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August 15th, 2017

One of Mac’s selling points is its powerful, highly intuitive, and user-friendly operating system. In fact, most companies using Macs today do so to save time and increase productivity. But you can take your Mac computer a step further with these tips and shortcuts.

Use Siri to change your Mac’s system settings

Rather than going through your computer’s System Preferences menus to find the setting you require, you can use Siri to quickly make these changes. Simply activate Siri by pressing command + spacebar and then say out loud the changes you want, such as “increase brightness” or “turn on bluetooth”.

You can even ask how much hard drive space is left to determine your computer’s available storage.

Copy and paste between devices

Universal Clipboard is an extension feature that was first introduced in the Mac OS X El Capitan and has now made its way to macOS Sierra. With this time-saving tool, you can cut and copy items on your macOS and iOS devices, and paste them onto other devices. These include text, images, and even videos without having to use AirDrop or email.

To enable Universal Clipboard, simply turn on Bluetooth on your Mac and iPhone and make sure both devices are logged in using the same Apple ID. Then press Control + C on your Mac and then hold down and select Paste on your iPhone, or vice versa.

Sync Desktops on multiple Macs

Another new feature in the macOS Sierra syncs desktops across iCloud. This means you can go to your iCloud Drive on any device and access the files and folders on your desktop. You can also access your Documents folder on your desktops too. All this depends on is the amount of storage space you have on your iCloud.

To sync your Desktop, go to System Preferences > iCloud. Make sure the iCloud Drive is selected at the top and click on Options. From there, select Desktop & Documents to share those files. iCloud will then upload these files to the cloud, allowing you to access them on other Macs from anywhere with an internet connection. Just go to iCloud.com, log on, and open the Desktop folder there.

Autocap and full stop on your Mac

The Sierra operating system features the auto capitalization of the first word of a sentence as well as the auto-added full stop when you press space twice, a feature that many iPhone users rely on. To activate it, head to System Preferences > Keyboard > Text, and select: ‘Capitalize words automatically’, and ‘Add period with double-space’.

Once these two options are ticked, the necessary capitals and full stops will automatically be added in TextEdit, Pages, and other relevant apps.

Use your trackpad to sign things

Thanks to the magical feature of trackpad, you can now sign PDFs within Preview. Just open the PDF you need to sign and click on the toolbox icon at the top right of the Preview toolbar. Then click the signature icon that looks like a squiggle beneath it, make sure the Trackpad tab is selected, and click Create Signature.

Once done, you can select the signature from the menu and drag it to wherever you want it to appear.

Quickly free up space

macOS Sierra features a number of options available to help you free up storage space. Start by clicking on the Apple logo on the top left of your screen, then click About This Mac > Storage > Manage.

You can choose to store files and photos in iCloud and only keep recently opened files and optimized photos on your Mac as required. You can also choose Optimized Storage, which helps you save space by removing iTunes movies and TV shows and only keeps your recent email attachments. Last but not least, you can choose for your trash to be emptied periodically.

Save battery

The latest macOS Sierra can warn you if your display brightness is too high so you can make adjustments to save battery life. If you click on the battery icon in the top menu bar, you’ll be greeted by a drop down menu that shows your current power source and highlights apps that are draining your computer’s battery. From there, you can choose whether to cut down on those apps or not.

These are some of the tips and hidden features that Mac operating systems have to offer. As always, if you’d like to learn about how Apple products can drive value for your business, or have any questions at all, just give us a call.

 

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple
August 11th, 2017

Most companies have customer relationship management (CRM) software to help them keep track of contact information and purchase history. But having a large database is worthless if you’re not using it to build long-lasting relationships. To keep existing clients coming back and bring new ones in, follow these CRM best practices.

Always update customer information A CRM system is only effective when the data it provides is current. If the customer’s address, company name, or preferred method of contact has changed, your staff should be recording this information immediately so your sales and marketing teams are always equipped with the right information.

Use purchasing history for upselling opportunities It’s easier to sell to existing customers than acquiring new ones. Boost your sales performance by analyzing your existing clients’ purchasing history and designing promotions or events designed just for them. For example, if they recently purchased a razor from your online store, you can program your CRM to recommend related products like shaving cream or aftershave. Not only does this widen your profit margins, it also makes customers’ lives a lot easier and promotes repeat business.

Automate processes Take advantage of the workflow automation features in CRM apps to eliminate time-consuming and repetitive tasks. For instance, when a new lead is added to your CRM (via newsletter subscriptions or website visits), the CRM can be programmed to send follow-up emails, offer promotions, and other interactions to keep your business at the forefront of their attention. This saves you from writing the same canned responses while also making sure that you’re engaging your clients throughout the entire sales process.

Learn from analytics CRM also makes it possible to analyze customer trends and behavior. If you noticed a spike in demand for certain products and services during the holidays, be more aggressive in pushing them out next year. If certain email campaigns were more successful than others (e.g., higher open rates, click-through-rates, and potential customers), understand what elements were responsible for that success and try to replicate them the next time you send a newsletter.

Customer data should also be used to shape sales and marketing tactics. A salesperson that already knows the client’s name, locations, and preferences can deliver more personal sales pitches and has a better chance of closing a deal. The point is this: If you're not learning from your data, your business growth will be limited.

Integrate CRM with other business software Tying CRM software to other programs makes it even more powerful. Integration with accounting software combines customer and financial data, eliminating redundant manual data entry and providing more insightful reports. When used alongside a VoIP system, your staff will get relevant customer information from multiple databases displayed on one screen when they’re about to make a call.

Get some CRM support Last but not least, work with a CRM provider that offers 24/7 support. Ideally, they should be keeping your data safe, updating your software regularly, and advising you on how to use complex CRM features.

This may seem like a lot, but the important thing to remember is that just like every technology investment, CRM requires active participation from executives, managers, and frontline staff. If you need more advice on keeping customers happy or want to know what technologies can add value to your business, call us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic business
August 10th, 2017

As more and more businesses move their IT resources into the cloud, it’s no wonder that a company as big as Google is doing everything it can to upgrade the products it delivers over the internet. The search giant has at least 60 separate cloud services, and its most recent release makes them all faster.

What is Google Cloud Platform?

Similar to Amazon Web Services or Microsoft’s Azure, the Google Cloud Platform is a suite of services that run in Google data centers around the world and are accessible to clients over the internet. There are currently 60 services available, grouped into nine categories:
  • Compute
  • Storage and Databases
  • Networking
  • Big Data (for analysis)
  • Internet of Things
  • Machine Learning
  • Management Tools
  • Developer Tools
  • Identity and Security
Each one offers a unique set of tools for getting work done in the cloud. For example, the Compute category has several services for setting up virtual desktops powered by high-end hardware that can be logged into from almost anywhere.

What is Google upgrading?

To put it simply, a new approach to bandwidth management will allow Google to send more information in less time. Way back in the ’80s, an algorithm was standardized that recognized when data didn’t reach the final destination and reacted accordingly. The assumption was that the majority of this data loss was due to an overloaded connection, so when the entity sending the data noticed losses, it slowed down transfer speeds.

A lot has changed since then, and recently Google introduced a new algorithm for its search and streaming video services. It was a huge success, granting YouTube a 2,700x improvement to its YouTube network throughput in some cases.

By applying this new technology to the Google Cloud Platform, customers will see noticeably faster service, regardless of whether they’re storing and retrieving business data or hosting an application.

Web and cloud services are indispensable for keeping up with the breakneck pace of IT advancements in a cost-effective manner. Choosing the right platform and configuring it properly isn’t something to be taken lightly. For expert advice and support, message us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Web & Cloud
August 9th, 2017

Mobile devices can’t accomplish everything that desktops and laptops can, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important to businesses. More and more employees are using smartphones and tablets to increase productivity and enhance collaboration. But before you adopt a mobile device policy, you must keep them safe from cyber criminals. Cyber criminals now have more entry points to steal your data, but there are simple ways to keep your company’s mobile devices safe.

Ensure mobile OS is up-to-date

Apple and Android’s operating system updates improve overall user experience, but their most important function is to fix security vulnerabilities. You can reduce your business’s exposure to threats by installing updates for ALL devices as soon as they become available. Some people wait for a few weeks or months to update their device’s OS. This gives hackers ample time to exploit vulnerabilities on devices that run on outdated operating systems.

Install business applications only

Downloading apps seems harmless, but lenient mobile devices policies on what should and shouldn’t be downloaded on company devices could lead to staff downloading and installing non-business-related apps from third-party stores, most of which are notorious for malicious advertising codes and other threats.

Be careful with public Wi-Fi networks

Emergency situations might compel you to use password-free Wi-Fi networks in hotels, airport, cafes, or any public place. Connecting to an open network could expose your confidential information and sensitive company data to hackers connected to the same network.

You can avoid this by providing a practical internet data plan, preferably one that includes roaming services, for remote workers. And if you really have to connect to an open Wi-Fi, don’t use the connection for transferring sensitive data.

Enable phone tracking tools

Losing a company-issued mobile device is a scenario many would rather not contemplate, but it happens. Devices can be misplaced or stolen, and enabling a useful app such as ‘Find my iPhone’ for iOS devices, ‘GPS Phone Tracker’ for Android, or any other device-tracking app in Apple’s App or Android’s Google Play stores helps users locate lost phones, or otherwise delete data in stolen devices. Downloading and setting up the app takes just a few minutes, and it will give you peace of mind knowing that even if your phone is lost or stolen, its contents will not be compromised.

Screen SMS carefully

SMS messaging may not be as effective as email phishing, but SMS phishing can also be used to trick users into clicking malicious links. Hackers send messages purporting to be from someone you know or a legitimate source that asks you to urgently send confidential data. You can either delete these messages, block unknown senders, or alert your IT department in case you encounter a possible scammer.

Mobile devices are becoming more critical to operations. And with more devices open to attack, businesses must bolster their cybersecurity efforts. Hackers will exploit every possible vulnerability, and that includes those in unsecured smartphones and tablets. Get in touch with us if you need comprehensive security solutions for your business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Hardware
August 8th, 2017

From computers to smartphones to tablets, we use smart devices every day. Web browsing is one of the most common forms of usage, so isn’t it time we were able to share websites from one device onto another? Android and Microsoft agree, and have devised a solution.

According to Gartner, Android operating systems held 81.7 percent of the worldwide smartphone market share in 2016. Windows PCs have a similarly robust 84 percent of the desktop operating system market share worldwide.

It comes as no surprise that Microsoft plans to closely align many of its features with Android. In fact, they’ve just released a new Windows 10 preview for PCs with which consumers can try out some new features. Microsoft Apps is one of them, a test application that focuses on cross-device web browsing so you can send website links from your Android phone to your Windows PC.

How does it work?

On your Android phone, go to Settings > Phone > Link Your Phone. You will receive an SMS directing you to install Microsoft Apps. Once installed, you can share websites with your PC by clicking the Share option and then picking the “Continue on PC” option.

From there, you’ll have to sign in with the same Microsoft Account you’re using on your PC. You’ll then have two options to choose from, “Continue now” which opens the website on the linked PC, and “Continue later” which makes the website appear in the Action Center of your computer instead.

This is part of the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, set to arrive in September this year. What’s more, you can also expect to see more Android and Windows 10 features in the future, including apps content sharing to and from PCs, as well as content copying-and-pasting from a universal clipboard.

As always, if you have any questions about any Android device, give us a call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
August 7th, 2017

To truly understand their customers’ purchasing habits, all content marketers have to do is follow the clues left on social media platforms. By doing this, they can send the right content to the right audience and increase conversions and sales. Here’s what you need to know to utilize social media to your business’s advantage.

Identify what’s trending on social media From global events like the WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks to the Super Bowl halftime show that took the internet by storm, content marketers need to know what consumers are talking about on social media.

For example, when Steve Harvey read the wrong name at Miss Universe in 2016, Burger King wasted no time tweeting a picture with the caption: “At BK, everyone gets to keep their crown.” This clever and timely message resulted in almost 100,000 retweets, likes, and replies.

Knowing what's trending helps marketers fine-tune content to ensure better engagement and higher conversion rates. And it can even help establish relevance in larger conversations and engage new groups of potential customers.

Understand what’s happening locally and globally Content marketers should stay on top of what's happening on both a global and local scale, and then share what they've learned with their teams. For instance, children’s clothing companies can combine the latest trend with the back-to-school season to attract more students and parents.

Leverage user-generated content According to a recent Bazaarvoice report, shoppers who interact with consumer-generated content are 97 percent more likely to make a purchase than shoppers who don’t. Customer-generated content helps drive awareness among non-customers who may be persuaded by positive and authentic customers' experience. Social data derived from user-generated content also helps marketers address content pain points.

Incorporate social data into your marketing strategy Put the social media data you've gathered to good use by integrating them into your current marketing strategy. They immediately provide a better understanding of the customer and highlight the type of content audiences are currently engaging with. This can be used to help develop and execute better content and marketing campaigns.

Social media has changed the way small- and medium-sized businesses operate. In order to get ahead of your competitors, it’s imperative that you understand how to leverage it to your business’s advantage. Feel free to contact us about what we can do to help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
August 4th, 2017

In an effort to build stronger relationships with major developers, Citrix worked with Google to get their virtual desktops running on Google’s cloud platform last month. This means certain Citrix products can be accessed by G Suite and Google Cloud users. Read on to find out what new features will soon be available.

Workspace Service Organizations often struggle to manage multiple apps, especially if some are running on a cloud environment while others are running locally. This means devices and applications are disjointed, making processes slow and inefficient.

With Citrix Workspace integrated with Google Cloud, businesses can unify all their web-based, mobile, desktop, and Google apps into one hub to easily manage access permissions, security updates, and workflows across applications and devices. Essentially, this feature enables businesses to better manage their hybrid IT environments.

ShareFile Along with Workspace Service, Citrix also announced that they will be bringing their ShareFile feature to G Suite. ShareFile uses advanced encryption to protect data in transit and at rest. When used as a plugin for Gmail, employees can send emails and file attachments securely.

Additionally, ShareFile has a “follow-me data” feature that allows seamless access to local drives, network drives, and Google Drive. When enabled on G Suite, users can run, edit, and save documents to their virtual apps and desktop software while on the road.

NetScaler Another feature that will soon be released for Google Cloud is Citrix’s NetScaler. NetScaler is a system that uses load balancing to optimize the performance of apps and services. In other words, it makes sure that applications are getting sufficient computing resources (e.g., processing power, RAM, storage space). If used properly, applications can run up to five times faster and experience little to no downtime.

By combining NetScaler and Google Cloud, developers can take advantage of Google’s vast computing resources to build powerful applications and run them in the cloud easily.

Considering how these features allow employees to access and manage their desktop infrastructure online, it’s clear that both Citrix and Google want more businesses moving to the cloud. Only time will tell whether these features will actually ease the transition for business owners who are on the fence about the cloud.

If you want to know more about the cloud and virtualization technologies, call us today. We’ll make sure you have all the information you need before investing in cutting-edge solutions.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

August 3rd, 2017

It’s very frustrating for businesses with hosted VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) to experience bad call quality. Hosted VoIP is supposed to be more advantageous than traditional phone or on-premises VoIP systems, but many providers still can’t seem to guarantee landline call quality when it comes to voice calls. To overcome this challenge, businesses should consider requesting a dedicated circuit.

Landline versus VoIP calls

Landlines use ‘circuit switching,’ a method of connecting two or more parties via a dedicated channel, which ensures that the connection will be maintained throughout a call’s duration. On the other hand, VoIP calls do not require the same dedicated channels as landlines to function.

VoIP calls work by taking analog audio, converting it into digital data, and transmitting them via the internet in a process called ‘packet switching.’ Because transmission of data over the internet can be affected by traffic issues, VoIP calls without a dedicated connection may be choppy or delayed.

How does a dedicated circuit improve VoIP call quality?

With a dedicated circuit, you’ll have a designated line that connects your organization’s on-premises phones to your hosted VoIP provider’s off-site servers. Having this setup simply means your users will be able to make phone calls over a private bandwidth that’s not shared with other users.

When you use a dedicated circuit, you are bypassing the public internet. To do this, a VoIP provider uses Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) technology, a system that enables them to control the causes of poor VoIP call quality -- latency, jitter, inadequate router, and packet loss -- and ensure clearer, landline-quality calls.

Ideally, your hosted VoIP provider could offer this specialized service. Not only is a dedicated circuit setup cheaper than getting a separate connection intended only for VoIP, but it also reduces the workload of your IT staff because they would have to manage only one internet network.

VoIP providers’ well-kept secret

Although a dedicated circuit solves businesses’ call-quality woes, it’s a highly specialized service that only a few providers offer. In fact, many providers wouldn’t offer it upfront because configuring a circuit requires greater effort on their part. However, there are providers who would be happy to customize your VoIP settings without additional charges.

Internet telephony is fast becoming the default choice for business communications because they’re multi-purpose, technologically advanced, and cost-effective. Businesses can’t afford to stick to legacy phone systems if they want to stay competitive. Get in touch with us to explore a vast variety of VoIP options for your company.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP
August 2nd, 2017

Microsoft delivers some of the best productivity tools for businesses worldwide. Office 2016 and Office 365 are the most popular software in the market today. And while both offer Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, there are some significant differences between each product. Read on to find out.

How they’re paid for Office 2016 is a stand-alone suite, and regardless of the quantity purchased, is described by Microsoft as a "one-time purchase.” You pay a single, upfront cost, meaning the entire purchase price must be paid before receiving the license to legally run the software for life.

By contrast, Office 365 is a subscription service requiring monthly or annual payments. Office 365 allows users to run applications only if payments are made. If you stop, you will have 30 days to continue operating after the previous payment's due date before the license expires.

How they’re serviced Another aspect to consider is the service and support offerings. Microsoft provides monthly security updates for Office 2016 applications, and these updates fix non-security bugs. However, you don’t get upgrades for improved features and functionality. If you wish to run the latest edition, you'll have to pay another upfront fee.

Office 365 users, on the other hand, get the same security patches as Office 2016 and also additional feature and functionality upgrades twice a year.

How they sync with the cloud Microsoft announced a major change this April: As of October 13, 2020, Office 2016 applications acquired through an upfront purchase are required to be in the "Mainstream" support period (the first five years of the decade-long commitment) to obtain cloud connectivity. Office 365 subscriptions won’t experience this problem.

In order to achieve measurable results and enjoy business growth, it’s imperative that your business is working with the right Office solution. Give us a call and let our team of experts assess your needs and determine the better option.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Office
August 1st, 2017

Microsoft has sold Office 365 and Windows 10 to businesses in various ways. While some business owners don’t mind purchasing the two solutions separately, others prefer one bundle that offers both. And that’s now possible with Microsoft 365.

Microsoft 365 combines Office 365 and Windows 10 into one solution, which will be available in two plans: Microsoft 365 Business and Microsoft 365 Enterprise.

Microsoft 365 Business

Designed for small- to medium-sized companies, this bundle includes Office 365 Business Premium and selected features from Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security. Simply put, you’ll get cloud versions of Office applications, business class email, Windows 10, and cyber security controls, among many other user-friendly features.

The main difference between the new Microsoft 365 Business and the current Office 365 Business Premium is that the former includes Windows 10, plus a single console to manage settings, automatic Offices apps to Windows 10 PC deployment, and robust security applications like Windows Defender.

Microsoft 365 Business will be available on August 2nd, 2017 for $20 per user per month.

Microsoft 365 Enterprise

Capable of supporting up to 300 users, Microsoft 365 Enterprise is designed for medium-to-large businesses. It combines Office 365 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility + Security features into one solution. You can expect all the features of Office 365 including cloud versions of Office applications, access across mobile devices, business-class email, document and email access controls, and Skype for Business.

The inclusion of Windows 10 Enterprise means you’ll get more advanced capabilities than from the basic version such as Credential Guard and Device Guard, extensive manageability and a broad range of options for application management and operating system deployment.

Last but not least, Enterprise Mobility + Security offers comprehensive identity-driven protection, mobile devices and applications management, risk-based conditional access to threat analysis, and single sign-on capabilities across devices to keep things secure.

Microsoft 365 Enterprise is now available with a pricing structure based on your subscription plan.

By choosing the right subscription model, you’ll be able to make the most out of Microsoft’s growing number of service offerings. If you’re looking to upgrade to Windows 10 and have any questions about the operating system, or are wondering which of the two plans to choose, give us a call today.

 

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic windows