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Watch out for this persuasive phishing email

Tips on adding value to your business data

Office 365’s design undergoes an overhaul

Microsoft Office 365 to block Flash

What to tweak when setting up Windows 10

OneNote removed from Office 2019 and Office 365

New security features on Office 365

Microsoft Teams gets new features

Office 365: Tools and tips for business

Outlook tips to increase productivity

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Posts Tagged ‘microsoft’

Watch out for this persuasive phishing email

Watch out for this persuasive phishing email

 August 27th, 2018
Watch out for this persuasive phishing email

Anglers catch fish by dangling bait in front of their victims, and hackers use the same strategy to trick your employees. There’s a new phishing scam making the rounds and the digital bait is almost impossible to distinguish from the real thing. Here are the three things to watch out for in Office 365 scams.

Step 1 – Invitation to collaborate email

The first thing victims receive from hackers is a message that looks identical to an email from Microsoft’s file sharing platform SharePoint. It says, “John Doe has sent you a file, to view it click the link below…”

In most cases, the sender will be an unfamiliar name. However, some hackers research your organization to make the email more convincing.

Step 2 – Fake file sharing portal

Clicking the link opens a SharePoint file that looks like another trusted invitation from a Microsoft app, usually OneDrive. This is a big red flag since there’s no reason to send an email containing a link to a page with nothing but another link.

Step 2 allows hackers to evade Outlook’s security scans, which monitor links inside emails for possible phishing scams. But Outlook’s current features cannot scan the text within a file linked in the email. Once you’ve opened the file, SharePoint has almost no way to flag suspicious links.

Step 3 – Fake Office 365 login page

The malicious link in Step 2 leads to an almost perfect replica of an Office 365 login page, managed by whoever sent the email in Step 1. If you enter your username and password on this page, all your Office 365 documents will be compromised.

Microsoft has designed hundreds of cybersecurity features to prevent phishing scams and a solution to this problem is likely on the way. Until then, you can stay safe with these simple rules:

  • Check the sender’s address every time you receive an email. You might not notice the number one in this email at first glance: johndoe@gma1l.com.
  • Confirm with the sender that the links inside the shared document are safe.
  • Open cloud files by typing in the correct address and checking your sharing notifications to avoid fake collaboration invitations.
  • Double check a site’s URL before entering your password. A zero can look very similar to the letter ‘o’ (e.g. 0ffice.com/signin).

Third-party IT solutions exist to prevent these types of scams, but setting them up and keeping them running requires a lot of time and attention. Give us a call today for information about our unlimited support plans for Microsoft products.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Tips on adding value to your business data

Tips on adding value to your business data

July 17th, 2018
Tips on adding value to your business data

Data is incredibly valuable. The more of it your business generates, the easier it is to predict market and customer behaviors. Analytics solutions aren’t always the right fit for small businesses, but that doesn’t mean their data isn’t valuable. Here are some ways to add real value to your business by harnessing the power of data.

Many businesses shy away from data analytics due to the perceived costs and resources required to get anything of value. However, even the most humble mom-and-pop stores and home-based entrepreneurs have access to a broad range of worthwhile information.

It doesn’t make sense to spend half your week mired in spreadsheets and charts if you’re not extracting information that helps increase revenue. Basic data analytics solutions from companies like Microsoft and Google offer solutions to streamline the collection and examination of company information. But with an array of different tools to choose from, what should you consider before investing in one?

How easy is it to use? There’s no point investing in a dashboard solution if you don’t understand the way the insights are presented. Analysis functions must be straightforward and user-friendly.

Are the results actionable? Great insights are worthless if applying them requires another staff member that you can’t afford. Test drive an analytics solution before investing to ensure that its insights are easy to understand and apply.

Does it save you time? If you’re already relying on data analysis for growth, your first priority should be boosting productivity. Look for solutions that will enable you to complete your current analytics tasks in less time.

Is it compatible with other apps? You need a solution that cuts down on manual data entry and doesn’t add steps to any existing processes. Make sure any analytics software you’re considering can integrate with your existing solutions before signing on the dotted line.

Whether your aim is to attract new customers, retain existing clients, expand your services, or decide on a new location, your data is an indispensable asset. It’s there in good times and bad times, just waiting for you to take a closer look.

If you’d like to learn more about adding value to your business with data analysis, or want to explore data analysis software options, get in touch with us today – we’ll be happy to recommend options based on your needs and requirements.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Office 365’s design undergoes an overhaul

Office 365’s design undergoes an overhaul

July 10th, 2018
Office 365’s design undergoes an overhaul

Microsoft recently announced that Office 365 apps, including Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word will be going through a design overhaul to boost productivity of their subscribers. They plan on releasing new features in the next few months. Check out what they have in store.

Simplified ribbon

The biggest update is with the ribbon, which is a command bar at the top of a window. The new design now has a simpler, cleaner look that gives users the chance to customize the tools they work with most, simply by pinning apps or files to your Windows taskbar. Even though this new ribbon is designed with simplicity in mind, if you don’t find it helpful you can still revert back to the regular three-line view.

Some users may already be using this new ribbon in the online version of Word, while Outlook for Windows will receive it sometime this month. However, Microsoft disclosed that they aren’t yet ready to roll it out to PowerPoint, Word, and Excel for Windows.

Improved search option

One of the major changes is with the search option in Microsoft Office apps. The developers improved the search experience by using Microsoft graph, so users can now see search recommendations when they move their cursor to the search box. Some have already seen this update take effect, but it won’t be available for Outlook on the web until August.

Better colors and icons

To make the overall design more aesthetically pleasing, the colors and icons of every app have been revamped, too. They wanted a more modern look crisp and clean no matter the size of the user’s screen, which is why they employed scalable graphics. It first debuted on Word before appearing on Excel, PowerPoint, and Works for Windows last month. As for Outlook for Windows and Mac, users can expect the update later this summer.

Office 365 is constantly evolving to benefit subscribers. And to make things even more interesting, users will be chosen at random over the next several months to receive the updates, and Microsoft will gather their reviews to make further improvements. Co-creating new features with customers is something Microsoft truly believes in, so this isn’t simply a social media tactic.

So as you hang tight for these coming changes, consider increasing office collaboration by migrating your files to the cloud. Call us today to get started!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Microsoft Office 365 to block Flash

Microsoft Office 365 to block Flash

June 6th, 2018
Microsoft Office 365 to block Flash

A few weeks ago, Microsoft made an announcement to block future content that is embedded with Adobe Flash, Shockwave, and even their own Silverlight platform from Office 365. While the developers have their reasons for implementing this, they should have pulled this feature earlier to avoid many irate customers.

Microsoft recently announced plans to eventually stop the activation of Silverlight, Shockwave, and Flash content in Office 365. This is not just the developers disabling bugs with an option to click a link or button to look at content. Within a few months’ time, Flash will be gone from Office 365 for good.

What media will be affected once this is implemented?

Microsoft Silverlight and Adobe Flash or Shockwave content that uses Microsoft’s OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) platform and the “Insert Object” feature will be blocked. However, media that uses the “Insert Online Video” control via an Internet Explorer browser frame will not be affected by this change.

The following timeline shows the various changes that will take full effect by January 2019:

  • Controls in the Office 365 Monthly Channel will be blocked beginning June 2018.
  • Controls in the Office 365 Semi-Annual Targeted (SAT) Channel will be blocked beginning September 2018.
  • Controls in the Office 365 Semi-Annual Channel will be blocked beginning January 2019.

Why did the developers choose to take out the embedded content?

Microsoft pointed out various reasons for making their decision. It cited that malware authors have been exploiting systems through Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files with embedded content, and that most Office 365 users did not use or rarely use the controls anyway.

Aside from this, the developers at Microsoft decided to take action after Adobeannounced that Flash would reach its end-of-life cycle by 2020. Silverlight was discontinued in 2016, where enterprise customers would have support for the medium until 2021.

For businesses that still need to look at or embed Silverlight- or Flash-based content in an Office 365 document, Microsoft has provided a support page to guide users on re-activating the controls.

As more websites are transitioning away from Flash in favor of HTML5, Microsoft’s once-popular platform has experienced a steady decline over the years. According to Google, Chrome users who loaded a single web page per day that has Flash media had gone down from an estimated 80% during 2014 to below 8% in early 2018.

For more information about utilizing Office 365 features and other IT related concerns, feel free to get in touch with us today!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

What to tweak when setting up Windows 10

What to tweak when setting up Windows 10

May 30th, 2018
What to tweak when setting up Windows 10

There are things that need to be done after unboxing a new laptop. After installing Microsoft’s Windows 10, you need to unlock its full potential by tweaking some important settings. The best thing to do is get help from a technician, but there are a few things you can do without assistance.

#1 Check for updates

Your new laptop should check for updates automatically, but you can also check manually. Just click the gear icon above the Start button to go to the Settings, choose Update & Security > Windows Update and then click the Check for updates button. (Or, just type “updates” into the search box and click Check for updates.)

#2 System restore

If something goes wrong with your laptop, you can save a lot of time and hassle if you have a “restore point,” which is like a backup of your entire operating system. To set up a restore point, search for “restore” from the taskbar and click Create a restore point. You’ll be taken to the System Protection tab of the System Properties window.

From there you can choose what you want to be included in the back and then click the Configure button. Select the radio dial to Turn on system protection if it’s not already on. And then you can choose how much disk space to reserve, usually nomore than 2 or 3 percent.

#3 Power plan

If you want to prolong your laptop’s battery life, one of the best things you can do is switch the Power Saver, High Performance, and Balanced power plans based on your needs. To choose a plan, right click the battery icon in the lower-right corner of your screen and click Power settings. Next, click Additional power settings to select a power plan.

#4 App installation tolerance level

To restrict which apps can be installed on your laptop, you can disallow anything that isn’t in the Windows Store. Go to Settings > Apps > Apps & features and you can choose whether to permit installations from only the Windows Store, any app installations (with a warning), or unrestricted app installations.

#5 Remove bloatware

Vendors package new laptops with lots of trial apps, which are mostly unnecessary and unwanted software called bloatware.

Windows 10 offers an easy way to see which apps are installed on your new laptop and a quick way to uninstall those you don’t want. Head to Settings > Apps > Apps & features and peruse the list. If you don’t want an app and are 100% certain your computer doesn’t need it, click the Uninstall button.

#6 Anti-ransomware

Ransomware is a form of malicious software (or malware) that makes all your data inaccessible until you pay a fee to hackers.

To combat it, type ‘Windows Defender Security Center’ into the search bar at the bottom of your screen, click it and go to Virus & threat protection > Virus & threat protection settings. Here, you’ll be able to enable a new option called Controlled folder access, which protects you against ransomware attacks. By default, the Desktop, Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos folders are protected, but you can add others too.

Do you know what settings to change and update to optimize your laptop? This article barely scratches the surface of Window 10’s security and efficiency settings. Call us today for quick chat with one of our Microsoft experts about taking yours to the next level.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

OneNote removed from Office 2019 and Office 365

OneNote removed from Office 2019 and Office 365

May 3rd, 2018
OneNote removed from Office 2019 and Office 365

People who use OneNote for Windows are in for a surprise. The desktop version of the app will be phased out in favor of the UWP (Universal Windows Platform) app included with Office 365 and Microsoft Office 2019.

Microsoft’s OneNote desktop application is nearing the end of its journey, as the software giant will stop developing the product line past the 2016 edition. But don’t panic just yet, OneNote 2016 will share the same lifecycle as Microsoft Office 2016. The desktop app will receive security patches and updates until October 14, 2025.

Developers are directing their efforts to the Windows 10 OneNote app, where the switchover will be formal once Microsoft releases Office 2019. The current plan is to have Office 2019 in store shelves by the second half of 2018, and most of the features in OneNote 2016 have been added to the Windows 10 version.

What requested features will eventually make it to OneNote for Windows 10?

  • All of the features that can be used in OneNote 2016 add-ons will be built into the Windows 10 app to make an improved Class Notebook.
  • Edit and view files which allow users to collaborate on attached documents together. OneNote for Windows 10 will allow users to look at live previews of Microsoft Office files, and cloud files will help save space in the notebooks.
  • “Search and insert tags” which lets users search for, create and insert custom tags. The tags created in OneNote for Windows 10 will also be synced across other OneNote devices, and tags that other users made can be accessed in a shared notebook so you don’t have to make them again.

Users who are new to Microsoft Office 2019 or Office 365 can still install the OneNote 2016 application. The Windows 10 version and the 2016 version are still compatible until further notice.

Don’t hesitate to call us today for more information on how to keep your software up to date while securing your private data at the same time!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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