OneNote tips – tip 1

Anyone who knows me knows that I live and breathe OneNote.  It’s probably one of the most unsung heroes of the Microsoft world.  I have used it for about 10 years now and most of my life is now in there… I use it for everything, from Christmas shopping to my Business Strategy plans.  So to get you as excited about OneNote as I am … I have started to write up a few of my favourite features for you.

 

Searching and photos

You can take photos of documents and then do a search on the words within the photo – great for doing research etc (or in my case when I am saving recipes)

 

Meeting organisation

Organise your meetings…. By clicking meeting details – you can automatically insert the details from outlook into your OneNote page –

You can then turn any action items into outlook tasks 🙂

Saving of Emails

And my ALL time best feature EVER is being able to send emails directly to OneNote from outlook, brilliant for if you want to save items to read later… look for the OneNote button in your outlook.  This is my most used feature.  I have a To Read folder and if I get sent any articles that I want to read later I forward them to OneNote.   This not only frees up my outlook, I can save articles and use them for research later on.

 

We will be doing a webinar on OneNote in the next couple of months – watch this space.

Written by Delia (long time OneNote Lover)

The office move – hell, or heaven?

Most people will tell you that they hate office moves (with a passion). Moves are always hard work and often very disruptive. However, with a bit of planning they can be made easier. Over the years IT Engine has done more office moves for our clients than we would care to count. We now have it down to a fine art. We have also had to put our experience into practice for our own move recently.
Before we go further I would just like to do a wee shout out to Apex Electrical, Telesmart and the Office Relocation Company for their efforts when we moved – they were all awesome and made our lives so much easier.
I don’t like to write with a negative tone but there is a fair amount that can go wrong with moves as there are many parties involved. So I am going to list what can go wrong – get it out of the way – then we can move into the positive stuff.

  1. Number 1, and it is the number 1 thing that can go wrong, is the internet connection. You would be amazed at how often a client goes to move into their new premises only to find that the internet connection they were promised is either not there or not working.
  2. Phone lines not being connected.
  3. Contractors not completing the fit out on time.
  4. Cabling not being put in the correct areas for the desks.
  5. Power not being put in the correct areas for the desks.

Right, so now we have that list out of the way … what can we do to combat it?

Internet

The best laid plans can go astray with your internet connection. The best thing to do for your internet connection is to book the install at the new site a least two weeks before you need it – don’t transfer your connection. Start a new one and then arrange for the old one to be cut after you have moved out. Give yourself a good couple of weeks leeway at each end. Even if it means you are paying for two internet connections at the same time, it’s worth it.
Also:

  • Give your ISP at least 6 weeks’ notice of a move.
  • If you are moving in the December/January period be aware of the brown out. This is where there is no work done (ie, new connections put in) from the middle of December to the middle of January.
  • When you put the connection in … TEST it … don’t take the word of the ISP that it is installed. Get your IT provider to check it before the move and make sure all is OK. You don’t want a mad rush on the day.

Phone lines not being connected

VOIP – if you have VOIP system and you can just plug in your phones and they go – then you are OK. Move to the next topic (and refer back to the one above, the internet connection). If you don’t have VOIP I would love to say that I have the magic bullet here, but I don’t. Unfortunately, if you’re moving a physical phone system, then you’re not going to know if it’s all connected until you plug it in. We had a physical phone system, so what we did was divert the phones to a mobile (via our phone provider). Then once we knew everything was OK we diverted them back. This worked well. There was an issue between Vodafone and Chorus which took several hours to get sorted, so having diverts and a backup plan was very helpful.

Contractors not completing fit out on time

Again, you are dealing with humans and humans are fallible. You can tell someone your move date and be assured that everything is going according to plan. But then the movers tell you that there is stuff all over the floor in the new building and they are still cleaning everything (yes this happened on our move date).
In hindsight, and next time, I will ensure all the dates are in writing. However, we have an awesome team – Roland just shot down to Hirepool, got an industrial vacuum cleaner and sorted it out. Rock on, team!
Best thing to do here is be flexible and allow a bit of time for potentially shifting dates.

Cabling and power

Happens to the best of us – you think you have all the points you need then someone moves the desk plan around and whoops! Try and include your IT team as much as possible in these discussions – you will find you have a much better outcome. Also, be aware when moving into older buildings with pre-existing cabling – it’s often damaged or, in our case, it was Cat5 and super slow. So we had to rip it out and re-do it. If you are not sure before you sign the lease, get your favourite cabling person to come in and give it a wee check for you. Then if it needs to be replaced this can often be worked in with the lease.

Other tips

  • It’s best if you can move during the week. That’s because if there are issues with connections (phone or otherwise) these are hard to sort at the weekend when everyone is at home. We did our move over a Thursday afternoon/Friday morning, which made sorting out the phone issue much easier.
  • Prepare your clients. You will find that everyone is very understanding about services not running at 100% if you give them plenty of notice. A really good way to let everyone know is by putting a note at the bottom of all outgoing emails. You can do this by adding it to the signatures – that’s quick easy and efficient.
  • Don’t forget to put a notice up at the old premises telling people you have moved. You never know who might have missed your emails.
  • When packing up your computers cables etc – make sure you get the staff to bag theirs separately and mark the bags. That way you don’t end up with cables everywhere and not knowing what goes where. If you are using professional movers then you will get labels for the boxes. Clearly define every area and desk beforehand so that items can be put in the right place from the outset. It makes it so much easier when unpacking.
  • Consider what you will need and when. When we packed we sorted items into three piles:
  1. can be packed now (won’t need before move)
  2. to be packed one week out (might need before we go)
  3. to be packed the day before.
  • If you have a lot of breakable gear, like we do, you may want to do your own packing rather than risk packers.
  • Have cut-off times, like no coffee machine after a certain time.
  • Thank your team – moving is really hard work – you are packing and cleaning up for weeks! Some pizza and a wine or beer goes a long way. 😊

Why you should get the new iPhone!

Is your iPhone / iPad getting slower, or are you just expecting more from it than you were when you got it four years ago?

The new version of the Apple mobile operating system (iOS 11) has been out for a few weeks now and it brings with it a lot of improvements and some extra features… all of which may slow up your trusty old iPhone. The new system runs on iPhone 8 and X. (people have asked me “why apple skipped the iphone 9”.. I don’t know if they have.. the iphoneX is the 10th anniversary iphone)

Don’t blame Apple! The problem is that we consumers want the latest and greatest there is on offer and Apple loves to deliver that. The app makers then take advantage of that extra power and those extra features, and pretty soon your trusty old iPhone 5 just doesn’t cut it anymore.

With iOS 11, Apple dropped support for the iPhone 5 (not the iphone 5s) and any iPhone before it. This allowed them to remove support for the old 32-bit systems that ran these older iPhones. Those of you with an iPhone 5 or iPhone 6 are likely to be next on the chopping board…

I make that judgement due to a pretty significant fact. Apple no longer sells these phones and those retailers, like Spark, who do stock them are discounting them to get rid of them.

I suspect it’s because the iPhone 5 and 6 technology is just getting too old. Apple can’t keep building in support at the cost (in power and performance) of their newer devices. I for one know that my iPhone 6 does not respond as snappily as it used to. It’s a little embarrassing to see it running next to an iPhone X.

What will you get with your new iPhone? (Yup, I’ve already decided you’re getting a new one – it’s almost Christmas – treat yourself!)

  • The speed of an iPhone 8 or X will make your whole phone experience a lot more enjoyable.
  • With the 8 and X you get a handy level of waterproofing, so you don’t need to freak out if you drop it in the sink.
  • You get a tougher glass (but I still recommend a case to help protect your business investment).

Those a just a few reasons off the top of my head. You also get to take ‘full-powered’ advantage of iOS 11 with many new features:

  • Siri – she (or he) is smarter, faster and can do things like translate English into Chinese, Spanish and more.
  • You can drag and drop things like images or links from one app to another.
  • There’s a files app!! It lets you see your OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud files all in one place – awesome!
  • There’s a one-handed keyboard.
  • Notes can search your handwriting (within reason).
  • Maps has lane guidance and speed limit info.
  • Do not disturb will mute your notifications while your vehicle is moving.

Along with all those awesome features your new iPhone will also give you a new warranty. And this gives you the peace of mind that your iPhone will be supported for the next few years.

Teams

Background; Teams was released in Beta form last November and released in New Zealand in June of this year.  It is the Microsoft answer to Slack (which is a very similar business team chat app that has been around still mid 2015).

So what is Teams ? It is a new collaboration tool for businesses, designed to help share ideas and enable chat based conversations.

We think there is still room to improve but over all we have been really impressed with the product and we are really looking forward to the updates as they come out.  Saunit and Greg both went to the Microsoft Labs and came back buzzing.  We really think this will change the way staff will communicate and work with other, if you have Office 365 then you already have access to Teams and its free as part of your subscription (if you have Essentials or above).

So what did we like ?

  • Available on Windows, Apple and Android devices (and your web browser).. .. Thank you MS for being all inclusive 🙂
  • Super easy to set up
  • You can add any of your staff to teams very easily
  • You can have channels for topics within a team
    • This makes it very easy to separate work flows and ideas.
  • It has a really nice look and feel
  • Easy to set permissions for staff – a few clicks and you are good to go – however any permissions that you set are applied to that specific team and it’s the entire team  – you can can’t have one user with one set of permission and another user with a different set.  You can set it so only the “owners” of the team can post.
  • Only owners are able to add team members – if you have been put as a team member you can’t add other people.  Only the team owners can do that.
  • It has OneNote 🙂  I LOVED this… I can create a OneNote note book for a channel.  Fantastic when you are doing meetings etc.
  • Its allows you to add cloud storage from multiple different platforms – this is fantastic and again will suit many businesses (not just us Microsoft fans)

What did we not like ?

  • It creates a SharePoint site for each team you set up (Sorry we really don’t like this Mr/Mrs Microsoft) BUT you can add existing SharePoint sites to your teams as well (this will require a bit of team discipline so staff don’t end up using multiple sites).  However on the upside having a SharePoint site allows will be great for projects, so not all doom and gloom.
  • You can’t yet add outside (external parties) however this is on the road map – we can’t wait for this to be added.

Some good tips

Create a separate Jokes team … that way staff can have a bit of fun but those that don’t want the distraction don’t have to be included.

Create a team for businesses ideas and suggestions – we have done this and it a good way for people to quickly put ideas and thoughts out there while its top of mind.  You can put in extra channel for different parts of the business you want to focus on.

Also … check out Bots:

Click on members, then settings  – we have not investigated all of these yet but there are some very cool tools in here… we have included a small sample below.

 

If you would like any more information on Teams or would like a quick demo – please get in touch with one of the our team here at IT Engine.

Links to news articles and blogs on Teams.

https://en.share-gate.com/blog/guide-becoming-microsoft-teams-rockstar-part-1

https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/25/16360072/microsoft-teams-replacing-skype-for-business

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKU-FMzZFF0

http://www.zdnet.com/article/slack-versus-microsoft-teams-its-really-no-contest/

Keeping your passwords strong and secure

Your data is only as secure as your passwords. But how do you choose strong ones?

Good passwords are vital for good data security. That’s true whether you store data in the cloud, on your local network, on a laptop or on a USB drive.

Yet one of the most common passwords in the world is: password. Some variations on this theme include pa55word, passw0rd and pa55w0rd. If you think those are all weak, insecure and easy to guess, you’re right. But they aren’t the only ones. Thinking up a good password is harder than you might expect.

It helps to think about what you’re trying to protect. A good password is the key that opens the door to your data. You want that key to be as effective and secure as possible. That means it has to be unguessable.

The problem is, it’s not just people who are attempting to guess your passwords. Hackers use computers with word-lists that allow them to guess thousands of different passwords every second. A good IT system will shut down any such attack very quickly, but sometimes not fast enough – and not all systems are so proactive.

So your passwords have to be robust. Forget about choosing the name of your pet and replacing some of the letters with numbers, for example. Fido might have been your dog’s name, but f1d0 is a lousy password.

If you really want a secure password, the ideal is a random sequence of letters, numbers and (if permitted) non-alphanumeric characters. For example, “hd78n32efjtr432.?q” is a pretty good password. It’s long, it’s not based on any real word and it contains a mixture of different types of character. It would be extremely hard to guess.

Unfortunately it would also be extremely hard to remember! If that was the password for your daily login you might find it hard to get much work done.

An alternative approach is to use more memorable passwords but maintain the level of difficulty in guessing them. Such an approach is shown by the cartoon here:

That combination of words is hard to guess so it would take a hacker an incredibly long time to discover it by trial and error. Security experts have argued about the actual strength of such a password, but one thing’s for sure: it’s a long better than pa55w0rd or f1d0.

The important point to remember is to keep passwords long and hard-to-guess. They shouldn’t relate to you, so no kids’ names or passwords based on your date of birth. They should be unguessable but simple enough for you to remember, so you don’t have to write them down – because that’s also a security risk.

If all this sounds like a lot of trouble to go to, remember what’s at stake. Imagine giving your password to a hacker. What damage could they do? What could they steal? Would your business actually survive such a compromise of its data? With an easy-to-guess password you’re effectively leaving the door wide open to hackers.

This is why it’s not just your password that’s important. All your employees need secure passwords too.

Some cloud-based services now strength-test passwords as they are entered, giving a sliding scale from ‘unsafe’ to ‘safe’ or ‘weak’ to ‘strong’ so you and your employees know that their passwords are up to the job. And for really secure access, services from Microsoft Azure offer two-factor authentication. This means that a password on its own is not enough: you may also have to type in a security code sent to your phone, for example.

It’s important to take passwords seriously. They are your first – and sometimes only – line of defence against hackers. They’re what stands between you and the loss of your data; potentially even the loss of your business. Keep them strong and secure.