11/22/2013

The 9 (Free) Tools You Need to Grow and Manage Your Company’s Web Presence

This post is for small businesses who...
photo credit: knitting iris via photopin cc
  • Have a website and blog.
  • Have a working knowledge of and presence on social media.
  • Feel like they don’t have enough time or resources to grow and manage their web presence.
  • Think there’s a more efficient way to go about growing and managing their web presence.
Once you setup the framework for your web presence – website, blog, social media – and understand how it all works and works together, then it’s time to save yourself. Save time, save money, work smarter not harder. Your key to that is free tools. And when I say free, I mean 100% free – no 30 day free trials, no one asking for your credit card “just in case.” As the marketing/social media/website manager for Baroan Technologies, as well as MSP Builder, these are my favorite tools that I have accumulated over the past 2 years (I even discovered one of these last week!). I use almost all of them every day, and I hope you find at least one that you can incorporate into your daily routine.

11/11/2013

Webinar: Want to Make Disaster Recovery Easy for Clients? Ask Them the Right Questions

President Guy Baroan was recently a guest on StorageCraft's webinar, Want to Make Disaster Recovery Easy for Clients? Ask Them the Right Questions. Guy discussed his experiences putting together disaster recovery plans for our clients with StorageCraft Technical Marketing Manager Steven Snyder.



11/01/2013

CryptoLocker: What It Is & How to Prevent It

The new malware on the block is Cryptolocker, which belongs to a particular strain of malware referred to as “ransomware.” Ransomware gets its name from the ransom it demands while holding your computer hostage. Cryptolocker asks for $300 in exchange for decrypting your files that it has locked down.

This post from Malwarebytes has all the details: http://blog.malwarebytes.org/intelligence/2013/10/cryptolocker-ransomware-what-you-need-to-know/



How does Cryptolocker get on my computer?
This ransomware is spread through email attachments. Read our previous post on malware for tips on avoiding harmful email attachments.

Is there anything that can protect my computer from Cryptolocker?
The only proven preventative tool is Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Pro. If you have this running and Cryptolocker tries to attack your computer, it will be blocked. However, if you do not have Malwarebytes running and Cryptolocker gets on your computer, there is nothing that the software can retroactively do to remove it.

malwarebytes white logo Baroan Technologies offers Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Pro and Kaspersky Antivirus as options you can include in your maintenance plan. Contact us for further information.

What happens if Cryptolocker succeeds in holding my computer ransom?
You are at risk of losing your computer’s files beyond recovery. If you have a backup that is NOT stored on your computer, then your files can be restored from that. Backups stored locally are at risk of infection.

10/18/2013

Email's Secret Life

“Why does my email take so long?”

“Where is my email and why can’t you find it?”

These are questions that we often hear from our clients, and we do not always have a simple answer. It is easy to take email, and technology in general, for granted these days. We heavily rely on it not only for business, but more than ever in our daily lives. Email may not seem that complex on the surface – first you type a message, then you hit send and the recipient gets the message instantly in their inbox – but there is much more to your email’s journey than meets the eye....

yarn

8/19/2013

Making Disaster Recovery Easy eBook


We are proud to share the latest StorageCraft Recover-Ability Guide, Making Disaster Recovery Easy, which was co-written by President Guy Baroan. Guy shares advice from his long experience as a managed service provider who provides disaster recovery for a diverse client base. The eBook looks at how asking questions can help you create solid documentation and easy-to-use disaster plans.

Download your copy today!

Making Disaster Recovery Easy (5.0 MiB)

5/28/2013

Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 Support Ends 2014

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will be ending support for Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003. Microsoft explains why, what, and how: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/endofsupport.aspx. See this PC Mag article for further reading.

What Does This Mean To Me?

It means you should take action. After April 8, 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.

Running Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 in your environment after their end of support date may expose your company to potential risks, such as:
  • Security & Compliance Risks: Unsupported and unpatched environments are vulnerable to security risks. It's a fact that Windows XP users are 6 times more likely to be hacked, and it is speculated that the Windows XP infection rate may jump 66% after April 8. This may result in an officially recognized control failure by an internal or external audit body, leading to suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organization’s inability to maintain its systems and customer information.
  • Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) & Hardware Manufacturers support: A recent industry report from Gartner Research suggests "many independent software vendors (ISVs) are unlikely to support new versions of applications on Windows XP in 2011; in 2012, it will become common." And it may stifle access to hardware innovation: Gartner Research further notes that in 2012, most PC hardware manufacturers will stop supporting Windows XP on the majority of their new PC models. 
Get current with Windows and Office. This has benefits well beyond keeping you supported. It offers more flexibility to empower employees to be more productive, while increasing operational efficiency through improved PC security and management. It also enables your organization to take advantage of the latest technology trends, such as virtualization and the cloud.

What Options Do I Have?

  • Baroan Technologies has arranged a special promotion with Lenovo to assist with the upgrade and migration process of our clients. Lenovo has made possible a Baroan Technologies ONLY exclusive deal. We identified several desktop and laptop models that Lenovo is offering special pricing on to OUR client base ONLY!

  • In addition, Baroan Technologies has created a special flat fee price for the installation and setup of the new workstations in your office.

  • Microsoft has a service called Office 365. Office 365 has the great option of installing Office Professional Plus for a small monthly fee of $12 per user per month. This will allow you to install Office Professional Plus locally on the workstation as well as on up to four additional devices for each user that signs up. This includes their home computers. There will be computer based training for the new Office Professional Plus software as well as support included with this monthly fee. What’s best about this option is that once you are on this service, you will NEVER have to worry about having an outdated version as you will be entitled to the newest available Office application when it comes out.

What Will It Cost Me?

Contact us to find out. Here's what you get in the package we've put together:

Desktop (M72e): Small form factor case, i5 Intel Processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, DVD Read/Write Drive, Dual screen capable video card and Windows 7 Professional 64Bit, with a Windows 8 Professional license included for when you are ready to use Windows 8. This system will also come with 3 years of onsite warranty.



Laptop (T430): i5 Intel Processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, 14” HD LED Screen, DVD Read/Write Drive, Camera built in, Blue Tooth and Finger Print Reader., 6 Cell Battery, Windows 7 Professional 64Bit, with a Windows 8 Professional license included for when you are ready to use Windows 8. This system will also come with 3 years of depot warranty.



Office 365: Office Professional Plus: The cost is per month per user for a 12 month agreement or a month to month option.

Installation/Migration: Baroan Technologies will install and configure the workstation on your network with basic network configurations, all Windows Updates that are available, bring over the user profile, join the workstation to the domain and install Office Professional Plus on it. All this for a flat fee.

Call us at 201-796-0404 to find out the total cost to refresh your technology.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Why Lenovo?
A: In the last 12 months, Lenovo has been moving up through the market and establishing itself as the leader in the PC market. They have been moving up due to their superior build quality and sheer determination to make the most resilient products in the market. It is for this reason that Baroan Technologies decided to work with Lenovo to ensure that the system we implement is a high quality product. Some of the other manufacturers have lost their reliability and have had poor performance with several models.

Q: Why are you recommending Office 365 – Professional Plus and NOT just purchasing the Office software with the new workstation?
A: When you buy a version of the Office software with a new computer, you will ONLY be able to use it with that new workstation and you will NOT be able to install it on any other devices. After a few years, you will need to upgrade again to a new version of Office. When this happens, some companies do not do the upgrade due to the price constraint that they run into when they have to consider upgrading many versions at once for continuity. Because of this, it is a much better option to purchase the Office suite for a small monthly fee and be able to install it on other devices that the one user uses. In addition, by subscribing to this plan, you will NEVER be behind with an Office version again because you will be entitled to the latest version as they come out.

Q: Why is the installation only going to include the network and Office application as well as profiles? Will this mean that my normal applications will not be installed?
A: In the last 15 years of service, we have found that every client is unique with their needs. Some clients have no additional applications other than Microsoft Office while others have many applications that are specific to their needs. In order for Baroan Technologies to provide a low flat fee cost for installation, we will ONLY be able to install the basic setups that most of the computers will need. For those clients that only use Microsoft Office applications, no further work will need to be done.
For those clients that have a need for additional applications to get installed, we will provide you with a list of currently installed applications so you can tell us which ones you will need to have installed. For those, we will need to have the software and licenses ready for us to install and that time to install these will be billed separately. This is the only way we saw that would best meet the needs of our client’s diverse setup requirements and still allow us the capability to provide you with a low cost installation fee.

It's sooner than you think. Check out Microsoft's countdown.

4/18/2013

Latest Malware and Preventative Steps

We have noticed a recent increase in malware-related calls from our clients. It’s easy to click on a link or open an email that can infect your computer since malware creators are continually inventing new and convincing ways to get your attention. The following instances of malware are the ones we’ve seen most frequently as of late:

  • USPS scam email – This one has been around for a few years and keeps resurfacing with different subjects. It may say something about a tracking number, notification, or delivery failure then tell you to click on a link. Do not click on the link!
  • UPS scam email – This is another one that has been around. The subject may say your package is available for pickup or mention a delivery failure.
  • LogMeIn scam email – We actually received this one ourselves (see screenshot below). Again, it asks you to click on a link. Don’t do it! It will make your computer vulnerable to infection.


  • FBI Moneypak Ransomware – Several of our clients have encountered this recently after clicking on internet ads/popups. This “ransomware” will lock up your screen with an FBI logo and ask for money. (This Forbes article has further info: http://onforb.es/113tVG0)

To avoid malware, take these steps BEFORE you click:
  • Think. Have you ever received an email like this before? Do you know the sender? In the case of the USPS scam, have you actually shipped anything recently?
  • Hover over the link. If you hover over the link, you can see the address it will take you to. For an example, see the screenshot of the LogMeIn email below. When you hover over the link that claims to be new terms and conditions, you can see it will definitely not be taking you to the LogMeIn site. Instead, it will take you to a zip file that will then infect your computer.
  • And if you’re still not sure…Google! If you’re still having a hard time discerning if an email or site is harmful, a quick Google search will usually tell you the answer. For example, if you Google “USPS email,” on the first page of search results you will see several articles warning against fake USPS emails.

You may be reading this and thinking, “I don’t have time for all this!” These quick checks will soon become second nature to you when encountering suspicious content and it will be become easier to separate the scams from the rest. Just think of how much time you will lose if your computer does become infected. It is worth it to take these precautions.

malwarebytes white logoOur Baroan Managed Services can include Kaspersky Antivirus and Malwarebytes Antimalware. Contact us for further information.


4/03/2013

Remove duplicates in Outlook

Spending too much time deleting duplicate emails, contacts, or calendar items? Clean up your Outlook with this free tool: ODIR by Vaita.

"Free, Fast and easy tool for removing duplicate items from Outlook folders: With ODIR it's a snap to clean your Outlook folders by removing all duplicates. ODIR removes duplicates from Contacts; Calendar; Tasks; Notes and Email folders."

3/19/2013

Turn Off Address Bar Search in Internet Explorer

Anybody else have an issue with Internet Explorer 9 when you type in something short like "sharepoint" in the address bar, and it searches for that term instead of taking you to your Sharepoint server? This new and wonderful “FEATURE” of Microsoft’s can be disabled as per this Microsoft Knowledge Base article.

There are 3 different methods you can use to disable the address bar search in IE 9:

Method 1: Using Tools menu in Internet Explorer

  1. Click Internet Options
  2. Click the Advanced tab 
  3. Check the option Go to an intranet site for a single word entry in the Address bar.

Method 2: Using Group Policy

Local or Domain Administrators can configure this setting by using Group Policy.
  1. Click Start > Run 
  2. Type gpedit.msc, and then click OK.
  3. Expand User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer.
  4. Then expand Internet Settings > Advanced Settings > Browsing 
  5. Set Go to an intranet site for a single word entry in the Address bar according to your desired settings. 
You have to update policies or restart the computer to apply changes.

Method 3: Using registry key

Important: This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. We recommend using one of the above methods if possible.

3/05/2013

Outlook 2010 – “Contacting Server”


Problem

When receiving emails with embedded links to files on the internet, Outlook downloads the images for display. When replying to messages, if they have not been fully downloaded, Outlook hangs while it retrieves the file with a dialog “Contacting Server”

Resolution

To prevent this issue, the solution is to not download the images in Outlook automatically. This prevents this issue for occurring.

Process

1. Open Outlook

2. Click on “File” in the top left corner of the Outlook window















3. Click on “Options”

4. Click on “Trust Center”

5. Click on “Trust Center Settings…”



6. Click on “Automatic Download”

7. Check all of the boxes on the right except for “Warn me before downloading content when editing, forwarding, or replying to e-mail”


8. Click “OK”


9. Click “OK”


Results

Emails now offer an option to download images like this:




Emails show an icon for undownloaded images like this:



Replies to emails look like this with images replaced with blanks:


If you choose to download the pictures, you can still end up with the same issue where you are waiting on the images, but at that point you will know why this is happening.

2/27/2013

Migrating to Office 365: Important Things to Consider


We're proud to bring you another President Post from Guy Baroan on the StorageCraft Blog!



In "Migrating to Office 365: Important Things to Consider," Guy covers the main benefits of moving to Office 365: savings, availability, and a big one that gets overlooked - the fact that the necessary changes needed for the migration will raise the company's security and functionality to the proper level.

Baroan Technologies' many migrations have made us experts on the many things you’ll have to take into account if you’re considering making the move to Office 365, and Guy shares that knowledge in his post. Contact us about our Office 365 services.


See all of our posts on the StorageCraft Blog here.

2/14/2013

Can I do real work from my iPad? Part 2: Software

The Baroan Blog is excited to bring you a two part guest post from Casey Morgan of StorageCraft. If you are interested in guest posting, please contact us.

In Part 1 of "Can I do real work from my iPad?" we talked about what type of hardware can enhance your ability to use your iPad for business.

As I mentioned last time, a lot of office work consists of writing documents in Microsoft Word or creating Excel spreadsheets. There are a few different apps you can download for the iPad, both free and paid, that allow you to create these different files.

Let’s take a look, starting with the free stuff.

Free Options

Microsoft SkyDrive app for iPad

(available free in the app store)

You can view anything you’ve saved in SkyDrive but you can’t make edits, create anything new, or even print.

Pros:

    Microsoft SkyDrive
  • View anything saved to SkyDrive
  • Anything previously synced can be viewed offline

Cons:

  • No editing
  • Can’t create documents, spreadsheets, or presentations
  • Can’t print
  • Useless for anything but reading

What’s the point? Don’t waste your time with this app.

Microsoft SkyDrive Online


If you open a browser on your iPad and head to Skydrive.com, you can do a lot more with SkyDrive and the Office web apps.

Pros:

  • Open, edit, and save Word, Excel, and OneNote documents as well as PowerPoint presentations, using Microsoft Office web apps
  • Save documents in the cloud, accessible anywhere with Internet access
  • Remotely access documents on your other computers (as long as they’re turned on) 

Cons:

  • Can’t use offline
  • Can’t copy and paste without a Bluetooth keyboard
  • Slower than full Office programs

The online apps work pretty well on the iPad but things like auto-correct and spell check are much slower. You also can’t copy and paste without using keyboard shortcuts, which can be annoying if you need to move text around but don’t have a keyboard. Remotely accessing documents is way awesome, but you still can’t print anything.

Google Drive App for iPad

(free in app store)

 

Google’s file share service allows you to create and edit many different types of documents on and offline.

 Pros

  • Create and edit documents and spreadsheets (including Word and Excel formats)
  • Edit documents and spreadsheets offline
  • Create new documents and spreadsheets offline
  • Save documents in the cloud, accessible anywhere with Internet access
  • Copy and paste from anywhere without a keyboard

Google Drive Cons

  • Fewer tools than Word and Excel web apps
  • Can’t create presentations
  • Can’t print
  • Documents are saved in Google Docs format
  • Can’t download work in MS Office formats from the app but you can from the online version at drive.google.com

The Google Drive app lets you edit many types of documents; not just Word and Excel. You can copy and paste anything you wish, and it also works offline. The files you make are saved in Google Docs format but you have the option to download them as Word documents using the Google Drive web app when you get to a proper computer with an internet connection.


Paid Options

There are a couple of different paid and free office suites, but let’s focus on my favorite:

Quick Office HD for iPad

($19.99 in the app store)

Pros

  • Create, edit, and view presentations, spreadsheets, or documents—even offline
  • Save as Word, Excel, or Powerpoint files
  • Sync with Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and more, making files accessible anywhere.
  • Print from iPad

Cons

  • Costs twenty bucks
  • Doesn’t sync with SkyDrive

There are free or cheaper office suites, but the others don’t allow you to print and offer limited functionality. The main advantages to using Quick Office HD are the ability to create presentations and the fact that this is the only option we’ve looked at that allows you to print from your iPad. For me, it was worth the cost, but it might not be for you when so many free options are available.

What I recommend to get the job done

To me, the clear free option is Google Drive. You can create and edit documents and spreadsheets on and offline that can be saved to your Google Drive and later be changed into MS Office and other formats so you can work on them from anywhere and in any format you want.

If you need to print a document from your iPad, or want to make a presentation, you’ll have to get Quick Office HD. From there you can print things saved to Google Drive or whatever compatible service you use. But for twenty bucks it’s probably better to wait until you can use a real computer.


What I learned

There’s nothing that works perfectly when it comes to doing real work on your iPad. At this point, we’re trying to recreate the experience of a laptop on a smaller, touch-screen enabled device, but we’re in a transitional phase and the technology just isn’t there yet (not for a reasonable price, at least). Your best option for now is to buy a laptop with a touchscreen or a convertible computer, or wait until tablets are capable of operating as well as an actual laptop or desktop.

If tablets were enough like laptops, people wouldn’t buy both and that means fewer dollars in the pockets of hardware manufacturers (not that we feel bad for them). Tablets were not built with doing real work in mind so we can’t really expect them to do everything we demand, yet.

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Casey Morgan is the Marketing Content Specialist at StorageCraft Technology Corporation. Avid blogger and technology enthusiast, Casey holds an English degree from the University of Utah. As an ardent reader, he will only set down a book for two things: going snowboarding or playing with puppies.

2/12/2013

Can I do real work from my iPad? Part 1: Hardware

The Baroan Blog is excited to bring you a two part guest post from Casey Morgan of StorageCraft. If you are interested in guest posting, please contact us.

The quick answer is “sort of.” Let’s explore what I mean.

First, I’ll lay out the scenario that required me to work from my iPad. The other week, my computer broke and for whatever reason our IT guys couldn’t find the problem. Sometimes you just can’t find the issue or it takes a long time to fix. It happens.

While my computer was broken, I had to work using a pen, paper, and my iPad until mine was fixed. Of course, my computer is Windows-based and iPads, of course, run iOS. Many of the issues I encountered came because the Apple Reich doesn’t play well with others.

In order to do real work, I found my iPad extremely limiting, even once I got some tools to make it a little better. The majority of them came from the lack of a Microsoft Office app, which for some reason Apple and Microsoft won’t work together to produce. But for now we’ll focus on the lack of peripheral hardware.

Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard 

The Keyboard Challenge

The first challenge was using the iPad’s onscreen keyboard. I’m a writer, so my job largely consists of writing, editing, and manipulating text using Microsoft Word or Excel. The onscreen keyboard is fine for sending a short email, but just doesn’t cut it for proper word processing. Luckily iPad is Bluetooth capable and for $100 you can get an awesome and highly-rated Logitech Bluetooth keyboard cover that makes word processing much better and also keeps your screen protected. Problem one solved.

 

The Mouse Challenge

Another thing you need to get real work done is a mouse. Touchscreen technology has come a long way, but to quickly and effectively click boxes in a spreadsheet or to edit, cut, and paste pieces of text, you really need a mouse. Unfortunately, with the iPad, you can’t currently use a mouse through Apple-supported methods, which is sad. Other tablets have USB ports that you can easily use to plug in a mouse. Way to go, Apple.

Those are the solutions on the hardware end - good, not great. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series, which will cover downloadable software that can help you get the job done on your iPad.

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Casey Morgan is the Marketing Content Specialist at StorageCraft Technology Corporation. Avid blogger and technology enthusiast, Casey holds an English degree from the University of Utah. As an ardent reader, he will only set down a book for two things: going snowboarding or playing with puppies.

2/04/2013

Useful Microsoft Utilities: Snipping Tool and Problem Steps Recorder



Snipping Tool

With the release of Windows Vista, Microsoft created a new faster way of taking a picture of your screen than ever before. In the old days you would have to press the printscreen button, then open a program like Paint or Word and paste the image. Now Windows Vista (along with Windows 7 and Windows 8) comes with the “Snipping Tool.”

Just go to Start->All Programs->Accessories->Snipping Tool. This neat little application lets you select a part of the screen which it then immediately displays to let you markup, save, or email for help.

snipping tool

Problem Steps Recorder

A useful utility released with Windows 7 is the “Problem Steps Recorder”. This handy little application also in Windows 8 was designed to assist helpdesk collect information from end users when things aren’t working right. PSR will take a picture of the screen every time you click the mouse so that support can follow along to troubleshoot the issue.

Problem Steps Recorder How To

  1. Click on Start->Run.
  2. Type in "PSR" and hit Enter to launch, or type "PSR" in the Start menu's Search box and click on the program.
  3. Once PSR is open, click on “Start Record” and perform the steps to reproduce the issue.
  4. Optional: Click "Add Comment" if you'd like to add a comment during a particular part of the recording. A box will pop up that will allow you to highlight part of the screen and type in your comment.
  5. When you are finished, click on "Stop Record".

problem steps recorder

 (Thanks to our tech, Dennis, for posting about these utilities.)