GCFA is able to offer a managed IT solution to agencies, annual conferences, and affiliated United Methodist organizations at a lower cost in order to save funds and divert funds to ministry. We have several IT Infrastructure products available, which are described below:
MICROSOFT GREAT PLAINS
GCFA currently offers Microsoft Dynamics GP licensing, hosting, and support for agencies and annual conferences. The accounting software of choice for the general agencies of The United Methodist Church, for more than 25 years, Microsoft Dynamics GP has delivered the functionality, performance, and ease of use necessary to support the connection.
- Hosting of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015 platform, along with licensing procurement.
- Access to certified support staff who are familiar with FRx, Management Reporter, SSRS Reports, and Excel Reports through the Help Desk.
- Use and support of several third-party products integrated with GP.
- Coordination with third-party software vendors for integration of current systems with Microsoft Dynamics GP.
GCFA has invested in a state of the art data center with off-site disaster recovery sites to ensure 99.9% uptime of our networks. With our server and system management, we are able to:
- Monitor and manage all customer owned servers.
- Ensure systems are fully up-to-date along with monitoring of critical application services.
GCFA can manage DNS (Domain Name Server) and SSL (Single Socket Layer) certificates. An SSL certificate is a digital document that ensures the content provided (usually through email) is from the correct (verified) sender.
MANAGED HELP DESK
GCFA operates a professional, fully-staffed Help Desk, and our technical analysts are specialized and certified to work on Cisco, Dell, and Mac products, to name a few. We use a well-respected industry ticketing system that allows our Help Desk to immediately receive notification of any outstanding issues, while still providing high levels of customer service. Features include:
- Tier 1 Helpdesk Support via a Direct 1-800 number
- Ticket Submission by either 1-800 number or email
- Help Desk hours 7:30am – 5:30pm Monday – Friday CST
- 24X7 On Call Support Provided
- End User Remote Control
- Endpoint Management with Antivirus and Operating System Updating
- Management Reporting
GCFA works with Donor Direct to offer giving opportunity pages, create landing pages, and allow for donor-facing front-end user interfaces. Conferences use Donor Direct to pay their apportionments to GCFA. Donor Direct also powers UMC Giving. Our team is able to work with customers to help set up donation and funding pages. Donors can maintain their profile, view their donation history, and print their statements on an easy-to-use online interface. .
CISCO PHONE SYSTEMS
GCFA’s hosted Cisco Unified Communications Service encompasses an entire suite of mobility solutions, unified messaging/voicemail features, and communication services. Cisco is a Gartner©-recognized leader in the Unified Communications industry. GCFA employs Cisco certified staff with experience in Cisco phone system installations and implementations. Highlights include:
- Unified messaging offers voicemail flexibility and options beyond the base voicemail functionality, including voicemail to email, integration with Microsoft Exchange, and the ability to check multiple voicemail boxes from a single unified mailbox.
- The Cisco Presence service provides WebEx integration and the Jabber Desktop Client.
- Cisco provides an online training tutorial to help your employees learn the system details at their own pace.
MANAGED FIREWALL SERVICES
GCFA will manage complete firewall services for the customer. We can also install new firewalls for our customers. Firewalls help ensure your network security and protection, and availability of resources by protecting the network infrastructure against attacks, viruses, and worms. We deploy Cisco firewalls. Included in the service are:
- Firewall failover
- Intrusion prevention sensor and alerting
GCFA has organized server hosting into five different standard configurations for simplicity of service offering. Server hosting is available as a single hosted server or in an active/active configuration for critical business applications.
MICROSOFT OFFICE 365
GCFA offers Microsoft Office 365 account setup and maintenance. The following are included within the service, which is provided in conjunction with our Managed Help Desk Services:
- Management of Microsoft Office 365 accounts, including payment of fees, updates, and management of user and mailbox accounts.
- Business-class email with 50 GB mailbox per user account.
- Desktop and web version of Microsoft Office applications
MANAGED LAN SWITCHING SERVICES
GCFA will monitor and manage all customer owned LAN (Local Area Network) switching equipment. Switching technologies are crucial to network design. GCFA deploys and recommends Cisco switches for networks.
MANAGED WIRELESS SERVICES
GCFA will monitor and manage all customer owned Wireless Access Points (APs) and associated access controllers.
GFCA works with a cloud based file sharing system, Syncplicity, which enables files to be accessed from any place, at any time, without requiring a VPN connection.
- Syncplicity is not limited to a single folder or web portal so users can organize folders the way they want.
- Customers can create user groups to share files and folders and send large files easily and securely without data limits.
- Users are able to access and edit files from any device.
- Syncplicity offers users the flexibility to send files from both desktop and the cloud.
BACKUP AND RECOVERY
The proposed backup service provides highly efficient, variable-length de-duplication through fast, complete daily backups. We deploy an EMC backup product for our conferences to use.
- GCFA’s Managed Backup and Recovery Service enables fast, efficient backup and recovery by reducing the size of backup data at the client. Blocks of data that were previously stored are never backed up again.
- This setup provides huge savings in bandwidth for backup and a lot less disk storage needed on the back end. Because of the reduction in the overall storage, we expect the conference to experience a significant cost savings.
- Our team can quickly recover backups in just one-step, eliminating the hassle of restoring full and subsequent incremental backup.
As part of our ministry of administration, the General Council on Finance and Administration deploys professional staff to organizations and annual conference offices, at their request, to perform independent assessments on Information Technology (IT). As our Managed IT Shared Services offerings and customers have grown, our experience and knowledge in working with annual conferences has also developed. This unique experience allows our IT and Shared Services departments to collaborate and combine our IT administration expertise with our knowledge of the business practices of annual conferences, resulting in an objective and comprehensive analysis of a conference’s or organization's IT status. The objective of the IT assessment is to assess the infrastructure sustainability within the conference or organization to ensure that IT infrastructure is planned, managed, and maintained to support operations, now and in the future.
GCFA provides access to “KnowBe4” security service to the United Methodist connection. KnowBe4 security training licenses are available to annual conferences for a nominal fee. KnowBe4 helps your organization stay safe in the digital world. Unfortunately, end-users are sometimes the weakest link in the world of IT defense. Many times, end-users haven’t been trained on the potential dangers and they do not know how to identify suspicious activity. “KnowBe4” training can be deployed in minutes, protects your network and can help your end-users protect themselves.
CISCO UMBRELLA SERVICES
Cisco Umbrella Branch is a cloud-delivered security service for the Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR). It provides the first layer of defense against threats at “branch” offices. This is especially helpful for conferences, for example, needing to protect data that may be accessed from camps or district offices. It also provides a layer of security for remote workers accessing conference systems. As part of this service, GCFA’s staff will maintain visibility and enforcement at the DNS layer, so we can block requests to malicious domains and IP (Internet Protocols) addresses before a connection is ever made.