Monthly Archives: February 2016

Using a Private Data Center

Chirag Nanavati
By Family Office

Are underperforming computers or networks at your family office or CPA firm holding you back? Over the past few months, we have encountered a number of instances where clients are frustrated that our family office accounting and reporting software is performing slowly. However, when they send us a copy of their “poorly running database” to test, the software runs fine with their data on our system. This means that something unidentified in the client’s IT environment has been hindering the operation of our accounting and portfolio tracking software.

Many Potential Causes

The poor performance of the client’s system could be due to any number of issues. It may simply be that the amount of data has grown to the point where a much more powerful processor is needed to handle the volume of transactions at the speed the client expects. Alternatively, the problem could result from a defective computer, a networking or software infrastructure issue, an operating system that has not been updated properly with the latest patches or any of a dozen other possibilities. It could take hours, or days, of testing to successfully identify the underlying cause.

Practical Difficulties

Unfortunately, the ability to diagnose problems within a client’s IT system can be beyond our capabilities. We want to support our users, but we simply do not have sufficient access, much less the time, manpower or expertise to diagnose every client’s system limitations. With so many connection points and interactions, finding the underlying issue(s) can be like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack, even for experienced IT consultants. And, of course, we are not IT consultants focused on systems. We are software developers focused on the accounting and reporting needs of High Net Worth investors and Family Offices.

The Solution

Fortunately, there is a proven solution when such issues arise: a private data center, which can remotely provide all the computer processing the client requires. The client’s applications (such as Financial Navigator family office software) and data are stored at the private data center and are accessed via a reliable Internet connection. 

This approach offers the following advantages:

  • Powerful Servers – The center’s servers are modern, powerful machines that can be configured for optimum processing power. 
  • Expert Maintenance – The staff maintaining the servers are experts and keep the servers configured for maximum effectiveness, even as your data requirements grow over time.
  • Full Service Solution – All of the standard data center features are provided. These include disaster recovery (data backup and archiving, emergency power sources, alternative site redundancy, etc.), as well as standard security features such as firewalls, virus protection and automatic operating system updates.

Not For Everyone

Certainly this alternative is not needed by the majority of our users. It is most beneficial in cases where clients have especially large databases, hundreds of entities, many years of data, a dozen or more users on the system at the same time and/or routinely run many reports that require extensive computing power. However, if your operation does fall into one of those categories, a private data center can be a quick and effective solution for the performance issues you may be facing.

If you are interested in learning more about this alternative, please feel free to contact us.

Windows 10: Six Months Later

David Campbell
By Technology

Microsoft Corp. released its newest operating system, Windows 10, about six months ago. This article will update comments published in Financial Navigator’s newsletter for Q3-2015. At that time, we recommended you wait before upgrading your computers.

When that opinion was issued, shortly after the release of Windows 10, we felt it was prudent to allow time for the system’s inevitable bugs to be worked out. Since then, Microsoft has continued to make improvements and its newest operating system has received widespread adoption. With 200 million devices now running on Windows 10, we felt it was time to revisit this topic.

FNI’s Experience

At FNI, our experience with Windows 10 has been very encouraging. The computers we upgraded to Windows 10 are running fine and the Financial Navigator family office software we run on those computers are also performing with no problems.  As a result, upgrading to Windows 10 may now be a good choice for you.

Please note: FNI only supports version FN 9.0 and newer, so no attempt was made to test older versions of our Family Office accounting software and Trust and Estate accounting software.

Some Concerns

The news is not all positive, however. There are certain aspects of Windows 10 that many users have expressed strong concern over, including:

  1. Privacy concerns with the collection of personal data
  2. Trouble with Wi-Fi connections
  3. Issues with child safety features when upgrading to Windows 10
  4. No Windows Media Center in Windows 10

We point these out to help you make a well-informed decision. Fortunately, there are many excellent reviews available on the Web where these issues are discussed.

Recommendation

We believe the decision to upgrade ultimately depends on two factors:

  • Which version of the the MS operating system you are using.
  • Whether your are happy with your current operating system.

Windows 7 Users – If you are using Windows 7 today and are happy with it, updating is not recommended. Windows 7 is a reliable, well-functioning product that will be supported till 2020.

Windows 8.0 or 8.1 Users – If you are using Windows 8.x, we recommend an upgrade. However, before upgrading you need to check the other software you use, to ensure its compatibility with Windows 10. Also, ALWAYS backup your computer on external media before upgrading. Here is an excellent article that will guide you through the upgrade process, as well as suggest optimal settings after the upgrade.

Please note: Microsoft’s free upgrade from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10 is available only until July 29th, 2016.   

Final Thoughts

If you do upgrade to Windows 10, remember to periodically check your privacy settings, especially after a regular Windows update. The updates can often cause your preferences to revert back to the default Windows settings, which you probably do not want.

Your Experience

If you have upgraded to Windows 10, we would like to hear about your experience so we can share it with other readers. Please email us at: editor@finnav.com