What Is An Andromeda C‑CAT?A C‑CAT (Client-Centric Action Team) is a dedicated team that includes one or more two Remote Service Techs, and one or more IT Field Techs whose activities are curated by a Service Coordinator(SC)—each specifically appointed to service your organization. With cat-like reflexes and precision, your Andromeda C-CAT will pounce on any IT issue, upgrade, or project. It's really the cat's meow for your IT needs!)
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Get More Done with 5 Productivity Hacks for Office 365 Aug 31, 2018
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. You can’t trick the system, you’ve got to travel the distance from point A to point B to get where you want to go – or at least that’s what we’ve all been told by physics and geometry.
In most cases, this concept also applies to our workdays and careers. The grind is long, the work keeps coming, the tasks continue to pile up but at the end of the day, you are consistently working on taking the necessary steps towards point B – whatever that may be for you and your business.
But what if there were tools available to you that might give you and your team an edge. Wouldn’t you want to take advantage of strategies and applications that improved productivity, helped you get more done and saved you time?
Did you know that Microsoft Office builds their tools with time saving, productivity boosting, organization strategies in mind?
Let’s take a look at some of these tools to help you get more done during your 9-5.
5 Productivity Hacks for Office 365
1. The Tell Me Function
Ever wonder how to do something in Word or forget where to find a specific function in a Microsoft Office program? The Tell Me function is located in the main navigation bar and can perform many useful functions for you. This function speeds things up and prevents you from having to Google how to do things like create columns in Word, pull up your recent commands, resend messages in Microsoft Outlook and more.
As mentioned, the Tell Me function is located in your main navigation – to the right of the ‘View’ section. You can see a faint blue lightbulb with the phrase “Tell me what you want to do…” next to it. You can also use the key combination alt + q to pull it up if you want to be even more productive!
For more information on this function and its’ use – check out this quick video
2. Real Time Collaboration
Have you ever tried to open a document at work when a popup informs you that you have to open a ‘read only’ copy because another user is currently in the file?
This can be a pain when you are trying to get work done at the same time as one of your teammates. It can also be frustrating if you have a teammate that regularly forgets to close files when they are done working with them (we’ve all done that right?).
With Office 365 you can take advantage of live collaboration. This means that multiple members of your team can be in a document, editing and making changes at the same time. For instance, if you have an upcoming presentation, your marketing staff can be editing content while your sale staff adds their spin.
Additionally, Microsoft has built other tools such as Microsoft Teams to help departments and teams in your organization collaborate via conversation and shared documents. You can also take collaboration outside of your office to work with vendors, clients and business partners via Inter-Tenant Collaboration which allows you to set up shared calendars, documentation spaces, IMs and more.
For more on how Office 365 can enhance collaboration in the office look here.
3. Microsoft To-Do
Do you have a list of tasks and to-do’s that never seems to end? Or maybe you just have a hard time organizing all of your tasks in one place?
With Microsoft To-Do you have an intelligent, cloud based task management system that is with you no matter where you are and accessibly on a variety of devices. The application is mobile friendly and synchs directly with Outlook.
To-Do allows you to take your larger list of tasks and review them daily to add them to your ‘My Day’ feature. By doing this you are able to locate which of your tasks have priority and knock them out one by one.
Where To-Do really shines is it’s security and compliance features. Microsoft has done a great job with the Outlook integration to make sure that your To-Do list is secure and compliant across the board.
You can also segment your To-Do’s into “steps” meaning you can break down a larger task into the sub-steps required for completion. You can even share your tasks with peers, friends, family or coworkers thanks to a recent update.
4. Automate Key Workflows with Microsoft Flow
Many businesses turn to Sharepoint to securely store, access and manage company documentation, Microsoft Flow can actually help you create workflow automation with integrations to other software as well.
For instance, you can set systems up so that when a document is uploaded, an email is automatically sent to a staff member to review the document. This can be useful for things like Time Off requests but can be applied to larger, more demanding tasks like onboarding or off boarding clients/vendors. Microsoft Flow is also integrated into SharePoint so that you can start flows directly from lists and libraries making it a great productivity booster, time saver and addition to the Microsoft Office Suite.
5. Microsoft Sway
Microsoft Sway is a presentation tool that some believe may replace PowerPoint. It allows users to put together professional presentations quickly with a drag and drop function for photos, documents, text and more.
It should be mentioned though that you cannot create charts or graphs in Sway – it is more geared towards visual presentations. So if you need to share numbers, statistics or charts, probably best to stick with PowerPoint.
You don’t have to have Sway installed on a device to present your work which means it is widely accessible as well as easy to use and intuitive. Sharing your presentation with another is as simple as sharing a link.
Microsoft wants to help you get your job done and they build tools/functions to help you get more accomplished in the office and on the go. With new Office applications and Office 365 you open a variety of doors to your business with respect to collaboration and remote capabilities.
You don’t have to have Office 365 to get the productivity boosts described above. Many of these programs and tools are available in the traditional license model. You may lose out on some of the cloud functions, live collaboration capabilities and accessibility though.
To discuss what migrating to Office 365 would mean for your business, simply give us a call at the office (815) 836 – 0030 or send an email to Contact@WeNetwork.com. You can also feel free to reach us if you want to learn more about a specific application not included in your current Office 365 Subscription.
The post Get More Done with 5 Productivity Hacks for Office 365 appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.4 Key Questions Any Business Owner Should Ask Before Performing A Cloud Migration Sep 28, 2018
The solutions, procedures and technologies business owners and staff depend on are continuing their move to the cloud at a steady pace.
Predictions and trends point to over 80% of all enterprise workflow to be managed by the cloud by 2020.
While total adoption of cloud in the workplace is still believed to be 10 or more years away, the benefits to business are clearly driving the adoption of cloud technologies and solutions.
This does not mean that you should perform a cloud migration just because everyone else is doing it. You want to make sure that when you migrate different elements of your business to the cloud, you are doing so in the most secure, compliant and pain-free ways.
That being said, there are some questions you should really ask yourself when planning for or considering your migration.
4 Key Questions About Cloud Migration
1. What are the long term costs for my IT when I migrate to the cloud?
There are quite a few different aspects of your budget that a cloud migration can impact. The first thing you will want to consider is the overall cost of the project. For example, if you have a server and you are considering the costs of a cloud migration vs. buying new hardware, there are a few things you want to look into.
- What is the physical cost of the hardware including labor for install and setup?
- What is the initial setup and migration cost if you move to the cloud?
- What are your anticipated maintenance costs for a physical server over the next 3-5 years?
- What are the maintenance costs and recurring costs for your cloud environment for the next 3-5 years?
- If you stick with an on-prem solution, how long until you have to replace your new hardware on average?
All of these questions you should ask yourself and your IT vendor/department when considering the cloud. Often, when you take long term maintenance and hardware replacement into consideration, you will end up being more cost effective with a cloud solution. But, this is not always the case.
2. What areas of our business will see benefit from a cloud migration?
The cloud has offered many benefits to business. The cloud environment lends itself to collaboration in many ways. Staff will likely enjoy the ability to access data, software and systems remotely. Departments will notice that different integrations are easier when software is in the cloud as well. Companies like Zapier, IFTTT and even Microsoft with Microsoft Flow are in the business of helping you integrate workflows and get a whole lot more done.
This means more productivity, automating repetitive tasks and hopefully better results for both your employees and clients.
3. Do you have specific security/compliance requirements?
Different industries have specific security requirements and compliance standards for data. This means that you will want to consult with experts in your industry to make sure that the solutions you choose are above board.
For instance, if you chose to migrate your email server to a hosted cloud solution, you still need to make sure that the email service is secure. Solutions like G Suite and Office 365 state in their user agreements that they are responsible for the security of the cloud environment but that YOU are responsible for all of your data.
Meaning – Microsoft or Google makes sure the cloud is secure, YOU make sure that you have backups of your emails and all of your data in case of emergency.
Additionally, if your industry has requirements for sending secure/encrypted emails, you’ll want to make sure that the solution you choose meets said requirements.
This was just an example of how security and compliance can impact your choice of cloud email solution. Depending on what you want to move to the cloud (infrastructure, software, OS etc.), you will want to consult with industry experts to ensure success.
4. Public, Private or Hybrid Cloud Solutions?
On the surface, the concept of public or private cloud solution is straight forward.
A public cloud is owned by a company like Microsoft (Azure) or Amazon (AWS). This company owns the physical space where the ‘cloud’ is hosted. In a public cloud, your business essentially leases space to host your environment. This space is technically shared but can be segmented for security purposes.
This decreases your overall time and material cost for maintenance of the environment. You access services and can manage your account by logging in from your internet browser. These public solutions are best for email solutions, office software, applications, testing environments, development environments and more.
A private cloud is owned and managed by one specific entity (either you or your IT service provider). There are no other businesses sharing your space or stored on the equipment. This is definitely a more secure solution for highly regulated industries.
A benefit with privately hosted cloud environments is that they are more customizable for specific business needs. Additionally, a private cloud is easily scaled to grow with your needs – you will just have to account for any additional hardware or bandwidth needs as you grow.
A hybrid cloud solution is a mixture of any or all solutions including: on-premises solutions, public cloud and/or private cloud.
For some industries, there may be specific elements of the business that must remain on site. In other instances, you may have proprietary software that just isn’t cloud compatible or doesn’t make sense to migrate.
You may also have certain needs that make sense to offload into a public environment where you aren’t responsible for maintenance.
The beauty of cloud migration solutions for business is that they are highly customizable. They help you get more done and stay connected in innovative ways. There is a reason that technology is steadily migrating to the cloud across our professional and personal lives.
If you have any questions about the cloud or want to discuss how the cloud can elevate your business, please give us a call at (815) 836 – 0030 or send an email to Contact@WeNetwork.com. Our team is ready and eager to help you.
The post 4 Key Questions Any Business Owner Should Ask Before Performing A Cloud Migration appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Are Graphics Processing Units Vulnerable To Hacker Attacks? Dec 04, 2018
Bad news for computer users everywhere.� Researchers at the University of California in Riverside have discovered that GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) are vulnerable to side-channel attacks like Spectre and Meltdown, which have been plaguing Intel CPU's for the better part of a year.
The team, (consisting of two computer science professors and two PhD students) reverse-engineered an Nvidia GPU and demonstrated three separate side-channel attacks. The attacks targeted both computational and graphics stacks, believing these to be the first ever side-channel attacks designed to work on GPUs.
All three of the newly discovered attacks exploit the user counter in the GPU, which is used for performance tracking and are available in user mode. This is significant because it means that literally anyone has access to them.� All three also require the victim to download a piece of malware designed to spy on the user's system to provide information back to the hacker executing the attack.
The first of the three attacks tracks a user's internet activity and is made possible because GPUs are used to render graphics in web browsers.� The attack is executed when a poisoned app utilizes OpenGL to infer browser behavior as it utilizes the resources of the GPU.
The second attack allows the hacker to glean password information, because GPU resources are used to render the login box on the user's screen.� By monitoring memory allocations in the chip, a hacker can identify the specific keys pressed when entering a password.
The third attack targets computational applications and is designed to target neural network architecture.� Its main purpose is to sniff out and steal neural network algorithms.
In terms of defending against these attacks, there's good news and bad news.� Turning off user mode access to the counters is a viable defense, but unfortunately, many applications rely on that functionality. Turning it off will cause a number of programs (that you probably need) to stop working.� Ultimately then, GPU manufacturers are going to need to engineer a fix in much the same way that Intel did for their impacted CPUs.
No instances of these types of attacks have been seen in the wild to this point, but now that the word is out, it's just a matter of time.� 2019 stands to be a brutal year until and unless a fix is found and pushed out.