Blog

January 28th, 2015

GoogleApps_Jan27_BWe all use apps on our smartphones to simplify daily tasks and generally make our lives easier. As a business owner too, you might already be using the Google apps suite - including Drive, Gmail, Calendar and others - to more efficiently manage files, contacts and processes. But there are plenty more apps with their roots in the Google factory that can help you to be more productive in and outside of work. These five are among those for which you might want to hotfoot it to the App Store or Google Play.

Google Wallet

For a long time PayPal has been the default digital payment system - the one that instantly comes to mind when you think of paying for goods or services online. Now that has begun to change, with the launch of Google Wallet and more recently Apple Pay, which are designed to make it easy for consumers to make payments with just a couple of taps on both mobile devices and more conventional platforms. In the latest change to this developing sector, Google Wallet has teamed up with payment processor WePay, which provides the technology behind invoicing programs, e-commerce platforms and charitable donation and crowdfunding sites. The move expands the reach of Google Wallet - and Apple is said to be not far behind, with a similar deal - and makes now a good time to equip yourself with one or both apps. Expect mobile platforms like these to play an increasingly visible role in both online transactions and physical, face-to-face purchases in retail outlets and elsewhere.

Google Gesture Search

Need to quickly track down contacts, messages, applications and other data and files on your phone? Google Gesture Search may only be available for Android devices at the moment, but it can speed up the process of searching for that elusive file or folder. The app allows you to use your finger to draw letters, numbers or symbols on your phone’s screen to identify the item you are searching for. The app is also intelligent in that the more you use it, the more it learns from your search history and makes better, more accurate guesses at what you’re hunting for. Clunky text searches that either yield hundreds of irrelevant results, or none at all, are a thing of the past.

Google Waze

Waze is designed to help you avoid traffic jams and smooth the pain of your travels, while it also allowing you to out for pesky speed cameras. However, it isn’t proving as popular with law enforcement. Perhaps understandably in the wake of recent shootings, authorities fear the police finding feature of the app - primarily intended to give a heads-up on speed traps - could make it all too easy for those so inclined to locate and attack police. All the same, because the app is based on crowdsourced data about congestion and cameras as submitted by users, it isn’t a totally comprehensive map and doesn’t contain anything that couldn’t already be spread by word of mouth. But it’s probably enough to make your next journey that little bit easier.

Google Translate

Okay, so you already know about this popular translation app, which can help you switch text between around eighty languages. You might even be aware that the app already offers support for voice-to-text translation, whereby you can speak or play a recording of a foreign language into your microphone and have Google instantly translate it into the language of your choice. But at the moment, you have to know which language the original recording is in, in order to select it from within the app - and that is what is about to change. Though there is currently no definite timeframe for release, it is reported that Google is expecting to roll out new features to enable the app to automatically detect a number of common languages and translate without the need for any further human input.

Google Authenticator

It’s not only your laptop that should be protected with a secure password - with the number of apps and volume of data likely held in the cloud via your Google account, an intruder gaining access could leave you and your organization at serious risk of a data leak or other security breach. More secure than a regular password alone, Google Authenticator makes it easy for you to put into place two-step verification - which security experts recommend should be standard practice. Once you have this app fighting your corner, logging in to your Google account involves entering your regular password alongside a random code generated by the app - making it far harder for outsiders to break their way in. And because the code is actually generated on the device itself rather than sent from a Google server, it doesn’t even matter if your phone is offline or lacking mobile connection at the time.
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January 27th, 2015

iPhone_Jan27_B
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Topic iPhone
January 23rd, 2015

Office365_Jan21_BThe cloud is hovering over many businesses, especially those who want to benefit from enhanced collaboration that Office 365 promises. Whilst data is protected in the cloud, issues can still arise with risks at the user end. The latest good news is that Spanning is looking to look after Office 365 data in 2015 and provide an extra layer of protection to this cloud platform.
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Topic Office 365
January 22nd, 2015

socialmedia_Jan20_BIn today’s digital world, social media has become a vital tool that effectively helps accelerate business development and the relationship-building process between different organizations. And with solid communication being at the core of business development, let’s take a look at how social media can help drive partnering processes for the better.
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Topic Social Media
January 21st, 2015

Facebook_Jan20_BA close friend just messaged you on Facebook. You log on to view it, and suddenly you're overwhelmed with high school friends (who you haven’t seen in years) boasting about their new diet and cryptic updates from your unemployed cousin. Next thing you know, you’re responding to game requests from your daughter’s playmate. And suddenly a half hour has passed...yet your message from your actual friend still awaits. If all this sound mentally exhausting, here are five tips to take control of your Facebook News Feed for good.

1. Become good friends with the "Unfollow" button

If you haven't heard, there's this amazing little tab that instantly allows a person to disappear from your News Feed. It's called the "Unfollow" tab, and you'll soon become best buddies with it.
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Topic Facebook
January 20th, 2015

AppleMacOS_Jan16_BMacs are full of great tools and shortcuts to help drive productivity and increase the speed at which you work. And if you know about the built-in tricks available to make your life easier, computers can help in speeding you along and allow you to achieve your goals more quickly. A new year presents a new chance to pick up skills like this, or to brush up on those you already know but have fallen out of the habit of using. These three Mac tips will have you working at lightning speed!

Make searching easier

Need to hunt down a file? You can make the process easier by not searching for just one word, or even a series of words in sequence, but by instead searching for a logical combination of terms as a Boolean expression. Boolean expressions combine search terms with conditions like ‘and’, ‘or’ and ‘not’ to specify whether you want results that contain all, or only some, of your search terms. These expressions are supported by native Mac apps including Spotlight, Mail and Calendar, and by plenty of third-party apps too.
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Topic Apple Mac OS
January 14th, 2015

GoogleApps_Jan12_BDoes your approach to email need a thorough detox? If email feels like a black hole into which too much of your time disappears, it could be time to re-think your approach. With these productivity hacks for Gmail, you can turn things around and put email to work for you again - freeing up valuable time to concentrate on running your business.

Customize your email address and harness filters

Did you know that, if you use Gmail, you can customize your existing email address? Whether you have a regular @gmail.com or @company.com address, you can adjust your username depending on who you are giving it to and what you are likely to receive. For example, if your basic address is theboss@company.com, you could give theboss+friends@company.com to friends and use theboss+blog@company.com to invite blog comments.
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January 14th, 2015

Security_Jan12_BAny business can become the victim of security breaches on a mass scale, as shown by the debacle which recently eclipsed Sony and forced it to temporarily cancel the release of blockbuster movie The Interview. Beneath the dramatic headlines are lessons for small business owners everywhere in how simple errors in IT security management can have grave consequences. These tips will help prevent your firm being the next to suffer Sony’s fate.

Don’t let basic security habits slip

Our modern-day instinct tells us that the answer to potential security breaches is to install new layers of Antivirus software, firewalls and further encryption systems. While these are all worthy additions to your company’s armor of security shields, they will do little to help if good old-fashioned protective habits are allowed to slide.
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Topic Security
January 13th, 2015

office365_jan12_BThe way that we are sharing important and often sensitive information is changing, with a growing focus on enhanced collaborative tools. Office 365 users are increasingly sharing data using SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, Windows File Share and also Office apps. Data loss prevention is now set to expand to give greater control over this type of collaborative data in real-time.

Beyond email security

There has long been an awareness of security when it comes to email content and Office 365 incorporated data loss prevention in Exchange and Outlook, as well as Outlook Web App. It is understandable that when you write an email you don't want the information within it to be seen by anyone else, and whilst Google maintains its email scanning policies, data loss prevention tools can help stop hackers from getting a glimpse on your private data. This is all good and well but sharing critical data via email is not the only way and Microsoft's latest data loss prevention strategy recognizes these changes.

Collaboration needs to be safe

Microsoft has enhanced collaboration capabilities with Office 365 but along with these new ways of sharing data, there needs to be solid security measures in place too. Documents in Word and spreadsheets in Excel are created using applications and then shared via various collaboration tools. To ensure this data is safe access restrictions and permissions need to be activated.

Data loss prevention in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business

Recently eDiscovery has allowed users of SharePoint and OneDrive for Business to identify sensitive information within collaborative content. This security is set to expand to policies on restricting and blocking access, user education and to include email notifications.

Data loss prevention in Windows File Share

Windows File Server already have file classification infrastructure in place, whereby the server scans files to identify sensitive data. This data is then tagged and classified according to the definitions users set, with an ability to initiate action on this identified or classified files. The latest security, or data loss prevention, measures involve this content classification being extended to Office files in Exchange, SharePoint and OneDrive for Business. In time, this will continue to grow to include centrally managed policies and allow for greater user education within companies.

Data loss prevention in Office applications

This protection is being expanded to Microsoft applications so that when content is created users will be able to set up policies with regard to sharing permissions at the same time. Tips connected to the policies that have been established will then be offered as well. Initially, Excel will benefit from this expansion, with Word and PowerPoint being included later in the year.

The importance of data loss prevention

With so many different ways to create and share content, it is essential that business leaders can take advantage of a stable strategy for preventing data loss. If sensitive and crucial information is allowed to leak out this could be potentially incredibly damaging to a business and put productivity and profitability in jeopardy. With greater collaborative tools comes greater risk and the latest plans for Office 365 data loss prevention are a welcome layer of security to protect against data dangers.
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Topic Office 365
January 13th, 2015

iPad_Jan12_BSince the arrival of the iPad back in 2010, businesses have been able to stay connected and easily work on-the-go like never before. Still, many people are constantly looking to increase their iPad’s versatility through different applications available in the App Store. And now, thanks to Duet Display, you can effortlessly turn your iPad into your second Mac screen!
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Topic iPad