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June 19th, 2014

GoogleApps_June18_CBusiness leaders not only work with the latest tech gadgets but often have to learn how to manipulate several devices at the same time to better the business and control the organization's operations with ease. The fact that many companies benefit from modernization is a real advantage to tech development and one efficient task that can now be achieved is installing a mobile app on your Android device via your computer.

How Google enables you to control your mobile phone via a computer is often overlooked by many users. This tutorial will show you how you can download, send, and install a new app to your Android device without even touching it. Sound like magic? It’s the marvel of technology.

To begin, make sure your phone is logged into your Google account. This account is an all-inclusive one, with which you can access your email, blog, Google+ account and even Google Play, Android’s marketplace for all its mobile apps. Your Google account is also your gateway into the installation of a new app from your desktop.

To log into your Google account from your smart phone, follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Accounts > Google > Add Account.
  2. Type your email address and password to connect through the sign-in page.
  3. On your computer go to Google Play and check the upper right corner of your display and click Sign in.
  4. Sign in again to your Google account to be able to connect with your mobile phone.
  5. Check the left panel of your display and click Apps.
  6. Go to the Categories section and choose from the option that suits you in the drop down menu.
  7. A number of apps will be displayed, so choose the one which you would like to instal on your phone.
  8. Click Free (or the price of the app). Remember not to click the app itself but the underlined price under each application.
  9. You will be directed to a list of devices logged into the same Google account. Choose from these devices where you want the app to be installed. Hit Install for free apps and Buy for paid ones to install directly to your mobile device.
  10. Voila! You have just downloaded an app from your computer to your phone. Keep both devices logged in for easy access anytime, anywhere.
The continuous development of technology means that we should strive harder to learn and be acquainted with new tools we can use to improve business. This can yield big benefits for your company and enable you to accomplish more tasks in a shorter span of time.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

June 17th, 2014

office365_June16_CWouldn’t it be nice if there existed an application with features that can help predict and identify risks and opportunities for your business products or services? Microsoft has turned this concept into reality with Office 365 Power BI’s latest upgrade, which features predictive forecasting. Now that you are able to, it might be time you familiarize yourself with what predictive forecasting is and how it can help your business.

Predictive forecasting uses a variety of statistical techniques, from modeling to data mining, that analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about the future.

The predictive forecasting function of Office 365 provides users with the skills to generate reports, interactive charts, and 3D visualizations of business performance. Simply put, users can perform advanced forecasting without the complexity that usually accompanies these kinds of processes.

The new forecasting tool utilizes built-in predictive forecasting models to automatically detect seasonality in the data. It also enables users to see how results are affected by adjusting the parameters of the time or confidence interval assigned to be analyzed.

Power BI’s predictive forecasting can also help fill in gaps with data. Power View, an interactive data exploration and presentation tool, fills in missing values from a data set before carrying out a forecast for a more accurate result.

A few things you need to keep in mind before using the feature:

  1. The line chart has to have one line as multiple line charts won’t work.
  2. The line chart has to have fewer than 1,000 values.
  3. The x-axis value needs to have a date/time format or be a uniformly increasing whole number. It cannot contain text or decimal numbers, and the interval between values has to be at least one day.

How to use predictive forecasting in Office 365:

  1. Simply upload a workbook with a Power View time series line chart to Power BI for Office 365.
  2. Open the file in Power BI and switch to Power View in HTML 5 by clicking Try the HTML 5 version of Power View in the lower-right corner.
  3. Click on the forecast arrow or drag the forecast dot in the line chart and you’ll see the forecasting options appear in the analysis pane to the right of your report.
Do keep in mind that Power View automatically detects what appears to be the seasonality of the data. In other words, a complete cycle of peaks and drops. Note that this works best if the chart has at least four times more values than the data cycle.

Here’s how to override automatic seasonality detection:

  1. Start a forecast by dragging the forecast handle in a line chart.
  2. The Analysis pane will automatically pop up on your right hand side. If you can’t find it, look for Analysis in the upper-right corner.
  3. In the Analysis area, manually set the seasonality to 0, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12, 24, 52, or 365.
Predictive forecasting, if used properly, can immensely help with the overall strategic planning, market penetration and operation of your business.

Looking to learn more about Office 365 and its features? Call us today for a chat.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

June 13th, 2014

security_June13_CThe parallel rise of technological advancement and malicious Internet activity is evident. With advances in technology comes an increase in security threats which, if not taken care of right away, can severely affect your business’ efficiency and overall success. With that in mind, it’s time you familiarized yourself with the top security best practice guidelines which will go a long way to ensuring your business is safe and secure.

10 Security practice guidelines for businesses

  1. Encrypt your data: Encryption of stored data, filesystems, and across-the-wire transfers is essential to protect sensitive data as well as to help prevent data loss due to equipment loss or theft.
  2. Use digital certificates to sign all of your sites: You should obtain your certificates from a trusted Certificate Authority, and instead of saving your certificates on the Web server, save them to hardware devices like routers or load balancers.
  3. Implement a removable media policy: Devices like USB drives, external hard disks, external DVD writers or any writeable media facilitate security breaches coming into or leaving your network. Restricting the use of those devices is an effective way to minimize security threats.
  4. Implement DLP and auditing: Be sure to use data loss prevention and file auditing to monitor, alert, identify, and block the flow of data into and out of your network.
  5. Use a spam filter on your email servers: Using a time-tested spam filter such as SpamAssassin will remove unwanted email from entering your inbox and junk folders. It is important that you identify junk mail even if it’s from a trusted source.
  6. Secure websites against MITM and malware infections: Start using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) which creates a secure connection between a user and server, over which any amount of data can be sent securely. Through SSL, you’ll be able to scan your website daily for malware, set the Secure flag for all session cookies, as well as use SSL certificates with Extended Validation.
  7. Use a comprehensive endpoint security solution: Using an antivirus software alone is not enough to provide defense against today’s security threats. Go for a multi-layered product to prevent malware infections on your devices.
  8. Network-based security hardware and software: Start using firewalls, gateway antivirus, intrusion detection devices, and monitoring to screen for DoS attacks, virus signatures, unauthorized intrusion, and other over-the-network attacks.
  9. Maintain security patches: Make sure that your software and hardware defenses stay up-to-date with new anti-malware signatures and the latest patches. If your antivirus program doesn’t update on a daily basis, be sure to set up a regular scan and a remediation plan for your systems.
  10. Educate your employees: As simple as it sounds, this might be the most important non-hardware, non-software solution available. An informed user will more likely behave more responsibly and take fewer risks with valuable company data resulting in fewer threats to your organization.
Businesses cannot afford to take chances with security. Why? Because doing so can trigger a domino effect, causing a cascade of problems that can lead to operational outages, data loss, security breaches, and the subsequent negative impact to your company's bottom line. Looking to learn more about security for your business? Call us today for a chat.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
June 3rd, 2014

SocialMedia_June02_CSocial media is quickly becoming one of the more useful marketing tools a business has. While a corporate profile can be a great way to connect with existing customers, many businesses find that because of the high number of people actually using these sites, these platforms are perfect for marketing and advertising, and ultimately in reaching and penetrating target markets. One way you can get your ads in front of people is through the use of social PPC.

Define social PPC

Businesses who advertise through social media have a number of ways they can get their ads and content seen on this platform. The most popular is based on one of the Internet's oldest marketing schemes: Pay-per-Click, or PPC.

In a broad sense, PPC is the act of paying an advertiser or website to place ads at strategic locations. Placing these ads is usually free, or comes with a nominal fee, but when a user clicks on the ad and goes to the destination site, the owner of the ad pays the advertiser or site a small fee.

In relation to social media, social PPC is simply ads which are placed on the social networks. For example, you can pay Facebook to place an ad on the right-hand bar of certain user's News Feeds. If they click on the ad, Facebook will then charge you a set amount for that click.

Where social PPC differs from other types of PPC, more specifically search PPC - paying search engines to display your ads - is that it is more display oriented. With search PPC, you pay the engine to show your ad when specific search keywords are entered. With social PPC, you pay the site to display your ad regardless of what the user is looking at.

3 Common misconceptions about social PPC

While this process is becoming more popular with businesses, especially those who have integrated social media into their marketing plans, there are some common misconceptions that seem to be floating around.

1. Starting small is the way to go

As with most strategies in business, when starting something new you often want to test the waters before jumping in full scale. Many companies who are trying social PPC for the first time will often start with one or two campaigns running at the same time. While this may work for small businesses with an unproven profile, those with an established profile and marketing strategy may want to try running 3-5 campaigns at the same time.

The reason for this strategy is that it can help spread out the overall views, along with enhancing the quality of information and results. For example, you can easily compare and establish what is working when you have more than two alternatives to compare.

2. You need to be active on the services you target

Despite what some people in charge of marketing believe, you don't need to be active on a social network in order to be able to use social PPC features. Many networks, like Twitter, simply require that you have an account in order to be able to use the ad features.

If you do want to use the ad features of different social networks, you should be sure to at least have a fully completed profile. This includes address, name, location, and business info. Of course, if you want to enhance the success of your initiative, an active profile will help but it is not necessary.

The best example of this is if you want to use the promoted post feature in Facebook. You will need to have content in order to actually use this feature successfully and the more content and followers you have, the higher the chances of what you promote being seen.

3. You MUST be using Facebook Ads

Facebook is the most popular social media platform, and many businesses already have a Facebook Page. But many feel that in order to maximize the potential of their Page, they need to be advertising using Facebook Ads.

Sure, it can help to use this service, but it isn't the only one out there. You do have other options, including different platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. To really get the most out of a social PPC campaign you should try different platforms anyway. For example, if you want to target other business customers try using LinkedIn, which is where this target group may be more likely to be found than through Facebook.

Looking to learn more about social PPC or using social media in your company? Contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
June 3rd, 2014

Office365_June02_CReports to be finalized hold you captive in your office; business meetings keep you in the conference room all day; and the ritual of exchanging ideas with your business partners keeps you locked up in your workplace. Break free and boost productivity outside of your office with Microsoft Lync, a messaging tool that allows you to escape your office and still perform all your duties just as effectively.

Get immediate response with instant messaging

Sending emails is a fast and standard way to communicate in business. However, there are times when you have to convey or get hold of some important information in the soonest time possible. Stashing your message in a pile of emails might not cut it and this is when you can switch to Lync’s instant messaging feature. Your message will be sent immediately, with a pop-up also appearing on the recipient's device to flag the message so you know it will most likely have been seen. It’s fast, efficient, and by cutting to the chase, a real time saver.

Hold meetings with HD video conferencing

Reporting can be done with ease through Lync’s HD video conferencing capabilities. This enables you to gather your associates from anywhere in the world, whether to present specific data or deliberate a decision. Not only does this allow communication with several people at the same time but also transmits clear videos to the other end of the line with its 1080p HD quality.

Brainstorm with your team through application sharing

Online meetings sometimes prohibit the sharing of files. With Lync’s application-sharing capabilities, you can easily exchange ideas with your team. You can share PowerPoint presentations, documents, images, Web pages or your desktop with your team to stimulate conversation based on your input and what you have to report. Lync supports all animations and features of Microsoft PowerPoint, letting you create an engaging presentation without the restriction of your location. If you choose to share your desktop instead, you can select which part of your screen you’d like to show your clients, eliminating the unimportant clutter flashed on your monitors. You can also share a virtual whiteboard that allows you to collaborate with your team as if you were stood in the same room. Online communication has become today’s trend for conducting business meetings. However, the choice of which application to use to accomplish tasks requires knowledge of the key features of specific programs. Through Lync’s online communication system, companies have minimized expenses allotted for reserving third-party conference areas, business trips, and in purchasing expensive communication systems. Lync supports Windows, iOS and Android systems. What could it support, enhance, and boost in your business?
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 27th, 2014

GoogleApps_May26_CTime management is vital in today’s fast-paced world. Technology not only helps speed everything up, but it also pushes our daily lives into high gear; hence, the growing necessity and use of time management applications like Google Calendar. This app's functions range from the expected (scheduling, setting reminders, and noting special occasions), to the impressive (sharing events on-the-go and sending invitations). But in a world of technology, change is to be expected and Google Calendar is no exception.

Starting in July this year, Google will remove the Calendar invitation feature within Gmail which allows you to add event invites directly within an email without having to open Calendar itself. As of now, if you choose to insert a Calendar invite within an email, you’ll get a message warning you of the changes ahead. Although this might irritate a few people, Gmail community managers report that the feature is conceivably underused by the majority.

Reasons why Google is pulling the plug on this feature is unknown. However, several sources believe that a replacement is in progress. Google Calendar will still enable you to create invitations but the workaround will be that you have to click into Calendar and create an invitation from there.

How to create an invitation in Calendar:

  1. Go to www.google.com/calendar and click on the Create button located in the upper left corner of the page.
  2. Now that you’re in the Calendar page, add in the details of your event, including the name, time, date, location, and description.
  3. Add invitees by entering their email addresses on the right and clicking Add.
  4. You can set the event’s privacy to default, public, or private and choose who will be able to access a particular event. Default will follow the current share setting of Calendar. Making it public will expose all details to anyone who has access to the event, while making an event private hides all details from invitees, aside from those who have access to change the event.
  5. Once everything is done don’t forget to hit Save in the upper left corner.
You still have some time to send invitations for Calendar through Gmail. The likelihood is that an even better integration system will be introduced. Looking to learn more about using Google's products and services in your business? Call us today for a chat.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 27th, 2014

Facebook_May26_CSocial media has come to play an increasingly large part in our daily lives. Regardless of whether you use this platform for personal or business use - most likely both - you will no doubt have a Facebook profile that you use on a regular if not daily basis. A major feature of Facebook is the News Feed which showcases all the content that your friends and Pages post. But, did you know that there is a way to change what you view on your Feed?

About the content displayed on your News Feed

The average number of friends a user has on Facebook, and the content they post, is increasing. This makes it difficult to actually see all of the news and posts on your News Feed, which can pose problems for businesses who want and need to keep track.

In order to make viewing content easier, Facebook introduced two views:

  • Top News
  • Most Recent
These two views can drastically change the content you see on your News Feed, and the order it is displayed in. In recent months, the company has changed the default view to Top News for all users. This has created some confusion though, especially for those who want to view everything posted.

Here is an overview of the two Facebook views:

The Top News view

This view is an aggregate of the most popular content posted by your friends and the Pages you follow. If you log out of Facebook and come back after a while, this will be updated to show which posts have gained a lot of attention since you have been gone.

These posts might include a funny video that has received a lot of comments, or even a post from another Page that has gone viral. Now, unless you change it, this is your new default view when you log into Facebook.

To determine what to show in this view, Facebook uses an algorithm which factors in what content is being interacted with and how many people are interacting with it. It then displays this content as being the most relevant and what it decides you are more likely to find interesting. However, this view does not show content chronologically.

For businesses this view option can be really useful. If you have posted content that has been interacted with then there is a better chance that it will be seen by other users through this default view.

The Most Recent view

As the name suggest, this view is of the most recent posts on your News Feed. Posts are presented chronologically with updates from all of your friends and Pages.

This view is a great way to track everything people are posting so that you don't miss those posts which wouldn't be included high up in the Top News view. For businesses, this allows a valuable insight into what people like and don't like at any given moment, and to be able to respond to interactions which are important but haven't necessarily become popular. It could be that by seeing these posts and coming back with a reaction that you then create a flurry of interest which would then be seen in the Top News view.

How to switch between them

Looking to switch between views on your News Feed? You can easily do so by:
  1. Logging into your Facebook account.
  2. Pressing News Feed on the menu on the left-hand side of the page.
  3. Clicking the gray arrow beside News Feed and selecting either Top Stories or Most Recent. This will switch your News Feed view to the one you select.
If you are looking to learn more about Facebook in your business, contact us today to see how we can help.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 21st, 2014

GoogleAps_May19_CIt’s undeniable that work gets done faster and easier with help from cloud-based apps. It can be difficult, however, to find the right apps that work for your business. Whether you want to create online documents, share calendars or even make video calls, Google Apps for Business is designed to help. This cloud-based tool could become a valuable add-on to your business success and productivity.

What is Google Apps for Business?

Google Apps for Business is a range of cloud-based productivity apps divided into four main groups or functions: communicate, store, collaborate, and manage. The apps all focus on integration for maximized productivity; which means keeping your team connected and of course giving you the access to work from anywhere.

Communicate

A company that lacks communication is a company working in the dark. But with apps like Gmail, Google Hangouts, and Google Calendar; no longer will you have to be worried about issues of work slipping through the cracks.
  • Gmail - Gmail for businesses features storage starting from 30GB, automatic backup, spam protection, and multiple email addresses, and is available on both the iOS and Android operating systems. Whether you want to create labels, prioritize your Inbox or even read and draft messages without connection, Gmail’s got your back. Or, if you’re thinking about migrating from another platform, Gmail has powerful migration tools to ensure a quick and easy process.
  • Hangouts - Connect face-to-face from anywhere with Hangouts, a high definition video conference app that allows up to 15 participants in one call and comes with built-in screen sharing, which allows you to see any file from a participant's screen; perfect for presentations. External parties can also join Hangouts even if they don’t have Google Apps account. Never miss out on important meetings again even if you’re far apart. To go even further, Hangouts also includes instant messaging which is handy for internal communication.
  • Calendar - Plan less and do more with Calendar which easily lets you set up meetings and appointments from Gmail to your calendar. You can also share documents and create group calendars directly from events as well.

Store

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could do away with external hard drives and storage devices and have your work accessible no matter where you were? With Google Drive you can do exactly that and more.
  • Drive - Keep all you work in one secure place and access it from anywhere. Featuring 30GB of storage space, upgradable up to 16TB, Drive lets you upload, share, edit, and even download any type of documents while automatically syncing these to your computer. This means you’ll never have to hit save again. Not only that, but you can also view over 40 popular file formats without having to buy extra software to open them.

Collaborate

Work faster with more hands involved. Without the right platform though, this is easier said than done. Now with apps like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Sites, collaboration has never been easier.
  • Docs - Create and edit text documents right in your browser. This app supports co-editing, meaning multiple people can work on the same document at the same time. It also comes with security functions such as document access control and add-ons like mail merging and advance editing. As an added bonus, if you use Google Chrome, you can enable the ability to edit documents offline and have them sync the next time you connect.
  • Sheets - Lets you create and share spreadsheets, charts, and pivot tables even without an Internet connection. Multiple people can do real-time editing, as well as create surveys or questionnaires with built-in forms. You can also easily convert other spreadsheets with the original file structure remaining intact.
  • Slides - Draw charts, diagrams, and make presentations with Slides. Equipped with practical functions like co-editing, as well as working without Internet connection, you can get ready for your presentation at any time.
  • Sites - Brings content together under one roof by letting you easily create a wiki for your team or customers without writing a single line of code. Simply create a new page and fill in the information as you would in any document. This is a great way to quickly establish and share a centralized information source e.g., a FAQ.

Manage

Being the backbone of an organization can be quite a handful. But with the right apps. along with good integration, you can do away with the nasty headaches of account management and backup.
  • Admin - Manage Google Apps for your organization with the Admin feature. Whether you want to add users, manage devices, and set groups or restrictions, you can do so with just a few clicks while being sure all your data is kept safe.
  • Vault - An archive for emails and chats, Vault manages, retains, searches, and exports your organization’s emails and chat records, making sure nothing gets lost.
While there are many cloud-based apps available online, opt for the wrong one and you can face lost productivity and increased expense. Google Apps may just be the best tool for your business. If you are looking to learn more about this service, contact us today.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 20th, 2014

Facebook_May19_CAs a business owner, you likely take pride in the reputation of your business. If you have a Facebook Page, you probably manage it to ensure that all content and comments posted help to bolster your reputation. The only problem is, some people do post inappropriate content and this can pose a problem. Luckily, there is a way to proactively stop this type of content from showing up on your Page.

Proactive monitoring posted Facebook Page content

If you are an admin for your business Facebook Page, there is a good chance that you likely would prefer to be as proactive as possible when it comes to monitoring what is posted on your News Feed and Page. The best way to do this is to use Facebook's built-in word and profanity filters.

Enabling the word filter

All Page admins have access to a word filter which can mark all posts or comments that contain words you have set as spam. You can block words by:
  1. Logging into your Facebook Page. You do need to be the admin for your account, so be sure to log in using these details.
  2. Clicking Edit Page followed by Edit Settings.
  3. Selecting Page Moderation and typing the words you want to block.
  4. Clicking on Save Changes.
When entering your blocked words, you will need to enter both the singular and plural versions because the filter works on a per-word basis. Be sure to also separate words with a comma. When you do get a post or comment that contains the blocked word, it will be sent directly to your Spam folder.

You can access this by going into your Page's Activity Log and clicking on Spam. All spam messages will pop up, and if you would like to approve a post click on the circle with a line through it, followed by Unmark as Spam. For comments, simply hover over and click Unhide.

Enabling the profanity filter

No business wants profanity to appear on their Facebook page, it simply looks unprofessional and can harm your online brand and corporate image. Facebook has a profanity filter that can help and you can enable this to work on your Page content by:
  1. Logging into your Facebook Page. You do need to be the admin for your account, so be sure to log in using these details.
  2. Clicking Edit Page followed by Edit Settings.
  3. Selecting Profanity Filter and selecting either Medium or Strong.
  4. Clicking Save Changes.
The profanity filter works off of a list curated by Facebook which have been marked by other users as offensive or words which are commonly reported as profane and offensive.

If you are looking to learn more about using Facebook in your business, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 13th, 2014

GoogleApps_May13_CGoogle Maps is a great tool for businesses and individuals alike. With Google Maps you can save relevant addresses to your Google account and head out without a hint of worry since you can pull these directions on your phone. As a business person you can send routes to clients by sharing maps through email, and also be included in the business listings should a customer look for an address nearby. To be able to benefit from Google Maps check how you can save your addresses through the guidelines below.

Signing-up to a Google account

You have to create a Google account in order to be able to save your home and work addresses in Google Maps. This account can be used for all of Google’s services, like Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Maps, and all other Web tools under Google. After you have signed up, log into your account to save your home and work addresses.

Adding your home and work addresses

Open Google Maps and click My Places. From this page, click either Set home location or Set work location and type in your complete addresses to be able to access these on every device. Hit Save.

Sharing your addresses with colleagues

Many businesses deal with clients from different geographical locations and it is useful to use Google Maps to send out your business location so that they know exactly where you are. You can share your location through email and text messages or even send to a number of GPS devices for easy navigation.

Opening Google Maps on your device

As stated, you should be signed into your Google account to access your saved places as well as your home and work addresses. Open Google Maps and click the address you would like to share. This will show the specific location of your home and work address.

Sharing your addresses in two ways

Once you have opened Google Maps and clicked on the location you wish to share, click the link icon on the left corner of your window. This shows you two ways to send your address. Firstly, you can opt to send the address directly through the Short URL provided by hitting Send. You have options to choose where you want to send it through several mediums.

Secondly, you can copy and paste the code provided just below the Second URL. Choose Paste in HTML to embed in website option and your location will appear on your company website, your personal blog or other sites you would want to share it on.

Whatever your purpose, the accessibility of having your addresses saved in Google Maps can be useful. Through this, you can work and provide directions to business associates, family members and friends, wherever you are.

If you are looking to learn more about Google Maps and how it can be used in your business, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.