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VersaTrust Blog

VersaTrust has been serving the Texas area since 1997 , providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Updated Microsoft Teams is set for release

Preceding its general availability, Microsoft has recently rolled out a major update for Microsoft Teams -- Window’s version of the cloud-based team collaboration tool, Slack. The latest bundle of features will kick things up a notch, allowing you to do more than IM your manager about your weekly meeting or ask your colleagues to remove the “view only” setting on Google Docs.

Smarter meetingsThe latest addition to Microsoft Teams is Scheduling Assistant, responsible for finding the ideal time to schedule a meeting. It takes into consideration the schedules of all members, and suggests the best possible time for all attendees. Needless to say, whereas Teams allowed users to schedule only intra-team meetings, Microsoft now supports one-on-one meetings. If you want to steer clear of Skype, read on.

Bots, bots, and more botsWith the latest update, bots are now capable of tapping into conversations happening in a team as opposed to a separate chat. To activate team bots, simply type “@” and begin interacting with the bot from there. Microsoft is also working on adding a Bots tab to Teams. This allows you to keep track of all the bots that have been added to a certain team while allowing you to discover new tabs as well. Other bot-related improvements include:

  • New bot gallery - the gallery displays a complete list of all the available bots on Microsoft Teams. Alongside the gallery is where you can add bots to one of your teams.
  • Discover bots via search - simply click on the search bar at the top and select “Discover bots”. From there click on a bot to start chatting, or click “Add” to add it to a team.
  • Add a bot with an @mention - to add a bot to a channel, simply type “@” in your compose box, then select “Add a bot”
Public teamsWith public teams, anyone from your organization can join the team, unlike the private teams which are open only to specific members. Public teams will show up when a user is trying to join a new team, and you can also turn your existing private team into a public team (and vice-versa).

When it was launched in November 2016, Teams was a relatively minimal service. But in just four months, it’s become a lot more powerful and stable. Microsoft Teams has been available to Office 365 Business Essentials, Business Premium, and Enterprise E1, E3 and E5 users since March 14th. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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New Office 365 updates for collaboration

Every now and then we all need a little help, especially in today’s digital era. To keep up with the competition, companies are gearing up, especially in the IT department. With the help of cloud computing technology, Office 365 is a productivity and collaboration-enhancing software that is changing the way small- and medium-sized businesses operate. Here are four of the latest features added to Office 365:

Real-time collaboration in PowerPoint

Users will now be able to share a PowerPoint deck and update documents with others in real time. This means you’ll be able to see edits as your colleagues make them. Microsoft was committed to expanding real-time co-authoring of a company’s native applications, with Microsoft Word already rolling out this feature beforehand. Currently, real-time collaboration is available for PowerPoint on Windows desktops for Office 365 subscribers in the Office Insider program and for PowerPoint Mobile on Windows tablets.

Move attachments to the cloud and share with colleagues in Outlook

According to Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office team, this feature allows users to transform a traditional document into a shared cloud document within Outlook. Previously, Outlook users could only attach cloud-based documents to an email, but this new feature makes it easier to send large files and to collaborate on those files with ease.

Users can upload files into their own OneDrive or a document library as part of an Office 365 group and then designate sharing permissions for the email recipients. The new feature is currently available in Outlook on the web as well as Outlook on Windows desktops for Office 365 subscribers.

Mobile notifications for changes to shared documents

With this new update, users will be notified when any cloud documents in Word, Excel and PowerPoint are being shared or edited. These notifications let you know when changes are being made, even if you are away from a particular document, so you’re always connected and know when you have to act. This feature can be integrated with the activity feed on Windows desktops, and help businesses improve user collaboration. Koenigsbauer says that Microsoft will continue working on the notification feature “to provide more detail and transparency around shared document activity in the future.” Sharing and editing notifications are available for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint users on Android and Windows Mobile for Office Insiders. This feature will be available for commercial users in all Office mobile applications in the coming months.

Find, open, and save documents in a Shared with Me and Recent Folders tab

Microsoft’s “Shared with Me” tab in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint makes it easier for enterprise users to find and open shared documents without having to leave the app you’re working in. At the moment, the Shared with Me tab is available on Windows desktops and Macs for all Office 365 subscribers, iOS and Android devices included. And soon, it will be available on Windows Mobile. And the “Recent Folders” tab -- used to help quickly locate files as well -- is now available in Word, Excel and PowerPoint on Windows desktops for Office 365 subscribers in the Office Insider program.

Technology has become an integral part of modern businesses, and investing in the right IT resources is needed in order to achieve success. With the latest additions to Microsoft Office 365, small- and medium-sized businesses will enjoy enhanced staff collaboration, increased corporate productivity, and an overall competitive advantage.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Best CRM Software Options for 2016

If genie lamps were out of stock before you could place an order for one, the next best thing to manage and grow your small- and medium-sized business lies in CRM. Short for customer relationship management, a real difference is possible, with the right software of course. With the numerous options out there, finding the most suitable one is like walking into a maze without a flashlight or GPS. We spared you the trouble and rounded up the best CRM software options for 2016:

Since every business differs in terms of size, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to CRM. Thus, varying corporate sizes require unique CRM software that best addresses requirements. We’ll be taking a look at ideal CRM software options for the following categories: businesses in general, very small businesses and ones that are free.

Best CRM Software for Small Businesses: Salesforce

Salesforce has long been considered one of the top-tier CRM solutions, mainly due to its cloud-based nature coupled with full-featured capabilities that cater to businesses of every size. Typically, Salesforce is synonymous with larger enterprises, but that doesn’t mean small- and medium-sized businesses are denied the same perks. Enter Salesforce’s small business edition: with it, SMBs can utilize the robust set of CRM tools at an affordable rate.

Salesforce Small Business Solutions offer packages that are tailor-made for small businesses. With it you’ll be able to fully utilize all that Salesforce has to offer. In order for your company to really thrive, your CRM should be equipped with features such as lead generation, contact and opportunity management, sales forecasting, workflow automation as well as collaborative tools -- all of which can be found in Salesforce. Also, the software is cloud-based, meaning that you can access data and files anywhere at anytime via mobile devices.

Best CRM Software for Very Small Businesses: Insightly

Underneath its simple and navigable facade lies a CRM software that is abundant with capabilities, all of which fit the bill for microbusinesses. Aside from the fact that it has the vital components small businesses really look for in CRM software, it’s also highly scalable to accommodate the growth of your company. Furthermore, Insightly is currently one of the more affordable CRM solutions on the market; there’s even a free version if you wish to test the waters. There are also paid plans available at a fraction of the price when compared with other CRM software solutions.

Even with the free version or paid plans that start at $12, Insightly doesn’t compromise utility with affordability. It comes equipped with all the vital CRM capabilities any microbusiness would need. This includes detailed sales reports, opportunity, contact and project management as well. It’s also scalable to meet the needs of your business as it grows. To top it all off, it’s a cloud-based CRM software allowing you to access data anywhere at anytime via Internet-enabled mobile devices.

Best Free CRM Software: Zoho CRM

Not having to pay for Zoho doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t deliver the necessary capabilities required from CRM software. Zoho CRM provides your business with all the core functions it needs. Moreover, it allows you to onboard up ten users for free. Courtesy of Zoho CRM’s mobile app, you’ll be able be access data regardless of time or location. Here are some of the other features that the free version of Zoho CRM has to offer:
  • 360-view - all the vital information is stored and displayed, allowing you to make the best business decisions. This includes contacts, sale cycles, pipelines, and discover trends. It also helps you identify opportunities.
  • Automation - spend less time dealing with mundane tasks by automating tasks such as lead generation, contact management, calendars and even call logs.
  • Collaboration - Zoho CRM doubles as a social media platform integrating with Twitter and Facebook to link contacts to their social media accounts. This allows you to see their updates as well as the interactions you’ve had on social media right from your dashboard.
  • Analytics - you can track sales as well as measure both business and employee performance via a range of reporting capabilities.
  • Security - with Zoho CRM, you are given full control over who can do what with the software. Besides creating individual user profiles, you can assign roles and even restrict access.
Unlike farms, the main component to a company's growth isn’t fertilizer and sunshine. Instead, it’s competent CRM software that allows your business to reach its full potential. If you have any questions on customer relationship management software, feel free to get in touch with us. We’re more than happy to not only provide answers but also be part of your success.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Seven tips to Master Microsoft Excel

One of the skills crucial to the success of businesses today is digital literacy. This isn’t the proficiency of reading and reciting gadget labels, but according to Cornell University, "the ability to find, evaluate, utilize, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet." One of the first steps involves mastering Microsoft Excel. Here are seven tips that turns new users into power users in no time:

Easy as pie Charts

If you’d still like stakeholders to continue investing in your business, bombarding them with endless numbers and decimal points might not be the wisest thing to do. It might be better to compile the data into a comprehensive chart. Enter the Recommended Charts tool that offers a basic visuals that depict the latest data trends. More than one set of numbers? No problem, since you can insert multiple charts onto one sheet. After entering the data into the column headers, head to Insert > Chart > Chart Type and choose whichever one you’d like.

Conditional Formatting

This tool helps you highlight any points of interest within your dataset, for example, you are presenting the latest numbers on project efficiency - any numbers lower than 80% are highlighted in red, making it easier for everyone in the office to not only see but also understand the dataset. If red isn’t your favorite color, the formatting is fully-customizable. Select the cell, click Home > Conditional Formatting > Add and voila!

Quick Analysis

Lessen the time needed to sift through and compile numbers from small data sets while also reducing time needed to create charts. Select the data, then click on the icon in the bottom right corner and bring up the Quick Analysis menu - this comprises a variety of tools such as formatting, charts, tables, totals and Sparklines.

Autofill

After Excel picks up on the pattern within your data, Autofill fills in the other rows and columns for you. This saves you time by removing the need of having to manually enter row upon row of data. Just click and hold the lower-right column of the cell and drag the column the down.

Power View

After making yourself comfortable, allow this Microsoft Powerpoint-compatible data exploration and visualization tool to help decipher large datasets to create interactive, presentation-grade reports. With Power View, not only are you saving copious amounts of working time but also minimizing any human errors that could affect the accuracy of the report. For Excel 2013, click Insert > Report.

Pivot Tables

When it comes to data analysis, Pivot Tables might be one of the most powerful yet intimidating tools in Excel’s arsenal. Summarize large amounts of data in lists or tables without having to use a single formula. Head over to Insert > Pivot Tables and select the data range, then select the fields in the top-half of the right-hand sidebar to generate the table.

VLookUp

If you think using Excel was challenging, try working across multiple sheets and workbooks, now that’s a challenge. With the help of VLookUp, you can create reports and/or summaries by collating data from the multiple sheets. For example, sales professionals can pull information on item descriptions, prices, inventory etc. without having to endlessly wander between rows and columns. Start off by selecting the VLOOKUP formula in the formula menu, then enter the cell containing the reference number. Then enter the range of data you want to pull the data from, the column for the data point you’re looking and click either “True” or “False”.

It’s safe to say that Excel is one of the most commonly used business software on the market. And yet not everyone is able to fully utilize it. For any questions on the previously mentioned, or other features on Excel give us a call and allow us to help elevate your user status from beginner to pro.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Enterprise level virtualization for clients

The word ‘Community’ is derived from the Latin term communitas meaning ‘things shared by many or all’, which hints at our innate desire to connect with others. With the Internet being such a powerful medium, connecting people regardless of their locations has never been easier. Imagine thousands and thousands of people that are genuinely interested in what your company does -- that level of attention would not only propel but possibly skyrocket your business to heights you didn’t think possible. But before running, we must first walk. Here are five tips for building an online community for your business:

Make sure your customers are passionate

The number one rule of online community is that it should be a place where like-minded people are genuinely interested in your brand and are able to engage, if that’s not the case, it won’t be any different from throwing a party that everyone ignored. Make sure you have brand appeal, pick up on vibes your customers are giving off and figure out what they really want. The size of your online community isn’t what’s important, customer’s annual revenue and genuine passion for your products play a much bigger role.

Loosen the reins

It’s an undeniable fact that you have put copious amounts of time and energy into building and managing your business - so you can’t help but develop an attachment to it. What business owners have to realize is that your company really belongs to your users. This is a difficult obstacle to overcome, but when you are still clinging on for dear life and discouraging open discussion, you’ve basically shot yourself in the foot. Several times.

Another rule to follow is NEVER delete a post (unless it’s spam), under no circumstances would you want to hide negative feedback. Online communities might be the reality check you’ve been looking for, so accept honest feedback with open arms.

Create a rich experience

Thriving communities are the ones that engage in numerous activities, the same can be said for online communities as well. An example to help put things in perspective is bird watching. Let's say one community only has support forums dedicated to basic subjects whereas the other community offers a feature request area that allow customers to give their thoughts on what they want to see next as well as a visual library on local species. Ensure that there’s always something for your community to do.

Invest in infrastructure

Dedicated team members and the right software are essential components required in taking on an online community - don’t pinch any pennies here. Growing the team and utilizing suitable tech resources are necessary steps that (although nerve-wracking) need to be taken. Entice customers further by tying up all the technological loose ends, make it easy-to-use and devoid of downtime.

Don’t stress over measurements

We live in a time where numbers hold immeasurable power and people expect dashboards to show trending activity constantly. It’s a fact that measuring the ROI of an online community is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. There is one way of measuring your community’s value, not with a measuring tape, but by looking at the number of posts.

If you're aiming to establish higher brand credibility, corporate integrity and customer loyalty but aren’t exactly sure how to go about it, just give us a call! We’ll help you with any questions you may have about building an online community for your business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Five key announcements from Google I/O 2016

Drawing inspiration from King Arthur’s annual gathering of his knights at the round table, Google I/O is the 21st Century adaption. At this annual conference, knights are now developers and the sword and shield have become computers and software. Every year, the conference addresses (in great detail) the rundown of all the major announcements as well as products. Here are five of them:

Google Assistant

Unlike its predecessor, Google Now responded exclusively to voice queries, Google Assistant is less clunky and is slightly more personal. This upgraded version does the same but also manages to book flight tickets, order takeout, and just about anything else by simply searching in Google. The Google Assistant can even make recommendations, distinguish your questions, and return with the 'right' answer. Think of Anne Hathaway in the Devil Wears Prada, but on your smartphone.

Google Home

Since its release, Amazon’s voice-controlled computer took the US by storm. Google responds to the situation by announcing the tentative release of Google Home. According to the tech giant, it is equipped with the best-in-class voice recognition technology. Google Assistant is also integrated into Google Home, which will allow you to order an Uber, get down on Spotify, set daily alarms or inquire about the weather.

Allo and Duo

Sounding like the quintessential Cockney greeting, Allo is dubbed Google’s new smart messaging app. Where does the smart come from? Not straying too far from the general nature of other messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger - Allo also has nifty built in with nifty features such as “Smart Reply”, where it suggests responses when you don’t feel like typing. On top of that, you can converse with Google Assistant on Allo, and simultaneously order pizza while bickering over the toppings.

As for Duo, it’s basically Google’s version of FaceTime or Skype, allowing for internet video calls. Both applications will be available on iOS and Android operating systems this summer.

Virtual Reality

Daydream is the latest step taken in Google’s venture into virtual reality. This feature allows certain phones to enhance VR. Google is also set to release a Play Store, Street View and YouTube just for VR. On top of that, a blueprint of a third-party friendly headset as well as controller reminiscent of Apple TV’s Siri-powered pointer has also been produced.

Android Wear

Plenty of new features accommodate the recently updated Android Wear 2.0, the most notable of which are applications that can run without having to rely on the usage of smartphones, potentially boosting the overall efficiency of smartwatches. Not only that, it has become easier to respond to messages on Android Wear through the Smart Reply and handwriting recognition features. Also, there are new fitness functions that is set to roll out this summer.

We hope this Google I/O 2016 roundup was beneficial for you. For any further information on the key announcements or products to look out for this year, feel free to contact us anytime!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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How you can benefit from virtualization

Whether it’s to backup your servers, upgrade your hardware or move towards a full-blown cloud based system, virtualization has become a popular solution for many companies. While the term virtualization has increasingly become a cost-effective strategy for many businesses, is it the right one for you? Here are some advantages to deploying a virtual system to your company plus some factors you should consider before making the final decision.

The advantages

Virtualization provides your company with plenty of cost-effective benefits. Probably the first and largest advantage virtualization brings is the fact that you won’t have to buy more hardware to supplement your company’s needs. Basically, by consolidating your physical servers, there won’t be a need to maintain and update unnecessary hardware in the workplace. This means less time and money is spent on maintaining and running your servers as well as spending too much time on desk side support.

With virtual machines, backing up your entire data center has never been easier. This is because these virtual machines have the ability to take up-to-date snapshots of your servers and simply redeploy them seamlessly to another device. Unlike physical servers, where you have to create backups of your server and current data, virtual backups essentially cut the waiting time for server reboots.

This also eliminates the worry of accidentally losing files. Should disaster strike your physical servers, you can easily migrate your virtual machines to another device and keep working as if the incident never really happened.

Additionally, opting for virtualization allows your company to have a higher degree of technological versatility because virtual machines have the added flexibility to run on different platforms, servers and hardware. Meaning you won’t be tied down by a single IT provider. What’s nice about virtual machines is that your company now has the freedom to upgrade hardware without long server downtimes and even have the ability to use thin clients in the workplace.

Finally, utilizing virtualization solutions puts your business in a good position to easily migrate to a prolific cloud environment.

Factors to consider

With seemingly no disadvantages to virtualization you’re probably getting ready to set-up some virtual machines. But before you start virtualizing your business, here are some things you should consider first:
  • Initial costs to set up your network’s hardware and software still exist, so make sure you thoroughly check the services and devices that your company needs before moving forward.
  • Note that virtualization is an effective solution when you start having 5-7 servers running in your workplace. Usually 10-15 servers is the optimal number when you’ll start seeing a return on your investment. If you have less servers than the ones suggested above, then it’s probably best to opt for a different IT solution.
  • It’s important to consider your staff’s skills and experience with technology before switching over to virtualized systems. Do they need training? How can you help them transition quickly into the proposed infrastructure?
  • Will your business have enough storage capacity? As a general rule, you should set aside 30-40 GB per user.
  • Think about setting up failovers to ensure the security of your virtual system.
  • Some applications are not usually compatible with virtualization such as mobile, media-rich and some security apps. So if your employees tend to use these types of software it would probably be best to deploy a smaller scale virtualization solution.
  • Pay attention to the conditions of your software license. Installing some applications to several computers could lead to increased costs.
Overall, the increased flexibility and reduced cost that a virtualized system offers for your IT infrastructure is well worth the effort. While there are initial challenges to worry about when it comes to implementing virtual machines into the workplace, this is a step many small businesses consider to remedy their outdated IT ills. Contact us today to find out if virtualization solutions are for you.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Lower your costs with virtualization

For the past year Strem Chemicals, a Massachusetts-based company which manufactures and markets specialty chemicals, has utilized virtualization. This process has seen them improve in several areas such as cost reduction and even disaster recovery. This is one of thousands of companies that has saved a substantial amount of money since incorporating virtualization into their business model. With that in mind, here are couple of ways SMB's like yours can use virtualization to enhance cost benefits beyond the bottom line.

Virtualization puts IT in control

When a new product launches, virtualization lends a hand by matching spending with fluctuating workloads. For instance, ACI Speciality Benefits, a provider of employee assistance programs and other wellness services, virtualized its desktops with Cisco systems and VMware solutions. By balancing the workload with the introduction of virtualization, this allowed the company’s IT department to develop even more detailed budget reports. So how can this virtualization feature help your business? In your next meeting, virtualization can enable you to present a matrix with a direct correlation of how spending affects the total cost of ownership as well as return on investment (ROI).

Virtualization also helps with power savings because it reduces the number of physical servers needed, meaning less electricity and fewer backup batteries are required. But overall, the reason why it has gained traction amongst SMB's has more to do with the fact that it enhances control and management of technology.

Scale your business

For iStreamPlanet, a video streaming provider for live events such as the London 2012 Olympics and Sunday Night Football, cozying up to virtualization required little persuasion. In 2010, the company incorporated virtualization into the development of a cloud-based Software as a Service platform for video workflow management.

“Media processing is an ideal service for a cloud-based, virtualized environment due to fluctuating workloads that require scalable compute, storage, hosting and management services,” Dan Penn, director of software engineering says.

It also aids in ensuring that software engineers and operating teams work closer together while testing and deploying across private and public clouds. Vince Tan, IT administrator for Strem Chemicals advises SMBs to embrace virtualization since they are the ones that normally have limited IT staff and resources. Establishing a virtualized environment grants you more scalability and reliability.

It seems that the adoption of virtualization would be beneficial in keeping up with the times, and since many have already made the virtual leap there would be no shortage of peers to consult with on the matter - yes, you are not alone.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact our experts for more information on virtualization and its benefits for small and medium-sized businesses.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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How to make the most of Microsoft Word

Over the years, Microsoft Word has become the best word processor for businesses big and small. From creating documents such as company reports, forms, statements, and receipts to producing promotional materials, Word is able to accomplish all of these and much more. But its sheer number of features mean there are hidden functionalities unknown to many users. Here, we uncover some of the most useful tricks that will help you get the most from Word.

Combine text from multiple locations

We’re all familiar with the copy and paste function on PCs. The problem is, you can only copy one thing at a time, which makes it hard to combine pieces of text from various sources. And even if you manage to do so, the whole single copy and paste process can be long-winded and downright time-consuming.

Word has feature called “spike”, which allows you to cut pieces of text from documents and pages and paste them all in one go! To use it, simply highlight the text you want to copy and press Ctrl+F3. Repeat this and when you’re satisfied with what you have, you can paste everything on another document by pressing Ctrl+Shift+F3.

Format images

You probably already know that it’s possible to copy and paste, or drag and drop, images onto a Word document. But the image will place itself on a line of its own, pushing text above or below it. You can drag the image all day long to position it in a way you want, only to find that it’s not working properly. There’s a much better alternative. Simply right click on the image and select one of the layouts under Layout Options. You can position the image in line, behind or in front of text, and crop the image to remove unwanted areas.

AutoRecover feature

Microsoft Word can restore and recover unsaved documents when a crash occurs, but you can add another level of protection and peace of mind by enabling the AutoRecover feature. Navigate to File → Options → Save, and check the box that enables AutoRecover. This feature will automatically save your documents at regular intervals that you specify, minimizing the risks of losing important documents in an event where your computer crashes, reboots itself, or experiences any issues that shut Word down before you can hit the save button.

Use text boxes for layouts

Many people use Word only for reading and typing text. But did you know that you can play around with text boxes to make your documents more readable? By inserting text boxes and images, you can create rough mockups of ideas and projects, whether it’s website design or product catalogues. Adding text boxes is easy - just choose the Insert tab, click on Text Box and choose from many available styles and formats. You can customize text boxes with colors, frames and size.

Show hidden characters

If you’re a regular Word user, chances are you’ve come across that moment when something just feels a little off, whether it’s an extra space, out of place paragraph or weird bullet points. If you can’t understand why your document is behaving unexpectedly, you can get to the root of the problem by clicking on the paragraph symbol under the Paragraphs tab to make all the hidden marks (spaces, paragraphs, tabs) visible. This makes it easy to remove any characters that’s causing the error.

These tips may seem small, but they will make a big difference in helping you work more effectively towards your goals. Want to learn more Word tricks and tips? Get in touch with our professionals today and we’ll help you save time and increase productivity.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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4 different types of malware: explained

Over the decades of the internet’s existence, cyber threats have evolved at a rapid pace. When once there were only viruses and malware to watch out for, now you have to protect your business from worms, trojans, ransomware and dozens of other online threats. But what’s the difference between all of them? Let's take a look. Here are four of today’s most common cyber threats and the tips you need to protect your business from them.

Malware

Malware is the short version of the word malicious software. And this is a general term that encompasses many types of online threats including spyware, viruses, worms, trojans, adware, ransomware and more. Though you likely already know this, the purpose of malware is to specifically infect and harm your computer and potentially steal your information.

But how do the different types of malware differ from one another? How can you protect your business from them? Let’s take a look at four of the most common forms of malware below.

Virus - like a virus that can infect a person, a computer virus is a contagious piece of code that infects software and then spreads from file to file on a system. When infected software or files are shared between computers, the virus then spreads to the new host.

The best way to protect yourself from viruses is with a reliable antivirus program that is kept updated. Additionally, you should be wary of any executable files you receive because viruses often come packaged in this form. For example, if you’re sent a video file, be aware that if the name includes an “exe” extension like .mov.exe, you’re almost certainly dealing with a virus.

Spyware - just like a spy, a hacker uses spyware to track your internet activities and steal your information without you being aware of it. What kind of information is likely to be stolen by Spyware? Credit card numbers and passwords are two common targets.

And if stealing your information isn’t bad enough, Spyware is also known to cause PC slowdown, especially when there is more than one program running on your system - which is usually the case with a system that’s infected.

A common mistake many people make is they assume their antivirus software automatically protects them from Spyware. This is not always true as some antivirus isn’t designed to catch spyware. If you’re unsure if your antivirus prevents Spyware, get verification from your vendor. And for those that are already suffering from Spyware infestation, two programs that work wonders to clean it out are Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware.

Worms - similar to viruses, worms also replicate themselves and spread when they infect a computer. The difference, however, between a worm and a virus is that a worm doesn’t require the help of a human or host program to spread. Instead, they self-replicate and spread across networks without the guidance of a hacker or a file/program to latch onto.

In addition to a reliable antivirus software, to prevent worms from infecting your system you should ensure your firewall is activated and working properly.

Trojan - like the trojan horse from ancient greek mythology, this type of malware is disguised as a safe program designed to fool users, so that they unwittingly install it on their own system, and later are sabotaged by it. Generally, the hacker uses a trojan to steal both financial and personal information. It can do this by creating a “backdoor” to your computer that allows the hacker to remotely control it.

Similar to the other malware mentioned above, antivirus software is a dependable way to protect yourself against trojans. For further safety, it’s wise to not open up suspicious attachments, and also ensure that your staff members aren't downloading any programs or applications illegally at the office - as this is a favorite place hackers like to hide trojans.

Curious to learn about other common malware that can cause trouble for business owners? Want to upgrade your existing network security system? Give us a call today, we’re sure we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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