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Don’t Live in Fear of Computer Gremlins – 10 Reasons to Host with a Service Rather Than Yourself

October 22nd, 2015

Computer-gremlin

There’s nothing scarier than having your computer crash. Whether it is the result of computer gremlins or your computer simply internally combusts, it’s never a good feeling to see that blue screen of death. And it’s even worse if you don’t have your files backed up in a secure and reliable location.

Don’t wait until you need a backup to worry about having a backup.

If you’re thinking, “I’m covered, I host my own files, and I think I have a backup.” You’re right — you MIGHT be covered in the event your computer melts down, but you’re short changing yourself in other ways.
 

Here’s 10 reasons to host with a service versus goin’ it alone.
 

1. Affordability. Hosting with a service reduces your IT costs. You don’t have to purchase any equipment or software, and you don’t have to deal with the hassle and expense of maintaining an internal server.
 

2. Flexibility. If you host your files, you can create a virtual workshop from anywhere and on any device. This means you can set up in your favorite coffee shop and sip on a pumpkin spice latte while you get to takin’ care of business.

But I can obtain flexibility and create a virtual desktop if I host it myself. True, and that leads us to reason Number 3…
 

3. Speed. PCI has multiple data centers across the continental United States, so your system will be close and fast. Hosting services offer faster bandwidth than typical in-house systems.
 

4. Security. PCI’s Hosting Service provides you with secured server facilities, and encrypts all of your files, so no one but you and “The Invisible Man” standing over your shoulder can see them.
 
Invisible_man
 
5. Expertise. As Platinum Partners, we can work hand in hand with FileMaker to resolve any server issues beyond the basics.
 

6. Value. When you or someone on your team needs help getting connected to your hosted solution, we are here to help. We provide the links to your system via email, and we’ll even step it up a notch and provide you with a no-cost, hands-on remote meeting directly with you or your users, if that’s what it takes to get you started or back on track.
 

7. Backups. We have a wide variety of backups available, including hourly progressives, daily, nightly, weekly, and even monthly. So “28 Days Later” you can request a copy of your files. In the event we experience some Hollywood disaster and are suddenly flooded, engulfed by “The Blob”, catch fire, or get crushed by The 50 Foot Woman, you’ll always have a backup of your data sitting in your Dropbox.

The_Blob_poster
 
8. Real-Time Monitoring. We provide constant monitoring of our servers and have live server status updates online.
 

9. After Hours Restarts. We do our best to keep server restarts to an absolute minimum. But if the situation is inevitable, we do everything humanly possible to do it at a time that is most convenient for you, which means we are restarting during the witching hour and mixin’ it up with the ghosts and goblins.

Slimer
 
10. Support. Last but not least, you will have access to professional and proven FileMaker experts to answer any of your questions and assist you with tech issues.
 
Okay, so we said we’d save you money, but how much?
 
Well, first off, all plans include a 30 day free trial, so you don’t have to worry about experiencing buyer’s remorse.

Second, plans start at $30 a month or $324 a year. You can check out pricing here and then call (760) 510-1200 for a free consultation and quote.

Contact sales@productivecomputing.com or give us a call at 760-510-1200.

Productive Computing Announces FileMaker Server 14 Availability

June 4th, 2015

FM-Hosting_Logo14_300

 

Productive Computing, Inc. is proud to announce FileMaker Server 14 availability.

 

PCI has been busy building significant infrastructure to accommodate customers who are interested in hosting solutions with FileMaker Server 14 and take advantage of the latest version of FileMaker’s WebDirect technology. Starting immediately PCI has the availability to host FileMaker 14 Server based solutions on all four of our data centers (Las Vegas, Chicago, New York, and Atlanta).  In addition to the FileMaker Server 14 build out, we have also recently upgraded all our servers to take advantage of the latest secure certificate technologies (SSL) encrypting customer data at the maximum level possible at no extra charge.

 

PCI maintains a healthy stable of compatibility for FileMaker versions 11 through 14 and our customers always get the choice as to which server version they would like to be on and in what part of the country for their maximum benefit.  PCI has long been known for providing the highest level of personalized hosting support for our customers using the latest technologies while tirelessly ensuring that our machines are running the latest versions of server and the OS and with the best in class hardware/software available.

 

“I can’t tell you why, but the Core is working faster than ever on your server versus my previous hosting provider. I just did an import and sort of 200 emails with attachments and it was noticeably faster than ever. I am very happy. Productive Computing offers high caliber customer service, and I feel great knowing you are always there to assist whenever I need it.”

Jeff Geoffray

 

“We use Productive Computing’s FileMaker Hosting services for a customized solution that is used each year by hundreds of attendees at the annual FileMaker DevCon. Their team offers great support and I highly recommend them to anyone seeking dependable FileMaker Hosting with sterling customer service.”

 

Ron Robertson

GTR Global Meetings and Technology

 

 

On a side note, PCI has also been busy certifying our plugins for FileMaker 14 compatibility. Each plug-in will be available in 32 bit compatibility and where applicable updated for 64 bit compatibility. Please see our website for updates.

 

These plug-ins will remain 32 bit until the third party libraries these plug-ins talk to are 64 compatible:

FM Books Connector – www.fmbooksconnector.com

Outlook Manip for Mac – www.outlookmanipulatorformac.com

 

10 Advantages of Hosting FileMaker Solutions

January 9th, 2015

FileMaker Hosting

 

Server Hardware

Server hardware is a big ingredient in the performance and wellbeing of your FileMaker solution. Do you have a handle on exactly what to purchase? How much RAM, processor and hard drive do you need?  Which brand of computer? Which platform? Who will warrantee it? What are the IT costs associated with purchasing, installing and configuring your own server? Do you have expertise on how to virtualize your server if you go that route?  How long will it take to set up?  The hassles and effort to setup hardware is one of the most popular reasons people choose to host with a provider instead of on their own.

 

Installation/Configuration Expertise

When was the last time you configured FileMaker Server software?  Do you the expertise to configure it for the maximum performance and protection? This is often better done by your hosting provider who works with the server software on a daily basis.

 

 

FileMakerServerHostingFileMaker Server Software Licensing

You don’t need to purchase FileMaker Server Software.  If you were to have your own server, you’d be responsible for the yearly purchase and maintenance of the FileMaker server software as well.  If you host your solution, the FileMaker licensing is included as part of the hosting cost and many times less than what you’d pay for the server licensing alone.

 

 

BackupsFileMakerHosting_Backups

You don’t need to worry about being responsible for your own backups.  Will your backups be monitored to perform reliability and religiously?  Do you have off-site backups?  If so, did you figure that into the cost?  With Productive Computing Hosting, your backup is delivered to you nightly with the convenience of a Dropbox link.  We also store 4 years’ worth of backups for you at no additional charge!  Direct access to the FileMaker Server Admin Console and the ability to setup and configure your own server side scripts at no extra charge.

 

Bandwidth

One of the biggest factors in the speed of a FileMaker solution is the upload bandwidth from the server.  The cost to purchase a large upload pipe is extreme for an individual business (many hundreds of dollars per month).  Since a hosting provider hosts your files at a data center, large upload speeds are part of the benefit of hosting and included in the cost.

 

Uptime/Availability

Do you have a proper server room that is protected and monitored 24/7?  FileMaker hosting providers use data centers that typically provide 99.95% uptime/availability and top level security.

 

FileMakerHosting_SecuritySecurity

Firewall configuration and security is a necessary part of the FileMaker setup.  In most cases, this means getting your IT expert involved. None of this is required when you host with a provider.

 

 

Server Maintenance

As with anything in the software world, patches and updates will be required for both the operating system as well as FileMaker Server software itself.  Staying on top of this is extremely important.  At Productive Computing, we monitor and test the latest software patches and proactively update OS and FileMaker patches balancing uptime and security.

 

Protection

With your own server comes the responsibly of dealing with virus protection, hackers, SPAM, and Malware.  Unique to Productive Computing, we host FileMaker files on OS X based Unix servers which are considered by most to be the safest environment to prevent viruses and malware.

 

Encryption

If you plan to use Web Direct, we recommend encrypting the data between the browser and the server.  At Productive Computing we install secure certificates for all our Filemaker 13 (and above) servers for you at no extra charge so you have the peace of mind without the expense and configuration worry of installing and maintaining your own secure certificate.

 

Productive Computing Opens New FileMaker Hosting Data Center – WebDirect™ Now Available

January 27th, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

San Diego, CA – January 27, 2014 – Productive Computing, Inc., a Platinum member of the FileMaker Business Alliance, today announced the opening of a new FileMaker® Pro hosting data center in Milwaukee, WI. In addition Productive Computing is now offering FileMaker 13 and WebDirect™ technology which securely runs business solutions in a web browser. FileMaker WebDirect is ideal for those who prefer a simple alternative to database access without locally installing software.

“We are so happy to bring our newest FileMaker hosting data center on-line to serve the greater Chicago area, Central U.S. and Canada. This 4th data center, coupled with adding FileMaker 13 hosting capabilities, is PCI’s most recent effort in continuing our commitment to bring our customers the latest versions and fastest FileMaker hosting experience possible.” – Marc Larochelle, CEO, Productive Computing, Inc.

FileMaker Pro hosting services allow customers to host FileMaker databases or solutions on Productive Computing servers in the cloud. All the necessary server infrastructure and software is maintained by PCI and kept up-to-date for optimum performance.

Watch the video below for information on FileMaker database hosting benefits:
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FileMaker Hosting Differences You Can Count On:
While there are many choices out there for hosting a FileMaker Pro database, keeping things focused and simple to efficiently accomplish your hosting needs is our philosophy. Here are some things that make Productive Computing, Inc.’s FileMaker Pro database hosting service different:

  1. We are a large FileMaker Platinum development firm with extensive expert knowledge of all things FileMaker (not just a hosting company who may or may not know how FileMaker works under the hood).
  2. The biggest difference in speed your users will experience is directly related to the user’s proximity to our servers. With 4 data centers located in New York City, Atlanta, Milwaukee and Las Vegas, the server your data is being served from is close by and served up fast.
  3. We have physical servers with SSD drives (nothing virtual, nothing outdated) and as a result have read/write times faster than traditional hard drives.
  4. We don’t overload our servers with too many files or customers and we always use the latest version of FileMaker Server and OS security patches after we have tested them.
  5. FileMaker 13 WebDirect hosting is available to bring a desktop-like experience to users via a web browser without the requirements of traditional web programming.
  6. We perform local backups, twice daily backups to a physical attached drive, and to the cloud. That gives us 3 points of redundancy for disaster recovery and up to 30 days of data as well as weekly and monthly snapshots.
  7. We provide a daily DropBox backup for those customers who want the peace of mind to know their data is at their fingertips. No cumbersome FTP programs are required to get at your data should you need it.
  8. We provide direct FileMaker Server admin console access for users on FileMaker 12 – 13 where they can close and open files, download files, etc. We can provide direct access to FileMaker 11 Server admin as well for developers who request it.
  9. We provide a unique Instant Web Publishing (IWP) scenario for FileMaker 11 – 12 users that will auto redirect to a web page of your choosing upon IWP time out or IWP log out. We developed this technology here in-house and it’s truly one of a kind.

Various FileMaker hosting server locations also provide a foundation for Software as a Service (SaaS) product subscriptions. Products including Core4 CRM, Core3 CRM, Core2 CRM, and FM Work Orders are available to customers for a monthly fee under SaaS.

Sign up for a FREE 30 day trial of FileMaker Database hosting or SaaS today!

 

About Productive Computing, Inc.
Since 1996, Productive Computing, Inc. has been helping its customers become more efficient and profitable by implementing custom software solutions using FileMaker Pro. Utilizing FileMaker Pro as a rapid application development tool, their certified FileMaker developers can create custom applications that a business can run on their Windows or Macintosh desktop computers, in a web browser, on an iPad or iPhone or shared simultaneously on all of these platforms.

Productive Computing, Inc. also produces several off-the-shelf productivity solutions such as Core4 CRM, Core3 CRM, Core2 CRM, Core2 Invoices, FM Work Orders, OrgPlanner, Music Director Pro and IT Asset Manager as well as a suite of FileMaker Pro plug-ins that allow FileMaker Pro to integrate with third party applications including Outlook, QuickBooks, Apple’s Address Book and iCal, PDF forms, credit card processing, digital signatures and biometric fingerprint scanners.

In addition to building custom and off-the-shelf FileMaker Pro solutions and plug-ins, Productive Computing, Inc. is a full service FileMaker Pro hosting company. FileMaker hosting services allow customers to host their own FileMaker Pro solutions on Productive Computing servers in the cloud instead of purchasing and supporting the necessary server infrastructure themselves. These same servers also provide the infrastructure for customers who would prefer to subscribe to Productive Computing’s Core4 CRM, Core3 CRM, Core2 CRM, and FM Work Orders products under a SaaS (Software as a Service) pricing model.

Productive Computing, Inc. is one of only a few companies in the United States to have earned the highly respected platinum level membership within the FileMaker Business Alliance and recently won the exclusive FileMaker Business Alliance “Partner of the Year” award.

Productive Computing, Inc.
950 Boardwalk, Suite 205
San Marcos, CA 92078
www.ProductiveComputing.com
sales@productivecomputing.com
(760) 510-1200

Press Contacts:
Productive Computing, Inc.
Keith Larochelle
(760) 510-1200

Traveling with Technology

November 7th, 2013

With the travel season quickly approaching, many people wonder what to bring with them to stay connected. After a recent trip to Bali, I am amazed with the ability to access the rest of the world from an underdeveloped country. WiFi is in nearly all hotels and most public locations. The biggest questions are figuring out which gadgets to bring.

Portability and ease of use are the two most important factors. Laptops, tablets, smart phones and e-readers are the most common devices travelers are taking with them. Most travelers bring a couple devices so here is a quick guide for travel:

Laptops – Choose something small, under 13”, and it must be durable so aluminum or a high density plastic is a great option. You might not need lots of storage but a minimum 128 GB will store any media needed while you’re on the road. Solid state hard drives are the best because there are less moving parts which could break, but can be more expensive. SD memory slot is a nice feature which prevents you bringing an extra cord to transfer pictures from a camera. Don’t spend more than $1,000.

Tablets – For those not getting as much work done a tablet is an ideal option – slim, light, and long battery life. They are great for web browsing, watching movies, listening to music, and emailing. There are pretty slick solar Bluetooth keyboard devices that improve functionality and help to protect the device while getting bumped around in your bag. iPads are most popular these days but if you have a limited budget there are plenty of Android devices which offer similar functionality. Be sure to go into a store and actually get your hands on one prior to buying it, half of the user experience is in the ergonomics.

Smart Phones – Most travelers these days already have a smart phone, so use it. International rates can be high so if you don’t have an unlocked version and swap out your sim card be sure to notify your provider and change the phone settings to avoid using cellular data outside the network. You’ll find WiFi everywhere and using apps like Skype, Viber, Google Translate you can use your phone just like you’re at home – call whenever, snap a photo, reply to an email, etc.

E-reader – If you don’t have one yet, an E-reader is a great way to minimize your load and maximize your options. Battery life lasts weeks, you can store dozens of books, connect nearly anywhere, and if you purchase one with a web browser you’ll have access to emails and the internet.

iPad

Security should be considered also. Fortunately many hospitality locations depend on providing a safe facility to keep people coming back; a single theft or bad review on Tripadvisor.com could drive patrons away. The days of the maid stealing a computer are nearly past. However, physical theft is always a concern so be sure you are smart and pick a location that has good online reviews and an environment you feel secure in. Don’t flash your gadgets in public places like bus stops with high levels of traffic.

With public WiFi be sure to limit entering passwords and usernames, and keep your private browsing of banks, credit cards, administrative tasks to a minimum. Paypal security key is helpful for online transactions. Backups make you feel safe about not losing pictures or data from your trip so look into an online service like Crashplan, Google Drive, or Carbonite. Try to coordinate all your devices and if you have similar cords and adapters, condense or buy a universal adapter to keep things simple. Don’t forget some sites like Facebook, Pandora, and Twitter are not able to be accessed from outside the country so be aware it’s not the hotel internet causing the problem.

Traveling today is easier than it’s ever been. You can book hotels and day excursions after reading all about it from the group who posted a review the day before. Technology does make it better. Be resourceful and plan out your trip but remember things are a bit different. The internet might be slow or the person at the front desk might not know why you are not able to connect. It’s all about the experience, safe travels!