Categories
Technology Training

Microsoft OneDrive For Beginners

Every Microsoft product is designed to drive collaboration and efficiency. Microsoft OneDrive is no exception. Built as a solution to match the emergence of products like DropBox, OneDrive is integrated into the Office 365 offering and works seamlessly with all Microsoft Office products.

In this video, we will show you how to access and set up your OneDrive account that comes with five gigabytes of storage. OneDrive allows you to send files without having to use email or file transfer methods. Simply upload your files to the cloud and allow your team or any specific person to have access to them.

The real power of OneDrive is the ability to share data. OneDrive will act as a kind of backup, staying synced with the computer files that you have saved in OneDrive, however, OneDrive was intended to serve as a way for teams to collaborate with large files. Instead of trying to send a large file directly, you can simply upload your file to OneDrive send a link that will allow the recipient to download and work from anywhere in the world.

If you are using Office 365 then you should take a moment to set up your OneDrive account. Especially if you are paying for a product like DropBox. This will help save you a little money every month and will sync well with all the Microsoft products you already use.

Categories
Technology Training

CamStudio Screen Recording

If you have tried to explain a complex computer problem to your technical support group and found it difficult to bridge the gap between English and all the technical jargon, you may find it easier to make a screen recording of the problem rather than sending a lengthy email. CamStudio is a great, free program that will help you with just that.

In this video, we will walk you through downloading CamStudio and getting it set up to start screen recording. CamStudio is a very simple and straightforward program but none the less it is very powerful when you are trying to explain a problem. Once you know how to use the program you can export a .mp4 file that you can then email to your technical support group.

Categories
Technology Training

Learn how to use a VPN

You may have heard of, or even used, a virtual private network (VPN), but do you know what it is? A VPN is an encrypted tunnel through a wide area network (WAN), also known as the Internet. This means that the network does not have to be located in one physical location, unlike a local area network (LAN). By using encryption and other security measures, a VPN can scramble all the data sent through the WAN, so the network is “virtually” private. In other words, a VPN allows you to access the files on your local network over the internet from an airport, coffee shop or another country, and you will be as secure as if you were sitting in your office.

Businesses commonly use VPNs to communicate across multiple locations. A large company that has offices in several cities may need to send data between their locations via the Internet. To keep the information secure, the company will set up a VPN with an encrypted connection, effectively giving the company a secure intranet over the Internet.

In this video, we will show how you can download one of the many VPN services on your computer. Once downloaded, we will show you how to set up and use this tool. Although there are many VPN options to choose from, most of them work the same way. If you are going to be traveling for work, or need to work from home or a coffee shop, it is important to send and receive sensitive data over a VPN. Otherwise, you are opening a direct access to all of your company’s sensitive information, and risk a security breach. For more information, or if you would like to set up a VPN for your company, contact eTop today.

Categories
Technology Training

Microsoft OneNote for Beginners

Are you aware of all the applications that come with your Microsoft Office 365 subscription? Most people think of Office 365 as a hosted email service but don’t realize that it is much more than that. Depending on the subscription that you have, almost every Office application that Microsoft offers will be included and is accessible in the Office 365 portal.

This week we have created a video that will walk you through one of the included applications, OneNote. Like the name would suggest, OneNote is an application that keeps all of your note taking in one place. No matter if you are in a meeting, a trade show or conference, or even if you’re still in school, OneNote is a great application for all of your note-taking needs.

To help get you started, we will show you how to access and download OneNote from your Office 365 portal. Once installed, we will show you how to set up the program so that it is customized to your liking. Although the program is pretty straightforward, there are a few features that you should know about and we go over them in this video.

Once you watch this quick overview you will be able to take notes and insert pictures, videos, and sound recordings like a pro. Need a table, graph or chart? We’ll show you how to use those as well. When you’re all done taking notes, you can share them with colleagues and friends making OneNote a great tool to help your team collaborate. If you are used to using other Office products like Word or Excel then you will pick up OneNote quickly since many of the features and functionality are set up the same way.

If you haven’t already, we would encourage you to take a closer look at your Office 365 portal to see what applications are available to you. From the beginning, Microsoft has packed a lot of value into the 365 offering and since then they have done an excellent job of adding in more applications and features. To help you get the most out of your subscriptions, we will be making a series of how to videos that will debut what Microsoft has to offer and how to use each application.

Categories
Technology

Automate using Automate.io and Microsoft Flow

Business today gets done through the technology that connects us. The problem is that no matter what, there will never be one master program that does everything we specifically need. We’re forced into optimizing our work lives through no less than a dozen applications that we ourselves string together. While this is still faster than reverting back to pen and paper, you may still find yourself having to do a task in one program only to do it again in another.automate.io For example, right now I have my newsletter program, email platform, YouTube, CRM, LinkedIn, several other social media programs, my internal chat app and our company website all running at the same time in order to get work done.

Let’s say I meet someone who I want to do business with: I have to find them on LinkedIn, send them a follow-up email, add them to my contacts list, and add them to my mailing list.
Flow
This takes time, and if you are going through a large list of new potential clients after a trade show, you could find yourself losing a day just doing data entry. Happily, there is a solution to this problem, and it’s called automation.

Most major programs today have open API’s that other third party apps can create integrations for. Instead of having to repeat yourself for every application, you can use programs like Automate.io or Microsoft Flow to bridge the gap between programs.

In this typical sales situation, you can now add your new contact to your CRM. Your automated processes will take that information and send that contact a LinkedIn invite, add them to your newsletter mailing list, and also send them an email thanking them for their time. Now you have taken three steps and turned them into one.

There are countless ways that these automation programs can be used, and more applications are jumping on board with this system every day. If you are finding yourself doing repetitive tasks in multiple application then take the time to find an integration that will ensure that you are only doing your most important work.

Categories
Technology

Use Chat For Internal Business Communication

Email was once considered the hub of communication for business, and for external correspondence, it generally still is. However, if you just need to have a quick conversation with someone on the other side of the office, email is clunky and slow. Fortunately, there is a new trend for internal business communication: chat services.

Slack vs teams

There are a few major players in the messaging space for business, namely Slack and Microsoft Teams. Both platforms allow for a seamless collaboration between team members that is far more efficient than relying on emails or in person meetings. This is especially effective for businesses that have remote employees who need to be able to chat and send files.

There are two main ways to communicate with these chat tools, aside from direct messaging between team members. You have the option to add as many team members to a conversation as you would like, which is great for collaboration between groups within a company. You can also create general chat topics that go out to the whole company, which is great for HR updates and general company-wide notifications.

No tool is complete without its ability to offer third party integrations. Slack offers a slew of apps and API integrations for just about every application you use. For example, maybe your sales team uses SalesForce, but you want your team to be able to communicate quickly to drive more sales. Slack offers apps and integrations for SalesForce so that all correspondence flow seamlessly from one platform to another.

The world of communication is swiftly changing. Although chat services have been around for many years with services like Skype, they have made a comeback within the business world. Instant messaging makes it faster to ask a quick question then it would be to spin around in your chair and talk to someone directly. If you are looking for a simple way to help your team communicate quickly and collaborate effectively, then you should talk to your IT partner about setting up a chat service within your company.

Categories
Technology

Stop Ransomware In It’s Tracks

Today we are going to review a brilliant tool that stops ransomware and other spam in its tracks. It’s called Sendio Opt-Inbox, and it’s more than just antivirus and spam filtering; it’s all of that combined with two-factor authentication, meaning that if anyone sends you an email, a human has to verify that they sent that email to you.

Sendio
Sendio Anti Ransomware Protection

This nifty tool is different because it completely filters out mass email attacks. Ransomware is a numbers game; large scale attacks use automated systems to send out thousands of emails, knowing that some portion of those emails will inevitably succeed. However, hackers and their automated systems do not account for any kind of authentication process.

When you sign up for Sendio, you are opting to re-route your mail through their system. This allows them to run a series of scans on the email and check the IP address to see if the email is coming from a trusted source. Before Sendio hands off the email to you, the sender will go through the “Sender Address Verification SAV” process or their email won’t be delivered. This means that someone actually has to tell Sendio “It’s okay, I’m a real person and I want to have a conversation with the addressee.” Sendio makes sure that you are only having meaningful conversations with people who you want to talk to.

What about automated emails, like newsletters, that you voluntarily subscribe to? Sendio takes this one step further: you can not only choose to trust certain newsletters, but also choose when these emails get sent to your inbox.

Is this new fancy widget expensive, or even worth the extra cost? The starting price is $34 per month, and the pricing changes depending on whether you have Sendio host the application for you, or if you host it on your own network. You can run a quick cost-benefit analysis to see if an application like Sendio would be cost effective for you and your organization. Go to the store and get a cheap stop watch, and click the stopwatch every time you sort through junk mail. Do this for a month, and you will see how much time you could save sorting through junk mail alone. Multiply this estimate by the number of employees in your company, and you can see that a product like Sendio is easily worth the price. Beyond the amount of sheer time saved, you can assume increased productivity, and thus an additional capacity to increase revenue. Furthermore, a product like Sendio could save you countless amounts of time, money, and data loss by preventing ransomware attacks.

It sounds great, but are there any downsides to this magical tool? Unfortunately, no tools on the market are 100% foolproof. Potentially, if you are subject to a highly targeted attack, the attacker could manually go through the verification process, assuming that Sendio hasn’t already flagged their domain or IP address for fraudulent behavior. However, with the high volume of fraudulent emails sent out by hackers every day, it seems improbable for hackers to find an effective way around this new gateway.

Ransomware has caused too many executives and management sleepless nights and it is time for a system that can help you take back your peace of mind. Talk to your IT partner about implementing Sendio across your network. Get you time back, become more efficient, and most importantly, get a few more hours of sleep!

Categories
Technology

How Businesses Should Think About Technology

It’s a common saying that every business needs a good accountant, banker, and lawyer to be successful. More recently, IT partners have been added to that list by many business owners because of the growing role that they play in keeping businesses moving forward. As technology takes over an increasing portion of business processes through automation, IT partners have quickly become a cornerstone to company growth.

This puts higher demands on the types of people that you partner with. Not only do they need to be able to fix IT problems, but they also have to be smart business professionals who can think about complicated business processes and create smart solutions to overcome problems.

bigstock-technology-internet-and-busin-56984204

This is an important point to think about when engaging with a potential IT partner. Both you and your IT partner need to be on the same page about how you think about and tackle IT problems. Mindset will inevitably predict the end results, and this is an area where you will need to know where your IT partner stands.

There are two ways to look at IT. The most prominent way is the reactionary “Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken” method. This has been the leading thought process for many years, but as technology takes over a larger portion of a business, it hurts more when these systems break.  The second thought process is the “Proactive over Reactive” method. This is an emerging strategy that many business owners are starting to find important.

Businesses can invest minimally in the technology that they rely on by stretching the life of their equipment, hiring under-qualified and inexpensive people to resolve IT problems, and only paying for support after a problem arises. On the surface, this will seem like the least expensive option. However, when important upgrades have been postponed and corners have been cut, the expenses will start adding up.

A proactive mindset takes a different strategy. To regularly maintain a network, it takes a consistent investment. By doing this, you spread out the cost of hardware and support and pay for it in a way that can fit your budget. Evening out the cost of IT isn’t the only benefit of being proactive. The savings occur in the time you recapture by increased staff efficiency, the satisfaction of your clients when products and services are not delayed, avoiding fines from regulatory bodies when data is lost, and so on. This payback may seem immeasurable, but when you are faced with fines like charge backs for late delivery of products, for example, making sure that your business can operate consistently is a very important investment to make.

The point is that it is hard to grow, let alone operate a business when you are constantly putting out fires. Forward thinking companies are looking to their IT partners for solutions that work rather than services that repair so that they can put the IT fires behind them. Allow your company to focus on what you do best by making sure that both you and your IT partner are seeing the future of technology and how it can work for you.

Categories
Technology

The Technical Logistics Of Moving A Company

Are you seeing a move in your company’s future? Even if you’re not actively planning one at this moment, eventually, you may have to move to a new location. As you’re probably well aware, this can be a logistical nightmare.

As an IT partner, we work closely with our clients every time they have to move. We want to share some of the unique IT lessons that we have learned along the way. When the time comes for you to move again, hopefully, you can avoid some of these common problems that we have helped companies work through.

#1: Internet Access
Starting from the outside of the network and working our way in, we need to address internet access first. When you are looking for a new location, it is very important to know what kind of internet is available. There is a chance that you could be moving to an area where the fastest internet is a 1.5 meg T1 line or worse. On the other hand, you may sign a lease on a new building and find that the internet isn’t built out yet. In this case, the internet service provider may require that you pay thousands of dollars to have the internet connected to your building. In either case, make sure your internet is ready to go on the date that you move in, or productivity will likely suffer.

#2: Cabling Infrastructure
Now that we are inside the building, it is time to think about the infrastructure that is going to connect everyone together. Here we find that there are two common pit falls. If you are moving into an old building you may find problems with the low voltage cabling, especially in warehouses. Old cabling can cause nightmares with internal network connectivity, speed, and reliability. Make sure that you are working with a low voltage contractor to inspect the existing cabling before you sign a lease on a building.

#3: New Buildings
The second issue we find is when companies are looking for a new warehouse. While a brand new building certainly has its benefits, you will want to consider that the building may just be a shell that the developer is expecting the new tenant to build out accordingly. Aside from having to install new cabling to collaborate with your floor plan, you will need to consider that the warehousing spaces likely do not come pre-built with infrastructures like an IDF or intermediate distribution frame. You will likely need to make a significant investment into the building just to have things like reliable WiFi, scan guns, and local connectivity.

These are some of the most common issues that we see business overlooking when they move to a new location. Of course, if we were to make a list of all the possible problems, we would have to write you a novel. To put it simply, if you are looking to move to a new location, be sure to set up a time to meet with your IT partner before you sign a lease on a new building. There are unique logistical problems within IT that most people do not consider when changing locations, and a quick overview with your trusted partner can save you a lot of time and money.

Categories
Technology

Data Backup Verification Audit

You’ve likely heard more than enough times that you need to backup your data. This is what every software vendor and IT partner will preach to you from day one. They’re right, of course, but there could still be potential problems. How do you really know that you have backups? You may have a backup appliance, and you may be under the impression that you have all of your data in the cloud, but do you really? How can you know for sure?

data backup verification

Making the assumption that your data is backed up just because you have an attached storage, or because you are paying for a hosted backup solution, has gotten many businesses into trouble. The truth is that backups fail, and they fail frequently. Backups are a service that requires attention and maintenance, and if you neglect it, it will fail you. This is a risk that you cannot afford to take.

As an IT company, we work with many new customers who come to us because they have lost data, even though they were under the impression that their data was backed up. As a result of this, we offer free data verification audits that will show you exactly where your data is and what to do if it is not backed up. If you can say that you don’t know where your data is, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule a free data backup verification audit.