Author Archives: RCO

June 2018 Newsletter

GOOGLE has just announced a major upgrade to its Gmail service that includes new features and an updated look and is accessible to most users by clicking the settings cog at the top of their inbox and choosing “try new Gmail.”

Aside from a new look, Google introduced substantial improvements to Gmail, including functions that let you enable confidential mode, snooze emails, unsubscribe faster, and enjoy greater protection from spam. Here are the most notable ones.

Confidential Mode: This feature lets you set an expiration date for your email after which it self-destructs. Sending mail on confidential mode does not just auto-eliminate them; it also prevents receivers from copying, forwarding or downloading the message and its attachments. A sender also has an option to set a password for a receiver to open the message.

Snooze Mails: The clock icon that appears within the email is the snooze button, which allows senders to have an email redelivered at a later time. Users can snooze emails based on a pre-set date (Tomorrow, This Weekend, Next Week, Someday) or pick a specific date and time.

Sidebar Apps: On the right-hand side of the new Gmail is a sidebar that allows you to quickly access your Google Calendar, the new notes button, and Google Tasks.

Security: Users of the new Gmail will also benefit from an added security feature that warns them of potentially harmful email content, particularly spam. The risk warning text does not merely tell you of a possible risk but also offers an easy way out via a ‘Delete Now’ button, which lets users eliminate risky emails on the spot.

Inline Action Buttons: Inline action buttons that pop up on a message in your inbox to give you quick access to frequently used actions. From left to right, the four inline icons let you take a message and archive it, delete it, mark it read or unread or snooze it. (More on that item in a moment.)

Gmail Will Nudge You: Speaking of resurfacing messages, Gmail will now take matters into its own hands if it feels like there’s a message you need to respond to. The new nudge feature notices if you’ve left an email sitting for a few days without a reply or whether someone hasn’t yet responded to one of your queries; if so, an inline message will appear, asking if maybe you want to reply or follow up.

Other features include smart reply which lets you choose quick responses like ‘Thanks for the mail’ or ‘Not interested’ to reply to emails requiring you to respond to a meeting invite and similar messages; a nudging feature, which reminds users to respond to messages that have not been replied to; and an offline mode, which allows users to search, create, and delete emails when they are not connected to the internet.

These and other seemingly minor Gmail updates will help you save time and manage your inbox more efficiently.

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For small businesses, cloud services are the preferred method of storing digital data. While they used to rely on in-house servers to store their growing collections of online files, many small businesses are now transferring those services to online data storage services, such as JustCloud or Dropbox. Small businesses experience a number of benefits from storing their data in the cloud, including cost savings and the ability to access data from anywhere with an internet connection.

Here are the five biggest advantages of cloud backup:

  1. Affordable. Small businesses don’t have unlimited IT budgets. It’s important to use a solution that makes sense and won’t require your customer to incur a capital expenditure. For as low as a few hundred dollars per year, your customers can have all of their data backed up to the cloud.
  2. Anytime, Anywhere Access. Having data in the cloud allows your customers to have access to their data anytime and anywhere. As long as there is access to the Internet, through a computer or a smartphone app, all files are readily available. There is no need to have to travel around with a laptop or go back to the office to see that important file.
  3. Off-Site. It’s important to keep a copy of files offsite. Even if business files are backed up on a file server, a hurricane, flood, fire or theft could destroy the computers… and backups. Keeping backed up files in the cloud ensures data is safe no matter what is going on at your office.
  4. Simple. Cloud backup solutions have made ongoing management and restoration easy. With just a few clicks of the mouse, backed up files can be easily found and restored.
  5. Automatic. Time is one of the most commonly stated reasons companies aren’t backing up their data. Cloud backup doesn’t require an additional time commitment to you or your customer. Computer files are backed up to the cloud automatically and continuously, whenever you’re connected to the Internet. Making your migration to cloud backup is seamless

When Reliable Computers manages your migration to cloud backup we ensure the process is seamless with no interruption to your business. Our process involves:

  • Evaluation of your current performance. We evaluate the performance of your current backup systems and the costs associated with moving your data to the cloud to ensure migration makes sense for your unique business.
  • Recommend the right cloud environment. We evaluate the different cloud models available and select one to host your data backup. Your options include public, private and hybrid cloud solutions or a combination of on-premise and off-site backup. We also take into account your current and future storage needs and recommend a storage amount
  • We review your internet connection. We review your current Internet services to ensure that cloud backups will take place efficiently and can arrange for changes or upgrades if they are necessary.
  • We implement and test your cloud backups. Once your cloud backup solution has been implemented, we will manage and routinely test your back-ups and provide regular reports on performance.

Contact us for more information on Cloud backups.

Source: techadvisory.org

 

Outlook tips to increase productivity

Outlook tips to increase productivity

Microsoft is constantly updating and improving its Outlook email program, and some users struggle to keep up with all the new and exciting features. If you want to catch up on the latest productivity-enhancing tricks, this is the article for you.

Clean Up your inbox

No matter inbox how meticulously organized your Outlook inbox is, there’s always room for improvement. For a little computer-assisted help, try the ‘Clean Up’ feature.

  • From your Inbox, click the Home tab and choose from Outlook’s three Clean Up options:
    • Clean Up Conversation – Reviews an email thread or a conversation and deletes redundant messages.
    • Clean Up Folder – Reviews conversations in a selected folder and deletes redundant messages.
    • Clean Up Folder & Subfolders – Reviews all messages in a selected folder and its subfolder, and deletes redundant messages in all of them.

Ignore (unnecessary) conversations

An overstuffed inbox is often caused by group conversations that aren’t relevant to you. The Ignore button helps you organize your inbox and focus on relevant emails.

  • Select a message, then click Home > Ignore > Ignore Conversation. You can also do this by opening a message in a new window and clicking Ignore under the Delete function. To recover an ignored message, go to the Deleted Items folder, and click Ignore > Stop Ignoring Conversation.

Send links instead of a file copy

Help your colleagues save storage by sending a link to a cloud version of a file instead of the file itself. This is particularly useful when sending massive files. You can also set permissions to allow recipients to edit and collaborate on linked files in real time.

  • Upload the file you wish to send on OneDrive and send it to your recipients. From the message box, click Attach File > Browse web locations > OneDrive.

Improve meetings with Skype and OneNote

Outlook allows you to combine Skype’s HD video and screen-sharing features with OneNote’s organizational and project planning functions. It’s easy:

  • Go to the Meeting tab in Outlook, then click Skype meeting and send the link to participants. After the meeting has started, select Meeting Notes (under the Meeting tab) and choose whether you want to Take notes on your own or Share notes with the meeting.

Tag contacts

To get the attention of a specific person in a group email message, use the @Mention function. This works particularly well for emails to multiple recipients or for if you simply want to convey the urgency of your message.

  • In the email body or meeting request, type the ‘@’ symbol followed by the first and last name of the person you wish to tag (e.g., @firstnamelastname).
  • To search for emails you’re tagged in, select Filter Email from the Home tab and choose Mentioned, then choose Mentioned.

These are just a few strategies for getting more out of Microsoft’s email platform. To unlock Outlook’s true potential, you need the support of certified IT professionals. Give us a call today.

Source: techadvisory.org

 

WhatsApp now allows users to send texts using Siri on iPhone

WhatsApp now allows users to send texts using Siri on iPhone

WhatsApp updated its iOS app to let users incorporate voice-activated controls. Those with iOS 10 installed will be able to use Siri to not only send messages but also place WhatsApp calls. This simplifies the communication process without your even needing to type a single letter.

You can also use the virtual assistant to compose and send replies, so urgent conversations can continue while you’re busy or driving, and you don’t even need to touch your iPhone.

Siri might be falling behind its rivals, but the changes and improvements Apple made with iOS 10 mean it’s now more flexible than ever. WhatsApp is taking advantage of this to give users the ability to listen to their latest messages and reply by voice.

To enjoy this functionality, you’ll need an iPhone running iOS 10.3 and the latest WhatsApp update (version 2.17.20). Once these are installed, you will also need to give Siri permission to use WhatsApp by following the steps below.

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap Siri
  3. Tap App Support
  4. Toggle WhatsApp to enable

You can now use commands like, “Hey Siri, read my last WhatsApp message,” or, “Hey Siri, send a WhatsApp message to James Smith” to interact with the app by voice. It’s ideal if you need to read or send messages while driving, or you find it difficult to interact with your iPhone using touch.

Siri will guide you step-by-step through the procedure of sending a text message to one of your contacts. After telling Siri, that you want to send a WhatsApp message, Siri will ask you who you want to send a message to. Then she will ask you, what you want to tell the certain person. Afterwards, Siri will verify the message and to finally send the message, you must tap on the “Send” button or loudly say “Send”.
source: cultofmac.com and http://iphone-tricks.com

 

Google Search tips you need to know

Google search tips

What will we do without Google? Sure, there are other search engines out there; but let’s face it, Google has left its competitors in the dust, thanks to its speed and ease of use. What’s more, the search engine is packed with advanced search features that make life a lot easier.

 

Include and exclude keywords

Google will understand most of the search terms you type into it. However, at times the search engine will match only some of the words you typed, be showing limited results. To avoid this, just point out which keywords are the most important by adding a plus symbol (+) in front of words you would like Google to include in the search results.

And if the results you’re looking for getting pushed off the page by similar yet irrelevant articles, adding a minus symbol (-) in front of keywords you don’t want to see will avoid them popping up in the first place. For example, “+cloud services -hybrid cloud” will provide search results about different cloud services while excluding results related to hybrid cloud.

Additionally, searching a phrase within double quotation marks guarantees to retrieve results that include only the exact phrase that matches your query.

 

Do a website search

Ever need to look for information on a specific website? Instead of visiting that website and sifting through different pages, Google makes it a breeze by allowing you to add “site: URL” to the end of your search query.

For example, if you want to find what Forbes has written about security, simply head to Google’s homepage and type “security site:www.forbes.com.” This makes sure Google includes only pages from Forbes that are about security in your search results.

You can also limit search results to university and government websites by adding “site:.edu” or “site:.gov” to your search query. Combining this with the keyword manipulation trick above will narrow your search even more.

 

Search by time period

Google has been indexing the web for decades in order to add web pages into its database. Because of that, it could be quite time-consuming sifting through countless search results to find an old website or page, or even recent stories, too. Time period search minimizes this headache by allowing you to specify a date range so you can find recent stories or archived news faster.

Just run a search like you normally would. Then click on Tools under the search box and hit the Any time drop-down menu. From there, you can choose the time period parameter, such as past month or past week, or fill in an exact time period.

 

Use Google to locate files

While Google mainly focuses on indexing web pages, it also indexes publicly available files like PDFs and spreadsheets. To look for them, just type in “filetype:” after your search query. For example, typing “report filetype: pdf” will provide PDFs with “report” in the title.

 

Advance your search

Advanced Search can be accessed by clicking Settings from the toolbar located under the search box. This gives you more ways to refine your searches, such as by region or language. By default, search results are prioritized based on your location, so you should adjust that according to the topics you’re searching for.

While these tips might not be the most exciting thing from the tech giant, they sure help businesses save time and work smarter instead of harder. And in today’s fast-paced business environment, little things like these make a huge difference. If you have questions about how to use Google products to streamline your daily routine and increase productivity, just give us a call.

Source: techadvisory.org

 

Beware of what you save in web browsers

Beware of what you save in web browsers

Passwords are a double-edged sword. If you make them too simple, they’ll be easy to guess; if you make them too complex, they’ll be impossible to remember. One solution is to create an uncrackable password and save it to your browser. Unfortunately, recent research suggests that tactic could drastically reduce your privacy.

 

Why auto-fill passwords are so dangerous

In 2015, the average internet user had 90 online accounts, a number that has undoubtedly grown since then. This has forced users to create dozens of passwords, sometimes because they want to practice healthy security habits and other times because the platforms they’re using have different password requirements.

Web browsers and password manager applications addressed this account overload by allowing usernames and passwords to be automatically entered into a web form, eliminating the need for users to hunt down the right credentials before logging in.

The process of tricking a browser or password manager into giving up this saved information is incredibly simple. All it takes is an invisible form placed on a compromised webpage to collect users’ login information without them knowing.

 

Using auto-fill to track users

Stealing passwords with this strategy has been a tug-of-war between hackers and security professionals for over a decade. However, it has recently come to light that digital marketers are also using this tactic to track users.

Two groups, AdThink and OnAudience, have been placing these invisible login forms on websites as a way to track which sites users visit. These marketers made no attempts to steal passwords, but security professionals said it wouldn’t have been hard to accomplish. AdThink and OnAudience simply tracked people based on the usernames in hidden auto-fill forms and sold that information to advertisers.

 

One simple security tip for today

Turn off auto-fill in your web browser. It’s quick, easy, and will go to great lengths to improve your account security.

  • If you use Chrome – Open the Settings window, click Advanced, and select the appropriate settings under Manage Passwords
  • If you use Firefox – Open the Options window, click Privacy, and under the History heading select “Firefox will: Use custom settings for history.” In the new window, disable “Remember search and form history.”
  • If you use Safari – Open the Preferences window, select the Auto-fill tab, and turn off all the features related to usernames and passwords.

This is just one small thing you can do to keep your accounts and the information they contain safe.

Source: techadvisory.org

 

Microsoft Teams tips and tricks

Microsoft Teams tips and tricks

If you think Microsoft Teams is good only for business instant messaging, you’re missing out on a plethora of features Teams has. Microsoft’s chat solution actually integrates with many of its Office 365 applications, including OneNote, SharePoint, and Word, among others. That said, here are some Teams tips and tricks that’ll make your day at the office a lot easier.

 

Use SharePoint to store and share files

You might already be using SharePoint to store files and collaborate with your teammates. But did you know that in every Teams channel, you can click the Files tab to share files from SharePoint with team members? You can also access SharePoint files that are already shared in the channel and use Office Online or Office Desktop to collaborate on those files, too.

 

Forward emails into a channel

You get countless emails every day, some of which might be lost in your inboxes. Fortunately, Microsoft makes it easy to forward any email message from Outlook to a channel in Teams so that messages show up in both places. Just click the ellipsis next to any channel name and select “Get email address”. This generates an email address for the channel which you can copy and use to forward files, documents, and messages.

 

Stick with a few groups

While you can create as many groups within your organization as you like, going overboard can result in a cluttered messaging interface that overwhelms team members. We recommend you create groups based on the number of projects and each member involved; you can always add more if necessary.

 

Set up audio conferencing

Teams lets you host voice meetings in groups or with just one team member. This is particularly useful when communicating with remote workers or clients, in which case you can give them guest access to your Teams channel. This ensures they’re able to communicate with you but not see the history of other confidential information.

 

Test communication strategies

Just because some of the features in Teams overlap with Yammer and Skype for Business doesn’t mean they’re all redundant. Think of it as a chance to test different communication strategies to find out what works best for you. For instance, if most of your clients have a Skype ID, you can use Skype for client calls and Teams for internal calls.

 

Share conversations with new team members

Teams makes onboarding easy. Rather than forwarding numerous emails and documents to new employees, you can use Teams to share conversations with a thread or project with them. This enables everyone to catch up easily without having to deal with cumbersome documents.

source: techadvisory.org

 

Phishing alert: scammers now use encryption

Phishing alert: scammers now use encryption

When you visit an encrypted website, the connection between the source of the web page and your browser is secure. Encryption ensures users’ browsing habits are safe from hackers’ prying eyes, but phishing scammers have found a way to adopt it for their own schemes.

 

How hackers use encryption to carry out phishing scams

According to recent research, 24% of phishing scams in 2017 use web encryption — an astounding increase from last year’s 3%. This means more HTTPS sites may not be truly safe.

Phishing scammers rely on their victims to do what they ask, which is why it’s so effective. And with this new trick, unsuspecting users are more likely to be deceived. What makes this encryption-aided scam even more effective — and dangerous — is that it makes hackers’ phishing email or text that much more authentic-looking.

For example, if you receive an email that purports to be from Amazon and includes a link to an encrypted site, there’s now a slightly higher chance you’d believe this email is the real deal. Clearly, if you’ve never purchased anything from Amazon, you’d know that this is a fake. But then again, there are millions of Amazon customers who could be misled into thinking that that email is legitimate.

 

Does encryption mean a safer internet?

With organizations like the Internet Security Research Group and Google promoting encryption, the world wide web should be a safer place, but that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, encrypting more legitimate websites could simply result in an increased number of encrypted phishing sites.

It may also be useful to know that not all phishing sites use encryption. Many phishing scams are still carried out using websites that may or may not be encrypted.

 

What you can do to ensure safety

This isn’t meant to cause panic, and despite this new phishing tactic, encryption is still an essential security tool that every business must implement.

Websites with HTTPS are still much safer than unencrypted ones. This is why it’s more important than ever to be vigilant when visiting suspicious sites and clicking on links. If you receive an email from PayPal asking you to verify your bank account details or password to a seemingly secure link, be wary. Some phishing scams are easy to detect, but some are not.

Practice extreme caution when responding to requests for sensitive data. Consider the source of the message, think before clicking, and don’t hesitate to seek the advice of an expert in case you have doubts. Phishers succeed only if you do what they ask you to do.

source: techadvisory.org

 

Make work easy with Microsoft’s new apps

Make work easy with Microsoft’s new apps

Connections, Listings, and Invoicing are the most recent additions to Microsoft’s software lineup and they’re finally out of the beta testing phase. These apps come with every Office 365 Business Premium subscription and are perfect for companies with fewer than 300 employees. Installing and using them is a breeze, see for yourself.

 

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 are 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!

source: TechAdvisory.org

 

Facial recognition technology in Windows 10

facial recognition Technology

Facial recognition technology has been around for some time, but its underdeveloped capabilities meant it could be fooled by masks, photographs, or even painted faces. However, the technology has come a long way since its inception and companies like Microsoft are including it in consumer products like Windows 10.

 

Say hello to fingerprint, iris, and facial scans

Windows Hello is an advanced biometric identity and access control feature in Windows 10. With it, there’s no need to enter a password; all it needs is your fingerprint, eye scan, or just your face.

For those who are worried about privacy, the feature stores your biometric data only on your device, never on Microsoft’s servers. Microsoft has also made it clear that third parties cannot access your biometric data, although, as with every new technology, it’s best to treat this with caution.

 

How to set up Windows Hello

All you need to get started is a laptop or desktop with Windows 10 and a compatible webcam (there is a full list here).

First, go to Settings > Account > Sign-in options. Then, under the Windows Hello section, you’ll see setup options for face, iris, or fingerprint scans. Select which method you want to set up and follow the prompts to create a login profile.

You can also save your biometric data or scan more than once to boost accuracy. Each time you scan, the system collects more data, so it’s worth completing a few scans before enabling the login feature.

However, passwords are still an option when using Windows Hello and should always be configured in case your camera isn’t operational. Once one account is set up, you can start adding family members who share the same device. Each of them can set up their own biometric profile in a separate account.

Source: TechAdvisory.org

 

Chrome Cleanup tool’s enhanced features

Chrome Cleanup Tool's enhanced features

Even if you’re sure that the websites you visit are safe, the harmful software can still slip through, especially when you download and install free programs and applications. As the world’s most popular browser, Chrome is especially prone to infection. Fortunately, Google has improved Chrome’s Cleanup tool for Windows by integrating the following security features.

 

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 non-essential 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!

Source: TechAdvisory.org