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Office 365 Just Got Better!

Office 365 is a product that you should be leveraging in your business. Period. It offers so much value for small businesses in terms of collaboration, communication and productivity, and at such a low cost, that it should be a no-brainer for any of our clients. This has been true since O365 was launched, but Microsoft just continues to raise the bar! They have increased the storage space for OneDrive for Business O365 users to be unlimited! Unlimited cloud storage! For those of you who don’t know what Office 365 is, here is a short explanation:

Office 365 is a package of Microsoft’s software and services, offered from the cloud, that are designed to help you easily stay in touch with those people you most care about, collaborate with those you need to get things done with, protect you from time-wasting spam email, stay on top of the information that matters most, and manage your time more effectively. We like to think of it as the ultimate productivity and IT management suite, allowing you and your business to easily leverage the power of the cloud to increase productivity and profit. It’s about giving you and your people the tools to communicate and collaborate with who they want, when they want, where they want, and in the way they want.

 

Office 365
Here is a quick breakdown of only some of what is included:
* Cloud-based email up to 50 GB of storage for each user
* Contact and Calendar Sharing
* Sharepoint Sites for team collaboration
* Instant Messaging, video and voice conferencing
* Office Online with document editing capabilities
* Antivirus and anti-spam filtering for email
* Unlimited OneDrive for Business cloud storage
* Up to five installs of Office 2013 onto your different devices – always updated! Never buy Office again!

Ready to see how all this can be brought into your business? Call us at 908-240-4616 to get started.

Office 365 For Dummies

Now that I’ve got your attention, what I really mean by “Office 365 for Dummies” is Office 365 for non-techies. I work with the team of technical engineers and wizards at Technical Adventures, but I am not a techie. I like using technology to accomplish as much as possible with as little effort as possible. That is cool. So while the tech team can tell you all about Office 365 from the technical perspective, I thought I would give you the low down on what it means as a user.

First of all, before Office 365, if I wanted to track which emails I had responded to, I had to either cc myself when I responded or check multiple accounts. Crazy. For calendar items, I could only update when the devices were in the same location. Now everything is synced automatically. If I start an email at home, the draft shows up on my cell phone so I can continue it from the road. If I add a calendar item in one place, it shows up everywhere.

My contacts are all in one place, always with me, updatable on any device including laptop, cell phone, iPAD, tablet, etc. This makes staying in touch easy.

Here’s the video that shows how to Use email and more in Office 365.

With Office 365, you have a lot of choices for how you use email, calendars, contacts, and more. Your account can be accessed via your personal devices and from anywhere via the web portal. You’ll find that many mobile devices work on Office 365 including Windows phone, iPhone and Android devices.

You can also use other familiar Microsoft products, including Word and Excel, online and on up to 5 devices per user. If you like to be able to work in the office and on the road, this is going to be a dream come true for you.

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Thanks to my wife, Kathy, for giving us this non-technical perspective about Office 365. To get the details about how Office 365 can work for you and your organization, call 908-240-4616.

Office 365 Blog Series

So much is included with Office 365 that we want to take a closer look over a series of blog posts. In the Office 365 blog series, we will start with an overview and then get into individual features and programs over the next few weeks. This video from Microsoft is a great place to start:

Welcome to Office 365

Office 365

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have questions? Don’t want to wait for the next post? We’ll be glad to walk you through the options and features and help you choose what is right for your business. Call today: 908-240-4616

ALERT! Avoid Phone Scams

Technical support phone scams activity has increased. Why? Because it is effective.

Here’s how it works: You or a member of your company or family receive a call from a person claiming to be a representative from Microsoft Help Desk, or another official-sounding organization, and the caller warns you that your computer is infected. After telling you this scary scenario, they tell you they need access to your machine to repair it or they need you to confirm your personal information to maintain your license or subscription. This is a scam that is designed to trick you into installing malware that they can then charge you to remove, or use it to control your computer and/or capture personal information such as online banking passwords. Many times, these callers will pretend to assist you with your “infection” (while adjusting settings that actually leave you more vulnerable to infection!) and then ask for a credit card to bill you for their phony services.

If you receive an unsolicited call such as this, DO NOT GRANT ACCESS TO YOUR MACHINE OR GIVE OUT ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION. Do not install any software or visit any websites they request you to visit. Just hang up. If you are concerned that you may actually have an infection, call us at 908-240-4616 and we will scan your computer and review computer settings to ensure that your computer (and personal information) is secure.

If you have already granted access to a caller such as the one described above, do the following ASAP: change your computer’s password, your email account password, and all passwords for any financial accounts such as your bank and credit card. Call us at 908-240-4616 so we can remove any malicious software and re-secure your machine. For more information, visit: http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/avoid-phone-scams.aspx

If you have any questions, feel free to call the support line at 908-240-4616 or email support – at – technicaladventures.com.

The Technical Adventures Song

We don’t often talk about love in business, but we usually get into business because we love what we do. We love certain products and services, we love getting support when we need it, and truth be told, we love some/most/all of the people we interact with in the course of doing business.

I love Val Waterman of Answers Design Group. She does a great job when I refer clients for marketing and web design work. Our conversations are uplifting, and she is full of surprises. This very pleasant surprise came in the form of a song, and I really enjoy it. Thanks Val!

Technical Adventures Song
By Val Waterman

You’re at work at your computer just slaving away
On a major proposal that’s due in a day
Your boss hot to trot pushing your team to the max
So you’re checking your spelling, grammar and your facts.
When all of a sudden the network goes down
Your hard drive just crashes and you scream, yell and frown
You didn’t back up or save – no options to try
That proposal is toast now and you just want to die!

Oh I’m Donnie Miller a tall friendly guy
Not your grandma’s IT geek and I’ll tell you why
We partner with companies and help them to grow
We’re in for the long haul, and not just a show

Technical Adventures hears your wants and your needs
Your dreams and your challenges wherever that leads
From the cruelest jungle virus to the sea of cloud tech
We keep you from being a hapless train wreck
We will help you to plan long-term strategies
To make sure your company’s ready for worst contingencies
Our passion for helping customers just never ends
You’ll start off as clients, and end up as friends

Oh I’m Donnie Miller a tall friendly guy
Not your grandma’s IT geek and I’ll tell you why
We partner with companies and help them to grow
We’re in for the long haul and not just a show
(and this ain’t just the Donnie Miller show)

I really do enjoy serving people. Please contact me with any questions or comments.

URGENT! Internet Explorer Patch

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS14-021 – Microsoft released the Internet Explorer Patch for all versions of Internet Explorer (IE), including windows XP versions of IE. You can download the update directly from Microsoft via the automated windows update service.

If you are not sure what needs to be done or would like support with applying the Internet Explorer Patch to your systems and network please contact us. Our staff is available and willing to serve you.

For more detailed info regarding the patch you can read more directly from Microsoft at http://blogs.technet.com/b/msrc/archive/2014/05/01/out-of-band-release-to-address-microsoft-security-advisory-2963983.aspx or ​​https://technet.microsoft.com/library/security/ms14-may.

Let the Exploits Begin! More Reason to Upgrade from XP

This past Sunday, less than a month after the ‘End of XP’ was set in stone, Microsoft issued a warning about a zero-day exploit of a security vulnerability affecting all versions of Internet Explorer released in the last decade. This exploit most likely represents the first major security issue that will almost certainly not be fixed for Windows XP. And so it begins…all the more reason to upgrade immediately! Many believe this is just the beginning and truth be told, the longer you wait, the more risk you run in exposing personal and business related data.

Direct from Microsoft: “The vulnerability is a remote code execution vulnerability… An attacker could host a specially crafted web site that is designed to exploit this vulnerability through Internet Explorer and then convince a user to view the web site.”

There is some good news though. If your business depends on Microsoft’s Server versions 2003, 2003 R2, 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, or 2012 R2, then you should be OK, as those systems run IE in a special mode called Enhanced Security Configuration. However, for the systems running any version of Windows from XP, Vista, 7 or 8, the situation is more serious. The notice does mention support for IE 6 on Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 2, which could mean that the fix could somehow be applied to certain XP machines, but since there is no mention of XP, do not hold your breath.

It is unclear whether or not Microsoft will be rolling out an update outside their normal cycle. They generally release all Windows updates on the first Tuesday (Patch Tuesday) of every month. But, this seems to be serious enough that they’re certainly considering the possibility of doing so. For any of our clients on Managed Services, these updates will be applied automatically and we will send out further notifications to everyone else as more information is released.

For more information, workarounds, or if you have any other questions or concerns, contact us immediately at 908-240-4616. For end-users still using XP, please contact our Sales department for advice on the best upgrade path for you and your business.

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Thanks to Danny Soares, Business Development & Technology Advisor at Technical Adventures, for putting this information together.

The End of Windows XP!

Released 12 years ago, Windows XP has finally reached the end of the line and support for it will cease to exist beginning April 8th 2014. What does this mean to you ?
Well…you may take some comfort in knowing that your XP machine isn’t simply going to stop working come April 8th, but if you want a PC that is going to remain stable, compatible with modern software and protected from security holes and threats, then the fact is you are going have to upgrade to something newer. Additionally, If you do not change over to either Windows 7/8 Pro, you will also not be supported by any banking or financial institutions, and if you’re in Health Care, you will be out of HIPAA compliancy.

Also headed to the scrap heap are Microsoft Office 2003 (also end of life April 8th) and later on July 14th, 2015 Windows Server 2003 will bite the bullet.

Many business users already run with PC’s and Laptops on Windows 7/8 Pro, but if your business is one that still has XP machines in daily use then NOW is the time to act. Staying with Windows XP beyond its end of support date represents a great risk that will only grow the longer you keep the machines in service.

Things to consider about Windows XP

Older PCs running Windows XP experience 40% more downtime than PCs running Windows 7/8 Pro.

Older PCs have almost double the number of “incidents”, each lasting between 2-8 hours.

Older PCs cost 1.5 – 2X more to maintain than newer PCs.

The limitations to XP and its further lack of updates means the floodgates will be open for viruses and malware to easily affect older machines.

Windows 7/8 with the newest version of IE + its built-in security essentials contracts 90% fewer virus incidents compared to older XP based machines.

Technical Adventures is fully prepared to support your migration and upgrades from Windows XP for both existing and new customers over the run up to and beyond April 8th, so if your business needs to move on to a new Operating System then contact us to avoid any delay or last minute panic.

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Technology Advisor Danny Soares wrote this up and he is available to answer any questions. Call 908-240-4616 to get help with replacing XP machines.

We are really excited about deploying Office 365!

We have tested Office 365, the product rocks! The compilation of services is amazing! We’re fascinated by how Lync has replaced the standard IM (Instant Messaging) and incorporates presentation, screen-sharing, video mode capabilities and so much more.

The ease of migrating users for each client is getting more and more fun. So far my wife’s migration has been the most difficult. The team is eager to take on the challenge of deploying Office 365 and completing more complex migrations. We invite you to contact us with any questions or comments, to schedule your migration.