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Improve Business Productivity with Cortana

February 21st, 2018

As an entrepreneur, you understand how essential time is. There is always a need to come up with new processes or search for new technology to keep your office organized. If you use Windows 10, you already have an underutilized tool right in front of you.

To take advantage of Cortana, you should enable it on your desktop first. The process is easy: Just press the Windows Key, type “cortana” and click on “Cortana settings.” From there, you can change whether it responds to your voice or get activated by a keyboard shortcut, and you can set other personal preferences.

Voice Reminders, Notes and Alarms

As soon as you enable “Hey, Cortana” on all your gadgets, you can begin using it to dictate notes, set alarms, and create reminders. Thanks to advancements in AI, Cortana should be able to recognize most natural-language requests, like “Wake me up at 9am tomorrow,” or “Remind me to pick up my dry cleaning tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, you can use it as a voice recorder during meetings instead of writing down notes. Just say, “Hey Cortana, make a new note in OneNote,” and whatever is recorded will automatically be saved to OneNote!

AI-Scheduled Meetings

With Microsoft’s new Calendar.help feature, you can issue commands to a group email chain by saying things like, “Hey Cortana, can you help us book a 30-minute call next week?”

Calendar.help will work with Cortana to contact each attendee individually, find out what times they are available, and pick the best option for the group. You would only need to email the details, including duration, agenda and location, before you cc Cortana and forward it to the people involved. At that point, Cortana will send invites and handle all email exchanges. For now the project is still in preview/beta, so you will need to sign up.

Quick Conversions and Calculations

There are times when you need to make some calculations, but Googling or using your phone’s calculator just takes too much time. Cortana can answer complicated math problems, even if they are stated in plain language. What’s more, Cortana is able to convert temperature, time zone, weight, and volume.

Cortana will not only improve your business processes, but also help create a more relaxed workplace. And when employees are less stressed, everyone experiences more rewarding workdays.

We’re experts in traditional office IT, but we’re also pretty savvy with exciting new tools like Cortana. Send us a message today to learn more tips on improving productivity in your workplace.

Published with permission from Technology Times. Source.Source.

Cortana Improves Business Productivity

February 21st, 2018

With so many affordable IT tools on the market, it’s a great time to be a small-business owner. Most of them are basic and won’t require much training, too, so you don’t have to be tech-savvy to use them effectively. All you have to do is find the right one for your particular goals and needs.

To take advantage of Cortana, you should enable it on your desktop first. The process is easy: Just press the Windows Key, type “cortana” and click on “Cortana settings.” From there, you can change whether it responds to your voice or get activated by a keyboard shortcut, and you can set other personal preferences.

Voice Reminders, Notes and Alarms

As soon as you enable “Hey, Cortana” on all your gadgets, you can begin using it to dictate notes, set alarms, and create reminders. Thanks to advancements in AI, Cortana should be able to recognize most natural-language requests, like “Wake me up at 9am tomorrow,” or “Remind me to pick up my dry cleaning tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, you can use it as a voice recorder during meetings instead of writing down notes. Just say, “Hey Cortana, make a new note in OneNote,” and whatever is recorded will automatically be saved to OneNote!

AI-Scheduled Meetings

With Microsoft’s new Calendar.help feature, you can issue commands to a group email chain by saying things like, “Hey Cortana, can you help us book a 30-minute call next week?”

Calendar.help will work with Cortana to contact each attendee individually, find out what times they are available, and pick the best option for the group. You would only need to email the details, including duration, agenda and location, before you cc Cortana and forward it to the people involved. At that point, Cortana will send invites and handle all email exchanges. For now the project is still in preview/beta, so you will need to sign up.

Quick Conversions and Calculations

There are times when you need to make some calculations, but Googling or using your phone’s calculator just takes too much time. Cortana can answer complicated math problems, even if they are stated in plain language. What’s more, Cortana is able to convert temperature, time zone, weight, and volume.

Cortana will not only improve your business processes, but also help create a more relaxed workplace. And when employees are less stressed, everyone experiences more rewarding workdays.

We’re experts in traditional office IT, but we’re also pretty savvy with exciting new tools like Cortana. Send us a message today to learn more tips on improving productivity in your workplace.

Published with permission from Technology Times. Source.Source.

Using Cortana to Organize Business

February 21st, 2018

You are probably already aware of Cortana, the Windows 10 AI personal assistant. Did you know that you can use it to improve the efficiency and productivity of your business? With a better understanding of its basic functions, you’ll be on your way to becoming an AI-powered organization.
To take advantage of Cortana, you should enable it on your desktop first. The process is easy: Just press the Windows Key, type “cortana” and click on “Cortana settings.” From there, you can change whether it responds to your voice or get activated by a keyboard shortcut, and you can set other personal preferences.

Voice Reminders, Notes and Alarms

As soon as you enable “Hey, Cortana” on all your gadgets, you can begin using it to dictate notes, set alarms, and create reminders. Thanks to advancements in AI, Cortana should be able to recognize most natural-language requests, like “Wake me up at 9am tomorrow,” or “Remind me to pick up my dry cleaning tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, you can use it as a voice recorder during meetings instead of writing down notes. Just say, “Hey Cortana, make a new note in OneNote,” and whatever is recorded will automatically be saved to OneNote!

AI-Scheduled Meetings

With Microsoft’s new Calendar.help feature, you can issue commands to a group email chain by saying things like, “Hey Cortana, can you help us book a 30-minute call next week?”

Calendar.help will work with Cortana to contact each attendee individually, find out what times they are available, and pick the best option for the group. You would only need to email the details, including duration, agenda and location, before you cc Cortana and forward it to the people involved. At that point, Cortana will send invites and handle all email exchanges. For now the project is still in preview/beta, so you will need to sign up.

Quick Conversions and Calculations

There are times when you need to make some calculations, but Googling or using your phone’s calculator just takes too much time. Cortana can answer complicated math problems, even if they are stated in plain language. What’s more, Cortana is able to convert temperature, time zone, weight, and volume.

Cortana will not only improve your business processes, but also help create a more relaxed workplace. And when employees are less stressed, everyone experiences more rewarding workdays.

We’re experts in traditional office IT, but we’re also pretty savvy with exciting new tools like Cortana. Send us a message today to learn more tips on improving productivity in your workplace.

Published with permission from Technology Times. Source.Source.

What Is Single Sign-On and Who Is It For?

February 20th, 2018

Statistics show that the average enterprise uses more than 90 cloud services. Even if small businesses use less than half that number, securely managing account logins is still a huge problem for users and administrators. Single Sign-On (SSO) is an excellent solution to this issue, so let’s dive into how it works.

What is SSO?

Single Sign-On solutions allow you to create one username and one password that thousands of websites will recognize. If you’ve ever clicked ‘Login with Google’ on a non-Google website, you’ve already enjoyed the benefits of SSO. It’s faster, simpler, and more secure. Now, small businesses can accomplish the same level of efficiency between their employees and cloud platforms.

Instead of asking everyone in the office to track separate accounts for Office 365, Slack, Quickbooks, and whatever other cloud applications your company relies on, you can give them one set of credentials and manage what they have access to remotely. Employees come to work, enter their ACME Inc. username and password, and they’re set for the day.

Why is SSO more secure?

There are a number of ways to set up a small-business SSO solution, but most of them focus on removing login information from your servers or network storage. Usually, you’ll provide your employees’ logins to an SSO provider (sometimes referred to as an Identity-as-a-Service provider) and each employee will receive a single login paired with a secondary authentication — like a fingerprint or an SMS to a personal device.

Each time one of your employees visits a cloud platform, such as Office 365, the SSO provider will verify the user’s identity and the security of the connection. If anything looks amiss, your IT provider will be notified.

Should your network or any of its devices be compromised, hackers would find nothing but logins to your SSO accounts, which are meaningless without fingerprints or mobile devices.

How to get started with SSO

The first step when setting up a Single Sign-On solution is making sure you have a healthy and responsive IT support system in place. You need a team that is constantly available to review suspicious alerts and troubleshoot employee issues. If you don’t currently have that capacity, contact us today and we’ll help you out!

Published with permission from Technology Times. Source.Source.

Use Single Sign-On to Tackle Account Sprawl

February 20th, 2018

No matter how valuable your cloud subscriptions are, each new set of login credentials users are forced to create and memorize adds another level of inefficiency. With something called Single Sign-On (SSO), you can create one user profile that logs you into all your online accounts. If you’re overwhelmed by the number of passwords linked to your name, SSO is a dream come true.

What is SSO?

Single Sign-On solutions allow you to create one username and one password that thousands of websites will recognize. If you’ve ever clicked ‘Login with Google’ on a non-Google website, you’ve already enjoyed the benefits of SSO. It’s faster, simpler, and more secure. Now, small businesses can accomplish the same level of efficiency between their employees and cloud platforms.

Instead of asking everyone in the office to track separate accounts for Office 365, Slack, Quickbooks, and whatever other cloud applications your company relies on, you can give them one set of credentials and manage what they have access to remotely. Employees come to work, enter their ACME Inc. username and password, and they’re set for the day.

Why is SSO more secure?

There are a number of ways to set up a small-business SSO solution, but most of them focus on removing login information from your servers or network storage. Usually, you’ll provide your employees’ logins to an SSO provider (sometimes referred to as an Identity-as-a-Service provider) and each employee will receive a single login paired with a secondary authentication — like a fingerprint or an SMS to a personal device.

Each time one of your employees visits a cloud platform, such as Office 365, the SSO provider will verify the user’s identity and the security of the connection. If anything looks amiss, your IT provider will be notified.

Should your network or any of its devices be compromised, hackers would find nothing but logins to your SSO accounts, which are meaningless without fingerprints or mobile devices.

How to get started with SSO

The first step when setting up a Single Sign-On solution is making sure you have a healthy and responsive IT support system in place. You need a team that is constantly available to review suspicious alerts and troubleshoot employee issues. If you don’t currently have that capacity, contact us today and we’ll help you out!

Published with permission from Technology Times. Source.Source.

Single Sign-On: The Answer to User Management

February 20th, 2018

Everyone hates making passwords. From complexity requirements to minimum lengths, each new account brings its own set of headaches. If this problem is reaching a boiling point, Single Sign-On (SSO) solutions can help. They’re secure, easy-to-manage, and do away with the need to manage a long list of usernames and passwords.

What is SSO?

Single Sign-On solutions allow you to create one username and one password that thousands of websites will recognize. If you’ve ever clicked ‘Login with Google’ on a non-Google website, you’ve already enjoyed the benefits of SSO. It’s faster, simpler, and more secure. Now, small businesses can accomplish the same level of efficiency between their employees and cloud platforms.

Instead of asking everyone in the office to track separate accounts for Office 365, Slack, Quickbooks, and whatever other cloud applications your company relies on, you can give them one set of credentials and manage what they have access to remotely. Employees come to work, enter their ACME Inc. username and password, and they’re set for the day.

Why is SSO more secure?

There are a number of ways to set up a small-business SSO solution, but most of them focus on removing login information from your servers or network storage. Usually, you’ll provide your employees’ logins to an SSO provider (sometimes referred to as an Identity-as-a-Service provider) and each employee will receive a single login paired with a secondary authentication — like a fingerprint or an SMS to a personal device.

Each time one of your employees visits a cloud platform, such as Office 365, the SSO provider will verify the user’s identity and the security of the connection. If anything looks amiss, your IT provider will be notified.

Should your network or any of its devices be compromised, hackers would find nothing but logins to your SSO accounts, which are meaningless without fingerprints or mobile devices.

How to get started with SSO

The first step when setting up a Single Sign-On solution is making sure you have a healthy and responsive IT support system in place. You need a team that is constantly available to review suspicious alerts and troubleshoot employee issues. If you don’t currently have that capacity, contact us today and we’ll help you out!

Published with permission from Technology Times. Source.Source.

Inclusions of Google’s New Chrome Updates

February 19th, 2018

Business owners must stay current with never-ending Google updates to keep their clients happy. For the month of February, Google heard users’ demands and decided to include three new features to Chrome to address users’ problems with ads.

Ad Blocking

Android users will be pleased to hear that the newly updated Google Chrome comes with an ad blocking feature. Gone are the days when they have to manually close pop-ups, because Chrome will now automatically stop sites from opening new tabs or windows without users’ permission. This won’t necessarily block all ads, but it should improve your internet browsing experience.

Meanwhile, Chrome will begin restricting certain ads: sticky ads (which remain in the same position even as you scroll), and ads that go over a particular size limit. Moreover, they won’t block static inline photo ads that show up in between two paragraphs in an article. All in all, this feature will prevent nine kinds of ads out of 55 potential ones.

Muting Autoplay Videos

In line with the ad blocking feature, Google has also decided to prevent sites from automatically playing video ads whenever a page loads. You can usually find these types of ads in between paragraphs when reading through an article in the site. This time around, Chrome won’t block video ads, but it will keep them on mute. This way, users can still continue reading the article without any unnecessary background noise.

Marking HTTP Sites as Unsecured

This particular feature should get the attention of small- and medium-sized businesses, as it will affect them personally. Google warns all sites without HTTPS protocol that they will be marked as “not secure” come July. They want to emphasize the importance of HTTPS encryption for web security, stating that it keeps the channel safe between your browser and the site you’re visiting. This guarantees that someone in the middle won’t spy on browsing activity or interfere with traffic.

At the moment, these users can already see a “Secure” sign and a green lock icon on HTTPS-encrypted pages. By July, Chrome’s address bar will be notifying those who enter HTTP sites that they are in an unsecured page.

Staying ahead of Google’s constant updates can be tiring. In the end, you have to realize that these improvements are often in the best interests of your customers and web users in general. If you need a little help with the IT side of things — give us a call today!

Published with permission from Technology Times. Source.Source.

Google Updates Chrome with New Features

February 19th, 2018

As both an internet user and a business owner, you need to know how to get the most out of your web browser. If you want to see Google as a business tool rather than a difficult inconvenience, read on.

Ad Blocking

Android users will be pleased to hear that the newly updated Google Chrome comes with an ad blocking feature. Gone are the days when they have to manually close pop-ups, because Chrome will now automatically stop sites from opening new tabs or windows without users’ permission. This won’t necessarily block all ads, but it should improve your internet browsing experience.

Meanwhile, Chrome will begin restricting certain ads: sticky ads (which remain in the same position even as you scroll), and ads that go over a particular size limit. Moreover, they won’t block static inline photo ads that show up in between two paragraphs in an article. All in all, this feature will prevent nine kinds of ads out of 55 potential ones.

Muting Autoplay Videos

In line with the ad blocking feature, Google has also decided to prevent sites from automatically playing video ads whenever a page loads. You can usually find these types of ads in between paragraphs when reading through an article in the site. This time around, Chrome won’t block video ads, but it will keep them on mute. This way, users can still continue reading the article without any unnecessary background noise.

Marking HTTP Sites as Unsecured

This particular feature should get the attention of small- and medium-sized businesses, as it will affect them personally. Google warns all sites without HTTPS protocol that they will be marked as “not secure” come July. They want to emphasize the importance of HTTPS encryption for web security, stating that it keeps the channel safe between your browser and the site you’re visiting. This guarantees that someone in the middle won’t spy on browsing activity or interfere with traffic.

At the moment, these users can already see a “Secure” sign and a green lock icon on HTTPS-encrypted pages. By July, Chrome’s address bar will be notifying those who enter HTTP sites that they are in an unsecured page.

Staying ahead of Google’s constant updates can be tiring. In the end, you have to realize that these improvements are often in the best interests of your customers and web users in general. If you need a little help with the IT side of things — give us a call today!

Published with permission from Technology Times. Source.Source.

Google Introduces New Features for February

February 19th, 2018

As the patience and attention span of web users decline, a minor flaw in a website can make or break a business. People want to be impressed the moment they load a website, and that rarely happens in the presence of annoying ads and videos. Google recognizes this, and has upgraded the Chrome browser accordingly.

Ad Blocking

Android users will be pleased to hear that the newly updated Google Chrome comes with an ad blocking feature. Gone are the days when they have to manually close pop-ups, because Chrome will now automatically stop sites from opening new tabs or windows without users’ permission. This won’t necessarily block all ads, but it should improve your internet browsing experience.

Meanwhile, Chrome will begin restricting certain ads: sticky ads (which remain in the same position even as you scroll), and ads that go over a particular size limit. Moreover, they won’t block static inline photo ads that show up in between two paragraphs in an article. All in all, this feature will prevent nine kinds of ads out of 55 potential ones.

Muting Autoplay Videos

In line with the ad blocking feature, Google has also decided to prevent sites from automatically playing video ads whenever a page loads. You can usually find these types of ads in between paragraphs when reading through an article in the site. This time around, Chrome won’t block video ads, but it will keep them on mute. This way, users can still continue reading the article without any unnecessary background noise.

Marking HTTP Sites as Unsecured

This particular feature should get the attention of small- and medium-sized businesses, as it will affect them personally. Google warns all sites without HTTPS protocol that they will be marked as “not secure” come July. They want to emphasize the importance of HTTPS encryption for web security, stating that it keeps the channel safe between your browser and the site you’re visiting. This guarantees that someone in the middle won’t spy on browsing activity or interfere with traffic.

At the moment, these users can already see a “Secure” sign and a green lock icon on HTTPS-encrypted pages. By July, Chrome’s address bar will be notifying those who enter HTTP sites that they are in an unsecured page.

Staying ahead of Google’s constant updates can be tiring. In the end, you have to realize that these improvements are often in the best interests of your customers and web users in general. If you need a little help with the IT side of things — give us a call today!

Published with permission from Technology Times. Source.Source.

5 ways to improve security on your Android

February 16th, 2018

If you get separation anxiety at phone-prohibited events or you’re one of those people who sleeps next to their phone, then you’re probably emotionally attached to your smartphone. And just like every other thing we hold dear, we should put up some walls and protect it.

So, if you value your apps, personal data, and everything else stored in your Android, it’s time to take its security to a whole new level with these features you can enable right now.

Set a strong screen lock

The single most important thing any smartphone owner can do is use a strong, unique passcode or swipe pattern to prevent unwanted access to their device. Avoid using obvious codes such as your birthday or pet’s name; instead, use alphanumeric combinations that are much harder to crack.

To enable a screen lock, simply head over to Settings > Security. Select Screen Lock and pick your preferred password lock type and set Automatic Lock after a certain period of time. From then, you will need to enter your passcode or swipe pattern each time you try to access your phone.

Use alternative unlocking methods

Newer Android devices have advanced security tools for an extra layer of protection. These include features like fingerprint authentication, iris scanning, and facial recognition. To see what features can be enabled on your phone, go to Settings > Security.

In addition, if you are a Google Nexus or Pixel user, your device is equipped with a range of Smart Lock options that when activated, keeps your phone unlocked when it’s detected to be on your body or near a trusted Bluetooth device. These settings can also be found under Security.

Enable Find My Device

Google’s Find My Device is a locator service that lets you track or wipe data from a lost or stolen Android phone, tablet, or wearable. All you need to do is add your Google account to your Android device and turn on the location feature to enable the service.

To locate your device remotely, install the Find My Device app or access it via web browser. Once you’re logged in, a dashboard will show an approximate location of your phone and provide you with four options: locate your device, play sound, lock your device (and add a short note), or erase device that permanently deletes all data stored.

Revisit Your App Permissions

Did that photo-editing app you just downloaded really need access to your Contact list? If you sometimes wonder why some apps need so many permissions or why they request to access data unrelated to their purpose, then you are asking the right questions.

Remember to take control of the features that you allow your apps to access, especially from dubious developers who might stealthily steal your information. If you have Marshmallow or later versions of Android, go to Settings > Apps and then select the app. Click on Permissions and revoke all those permissions you’re uncomfortable with.

Encrypt Your Phone

Device encryption protects your data by converting it into a format that prevents unauthorized individuals from accessing it without the key. This is particularly important if someone manages to find a way around your lock screen and pull data from your device.

Android handsets running on Lollipop or higher has full encryption enabled by default. But if you’re using an older device, encryption options can also be found under Security.

It never hurts to take extra steps to make sure your information is protected. Some of these might take time, but trust us, it’s totally worth the extra minutes. If you need more tips to secure your personal or even your company’s files, email, or data, we’ll be happy to help. Security is what we do best, so give us a call today!

Published with permission from Technology Times. Source.Source.