September 15th, 2015

MobileGeneral_Sep15_CStatic biometrics like fingerprint sensors should make life a lot easier; no longer do we have to type in security passwords on our mobile phones, or risk having passwords breached. Still, this technology is only available on high-end smartphones, and is not ubiquitous. But thanks to behavioral biometrics, the future of mobile phone security could soon very well change for good. To that end, here’s all you need to know about behavioral biometrics.

What’s it all about?

Behavioral biometrics focus on uniquely identifying characteristics related not necessarily to who you are, but to what you do.The stress is on the recognition and analysis of something all of us do all the time on our smart devices - typing - as a new way of establishing identity.

How does it work?

“The technology profiles how a person interacts with a website on their smartphone by analyzing their typing rhythm, how they hit and release keys, the pressure they put on the screen as they type, the angle they’re holding their phone, and how quick they move across the screen,” says Dr. Neil Costigan, CEO at Swedish IT and security company BehavioSec, which has a patented technology that can be integrated into an app or even a smartphone OS.

Combined with data from a smartphone's built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, it’s possible to come up with a profile of each person. This could allow for monitoring of typing in real time in order to verify a person is who they say they are, just by watching their typing behavior. “The tech works on all models and makes of smartphones and doesn’t require extra hardware,” added Costigan. In fact, Costigan’s continuous process of verification has already been used by banks across Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Germany as part of efforts to detect and counter fraud. The technology was showcased as possible future-phone tech at Google’s I/O 2015 conference, and has the potential to be installed on every phone rather than just being limited to banking apps.

Looking to learn more about mobile technology and how they can change the way you work? Contact us today; we’re happy to talk.

Published with permission from Source.

September 14th, 2015

Productivity_Sep14_CEver get the feeling that you’re never going to catch up on all the tasks on your to-do list; that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to truly be on top of things? It’s common among busy entrepreneurs and executives, and of course the constant drowning sensation itself isn’t exactly conducive to doing your best work. But efficient use of IT can be your savior - using the right productivity tools can help you streamline the way you work and win back valuable hours. If you’re not using them already, these are the tools to implement now.

Google Alerts

Every business wants to keep track of what others are saying about it and, in this modern age where the likes of blogs and social media rule the roost, it’s more important than ever before. In an ideal world you’ll pick up on positive references to your company, and will be able to share these to enhance your good name further. But of course, every so often even the world’s best companies suffer a blip, and in those scenarios reputation management becomes a question of damage limitation, proactively responding to negative feedback, and putting right what harm has already been caused.

Yet doing all that manually is a real time-drain, if not next to impossible to do effectively - just think of all the websites you would have to scroll through to check for mentions of your company’s name, all the while knowing you’ve not even really scratched the surface. Thankfully Google Alerts relieves the pain of this crucial task; the tool allows you to set up alerts for specific terms, and receive an email notification when something crops up that you ought to know about. It can save you hours and enable you to do more justice to your reputation management efforts than you considered feasible.

Chrome to Mobile

If you’re like the vast majority of modern business people, you’re never sat at your desk for very long. That means you’re not always able to use your desktop computer, and probably have to do what you can to make the most of time spent traveling, between meetings and so on. Yet truly being productive during those down periods necessitates having access to the same materials you have when you’re in the office; that way, you’re actually contributing to clearing your overall to-do list rather than just picking a random task to work on so that you’re at least getting something done.

The Chrome to Mobile extension for Google’s signature web browser allows you to quickly transmit to your phone all the web pages you’re currently viewing on your desktop or laptop. When you’re away from your desk, you can pick up right where you left off without any interruption - no more emailing yourself links to everything you’re working on, and then having to open it all afresh on your phone or tablet. If you know you’re going to be away from a reliable internet connection for a while, you can even opt to send an offline version of those pages, so you can continue working regardless. You just need to have a mobile device that runs Android 4.0 or later, or have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch that has Chrome installed.


The inclination to keep too many tabs open in your web browser is practically a chronic condition among business professionals, symptomatic of us trying to get too much done in too little time, and never really finishing one task before moving onto the next. Whatever the cause, it’s something lots of us have to deal with every day; we all stumble across news articles, blogs and other online resources that are infinitely useful to us, but which we don’t have the time to stop and act on there and then.

Pocket solves that problem - this simple tool allows you to save content that you find online to one central place, so that you can go back to it with ease when the time is right. It will save you from needing to keep those hundreds of tabs open until you have a spare moment to go back and plough through your reading list (or more likely until you decide is enough is enough, and close all the tabs to stop them slowing down your computer any further - and in the process you lose all that valuable information without keeping a copy).

Rescue Time

If you’ve ever wondered how much time you waste between tasks while you’re reading your email, updating your social media, checking the news and so forth, then Rescue Time could be the answer to your curiosity - even if you might not actually want to know the truth! Once you activate Rescue Time on your devices, it will track how long you spend not only on different websites but also in the various computer software applications that you use on a day-to-day basis - whether that’s Microsoft Word, Photoshop or Sage.

This helpful little program sends you a regular email report detailing how many hours you’ve logged in total - discovering how long you routinely sit at your computer can be revealing in itself - along with a breakdown of the percentage of time spent on various work- and non-work-related tasks, and an overall ranking for your productivity. It even sets you goals, for example to spend less than two hours a day on what it classes as non-productive activities (which you can customize to suit your line of work, since it’s hardly fair to penalize yourself for being on Facebook if that’s a key part of your job).

Are you ready to use these tools, and other intelligent technology, to streamline your workflow and get more out of your day? Give us a call and see how we can help you put IT at the forefront of a more efficient approach to business.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Productivity
September 10th, 2015

HealthcareIT_Sep10_AWearables, mobile apps and other mobile health (mHealth) devices are the latest technologies entering the healthcare industry. Some hospitals may have held off adopting mHealth, believing they won’t benefit much from it. Others remain concerned their patients won’t have much interest in these tools, or technical the knowledge required for them. But recent research shows a growing interest for patients when it comes to using mHealth, due to its cost-effectiveness and convenience. If you’re wondering what mHealth is, or are considering implementing it into your practice, here’s what you need to know.

mHealth defined

mHealth, also known as mobile health, refers to medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices, such as mobile phones, patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants, and other wireless devices.

How is mHealth used?

Medical institutions across the globe have applied mHealth to deliver healthcare and healthcare information to patients, with satisfying results. Some of the most common uses of mHealth include:
  • Remote data collection and monitoring
  • Diagnostic and treatment support
  • Telehealth and telemedicine
  • Patient safety systems
  • Emergency response systems
  • Healthcare staff telecommunications and training

Advantages of mHealth

There are many advantages of adopting mHealth, including its versatility across all aspects of health care and its potential to improve the monitoring of patients. Let’s take a closer look at the top three benefits of mHealth.
  • Improved data accuracy - entering medical data into mobile devices such as mobile workstations, laptops, and tablets helps eliminate the data entry errors that often occur when information is first recorded on paper and entered at a later time in electronic medical record (EMR) systems.
  • More data access - implementation of mHealth enables healthcare staff to not only enter, but also access, critical patient data from anywhere, at any time. In a scenario when you want to download, view, or transmit a patient’s health records online, you can easily do so with mHealth.
  • Better patient care - the ultimate goal of any healthcare technology is to improve patient care, and mHealth can definitely deliver on that promise. For instance, doctors can refer to their mobile devices for a list of viable diagnoses that they may not have otherwise considered, in order to ensure that patients get the best possible treatment plans.

Current market for mHealth

The number of mobile device users is increasing every day. The expansion of wireless network coverage also provides digital health systems with new possibilities to address even the most complex healthcare challenges. This leads to an increasing acceptance of mHealth in the medical industry. PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the largest professional services firms in the world, has estimated that the mHealth market will expand to $23 billion by 2017.

mHealth allows physicians to keep a close watch on their chronically ill patients without having to see them in the office. What’s more, they can collect health metrics such as weight, heart rate, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels remotely, allowing for more convenience and cost-savings.

If you want to learn how implementing healthcare technology can benefit your business, get in touch with our experts today.

Published with permission from Source.

September 9th, 2015

Colorful marshmallows in glass jar on light wooden background closeupMarshmallows might be something you only associated with campfires and mugs of hot chocolate but, in much the same way as Apples and Blackberries will never again be mere fruit, so the humble gelatin-filled marshmallow is giving its name to the latest iteration of the Android operating system - also known as Android 6.0 M. There’s no confirmed date yet for release to the public, but with the Developer Preview doing the rounds we finally know what the Google platform’s latest update has in store for us.

Marshmallow was first announced at the Google I/O conference earlier this year, but it’s taken a while for a version to come through that’s ready for developers to get their hands on. However, that’s now happened, and the first publicly available release of the operating system is expected to be on the new Nexus 5 and 6 mobile devices in the coming weeks. Sadly, the rest of us are unlikely to have a crack at Marshmallow until the end of 2015 at the earliest. But when that time does come around, it’s packed with these developments.

Visual voicemail

No more dialing voicemail and listening for long-winded prompts - Marshmallow is set to offer visual voicemail functionality from right within the main phone app. That means you can see at a glance who has left you a message, listen to each voicemail, and quickly hit a button to get more information or call or text back - all without needing to wait for a long list of options to play out first. Since this feature requires work at the carrier’s end to enable compatibility, it’s expected to be available only on a handful of networks to begin with - but the list should grow as time goes on.

Screen rotation

Here’s something that competitor Apple has offered its users since even the earliest iterations of its devices - the simple ability to rotate the screen and use it in landscape as well as portrait view. It’s a wonder it’s taken Google this long to realize this was a big and frustrating gap in the Android’s functionality, but at least the wait is over. You’ll now be able to rotate the screen whether you’re on the home screen or deep in an app.

Improved app drawer

Previous releases of the Android operating system have switched up Apple’s conventional single-level, horizontal-scrolling app drawer - used for accessing apps that are already open - with a bigger and vertical-scrolling drawer. But until now this has been plagued by bugs and apparently poorly-thought-out design, with out-of-place alphabetical organization and an ineffective use of space. Marshmallow sees these fixed, with space for more icons on screen - meaning faster and simpler scrolling - and floating alphabetical icons that both save space and look cleaner.

When it’s finally released in full, Marshmallow will also pack in a range of other smaller updates. If you want to learn more about how to integrate Android devices into your business and optimize productivity in the process, just give us a call.

Published with permission from Source.

September 7th, 2015

Have you ever wondered what value IT is adding to your company? Chances are you’re not alone. Figuring out what, if anything, IT is doing to increase the value of your business can offer helpful insight. The main reason companies struggle to find what IT is adding or subtracting from their business is the fact that they don’t know what to look for. Here are a few things you can do to figure out how IT impacts your company’s value.

Don’t accept metrics

IT people love using metrics to show how they are contributing to your business. The problem is most of these metrics don’t show you anything. Sure, high uptimes sound great and low mean-time resolutions are probably a good thing, but how do these impact your business? Don’t arbitrarily accept these as signs IT is contributing to the value of your bottom line. Dig deeper and get an explanation as to why these metrics matter. There is a reason your IT department wants you to see these metrics, but it is important to have them explain it.

Ban “tech speak”

There was a time in the world when it was impossible to avoid “tech speak”, but that era has passed. Your modern-day IT person should be able to explain just about everything to you in plain English. Realistically, if they are doing a good job, they should want to share that information with you in a way you will understand easily. If you find your IT department relying heavily on “tech speak”, chances are there is something they don’t want you to know about.

Make sure your IT provider understands business goals

If you want your IT working for you and adding value to your company, then those responsible for it have to know what your goals are. It is then, and only then, that they will be able to manage your technology with these goals in mind. Too often companies assume their IT provider knows what their priorities should be, founded on company principles, but the reality is that the contractor will operate on the basis of what it thinks is best. These two entities pulling in separate directions can hurt your business in many ways. By making sure your IT department - again, whether in-house or outsourced - is pulling in the same direction as everyone else, technology can add a whole lot of value to your company.

Meet with your IT provider often

It doesn’t matter if you have in-house IT or use a Managed Services Provider, you should be meeting with them on a regular basis to understand what they are doing. There is no need to banish them to some dark corner of the building, or only summon them when something breaks. By incorporating them into the operations process and maintaining open lines of communication, you are likely to see things in your office run a whole lot more smoothly. Not only will you get a better understanding of how IT is providing value to your business, they will gain a deeper appreciation of how your company operates. This will help both sides understand how the other operates, and enable you to find new ways to help each other.

Listen to IT recommendations

Chances are that whoever is handling your IT has numerous different ideas on how your company can use technology to decrease costs, increase productivity, and become more profitable. You would be foolish to not at least consider what they have to say. One of your company’s most valuable assets is technology,and your IT department should be up-to-date on what improvements can be made. There could be nothing more valuable to your company than an IT department proactively finding ways for you to get ahead of the competition using technology.

Is IT hurting your business value? Want to instead use it to drive increased bottom-line profits for your company? Contact our technology experts and find out how we can help.

Published with permission from Source.

September 3rd, 2015

iPhone_Sep3_COne of the challenges many iPhone users encounter is making the most of their storage space. You’ve probably installed new updates, utilities and gaming applications to enhance your iPhone experience but, before you know it, your storage space has quickly filled up, and it’s time do some spring cleaning. Deleting a few pictures and movies might help to an extent, but you’ve got to dig deeper if you want to make the most of your storage space. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Check your storage usage

First things first; before you start deleting applications at random, you need to see exactly what’s hogging storage space. From your iPhone’s home screen, navigate to Settings > General > Usage > Manage Storage. You’ll see the amount of space you have available and how much space is being used up. After a few seconds you’ll also see a list of apps, starting with those that take up the most space. The number indicates how much space the app uses in itself, and how much data is inside the app. Determine which apps you don’t need and hit the Delete App button.

Clear Safari history

If you use Safari often and haven’t cleared its data in a while, your iPhone may be storing web history and data that you simply don’t need. Clearing the cache and history can, in some cases, help free in excess of 1GB of storage space on your iPhone. To do so, navigate to Settings > Safari. Then scroll down and press Clear History and Website Data to earn some additional space.

Clean up your iMessages

By default, your iPhone will store your messages forever. This takes up a lot of space, especially if you’ve received a lot of photos, GIFs, audio messages, and videos. Keeping a few romantic messages is understandable, but you can probably live without other spammy messages that clog up your storage. In addition, the iPhone allows you to keep messages for a period of time instead of forever. Simply head to Settings > Messages. Tap on Keep Messages and set your messages to delete themselves after 30 days or one year.

Don’t double-save photos

You may notice that your iPhone saves two of the same image: a normal one, and a second one using High Dynamic Range (HDR), if you have turned this feature on. HDR images tend to look better than normal ones but, if you always want the HDR version, you can avoid duplicated images by turning off Keep Normal Photo in your Phone & Camera settings.

Delete offline data

Remember that time you had no Internet connection, when you saved an interesting webpage to read later? As your offline reading list grows, your storage space shrinks. To clear your reading list, open up the Settings menu and go to General > Usage > Manage Storage > Safari. Then swipe left over the words Offline Reading List and tap Delete to clear the cache.

These tips will help you make the most of what little space you have left on your iPhone. Want more iPhone tips and tricks? Contact our tech experts today.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic iPhone
September 2nd, 2015

iPad_Sep2_CJailbreaking can be an incredibly useful way to customize your iPad, enhance its functionality, and adjust hidden settings. That all sounds like fun, but Apple has never been a fan of jailbreaking for a number of reasons. There are countless downsides that you should be aware of, particularly around security issues. Here’s all you need to know about jailbreaking, and why it may not be the best idea to tamper with your iPad.

What is jailbreaking?

In a nutshell, jailbreaking is the act of removing hardware and software restrictions on Apple’s iOS, or otherwise making modifications to the device without Apple’s authorization. When you jailbreak your iPad you can install third-party software from external sources, and also manually download files from the Internet. You can change your iPad’s default look, too, and feel, as well as make a number of system tweaks that render your device more useful.

Why you should NOT jailbreak

We advise against jailbreaking. But this is not just our opinion - even Apple says the same in its technical support base articles addressing the issue. Here are some of the reasons jailbreaking is a bad idea.

1. Third-party apps are dangerous - Apple closely monitors its App Store for good reason: because malicious apps can wreak havoc on your device. Downloading and installing applications that haven’t been approved by Apple is risky in many ways. Unofficial apps may contain malware that could slow your device down, steal your sensitive information, eavesdrop on private communications - the list goes on.

2. Say goodbye to warranty cover - Although it’s perfectly legal to jailbreak your iPad, Apple has made it clear that jailbroken devices will no longer be protected under their warranty service coverage. If you mess up the process and can’t restore the device yourself, you’re basically on your own.

3. No more iOS updates - When you jailbreak your iOS device, you’re unable to update to the latest iOS versions. Technically you can, but you’ll lose your jailbreak, meaning you have to re-jailbreak your device and then re-install all your jailbroken apps and extensions. What’s more, if you decide to update your iOS you may have to sit out and wait for an updated jailbreak version to become available, which could take days, weeks, or even months.

4. Device instability - This is one of the biggest reasons why you should stay away from jailbreaking; it can lead to random reboots, and devices not working properly. You may find that your iPad crashes more often, that certain key features and apps no longer work as they normally would, and that your battery life becomes much shorter.

5. The need for jailbreaking is diminishing - The main benefit of jailbreaking, in most cases, is to modify the system in ways which Apple wouldn’t normally allow. But as Apple adds more features to iOS, the same need for jailbroken apps which provide those features is no longer there. For instance, some jailbreak tweaks allow for inter-app data sharing and split-screen multitasking, both of which are being introduced in the latest iOS version.

The detrimental effects of jailbreaking far outweigh the benefits, so why jailbreak your iPad for some minor tweaks when you can wait for Apple to release a more stable update? If you want more iPad tips, get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic iPad
September 1st, 2015

164_C_MacImagine it’s an ordinary day at your office and you decide to get up and leave your desk to grab a drink. You walk out the door, get what you need and are back 5 minutes later. You plop down into your seat, and immediately notice something is different. There are confidential documents open on your computer that weren’t when you left. Even worse, you notice items on your desk are out of place...someone has been on your Mac. A situation like this may sound unlikely, but it can happen. Here’s how you can prevent it by locking your Mac easily every time you leave your desk.

The problem with normal password lock

As you know, the normal way to lock your Mac is by either shutting it down or logging off. So if you’re simply stepping out of your office to use the bathroom, you probably don’t want to waste time doing either of these to keep your desktop secure from a snooping passerbyer. So what’s to do? Set up a password lock. This allows you to lock your Mac by simply putting it to sleep.

How to set up a password lock

One of the best parts about setting up a password lock on your Mac is that it’s incredibly easy. To do so, click on the following:
  1. System Preferences
  2. Security & Privacy (located under the “Personal” group of icons)
  3. General tab
  4. Check the box that reads, “require password after sleep or screen saver begins”
Once you’ve done this, choose “immediately” from the box that lights up. Now, your Mac will lock every time it goes to sleep, and to use it again your password will need to be entered.

So, that leaves one more question. How can you easily put your Mac to sleep?

How to make your Mac go to sleep on command

There are several easy ways to do this. The first and probably the one you’re most familiar with is to simply click on the Apple icon in the upper left hand corner of your screen, and then click Sleep.

If you prefer keyboard shortcuts, you can use one of the following:

  1. Control + Shift + Eject - this makes only the screen go to sleep
  2. Command + Option + Eject - this makes the computer go to sleep
Probably the easiest way of all is to activate Hot Corners, which allows you to put your monitor to sleep by simply moving your cursor to a specific corner of the screen. To activate this, click on the following:
  1. System Preferences
  2. Desktop & Screensaver
  3. Screensaver
  4. Hot Corners (in the bottom right hand corner)
Then choose the corner you would like to use to put your monitor to sleep, and select “Put Display to Sleep”. Every time you navigate your cursor to that corner of the screen, your monitor will go to sleep and your Mac will be locked.

Looking for more Mac OS tips? Curious to learn about our Mac services? Call us today to learn more.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS
August 31st, 2015

Security_Aug31_CRegardless of what you think about the Ashley Madison hack, it is big news when it comes to data security. While your company may not be as big or deal with such a sensitive topic like Ashley Madison, you can still be at risk. This scandal can serve as a springboard to improving security throughout your company. Here are three lessons from the Ashley Madison hack your business should pay attention to.

1. Make sure your company’s security data is actually secure

You probably tell clients their information is secure, but just about every company makes that claim. One of the biggest mistakes made by Ashley Madison was the failure to know if its data was truly secure. The company publically lauded its security, but it now seems like those claims were rather hollow. In fact, it appears as if no one at Ashley Madison knew a whole lot about its security practices until it was too late.

Don’t simply pass off your business’s security to the IT department. Being involved will allow you to see how it works. You don’t need to be a tech expert to understand how your data is being secured. Your security provider, whether it be in-house or via a managed services provider, should be able to explain security practices in layman’s terms. This will allow you to ask questions and be proactive because chances are if you see a weakness, others will notice it as well.

2. Beware of your employees and their email and Internet activities

Another takeaway from this scandal was the fact many employees, both from private companies and government offices, were using business email accounts to sign-up for Ashley Madison and office Internet connections to access the site. Putting the ethical questions aside for a moment, public sentiment is undoubtedly negative and companies with employees who used Ashley Madison at work have been exposed to the scandal’s backlash.

By placing the appropriate email and Internet security solutions in place at your business, you can reduce the amount of risk your company is exposed to by employees. No one really wants to put restrictions on their employees’ Internet and email access, but it is important to be smart. Being connected to scandals like this can bring unwanted publicity to your business. Worst of all, your employees might not even realize they are putting your company in harm’s way when they access this type of content at work.

3. Be prepared for data loss

As the Ashley Madison case has shown us, massive data theft or loss can be the end of your business. When clients trust your business with their data, they are confident in your ability to protect it. Of course, things do happen and if your data does go missing, it’s important to have a plan of action ready. While it’s unlikely your company’s data breach is unlikely to garner the attention of Ashley Madison, it means a whole lot more to you, your company and your employees. Just because your company isn’t big doesn’t mean it’s invincible.

A disaster recovery plan can help your company ensure it has backups and even backups of your backups. If you believe your data has been stolen by hackers, it is important to act immediately. You’ll need to quickly assess what information has been stolen and inform the appropriate parties so they can take the necessary steps to protect themselves. From there, you will want to re-secure your company closing any security loopholes that have been found. Finally, access your backups and make sure your business continues to operate as close to normal during the crisis.

Worried about your security? We can show you how to protect yourself. Contact us today for more information on how to keep your company safe.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Security
August 26th, 2015

Browsers_Aug20_CYou might be among the growing core of users who primarily surf the web with Google’s Chrome browser, but that doesn’t mean you don’t occasionally have cause to use one of its competitors. Whether that’s Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer, and whether you do so out of necessity (because your device doesn’t have Chrome installed) or simply because you prefer the browsing experience, you still want to have access to your usual Chrome bookmarks. This tip shows you how to access your Chrome bookmarks from anywhere.

Whereas in the past it was possible to sync bookmarks saved in Chrome to your Google Docs account, this ceased with the transition from Google Docs to Google Drive. You can still save your bookmarks, but they are now only accessible on other devices if you use Chrome there too. Go online with Firefox or one of the other alternatives and you’ll be left without the easy bookmark access you rely on. The alternative is to use the Bookmarks Anywhere browser extension, which syncs your Chrome bookmarks to your other browsers and updates them live as you add to the list. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Within Chrome on the device that contains the bookmarks you want to sync, download the Bookmarks Anywhere extension from the Chrome Web Store.
  2. Once the extension has been added, a popup will appear. If you’re not already logged in, sign in to the Google account you use in Chrome; you’ll then need to grant Bookmarks Anywhere the browser permissions it requires.
  3. Your Chrome bookmarks will now be synced to the Bookmarks Anywhere site. To access them from non-Chrome browsers on your other devices, just sign in to using your Google account and a list of your bookmarks will appear. You can also manually add new bookmarks from this page, though these don’t appear to sync back to your Chrome bookmarks menu.
If you want to discover other simple ways to boost your productivity through better use of IT, give us a call and we’ll show you how.
Published with permission from Source.

Topic Browsers