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Facebook Data Breach

Are you aware of a potentially serious data breach involving Facebook? 

According to many top news outlets, 50 million users accounts may have been impacted and Facebook now faces potential huge fines in the EU.

Read more at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/03/facebook-data-breach-latest-fine-investigation.

Facebook Data Breach

Need steps to protect your Facebook account? Here’s an interesting article containing steps to protect your personal information and security. https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/facebook-data-breach-how-to-protect-yourself/

We are continuing to follow this news and will update more on our blog as we learn more.

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5 Important Features You’ll Find In iOS12

Apple’s newest software update has arrived, and it’s already making an impact in how effectively users manage their smartphones. iOS 12, which comes preinstalled in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, is equipped with a number of shiny, new features sure to delight iPhone and iPad users, old and new models alike. From stronger battery performance to significant upgrades to maps, notifications and passwords, iOS 12 is robust in its delivery. Here, we’ll explore some of iOS12’s most anticipated new features, and how they can help you achieve more with your iPhone or iPad.

Battery Performance And Battery Life

Mobile phones are designed to help users achieve everyday tasks with ease. However, with this great power comes a need for great battery life. Luckily, iOS12 delivers on this front. The new update offers significant upgrades in both battery life and performance, helping you operate your device for longer and with more speed than ever before. What’s more, owners of older model iPhones are reaping the biggest benefits. In terms of the newest update, the older your iPhone model, the better. According to Apple, older models can expect to see speed boosts of up to 70% faster.

Earlier versions of iOS allowed users to see how much battery their favorite apps were using, and for how long. In efforts to help users further understand the extent of their usage, iOS 12 offers users charts that display battery use in great detail. The charts are broken down by Screen On usage and Screen Off Usage. Also, now users are able to see how fast their battery was depleted, as well as how these levels were during any part of the previous 24 hours. There is also a long-term overview to help users evaluate their usage over time.

Instant Tuning

An onslaught of notifications can be annoying and distracting. The new software update seeks to remedy the inconvenience of too many notifications. Now, ioS offers instant tuning, which means users can now edit notification settings on the notification itself. They can even set specific apps to deliver notifications silently, meaning they’ll show up on the display, but without vibrations or sound alerts.

Some other changes to notifications? The Do Not Disturb feature on your phone just got a whole lot more effective, allowing you to further manage the time frames in which you do not want disruptions. You can set your phone on Do Not Disturb for a certain time frame, for a certain location, or pretty much whatever time you choose.

Grouped Notifications

A common complaint among iPhone users is the barrage of notifications they receive on their screen after they’ve been inactive. Instead of receiving one notification for text messages, they were forced to scroll through endless notifications, which made it hard to easily locate priority alerts. Now, with grouped notifications, users will instead see one notification for each app, leaving more room for prioritizing tasks.

Redesigned Maps App

The modern day smartphone user relies heavily on map apps to help them reach their destinations. Glitches in the map apps are highly inconvenient for users, and the new iOS update helps to alleviate this. Other improvements include more detail like foliage, buildings, pools, pedestrian pathways and the ability to see into buildings. Currently, this feature is only available in certain areas, such as the city of San Francisco. The upgrades are expected to be available in a growing number of cities over the next year. You’ll also find improvements to traffic, construction notifications, and real-time road conditions — all intended to make your driving experience more safe and efficient.

Improved Password Management

Given the outstanding popularity of smartphones and their capabilities to manage so many aspects of everyday life, security is always a concern. While Apple devices have typically operated with their own password systems, now users are able to access their own much more easily. The latest iOS update offers an AutoFill setting that allows your chosen password manager to be available everywhere. This means password managers like OnePass and Dashlane are fair game.

Improved QR Code Reader

QR codes haven’t quite caught on for iPhone and iPad users. This may be because of several reasons. One reason may be that, prior to iOS12, scanning QR codes required a special app, making it sometimes difficult to quickly capture QR codes in passing. The newest software update comes equipped with a QR scanning shortcut that can be accessed through iPhone’s lock screen. You can do this by adding a new widget to your device’s Control Center.

ios 12 update

Smartphones, in their bid to deliver everything users hope for in a device and more, require sporadic updates to run at their optimal performance. iOS12 is just the latest to bring a new range of benefits to iPhone and iPad users everywhere. No telling what the future holds.

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New Gift Card Scam Hits Just In Time For The Holidays

There’s a new Gift Card scam going around that has already cost consumers lots of money, frustration, and headaches. Here’s how it works.

You’ll get an email from a friend or relative asking you to go buy them a gift card. The email will say that your friend or relative has been busy or sick and unable to get to the store. Once you get the card for them, they’ll ask you to take a quick photo of the gift card code on the back and send it to them. Once you do this, they can cash out the gift card and you lose your money. It happens just that quickly.

Can You Help Out a Friend?

This scam has been working well for several reasons. Usually, the email comes from someone you know, maybe a sibling, parent, or aunt. Of course, you want to help them out, right? But one thing many consumers don’t realize is just how simple it is to hijack an email account. This is easy work for any hacker worth his salt.

For some reason, people just believe that the email is legit and never take that extra step of calling their friend or relative and just asking them, “Hey, did you send me an email about buying you a gift card?” That’s all it would take to avoid being a victim here.

Instead, most people will run down to Walmart or Target, buy the gift card, take the photo of the code on the back and think they’re doing a great favor for someone.

After you send the pic of the code back to the hacker, they will move very quickly to cash out the gift card and you’ll lose all your money. Later, of course, you’ll learn that your friend did not make such a request and now you feel silly for not double checking. After all, we should we savvier than that as consumers, right?

New Apps Make Scamming Much Easier

Unfortunately, these types of scams have been working well for many years. Plus, new apps like Raise make it easy to turn unused gift card balances into money.

Though victims do sometimes reach out to local police for help, this is actually not a crime. I know that most people are stunned by that news, but it’s true. Because you were a willing participant and you initiated the action with intent, no fraud was committed. So now you’re out the cost of the gift card and there’s really nothing you can do about it.

Just In Time For the Holidays

Authorities are warning consumers that this scam will be prolific all throughout the holidays. That’s why it’s so important to spread the word. Let your friends and family know that if they get a request like this from you or anyone, be sure to stop and call the person. Ask them if they really sent the email asking for a gift card. It only takes a couple of minutes to do this and it can save you $50 or $100 bucks.

Other Scams to Watch Out for During the Holidays

Hackers infamously took over the Rio Summer Olympics a few years back using social engineering to exploit the event. Though some were shocked, social engineering has been around awhile and is used every day to trick business owners. This scam costs Americans millions of dollars each year and hackers find new ways to make their tricks even more effective.

Phishing Scams

Used more frequently than any other, phishing scams have become so widespread that it’s difficult to get accurate results of the losses incurred.

PhishMe is reporting that these scams are growing by at least 65% per year.

Kaspersky Labs claims that during the first quarter of 2018, its anti-phishing system prevented more than 107 million attempts to connect users to malicious websites.

A Barkly reports shows that 85% of companies have fallen victim to this scheme.

How It Works

Phishing scams work relatively easily. It’s not rocket science, as they say. You get a legitimate sounding email that seems to be from your bank or credit card company. These emails often use fear and urgency to make victims take action before double checking the legitimacy of the email.

Below is an example. This scammer claims to be contacting you from Apple. If you check out the “From” address, you can quickly see that it’s not a legitimate Apple email account.

Another big clue is that words are misspelled and the grammar is very poor. You can tell that this email was written by someone (probably from Eastern Europe) who has very bad English skills.

NEVER click the link in a suspicious email like this one. Once you do, the cyber thieves can download malware or ransomware to your computer. They may also redirect you to a site where they steal your banking and credit card information. At the very least, they will steal your log-in information for your Apple account and then hijack it.

Gift Card Scam

Final Tips

In order for consumers to avoid being a victim during the holidays, it’s important to watch out for these types of fraudulent activities. Never click a link in a suspicious email. Instead, open a new browser page and navigate to the website the way you ordinarily would. If there’s something wrong with your Apple account, a bank account or a credit card account, you’ll have a letter in your Inbox explaining what happened and what you need to do.

By using a little common sense and double checking when something feels suspicious to you, we can all avoid being victims this holiday season.

 

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Important News: Potential Facebook Data Breach

Facebook Was Breached

Were You Or A Facebook Friend Affected?

Facebook Data Breach

Facebook has confirmed that more than 50 million user accounts have been breached. They made the announcement today, Friday, September 28th.  However, their engineering team discovered the security breach back on Tuesday, September 25th, 2018. They tell us that the vulnerability has been fixed and the breach was reported to the appropriate authorities.

How Did This Happen?

Hackers stole users’ access tokens through Facebook’s “view as.” This is a feature that lets you view what your profile looks like to other Facebook users. The flaw in this feature allowed hackers to take over 50 million user accounts.

If you’re like me, you may have received notices from some of your Facebook friends this week that someone took control of their accounts.  Perhaps they were affected by this breach.

What Are Access Tokens?

These are the digital keys that keep us logged in so we don’t need to re-enter our password every time we use Facebook. With this information, hackers can take over our account.

Here’s how Facebook explains what happened:

“Attackers exploited a vulnerability in Facebook’s code that impacted ‘View As,’ a feature that lets people see what their own profile looks like to someone else. This allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens which they could then use to take over people’s accounts.”

What Now?

Facebook reset the tokens of all those affected. They also logged off 40 million additional users as a precaution. If you are one of these people, you’ll need to log back in the next time you use Facebook.

According to Facebook, their investigators are in the early stages of their investigation. They are temporarily turning off the “View As” feature while they conduct a thorough security review

What Should You Do?

If you have trouble logging back into Facebook, or you forgot your password, visit Facebook’s Help Center.

If you’re like me, you take extra precautions when you hear about breaches like this.  If you want, you can visit the “Security and Login” section in Facebook settings. It lists the places where you’re logged into Facebook with a one-click option. If you choose, you can log out of them all.

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What’s New in the September Update of Office 365?

The September update of Office 365 includes some major additions and changes to tools such as Microsoft Teams, PowerPoint, and Excel, just to name a few. It is important to keep up with these developments, so here is a list of the major advancements of which you need to be aware.

Microsoft Teams: Skype, Selective Do Not Disturb, Wiki App

Many users have been looking forward to the day when Skype is integrated into Microsoft Teams, and that day has finally come. You can now use Microsoft Teams for cloud-based meetings that can have up to 250 participants, powerful messaging features, and some awesome calling features.

One of the most practical additions to Microsoft Teams is to set up a selective Do Not Disturb status so that some people can still feel free to reach you (e.g., your supervisor or manager).

It’s simple to setup: Click on your avatar, Settings, Privacy, and then select the individuals who you still want to receive notifications from.

Another one of the new updates in Microsoft Teams is the Wiki app, which can be accessed through the left-hand navigation panel using the More Apps ellipsis. This app allows you to see the wiki pages you are a part of, keep track of your own private notes, and see the notes you’ve most recently been editing.

PowerPoint: Embedded Fonts

Have you ever prepared a presentation on one computer and had it looking just perfect, only to open it up on another computer and the fonts looked totally different? There is a way to keep this from happening: embedding the fonts in the PowerPoint deck when you save it.

Go to Save As > Browse > and then go to the Tools drop-down box in the bottom corner of the dialog box. In the Tools drop-down, click on Save options. Toward the bottom of the box that pops up, you will see an option to “Embed fonts in the file.” Check that box, then click OK and save as you normally would.

This option used to be only available on Windows devices, but the new update of Office 365 also makes it available on Office for Mac for Office Insiders. To access it on a Mac, go to the PowerPoint menu and click on Preferences, then Save. The Font Embedding option will be in the dialog box that appears.

Excel: Flow Integration

Microsoft Flow has been integrated with Excel, and is accessible via an Excel add-in. This will allow you to connect your data to services like Microsoft Teams, Twitter, SharePoint, Dynamics 365, Office 365, and more. You will be able to create and trigger on-demand flows for selected rows in spreadsheets that are hosted on OneDrive for Business or in SharePoint.

With this integration that uses the ‘For a selected row trigger’ and the Flow launch panel, you can create and trigger on-demand flows for selected rows in any Excel table on spreadsheets hosted in SharePoint or OneDrive for Business.

Access: Improved Visualization Tools

Users have been requesting more visualization tools for their data contained in Access, and that is exactly what Microsoft has provided. Not only have charts been made easier and more intuitive to create, but additional chart types have also been added. For power users who developed their own Active-X solutions to the challenge of creating charts for forms and reports, their solutions will continue to work.

Power BI: Export to PDF

This is another update that came about as a result of user feedback: the ability to export Power BI reports in PDF format where they can be shared with others. This will only be available in the desktop version of Power BI for right now.

Microsoft has also added an “Ask A Question” to the Power BI Desktop which will be globally available in the client. What this means is that you can use natural language queries to explore your data and allow report users to ask their own questions.

SharePoint: More Granular Control for IT Admins

In previous releases, if a group of users was not allowed to create Office 365 groups, they would be limited to creating Classic SharePoint sites. They could not create modern SharePoint sites. The new release has changed this: the IT administrator determines who can create classic SharePoint sites, who can create modern SharePoint sites, and who can create Office 365 groups.

Security

Microsoft Cloud App Security is a powerful tool that evaluates every app used in terms of industry-specific standards, compliance, and regulatory certifications. The goal of this is to make sure that your company can make informed decisions on the type of apps that are most appropriate for not only your needs, but your security. This new release also checks for GDPR compliance and can generate a C-level report on critical findings.

September Office 365 Update

Conclusion

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the new features and changes available in the September update of Office 365, it does present the ones that are going to have the greatest impact. However, it’s always a good idea to be cognizant of new developments even if they don’t directly impact your daily work.

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Did You Know That October Is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

Online security is something that should get everyone’s attention. Threats exist all around us: ransomware, viruses, spyware, social engineering attacks and more. There’s so much you need to know to keep your personal and business information safe.

 

But… where do you start?

As trusted cybersecurity professionals, we want to help you get educated and stay informed. That’s why during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month our goal is to give you all the information you need to stay secure.

How can we help?

We’ll be sharing valuable and timely information on cybersecurity in blogs, in our newsletter, and on all of your favorite social media sites.

What should you do?

You can also give us a call for personalized solutions by subscribing to our exclusive mailing list.

Being cybersecurity aware means that you understand what the threats are and take precautions to prevent them.

Here are some important reminders:

  • Never give out your password. Don’t share it over the phone either. You never know who’s listening.
  • Don’t click on links that are sent to you via unsolicited emails or from someone you don’t know.
  • Use complex passwords that are difficult to guess and use different ones for different programs and computer devices.
  • Don’t reveal your personal, business or financial information in emails.
  • Don’t respond to email solicitations.
  • Keep software, browsers and operating systems up to date, so they stay free of vulnerabilities.
  • Encrypt your files to ensure unauthorized people can’t access them.
  • Be careful when using public Wi-Fi networks – don’t conduct sensitive activities like banking or shopping with credit cards on public Wi-Fi.
  • Remember your physical surroundings and don’t leave your computer devices unattended in public or easy-to-access areas.
  • Only use websites that begin with “https://” when visiting online shopping, banking or other sites where you will be entering your private information.
  • Keep your online presence private. Don’t publish your email address online in social network sites.

What else should you watch out for?

Malicious Emails – These typically come in the form of a request from a trustworthy organization like a financial institution.

The email may urge you to act quickly, saying that your account has been compromised or a request can’t be fulfilled. The purpose of the email is to get you to provide confidential information to rob you of your money or identity credentials.

Take precautions and contact the company directly to see if the email is legitimate.

When you search for the company, don’t use any information in the message. Perform your own search online.

Ransomware – This is a type of malware that accesses your files and locks (encrypts) then demands payment to unlock them.

It’s not suggested that you pay the ransom as this is not a guarantee that you’ll get your files back.

Hopefully, you have a secure, offsite copy of all your files so you can recover your data.

Viruses – These are harmful computer programs that can be transmitted from device to device.

Viruses operate in different ways but they are all designed to create havoc, and some provide criminals access to data on infected devices.

If your computer acts irregularly, report this to your supervisor right away. This could be caused by a virus.

Spyware – Spyware downloads onto your devices without your permission when you visit an unsafe website or click on a malicious attachment.

It can make your computer do things like open advertisements or even track your online movements.

Botnets – These are networks of computers that get infected by malware. The criminals can remotely control these botnets to gain confidential or financial information or launch an attack on your network.

Spam – This is like getting junk mail but by email. These are unsolicited and unwanted.

Phishing – This is where a criminal sends an email that contains a malicious link to collect personal or financial data or to infect your computer with malware and viruses.

Spear phishing is where the criminal uses attacks against specific targets to collect information to gain access to IT systems or a list of customers.

Spam and phishing messages aren’t limited to email. They also appear on social media sites and in text messages. Think before you act and adopt the motto: “When in doubt, throw it out!”

What to do if you become a victim of cybercrime?

  • Report it to the appropriate people in your organization, including your network administrator.
  • If you think your financial account was compromised, contact your financial institution immediately and close your account.
  • Watch for any unauthorized charges in your bank or credit card accounts.

Need more help?

We’re here for you.

These are just some of the protections and service we can offer:

  • Vulnerability Scanning & Assessments
  • Data Loss Prevention
  • 24/7 Remote Monitoring & Mitigation For Cyber Threats
  • A Managed Secure Firewall
  • Multi-Factor Authentication
  • A Security Operations Centers with Network and Endpoint Security Monitoring
  • Log Correlation and Monitoring
  • Endpoint Encryption
  • Identification and Reconfiguration of Improperly Configured Security Solutions
  • Secure Wireless Configurations
  • Quarterly Vulnerability Remediation Efforts
  • IT Security Planning and Milestones
  • Strategic Planning for IT Security
  • Incident Response Management
  • Breach Notification Alerts
  • Backup Solutions to ensure you’ll always have access to your data
  • Security Awareness Training for your employees, so they don’t accidentally expose your organization to cybercrime

Cyber Security Awareness Month

We hope this helps. Remember, we’ll be posting timely cybersecurity information for you in our Bogs, newsletters and more.

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Tech Tip: iPad Pro vs. Microsoft Surface Pro

Laptop users are loyal to their devices, but when portability is a priority, tablets can’t be beaten.

With so many strong tablet contenders on the market, narrowing down the options before making a purchase can seem overwhelming. This is especially true for shoppers who aren’t quite sure what features they’ll find most useful in a tablet. While there are dozens of capable models to choose from, there are two that stand out from the rest: the Apple iPad Pro and its worthy opponent, the Microsoft Surface Pro.

Apple’s iPad Pro and the Surface Pro have garnered their share of loyal users over recent years, and it’s easy to see why. Each boasts their own unique power and performance capabilities, but there are still plenty of differences between these two tablets.

Here are a few ways to distinguish which option of these two will work best for you.

Appearance

Apple has made big strides with the iPad Pro’s design. It manages to pack a 10.5-inch screen into a frame not much larger than the 9.7-inch Pro.

The Surface Pro takes this even further with a 12.3-inch display, though this is not without its caveats. The Surface Pro, with its larger screen, also weighs more than its iPad counterpart. The iPad Pro is slimmer than the Surface Pro, too, measuring just 0.24 inches thick.

Today’s tablet users aren’t settling for lackluster screen quality. Brilliant picture is preferred, and both contenders deliver this, though slightly differently. Apple’s 10.5 iPad Pro is packing a crisp, 2224 x 1668-pixel display, compared to the Surface Pro’s 2736 x 1824-pixel panel, which offers higher resolution.

Operating Systems

Operating systems, unsurprisingly, carry plenty of weight in the realm of tablets. The Surface Pro boasts a reliable, highly functional OS in Windows 10 Pro. With it comes a long list of benefits, including access to full versions of Win32 software, plus Flash, Java, apps and more.

Apple’s iOS is lacking in some areas Windows 10 is strong in, but not all hope is lost. The iPad’s got a new A10X Fusion chip intended to tackle a variety of intensive tasks, like 4K video editing and complex data spreadsheets. And with millions of apps to choose from on the Apple App store, you can be sure that security is top-notch. Apps on the App store require approval before becoming available to the masses, meaning picking up some malware as you download seems unlikely. Though, to be fair, Windows is striving for this same level of security, and may just replicate it with the newest Windows 10 S operating system.

Given that a tablets’ biggest strength lies in portability, battery life is of great importance to users, as it should be. The iPad, in many ways, sets the standard for battery life in tablets. In the showdown between the iPad and the Surface Pro, there is a big difference in battery life that shouldn’t be ignored. When put to the test, the iPad Pro allowed for 15 hours and 38 minutes of video streaming, while the Surface Pro tapped out at 8 hours and 25 minutes.

Multi-Tasking Capabilities

The ability to multi-task is another strong feature when it comes to tablets. A device with the power to do all you want it to, and then some, will ensure you get the most bang for your buck. In regard to workflow, you may find that iOS can’t handle all the tasks that Windows can. The iPad Pro has gotten a few upgrades, including the ability to drag and drop text, images and other files back and forth between apps. You’ll also find a customizable Dock ideal for easily accessing your most frequently used apps.

Windows’ updated capabilities include Timeline, a tool that allows users to jump back to a website, app or another file across platforms. Another app, named Windows Story Remix, can mix videos and photos with 3D objects to create unique themed videos.

Connectivity

Connectivity is an important factor to consider when shopping for laptops. The iPad Pro doesn’t offer much in terms of ports. It’s outfitted only with a lightning port, smart keyboard connector and headphone jack. This means you’ll need to purchase adapters and other add-ons to connect to external displays. The Surface Pro, on the other hand, contains a USB 3.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort, microSD card reader, Surface Connect port and Type Cover port. This renders the Surface Pro the clear winner in the battle for better connectivity.

Accessories

If you’re hoping to make the most of your tablet, you’d do well to pick up the right accessories. For the Surface Pro, this means Microsoft’s Type Cover, which is comparable to Apple’s Smart Keyboard. While both options will make for an easy typing experience, the Surface Pro has the advantage with its built-in hinge, which offers better positioning, as well as its built-in trackpad.

Both devices carry the option of a separately purchased stylus, and while the iPad’s $99 Pencil may navigate the screen more easily, the Surface’s pen has its own perks. It offers the option of different tips, so you can change them to suit your needs. Plus, it runs on an AAAA battery that can last up to a year. It also comes equipped with an eraser on top, as well as a programmable button.

Ipad Pro vs. Microsoft Surface

If you’re hoping for a truly worthwhile tablet experience, you must do your due diligence. This means examining the many ways in which these two tablet heavy-hitters differ, and how each can impact your experience based on what you hope to use your tablet for.

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Can Business Benefit From Microsoft Office 365?

In today’s business world, it’s important for companies to stay ahead of the trends when it comes to the latest in tools for productivity. Office suites like Microsoft’s Office 365 have become popular among organizations hoping for more effective performance and communication.

With Office 365’s subscription plans, users gain access to the full list of Office apps such as Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher,  and Access, plus so much more.

There are endless benefits associated with Office 365 subscriptions, from the convenient communication tools, to productivity apps intended to help users make the most of their workdays. These apps are updated monthly, so you can be sure you have access to the latest features and security updates available.

Here we’ll explore why a growing number of businesses are turning to Office 365 for their business needs.

Is It Convenient And Accessible?

One major benefit of Office 365 is its accessibility. Installing Office 365 across multiple devices ensures your work goes with you, wherever that may be. Whether you’re browsing from your office computer or mobile phone at home, you can be productive. What’s more, SharePoint makes for easy sharing between coworkers. For instance, if you edit a document from your computer at home, your colleague will be able to view that same file from their phone and see the most up-to-date version of the document.

Since these documents are accessible via the cloud, users are able to customize security settings to be as strict or as lenient as required. Whether you want your entire organization or just a few colleagues to gain access, SharePoint allows for a number of options to ensure proper security for your creative work.

Office 365 also makes it easier to locate content. In office settings, there are many players involved. Once upon a time, workers were forced to go on a wild goose hunt in search of files, which may or may not be stored across any number of employees’ email boxes. Office 365 SharePoint allows one single place to store important documents, photos and communications, so you can find important files when needed most.

Today’s businesses are also on the lookout to improve organizational productivity. Office 365’s Email and Calendar options offer ample mailbox storage, the ability to schedule meetings simply and quickly, and the ability to share your schedule and availability with coworkers and colleagues.

Does Office 365 Provide Enhanced Communication?

Effective communication among coworkers, teams, and departments is crucial for growth within a company. While methods like e-mail are sufficient, the benefits of instant communication can’t be denied. In addition to traditional Email, Office 365 Business provides access to Yammer, Skype for Business and Teams.

In a business landscape with an ever-increasing number of remote workers, effective communication is key, and when it comes to chatting, you’ve got options. Skype For Business is a unified communications platform offering instant messaging, video, and audio conferencing. Online meetings are simple and offer a range of other benefits.

You can immediately see your coworkers’ availability status, share a whiteboard to allow for brainstorming in real-time and share documents on-screen in real time. And with Office 365, management is intended to be easier than ever. From user creation and deletion, to managing passwords, user roles, security and distribution lists, the program’s management tools are built for success.

Business Benefit Office 365

Does It Have a Chat or Meeting App?

Microsoft Teams is another useful feature found within the Office 365 suite. This takes teamwork to a new level, with the ability to chat, share files, and organize meetings. According to Microsoft, over 200,000 businesses across a total of 181 markets are using Teams to collaborate with their coworkers. Recently, the company has introduced a free version, which includes unlimited chat and searches, built-in audio and video calling, 10GB of team file storage, and numerous apps. With the Teams paid version, you’ll gain access to additional storage, and enterprise security, among other features. While Skype has long been the method of choice for communication on-the-go, many users find the Teams interface to be simpler and more effective for instant feedback from team members.

Microsoft Announces Lift On Device Limits

Eager to enhance the user experience for paid subscribers, Microsoft recently announced a major change to its current subscription service. Beginning October 2, Microsoft will lift its limits on device usage for Office 365 subscribers. While the previous limit allows for 10 devices, users can now utilize Office 365 on an unlimited number of devices.

Office 365 Makes An Impact on Business Growth

Office 365 is making an impact across thousands of businesses, and its benefits stretch far beyond Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint. Office 365 carries with it countless commands that can be of great value to individual users and businesses. If your organization is searching for a means of enhanced productivity and communication, consider all that Office 365 has to offer. It may be just the tool you’re looking for to help your team grow.

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How Can I Benefit From Keyboard Shortcuts?

What Are Keyboard Shortcuts?

Keyboard ‘shortcuts’ are the strategic use of combinations of keys on your keyboard to perform some task in your software more efficiently. There are shortcuts you can use in your file folders, word processing programs, and even for your email accounts or any social media services, you might use. In addition to increasing time efficiency, some users prefer the potentially increased accuracy of certain keyboard shortcuts.

Keyboard shortcuts

Text highlighting and spreadsheet cell selection, for example, may be more accurate using a keyboard shortcut versus selections from even the most advanced mice. In any case, if you use mainstream computer software frequently, keyboard shortcuts have been designed for some potential benefit you or your employees can experience.

Which Shortcuts Have Been Most Helpful?

While general preferences have the most priority in what is defined as truly helpful for use, online resources have reported some keyboard shortcuts being more popular or commonly beneficial than others. Here are five keyboard shortcuts that could potentially be ‘life-changing’:

  • Locking a screen
  • Window or app switching
  • Opening Windows Explorer
  • Opening search bars
  • Selecting all text

These shortcuts are reported to be the most common time savers when performing common computer software tasks. Pressing the Windows key with the L key (Windows + L) allows a user to quickly lock their screen to more quickly step away from their system.

Pressing the ALT and Tab keys (ALT + Tab) allows a user to navigate between programs they are using. This can be more efficient than using a mouse to click through or minimize several programs as users navigate through their software.

In the common event of a need to locate an unused file, pressing the Windows and E keys (Windows + E) will open Windows Explorer without a mouse navigation and click. This can be useful even if the application is already on the user’s taskbar.

In the event you need to search for additional information, you can press the CTRL and F keys (CTRL + F) to open a search bar. If you need to select all text in a document or screen, pressing the CTRL and A keys (CTRL + A) will result in this being automatically performed, and without the more tedious mouse-button-holding-while-scrolling action notorious for its frustrated multiple attempts.

Other keyboard shortcuts may be less commonly demanded by users but still potentially beneficial to you. Pressing the CTRL and D keys (CTRL + D) automatically moves files to the recycle bin on your system. Pressing the CTRL, Shift, and Escape keys (CTRL + Shift + Esc) automatically opens the Task Manager, allowing you to search for problems.

MoneyTalks News and Buffer recommended several additional keyboard shortcuts as potential ways to boost organizational productivity. In addition to the more commonly known but often still uncommonly used CTRL + S, CTRL + C, and CTRL + V shortcuts for saving, copying, and pasting respectively, these sources report that an emphasis on shortcuts can have a measurable impact on organizational or general productivity and output.

Windows shortcuts recommended include:

  • CTRL + N (Open new window)
  • CTRL + T (Open new tab)
  • Windows key + M (Hide window)

Gmail shortcuts recommended include:

  • CTRL + Shift + C (Add CC recipient)
  • CTRL + Shift + B (Add BCC recipient)

Twitter shortcuts recommended include:

  • G + L (Move directly to Twitter lists)
  • J/K (Cycle forward or backward through tweets)
  • Enter (Open tweet details)
  • | (Close open tweets)

Facebook shortcuts recommended include:

  • 0 (Help page)
  • 1 (Homepage)
  • 2 (Timeline page)
  • 3 (Friends page)
  • 4 (Inbox)
  • 5 (Notifications)
  • 6 (Settings page)
  • 7 (Activity Log page)
  • J/K (Scroll forwards or backward along posts)
  • L (Like or Unlike a post)
  • C (Comment creation)
  • S (Share post)
  • P (Create new post)
  • / (Search)

YouTube shortcuts recommended include:

  • 1 (Jump to the 10% mark of a video)
  • 2-9 (Jump to the corresponding 20%-90% through a video)
  • Spacebar (Pause or Unpause the video)

Google+ shortcuts recommended include:

  • / (Open search bar)
  • J/K (Scroll up or down in posts)
  • Left Arrow (Jump to the menu)

WordPress shortcuts recommended include:

  • + 2, 3, or 4 (Jump to corresponding heading)
  • Alt + Shift + A (Add link)
  • Alt + Shift + M (Insert image)

What’s In Store For The Future Of Keyboard Shortcuts?

More innovative developments are on the way in an attempt to further improve efficiencies, and you may be able to take advantage of them quite soon. One recent development by a team of researchers extends keyboard shortcuts with arm and wrist gestures so that users can work more quickly with rotations using sensors.

In another development, a research team developed ‘finger aware’ shortcuts, which senses hand posture while allowing secondary movements to trigger shortcuts as other tasks are performed. Actions potentially triggered with a user’s thumb are being coined ‘FingerArc’ functions, while the secondary key actions are being referred to as ‘FingerChord’ functions. Both of these may be considered useful, or even become commonplace in the near future.

What Should I Remember About Keyboard Shortcuts?

  • Keyboard shortcuts exist in great numbers.
  • They can be beneficial for better efficiency.
  • When used across a workplace, measurable productivity increases may be observed/experienced.
  • Additional, and potentially revolutionary, developments are underway.
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Excel for Mac: The Latest Features

A new release of Excel for Mac came out in January of 2018, and with it, some very useful features were added to its existing capabilities. While some spreadsheet power users tend to shy away from the Excel version for the Mac operating system out of fear they won’t be able to do all they are used to, those who have taken the plunge have found it to be every bit as powerful and functional as they need. And with these latest features, it has only gotten better.

Co-Authoring

The latest release of Excel for Mac fully supports the ability for multiple people to work on a document at the same time, also known as Co-authoring. You will no longer have to struggle with a “this file is locked message” when someone else is using a file. You also won’t be forced to work with a read-only copy.

Now when someone else is working on the same workbook, the Sharing corner will show you who that person is. By clicking on their initials, you can see their name and where they are currently editing. This also makes it easy for you to chat with them from inside Excel.

New Chart Types

Excel for Mac has also added some new chart types to support even more powerful data visualization. The Waterfall Chart is one of the newly added types. It is ideal for visualizing data such as revenue coming in, costs going out, and the difference between them.

Charts that focus on hierarchies of data are also supported, such as Treemaps and Sunburst Charts. Treemaps allow you to quickly see a hierarchical representation of data using rectangles and allows you to visually compare data for different categories based on the relative size of their rectangles.

Sunburst charts, on the other hand, look a little like the classic donut chart but use different levels of rings to allow you to drill down into subcategories. The Sunburst chart shows how different pieces contribute to the whole at various levels of abstraction.

Histogram charts have been added to the new release, also. Now you no longer have to adapt a column chart in order to visualize your histogram data.

Another impressive addition to the charting capabilities available in Excel for Mac is 2D Map Charts. This allows you to visualize geographically related data overlaid on a map of the region in question, whether it’s world-based, continent-based, or country-based. Excel works with data from the Bing map engine to create stunning mapped charts.

Microsoft Excel for Mac

Expanded PivotChart Functionality

Excel for Mac has also updated the functionality of PivotCharts: a PivotChart will immediately adapt to changes in the PivotTable upon which it is based. This makes PivotCharts much easier to use and far more interactive. If your document has a data component, you can use the Timeline feature to adjust what data is plotted in the PivotChart. Timelines can easily be inserted via the Insert menu.

Multi-threaded Calculations

Multi-threaded, simultaneous calculations of spreadsheet formulas is now supported in the latest Excel for Mac release. In the past, each formula was processed one after another. Now, with multi-threading, multiple formulas can be processed at the same time. This means that worksheets filled with long, complex calculations will take just a fraction of the time they did in the past. And perhaps the best part is that you don’t have to do anything special – no settings to change, no options to set – for multi-threading to be implemented.

Slicers for Tables

Another useful feature that Excel for Mac now supports is Slicers for tables. Slicers allow users to easily filter out unwanted information so they can immediately focus on what is important to them. What makes Slicers useful is the easy-to-use button interface and the fact that they don’t just work on PivotTables.

Sending Feedback to Microsoft

You can send feedback to Microsoft via the Smiley Face button that appears on the upper right-hand side of the screen. This allows you to either tell Microsoft what you liked about Excel for Mac, or tell them what kinds of things they could do better. The latter not only means you can more easily request new features, but you can send information about specific problems you have encountered. If you’d like to get a response, you can include an email address – but just remember that they don’t have time to respond personally to all the feedback that they receive.

Conclusion

Excel for Mac is constantly evolving to be more like Excel for Windows, and these updated and added features demonstrate Microsoft’s commitment to making that happen. With multi-threading capabilities, coauthoring, new and better charts, and slicers, Excel for Mac users can do even more. And don’t forget to provide your own feedback to Microsoft. This feedback helps the company design more user-friendly apps for its users.

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