Make Sure Your Business Tech is Ready To Go in 2021: A Checklist

New Year, New You! That’s what they always say, right? But in the shuffle of New Year’s Resolutions and fresh Business Strategies, we often forget to double-check the tech-stack that runs those business strategies. If you’re in business and operate off of more than just a laptop, there’s a few things everyone should check off their list to ensure your business back-end is set up for success this year:

Remote Access and Work from Home

Especially with COVID-19 and most staff working from home, it’s extremely important to make sure your employees’ set-ups are secure:

  • Is the connection being done securely through a VPN?
  • Are your company computers (yes, even those off-site laptops) being monitored by a professional IT company?
  • Are staff using personal or business computers? If your teams are working from personal computers at home, your business is exposed to an increased number of risks, including children or other users logging on to the computer, lack of security, potential for out-of-date or no anti-virus, etc. All of this leaves your company files and data at risk.
  • Finally, check the wireless where you or your staff are working from. Is it reliable? Secure? If you need help changing to a new service provider in a specific area, let us know – we can offer some recommendations for you.

Who is Managing Your Computers?

Whether your team is working from home or in the office, it’s important that all of the business’s computers are being properly managed and monitored by professionals. Having a team monitor your computers means that problems can be solved before they actually cause problems, or shut down the user for anywhere from hours to days. If you do have a team managing your computers, ask them the following:

  • Does each computer have a monitored antivirus installed?
  • Are alerts being monitored for the:
    • Battery backup?
    • Data backup?
    • Antivirus?

Backups and Updates

Ensuring your data is backed up and that your systems are being updated regularly are important factors in making sure your business runs smoothly.

  • Is your data being backed up regularly, regardless of whether it’s on the cloud or on the server?
  • Have performance upgrades been done to all of your systems?
  • Have updates been done to all of your software?

Planning Ahead for 2021

Now is the time to look at those business strategies for the year and determine what kind of technology set-up you need to support the plans you have!

  • Do you need to switch to VoIP?
  • Is your website due for a refresh?
  • Is it time to migrate your emails to Microsoft 365 or G-Suite?
  • Do you require a new server?
  • Are you interested in perhaps moving your data / server to the cloud?

If you’re planning to grow your business in 2021, then you need to make sure your technology is up to par and can support your plans. Book a Free Assessment with us today – a $400 value – to diagnose and determine if you’re ready! You’ll get a detailed report afterwards with all of our recommendations, with absolutely no commitment.

Happy New Year! Here’s to growth in 2021!

What to do if Features you Rely on to do Your Work Suddenly Disappear

Last month, in October 2020, Google decided to shut down its music and podcast hosting site called Google Play Music. Users were sent emails and encouraged to transfer all of their purchased and downloaded files to the YouTube Music platform before Google’s proprietary app was shut down, in order not to lose their data.

Also last month, Samsung announced that as of next year it will no longer be supporting its Sync and Drive storage for My Files, meaning that if users don’t transfer their current Gallery Sync and Drive data to Microsoft OneDrive, everything could be lost.

It’s an inconvenience, to say the least, when services – especially those we pay for as a premium – are eliminated and we have to find workarounds to ensure we don’t lose our important files.

What if we don’t transfer files properly? What if we miss a specific instruction or forget and miss the deadline? Whether it’s family photos or work documents, it’s a risk you don’t want to take.

We’re not here to put down any specific companies or features, but we’re pulling back the curtain and revealing some of the downsides to working with or using these proprietary features.

Of course, the most obvious risk (as we’ve been talking about here) is that when working with tools created by individual organizations there is the possibility they could be discontinued. Major brands or service providers will almost always give users a warning ahead of time with instructions on how to move forward, but their solutions might not always work for everyone.

As mentioned above, Samsung is stopping its proprietary Sync and Storage options and recommending its users to migrate those features to Microsoft OneDrive – however, OneDrive is not available world-wide, and what if we just don’t WANT to use OneDrive and might prefer Google Drive or Dropbox? What if we don’t know what service we’d like to use? All of which leaves some users without an obvious solution.

Our goal here is always to ensure you’re receiving the best technology advice possible, whether you’re an individual with a Smart Home all tied to Google, or a business whose entire office runs on Apple products. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if this is you. We can help you (and your entire office, if necessary) safely migrate your data to a more centralized platform before critical features are eliminated, or we can recommend the best way for you to move forward.

Have you or are you currently in the process of dealing with this? We’d love to hear your experience or, if you’re in a jam and need help, send us a message! Phone calls and e-mails are always free!

 

Note: If you are a Samsung user affected by the pending end of service here are the steps Samsung recommends you take to migrate your data to OneDrive:

To keep your data in the cloud and continue syncing, please make sure to move your data to Microsoft OneDrive. Please note that this option is only available until 2021-05-31. [How to move to OneDrive]

*This may not be supported in certain countries or device models

*From the moment you start to move your data to OneDrive, existing Samsung Cloud syncing with Gallery, and Samsung Cloud Drive storage for My Files will be terminated, and as soon as the migration is completed, applicable data will be deleted.

[How to download your data]

After 2021-08-31, your data saved in Gallery Sync and Drive will be deleted. Please make sure to download them to your mobile device and/or PC prior to the end of feature date. If you choose this option, you will not be able to migrate your data to OneDrive. [How to download your data]

*Applicable data will be deleted on the earlier of the two dates – 90 days from the moment you request downloading data or the final end of feature date.

How to Remove Edge Browser Tabs From Alt+Tab on Windows 10

Starting with the October 2020 update, Windows 10 now shows Microsoft Edge browser tabs in the Alt+Tab task switcher by default. For some people, this may be handy. But, if you want to disable tabs in Alt+Tab, it’s easy to fix in Settings. Here’s how.

Windows 10 Logo Hero - Version 3

https://www.howtogeek.com/696775/how-to-stop-alttab-from-showing-edge-browser-tabs/

How to Enable or Disable Windows 10’s Full-Screen Start Menu

While in desktop mode, Windows 10 allows you to use the Start menu in a full-screen mode (like the Start menu in tablet mode) or in a more traditional way that only covers part of the screen. Here’s how to change how it works.

Windows 10 Logo Hero - Version 3

https://www.howtogeek.com/694660/how-to-enable-or-disable-windows-10s-full-screen-start-menu/

How to Hide the App List in Windows 10’s Start Menu

When you open the Start menu in Windows 10, you normally see an alphabetical list of apps installed on your system. If you’d like to have a smaller sleeker Start Menu, it’s possible to hide the app list on the left. Here’s how.

Windows 10 Logo Hero - Version 3

https://www.howtogeek.com/694705/how-to-hide-the-app-list-in-windows-10s-start-menu/

How to Send an Email with a Different “From” Address in Outlook

If you have multiple email accounts in Microsoft Outlook, you can change the “From” address in a new email. This is quicker than swapping to a different inbox, and lets you send emails from different addresses, even if they aren’t your own. Here’s how—with some caveats.

Microsoft Outlook logo

https://www.howtogeek.com/689267/how-to-send-an-email-with-a-different-from-address-in-outlook/

3 Things You Need to Maintain Productivity While Working From Home This Fall

Almost seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve mostly settled into some sort of routine – or at least, figured out what we’re supposed to be settling into. Whether or not we’re “settled”, of course, is another story. Unfortunately, the reality is that many businesses have come to the realization that having a remote workforce actually does work, and chances are many of us will be continuing to work from home for quite some time.

For parents who have been adapting to the makeshift breakfast table office these past few months, back to school might mean an emptier house – or it could mean sharing the Zoom account with the kids. If you suddenly find yourself with multiple people in your household online at the same time, you may be experiencing some technical difficulties. If you’re having trouble connecting to your office network or keep getting kicked off of Zoom, here are three things to look into.

Your Wireless Connection

Each service provider has a basic level of wireless connection that they can install in your home, but they can only give you so much bandwidth. This is typically enough if you’re checking emails, Facebook, or surfing the internet, but if you’re attempting to connect to the office VPN, stream videos, or attend Zoom meetings, you might find it lacking. Add in a child attending virtual classes at the same time, and you may find it coming to a standstill.

If this is the case, ask us about a more robust wireless connection that is not available from your service provider. You could work from the backyard, the basement – or attend a Zoom meeting from the kitchen at the same time your kids learn math from the living room.

Your Internet Speed

Although separate from wireless, internet connection and speed are also dependent on the service providers and what is available in your area. Without a high-speed internet connection, your wireless strength is meaningless; if you’ve ever had full signal bars, but not been able to connect, it’s due to your internet connection in the backend.

If you’re struggling with your internet connection strength or reliability, we can recommend a service provider in your area.

Your Computer

Of course, if you’re working with an older laptop or desktop, it may be that your machine cannot keep up even if your internet and wireless connections are very strong and reliable. If you’re not working with enough RAM, CPU, or hard drive space – just to name a few potential culprits – no amount of bandwidth will improve your working speed. It’s best to replace your computer. If that’s not possible at the moment, we can help with upgrades that will extend the life of it for you.

Things are stressful for everyone right now – and working from home, with or without children attending virtual classes, isn’t making things easier. But just because you’re working from home instead of in the office doesn’t mean you should be working with sub-par tools. If you’re struggling to get or stay connected, send us a message – we’re happy to help investigate and suggest a solution that works for you.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Using Virtual Desktops on Windows 10

If you use virtual desktops on Windows 10, these keyboard shortcuts will give you more control and speed up your Windows experience. Just like most Windows 10 features, you can control several aspects of your virtual desktops without a mouse.

Windows Desktop Hero

https://www.howtogeek.com/688608/keyboard-shortcuts-for-using-virtual-desktops-on-windows-10/

How to Block Emails from Specific Senders in Microsoft Outlook

There are some people you never want to hear from. You can’t stop them from sending you emails, but you can set up Microsoft Outlook to automatically delete the emails as soon as they arrive. Here’s how.

https://www.howtogeek.com/687954/how-to-block-emails-from-specific-senders-in-microsoft-outlook/

Microsoft Outlook logo

How to Change the Icon of a Shortcut on Windows 10

Icons were invented as a quick way to visually identify information on a computer, but sometimes a Windows 10 shortcut icon is so generic that it doesn’t feel useful. In that case, Windows makes it easy to customize the icon. Here’s how to do it.

Windows 10 Icons

https://www.howtogeek.com/687014/how-to-change-the-icon-of-a-shortcut-on-windows-10/

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