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Email Etiquette For The Workplace

on June 25, 2019 No comments

With the popularity of texting/Facebook Messaging/Slack…email is no longer regarded as an essential tool for online communication among millennials. Most of us probably use our personal inboxes more as a way to collect Uber receipts and track the status of our Amazon purchases than for keeping in touch with friends and family.

Even though it’s used less in our personal lives, whether we like it or not, emails are a part of business. The issue with email comes as you get more and more inundated with email messages. At some point, you want to do everything you can to ensure that your important emails get read. One method you can use on your own outgoing emails is to adopt some best practices for professional email etiquette. From a professional email greeting to professional email format, it can all make a big difference.I have listed below some best practices for business email etiquette tips that will increase the odds of your emails being read rather than trashed..

1. Use a professional email address
Most companies provide a professional email address for their employee’s correspondence. Proper email etiquette calls for sending emails from your business email address rather than from a personal email address. Using a personal email address for business purposes can be seen as unprofessional by some, especially if you’re discussing confidential matters.

2. Use clear and precise subject lines
To ensure your email gets opened, read, and thoroughly understood, start with a short and precise subject line addressing the issue at hand. Ex. “Wednesday Meeting Agenda”. You should title your email in such a way that the recipient immediately knows what the message is actually about.

3. Avoid “reply all.”
It’s usually a good idea to forego the temptation to hit the “reply all” option when sending professional emails. Proper email etiquette aside, it can be quite annoying for people to be included in a group email if the content of the message has nothing to do with them. So be considerate and hit “reply all” only if the message would be of interest to all of the recipients. Otherwise, your email might be considered spam.

4. Acknowledge emails.
With business email, even if you are too busy to reply with a full on answer, it’s always a good idea to at least send an acknowledgment and follow up later.  You should not only acknowledge all emails but also do so in a timely fashion. Since this is not always standard practice, you’ll be surprised at how much your professionalism can set you apart.

Remember to keep these tips in mind next time you open up your inbox at work and in no time you’ll be an email expert!

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Your IT GuyEmail Etiquette For The Workplace

Task Batching For Maximum Focus

on June 18, 2019 No comments

We’ve all heard the phrase, work smarter not harder. We have also heard umpteen experts telling how to schedule our day and get the most work done during our workday but we rarely hear about batch scheduling our tasks for efficiency.

Task-batching is very similar to time blocking but takes the method a giant, more efficient step further.

Batching involves completing similar tasks in a scheduled block, avoiding the need for switching back and forth between skills and concentrations.

Research shows that task switching is hugely detrimental to productivity. When we change our focus, it can take, on average, 15-23 minutes for your brain to “catch up” and re-focus.

Depending on how many different types of tasks you have on your to-do list, that can really add up, leading to a tremendous amount of lost or otherwise wasted time.

For example, every Monday you might plan out your Facebook or Instagram feed for at least a week. So instead of thinking of something to post every morning, you only have to think about it once per week (and then  you don’t have to think about it again until next week!)

It works well because it keeps you focused on the task at hand. This can significantly lessen your struggle to think of things to post and it would take so much more time editing the posts day by day. But because you do them all at once, your attention is completely focused to easily create a week’s worth of content in an hour, for example.

This method is really the best way to make the most of your time.

Think of it like this. Your brain is like a computer with at least 30 tabs open and your brain is just jumping back and forth between ideas. But when you focus primarily on one task instead of 20 minutes on blogging, 30 minutes on Twitter, you get the point. You can focus and keep on task like never before.

Scheduling and batching is the best use of your time and will help you get so much more done! More time = more money.

How does your workweek look? Let me know in the comments if you have a similar structure to me, or if you have any other time-saving, productivity ideas!

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Your IT GuyTask Batching For Maximum Focus

Why Strong, Unique Passwords Matter.

on June 12, 2019 No comments

Strong password policies have come a long way. How many people remember the 1995 movie Hackers. It had a very young short haired Angelina Jolie in it but the point was the entire mess started with one of the hackers being able to access files that should have been secure. All because the executive with the company had his password as “god”.

Fact: Every extra character in your password increases the difficulty for hackers to crack it.
The most commonly used password is…123456.

And it’s closely followed by just as insecure passwords like “password”, “welcome”, and “12345″.

Think one extra letter or number doesn’t mean much? Consider this:

A 6-character password with only letters has 308,915,776 possible combinations.
An 8-character password with only letters has 208,827,064,576 possible combinations.
An 8-character password with letters (upper & lower case) and includes numbers and symbols has 6,095,689,385,410,816 possible combinations.

Creating a strong password policy is key to helping users safeguard these critical systems they rely on every day. While additional complexity can seem like an inconvenience to many users, it shouldn’t prevent a strong password policy being implemented in your organization.

Now that you’ve come up with the strongest password possible, it’s time to absorb some principles of good password security practice in daily life:

  • Never disclose usernames and passwords to third parties
  • Never store usernames and passwords on paper or in an unencrypted computer file
  • Update your account password at least every 6 months
  • Do not use passwords that have been used in the past
  • Never provide credentials when requested through email
  • Run regular virus scans on your computer
  • Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). With 2FA, you will receive a text message for login and password reset requests. You may choose between SMS, OneTouch, and TOTP (Time-Based One-Time Password) 2FA authentication.

If you have to share a password, use a site like a one-time secret. This site creates a link to a page with your password info (or whatever info you choose), and once the page is viewed once, it is gone forever.
Don’t save passwords or use “remember me” on public computers

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Your IT GuyWhy Strong, Unique Passwords Matter.

Windows Support Ends for Windows 7 & 8

on June 3, 2019 No comments

Windows Support Ends for Windows 7 & 8, in fact, it actually ended a while ago.

What does that mean to you? If you simply can not bear to learn Windows 10, I am here to tell you, in the most gentle way possible, that it’s time to get over it.

Windows 10 can be made to look more like Windows 7 or 8, and if you are like most end users, the software is not a radical change from previous Windows versions.

What it has changed is the level of protection it offers from the slew of new viruses and malware that crop up out in the world. If you don’t update your software and your servers with the latest version of operating systems, you are asking for trouble, plain and simple. We understand that man of the features other than virus and malware protection, are not ones you might be using if you aren’t working on a tablet or a touch screen computer.  But all the same, you need to make the change.

If you think we are being alarmists, you have decided to take your chances and not upgrade to Windows 10, just  take a look at what the Microsoft support page has to say:

An unsupported version of Windows will no longer receive software updates from Windows Update. These updates include security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal your personal information. Windows Update also installs the latest software updates to improve the reliability of Windows—such as new drivers for your hardware.

Will I still be able to use Windows after support ends?

Yes. If you continue to use an unsupported version of Windows, your PC will still work, but it will become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Your PC will continue to start and run, but you will no longer receive software updates, including security updates, from Microsoft.

For full details about the support policy, see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ.”

We are happy to help you upgrade your software with you. Call us at Unified Technology Solutions for an appointment.

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Your IT GuyWindows Support Ends for Windows 7 & 8

Windows 7 and 8 Support Are Going Away Soon But..

on May 16, 2019 No comments

Most of the companies we work with have now embraced the Windows 10 operating system, but there are some who, just like with Windows XP, are just not willing to upgrade to the new operating system.

There are some writers out there in the world who would say,” Why do users get so attached to a specific operating system and refuse to change”? 

I can only give you my opinion, and it’s a straight forward one. Business owners and employees, for the most part, aren’t all that interested in new, fancy features within an operating system. They just don’t care all that much.

What they want and need is a reliable operating system, upon which they can safely and securely operate the software programs they need in order to fun their business. Period. Learning how to navigate a new operating system just takes time away from the job they are being paid to do, which is to keep their employer happy, or keep their employees working, and to make a profit. Plain and simple.

 
 

Well, as of January 14, 2020, that decision to stick with the operating system they know and understand will be taken out of their hands. For users other than those in certain environments, support for Windows 7 is going away, for good. Why? I came across an explanation at PC Magazine, that explains the reasoning.

“Support for Windows 7 is set to end on Jan 14. 2020, but access to Windows updates may end in March if you don’t allow your Windows 7 machines to download and install Microsoft’s next patch.

As MSPoweruser reports, Microsoft needs to ensure that the operating system updates end users receive haven’t been tampered with. It does this using SHA-1and SHA-2 hash algorithms to authenticate the updates. The problem is, the SHA-1 algorithm has a weakness and can no longer be relied upon.

As Windows 7 SP1, Windows 2008 SP1, and SP2 all rely on SHA-1 encryption, they need updating with support for SHA-2 as future Windows updates will require it. So next month Microsoft is rolling out an update to add support for SHA-2 encryption for its oldest supported operating systems. If you’re a Windows 7 user and don’t install this critical update, wave goodbye to any future Windows patches.”

The update that is referred to went out in March, so if you didn’t get the memo, you are out of luck. It’s time to get on the bandwagon and prepare your systems and personnel for Windows 10.

Unified Technology Solutions is prepared to get things installed and up and running smoothly for you over the next six months. Please, don’t wait until the last minute to build your install schedule. That’s when things can go wrong. It’s best to build a plan and prepare now.

Your Tech Guys

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Your IT GuyWindows 7 and 8 Support Are Going Away Soon But..

Upgrade Your Computer Network

on April 30, 2019 No comments

 

Network Diagram, it solutions for companies, vero beach IT support for networks, VOIP support for companies, non-profit it support,Your business has outgrown your current computer systems. Now’s time to upgrade your entire office and network. Because the network affects everyone, targeted communications must detail the impact of the upgrade. Understanding how end users access and leverage the network for their specific job role is important when explaining how an upgrade will impact their duties both during the maintenance window and after the upgrade is complete.

Determine a rollout strategy

A rollout strategy should finely balance the speed of deployment with the risk of making mistakes that bring down the network. Your goal should be to find the optimal comfort level for the organization such that the upgrade can be performed in a reasonable amount of time without taking any major risks. Unified Technology Solutions is experienced in building just such a strategy for companies.

Have a back-out strategy

Just as the rollout plan is critically important, so too is a back-out strategy. Spend just as much time figuring out a back-out strategy as you do an implementation strategy. Even though you might not ever need it, you’ll be very happy you spent the time and effort in the event you do.

Train support staff

The same people who design, architect, and deploy the new network upgrade may not be the same people supporting it once it goes into production. This is especially true if you work for a large organization or hire outside consultants to handle the upgrade. Proper training is critical to the care and maintenance of a network upgrade from day one and beyond.

Document, document, document!

The step that is most often skipped over – yet is absolutely critical to the success of a network — is to thoroughly document the upgrade, how the new technology works, and how to maintain it once it’s in production. Documentation should also be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. A network upgrade that includes detailed documentation is far more likely to be considered successful when support staffers have the information they can refer to for help.

Just remember that proper planning, communication, and training can help ensure a successful network upgrade. If you don’t have an IT Department of your own, or even if you do, we can work with you to put a comprehensive upgrade plan together and it can make a systems upgrade much less painful.

Give us a call

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Your IT GuyUpgrade Your Computer Network

I.T. Support and Your Company

on March 8, 2019 No comments

All too often, I.T. is treated like secondary concern by small business owners who’ve recently made it through the lean, DIY startup years. They might see IT support as an option rather than a necessity. But what happens when something goes wrong? What can you gain from technical support that you may not notice? Maybe the bigger question is, what can you expect to receive from your technical support service?


Issue Resolution – This goes without saying; after all, it is the bread and butter of technical support. More than likely, this is the main reason you use support. If you’re in a pinch, they are there to bail you out.  The peace of mind you get knowing that tech experts who already know your systems are available to get your systems back up and running quickly. Having someone knowledgeable to resolve tech issues to your people doing what you’re paying them to do. Instead of fiddling with a malfunctioning printer or some software issue for an hour or more “hoping” that something will start working as they stab in the dark trying to fix it.

Expertise – At UTS the support technicians you work with can be considered an expert in the software they are supporting due to hours and training involved. Most technical support service companies require their support techs to have technical certifications or extensive experience with the product they are supporting. They are in the field, working with hardware, software and technical issues all day every day. This expertise provides you more insightful tidbits of knowledge and quicker resolution times.

Peace of mind – One of the best values provided by a technical support service is the peace of mind. Should all your systems fail, or even just one computer, it’s no matter, You don’t need to worry because UTS can find and fix your issues. Peace of mind is a service we don’t list on our Website, and probably should because it’s one of the most important services we provide at Unified Technology Solutions.

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Your IT GuyI.T. Support and Your Company

Tech Support For Companies

on January 25, 2019 No comments

You’re a business owner and you’ve been doing just fine without a huge staff or a dedicated IT guy. So far, so good. Like everything else these days, your business depends on technology: email, databases, documents and spreadsheets—maybe even software unique to your industry. What happens when things stop running smoothly?

Perhaps you and your staff are becoming frustrated with computers that aren’t working properly, and network that’s too slow and you’ve been troubleshooting computer/printer/router problems—your business needs IT support. In fact, we think it need us, UTS.

As you pile more and more work on an older system, it will slow down. At some point, it will heave a sigh and stop working all together. It’s important to perform preventative maintenance on the components of your network. It’s also important to ensure you are using the type of computer, servers and network equipment that is made to handle higher volumes of data.

Rather then waiting until something catastrophic happens, let us go through your current configuration and make recommendations. Adding new devices to your network may seem easy, and in some cases it might be, but it’s not always the case. It is a delicate process that needs to be done by professionals to ensure that it is set up right for the sake of your business.

As the new year begins, it is the very best time to re-evaluate your tech operations, and if your business doesn’t already have an IT strategy, you might need to consider finding  an IT partner as soon as possible. We hope that will be Unified Technology Solutions.

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Your IT GuyTech Support For Companies

Getting More Control of Your Web Presence

on January 17, 2019 No comments

The World Wide Web is less than 30 years old. Today, there are those of you who will read this post and have no idea there was indeed a world without web. In fact, until around 1990, trying to access the Internet was not for the average pc user.

Beginning in the late 1980’s and early 1990s the tech geniuses of the day began to build search engines and browsers, but they each had their own way of coding and indexing data.

Then in 1991 a man named Tim Berner-Lee and a woman named
” Nicola Pellow, a math student intern working at CERN, to write the Line Mode Browser a cross-platform web browser that displayed web-pages on old terminals and was released in May 1991.[14] ” This according to Wikipedia.

For all intents and purposes Berner-Lee and Nicola Pellow were the founders of what we now call the World Wide Web. It looked nothing like it does today, with all the ads and fancy, colorful photos. But still, it became a great way to find things without having to run around looking in different reference books.

There were several iterations of search engines that came and went before Google took hold of all of us. And once they did get us hooked, they began to collect all sorts of data about us which they could then monotize by selling it to others.

Today, everyone knows everything about everybody, and this same man, Tim Berner-Lee is starting a new company to try and given us all some measure of control over that data and perhaps some income from what we choose to sell from that data pool.

It is an interesting article. Mr. Berner-Lee ” ….has a proposal called Solid, and a startup called Inrupt to promote it, which aims to allow people to have control of their own data, as opposed to the big corporations.

He described this as “web technology repurposed,” and said he is driven by the belief that you should control your data and receive a share of the revenue derived from it. “You shouldn’t worry about someone monetizing your data and influencing elections,” he said, and described Solid as a private repository—or “Pod”—which has a common API for all websites. This would separate applications on the web from your data, and you could then write the data to a generic website and share it via an API with anyone you wish, such as your family or your doctor.” taken from www.pcmag November issue.

Check out the link from our Facebook Page

Let us know what you think.

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Your IT GuyGetting More Control of Your Web Presence

Managed IT Services Offered by UTS

on December 13, 2018 No comments

 

Cloud Computing, Managed IT Services for Vero Beach Florida Area.The holidays are coming up fast. We are almost at the very end of what was, for many here in Vero Beach, one of the busiest and most productive in their company’s history. And we want to do that again next year. What about you?

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