Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Security is a Shared Responsibility

Keeping your data under tight lock and key takes the combined effort of both our team and yours. We recently introduced a new security page on our website to ensure everyone understands the shared security model when working in the cloud.

Keep reading to learn how, by working together, we can provide better security.

Who’s responsible for what?
While SmartSimple ensures our platform’s security and the protection of your information, we all bear some responsibility for complete security throughout your data’s lifecycle.

We can safeguard the data that you store with us, but we have little control over what happens outside our environment. Therefore, it’s important that you evaluate your own security policies, consider how your users access your system, monitor how the data is used, and maintain the physical security of your own premises and its hardware.

To really understand why security is a shared responsibility, you need to know the difference between two key concepts:

·         Security of the Cloud – Security measures that we, your cloud service provider, implement.
·         Security in the Cloud – Security measures you, our client, implement to safeguard your content and applications.

To make it easy to understand, we’ve created a graphic outlining exactly what each of us is responsible for:
Security requires a systematic approach 
Working together is the optimum method for the security of your organization’s data. By being aware of security best practices and taking appropriate action, we are creating a safe, secure environment for your sensitive data.

SmartSimple is SOC 1 Compliant
We subscribe to a high level of testing, training and compliance measures that ensure SmartSimple meets robust security standards, set by independent third-party auditors. These unbiased auditors certify that we are following regulated guidelines and are meeting our commitments:

We are a Service Organization Control (SOC) 1 compliant Software-as-a-Service company and are currently on target to becoming SOC 2 compliant in 2016.

Need help?
We have several articles on cloud security available on the SmartSimple Wiki.

If you still need more help understanding the shared responsibility model, talk to your organization’s IT team, write us at or call us at 1-866-239-0991. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

SmartSimple brings non-profit professionals together again at the Chicago Fall Community Conference 2015

Building on the success of last year’s Fall Community Conference, SmartSimple invites you back to Chicago for another full-day of interactive engagement.

“We were really pleased with how well our first fall conference was received last year,” says Sarah Harris, Director, Client Support and Operations, “so we decided to go back to the Windy City and host our second community conference outside of our home base in Toronto, Canada.”
The Fall Community Conference is the ideal setting for our clients to engage with the SmartSimple team in dynamic discussions about their systems, its functions and features. It’s also a valuable opportunity to network with peers and share ideas and insights about the non-profit community.

What will I get out of the conference?
The conference is designed to provide attendees with:
·         An update on new developments at SmartSimple.
·         Useful tips about features and functions in your SmartSimple system that you may not have taken advantage of.
·         A chance to have open discussions with our experts, and the opportunity to provide input for future enhancements and upgrades.
·         An opportunity to meet and network with local and national peers in the non-profit, philanthropic, research and foundation spaces.

Who should attend the conference from my organization?
Grants and research managers, administrators, executives and decision-makers will benefit from this year’s event by learning more about new SmartSimple functionalities. Attendees will also have the opportunity to voice their thoughts on upcoming features and functions.
What will the day look like?
The complete agenda is available on the Fall Community Conference page on the SmartSimple website.

New this year – you take the floor!
We are also excited to be hosting our first peer-to-peer panel, led by your colleagues from Chicago Community Trust, YMCA USA and Feeding America. “We wanted to give our clients an opportunity to create and have a session to discuss industry topics, trends and issues that impact the day to day operations of their organizations,” adds Sarah.

Register Now!
Visit the Fall Community Conference page to register. There you will find full session descriptions, the schedule for the day and read about the SmartSimple experts who will be hosting your day.

A special thank you!
Of course this event would not be possible without the assistance of the Chicago Community Trust, who is generously donating their offices to us for the day. “The Trust provided a great venue last year and we are very happy they were able to offer their hospitality again.”

If you have any questions or concerns about the conference, contact Geoff Cook by email or by phone at 416-591-1668 x148.

We look forward to seeing you in Windy City!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Build more configurable reports faster and easier than ever with Neo

Watch our latest video on Neo – the next stage in the evolution of our Report Builder. System administrators and other technical users involved in the configuration of your SmartSimple system will find this information helpful.

While Neo offers a more intuitive interface that is easier to configure and saves you time, there are some important behaviour changes to be aware of. This video walks you through the new, easier to use report building process:

Register now to join Eric Lauer, Director of Customer Experience, for one of two upcoming webinars:

September 2015 Upgrade Overview:

  • Tuesday, September 29th (10:00 AM EST to 10:30 AM EST)
  • Thursday, October 1st (2:00 PM EST to 2:30 PM EST)

Eric will delve into the finer points of using the new Neo report building process, and other great features from our September 2015 upgrade.

If you have any questions about Neo or other upgrade features, feel free to ask in the comments section below.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

SmartSimple September Upgrades

Fall is almost here, and that means it’s time for our upgrades for September, 2015. We have some new enhancements that improve overall usability, enhance previous reporting functionality, and update the Arcadia X user interface. We’ve also opened up a new beta testing opportunity.

This upgrade will take place on Thursday, September 17th, so let’s get you ready!

Automatic Upgrade                                
This feature is automatically applied with the September upgrade, meaning you don’t have to do anything to begin using it in your SmartSimple system:

Expanded Arcadia Colors and Styles
If you’re an Arcadia X interface user, the first difference you’ll see when you log in after this upgrade are new navigational colors. Don’t panic; this is part of the enhanced color and style functionality we’ve added to increase Arcadia X personalization options.

From the Configuration tab, under the Global Settings menu, permissioned staff will see a new Branding and Terminology tab at the top of their screen. From here they can manage their interface colors and styles, creating their own combinations for headings, titles and tool bars.

Configured Upgrades
Configured upgrade features require some assistance from either your System Administrator or the SmartSimple Support Team to set up and start using. Contact our Support Team or speak to your own IT team.
New Report Builder Neo in Arcadia X

New Report Builder Neo
The new report builder, entitled “Neo,” replaces our former version, and is not only easier to use but improves performance and run time for all reports. The new report builder offers a more intuitive interface, is more configurable and offers more options for your reporting needs.

New Company/User Security Matrix
This new security matrix offers the ability to designate permissions more easily for specific users. The enhanced matrix provides more precisely controlled security options for assigning permissions to edit, view and delete information.

Beta Feature
A beta features refers to a feature in the testing phase, meaning we’re giving it a test drive before making it a system-wide enhancement.

New Application Programming Interface (API)
For those who may not be familiar with the term, an API allows different programs to communicate with each other and is commonplace in cloud computing software like SmartSimple. We’re very excited to be introducing a new API and are looking for input from you!

If you’re interested in participating in the testing of the new API, please contact your SmartSimple Account Manager.

Looking for more information?
Be sure to check out the SmartSimple Wiki and sign up for one of our two upcoming September upgrade webinars. Also, browse our extensive YouTube channel for videos on these and other SmartSimple features and functionality.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Test to Production to Versioning – Pick your Solution!

 Every SmartSimple client is unique, which is why we offer so many options for personalizing individual systems. One thing, however, that is common for all our clients is the need to change various forms and applications, often on a regular basis. For that reason, SmartSimple has two different solutions available; Versioning and Test to Production, otherwise known as T2P.

Why two solutions?
Some smaller organizations have very limited technical infrastructure, which means they may not have a Systems Administrator on staff, so they want a solution that they can easily use without a lot of technical knowledge required. Versioning is ideal for these clients.

Other larger clients have IT staff to handle more complex levels of configuration, and can therefore work with more sophisticated solutions, and therefore T2P is preferred. That doesn’t mean a larger organization couldn’t or shouldn’t use Versioning. Versioning was designed to be used by everyone.
Maintain historical field data and create applications with Versioning.

Versioning is particularly appealing for clients with limited technical infrastructure because if offers the ability to change their data gathering and application form creation needs on the fly without impacting any existing data on current application forms.

A prime reason SmartSimple created Versioning was a desire by our clients to maintain historical field data. With Versioning, all fields ever created for a specific application or form are stored in your system.

Versioning also eliminates the need to create and manage multiple versions of your system; everything is done from one central location. This is accomplished by creating a baseline version of your application form that contains every field from every application you are currently using or have used in the past. This baseline is your starting point for each new application form and ensures all historical field data is stored in your SmartSimple system. Plus, you have the added bonus of a constantly growing, centralized record of every field you’ve ever used.
Keep records of every application form created.

The other advantage of Versioning is that, because it’s a browser based application – meaning a feature that can be accessed and configured right from the cloud – you can easily add or change application forms as their own unique Versions, without impacting previous application forms. That means each form and application is a standalone document. This offers greater flexibility, as changes made from year to year do not impact anything on a previous year’s application form.

To use T2P, an organization needs to have a significant infrastructure, which is why it’s generally used by larger organizations. Unlike Versioning, T2P is not used to actually configure your data (meaning it doesn’t actually create anything); it’s a tool used to move data around, meaning that to use the T2P tool, you need to create multiple versions of your SmartSimple system.

How does this work? It’s actually not as complicated as you’d think!
Unlike Versioning, T2P is a tool to move data.

Your main system, commonly referred to as the Production system, is what your users see, access and work with every day. The Production system is typically locked down, so that no one can make changes without the proper access and permissions.

From the Production system, a Development and a Test system are created. The Development system is where all the actual configuration work is done, mimicking the Production system so that new forms and applications are created in a realistic environment. Once a new form or application is created, T2P moves it to the Test system to be “tested” before it’s moved to the Production system. You can also set up forms and applications to go live on the Production system in advance, so that it exists but isn’t accessible until, for example, January 1st, 2016.

The one downside is the inability to distinguish or easily manage changes to applications from year to year. For example, you might have added new questions for your 2015 application, but they will be seen in the 2014 application form, just with no responses.

Want to know more?
We’re always here to help! If you’d like to know how to make the most of T2P, Versioning or how you can combine the two solutions, contact our Support Team via email, by phone, toll-free, between 3am and 9pm EST at 1.866.239.0991 or talk to us through the community portal.

There’s always information available on our Wiki, our Blog and our YouTube channel. And be sure to check out our webinar and trade shows and conferences pages to find out about upcoming learning opportunities or where you can talk to our team in person.