Analytics are critical for effective data backups

Collecting data is vital for keeping records, tracking performance, and delighting customers. With so much on the line, it’s never been more important to have backups of all your files. If your data is growing at a rate that’s hard to keep up with, analytics tools are an awesome way to figure out which backups matter most and how to prioritize them.

An excess of information

Nowadays, too much data may sound like a good thing. But for many organizations, creating backups in real-time isn’t economical. So if you’ve wondered how you should structure your backup plan to prioritize the critical files, we have an answer: Analytics tools.

Analyzing vast amounts of data quickly and affordably has never been easier for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The key is working with experienced IT professionals to customize a solution to meet your needs. As an MSP (managed IT services provider), we’ve spent years designing business continuity and disaster recovery plans, often for SMBs that couldn’t create backups every hour.

A smarter solution

Depending on your needs, we can set up sophisticated analytics tools that determine what is most essential to your business’s day-to-day operations. These solutions prioritize data in order of importance and translate that to a backup structure that ensures the right data is safe and sound should disaster strike.

These tools integrate with your existing data-backup solution but provide it with a map of what to save first, and what to leave for later. That results in faster recovery times in the event of untimely outages or disruptions. Furthermore, using analytics increases efficiency and decreases overall backup costs by providing a better picture of what is unimportant versus what is unnecessary.

SMBs have been the drivers of innovation for decades because, as they say, “necessity is the mother of invention.” So whether you’re interested in top-of-the-line IT solutions or just need to get a better handle on disaster recovery, we’re ready to create a customized backup solution, just for you. Take a second to analyze that, then give us a call.

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Use data analytics to manage backups

The amount of data that the average business manages is unprecedented. And with that shift comes an unavoidable challenge: Deciding which files and records are most important to business continuity. However, with a little creative thinking and implementation, you can ensure the security of your most critical data.

An excess of information

Nowadays, too much data may sound like a good thing. But for many organizations, creating backups in real-time isn’t economical. So if you’ve wondered how you should structure your backup plan to prioritize the critical files, we have an answer: Analytics tools.

Analyzing vast amounts of data quickly and affordably has never been easier for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The key is working with experienced IT professionals to customize a solution to meet your needs. As an MSP (managed IT services provider), we’ve spent years designing business continuity and disaster recovery plans, often for SMBs that couldn’t create backups every hour.

A smarter solution

Depending on your needs, we can set up sophisticated analytics tools that determine what is most essential to your business’s day-to-day operations. These solutions prioritize data in order of importance and translate that to a backup structure that ensures the right data is safe and sound should disaster strike.

These tools integrate with your existing data-backup solution but provide it with a map of what to save first, and what to leave for later. That results in faster recovery times in the event of untimely outages or disruptions. Furthermore, using analytics increases efficiency and decreases overall backup costs by providing a better picture of what is unimportant versus what is unnecessary.

SMBs have been the drivers of innovation for decades because, as they say, “necessity is the mother of invention.” So whether you’re interested in top-of-the-line IT solutions or just need to get a better handle on disaster recovery, we’re ready to create a customized backup solution, just for you. Take a second to analyze that, then give us a call.

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Prioritizing data backups with analytics

Staggering amounts of information is generated every day and many businesses would struggle to operate without their databases. In fact, experts agree that by 2020, there will be 1,700 gigabytes of data generated per person on the planet. If you’re a business that’s worried about protecting its data, analytics tools are a great place to start.

An excess of information

Nowadays, too much data may sound like a good thing. But for many organizations, creating backups in real-time isn’t economical. So if you’ve wondered how you should structure your backup plan to prioritize the critical files, we have an answer: Analytics tools.

Analyzing vast amounts of data quickly and affordably has never been easier for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The key is working with experienced IT professionals to customize a solution to meet your needs. As an MSP (managed IT services provider), we’ve spent years designing business continuity and disaster recovery plans, often for SMBs that couldn’t create backups every hour.

A smarter solution

Depending on your needs, we can set up sophisticated analytics tools that determine what is most essential to your business’s day-to-day operations. These solutions prioritize data in order of importance and translate that to a backup structure that ensures the right data is safe and sound should disaster strike.

These tools integrate with your existing data-backup solution but provide it with a map of what to save first, and what to leave for later. That results in faster recovery times in the event of untimely outages or disruptions. Furthermore, using analytics increases efficiency and decreases overall backup costs by providing a better picture of what is unimportant versus what is unnecessary.

SMBs have been the drivers of innovation for decades because, as they say, “necessity is the mother of invention.” So whether you’re interested in top-of-the-line IT solutions or just need to get a better handle on disaster recovery, we’re ready to create a customized backup solution, just for you. Take a second to analyze that, then give us a call.

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Declutter your desktop and get more work done

Anything that hinders productivity is considered detrimental to profit, and a cluttered computer is one of them. Even a little time spent looking for files and applications in a crowded desktop can eventually add up to hours of downtime. Worse, it can mean losing critical data like important reports. Here are some tips to help your employees clear their desktops and optimize their virtual working space.

1. Before you begin, do a bit of recon

Before you go about deleting everything from your desktop, think about what you really want to keep. This will be vary from person to person, but most people treat their desktop as a place where they put files, folders, and app shortcuts that they want to access quickly.

Take the time to prioritize your files and folders. An easy way to do this is to right-click on an empty area of your desktop (where there are no icons) and select “Auto arrange icons”. This will organize your icons into a grid format that makes it easier for you to see and work with them. Then, right-click on the empty space and hover your mouse over “Sort by” and select “Date modified” to arrange the icons by the date they were last opened, with the latest on top.

2. Create holding and app shortcut folders

People often use their desktop to hold files like downloads, photos, screenshots, and even email attachments. This can lead to a messy desktop in a short period of time.

In truth, you probably don’t need all these shortcuts on your desktop. Instead, create a folder on your desktop for all non-essential files and folders.

Use this folder for non-important or temporary items. If you don’t intend to keep a file, icon, photo, etc. for long, put it in this folder. Once you are done with the file, simply go to the holding folder and delete it.

It also helps if you create a shortcut folder. When you install new programs on Windows, a shortcut icon is often automatically added to your desktop. However, these desktop shortcuts should be for frequently used programs only. For programs that aren’t used that often, it is best to create a separate folder.

3. Be ruthless in cleaning

Once you have your folders set up, it’s time to get rid of the clutter. If you haven’t used a file, folder, etc. in the past two months or so, you should seriously consider getting rid of it.

Examine your desktop and uninstall programs you no longer use, delete images you don’t need, move unimportant files, and place the rest in relevant folders. Once completed, take a look at your browser to see where it stores downloaded files. If your browser downloads files to your desktop by default, go to Settings and change the target location to the Downloads folder.

4. Stick with your plan

Once you have decluttered your desktop, try to stick with the rules you’ve made. Whenever you download something, ask yourself whether this should go to the desktop or someplace else.

Of course, sticking with these rules won’t always be easy, so take time once or twice a month to revisit your desktop and clean it up a bit.

5. Use the taskbar or Start menu for apps

With Windows 10, you can actually pin apps to the Start menu and the bottom taskbar. This is a great alternative to simply having program shortcuts on your desktop. To pin apps, open your apps list (click the down arrow from the Windows Start screen) and right-click on the application you would like to pin. Simply select “Pin to Start” or “Pin to taskbar” for the option you want.

6. Strategically position your wallpaper

An interesting way to minimize clutter is to pick a wallpaper that you enjoy looking at – whether it’s your favorite picture, slogan. Frame the image so the focus is in the center of your desktop. Then, place your icons around the image in a way that they still allow you to see the image. If you can’t see the image, then you have too many icons, and it may be time to get rid of a few.

Also, having an image you like serves as a reminder to keep icons to a minimum.. It’s a proactive solution eliminate clutter from your desktop..

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

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Clean your desktop to optimize your PC

Have your computers slowed down? As a business owner, you rely on your PC to get work done and keep productivity up. But a cluttered desktop can lead to lagging systems. Here are simple fixes to get you back on track.

1. Before you begin, do a bit of recon

Before you go about deleting everything from your desktop, think about what you really want to keep. This will be vary from person to person, but most people treat their desktop as a place where they put files, folders, and app shortcuts that they want to access quickly.

Take the time to prioritize your files and folders. An easy way to do this is to right-click on an empty area of your desktop (where there are no icons) and select “Auto arrange icons”. This will organize your icons into a grid format that makes it easier for you to see and work with them. Then, right-click on the empty space and hover your mouse over “Sort by” and select “Date modified” to arrange the icons by the date they were last opened, with the latest on top.

2. Create holding and app shortcut folders

People often use their desktop to hold files like downloads, photos, screenshots, and even email attachments. This can lead to a messy desktop in a short period of time.

In truth, you probably don’t need all these shortcuts on your desktop. Instead, create a folder on your desktop for all non-essential files and folders.

Use this folder for non-important or temporary items. If you don’t intend to keep a file, icon, photo, etc. for long, put it in this folder. Once you are done with the file, simply go to the holding folder and delete it.

It also helps if you create a shortcut folder. When you install new programs on Windows, a shortcut icon is often automatically added to your desktop. However, these desktop shortcuts should be for frequently used programs only. For programs that aren’t used that often, it is best to create a separate folder.

3. Be ruthless in cleaning

Once you have your folders set up, it’s time to get rid of the clutter. If you haven’t used a file, folder, etc. in the past two months or so, you should seriously consider getting rid of it.

Examine your desktop and uninstall programs you no longer use, delete images you don’t need, move unimportant files, and place the rest in relevant folders. Once completed, take a look at your browser to see where it stores downloaded files. If your browser downloads files to your desktop by default, go to Settings and change the target location to the Downloads folder.

4. Stick with your plan

Once you have decluttered your desktop, try to stick with the rules you’ve made. Whenever you download something, ask yourself whether this should go to the desktop or someplace else.

Of course, sticking with these rules won’t always be easy, so take time once or twice a month to revisit your desktop and clean it up a bit.

5. Use the taskbar or Start menu for apps

With Windows 10, you can actually pin apps to the Start menu and the bottom taskbar. This is a great alternative to simply having program shortcuts on your desktop. To pin apps, open your apps list (click the down arrow from the Windows Start screen) and right-click on the application you would like to pin. Simply select “Pin to Start” or “Pin to taskbar” for the option you want.

6. Strategically position your wallpaper

An interesting way to minimize clutter is to pick a wallpaper that you enjoy looking at – whether it’s your favorite picture, slogan. Frame the image so the focus is in the center of your desktop. Then, place your icons around the image in a way that they still allow you to see the image. If you can’t see the image, then you have too many icons, and it may be time to get rid of a few.

Also, having an image you like serves as a reminder to keep icons to a minimum.. It’s a proactive solution eliminate clutter from your desktop..

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

Posted in General Articles C, Windows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Boost productivity with a clean desktop

If you’re like many users, you’ve probably found it convenient to pile up your desktop with a lot of files.. Over time though, this method creates a confusing display screen that can give anyone a headache.. What started as a way to quickly grab files becomes the opposite and you waste time wading through a crowded desktop to find that crucial document. Boost your productivity and unburden you computer’s resources with these simple tips.

1. Before you begin, do a bit of recon

Before you go about deleting everything from your desktop, think about what you really want to keep. This will be vary from person to person, but most people treat their desktop as a place where they put files, folders, and app shortcuts that they want to access quickly.

Take the time to prioritize your files and folders. An easy way to do this is to right-click on an empty area of your desktop (where there are no icons) and select “Auto arrange icons”. This will organize your icons into a grid format that makes it easier for you to see and work with them. Then, right-click on the empty space and hover your mouse over “Sort by” and select “Date modified” to arrange the icons by the date they were last opened, with the latest on top.

2. Create holding and app shortcut folders

People often use their desktop to hold files like downloads, photos, screenshots, and even email attachments. This can lead to a messy desktop in a short period of time.

In truth, you probably don’t need all these shortcuts on your desktop. Instead, create a folder on your desktop for all non-essential files and folders.

Use this folder for non-important or temporary items. If you don’t intend to keep a file, icon, photo, etc. for long, put it in this folder. Once you are done with the file, simply go to the holding folder and delete it.

It also helps if you create a shortcut folder. When you install new programs on Windows, a shortcut icon is often automatically added to your desktop. However, these desktop shortcuts should be for frequently used programs only. For programs that aren’t used that often, it is best to create a separate folder.

3. Be ruthless in cleaning

Once you have your folders set up, it’s time to get rid of the clutter. If you haven’t used a file, folder, etc. in the past two months or so, you should seriously consider getting rid of it.

Examine your desktop and uninstall programs you no longer use, delete images you don’t need, move unimportant files, and place the rest in relevant folders. Once completed, take a look at your browser to see where it stores downloaded files. If your browser downloads files to your desktop by default, go to Settings and change the target location to the Downloads folder.

4. Stick with your plan

Once you have decluttered your desktop, try to stick with the rules you’ve made. Whenever you download something, ask yourself whether this should go to the desktop or someplace else.

Of course, sticking with these rules won’t always be easy, so take time once or twice a month to revisit your desktop and clean it up a bit.

5. Use the taskbar or Start menu for apps

With Windows 10, you can actually pin apps to the Start menu and the bottom taskbar. This is a great alternative to simply having program shortcuts on your desktop. To pin apps, open your apps list (click the down arrow from the Windows Start screen) and right-click on the application you would like to pin. Simply select “Pin to Start” or “Pin to taskbar” for the option you want.

6. Strategically position your wallpaper

An interesting way to minimize clutter is to pick a wallpaper that you enjoy looking at – whether it’s your favorite picture, slogan. Frame the image so the focus is in the center of your desktop. Then, place your icons around the image in a way that they still allow you to see the image. If you can’t see the image, then you have too many icons, and it may be time to get rid of a few.

Also, having an image you like serves as a reminder to keep icons to a minimum.. It’s a proactive solution eliminate clutter from your desktop..

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

Posted in General Articles B, Windows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Distributed spam distraction used for illegal activities

Usually, when victims find out their account has been hacked or hijacked, serious damage has already been done. But there’s a new illegal activity that cybercriminals are employing — and it’s done in plain sight. Distributed spam distraction involves sending thousands of spam email, and they do more than cause distractions.

Understanding DSD
Distributed spam distraction (DSD) is designed to inundate your inbox with thousands of nonsensical email. There are no dangerous links, ads, or attachments involved, just random excerpts of text stolen from books and websites. What’s worse, the email and IP addresses used are all different, so victims can’t simply block a specific sender.

These attacks last anywhere from 12 to 24 hours and can flood inboxes with as many as 60,000 messages. While they may seem like harmless annoyances, the true purpose of DSD is to draw victims’ attention away from what hackers are doing behind the scenes.

And what hackers are doing is exploiting your personally identifiable information (PII) to make unauthorized purchases or pilfer cash directly from your accounts. The DSD acts as a sort of smokescreen to hide payment confirmation messages behind a deluge of spam messages.

New tactics
Over the years, hackers have developed new tactics involving DSD. Several reports have shown that, instead of nonsensical emails, hackers are using automated software to have their targets sign up for thousands of free accounts and newsletters to distract them with authentic messages. This allows DSD blasts to slip past spam filters that have been designed to weed out malicious code and gibberish text used by traditional DSD attacks.

What’s even more worrying is that any ill-intentioned individual can go on the dark web and pay for DSD services. They just have to provide a hacker with their target’s name, email address, and credit card numbers — all of which can also be purchased on the dark web — and pay as little as $40 to send 20,000 spam messages.

How to stop it
DSD is a clear sign that your account has been hijacked, so whenever you receive dozens of emails in quick succession, contact your bank to cancel any unfamiliar transactions and change your login credentials as soon as possible. It’s also important to update your anti-spam software (or get one if you still don’t have one) to protect your inbox from future DSD attacks.

Hackers only initiate DSD attacks after they’ve obtained their target’s email address and personal information, so make sure your accounts and identity are well protected. You should regularly change your passwords and pins, enable multifactor authentication, set up text alerts for whenever online purchases are made in your name, and be careful about sharing personal information.

For more tips on how to deal with DSD attacks and other cyberattacks, call us today. We offer powerful tools and expert advice that will ensure your business’s safety.

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A new kind of attack: Distributed spam distraction

Every day, you receive dozens of email messages, including spam, which is usually harmless, unless there’s a malware attached to it. But even the harmless ones can become more than just an annoyance if you have thousands of them flooding your inbox. Learn how a new spam attack called distributed spam distraction can do more than just annoy you.

Understanding DSD
Distributed spam distraction (DSD) is designed to inundate your inbox with thousands of nonsensical email. There are no dangerous links, ads, or attachments involved, just random excerpts of text stolen from books and websites. What’s worse, the email and IP addresses used are all different, so victims can’t simply block a specific sender.

These attacks last anywhere from 12 to 24 hours and can flood inboxes with as many as 60,000 messages. While they may seem like harmless annoyances, the true purpose of DSD is to draw victims’ attention away from what hackers are doing behind the scenes.

And what hackers are doing is exploiting your personally identifiable information (PII) to make unauthorized purchases or pilfer cash directly from your accounts. The DSD acts as a sort of smokescreen to hide payment confirmation messages behind a deluge of spam messages.

New tactics
Over the years, hackers have developed new tactics involving DSD. Several reports have shown that, instead of nonsensical emails, hackers are using automated software to have their targets sign up for thousands of free accounts and newsletters to distract them with authentic messages. This allows DSD blasts to slip past spam filters that have been designed to weed out malicious code and gibberish text used by traditional DSD attacks.

What’s even more worrying is that any ill-intentioned individual can go on the dark web and pay for DSD services. They just have to provide a hacker with their target’s name, email address, and credit card numbers — all of which can also be purchased on the dark web — and pay as little as $40 to send 20,000 spam messages.

How to stop it
DSD is a clear sign that your account has been hijacked, so whenever you receive dozens of emails in quick succession, contact your bank to cancel any unfamiliar transactions and change your login credentials as soon as possible. It’s also important to update your anti-spam software (or get one if you still don’t have one) to protect your inbox from future DSD attacks.

Hackers only initiate DSD attacks after they’ve obtained their target’s email address and personal information, so make sure your accounts and identity are well protected. You should regularly change your passwords and pins, enable multifactor authentication, set up text alerts for whenever online purchases are made in your name, and be careful about sharing personal information.

For more tips on how to deal with DSD attacks and other cyberattacks, call us today. We offer powerful tools and expert advice that will ensure your business’s safety.

Posted in General Articles B, Security | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Beware of distributed spam distraction

It’s frustrating to receive dozens of spam messages in your email inbox. Spam mail is so easy to delete, which is why most people think it’s just a harmless annoyance. But hackers have devised a way to make use of spam mail for criminal purposes. It’s called distributed spam distraction, and here’s what you need to know about it.

Understanding DSD
Distributed spam distraction (DSD) is designed to inundate your inbox with thousands of nonsensical email. There are no dangerous links, ads, or attachments involved, just random excerpts of text stolen from books and websites. What’s worse, the email and IP addresses used are all different, so victims can’t simply block a specific sender.

These attacks last anywhere from 12 to 24 hours and can flood inboxes with as many as 60,000 messages. While they may seem like harmless annoyances, the true purpose of DSD is to draw victims’ attention away from what hackers are doing behind the scenes.

And what hackers are doing is exploiting your personally identifiable information (PII) to make unauthorized purchases or pilfer cash directly from your accounts. The DSD acts as a sort of smokescreen to hide payment confirmation messages behind a deluge of spam messages.

New tactics
Over the years, hackers have developed new tactics involving DSD. Several reports have shown that, instead of nonsensical emails, hackers are using automated software to have their targets sign up for thousands of free accounts and newsletters to distract them with authentic messages. This allows DSD blasts to slip past spam filters that have been designed to weed out malicious code and gibberish text used by traditional DSD attacks.

What’s even more worrying is that any ill-intentioned individual can go on the dark web and pay for DSD services. They just have to provide a hacker with their target’s name, email address, and credit card numbers — all of which can also be purchased on the dark web — and pay as little as $40 to send 20,000 spam messages.

How to stop it
DSD is a clear sign that your account has been hijacked, so whenever you receive dozens of emails in quick succession, contact your bank to cancel any unfamiliar transactions and change your login credentials as soon as possible. It’s also important to update your anti-spam software (or get one if you still don’t have one) to protect your inbox from future DSD attacks.

Hackers only initiate DSD attacks after they’ve obtained their target’s email address and personal information, so make sure your accounts and identity are well protected. You should regularly change your passwords and pins, enable multifactor authentication, set up text alerts for whenever online purchases are made in your name, and be careful about sharing personal information.

For more tips on how to deal with DSD attacks and other cyberattacks, call us today. We offer powerful tools and expert advice that will ensure your business’s safety.

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Making the most of Google Assistant

2016 was the year when Google Now was replaced by Google Assistant, a virtual hub that can make mobile device users’ lives a lot easier. Here are some ways it can ease up your workload.

Locate the best route to any location

Google Assistant works seamlessly with Google Maps, which makes it a great tool for finding the best route to any location.

For instance, if you’re trying to find the best route home, just turn on the app and say, “Get me home.” It will then work with Google Maps to let you know the ideal route based on your current location.

You can also check for traffic updates with Google Assistant, and get the latest information on road closures and traffic diversions. This feature is perfect for people who are often on the move.

Make a shopping list with your voice

Google Assistant can also help you make shopping lists with ease — just “talk” to the app.

To do this, open the app and say, “Add [item] to my shopping list.”  Google Assistant will then collate all the items on your shopping list and read it back to you for good measure

Stay updated with the latest news

Too busy to browse the day’s news? Why not have Google Assistant read them for you? If you say “Play the news,” Google Assistant will begin reading the stories from news sources you have saved in your RSS feeds, social media accounts, etc.

You can make Google Assistant play, pause, and stop reading at any time, as well as request it to read articles from a particular source or media site. 

Take control of your smart home

If you’re enhancing your living space with smart devices like ovens, light bulbs, or thermostats that operate automatically, Google Assistant can help you easily control them. For example, you can say, “Okay. Google, turn off lights in the living room.”

To activate Google Assistant, tap on the menu icon at the upper-right section of the screen and choose Settings. You can then add the smart devices in your house that are compatible with your app.

Measurement and currency conversions and language translation

You can also use Google Assistant to convert measurements, currencies, and other data. You can even ask it to get exchange rates between the US dollar and a foreign currency. Just say, “What is 12 US dollars in euros?” The trusty assistant also has a nifty language translation feature. 

Check the email inbox and appointments calendar

If you’re using Google Assistant, chances are you’re using other services like Gmail or Google Calendar, so why not use your voice-activated helper to connect to these apps?

You can ask Google Assistant to skim through your Gmail inboxes for target keywords, or pull up a recently added appointment in your Calendar app. Google Assistant can also work with your Google Keep app, which is handy for taking down notes. 

These are just a few of the things Google Assistant can do for you. If you have questions about this tool, get in touch with our experts who are ready to help you.

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