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February 26, 2013
Security: Hunt for your devices with Prey

Security_Feb20_B.jpgImagine you are in the airport waiting for a flight when you look down only to discover that your laptop is missing. This isn't a great thought, especially since many of us have important files and programs that we can't afford to lose. The problem is, if your device has gone missing, the chances of you recovering it are slim. The good news is that there is a possible solution that lets you track your device.

Prey is an Open Source - free - program that you can install on your computer or mobile device and track it when it's missing, or been stolen.

How it works First you have to download the software - from here - onto your computer (Windows, Mac or Linux are supported), and sign up for an account. You have a couple of options here: You can either sign up for an account with Prey and access a control panel through the website, or install it as a standalone which is recommended for advanced users as it requires some server configuration.

If you chose to go with the Web option you sign up for an account and install the software then register your main device along with extra ones like an Android, or your iOS device. Once you have downloaded Prey and linked them together, you are ready.

For mobiles, you can send these a text (from the Web Control Panel) which will initiate the established options you have pre-set for when your phone goes missing.

How Prey finds your device's location depends on the device. For laptops, it can turn-on your Wi-Fi connection and try to connect to the nearest access points. It can take the IP address of each Wi-Fi access point and from there get an approximate location - in some areas as close as 200 feet. On your phone, it turns on the GPS (if available) and tries to connect to Wi-Fi networks in range. These two combined can generate a fairly accurate location.

All this tracking information is sent to your inbox in the form of a report, which can be tailored to meet your needs.

What makes this program different from other similar ones is that it can be installed across multiple platforms and managed from one account. It's also free, which makes it even more attractive. There is also a Pro version which allows you to track more devices, for a monthly fee (USD$5 for 3 devices up to USD$399 a month for 500 devices).

Prey is just one of the many device tracking programs, and installing one may be a good idea, to give you a greater chance of retrieval if your phone or computer is lost or stolen. Do you use one already? If so, which one? If you would like to learn more about Prey and the other device tracking programs please let us know, we may have a great solution for you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 26, 2013
Cloud-Google Apps: 5 apps you can connect to Drive

Google_Feb26_B.jpgThe cloud is here to stay, and one of the of the popular cloud services is Google's Drive. Drive not only allows users to store files, but also create documents, presentations and spreadsheets. You can also share these files and collaborate on them in real-time. To further extend Drive's capabilities, you can install some pretty cool apps. A recent update makes these apps even more useable.

Starting in mid-February, you might have noticed a slight change to the layout of the drop-down window when your press Create in Google Drive. Now, you see all apps in a list, regardless of if they are Google's apps (Document, Spreadsheet, Presentation, etc.) or from another companies. You can add apps to Drive by:

 

  1. Opening Drive and pressing Create - located in the left-hand side of the window.
  2. Pressing Connect more apps.
  3. Selecting an app you would like to add to Drive from the pop-up window.
  4. Hovering your mouse over the picture of the app should show more information. Press Connect followed by Ok. You should now see the app when you press Create.

Most of the apps you connect to Drive will allow you to open files, edit and save them directly from Drive. If you connect an image editing app, you can right-click on any image in Drive and tap on the app's icon to open it using that app.

An app for everyoneIf you browse for programs to connect to Drive, you will see that there some really great ones that enhance what you can do with Drive. You will find these by pressing Create in Drive followed by Connect more apps. You can search for them by name, but you should see them all on the first page. Here's five that may help your business:

  • Gantter - For project scheduling, it allows you to open, edit and save Microsoft Project documents directly from Google Drive. While it is free, there are a number of user permissions that are required that could go against your security plan, so be sure to read the permissions carefully. Free.
  • SlideRocket - While Drive does have Presentation, it can be a little plain at times. If you want presentation software that rivals PowerPoint, and is even easier to use, this is a good choice. Free for the basic app, subscription plans start at USD$24 per user/month.
  • HelloFax - The fax machine isn't as popular as it once was, but you will likely need to occasionally fax documents. This app allows you to fax documents directly from Drive, and you can also attach a signature to any document. Plans start at USD$9.99 a month for 500 faxes, and an unlimited number of users.
  • Pixlr Editor - If you need to edit photos, and require something with more advanced features like those found in Photoshop, Pixlr has them. This app can open and save files directly into Drive. Free.
  • Lucidchart: Diagramming - This focuses on one thing: diagrams. Create and collaborate on professional looking flowcharts for projects, visual work processes, etc. Free 14 day trial, monthly fee from USD$2 to $5 per user/month thereafter.

While many of these apps aren't free, they are affordable, especially since you can use them directly from Drive, which means there is no need to purchase extra programs. If you find that you don't want to use apps you have installed, you can remove them by clicking the cog at the top right of the Drive window and selecting Manage Apps. Find the app you no longer want and press Options followed by Disconnect from Drive.

If you would like to learn more about how Drive can help improve your company's ability to collaborate, why not contact us? We may have a plan that fits your business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 26, 2013
Cloud-Office 365 Update to Office 365 coming in March

Office365_Feb26_B.jpgWe all know that the tech industry is fast paced, always changing. The same goes for software; it's often released before it's 100% finished and updated with new features at a later date. This is the way the software industry functions, and will continue to do so well into the future. For example, Microsoft Office 365 was released in 2011 and has since seen numerous updates. There's a small update coming in March which will make it even easier to use.

The Office 365 update will focus largely on the sign-in process, and making it not only more efficient, but simpler. While this won't be a massive change, users who access their accounts on more than one device will find it much easier to do so.

Possibly the most intriguing thing about this redesign is that when you navigate to the login screen, the window will automatically resize to the resolution of your monitor or device. If you are on a handheld device like your tablet, the sign-in screen will now fit the screen size, instead of you having to zoom in to be able to see what you are typing.

This new layout will be best viewed on machines and browsers that are up to date, so be sure to keep the device/browser you use to access Office 365 updated.

Microsoft has also noted that this update will extend Single Sign On (SSO) for Office 365 capabilities. SSO can be boiled down to logging in once in order to access all services related to that software. For example, you can login to Office 365, and also be able to access SkyDrive, Lync or other Microsoft based services without having to individually log in to those sites. The update will expand the SSO capabilities, so employees won’t have to log in to multiple Microsoft programs once they have logged in the first time.

While not a huge update, it is one that makes the Office 365 system even more user friendly, which is great for those in your company who may not be the most tech savvy. You should notice this in early to mid March, or may have already been asked if you would like to try the new layout. You will have to opt-in on an individual basis.

If you would like to learn more about Office 365, or are interested in how it can help your business, why not contact us? We are happy to sit down and discuss your options with you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.



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