Websites: We do them.

Websites: We do them.

Many of our clients have asked if we build web sites. In fact, that’s where Above Studio 1 began.

Back when the internet began, when Webmaster was a job title, and we all had to figure out what a TCP/IP stack was, I started a web hosting company called Webstead, which I later sold. Things have come a long way since then– frameworks, WordPress, Shopify, and other revolutionary standards-based tools ease the complexity of building great looking web sites, and we leverage these.

Our design aesthetic is minimalistic, and we prefer a great user experience over flashy decoration. Whether it’s just a basic presence on the web you need, or something more advanced that integrates with your other systems for automation, contact us to talk more– we’d love to hear from you.

How Apple Technology Helps Business in the Covid-19 Pandemic

How Apple Technology Helps Business in the Covid-19 Pandemic

A recent Wipro study indicated 59% of employees would choose a Mac if given a choice, though only 32% are already using one. Whether it’s a fleet of iPads, iPhones, or Macs, we can deploy and manage all of those devices, including software, without touching them. They can be delivered directly to staff, ready to go almost as if by magic.

The pandemic means tens of millions of employees are now working from home, many for the first time. Even reluctant enterprises have been forced to support this, and in most cases have found that remote workers still get work done.

What about new employee onboarding?

One of the challenges raised by some enterprises concerns the problem of bringing new employees aboard at a time of social distancing. In this regard, Hager shared his own company’s experience recruiting and onboarding new staff:

“We sent everybody home on March 12,” he said. “Since that time, we have fully remotely onboarded over 70 employees and we brought on over 30 summer interns. We fulfilled our internships to over 30 students this summer, and they never came in to work. They were actually very productive all summer long, did a terrific job for us.”

Contact us to find out how we can make this journey easier.

We go into the Dark Web so you don’t have to.

We go into the Dark Web so you don’t have to.

Digital credentials, such as usernames and passwords, connect you and your employees to critical business applications, as well as online services. Unfortunately, criminals know this — and that’s why digital credentials are among the most valuable assets found on the Dark Web.

A Dark and Dangerous Place

The Dark Web is made up of digital communities that hide on top of the Internet, and while there are legitimate purposes for the Dark Web, it’s estimated that over 50% of all sites on the Dark Web are used for criminal activities, including the disclosure and sale of digital credentials. Companies that have had their credentials compromised and sold on the Dark Web don’t know it until they’ve been informed by law enforcement — but by then, it’s too late.

How Does This Happen?

When your employees use their work or personal email on third party websites, like the types listed below, it makes your business vulnerable to a breach. With our Dark Web Monitoring, we can detect if your company is at risk due to exposed credentials on those websites.

  • HR & Payroll
  • Ecommerce Sites
  • Email Services (Gmail, Office 365, Hotmail, etc)
  • CRM Systems
  • Travel Sites (Expedia, Kayak,, etc)
  • Banking
  • Social Media (FaceBook, Instagram, etc)

What Can You Do to Protect Your Business?

By utilizing Dark Web ID by™, a combination of human and sophisticated Dark Web intelligence with search capabilities, you are able to identify, analyze and proactively monitor for your organization’s compromised or stolen employee and customer data.


Attacks on networks may be inevitable, but proactive monitoring of stolen and compromised data allows you to respond to a threat immediately to prevent a major breach.

Train and Phish!

Trained and aware employees are critical to securing an organization, and an effective, ongoing internal security awareness program can help reduce your company’s vulnerability, turning the “weakest link” in your cyber defences into its greatest strength.

Security awareness training and phishing simulations go hand in hand. Phishing has become very sophisticated and almost undetectable, as criminals have found ways to make their emails as realistic as possible. Phishing simulations test employees on how they would respond to a real-life phishing attack. We can send these mock attacks at staggered times, avoiding the “prairie dog effect” where employees warn one another of the email, for the best measurement of all employees’ awareness. We’ll track which employees have clicked on a phishing email, who has given away their password and who has ignored the email.

Once a learning gap is detected, we’ll deliver interactive educational videos to the most susceptible users. These easy-to-understand, short and visually engaging training videos include an online quiz to verify the employee’s retention of the training content. Training can be delivered regularly, to reinforce the importance of every employee’s role in protecting your business.

What We Monitor

  • Hidden chat rooms
  • Private websites
  • Peer-to-peer networks
  • IRC (internet relay chat) channels • Social media platforms
  • Black market sites
  • 640,000+ botnets


With 80,000+ email addresses compromised daily, the platform provides extensive reporting capabilities to track and triage incidents.


Dark Web ID allows us to see industry patterns long before they become trends, and offers the intelligence to keep you and your employees more protected.

How Dark Web ID by™ Protects Your Business

  • Connects to multiple Dark Web services including Tor, I2P and Freenet, to search for compromised credentials, without requiring you to connect to these high-risk services directly.
  • Provides intelligent awareness of compromised credentials before breaches occur.

Why It’s So Important

  • Compromised credentials are used to conduct further criminal activity.
  • Employees often use the same password for multiple services, such as network login, social media, and SaaS business applications, exponentially increasing the potential damage from a single compromised credential.
  • Limited visibility when credentials are stolen; over 75% of compromised credentials are reported to the victim’s organization by a third party, such as law enforcement.

Why you need an Integrated and Ongoing Awareness Program

  • Cyber-attacks are on the rise; particularly among small- and mid-sized businesses.
  • You may have the most up-to-date and strongest security systems in place, but this will be a wasted investment if you don’t also train and test your staff.
  • Threats are ever-evolving and become more sophisticated and harder to detect. Regular training on the latest criminal tactics will help mitigate risk.

Contact Us Today for a Free Preliminary Dark Web Scan!

Change or Stagnate

Change or Stagnate

Kaizen. This Japanese compound word translates to “change” (kai), and “good” (zen). Kaizen was the name of a technique Toyota used to become a giant in the auto industry.

In business, it’s also referred to as a Continual Improvement Process. It’s an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. These efforts can seek “incremental” improvement over time or “breakthrough” improvement all at once.

It’s particularly important for small businesses to embrace change that improves business processes, especially when it relates to technology. Technological tools (like software, networking, computer hardware, etceteras) tend to improve exponentially every year, yet we find that some of our clients lean toward avoiding change, to the exclusion of “getting better all the time”.

Avoiding change or improvement in the area of Information Technology can have grave long term affects. Risks change every day, whether it’s a new malware threat, the threat of equipment failure, or even loss by missing out on powerful new features.

My job is to guide our clients safely, gracefully, and quickly through change that leads to improvement. I sometimes ask my clients to step out of their comfort zone so they can realize improvements, or to mitigate risk associated with stagnation of technology. I will never recommend change just for the sake of change, and I’d be doing my client a disservice if I was allowed their business technology to stagnate without counselling them against it.

Often, when we do recommend change, the result is more productivity, increased revenue, enhanced security, or more happiness– sometimes it’s all four.

Make friends with the CRA

Make friends with the CRA

Suzanne Morter, our Xero Cloud Integration Specialist, Bookkeeping and Accounting Advisor, and Virtual CFO spoke last night at a business mixer event at Cafe Haven in Sherwood Park. Here are her notes from her talk:

Cafe Haven TGIF Talk

And here is a link to her “Year End Procedures” article:

Year End Procedures

TGIF Business event @ Cafe Haven
Friday April 5th 6:30 – 9:00
Drinks, Presentation, Mixer and Music

Who We Are and How We Work

Who We Are and How We Work

The move to Apple technology and Cloud Accounting is exciting.  It is also worth knowing what is ahead before making the decision to dive in! 

Who we are and how we work

There are two facets to our business of Managed Services and Consulting.

Our Business Technology Analyst, Michael Reinhart, is a member of the Apple Consultant’s Network– an Apple organization which certifies the expertise of consultants in Apple’s business technology. He has a diverse background, having worked in advertising, manufacturing, and architecture before graduating B.Comm. with a major in Accounting and a minor in Computing Science.  He went on to achieve a Master’s in Business Analysis.  When asked, people will tell you that Michael operates with integrity, is passionate about delivering quality for all his clients and is constantly working to stay on the leading edge in both the world of the Cloud and its life-changing tools to help you run a virtually trouble free business.

Over the last 12 years Michael has also been a partner (and COO), of a thriving Professional Services practice that has clients across much of Canada.  You would think Michael has no down time – and sometimes that is true!  You can find him, though, catching a moment to race around his neighbourhood on an electric skateboard or updating his astonishing knowledge of an array of Apple tools, gadgets and, let’s be honest – toys!

Complementing this is Suzanne Morter – Business Happiness Consultant – Accounting, who brings an equally diverse background that includes the not-for-profit industry, hospitality, sports and fitness as well as entrepreneurship.  Her education includes a B. Management as well as a CPA (CMA) designation.  During her work in the accounting world, she also spent many years working as a corporate trainer and sales associate for the Dale Carnegie organization and brings her skills in communications, leadership and corporate solutions to her work with Above.Care.

If Suzanne has any driving mission since joining™, it is to hear her Xero clients talk about how much “fun” their accounting is since making the switch.  Her deep desire to see people get excited about working on their business, seeing their profits rise and make sound decisions based on up to the minute financials has her advocating Xero to just about everyone.  Her diverse background allows her to “talk” accounting, hospitality, construction, service industry and sales as she already understands these businesses and is equipped to produce the best fit possible.  

As an™ consultant, she spends time at the outset of any initial meeting to understand exactly what you are looking for, starting with your dreams of the perfect system to what you have now and how that gap can be narrowed.  Her capacity to get to the root of what is not currently working allows her to create the best possible solution.  She will also ensure that each business owner knows as much about their system, their profitability and future potential, as possible.  In a time where many business owners rely on their accountants to provide details of their business viability, Suzanne works to help owners take charge of their own success while literally watching that success happen.

You can find Suzanne in her free time walking two energetic puppies, racing around to soccer and badminton practices with her two teenage boys or at they gym – working to keep her strength up for the previous activities!

Both Michael and Suzanne are committed to the success of your organization – whatever that may be.  They are persistent, motivated and determined to get your business up and running on your new systems as quickly as possible to minimize the business disruptions that come with an accounting implementation.  They also operate with honesty and integrity and are committed to finding the best, most affordable solution for you.  They will also tell you if they are not able to provide a solution and do their best to refer you to someone who can.

Contact Us to talk about modernizing your business systems.