talk to Tom: tgdula@annese.com

Christina is responsible for creating the annual communications plan as well as all internal and external communications to drive business growth and opportunity, promote Annese as an industry expert, and enhance the company brand. Christina has a passion for interior design, is addicted to good coffee, and likes to take her maltese pup for walks around the neighborhood. Contact Christina: cnordquist@annese.com

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Annese Expert Showcase  

A collection of byline articles and blog posts written by our internal subject matter experts.