Office 365’s apps get a revamp

Office 365’s apps get a revamp

If you’re one of the million-plus users taking advantage of Office 365’s premium productivity apps, you’ll soon notice some changes. Last June, Microsoft revealed that Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, and Word will be getting a design revamp in the coming months. Here’s a preview of what’s to come.

Simplified ribbon

The biggest update is with the ribbon, which is a command bar at the top of a window. The new design now has a simpler, cleaner look that gives users the chance to customize the tools they work with most, simply by pinning apps or files to your Windows taskbar. Even though this new ribbon is designed with simplicity in mind, if you don’t find it helpful you can still revert back to the regular three-line view.

Some users may already be using this new ribbon in the online version of Word, while Outlook for Windows will receive it sometime this month. However, Microsoft disclosed that they aren’t yet ready to roll it out to PowerPoint, Word, and Excel for Windows.

Improved search option

One of the major changes is with the search option in Microsoft Office apps. The developers improved the search experience by using Microsoft graph, so users can now see search recommendations when they move their cursor to the search box. Some have already seen this update take effect, but it won’t be available for Outlook on the web until August.

Better colors and icons

To make the overall design more aesthetically pleasing, the colors and icons of every app have been revamped, too. They wanted a more modern look crisp and clean no matter the size of the user’s screen, which is why they employed scalable graphics. It first debuted on Word before appearing on Excel, PowerPoint, and Works for Windows last month. As for Outlook for Windows and Mac, users can expect the update later this summer.

Office 365 is constantly evolving to benefit subscribers. And to make things even more interesting, users will be chosen at random over the next several months to receive the updates, and Microsoft will gather their reviews to make further improvements. Co-creating new features with customers is something Microsoft truly believes in, so this isn’t simply a social media tactic.

So as you hang tight for these coming changes, consider increasing office collaboration by migrating your files to the cloud. Call us today to get started!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

5 ways you could blow your online reputation

5 ways you could blow your online reputation

As a small business owner, you’ve probably used social media to establish a connection with your customers and share stories that will shine a positive light on your brand. While social media is a great tool to foster your business name, if used incorrectly it could just shatter your online reputation. Here are some common mistakes you should avoid when implementing social media marketing in your business.

Your online reputation will not take care of itself

Assuming that your enterprise doesn’t need an online reputation management (ORM) strategy is the most common ORM mistake business owners should avoid and, probably the first one as well. Just because your business’s reviews were positive today, doesn’t mean they will be tomorrow. Your online reputation can change in an instant.

Think about it: The key to protecting your business from the harmful bad reviews is a good ORM strategy. In short – this is a process that could make or break your reputation, and you should be extra careful. The more work you put in ORM, the more control you have over what appears in search engines for your products or services.

Expressing your personal opinion

You’re making a big mistake if you let your emotions get in the way when posting content on your business’s social media profiles. Discussing religion, politics, or other controversial issues may turn off people who matter to your business. Unless they’re relevant to the nature of your business, avoid mentioning sensitive topics. Instead, try to keep a neutral tone, since the goal of your social media efforts is to appeal to everyone.

Ignoring or responding aggressively to negative comments

Negative feedback can be painful to hear but, if you can put aside your pride, it is a real opportunity for improvement. When customers post a negative comment, ignoring it can make things go from bad to worse. Customers may think that you’re not taking their issue seriously, and could resort to posting complaints on all sorts of platforms, which quickly become impossible to control.

Also, don’t let things get out of hand – reply in a timely manner and try to solve problems as best you can, not by posting abusive rants or sending back angry emails to authors of bad feedback.

Posting fake reviews (both negative and positive)

Another online reputation mistake is to post negative reviews on your competitors’ website to dampen their credibility. This underhanded strategy is ethically wrong.

On the other hand, influential websites like Google have algorithms in place to help weed out false customer feedback, so making the mistake of posting fake client reviews to boost your business is such a waste of time and effort. Instead, focus on delivering high-quality products and services to generate authentic customer reviews, which can really pay off in the long run.

Being inconsistent

To build a good online reputation, you need to be consistent. Your social media fans followed your page for a reason – they have certain expectations that you will post regular and interesting content. Updating social media with ten posts one day, followed by complete silence for the following few weeks, is a bad example of consistency. Don’t disappear for days or weeks on end. Try to schedule a routine and interact with your audience on a regular basis.

A credible online reputation is an important part of your business’s public image. If you want to discuss how to establish an online presence and a strong ORM, contact us today and we can give insights from experts.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

Consider the security risks of your software

Consider the security risks of your software

Cybersecurity is an issue that hounds businesses of all types. Sometimes organizations invest in security software without realizing the risks that come with it. Here’s why identifying threats before buying cybersecurity products is paramount.

Uncover threats and vulnerabilities

Every business should evaluate the current state of its cybersecurity by running a risk assessment. Doing so is one of the easiest ways to identify, correct, and prevent security threats. After discovering potential issues, you should rate them based on probability of occurrence and potential impacts to your business.

Keep in mind that risk assessments are specific to every business and there is no one-size-fits-all approach for small business technology. It all depends on your line of business and operating environment. For instance, manufacturing companies and insurance groups have totally different applications to secure.

After tagging and ranking potential threats, you should identify which vulnerabilities need immediate attention and which ones can be addressed further down the line. For example, a web server running an unpatched operating system is probably a higher priority than a front desk computer that’s running a little slower than normal.

Tailor controls to risks

Instead of spending time and money evenly on all systems, it’s best that you focus on areas with high risk. You should address these issues immediately after an assessment, but also put plans in place to evaluate their risk profiles more often.

Assess existing products

Chances are, your organization has already spent a great deal of money on security products and their maintenance and support. By conducting risk assessments more often, you can improve the strategies you already have in place and uncover wasteful spending. You may discover that one outdated system merely needs to be upgraded and another needs to be ditched. Remember, your existing products were purchased to meet specific needs that may have changed immensely or disappeared altogether.

It’s much harder to overcome cybersecurity obstacles if you’re not regularly evaluating your IT infrastructure. Contact our experts for help conducting a comprehensive assessment today!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

Energy saving tips for your PC

Energy saving tips for your PC

You want to save energy, but you need to use your PC every day. So maybe you just resort to turning off your computer when you’re not using it. But a plugged-in PC or electrical appliance, even when turned off, consumes standby power. Here are some tips on how you can save energy with your PC.

1. Disconnect your external devices

Devices that connect to your PC like printers, sound systems, and webcams consume power, too. That’s why you should disconnect or remove these devices from your PC as soon as you’re done using them.

2. Use a smart strip, especially for computers you cannot turn off

A smart strip is a series of several electrical outlets in one strip, with circuits to monitor and maximize your gadgets’ power consumption. By connecting your PC and its peripherals (printer, speakers, scanners, etc.) to the smart strip, you don’t need to unplug your equipment when you’re not using them.

3. Adjust your computer’s energy settings

You can also consume less energy by adjusting your PC’s power settings. For example, you can make sure your hard drive and monitor go into “sleep” mode when they’re left idle for a few minutes. Lowering the screen brightness will also help you save electricity.

4. Shutdown and unplug your computer when not in use

If you are not yet using a smart strip, then it’s best to shut down the computer when you’re not using it. Also, make sure to unplug it, as leaving it plugged consumes standby power.

5. Use a charger only when charging your laptop

When we charge our laptops, it’s easy to just leave them there and forget about them. This results in the eventual degrading of the battery. Leaving the charger plugged on the wall also consumes standby power. So either use a wall outlet with a timer, or plug your charger on a smart strip instead.

6. And should you be in the market for a new PC, choose one that’s Energy Star compliant

Energy Star is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s symbol for energy efficiency. Every product that earns the Energy Star symbol is guaranteed to deliver quality performance and energy savings. Studies have shown that a single Energy Star compliant computer and monitor can save from $7 to $52 per year in electricity bills.

Saving energy is a combination of smart choices in hardware plus developing good energy-conservation habits. These tips should help you achieve that. If you need assistance in choosing the best hardware for your needs, call us and we’ll be glad to help you out.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

How consumer habits changed the web

The average web user’s attention span gets shorter every day. People don’t want to spend hours sifting through a website to find the information they need; they want it as soon as the page loads. To keep up with the times businesses have drastically changed how they develop their websites.

Bite-sized content
While there are several elements that make an effective website, the most successful ones offer ‘snackable’ content. These are bite-sized chunks of information that give visitors everything they need to decide whether a website is worth their time. Microsoft’s homepage, for instance, gets straight to the point, promoting each of their services with one line of text and links to more details.

Besides accommodating short attention spans, concise content is easier to share on social media and increases brand awareness.

The point is, if you’re working on your website, make sure you’re not overloading visitors with walls of text. You can expand on products and services on separate pages, but even those need to be broken up into digestible segments.

Loading time
How fast a page loads is a crucial part of a website’s user experience. If it takes over three seconds to load, users will click away and go to a more responsive site. This is why modern websites optimize their content for speed and responsiveness.

High-resolution photos and videos slow down a website, especially if users are on mobile devices and networks. One way around this is by implementing mobile-friendly image formats that are quick and easy to load.

Another popular solution among website producers is Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). This solution creates a stripped-down, mobile-optimized version of websites so images and videos render quickly.

Personalization
Today’s internet users also want tailor-made experiences whenever they visit a site. They want the website to know what they’re looking for ahead of time so they don’t have to spend time digging for the information they need. Websites like Netflix, for example, use analytics to recommend movies and television shows a user might like based on their viewing history.

While most businesses don’t have access to the same resources as Netflix, they can utilize Google Analytics to understand the people visiting their website and use the insights to customize the content accordingly.

Some websites even ask what visitors are looking for to direct them to pages where the content is customized to their needs.

If you want to increase customer engagement and page visits, make sure you’re doing all these things with your website. Web trends can also change at any moment, so stay tuned to our blog to know about the latest developments.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

How to minimize risks after a data breach

How to minimize risks after a data breach

Despite efforts to protect your data, some breaches are beyond your control. When an online company with your personal details gets hacked, you have no choice but to manage your risks on your own. These practical tips can help you reduce risks of identity theft and other threats.

Determine what was breached

Whether its names, addresses, email addresses, or social security numbers, it’s critical to know exactly what type of information was stolen before determining what steps to take. For example, if your email address were compromised, you’d take every precaution to strengthen your email security, which includes updating all your login credentials.

Change affected passwords immediately

Speaking of passwords, change yours immediately after any breach, even for seemingly safe accounts. Create a strong password comprised of alphanumeric and special characters, and make sure you never reuse passwords from your other accounts.

Once you’ve changed all your passwords, use a password manager to help you keep track of all your online account credentials.

If the website that breached your information offers two-factor authentication (2FA), enable it right away. 2FA requires two steps to verify security: usually a password and a verification code sent to a user’s registered mobile number.

Contact financial institutions

In cases where financial information was leaked, call your bank and credit card issuers to change your details, cancel your card, and notify them of a possible fraud risk. That way, banks can prevent fraud and monitor your account for suspicious activity.

Note that there are different rules for fraudulent transactions on debit cards and credit cards. Credit card transactions are a bit easier to dispute because they have longer grace periods. Debit card fraud, on the other hand, is more difficult to dispute, especially if the fraudulent transactions happened after you’ve notified the bank.

Place a fraud alert on your name

Hackers who have your personal information can easily commit identity fraud. To avoid becoming a victim, contact credit reporting bureaus like Equifax, Experian, or Innovis and request that a fraud alert (also called credit alert) be added to your name. This will block any attempt to open a credit account under your name and prevent unauthorized third parties from running a credit report on you.

Putting a credit freeze on your name might result in minor inconveniences, especially if you have an ongoing loan or credit card application. Still, doing so will greatly reduce your risks of getting defrauded.

These steps will ensure you don’t fall victim to identity theft in the event of a large-scale data breach. If you want to take a more proactive approach to protect your sensitive information against breaches, contact our cybersecurity experts today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

Top 7 Office 365 Productivity Add-Ons

Top 7 Office 365 Productivity Add-Ons

Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365 has successfully made day-to-day business operations more efficient with popular apps like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, and Outlook. What’s more, it also offers productivity-boosting add-ons that streamline users’ workflow.

#1. StaffHub

You can now easily keep track of your employees’ work hours, allow employees to swap shifts, and make changes where appropriate with Microsoft’s StaffHub app. What’s more, employees can also communicate with team members through its internal community spaces, check out new company updates, and add important internal resources like employee handbooks or training manuals through the app. The app is available on any mobile device, making it a very convenient tool for employees who need to manage their schedule and stay up to date.

#2. Office Tabs

Office Tabs allow you to open multiple files in one window, which saves you time from having to go through each opened document until you find the right one. As such, you can close or save all or everything but the current active document in a single click. You can also directly rename files by clicking Rename, instead of going through the tedious process of clicking Save As and then changing its name.

#3. Grammarly

The last thing you want to send to your clients is a confusing, poorly written email or document. Grammarly solves this by having your text go through rigorous grammar, spelling, and plagiarism checks. It then provides vocabulary suggestions and recommends writing style changes to polish your writing. This add-on is available in Word and Outlook, and its Premium counterpart is priced at $11.66 per month (annual plan).

#4. Pexels

Professional documents and presentations require high-resolution, blemish-free images, and Pexels helps you get them easily. Its free stock images are under a Creative Commons Zero license, meaning you can search high-quality images and use them in all your documents for any purpose with no legal repercussions.

#5. DocuSign

DocuSign for Outlook and Word lets you or the recipient securely sign the document electronically and send it through email, save it in the app, or store it in your company’s server. DocuSign complies with eSignature legal standards and is secured with an end-to-end Digital Transaction Management, ensuring your files will never be leaked or breached.

#6. FindTime

Setting up a meeting time is tedious and difficult, especially if your employees have different schedules. FindTime automatically scours every attendee’s personal schedule to locate open slots, and creates possible meeting time options for everyone to vote on. A meeting will then be scheduled according to whichever slot gets the highest vote within a specified amount of time.

#7. Translator

Businesses that deal with foreign companies will find communication much easier with Translator. This add-on recognizes and translates more than 50 different languages, including English, French, Spanish, and Chinese. Not only will you now spend less time understanding foreign-language documents, but you’ll also be able to work with clients from various parts of the world.

Start improving work productivity and make the most out of your Office 365 with Microsoft productivity add-ons. To get started or learn more about Office 365, Microsoft add-ons, or anything Microsoft Office related, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

Router malware worse than experts realize

Router malware worse than experts realize

In May, security experts discovered one of the most widespread malware infections in history. Now, they’re warning businesses and consumers that it’s even worse than their first assessment. The VPNFilter malware poses a threat to small businesses and requires immediate attention from anyone who hasn’t taken action against it.

VPNFilter recap

A team of security researchers from Cisco released a report that a strain of malware had been discovered on hundreds of thousands of routers and network devices. Originally, researchers believed it affected only Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear, and TP-Link devices.

Like many malware strains, VPNFilter infects devices that use default login credentials. But it’s worse than the average cyberattack because it can destroy router hardware and cannot be removed by resetting infected devices.

As if destroying 500,000 routers wasn’t bad enough, VPNFilter lets its creators spy on networks and intercept passwords, usernames, and financial information.

What’s new

Just two weeks after VPNFilter was discovered, security experts announced that it targets 200,000 additional routers manufactured by ASUS, D-Link, Huawei, Ubiquiti, UPVEL, and ZTE. Worse yet, VPNFilter can alter data passing through infected routers. That means when you enter a username and password into a banking website, hackers could steal that information and show you an incorrect account balance to hide fraudulent deductions.

How to stop VPNFilter

Rebooting a router won’t remove the malware, you need to factory-reset the device. Usually, all this requires is holding down the Reset button on the back of the device for 10-30 seconds. If your router has no reset button or you’re unsure whether pressing it did the trick, contact a local IT provider immediately.

Cybersecurity threats have become so prevalent that even large enterprises struggle to keep their digital assets safe. Outsourcing IT support to a managed services provider like us will give you enough capacity to deal with issues like VPNFilter as soon as they arise. Call us today to learn more.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

What’s new at the 2018 Apple WWDC?

What’s new at the 2018 Apple WWDC?

San Jose, California, recently hosted WWDC 2018. Apple’s engineers interacted with the developers in attendance, while everyone at the event got a sneak preview at the computer manufacturer’s upcoming products and software. Check out the highlights from the event right here!

A more personal, faster iOS 12

Apple has focused on improving the operating system’s performance so that iPads and iPhones become more responsive and work faster. The good news is that older devices that can still run iOS 11 will be compatible with iOS 12.

Developers tweaked the software to make apps launch quicker, especially the keyboard and camera. The latest version of iOS is designed to optimize its system when it is under load, so that Apple products run faster when the user demands higher performance.

Fresh features aimed at impressing consumers include the Memoji, an Animoji that users can customize to their preferences. Group Facetime supports video conferences of up to 32 individuals, and these fun tweaks can be used in both Facetime via the Effects camera and in Messages.

A smarter Siri

Apple’s signature digital assistant can now answer queries about motorsports, food, and famous people. There is a new Shortcuts feature integrated in the Workflow app, which allows users to automate various tasks in first- and third-party apps, to be triggered through Siri voice commands.

Both Shortcuts and suggestions by Siri appear on the Lock screen, and third-party Shortcuts integration will let Siri do more when the user pulls the Lock screen down to search. A dedicated Shortcuts app will be available later this year to give users a quick way to build Shortcuts from dozens of preset options.

An alternative to Google Photos

The iOS Photos app may be useful to Apple product users, but it may seem too basic for some. Once iOS 12 is released however, a clever Photos app will showcase most of the features that Google Photos has.

The Search feature has been improved – users can look for images based on general terms such as “park” or even business names, and multiple terms can be searched (such as images from Africa during a particular month). All pictures will be arranged by place and time in case the user wants to perform searches with those variables.

A new tab labeled “For you” will contain the auto-generated albums which Photos makes, and is sorted with any shared albums. Speaking of sharing, the enhanced Photos app will proactively advise users on what images to share according to who is in the pictures.

A refined WatchOS

Apple’s upcoming WatchOS 5 will introduce users to new ways of connecting to the world while staying active. It may not be a radical revision for the wearable device, but the apps and features it provides will be more helpful and fun for the user.

The highlight of WatchOS 5 is the Walkie-Talkie app, an innovative method of communicating by combining the natural flow of messaging with real-time voice discussions. Just like the conventional product that the app is based on, users simply press and hold down a virtual Talk button to converse with friends and family.

Hiking and Yoga have been added to the list of workout types, while users can keep track of their Outdoor Runs more effectively with support for cadence, the custom pace alert, and the rolling mile pace. Automatic workout detection will make sure that the Apple Watch will always stop or start recording user activity while exercising. This feature works with Open Water Swim, Pool Swim, Rower, Elliptical, Indoor Walk, Outdoor Walk, Indoor Run, and Outdoor Run.

To get users motivated to work up a sweat, WatchOS 5 has a Competition feature that allows friends and family to challenge each other in a contest to see who can get the most activity points within a week. The watches will post regular progress reports to let contestants know how they are doing, and the winner will get a special award.

These updates can change at any time, and will be released by Fall this year. If you need more information on making use of Apple devices and software, or if you have other computer-related concerns, feel free to contact us today!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

Hide & Seek: New IoT malware to watch out for

Hide & Seek: New IoT malware to watch out for

You probably think your Internet of Things (IoT) devices don’t need as much protection as your PCs or laptops. Newsflash: They’re actually even more vulnerable to hacking. In fact, researchers have discovered a terrifying strain of IoT malware that can infect your devices.

What is the Hide And Seek malware?

The Hide and Seek (HNS) malware has created a “botnet” by quietly infecting thousands of devices using advanced communication methods. Without getting too technical, a botnet adds or “recruits” computers to their network to carry out malicious acts, such as overloading a network by telling every infected device in the botnet to try and connect at the same time.

The new HNS can’t be removed by resetting the infected device, which is the solution for most IoT malware strains. The new strain can also exploit a greater variety of devices and in less time than its predecessors. Experts believe it has already compromised more than 90,000 IPTC cameras and other devices.

IoT devices are easily hacked if they connect to the internet, which is home to opportunistic cybercriminals. And because businesses and consumers are expected to acquire and use more IoT devices (the market is expected to reach $1.7 trillion by 2020), it’s imperative to take cybersecurity precautions.

How can I protect my IoT devices?

Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep your devices — and ultimately your network and data — safe from HNS and other forms of malware.

  • Turn off your IoT devices when not in use to reduce their exposure to fast-spreading malware.
  • Take simple precautions to keep your WiFi networks safe, like changing your network’s default settings (including your network’s name), and using complex passwords that are changed from time to time.
  • For those who use a large number and variety of devices, install a threat management system that will block intruders and secure common threat entry points.

With HNS and other malware strains expected to increase in number and complexity, it’s more important than ever to take a multi-layered approach to security. Call us today to learn more about which cybersecurity solutions are right for your business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto