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Technology Training

Project Manage With Microsoft Planner

Do you manage groups of people but have a hard time keeping track of everything? Well, Microsoft has the tool for you! Microsoft Planner is a great application that is part of the Office 365 offering. It is a work in progress from Microsoft but none the less, Planner is a vast improvement from a simple to do list that you may use in Outlook. If you are managing internal projects across several employees with a lot of moving pieces but don’t have a need for a fully fledged project management software, then Planner will be great for you!

Make the most of your Office 365 investment by trying Planner to see if it is a good fit for your organization. You can create projects, assign tasks and checklists under that project to members of your team. Planner lets you attach and share files that are relevant to the project and you can get a birds-eye view of the progress across all of your employees from the Planner dashboard. Microsoft Planner can be accessed on a web page, local desktop application or mobile app and the best part is that it stays synced across all of your devices to keep you on track while you’re on the move.

In this video, we will show you where you can find Microsoft Planner in the Office 365 portal. From there, we will show you how to set up your account, create projects and assign tasks to the team members in your organization. Keep your team on track and get your project completed on time with Microsoft Planner.

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Technology Training

Repair Windows 10 With Windows Automatic Repair Tool

If you are having a problem with your desktop or laptop computer such as a reboot loop, corrupt Windows files, corrupt registry keys, corrupt registry driver or other Windows boot related issues you can resolve most of these by using the Windows Automatic Repair tool.

Windows Automatic Repair or Startup Repair can fix a lot of issues in Windows 10. This solution may not fix all of your PC Boot up problems but it is a good place to start. Running Startup Repair on your computer can fix problems that keep Windows from loading on your computer.

In this video, we will walk you through the advanced settings for using the Windows Automatic Repair tool. If your computer is having a boot issue you should follow this process before taking your computer to your IT partner. Doing this will likely save you a lot of money and time. Remember, before using any of these tools, it is very important that you back up your data as some of these tools have the ability to erase your hard work.

If you find that you are still having Windows boot issues after having run this tool, consider calling the techs at eTop Technology for support on all of your business technology needs.

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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.

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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.

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Technology Training

Install And Set Up Microsoft Outlook 2016

If you are new to Microsoft, or thinking about making the switch from another platform, you will need to know how to get started with the various programs that Microsoft has to offer. This week we have put together a quick video to help you get started with Outlook.

Microsoft Outlook 2016 is a great program that will centralize your email, calendar, task lists and contacts. It seamlessly uses each of these applications to keep all of your information synchronized. You can easily send and receive emails with attachments, schedule meetings with clients, and keep track of everything across all of your devices.

If you’re coming over to the Microsoft world from a platform like Google, there will be a learning curve. However, once you understand how one application works, you will be able to navigate all of them with ease. To begin, watch our tutorial for beginners to learn how to install Outlook from Microsoft Office 365. Once it is downloaded on your computer, we will show you how to set up Outlook to work with your email address. Since Outlook has a few hidden features, we will show you how to navigate through the most important ones such as the email application, your calendar, and the contacts options.

If you need to learn more about Outlook 2016, or any of the other Office suite of products, you can visit our YouTube channel or website for more how-to videos that will walk you through each feature. We have videos specifically for all of the many features in Outlook: from email signatures, to calendar sharing, and task features. We hope you find this useful!

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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.

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Technology

Phishing For Passwords

There has been a recent increase in phishing attempts across the US and it is concerning for many reasons. It is important to be aware of these issues and how these phishing attempts work so that you can protect yourself and your company. The unfortunate truth is that there is only so much you can do to block phishing emails from landing in your inbox in the first place. The only surefire way to prevent phishing attempts from becoming a problem is by training your users to keep a keen eye.

phishing

A phishing attack like the one shown above is an attempt to get you to give away some important information, usually credentials to an email account. In the past, phishing attempts have been highly generic like the “Nigerian Prince” scam that any most discerning individuals would understand to be malicious. Now that most people have become aware of the nature of phishing attempts, the scammers are having to become more sophisticated.

This means that phishing attempts will become increasingly difficult to distinguish from legitimate emails. As more and more emails are being hosted in the cloud through services like Gmail and Office 365, scammers have found a particularly effective way to trick people. These services will periodically ask you to verify your credentials or even change your password every 90 days. These routines can be hijacked to make you think that you are giving your information to your provider when really you are giving it to a scammer.

By looking at your publicly available DNS records, scammers can tell what email platform you are using. It is easy to set up a web page and design it to look exactly like the login page of any hosted email provider. Scammers will use this information to send you highly targeted emails asking you to verify your credentials for “security” reasons. Seeing that the email appears to be from a trusted source, and the link in the email supposedly leads to your hosted email provider, you are likely to enter your password giving the scammer access to all of your information.

In order to help you avoid these pitfalls, we have a few simple steps to follow that will help keep you safe.

  1. Are you expecting the email? Maybe you are logging in from a new computer and the email host doesn’t recognize or trust your device. This is a good reason to expect an email with a link. If there is no reason to expect an email, then receiving one should be a red flag.
  2. Inspect the email. Start by looking at the sender. Do you know them? Don’t just look at the display name; carefully inspect the email address that the email is coming from. Is the domain address spelled correctly? If not, this is likely a scam. Does the email use scary works like Urgent or Emergency? This should be a red flag as well. Also, be sure to check any external link addresses and if they lead to an obscure website, this is likely a scam.
  3. Don’t use links. If you have reason to think that this email is legitimate, take one last security precaution and don’t use the link provided. If you need to verify your credentials then you will be prompted to do so the next time you log into your email account. Do a web search for the login page of your hosted email provider and log into your account from there. If you are not prompted to verify your login then you will know that the email you received is a scam. If it is a link from a known sender, you could also give them a call to verify that the link is from them.

Following these steps will allow you to filter out most phishing attempts that make it to your inbox no matter how sophisticated they become. These attacks rely on you making decisions while not fully paying attention, but they will never be able to fully copy the email provider they are trying to spoof. This means that if the email is not legitimate, then you will likely be able to point that out with a few seconds of careful inspection.

As always, be sure to work closely with your IT professional to ensure that you have a security plan in place. Phishing attempts can lead to data loss, security breaches and even significant lost revenue. It is always better to be preventative about these issues than having to deal with the aftermath.

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Technology

How to prepare for ransomware

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about ransomware: a type of computer virus that encrypts your files and holds them for ransom. Worse yet, there is no guarantee that your data will be released if you pay the ransom fee. In light of the most recent ransomware attack called “WannaCry” that infected a substantial number of businesses in Europe, it is important that you are taking measures to ensure that your business is safe.

Antivirus and firewall concept with businessman protected with umbrella

If you are not familiar with the statistics, ransomware was a billion dollar industry in 2016, and every cyber criminal knows it. There is exceptional financial motivation for these scams to be produced indefinitely, and they become increasingly sophisticated every day. As a business owner, ransomware is a constant threat that cannot be ignored.

Playing defense in the ransomware game is a layered approach, with several security methods to prevent ransomware from getting to your network. The first line of defense includes anti-virus, a good firewall, and effective spam filtering. The next important step in any security plan is user training. Ransomware is generally not a problem until someone within your network clicks on the wrong email or web link. The final layer of defense are things like an insurance policy or data backups.

Preferably, investing in each one of these layers is best practice. However, if you have to choose one component over another, backups are the most important investment that you can make. With a good backup system, you may lose some time and a nominal amount of data after an attack, but you will be able to restore your data without the ransomware affecting your business.

In addition to having the data backups in place, it is also essential to ensure that your backups are up-to-date and running properly. Backups have a tendency to face errors that can disrupt a backup schedule. With proper backup monitoring, you may find that your backups were not operating as expected, thus leaving your data vulnerable.

Talk to your IT professional to ensure that you have both preventative security measures and contingencies in place to protect your data in the event of a ransomware attack.

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Technology Training

Set up and switch between user accounts in Windows 10

If you have more than one user account on your computer you will soon realize the frustration of trying to log into your account only to find that your password doesn’t work. Usually, this is caused by the user unknowingly trying to log into the wrong account. This is a simple but common mistake that we see frequently. To help save you time, money and frustration, make sure to check the user account that you are trying to log into before calling for support.

In this video, we will show you how to create a new user account in Windows 10. We will also show you how to log out of your account and switch users if you need to sign into another account.

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Technology Training

Import and Export Contacts in Outlook 2016

If you use Outlook for work, at some point you may need to import and export contacts from your account. Though it may seem complicated, it is actually an easy process if you use the tricks we lay out in this video.

Have you ever tried to import something into Outlook, only to have your file rejected, or your data imported incorrectly?  If you are trying to import contacts into Outlook from a file that isn’t using the same data fields that Outlook needs, you will get bogged down trying to make sure that your data is mapped correctly. If for example, your ‘first name’ data gets mapped to the ‘last name’ data field, your data will flow into Outlook incorrectly.

Before you import anything into Outlook, you will need to know what Outlook wants. Outlook considers a lot of data fields during the import process, and it can be difficult to determine which fields are necessary, or how to get them in the right format. For this reason, it is easier and more reliable to import data into Outlook using the spreadsheet it gives you.

To fix this problem, start by exporting a CSV file out of Outlook. This will give you a spreadsheet template with all of the fields that Outlook requires. Once you have exported a CSV file, you can begin entering the data you have regarding your contacts. If you carefully input your data into the correct fields, you will have a complete data set that is ready to be imported back into Outlook.

Importing is the same process as exporting. You will need to select the updated CSV file from your computer. Outlook will want to verify that the data fields match up, and this won’t be a problem since you are now using Outlook’s template. Now, you should be ready to start importing your contacts into Outlook.

If you follow these steps, you will soon be a master at importing and exporting contacts in Outlook!

To shortcut the export process, you can use this Excel Contacts Template that has all of the data fields that Outlook requires for contact import.