How to master Microsoft Office!

How to master Microsoft Office!

Despite Microsoft Office’s easy-to-use interface, mastering all the features in this suite of productivity tools requires time. But fret not, the following training videos will help you become a Microsoft Office expert fast.

Office Basics is a series of free Office training videos from Microsoft which cover different features and functionality.

Intro to Office Basics

This training video will help you use templates to create professional documents, learn the ins and outs of SmartArt and Charts to express complex data and ideas, and collaborate in shared documents whether you’re working online, offline, or simultaneously with others.

What is Office 365?

Discover the features and upgrades within Office 365 that aren’t available anywhere else, and learn how cloud versions of applications like Word, Excel, and Outlook differ from their desktop counterparts.

Word Training

This training video will show you how to create and edit documents as well as create and format tables in just a few clicks. It also covers document makeovers, how to organize documents, creating mailing lists, and how to translate text instantly.

Excel Training

Creating, organizing, and analyzing data from charts and tables can be quite complicated, which is why this training video is perfect for anyone looking to design workbooks, add text and data, format and analyze charts, and create pivot tables and formulas. Other tips include how to slice data and locate them using VLOOKUP.

PowerPoint Training

There’s more to PowerPoint than adding text to slides. This training video will show you how to create presentations, add and format text, design presentations, add audio, video, and animations, and format images. You’ll also learn about nifty features such as how to match slide colors using the Eyedropper and how to export slides to videos.

Outlook Training

Organize your Outlook inbox with ease and learn how to add and format text and images, manage contacts, calendars, meetings, and to-do lists, as well as other tips such as how to spice up your email signature, keep your inbox clean, and hold meetings using Skype and OneNote.

Microsoft’s new training videos might not be jaw-dropping, but they will surely help users do more with Office. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of Microsoft Office for small businesses, just give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

Cybersecurity Essentials: VPN

Cybersecurity Essentials: VPN

Whether it’s because of government surveillance or cyberattacks, internet users are more concerned than ever about the privacy of their online activities. Unfortunately, security measures like firewalls and antivirus software can’t help you in this case, but there’s one that can: Virtual Private Network (VPN).

What is VPN?

Simply put, a VPN is a group of servers you connect to via the internet. Once you’ve established a connection, your computer acts as if it’s on the same local connection as the VPN, making it seem like you moved to a different location.

When you surf the web through a VPN, all the data transmitted and received is also encrypted, preventing anyone — from hackers to government agencies — from monitoring your online activities.

Why should you have one?

Of course, security and privacy are major reasons why you would want a VPN. For example, if you’re connected to a public WiFi network — like the ones you typically see in local cafes and airports — using a VPN encrypts the information you’re sending or accessing online. This means things like credit card details, login credentials, private conversations, or other sensitive documents can’t be intercepted by a third party.

VPNs are also useful for accessing geo-restricted websites. If you’re traveling abroad and certain US websites are blocked in that region, you can simply connect to a VPN located in the US to access the sites you need.

Which VPN should you choose?

Given the increasing demand for secure online privacy, VPNs are surging in popularity. The following considerations can help you find the right one.

1. Cost
While free VPNs are available, we strongly suggest you avoid them. These keep logs of your internet activity, and in some cases sell them to the highest bidder. Maintaining a VPN service is also expensive, which means the free ones will likely plaster ads on your browser to make a quick buck.

Paid VPNs like SurfEasy and StrongVPN often come with more robust features and configurations that keep you secure. What’s more, they don’t keep a record of the sites you visit and hound you with pop-ups that lead to dangerous websites.

2. Location
The physical location of VPN servers is important if you want to access region-blocked websites. So if you’re planning on accessing a UK-based service, your VPN provider must at least have servers installed in London.

3. Capacity
Read through a VPN provider’s terms of service to determine how much data you’re allowed to use. If possible, find out how many servers a VPN provider has. If they have plenty of servers online, you can rest assured that they have the capacity to support your internet browsing.

4. Device compatibility
Another important factor to consider is whether the VPN can be used across multiple devices. Nowadays, employees work on laptops, tablets, and smartphones, so you’ll want a VPN that’s compatible with all these.

5. IP leaking
Finally, a great way to evaluate a VPN service is to sign up for their free trial service and visit https://ipleak.net/, which will allow you to check whether your real IP address is actually being leaked. If it manages to track your physical location, you need to opt for a more reliable VPN service.

VPNs are now a vital component of cybersecurity, and if you need help selecting the right one for your business, consult with our security experts today. We also offer comprehensive cybersecurity services so no hacker or third party can get their hands on your data.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

How to extend your laptop battery life

How to extend your laptop battery life

These days, we get a lot of our work done on laptops, which means battery life is a huge priority for any laptop user. Wouldn’t it be good, then, to learn how to prolong the life of your laptop battery? Here are a few useful tips to do just that.

Some truths about your laptop battery

Batteries in many devices nowadays are lithium-based — either lithium-ion or lithium-polymer — so users must take note of the following guidelines for their proper maintenance:

  • They can’t be overcharged, even though you leave your battery plugged in for a long period of time. When the battery hits 100%, it’ll stop charging.
  • Leaving your battery completely drained will damage it.
  • Batteries have limited lifespans. So no matter what you do, yours will age from the very first time you charge it. This is because as time passes, the ions will no longer be able to flow efficiently from the anode to the cathode, thereby reducing its capacity.

What else can degrade your battery

Besides its being naturally prone to deterioration, your battery can degrade due to higher-than-normal voltages, which happens when you keep your battery fully charged at all times. Even though a modern laptop battery cannot be overcharged, doing so will add a stress factor that’ll harm your battery.

Both extremely high temperatures (above 70°F) and low temperatures (between 32-41°F) can also reduce battery capacity and damage its components. The same goes for storing a battery for long periods of time, which can lead to the state of extreme discharge. Another factor is physical damage. Remember that batteries are made up of sensitive materials, and physical collision can damage them.

How to prolong your battery life

Now that you know some facts about your laptop battery, it’s time to learn how to delay its demise:

  • Never leave your battery completely drained.
  • Don’t expose your battery to extremely high or low temperatures.
  • If possible, charge your battery at a lower voltage.
  • If you need to use your laptop for a long period of time while plugged into a power source, it’s better to remove the battery. This is because a plugged-in laptop generates more heat which will damage your battery.
  • When you need to store your battery for a few weeks, you should recharge your battery to 40% and remove it from your laptop for storage.

These are just a few tips on extending the life of your hardware. There are many more ways you can maximize your hardware efficiency and extend its longevity. Call our experts today to find out more!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

Microsoft’s new productivity apps are live

Microsoft’s new productivity apps are live

In July 2017, Microsoft announced three brand new apps for Office 365: Connections, Listings, and Invoicing. They were designed for businesses with fewer than 300 employees and after a few months of beta testing, they’re finally available to Business Premium users. Take a minute to learn about what they can do for your team!

Microsoft Invoicing

Word and Excel have hundreds of templates for generating company invoices, but this new app does much more than just create documents. Invoicing allows you to store the names, descriptions, and prices of your products and services in a connected database. You can also store your tax information, company logo, and a click-to-pay PayPal badge, which means half of the necessary information is automatically filled out the moment you click Create.

In addition to clean and professional looking documents, Invoicing also makes it easy to organize, store, and search past invoices thanks to a built-in QuickBooks integration. Last but not least, all of this is easily accessible from Microsoft’s mobile app.

Microsoft Listings

With its centralized dashboard, Listings allows you to manage and update company details displayed by Google, Facebook, Bing, and Yelp. It also helps you monitor your company’s online reputation by tracking page-views, company reviews, and Likes.

Microsoft Connections

Connections is the perfect app for small business email marketing. Similar to the Invoicing platform, Connections stores your company information and uses it to create personalized email marketing campaigns with the click of a button.

For example, templates for newsletters, referrals, and promotions include customizable discounts and offers that trigger pre-written follow-up campaigns. Connections tracks and analyzes the performance of all your email-based campaigns to make refining and improving your content a breeze, whether it’s from your desktop or the mobile app.

How to enable Invoicing, Listings, and Connections

As long as you have an Office 365 Business Premium subscription, accessing these apps requires only a global admin login. From the Admin Center, click the Settings tab on the left-hand side of the screen, followed by Services & add-ins and then Business apps. In this menu, you can grant specific users permission to use Microsoft’s newest programs.

Setting up these apps is fairly easy. However, it’s even easier to have your Office 365 account managed by us. We could have remotely installed Invoicing, Listings, and Connections for you almost a month ago, and with our information security expertise and unlimited IT support requests, there’s no limit to the value we can add to your Office 365 subscription. Give us a call to get started!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

Google improves Chrome’s security settings

Google improves Chrome’s security settings

Most web browsers have built-in security measures to protect users, but some of those aren’t enough to ward off unwanted software. To improve Chrome’s security, Google rolled out some changes in its Chrome Cleanup tool for Windows. Here’s how the enhanced tool protects you.

Detect hijacked settings

Many users prefer to enhance their browsing experience by installing extensions or plug-ins, some of which could be malicious. When these extensions are installed, they could inject harmful ads into web pages or allow access to third-party servers without the user’s consent.

Google’s new hijacked settings detection function prevents this from happening. Once it detects an attempt by a third party to change your browser’s settings, it will automatically revert to Chrome’s default settings. And in case you suspect any unauthorized change in your browser, you can manually reset settings in Chrome.

Simplify cleanup

You probably don’t remember downloading many of the files in your Downloads folder, but these are actually software and other attachments that were bundled with the software that you do use.

Chrome Cleanup’s newly simplified feature makes it easier for you to determine harmful files, easing the pain of sorting through and deleting tons of downloaded files. Whenever it detects a malicious software, users will get a pop-up message that offers them an easy way to remove the potential threat, get more details about it, or disregard it in case of false detection.

Maximize removal of nonessential software

Aside from the simplified interface, Google also made some much-needed improvements in Chrome Cleanup’s performance, so it’s now capable of eliminating more junkware.

Tricking users into installing a program without their consent is one of the many characteristics of unwanted software that Google lists under its Unwanted Software Policy. To help fight against this and other browser security risks, the company has partnered with an IT security team to strengthen Chrome’s ability to detect and remove unwelcome add-ons.

It’s important to note that these upgrades don’t affect Chrome’s performance and speed because they work in the background. In addition, these changes are now available in Windows devices but will soon roll out to other platforms. In the meantime, if you want to find out more about browser and application security, contact our security specialists today!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Outlook on Mac and Windows gets redesigned

Outlook on Mac and Windows gets redesigned

Microsoft is redesigning Outlook for Mac and Windows to reduce clutter and improve user experience. The design changes will be patterned after the iOS version of the app, which is much easier to use and more modern-looking than its desktop counterpart. If you use Outlook on a desktop, check out these new changes.

How Outlook will be simplified

The most notable feature of the new Outlook will be a simplified navigation bar along the top of the screen, which means less of the screen will be reserved for formatting and organizational options. However, you can still add more buttons to accommodate your common tasks and preferences. With a smaller number of commands, you can benefit from an uncluttered interface that lets you use email more efficiently.

Changes will also be made to the left panel to provide users with quicker access to folders across multiple accounts. Moreover, a slide-to-delete function using Apple’s trackpad — like in the iOS version — will be integrated into the redesigned app.

Other design changes for Outlook in Mac

Mac users can also expect faster and more reliable search and calendar features in the enhanced Outlook. The search function will get a performance boost and will be moved to the top right corner of the app for easier access. The calendar function’s interface, on the other hand, will be reworked to eliminate tedious steps currently required to manage appointments.

These and other upcoming changes are aimed at increasing users’ satisfaction ‘by providing a cleaner, more modern way to email.’ The design changes will also benefit those who access their account on different devices because, in the updated desktop version, they will be able to enjoy the same uncluttered app that they use on their mobile devices.

Although the changes are for Windows and Mac, Microsoft is implementing most of the design changes primarily for Mac. Microsoft recognizes Outlook’s popularity among “key influencers and decision makers,” whom it wishes to win over before a wider release. The new version will most likely become available to Office 365 subscribers first and eventually roll out with Office 2019, which is expected to arrive in mid-2018.

An easy-to-use email interface is a boon to your business’s productivity. And with Outlook’s new look and improved functionality, you can read, send, and organize emails more conveniently and with minimal distraction. Our experts are on-hand to answer all your questions about Outlook and other Microsoft Office apps — get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

Google studies effects of leaked logins

Google studies effects of leaked logins

Passwords are your first line of defense against hackers. But over the years, they have developed plenty of methods to steal them. To gain a deeper understanding of how cybercriminals operate, Google analyzed the causes of leaked login credentials. Here are the results.

The results
From March 2016 to March 2017, Google and UC Berkeley researchers examined three main ways hackers hijack accounts:

  • Keylogging software – a malicious program that records computer users’ keystrokes
  • Phishing emails – to lead people into dangerous websites
  • Stolen passwords – available to the highest bidder

In just one year, Google found 788,000 successful keylogging attacks, 12.4 million victims of phishing attacks, and 1.9 billion accounts exposed via login credentials sold on the black market.

Researchers suggest the reason so many accounts are hacked is because people tend to reuse their passwords, which means if one set of login credentials is exposed, other accounts could be compromised.

Phishing is also a big threat because it targets users — the weakest links in your cybersecurity. The strongest password or security system won’t mean anything if your employees constantly fall for online scams.

Protecting your accounts
There are several things you can do thwart account hijacking. For starters, you should set strong and unique passwords for each account to minimize data breaches.

While the general rule in the past was to set a complex password — a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols — recent studies suggest that longer, 20-character “passphrases” are much tougher to crack. If you find it difficult to remember several passwords, consider using a password manager, which not only stores all your passwords, but can generate strong passwords, too.

To deal with phishing attacks, you should activate multi-factor authentication on your accounts. This adds an extra layer of identity verification to your password (e.g., a fingerprint scan or a temporary security key sent to your phone), making your login details ‘unphishable.’

Security training is also crucial. This includes teaching your employees about what phishing attacks look like and instructing them on password protection best practices so they never fall victim to account hijacking.

The bottom line is not only that strong password security requires strong defense mechanisms; you and your employees must be vigilant, too.

Need more advice on keeping your business safe? Call us today! We provide critical security updates and comprehensive support services to help you stay well ahead of cybercriminals.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

Google My Business now accepts appointments

Google My Business now accepts appointments

There are countless platforms that showcase, review and link to small businesses, but few have as much impact as Google does. Although business owners can’t choose where their site ranks in the search results, they can edit information that is displayed and insert some flashy new features.

How to edit your business’s Google listing

When someone types your business’s name and location into Google.com, a “Knowledge Panel” is displayed on the righthand side of the search results with information about your office. If your business doesn’t have a Knowledge Panel, you can change that by opening a free Google My Business (GMB) account.

The GMB platform lets you link to your website, update office information (address, hours, phone number, etc.) and choose which photos Google associates with your company. GMB also gives you data about how many people:

  • Saw your business’s Knowledge Panel in search results
  • Visited your website by clicking somewhere in the Knowledge Panel
  • Asked for directions via the Knowledge Panel

What’s new with GMB?

In the summer of 2017, Google announced that business owners could customize “Posts” in their Knowledge Panel. Posts are made up of a 100-300 word caption, an image and a call-to-action button, such as Learn More, Sign Up, Buy, etc. Posts automatically expire after seven days, which makes them perfect for sales, events and content marketing.

More recently, Google added another exciting feature: the ability to schedule appointments from inside the Knowledge Panel. If your website uses one of the 22 accepted plugins, you can connect it with GMB to make it easier for searchers to book a reservation at your location. Google is in the process of rolling out this feature to gyms, beauty salons and restaurants, but a wider release is on the way.

How do I enable Bookings?

Adding this feature to your GMB page is an easy four-step process:

  1. Log in to Google My Business
  2. Click on the Sign Up For Bookings icon below your business’s profile
  3. Choose your booking provider from the list of approved vendors and sign up on its site
  4. Check back in a few days and start tracking your appointments with GMB!

If your business accepts reservations, this feature will be an indispensable tool for improving your customers’ experiences. For more information on low-cost technology solutions that add value to your business — give us a call today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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OneDrive’s new feature helps you save space

OneDrive’s new feature helps you save space

Don’t you just hate it when your PC gives a warning message that it’s running out of space? You’re then forced to go through all your files to figure out which are important and which ones can be deleted. Sometimes you manage to get a few megabytes back, but oftentimes you end up grabbing your external disks. But with OneDrive Files On-Demand, the issue will become a thing of the past.

Microsoft has launched OneDrive’s new feature called “OneDrive Files On-Demand,” which comes with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. This new feature allows users to transfer files to Microsoft’s cloud storage, thus saving some space on their local hard drive. What’s great about this feature is that you can open and view the online-only files quickly and conveniently as if you’re opening them from your local hard drive.

How to get the new feature

When you upgrade to Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, the OneDrive Files On-Demand feature should be enabled by default. But if it’s not, all you need to do is turn it on by:

  • Opening OneDrive
  • Clicking the cloud icon on the right side of your taskbar
  • Selecting Settings and clicking the Setting tab
  • In the Files On-Demand section, make sure the Save space and download files as you use them box is checked

What do these icons mean?

In the OneDrive folder in File Explorer, you’ll see three types of icons (look at the Status column). Here’s what they mean:

  • Blue cloud: files that are stored online only
  • Green checkmark in white circle: files that are stored locally and will be made online-only when you’re running out of space
  • White checkmark in green circle: files that are stored locally even when you’re running out of space

How to download online-only files

You can download files stored online to your local disk by simply opening them, whereupon a green checkmark will appear on the file. You can also make those files always-available offline (white checkmark) by right-clicking the files and selecting Always keep on this device.

How to upload local files to the cloud

Just right click the files — whether they’re files with green or white check marks — and select Free up space.

Microsoft’s OneDrive Files On-Demand feature is another proof of how cloud technology can help optimize your IT resources. For more ways to make the most of your technology investment, talk to our cloud experts today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Android introduces Fast Pair

Android introduces Fast Pair

As seen with Apple’s AirPods, people today are quickly growing accustomed to wireless pairing between their smartphones and headphones. Of course, Google has been working on a solution of its own, and it has just made it to the market.

What is Fast Pair?

Fast Pair is Android’s new connectivity solution which uses Bluetooth technology and the smartphone’s proximity to let you connect to Fast Pair-enabled Bluetooth devices with just a single tap.

How does it work?

When a Fast Pair-enabled device is nearby, your Android smartphone will automatically retrieve the device’s product image and name from Google’s servers and display it on the screen. After tapping the image, a confirmation message will appear to let you know a pairing has been made successfully.

Fast Pair also comes with useful companion apps. An example would be the equalizer app that comes with certain Bluetooth headphones. It lets users optimize their sound experience whenever using Fast Pair to connect to Bluetooth devices.

Note that Fast Pair only works with Google Play Services version 11.7. And while Google may not have introduced a completely new technology, you can expect a broader range of wireless coverage and faster connectivity as more wireless devices get Bluetooth 5 features.

Does it support all existing Bluetooth gadgets?

Not for the time being; Bluetooth device manufacturers will need to adopt Fast Pair by registering with Android first. Currently, the following headphones are Fast Pair compatible: Google’s Pixel Buds, Libratone’s Q Adapt On-Ear, and Plantronics Voyager 8200-series wireless headsets.

Support for Fast Pair extends back to Android Marshmallow. And as more Android phones are losing the headphone jack, Google has made the right move to support the change in demand.

As the world of technology moves forward, you can expect even more hardware designed to make life easier. And as always, you can count on us to keep you up to date about all of it. If you have any other questions, just give us a call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto