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End of Year Technical Tips

The end of the year is a great is time to wrap up all those annoying tasks that have been lingering on my to do list.  I like to take some time during the holidays to make sure I have covered these four items.

1. Change Passwords
security passwordsNot a fun task, but more important now today with so many cyber hacks be reported from all types of businesses. I suggest that you change all you passwords.  Be sure to follow a good policy making them complex and unique.  I good New Year's resolution would be to start using a password manager to help you with the task like LastPass or 1Password.

2. Backup
A great time to make sure you have proper back-up running and archive all you data for the year.  Having a good backup strategy is simple as 3-2-1:  Your documents, files and all your data is important.  Keep three copies of that information.  Two in different formats like a hard drive and DVD.  One offsite like in the cloud. 

3. Clean up
I like to go through old unwanted emails and files to delete what is no longer needed.  Clearing out unnecessary files makes it easier for you and less taxing on your computers. Backup first!

4. Update
Finally, make sure your virus protection, applications and operating systems are all up to date.  These updates are one of your best protections in fighting malware and hackers.

To learn more, sign up for one of our upcoming monthly webinars.  We have several great monthly topics that help you keep your business secure, reduce your costs and keep you employees more productive.  
    

Keeping Your Business Secure Online - Webinar

If you think your business is too small to be an attractive target for cyber criminals or you don’t have anything worth stealing, think again. In a recent Verizon study, 71 percent of breaches examined showed that companies with fewer than 100 employees were the primary targets. 

cyber crimeThe last door left open for these cyber attackers is not the technology, but through your employees. Cyber criminals are aggressively targeting and taking advantage of human engineering as new primary means for vast array of compromises. These costly attacks range from snatching intellectual property to outright cyberheists through wire transfers. 

Ease Technologies will be providing an online webinar to discuss the issue.  During the webinar we will share the most common threats to small and medium businesses and what can be done to mitigate these issues. 

Register here: 

Who should attend: 
• Business owners 
• Technology decision makers
• Company Employees

What will be covered :
• Common cyber threats to small and medium businesses 
• Keeping secure with mobile devices
• Steps to fight online fraud 
• Tips to keep your business protected

Event Date: Wed, Jan 21, 2015
Event Time: 12:00 PM (Duration: 50 min) 
Event Location: Online 
Presenters: Dave Kile, Vice President and Matt Schmidt, Director of Managed Accounts

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
    

Microsoft Unveils Free Versions of Office for Mobile Devices

In November Microsoft Corp. announced that it is offering free versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to iPhone and iPad users, as well as a preview version for Android tablet users. The main release for the Android version is scheduled for early 2015.

Features

In March 2014, Microsoft debuted its Office apps on the iPad. Users are able to view documents as well as copy and paste between them. They can also share documents, and present their work using PowerPoint.

office for iphone

This first version of Office for the iPad did have some restrictions. In order to create new documents or edit old ones, users needed to pay for an Office 365 subscription. Users also needed an Office 365 subscription for saving documents to OneDrive or SharePoint.

The newest versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint do not have these restrictions. Users can freely create and edit their documents, though they still need a Microsoft account.

Microsoft created a couple of new views that make navigating and editing documents on the iPhone much easier. Within Word, the "Reflow" view temporarily resizes documents to fit on the phone's screen. This eliminates the need for panning and scanning through a document. Within Excel, The "Full Screen" view accomplishes this task.

These universal apps work on all iPhone and iPod Touch devices running iOS 7.1 or a later version. Microsoft intends to develop universal versions of Office for both Android and Windows phones as well, although the release dates for these versions have not been revealed.

The company's announcement about new mobile versions of Office follows the creation of an exciting partnership between Microsoft and Dropbox. The new iPhone, iPad, and Android versions of the Office apps allows users to open, edit, and save their documents from Dropbox as well as Microsoft's OneDrive.

Premium Components for Office 365 Users

Only Office 365 users will have the ability to edit documents that are stored on Dropbox for Business and OneDrive for Business. They will also have 1 terabyte of storage on OneDrive. Microsoft has said that in the near future it will provide Office 365 users with unlimited online storage.

Office 365 users will have access to PowerPoint presenter mode and Excel pivot tables, as well as unrestricted use of the Track Changes feature. They will also be able to use certain chart customization options for color and design.

Refunds for Office 365 Users

Microsoft is offering pro-rated refunds to Office 365 users that subscribed just to get the ability to edit Office documents on their iPads. The refunds are only available to those who purchased an Office 365 Personal or Office 365 Home subscription on or after March 27, 2014. This was the day that Office for iPad was first released. The account must have been activated before November 6, 2014.

Eligible Office 365 users must cancel their subscriptions and request their refunds by January 31, 2015. Users that purchased their subscriptions from Microsoft or a reseller should contact a Microsoft Accounts and Billings representative. Those who purchased their subscriptions through Apple should contact iTunes store support.

Founded in 1993, Ease Technologies is an IT Support and technology services firm that supports clients and markets seeking flexibility, creative talent and high reliability in a business partner in the Baltimore, Washington, DC and Fairfax regions. Call us today at (301) 854-0010 to learn more how we can help you support your Apple devices. 

    

iPhone Tech Tip: Managing Do Not Disturb In iOS

The latest update for iOS 8 for the iPhone and iPad brings a host of new notification features.  While helpful at times can this also be be just a lot of noise or intrusive at the wrong times of the day.  There are two easy ways to control alerts, phone calls and messages.  

iOS 8In the Settings > Notifications you can configure how you are alerted. In Settings > Do Not Disturb can manage the time of those email alerts, text messages and even incoming phone calls.  So if you don't want notifications from 11 pm until 6 am you can set those times as desired.  Importantly, the Do Not Disturb settings provide you the option to override this and receive calls from select groups.  If you still wanted to hear from certain family members or peers during those down times the calls will still ring through. 

To manually active the Do Not Disturb settings during a meeting simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen to launch Control Center. Tap on the crescent moon icon in the top row to activate Do Not Disturb. You will just need to turn off this setting when you are ready to resume your normal notifications.  

Finally, you will know when you have Do Not Disturb activated with a small crescent moon icon across the top status bar on your iPhone and iPad.

Ease Technologies is uniquely qualified to support all your Windows, Apple and iOS devices.  Contacts us today to learn more how we can help you make the most of your mobile devices and technology at (301) 854-0010. 
    

5 Things to Consider When Planning Your Data Backup Process

Your organization's value depends on its data. A catastrophic loss of data will cripple your company, often beyond the point of recovery. For this reason, data backup plans are essential, even for startups. Save time and money by doing it right from the start instead of waiting until after the disaster. Every company needs to have their own plan that considers not only speed of recovery, but redundancy for business continuity. Many backup plans include local recovery and remote offsite options. 

Here are five things to consider when planning your data backup process.

1. Choose the Right Medium

You can store data almost anywhere, especially when you don't have much to back up. However, the storage medium you choose determines how quickly you can go from a server crash, and lost data, to being productive again. The best storage medium allows you to store large amounts of data, but also makes recovery quick.

For instance, DVDs may be convenient and inexpensive, but they'll prove to be rather difficult to manage once you have terabytes of storage to maintain. Hard drives might make sense in such a situation, especially if you are looking for redundancy in your backup solution.  Cloud backup offers an offsite option and is important part of the planning. 

What is best really comes down to your own specific needs.

2. Test Your Backups

How do you know your backups aren't corrupted? One common unforeseen failure in data backup plans is corrupted files, found only once a catastrophic failure has occurred. You simply don't know the integrity of your backups unless you test them.

The frequency of when you test your backups ultimately depends on the value of your specific data. It is recommended that you periodically check to make sure that your backups work as expected and restore properly. This process will not only ensure the integrity of your backups, but also provides a regular check that the backups are occurring at the specified interval.

3. Schedule Your Backups During Off-Peak Hours

Scheduling large amounts of data transfers across your network can create all kinds of problems. First, moving terabytes of data can take hours and it will eat up your bandwidth. Backups performed during the day will affect users' productivity. They can even create issues with dropped virtual meetings, phone calls (VoIP) or data transfers. Instead of interrupting users, schedule your backups at night.

To perform scheduled backups, you'll need good software. The software must be able to identify when resources weren't properly backed up and alert you to any issues. It also must be reliable enough to back up your data regularly without interruptions.

4. Audit Your Data

Backups are easy when you have one server. But, what happens when your company expands and you have several servers and workstations to maintain? You can easily forget to include important data in your backup process. The only way to ensure that you back up all your important data is to perform an audit.

Your audit should include all the servers within your network. First, you must know where users back up data. These file servers hold important user documents. Second, you always need to back up database servers. These servers contain critical company data. Finally, any application servers must have backups. Application servers can usually have more infrequent backups since they do not change often.

5. Prioritize Security

The last thing to consider is security, but it's probably one of the most important. You can't back up all your data and leave it in a random location. Poorly secured backups leave not only a few documents open to hackers, but tons of data. Backups are frequently forgotten when securing your network, but you should have high standards for their security.

Don't skimp on your company's most prized possession. Data is your company's most critical asset. Contact us for a quick check-up on your existing data backup process to make sure you've taken everything into account.  Every company has different needs, contact us and learn how Ease Technologies can help your business with important data backup planning and implementation.  Call us today at (301) 854-0010.

    

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1/15/2015 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

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