Posts tagged "employers"

How Secure Is Your BYOD Policy?

August 8th, 2017 Posted by Best Practices, byod, Data, Devices, Networks, Newsletters, Phone, Security, Staff 0 thoughts on “How Secure Is Your BYOD Policy?”

It only takes one unsecured device that’s plugged into your network to lead to a network breach. That’s why it’s so important to have a bring your own device (BYOD) policy.

BYOD has its pros and cons, and organizations that already have a policy in place or are contemplating implementing one need to tick some boxes to make sure it runs as smoothly and securely as possible.

 

The Upside

BYOD has obvious advantages for staff who like the convenience and familiarity of working on their own devices. It could also lead to productivity gains, as users have an affinity for their own personal devices and how they use them.

Personal laptops, tablets and smartphones are usually more cutting edge, given that companies often don’t update their desktops for years on end. BYOD also allows staff to carry only one or two devices around with them, rather than different ones for work and personal use.

BYOD policies can save organizations money, as they don’t have to spend as much on their IT hardware while allowing workers increased mobility.

 

The Downside

Having said that, BYOD practices are not free from security concerns. More and more mobile devices provide greater scope for ways to breach a company’s IT infrastructure.

Some employees may not be as stringent as they should be about the information they bring home that could be highly sensitive or confidential. Once they take it out of the office, there’s nothing stopping them from sharing it across devices, networks, emails or even showing it to their family and friends.

Disgruntled employees about to walk out the door pose an even bigger threat. If they are leaving to work for a competitor, BYOD makes it easier for them to take intellectual property with them. Alternatively, if an employee uses a smartphone to access the company network then loses it or it’s stolen, an unauthorized person could retrieve unsecured data on the device. Staff can also sell their devices or give them away and forget to wipe company data beforehand.

 

And the Essentials

A good BYOD policy should contain two critical components: an application or software program for managing the devices connected to your organization’s networks, and a written agreement that clearly states the responsibilities of employers and staff.

For example, IT departments wishing to monitor the use of personal devices must ensure that they only monitor activities that access company information.

Software developers and device manufacturers are constantly releasing security patches and updates for threats such as viruses and malware. BYOD policies should have the necessary processes in place to automatically apply those patches across all the agreed BYOD devices.

Additionally, organizations can simplify the whole process by limiting the number or make of devices allowed in their BYOD programs and the systems they have to support. Supporting a broad range of devices could become an administrative nightmare.

The IT department should also have permission to remotely wipe the device if it’s lost, the employee leaves or if it detects a data breach, virus or any other threat to its infrastructure.

BYOD should satisfy employees and management alike, as long as there’s a clear understanding of everyone’s responsibilities. Before settling on the best BYOD policy for your organization, it’s worth getting input from HR, IT, finance, legal and anyone else who has a stake in the matter.

 

Let the Think specialists help you and your company! Please contact our sales team at sales@thinknettech.com if you would like our recommendations or a quote.

Lisa Parker’s Puppies’ Paws for Celebration

May 8th, 2017 Posted by Community, Newsletters, Staff, VTO 0 thoughts on “Lisa Parker’s Puppies’ Paws for Celebration”

If you know Jonell then you know that she has a special place in her heart for helping animals. That’s why it’s not surprising that she decided to use her Volunteer Time Off (VTO) to help the caring folks at Lisa Parker’s Puppies.

 

Paws for Celebration

On April 21st, Lisa Parker’s Puppies hosted the Paws for Celebration at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. This is one of their biggest fundraisers of the year and it helps rescue, foster and find permanent loving homes for abandoned dogs and puppies in La Plata County and the rural Four Corners, while also raising awareness for spay and neuter and the proper stewardship of animals.

Event coordinating is one of the many talents that Jonell has, so this was a great volunteer opportunity for her to use her skills for a wonderful cause. Lisa and Jonell have known each other from when Jo was the Marketing Coordinator at the La Plata County Humane Society. Lisa was more than happy to have Jonell’s expertise on hand since she knew Jo had years of experience with fundraisers just like the one she was about to host.

Creating signs, organizing the room layout, handling auction items, and managing decorations were just some of the tasks that Jonell assisted with. Since some of the volunteers came down with the stomach bug that’s been floating around, they were a little short-handed for the night of the event. Of course, Jonell couldn’t say no to helping out some more! After spending the whole day setting up she came back that night to help with welcoming guests and cashiering at the front. She was able to see a lot of familiar faces and enjoyed the food that was provided by Zia’s and drinks donated by Star Liquors and Ska Brewing. Most importantly, she was able to cuddle and love on some puppies!

 

A Successful Event to Make Some Tails Wag

We are happy to announce that Lisa Parker’s Puppies was able to raise over $15,000 thanks to all of the generous supporters in our incredible community. If you weren’t able to make it to the Paws for Celebration event, but you would still like to help out then you can go to www.lisaparkerspuppies.com and donate, sponsor, foster, or volunteer!

You can also support Lisa Parker’s Puppies this month by purchasing Tito’s Hadmade Vodka! For every bottle of Tito’s bought in partnering stores in Durango they will donate $1 to Lisa Parker’s Puppies!

Thank you Lisa Parker’s Puppies for everything you do to help the homeless puppies and dogs in the Four Corners area!

 

Let the Think specialists help you and your company! Please contact our sales team at sales@thinknettech.com if you would like our recommendations or a quote.

10 Things You Should Know About Windows 10 Creators Update

April 19th, 2017 Posted by Best Practices, Data, Desktop, Devices, Internet, Newsletters, Windows 10 0 thoughts on “10 Things You Should Know About Windows 10 Creators Update”

Microsoft officially released its significant update to Windows 10 on April 11th. The company is calling it the “Creators Update”. In comparison to the monthly updates that usually only contain minor changes and security fixes, the latest update has new features that are large and small.

BUT, before you go through with ANY update, be aware of the risks that you might be taking by completing the install. You may have insufficient hardware, driver problems, and application incompatibilities to name a few.

Please consult your IT support provider to hear if Windows 10 Creators Update is right for you. We always recommend time for any major update for bugs to be worked out. You don’t want to be the guinea pig. If there is no pressing need for the update or you do not require any of the new features or improvements to perform your job, hold off.

But, if you are interested, here are the top things to know about the Windows 10 Creators Update.

1. Phased Approach

The Creators update was released on April 11th, so why hasn’t your computer updated yet? Well, Microsoft is taking what it calls a “phased approach”. Which means that not everyone will get the update right away. Newer devices will receive the update first, then updates to other devices based on feedback Microsoft receives from the first group. This process will be repeated over the next several months according to Microsoft’s Director of Windows Servicing and Delivery, John Cable.

But, you can manually update via the Software Download Site if you can’t wait. The suggested way is to take advantage of the Update Assistant. In order to do so, go to the Software Download Site and click the “Update Now” button. While it’s manually updating, the privacy settings will appear as part of the first experience with the Creators update.

 

2. Mini View

The Mini View feature creates a compact overlay on your computer. Which means certain apps can go into picture mode in the corner of your screen. You can stream videos from YouTube, make a video call, keep a timer on top or place many other apps in the corner while you multitask with the rest of your screen. The minimalist mode can potentially be very useful for the multitaskers out there.

 

 

3. Night Light

If you’re wondering why you can’t sleep at night it might be because of the blue light coming from your screen. There’s already software out there such as F.lux that filters out this blue light. The Creators update will add a new function called the “Night Light” which will filter blue light, so you can sleep with ease. To activate Night Light, open the Settings app and then go to System > Display.

 

4. Microsoft Edge

Once the Creators update goes into effect for you, you’ll notice that the Edge browser is faster with better functionality. Utilizing Google’s own benchmark tool, the updated Edge browser scored faster than Chrome for loading and rendering sites. It also blocks more malware and phishing sites than Chrome with the SmartScreen Filter (read the report from NSS Labs). You’ll be able to manage your tabs easily in the Edge with the ability to organize and preview tabs without leaving your current page. You can set aside open tabs with one click and reopen them with the “tabs you’ve set aside” section. The Edge becomes an e-reader and it has the basic functions to adjust the font and text size on e-books, set bookmarks, search for terms and other features you’d expect from an e-reader.

 

5. Game Mode

If you’re one of the 150 million Americans that plays video games then this new feature should interest you. The Creators update includes “Game Mode” which allows Windows 10 to adjust its resource allocation logic to prioritize a game when it’s running. The update will also have a service called “Beam” that lets you take screen caps or videos of any game you are playing, load them up to your channel, and share them. Own an Xbox? Lucky for you because you can buy a game once, then play it on your Xbox or your computer. Now you can take your gaming on the road easily!

 

6. Improvements to Defender

A central dashboard for monitoring the security of your machine will be added to your computer called the Windows Defender Security Center. Your new dashboard will allow you to view your antivirus protection as well as your network and firewall protections. It also includes health & performance, application and browser controls, and family options. You can read more about it here:
Introducing Windows Defender Security Center.

 

7. 3D Paint

Here’s an upgrade everyone can get excited about: the new app, Paint 3D! You don’t need artistic creativity to use Paint 3D according to PCWorld’s Mark Hachman. People that don’t have any creative skills can actually create stunning 3D scenes. When you’re done making your work-of-art you can send it off to a 3D printer!

 

8. Dynamic Lock

Are you the type of person to hit Win + L to lock your computer every time you walk away? Well, here’s a handy new option for you, the Dynamic Lock. Pair your phone with your Windows 10 PC via Bluetooth and when you walk away with your phone for more than 30 seconds, your computer will lock and shut off the display. Users can setup the Dynamic Lock option within Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options.

 

9. Windows Ink

According to Microsoft, the Creators update will allow users to directly write on Word documents, web pages in Edge, maps, photos and videos.  The update will also add an ink toolbar with a tilt pencil effect and a protractor tool.

 

10. Windows Themes are Back

The Creators update will include new system colors and themes which will make your Windows 10 PC even more personal. You can head over to the Windows Store to choose from a large variety of pre-made themes.

There are many other features on the Windows 10 Creators update. Such as mixed/augmented reality, 4k monitor support, new sharing options, scheduled update installs, “My People” feature and much more!

We hope you found these tech tips handy! Remember, it’s not just about technology solutions. It’s about partnering with our clients to drive business success.

Let the Think specialists help you and your company! Please contact our sales team at sales@thinknettech.com if you would like our recommendations or a quote.

Can You Achieve More by Doing Less?

April 5th, 2017 Posted by Best Practices, Community, Newsletters, Staff 0 thoughts on “Can You Achieve More by Doing Less?”

The eternal quest to achieve perfect work-life balance. We all know it. We all want it. None of us ever seem to get it. But maybe, just maybe, that’s not the point.

 

What if merely trying is?

We all have a tendency to throw ourselves into our work – time out to do the things we love slides further and further down the list as the real world demands that you ‘live your business’.

On the other hand, we all know that a more rested mind is a more productive mind – psychological studies have proven it time and again. And it stands to reason that more well-rounded individuals with a good social network are more resilient to the obstacles life throws our way.

The rub lies in how to (realistically) fit it into the busy schedule that is modern life.

However, taking a step back to give yourself some ‘me time’ can do a world of good. Here are a few tips and suggestions on how to charge those batteries.

 

Let it go

The first step to reclaiming your life – and maybe even growing your business – is to let others help. We’re all guilty of ‘de-delegating’, asking a team member to complete a task and then doing it ourselves ‘because it’s easier’, but trusting your team to look after things while you take time to focus on yourself is the only way to successfully build your business. Ask yourself if you really need to be doing repetitive tasks and try focusing your workload down to the essentials. If you don’t have a team, you might be surprised how many apps and cloud software solutions can help you move tedious admin work off your desk.

 

Face to face

Social media is a blessing and bane. It both widens and shrinks our world. Remember to take time each week to reconnect with those nearest and dearest in person, perhaps through hobbies, sport or just over a coffee. And make sure all phones are out of the way (first one to pick theirs up also picks up the tab!).

 

 

Just do it

An iconic line with a great deal of truth to it. However daunting the idea of a new exercise regime may be, moving your body can be one of the best ways to turn the mind off. It boosts moods, trims waists and helps you sleep better. Just 15 minutes a day can do wonders!

 

 

Silence the mind

Speaking of wonders – ever tried meditation? Think of it like defragging the hard drive of your brain. Meditation doesn’t mean chanting monotonously in some far-flung monastery somewhere; just five minutes (mid-commute even) of closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing will do. Let all other thoughts slip away and feel your breath. You’ll be amazed how focused you are after.

The modern world is packed with things that demand our time and energy, and it can be all too easy to get swept away. The next time you’re feeling daunted while planning your day, try to remember, time you enjoy wasting is never wasted time.

Let the Think specialists help you and your company! Please contact our sales team at sales@thinknettech.com if you would like our recommendations or a quote.

Tech Tips for the Business Professional – Keyboard Shortcuts

March 29th, 2017 Posted by Best Practices, Data, Desktop, Devices, Internet, Newsletters 0 thoughts on “Tech Tips for the Business Professional – Keyboard Shortcuts”

Time is money for most business professionals and you want to utilize every second that you have. It may not seem like a big time saver, but when you add up all the times you have to move your hand away the keyboard so you can “select”, “copy”, “paste” or any other similar functions, it starts to add up quick.

Memorize Keyboard Shortcuts

Memorizing shortcuts can be intimidating at first, but remember you don’t need to know every shortcut. You only need to learn and use the ones that are most important to you. Check out the shortcuts below to greatly improve your productivity.

Copy, Paste, and Other General Shortcuts

Press this key To do this
Ctrl + X Cut the selected item
Ctrl + C (or Ctrl + Insert) Copy the selected item
Ctrl + V (or Shift + Insert) Paste the selected item
Ctrl + Z Undo an action
Alt + Tab Switch between open apps
Alt + F4 Close the active item, or exit the active app
Ctrl + F Search for a word within a web page
F2 Rename the selected item
F3 Search for a file or folder in File Explorer
F4 Display the address bar list in File Explorer
F5 Refresh the active window
F6 Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop
F10 Activate the Menu bar in the active app
Alt + F8 Show your password on the sign-in screen
Alt + Esc Cycle through items in the order in which they were opened
Ctrl + Y Redo an action
Ctrl + A Select all items in a document or window
Ctrl + D (or Delete) Delete the selected item and move it to the Recycle Bin
Ctrl + R (or F5) Refresh the active window
Ctrl + Shift + Esc Open Task Manager

The Shortcuts Don’t End There

There’s plenty more shortcuts then what we showed you above. If you want to check them out then you should follow these links:

Keyboard Shortcuts in Windows

Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

22 Best Shortcuts You’re Not Using

We hope you found these tech tips handy! Remember, it’s not just about technology solutions. It’s about partnering with our clients to drive business success.

Let the Think specialists help you and your company! Please contact our sales team at sales@thinknettech.com if you would like our recommendations or a quote.

Create a Workstation with Purpose

March 17th, 2017 Posted by Best Practices, Data, Desktop, Newsletters, Staff, workstation 1 thought on “Create a Workstation with Purpose”

Eight hours a day, five days a week – we all know what it’s like to feel tied to our desk. Considering we often spend more time at work than we do with our own family, how we feel at our desk has a huge influence on our day.

The build and set up of a workstation can make a real difference – better workflows, better ergonomics and better tool sets can prevent physical and emotional issues. It’s surprising how a few small changes can have a dramatic effect on employee productivity, mental health, and physical well-being.

Every workplace (and workstation) is different, but there are a few common denominators that should be considered across the board.

Me, Myself, and My Workstation

Let’s pause for a moment and focus on you. Most likely you’re at your desk right now. Think about your body. Any aches? Perhaps in the neck, shoulders, or wrists? Melt away discomfort with these easy ergonomic tricks:

  • Imagine how you sit in a car – knees level with hips, shoulders upright and your backside sticking out slightly. This is close to your body’s natural pose, forming your lumbar spine into slight ‘S’.
  • Reach out and touch your screen with your fingertips – any closer or further away and you run the risk of eyestrain.
  • The top of your desk should be roughly level with your elbows so that you’re not hunching to reach up or down to the keyboard and mouse.
  • Keep the phone within arm’s reach. If you spend a lot of time on the phone, consider investing in a headset to save crunching your neck.
  • Keep the monitor at eye level so you’re not craning your neck downwards. (Hint – close your eyes, when you open them they should fall on the address bar in your browser.)

Tension Points

While these ergonomic principles will go a long way towards easing the work day, there are ways to adapt office-wide furniture situations to cater for individual needs – all with the benefit of boosting productivity.

For example, recent studies have shown that having multiple monitors can dramatically boost productivity by streamlining workflow and processes – showing that multi-screen arrays are no longer the domain of programmers and filmmakers. An ergonomically sound multi-screen setup can help any employee work across multiple programs, track email and documents, monitor data flows, and transcribe or check information. With the cost of flat-screen monitors continually dropping, this can be a surprisingly low-cost way to increase productivity.

Another thing to consider when it comes to monitors is eye strain. In the same way that Apple’s iOS now automatically shifts to ‘night mode’ after a certain time of night, many computer monitors have settings that reduce blue light emissions. Look for monitors with a range of settings for different situations, so employees can set the brightness and light type for their own comfort. One thing to note here is the tendency of workers to sit down at a desk and accept their computer’s settings as they are. Make sure everyone is aware of the options available, and encourage them to make changes to settings, positioning and format to suit their needs.

Foot rests, ergonomic mouse devices, screen stands and standing desks, while perhaps once considered a luxury, are fast becoming the norm. These ease pressure on the back, neck, wrist, and anything that can enable staff to keep focus for longer and perform more effectively pays for itself in the long run.

A lot of people are increasingly focused on wellness, and sitting has been widely denigrated as ‘the new smoking’: bad for your back, bad for your heart, and bad for your life expectancy. Offering staff members the option of a standing desk will not only help them focus and keep them well, they will appreciate the gesture of concern for their wellbeing.

To summarize, a carefully designed workstation pays for itself many times over in productivity and efficiency, so ensure you put the time in during the planning stage to get the most from your investment.

Let the Think specialists help you and your company! Please contact our sales team at sales@thinknettech.com if you would like our recommendations or a quote.

The Surprising Secret of Happy Workers

February 22nd, 2017 Posted by Best Practices, Data, Desktop, Devices, Internet, Newsletters 0 thoughts on “The Surprising Secret of Happy Workers”

When the gurus talk about their recipes for happy workers, they seldom mention technology. Information technology is normally only discussed in terms of productivity. But it turns out employers looking for a happy (and productive) workforce ignore technology at their cost.

“Lifestyle IT” Reaches the Office

Technology is marketed as aspirational. Phones are not sold to consumers as something they can use to make calls. New computers are not marketed in terms of being able to open Microsoft Word faster than their predecessors. Consumers are persuaded to buy technology because it will enhance their lifestyle.

That idea of technology offering something more than plain functionality infiltrated the office a few years ago. Just over 40 percent of employees say having the latest and greatest technology is “very important” to them.

Use It or Lose Them

One out of four employees say the quality of the technology in the workplace would influence their decision to stay with one employer or move to another. This is even truer at the management level. Management expects the best technology. If they do not get it, they are more likely to leave.

What To Do?

IT decision makers had plenty to juggle before being told their decisions affect employee happiness and retention. There are some quick fixes.

First, Hear Them

Employees report being disgruntled when not included in IT decisions. Less than half of employees feel decision makers take their views into account when selecting technology.

A simple first step to improve employee engagement is to talk to them about the technology they need to do their jobs. You don’t know until you try whether consulting employees will cost you more. They might want something different, not something more expensive. Even if it cannot be done, you have provided a forum to explain why.

Second, Enable Them

More than half of employees are using their own devices for work or expect to do so in the future. Letting them do so could relieve some of the pressure on you. It is one reason 54 percent of companies globally are allowing BYOD.

The key is to allow it in a structured way. If you forbid it, there is a chance employees will do it anyway. That opens holes in security. Even of companies that formally allow BYOD, only 27 percent are securing the personal devices. Policies, permissions, and structure are important.

The idea of engaging employees in dialogue about a subject as involved as business technology might not seem appealing. The financial rewards, however, can be attractive. In some organizations, even the slightest uptick in retention rates can be significant.

The same is true when it comes to employee happiness and productivity. And with consumers being better educated about technology than ever, you might just learn something too.

Let the Think specialists help you and your company! Please contact our sales team at sales@thinknettech.com if you would like our recommendations or a quote.

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