Posted in Cloud, Misc

frevvo works on your existing Microsoft infrastructure

We’ve run into a number of situations where customers want to replace Infopath forms and SharePoint workflows with frevvo or maybe they just want to stop using their existing paper/PDF forms. But, they have large existing investments in a variety of Microsoft technologies and they want their automated workflows solution to integrate.

frevvo works on MicrosoftThat’s where frevvo shines. We’re truly platform-agnostic and work equally well whether you prefer Microsoft or Oracle or Amazon. In Microsoft environments:

  • You can deploy frevvo on several versions of Windows,
  • Integrate with MS SQL Server to retrieve, store and update data,
  • Save documents and metadata to SharePoint,
  • Use Active Directory for identity and access management,
  • Run on an Azure Cloud VM,
  • Access frevvo forms and workflows with Internet Explorer on the desktop or from Windows phones.

And, with frevvo’s focus on the UI, you can be certain that your end users will end up with a fantastic and natural user experience on all devices and that they’ll actually use the applications you deploy with frevvo.

Try frevvo free for 30 days today and see how easy it is for yourself.

Posted in Approval Process, Cloud, Forms, Misc, Workflows

How SECURE is frevvo’s cloud?

We understand that your data is essentSecure Cloudial to your business operations and to our own success. We use a multi-layered approach to secure your information, constantly monitoring and improving our processes, services and systems.

Secure Data Centers

Our cloud services are deployed on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure. AWS provides us first class data centers that are designed and managed in alignment with security best practices and a variety of IT security standards, including SOC 1/SSAE 16/ISAE 3402 (formerly SAS 70), SOC 2, SOC 3, FISMA, DIACAP, FedRAMP, DOD CSM Levels 1-5, PCI DSS Level 1, ISO 27001, ITAR, FIPS 140-2, and MTCS Level 3.

All of our servers reside in a number of availability zones in AWS’s Northern Virginia region (us-east-1). All customer data, including backups and redundant servers, are located only in the Northern Virginia region. We do not replicate our servers across to other regions either within the United States or internationally. At this point, we do not operate in AWS’s GovCloud region.

Secure Data Storage

All our data at rest, including our databases, backups, read replicas and snapshots, are encrypted before stored.Since we leverage Amazon’s Relational Database Service (RDS), our employees have no direct access to the actual database servers, which is fully managed by AWS.

Secure Data Transfers

Connection to our environment is done via TLS cryptographic protocols, ensuring that our users have a secure connection from their browsers to our services.

Individual user sessions are properly identified and verified on each transaction using a unique token created at login.

Secure Network

Our servers are deployed in a secure Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) network divided in a public and a private subnet. All server processing and data storage takes place in private subnets with no direct access to the Internet. We also have strict firewall policies between the public and private subnets, making sure that traffic can flow only in specific directions, to and from specific ports, including strict firewall policies between the application application and database tiers.

All traffic flowing out from our VPC goes through NAT instances which protects internal IP addresses from external hosts.

We also make sure only a single bastion host can access our internal servers for management purposes. This bastion host has a completely different IP address than our public IP addresses.

Our servers receive daily security patches to make sure they remain secure from new exploits. Password access to our servers and remote root logins are both disabled.

All AWS API access is audited to a secure write-only storage.

Backups

Backups are encrypted and performed daily remaining available for up to 35 days.

Security Policies

We centralize all our EC2 security across accounts using standard IAM policies. We implement fine-grained security controls and follow the principle of least privilege. Multi-factor authentication enabled on our master AWS accounts and master credentials are locked away and are not used for routine operational tasks.

Posted in Misc

Extra Extra.. Read all about it!

Did you know that frevvo released Live Forms v6.1 on December 23rd? Did you know your Live Forms Online cloud tenant was auto-upgraded on January 4th?
Of course reading frevvo’s blog is one great way to keep up on frevvo news… Here are a few other suggestions

Get the news…

  1. Subscribe to frevvo Product news and updates (you must be signed up and logged in to subscribe)
    • Release Updates – Software release availability.
    • Announcements – New features; scheduled maintenance to the Live Forms Online cloud platform.
  2. Follow @frevvoOps – tweets about Live Forms releases & cloud  platform updates including scheduled maintenance.
  3. Opt-In to frevvo customer support email via this form
Best Regards,

frevvo Customer Support

Posted in Approval Process, Forms, Misc, Workflows

10 useful Cloud Services we love for our business

At frevvo, we sell cloud-based mobile web forms and approval workflows. But, we’re a small business ourselves and we LOVE the cloud. We use many cloud services to lower costs and accelerate our own business. We love ease of deployment, pay-as-you-go, smartphone access, no infrastructure headaches etc.

So, what are the key cloud services that we use?

  1. Infrastructure: We use Amazon Web Services (AWS). EC2 for compute, S3 for storage and RDS for the database. Obviously, as a cloud vendor, having a solid infrastructure is critical. AWS has been effective for us though we’re fast approaching the point where we need a dedicated Infrastructure Engineer.
  2. Email: This is a no-brainer and no SMB has any business operating their own email. We use GMail. It’s easy and low cost, well supported and reliable. But in addition, for us, one of the biggest advantages is the fantastic Search (something to expect from a Google service). It’s super easy to quickly find relevant emails and that’s a huge plus.
  3. CRM: We use salesforce.com. There are now many alternatives and, if we were choosing today, we might pick something nicely integrated with GMail. Salesforce has plenty of quirks and headaches and can also quickly get quite expensive but a disciplined sales and lead management process is so important that this is no place to skimp. Besides, our own frevvo forms are integrated with salesforce.com (see below) and that’s a big deal.
  4. Billing: Freshbooks has worked brilliantly for us. We don’t have to worry about credit cards and PCI compliance, it’s drop dead simple to use, works overseas (we have customers all over the world) and it’s very affordable. Some kind of cloud billing system is a no-brainer for SMBs.
  5. Email Marketing: We went with Constant Contact though there didn’t seem to be much difference between them and many of the other vendors out there. For us, Salesforce integration was the deciding factor though it’s so horribly buggy that we’ve turned it off. We simply export our contacts from Salesforce to Excel and import them. It’s not automatic but works well enough for our needs.
  6. Web Analytics: No question here. Every company has a website and you need to see what’s going on. Google Analytics is free, extremely detailed and well supported. One huge recent problem is Google’s encrypting of the search keyword (the infamous “not provided” issue) but that’s not a Google Analytics issue.
  7. Customer Service: We’ve been using Salesforce. It’s nice that it’s integrated with the CRM side of things but it’s been quite limiting. We’re experimenting with Zendesk and think we’ll probably switch for more effective customer support. One of the biggest issues with Salesforce is the inability for our customers to create and track their own tickets easily.
  8. Online Documents: Sharing documents has always been important. Where possible, we avoid e-mailing Word, Excel, PDF around but sometimes you can’t avoid it. We’ve been mostly using Google Drive – it’s by far the cheapest choice and very convenient for sharing internal documents for quick and easy collaboration. Externally and for large files, we use Dropbox.
  9. Online Meetings / Webinars: We use GoToMeeting for online meetings and GoToWebinar for webinars. Easy to use, inexpensive and [usually] quite reliable. Even though we’re small we’re distributed across multiple locations on 3 continents so sharing screens, built-in audio and video conferencing are essential. GTM works well. Of course, we also use Skype, IM (GTalk, MSN …) and the host of other chat tools out there.
  10. Phone System: Skype’s very popular, of course and they offer inexpensive Internet calling. But, it’s simply not good enough to be considered “a landline”. We currently use VOIP services from 8×8 for our phone and voicemail. It’s not dirt cheap but it’s not much money either and it’s been 100% reliable for us.
  11. BONUS – Web Forms and Approval Workflows: And, finally, of course we use frevvo 🙂 for our online forms and approval workflows. The forms on our own website (Contact, Pricing, Registration) are all frevvo forms integrated with Salesforce so a new lead is automatically created in the CRM system and relevant emails are automatically sent out. We have an internal portal (a frevvo space) that contains our Leave Approval, Expense Report, Order Processing and other everyday business workflows. With a new Cloud release imminent (next week), we’ll update these and roll out new features like being able to collect a signature anonymously for our various order forms (Software, Services, Training etc.). Obviously, it’s very cost effective 🙂 and works well for us.

Finally, check out this interesting infographic from IBM (click to view a larger version). The sooner you adopt the cloud for your business, the more competitive advantage you will drive.

Click to view full infographic

Infographic by Wayward and Sons.

Posted in Misc

Empower your “business engineers”

Came across this really interesting article by Johan den Haan that categorizes the cloud landscape in great detail. As he says,

“The popular wisdom that the cloud comes in three flavors (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS) does not provide a realistic picture of the current landscape.”

It’s always bothered me too. What is frevvo? Well, in the conventional wisdom, we must be a PaaS company. But what the heck does that mean? We’re certainly not targeting professional developers but business users [who are curious about technology]. Johan proposes a framework that breaks things down into multiple layers that describe a range of approaches.

Cloud platform framework by Johan den Haan
Cloud platform framework by Johan den Haan

I’m not sure that I’d go about calling frevvo a “Model-Driven PaaS” but our customers are often business people who don’t write software for a living but still need to create applications (forms and workflows in our case) that collect and manage data and documents. Obviously, they’re interested in technology so I like the “business engineer” terminology used in the article. They’re comfortable with dragging and dropping to design web forms and approval processes, configuring email addresses and high-level business rules, and viewing submission data in an Excel spreadsheet or a PDF. frevvo’s value is in empowering these “business engineers” with:

  • Ease of use: frevvo hides the technical details of designing business web forms.
  • Mobile: frevvo forms automatically work on everything from a smart phone to a tablet to a desktop screen, they’re responsive, make use of the touch screen etc.
  • Cloud: frevvo works in a standard web browser with zero installation.

and a whole lot more. Want to learn more? Check out one of our short videos and contact us if you have questions. Here’s another link to the original article – worth reading IMHO.

Posted in Forms, Misc, Mobile, Workflows

Our Own Nexus of Forces: Mobile, Cloud and Enterprise*

Cloud-ComputingEarly in the year, it’s always interesting to look at and think about Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014 (phew, that’s quite a mouthful). These are things that enterprises should be planning for over the next 3 years. This year’s trends include:

  • Mobile Device Diversity and Management: exploding variety of devices, BYOD and a doubling/tripling of the mobile workforce.
  • Mobile Apps and Applications: lots of buzzwords here but the bottom line is that JavaScript and HTML5 have reached the point where browsers are where it’s at for enterprise applications. That means lots of e-forms.
  • Cloud/Client Architecture: simply put, enterprises are getting comfortable with putting their stuff (including apps) in the cloud.

frevvo’s nicely positioned at this nexus of mobile, cloud and enterprise*. Our e-forms and workflows already use JavaScript, CSS3 and HTML5 and run in browsers. Automatic, responsive layouts make sure that you don’t have to worry about mobile diversity – it just works. And, we’ve been providing cloud solutions for years – every single day we see that our customers from big companies to hospitals to universities are getting comfortable with putting their critical applications in the cloud. On top of all this, they look beautiful, are easy to build, easy to use and extremely affordable.

What are you waiting for? Learn more quickly: check out one of our short videos and contact us if you have questions.

* 2 years ago Gartner came up with their Nexus of Forces: http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/nexus-of-forces/.

Posted in Forms, Misc

Top SMB Trends for 2014

Interesting to see SMB Group’s Top 10 SMB trends for 2014. The top three items are:

  1. Progressive SMBs Use Technology as a Game Changer: They invest more in technology-based solutions … and will continue to outpace peers.
  2. Cloud Adoption Accelerates, But SMBs Steer Clear of Dark Clouds: SMBs have absolutely bought into the cloud promise … but aren’t too happy with the annual contracts, fees for everything approach of many enterprise cloud vendors.
  3. Mobile Management Becomes a Priority as SMB Mobile App Use Soars: 67% of SMBs now view mobile solutions and services as critical to their business and are deploying mobile websites and business applications to engage and transact with customers.

At frevvo, we’ve been seeing this for a while now and not just in the SMB space. For our customers, one, two or all three of the above are key. They’re absolutely looking to technology-based solutions and the promise of paperless forms to outpace peers. Many of them are seriously into cloud nowadays and every single customer sees mobile as a top priority.

Any of this describe you? Check out some of our videos and example forms and contact us if you think we can help. Don’t worry. We promise we’re not the hard-sell at all costs type and won’t hassle you forever just because you gave us an email address 🙂

Posted in Misc

got pdf? Attend this upcoming webinar.

Pixel Perfect Forms and Digital Signatures

Everyone hates filling out complicated forms like Government W-4s. Customers want to enter the minimum amount of data in the least amount of time and do it also from their phones and tablets. But, in the real world, you need those pesky PDFs. What to do? With frevvo, you can provide a fantastic user experience on any device while taking care of details such as generating required PDF documents or collecting real signatures.

Register Now

Join our webinar on Wednesday, Sep 19, 2012 from 2.00-3.00 PM EDT to learn more about this and other cool frevvo features.

Posted in Forms, Misc, Mobile, Workflows

Doing nothing … I wish

Sometimes, especially on beautiful, warm sunny days like today, it sure feels like it’d be sweet to help 🙂

No such luck here – we’re getting ready to roll out a massive new set of capabilities in frevvo this year with a huge focus on mobile (tablets and smart phones).

  • Deploy all your “stuff” in one place – from simple contact/survey forms to complex workflows like performance reviews/sales orders.
  • Design to your heart’s content. I mean really design not just tweak. Make the software fit your business rather than the other way around.
  • Access your stuff from anywhere: create a frevvo “space” and it’s available on your desktop, your tablet or your smart phone.
  • frevvo will automatically generate smart phone / tablet views for your forms that take advantage of their unique capabilities. Or, if you want to customize this see the second bullet.
  • Quick Views will let users quickly approve or reject tasks especially from their phones.
  • Grids, e-signatures on touch screens, PDF export … this release is chock full of new things.

It’s all exciting stuff and we’re racing to get it done but it’s warm and sunny and …