September 9th, 2015

AndroidPhone_Sep09_AAfter much speculation as to when it would finally rear its head, Google has finally announced the imminent arrival of the Android 6.0 M operating system, which goes by the name of Marshmallow. It follows in the footsteps of previous foodstuff-inspired Android operating system releases, including its predecessor Lollipop. Though the Developer Preview of Marshmallow is now available, there’s no confirmed release date as of yet for the full version of the system for use on devices - but here’s what to expect when it does come.

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

Business_Value_Sep7_AWe all know IT plays a valuable part in your company’s operations, but is it possible to quantify that value? By asking your IT guy the right questions you should be able to get an idea of what they are adding, or subtracting, from your business’s value. Whether your IT is handled in-house or through a Managed Services Provider, here is some advice on what you can do to help determine its 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_ARemember the day when you bought your new iPhone? Probably one of the first things you did was to fill it up with a bunch of applications. And before you knew it, after months of taking selfies, capturing videos, and installing just about every social, gaming, and utility app out there, you got an alert saying your memory was almost full. If you want to free up some storage, try the following simple tricks.

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_AApple’s iOS is one of the most secure and reliable mobile operating systems out there, but it also comes with a lot of restrictions. The App Store is strongly protected, and it’s almost impossible to install third-party applications without jailbreaking your iPad device. While jailbreaking can provide you with greater flexibility to configure your iPad, it can also expose your device to potential threats. Here are a few security risks that you should keep in mind.

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
August 31st, 2015

You’re probably all too aware of the Ashley Madison hack by now. Maybe you are closely following the names and people involved, perhaps you don’t care or most likely you are somewhere in the middle. No matter where you find yourself standing on this issue, it should be used as a valuable learning tool for your company’s security. Here are three lessons your business can take away from the scandal.

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

BusinessIntelligence_Aug25_ADashboards have become an extremely useful tool for companies to make the most of their raw data. With proper implementation, a dashboard can display essential information in an easy-to-understand format, allowing business owners to take in the most important data about their company at a glance. But a dashboard can say a lot of things depending on its setup, and it’s important to choose one that can best serve your purpose. Here are three types of business dashboards to consider.

Strategic dashboards

Ideal for senior managers and executives, strategic dashboards are designed to help identify potential opportunities for business expansion and improvement. This type of dashboard doesn’t provide information in-depth enough to make complex decisions, and is typically is updated once a month or quarter.

Benefits of strategic dashboards As the name suggests, strategic dashboards are designed to provide strategic guidance. The dashboards give a bird’s-eye view of your business. They can contain anything from overall sales numbers to sales and revenue comparisons, or inventory levels, making it easy for executives to understand the overall health of the organization.

Analytical dashboards

This type of dashboard provides users with insights from a volume of data collected over time, enabling you to understand why certain things are happening, and what changes should be made in the future in order to accommodate them. The data presented in analytical dashboards tends to be complex, and usually requires advanced training to use. That’s why they are generally used by business analysts, instead of being widely deployed to other employees and across all departments.

Benefits of analytical dashboards When it comes to creating and implementing strong business strategies, understanding the trends and events in your data is crucial. Analytical dashboards provide detailed information that allows you to compare current against historic data. Implementing analytical dashboards allows you to enjoy in-depth analysis, identify patterns and opportunities in your data, and determine why processes are working in certain departments.

Operational dashboards

Operational dashboards are used to monitor the real-time operations of employees, allowing them to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of their work performance. This type of dashboard is commonly found in departments where it’s essential to respond to critical information quickly, such as those working in sales and marketing.

Benefits of operational dashboards Business owners rely on operational dashboards to track their employees’ progress, and to be notified of issues as they come up in order to respond quickly. What’s more, the dashboards provide up-to-date information, all bundled in one place, making it easy for employees to make quick decisions without having to dig through large amounts of data.

Dashboards concentrate all data, metrics, and parameters in one place, bringing a totally new dimension to business intelligence. Your company can significantly benefit from the right dashboard. If you’re looking to implement dashboards for the first time, or to enhance the functionality of your current dashboard, get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from Source.

August 21st, 2015

As technology continues to evolve in the healthcare industry, new developments are being made to improve the quality of delivering patient care. Breakthroughs in treatments, communication systems, and information gathering have provided healthcare practitioners with new tools to better serve patients. With that said, here are some of the biggest impacts technology has made in healthcare.

Enhanced information access

There’s no doubt that more and more people are using the Internet to research their medical issues. The introduction of Internet has allowed countless people to look up symptoms, exploring treatments and medicines on the web. Now that’s not to say that paying a visit to a doctor is a bad idea. But browsing for information online has enabled patients to understand what kind of symptoms they’re having, and allowed them to make better decisions about what to do next.

Better treatments and less suffering

Technology has also brought about new and innovative machines, medicines, and treatments that have the potential to save lives and improve the chance of recovery for billions. Not only can sophisticated technologies help patients heal and recover directly, they have also assisted researchers to make healthcare even more effective.

Take surgery for example. The invention of new medical tools and treatments, such as anesthetics, has enabled doctors to perform operations that were not possible before. They can undertake surgeries slowly and carefully, without worrying that their patients might feel pain or have their body give up altogether.

Improved patient care and staff efficiency

Electronic medical records have made patient care safer and more reliable than ever before. Physicians and nurses use portable devices to store patients’ medical records and check that they are administering the correct treatment. What’s more, results of lab tests, medicine orders, and patient information are all electronically stored in the main database, allowing for future reference.

Healthcare staff also benefit from technology - they have instant access to thousands of case studies, medical textbooks, and detailed patient history. Technology has also created telemedicine, a practice that enables doctors to consult with professionals from all over the world to diagnose, treat, and research conditions more effectively.

Medical trends prediction

Major search engines are now capable of predicting medical trends such as epidemics and flu outbreaks, based on the health information that users search for. Although not everyone who searches for “flu” is actually sick, these search queries tend to be popular when flu season is happening. The queries are added together to estimate how much flu is circulating in countries around the world. Medical experts are able to apply this information to take preventative measures and respond to outbreaks quickly.

Technology is paving the way for patients to live healthier lives. If you’re looking for efficient technology solutions to propel your healthcare business forward, don’t hesitate to contact our experts today - we have the perfect tools for all your needs.

Published with permission from Source.

August 14th, 2015

As the healthcare industry continues to embrace significant technological changes, healthcare providers need to keep up with the latest trends to deliver better patient care. That’s why more and more healthcare organizations are turning to managed services providers to lower costs and improve productivity. While this concept is on the rise, the services and level of support offered by managed services providers remain all over the place. However, there are certain managed services providers that work specifically within the healthcare verticals.

Here are some things to look for in a managed services provider before you consider partnering with one.

They guarantee response times

When it comes to providing healthcare services, talking about fast response times is not the only thing that matters. You should always make sure that your provider guarantees response times, and that you’re able to contact them 24/7. Consider this: in a scenario where something breaks or you come across technical issues in the dead of the night, your best bet would be to contact your service provider, not to try fixing things on your own. Therefore you need a provider who is able to provide assistance whenever you need it most.

They support a business continuity plan

You risk putting your organization in jeopardy if your managed services provider can’t assist in your recovery from major outages or natural disasters. A business continuity plan is an absolute necessity in your healthcare organization - you simply can’t afford to lose all your valuable medical data in the event of a disaster. You need all the help you can get from your managed services provider to maintain redundant systems, as well as help manage automatic failovers.

They provide proactive security

In the world of healthcare data security, aligning your practice with HIPAA compliance mandates is essential. Failing to meet regulations may result in huge fines, serious penalties, and even the withdrawal of your license to operate. The ideal managed services provider should offer core security services that include identity-based security and encryption, authorized privileges and access control, and data accountability and integrity.

They offer staffing services

Healthcare staffing shouldn’t be a hassle but, thanks to the changing dynamics of healthcare IT requiring a sophisticated workforce, that’s exactly what it can become. You need a managed services provider that assumes full responsibility for your clinical labor while providing you with a single point of contact for all your staffing operations, including account management, customer support, order placement, and more.

Choosing the right managed services provider can be a time-consuming task but, when you do make the switch, they can streamline your operations, reduce operational costs, and enhance workforce transparency.

If you want to learn how great technology and support can benefit your healthcare practice, get in touch with us today - we provide the perfect set of IT solutions and outstanding support to drive your organization forward.

Published with permission from Source.

August 11th, 2015

Office_Aug11_ATablets with Windows 10 installed received a boost recently with the unveiling of the new Office Mobile applications. The mobile versions of the iconic Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote applications are specifically designed for use on tablets. The "touch-first" interface allows users to easily edit documents while on the go. The best news of all is the fact that Office Mobile apps are free for users of Windows 10.

One of the biggest complaints about trying to edit a Microsoft Office file from a tablet is usability, or lack thereof. That has all changed, at least for Windows 10 users, with Microsoft’s recent release of Office Mobile apps. The tablet-friendly versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote have been built from the ground up to improve touch functionality.

Even if you don’t have Windows 10, you still might be intrigued about the potential of having Office apps that are touch-friendly. Here are some of the new features you can enjoy when using Office Mobile apps.


Microsoft Word Mobile has all the tools and features of the PC version including more nuanced tasks like being able to track changes and add footnotes. The Read mode, a mobile exclusive, improves the way documents appear by making them flow better on the smaller screens of a tablet while also letting you zoom in and out with a simple tap of the screen.


Recommended Charts is the prominent feature of the Excel Mobile app. It allows you to quickly show off your data using a stylish chart or graph with only a few taps. You will also find that reordering columns, adding formulae, changing chart types and the majority of Excel’s other core functions are easier than ever before.


Of course Office wouldn’t be Office without PowerPoint. The mobile version of the app allows you to edit slides with new touch gestures. This makes it easy to insert and edit pictures, tables, shapes and SmartArt. But the real star here, and of the entire Office Mobile setup, is the Presenter View. This mode gives you full control over what your audience sees on the big screen during a presentation while still letting you view your speaker notes on the tablet.


Windows 10 comes installed with OneNote, so you’re probably already using it. Tablet users will notice that changes made by anyone working in the notebook are automatically saved and synchronized for everyone to see.

The release of Office Mobile apps is just one of three big launches to come from Microsoft in 2015. Both Microsoft Office 2016 and Office Mobile for phones are slated for release this fall. Yet, while these tablet applications represent marked improvements for Windows 10 tablet users, they are probably not quite enough to warrant the switch from other operating systems just yet. In fact, even if you’re in love with the idea of having user-friendly, mobile versions of Office, you might want to hang on in there - it’s likely Microsoft will release them for iOS and Android in the near future, too.

Want to know what hardware and software is best for your company? Want to increase productivity in your office? Get in touch with us and we’ll show you how to do it.

Published with permission from Source.

August 10th, 2015

BusinessContinuity_Aug10_AIn the current world, business continuity planning (BCP) is imperative to the sustainability of your business. Without a well-thought-out plan in place, it is highly unlikely that your company will be able to survive and recover from disasters. However, there are several major roadblocks to the successful implementation of a business continuity plan. If you’re struggling with BCP, check out our list of some common challenges organizations face, and learn how to address them properly.

Challenge #1: Prohibitive costs

Business continuity planning has become exponentially expensive as availability requirements increase. Many solutions require substantial investments on the installation and maintenance of additional hardware, software, and data center infrastructure. These requirements drive up the cost of business continuity, and many company owners are reluctant to invest in protective measures.

The solution Instead of relying on costly physical servers to accommodate your backups, consider using efficient and affordable cloud computing solutions. You can transfer your important business files to the cloud and eliminate the expense of having to install and manage hardware infrastructure and software licenses.

Challenge #2: High complexity

Traditional business continuity planning is complex to implement, manage and execute. From managing the recovery infrastructure to updating disaster recovery documentation and testing the BCP to find and close potential loopholes, the prospect of embarking on a BCP project can be daunting, and the whole experience can prove time consuming. Combine with the pressure of your ordinary day-to-day duties, it can seem almost impossible to focus your attention on initiating a BCP.

The solution With all this in mind, it makes more sense to hire a professional IT service provider to plan, implement, and execute your business continuity plan. This way you can leverage their experience and expertise to ensure that, in the event of a disaster, your company will be able to get back on its feet and resume business operations as quickly as possible.

Challenge #3: Lack of staff involvement

There are so many requirements to be considered in a business continuity plan. And the more employees your organization has, the more difficult it is to relay the essence of the plan for everyone to understand. Staff involvement isn’t an option - it’s an absolute necessity if you wish for a successful BCP implementation!

The solution Depending on the size of your organization, you can either hold a company meeting to announce the essentials of your BCP, or schedule a meeting with key staff members who take an active role in the planning process. To create a long-lasting BCP program, you need to get everyone on the same page by emphasizing the importance of the plan in an easy-to-understand way.

Business continuity planning is one of the most important things you need to have in place. You never know when, or in what form, a disaster will strike - all the more reason to take a preventative approach to securing your company and all you’ve worked for.

Need a reliable partner to take care of all your business continuity planning needs? Get in touch with us today - we have exactly what you need to prepare and protect your company.

Published with permission from Source.