How to use OneNote like a pro

Can you list all the apps in the Microsoft Office suite? Did you forget OneNote? It’s often overlooked, but Microsoft’s note-taking app is incredibly useful for everything from brainstorming sessions to learning courses. Let’s go over what it takes to get started with OneNote.

OneNote is a digital notebook

Despite the visual similarities, the thing that sets OneNote apart from Word is the way it stores and displays saved information. In OneNote, one window displays all your Notebooks, which can contain several pages and separate documents.

To create a Notebook, click File and then New. From there, you’ll be given the option to create a new Notebook, which can be saved locally to OneDrive or to SharePoint.

A Notebook will help you organize several types of information in one space, so let’s imagine we’ve named a SharePoint Notebook “New Product Ideas” and clicked Create New.

Next, you’ll be looking at a blank screen with “New Product Ideas” in the upper left-hand corner. To get the most out of OneNote, we need to start organizing our Notebook.

Separate your Notebook into Sections

Every Notebook is organized into Sections, similar to what dividers do in a physical notebook. For example, our New Product Ideas Notebook might be divided into Sections based on things like design, price and materials.

Sections are shown as color-coded tabs along the top of the screen, next to the name of your Notebook. You simply click the ‘+’ button to create a new section.

Start filling your Sections with useful Pages

Up until this point, OneNote seems like little more than a Word document with improved organization. But Pages in OneNote are built so that different types of media can be dropped into your pages with the click of a button.

So let’s say you’ve bookmarked a number of websites with reference images you want to add to your Design Section. Open up Design and select Add New Page on the right-hand side of the screen. Right-click it and name the page, and in our example this could be Ideas from online.

One way to insert the images from your bookmarked webpages is to save them to your computer and then drag each icon onto your OneNote Page where the image will automatically appear.

However, with Microsoft’s OneNote Web Clipper this can be done much more easily. After installing the browser extension, open it and select what you want to save from the web page with your cursor. The Web Clipper will ask which OneNote Page you want to save the selection to and it will automatically be added.

Start experimenting!

Now that you understand how to organize your information, you can experiment with linking Pages from different notebooks, adding category tags to Pages, and inserting online videos into your notes.

If you’re worried about a Notebook becoming overly complicated, don’t worry. Above the Pages pane is a search bar that you can use to find keywords from Notebook titles, Section titles and Pages content.

You could spend an entire year learning the ins and outs of every Microsoft Office application, but a faster way would be to let us help you cut through the clutter with practical recommendations and assistance. Call us today!

 

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How to keep your mobile devices safe

By EDITOR 

Increased productivity and constant collaboration are two of the main reasons why businesses have integrated a mobile policy into their business. This means an increased use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets in daily operations. But as the number of mobile users continues to grow, so does the number of cyber crime. Reduce your IT staff’s headaches by following these steps in protecting your mobile devices.

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.

 

 

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Stop using Google’s SMS sign-in

By EDITOR 

To ensure optimal security, two-step authentication is used. This requires a password as well as a unique six-digit code that is typically sent via SMS. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has voiced its concerns about this method and Google quickly responded by having users try an alternative method.

Security was the main concern. According to Google, “This is being done because SMS text-message verifications are one-time codes that are more susceptible to phishing attempts.” Hackers can dupe network operators into redirecting the message to their phone. Even worse, there are numerous Android apps that can be used to capture SMS codes sent from banks to customers.

To defend against these threats, Google introduced 2-Step Verification in user accounts. If a user tries to log in to an account, Google will send a phone alert prompting that person to confirm his or her identity. Prompts-based 2-Step Verification (2-SV) sign-in is safer because the entire process occurs over an encrypted connection. In February 2017, Google improved the existing 2-SV prompts with additional information on the device, location and time of attempted sign-ins.

Google hasn’t confirmed ending support for SMS authentication but has already sent invitations urging 2-SV-SMS to switch to the prompts-based version. Users will be given the option of whether they want to retain the prompt-based sign-in. However, users who refuse to switch will receive follow-up notifications after six months.

Android users will enjoy a seamless transition because they will receive prompts without having to download an additional app. However, iOS users who rely on SMS for 2-Step Verification are required to install the Google Search app on their phone.

For any questions, get in touch with us. We’ll help you stay on top of the latest IT management and technology news.

 

 

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Grow your business with new Office 365 apps

By EDITOR 

Microsoft never fails to announce exciting new features for their products. In an effort to improve support for small- and medium-sized businesses, they introduced a series of new apps and enhancements for Office 365 during the Inspire conference in July. Some of the most notable upgrades include:

Microsoft Connections
Email marketing campaigns are a great way to build relationships with contacts and increase sales, but they’re often difficult to manage. With Microsoft Connections, you can easily launch a campaign in minutes using pre-designed templates for newsletters, referrals, and promotions.

As you acquire more contacts, Connections allows you to segment your mailing list so you can target different customers. For instance, you can send product promotions to clients who have stayed with your business for more than six months.

After firing off your emails, performance charts track important metrics like open rates, clickthrough rates, new sign-ups, and canceled subscriptions that can be used to improve future campaigns.

Microsoft Listings
Microsoft Listings helps you seamlessly manage your online presence. Whenever you update your business profile, Listings automatically publishes those changes across your Facebook, Google, Bing, and Yelp accounts, allowing you to keep important information like business hours up to date.

What’s more, Listings includes a web dashboard where you can monitor page-views, reviews, and likes, helping you assess your company’s online reputation.

Microsoft Invoicing
Another useful addition is Microsoft Invoicing, a tool that helps you generate price estimates and invoices. When combined with enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, you can program workflows that automatically redirect invoices, pending payments, and estimates to the right accountant. This application works for credit, debit, and PayPal transactions.

Office 365 Business Center
The Office 365 Business Center brings Connections, Listings, and Invoicing all under one roof. This means information listed on one application is automatically registered onto another, saving you from inputting data multiple times.

The main hub also features a unified dashboard where you can track an email campaign’s performance, Facebook impressions, and any outstanding invoices, giving you full visibility into your accounting and marketing processes.

According to Microsoft, these powerful features will be generally available for Office 365 Business Premium subscribers in the coming months. But if you want to get early access, consider joining the Office 365 Insider program.

Office 365 will likely have even more surprises for SMBs this year, so make sure to keep in touch with us to get the latest rundown on feature releases and Microsoft news.

 

 

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Android users beware: Ransomware is coming

By EDITOR 

You are probably familiar with desktop-based ransomware like Petya, WannaCry, CryptoWall, and CryptoLocker. But mobile ransomware is an emerging trend you don’t want to learn about only after it strikes. Take a minute to read our summary of mobile ransomware and some easy prevention tips.

How does ransomware make it onto your Android device?

Like its desktop equivalent, mobile ransomware needs to be installed on your device before it can do damage. For Android devices, this means mobile apps that hide their true intent. There are two ways to install programs on your mobile device: downloading them from app stores like Google Play and Amazon Appstore, or downloading them directly from websites and email links.

Surprisingly, both come with risks. Unverified sources often advertise free apps that hide malware, and the best of these can occasionally avoid detection and be allowed into monitored app stores.

What does mobile ransomware look like?

Similar to ransomware on personal computers, mobile ransomware holds data stored on your device hostage and demands ransom. For example, in the case of a ransomware that came with the “OK” app, a popular Russian social network platform that was infected earlier this year, a user is prompted to change device settings. There is no option to close the prompt and tapping Accept locks everything down and leaves you with nothing but a ransom note.

How to protect yourself from mobile ransomware

First and foremost, avoid downloading apps directly from websites or third-party app stores. Additionally, make sure you turn on Google’s security system — Verify Apps — which scans all the apps about to be installed on your device for potential threats. You can do so by opening your Android’s settings, choosing Security, tapping on Verify Apps, and activating ‘Scan device for security threats’.

Second, install antivirus software on your device and keep it up to date.

Third, back up important files from your device to either a USB disk, a computer, or any cloud-based services. This way, you won’t lose your valuable data if you are forced to factory-reset your device.

Last, if ransomware made its way into your device, don’t pay. According to IT security company ESET, mobile ransomware very rarely includes programming to reverse the damage it has done.

Losing any type of data is an enormous inconvenience, but businesses need to be especially careful about careless employees. Data loss could result in lawsuits or regulatory fines, so it’s important that you know how to safeguard your Android against ransomware.

For more in-depth advice on how to protect yourself and your business from this threat, get in touch with our experts today.

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Microsoft’s protection plan for Windows 10

By EDITOR 

Microsoft has created new security features for Windows 10 users. This update is a response to the global outbreak of ransomware attacks such as WannaCry and Petya. While this patch shouldn’t be a substitute for antivirus software and data backups, Microsoft does think its new features can help people defend against current and future threats. Find out how.

Controlled folders
With Microsoft’s new Controlled folders access feature, you can list certain documents and folders as “protected.” Only whitelisted apps can access and edit these folders, while any attempted changes by malicious apps are simply blocked by Windows Defender.

In theory, this should slow down a ransomware’s ability to encrypt critical information. Some reports suggest that other threats like malicious file macros and viruses can be prevented by this feature.

So far, only Windows Insider users have access to controlled folders. But if you’ve already signed up, you can access the feature by going to Windows Defender Security Center and then enabling Controlled folder access. From here, you can choose which folders will be protected and what apps are allowed to access them. To save you time, common Microsoft applications are trusted automatically, but you can remove them from your whitelist whenever you want.

Application Guard
Apart from folder protection, Microsoft also made security enhancements for web browsers. The Windows Defender Application Guard is designed to prevent intrusions, using Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtual machine technology to detect and isolate compromised applications from the rest of your system. So if someone accidentally downloads a virus from their web browser, Application Guard will contain the threat before it infiltrates the rest of your company’s devices, apps, data, and network.

Device Guard
In a similar vein, the Device Guard feature, which is also found in the Windows Defender Security Center, minimizes computer exposure to malware by using advanced threat detection policies to make sure only approved code is running throughout the system. This is meant to add an extra layer of defense in between your firewall and antivirus software.

As mentioned, Windows Insider users can get early access to these security features, but if you want to make sure that these security features are as strong as they can be, we suggest you wait for their public release around September for the Fall Creators update.

Want to stay on top of the latest technologies that can help you beat ransomware, viruses, and other nasty cyberattacks? Contact us today for any security updates and advice.

 

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Malware targeting MacOS steals bank logins

By EDITOR 

Although ransomware has stolen the limelight recently, there’s another type of cyberattack targeting your bank account. Thanks to some horrifying ingenuity, being infected by OSX.Dok can result in victims directly handing their bank account information to hackers. Take a minute to find out how it works so you can avoid making a costly mistake.

OSX.Dok isn’t new, but it has been improved

Originally, this Mac-based malware looked very different. When OSX.Dok was first reported several months ago, it could infect only older versions of the Apple operating system. Besides being relegated to OS X, it didn’t do much more than simply spy on the internet history of its victims. More recently, however, OSX.Dok was updated to target the newer macOS and to steal banking information.

How does it work?

Like so many malware programs today, this particular threat is distributed via phishing emails. Because the end goal is to acquire private financial information, these emails pretend to have pressing information about taxes or bank statements stored in attachments that actually contain malicious software.

Once any of these attachments are opened, OSX.Dok secretly broadcasts information about the computer and its location to the malware’s authors. Based on that information, hackers can redirect victims that visit banking websites to copycat URLs tailored to their language and location. Almost everything on the copycat sites looks exactly the same, but when you submit your user ID and password, they go straight to hackers.

Worst of all, the latest version of this malware seems to be incredibly advanced. It actively changes the way it hides itself and even modifies system settings to keep the computer from checking for operating system and security updates.

What can I do?

Security experts are still working on a way to combat OSX.Dok, but believe that it will remain a problem for some time to come. For now there are a few things you can do:

Never open attachments from people you don’t know personally, and even then be wary of anything you weren’t expecting.
Pay attention to little details. For example, copyright dates at the bottom of fake banking sites only went to 2013.
Look closely at the lock to the left of URLs in your address bar. Fake websites may have security certificates with names slightly different from those of the sites they mimic.

The best way to stay ahead of threats like OSX.Dok is by partnering with a capable IT provider. That way you can be sure that you have all the latest software and hardware to keep you safe. Even if something managed to slip through, regular audits are sure to find infections sooner than an overburdened in-house team would. Call us today to find out how we can protect you!

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Beware: Nyetya is worse than WannaCry

By EDITOR 

The cyber community hasn’t fully recovered from the WannaCry ransomware attacks, which struck businesses and organizations in May. Now, a Petya ransomware variant named Nyetya is poised to join its ranks as one of the worst cyber attacks in history. Like WannaCry, its attackers exploited unpatched Microsoft vulnerabilities and demanded a $300 ransom in Bitcoins. But there are key differences between the two that are worth taking a look.

Worse than WannaCry

Nyetya is deemed worse than WannaCry mainly because it spreads laterally, meaning it targets computers within networks and affects even systems that have been patched. Because it also spreads internally, it needs to infect only one device to affect several others within a single network.

Cyber researchers trace its origins to a tax accounting software called MEDoc, which infected 12,500 systems in Ukraine. Since the initial infections in June, it has spread to thousands of networks in 64 countries. And although it hasn’t spread as fast as WannaCry, it might have a wider reach soon because it uses three attack pathways to infect a system. It hasn’t made as much money as WannaCry, which is why cyber researchers are concluding that the attacks are not economically motivated.

Don’t pay the ransom

Cyber security firms and researchers strongly recommend affected businesses to avoid paying the ransom. According to them, paying the ransom would be a waste since the infected user won’t be able to receive a decryption key to unlock their files or systems. This is because the email provider has blocked the email address on the ransomware message.

Although it operates like a ransomware — locking hard drives and files and demands a $300 ransom in Bitcoin — it functions more as a wiperware that aims to permanently wipe out data and/or destroy systems. So far, it has affected big-name multinationals in various industries, including Merck, Mondelez International, and AP Moller-Maersk, among others.

Perform backups and update outdated security patches

The only way businesses can be protected is by performing backups and staying on top of patch updates.

It’s safe to say that in case of a Nyetya attack, there’s no chance of getting back your data. In such a scenario, you would have only your backup files — whether on an external storage or in the cloud — to fall back on. But backing up is not enough; you should also ensure that your backups are working, which you can do by testing them regularly. Given the nature of Nyetya, you should also make sure that your backups are stored off-site and disconnected from your network.

Like its predecessor, Nyetya exploited vulnerabilities in unpatched Microsoft-run computers. As a business owner, make it a part of your cyber security routine to update your systems with the latest security patches, or risk having your files or systems permanently corrupted.

As a business owner whose operations’ lifeline depends on critical files, your backups are your insurance. If your systems’ network security needs another layer of protection, get in touch with us today.

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Have you used these 6 Gmail tips yet?

By EDITOR 

Time is of the essence, especially for small- or medium-sized businesses. To keep up with your competitors, spending most of your day rummaging through your inbox won’t help. Use these Gmail tips and tricks and spend less time in front of the monitor and more time enhancing your bottom line.

Undo Send
We’ve all had an email or two we wish we could take back. Gmail has a neat feature that gives you a short period of time to recall a mistakenly sent message. After activating Undo Send, quickly retrieve the email and it’s as if nothing ever happened.

Canned Responses
Dubbed as ‘email for the truly lazy,’ Canned Responses is a Gmail Labs feature that allows you to save time and reuse an email that you designate as a Canned Response. Working like an email template, it saves copious amounts of time since you won’t have to retype the same responses over and over again. It comes in handy for businesses that send plenty of routine emails.

Send large attachments with Google Drive
With Gmail, users can easily send attachments reaching 25 MB. But say you have a huge zip file for a photo shoot that the clients want to review — you’re going to need more space. If you use Google Drive with your Google account, you can send larger files on Gmail. Copy the large file to your Google Drive, then click Composein Gmail and type your message. When you’re ready to attach the large file, click the Google Drive icon (next to the Attachment icon that looks like a paper clip). Insert the files you want to attach and send your message.

Turn on Priority Inbox
As hinted in the name, Priority Inbox will organize your messages by their importance. You’ll be able to divide your inbox into five sections, where the messages will be displayed in the following order: 1. important and unread messages, 2. starred messages, 3. [customizable section], 4. [customizable section], 5. everything else. To enable it, go to Settings > Inbox > Inbox Type and choose Priority Inbox.

Back up your messages
If you ever need to back up or migrate your Gmail messages, Gmvault can help. It is an open source solution that can back up your entire Gmail directory or just a handful of messages. The email data is then available whenever you need to restore or recreate your Gmail folders. You can also use it to migrate messages from one account to another.

Gmail Labs
To get the latest Gmail features, you should sign up for Gmail Labs. This is where Google tests up-and-coming features before making them part of Gmail. Access Gmail Labs by heading over to Settings.

Spending the right amount of time with emails while managing other crucial business areas is a balancing act many business owners find difficult. If you have questions or need further assistance regarding Gmail or IT in general, feel free to contact us.

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Comparing Office 2016 and Office 365

By EDITOR 

Pairing your business with the right productivity-enhancing tool is a challenge. Fortunately, you can choose between two popular options: Office 2016 and Office 365. But which is right for you? Here are three main differences that may help you decide.

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.

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