Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Deep Learning Analytics Promises to Streamline Operations for SMBs

It has been said in many different ways, but for many businesses, inefficiency is stealing capital and keeping your organization from producing at the levels you’d almost certainly like to see. One problem is how do you measure your company’s usefulness, as in, it’s propensity to meet or exceed expectations. Does your business have inefficient operations, or are there just several small inefficiencies that produce the same effect? Either way, understanding the concept of deep learning can go a long way toward giving your business the look it needs to sustain growth.
The concept behind these analytics, machine or deep learning, is being deployed throughout the business world by many organizations who, like you, are searching for the most efficient (and profitable) ways to do whatever it is that you do. This practice consists of state of the art hardware, completing complicated algorithms to apply to every part of a process or system. By capturing every variable available in a construct and looking for patterns, this software basically predicts situations and effectively learn as it crawls data. One example of this process is the search results that you get when you type a word into the Google search bar. As you add letters, based on your search history, and the history of other users, Google attempts to predict what term you will search for. By using this technology over time, you will see improved results.
When used by organizations, deep learning can give amazingly accurate representations of complex systems, as well as predictive results that are so specific that they are almost clairvoyant. While data collection and analysis is a formidable way to predict trends and situations, deep learning takes this to a whole new level, especially considering the amount that is “learned.” It is important to state that some of the most successful data mining organizations have invested in the world’s most state-of-the-art deep learning systems. Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are three such organizations. Even Apple, long known for its predominant individual security, has moved forward with deep learning, purchasing the machine learning specialists Vocal IQ and Perceptio recently.
This kind of push in deep learning from the world’s predominant technology companies can make the layman wonder what the endgame is. You don’t have to look too far to find that out. It is Artificial Intelligence, of course. Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has been a favorite of movie makers and science fiction authors for some time. Tales of robots that think they’re alive and benevolent machines that have come to learn just how destructive the human race is and has decided the best thing for us is the complete annihilation of our species. Either way, humans need for drama as caused a fear of the capabilities of AI. Deep learning, as a basic building block of an artificially intelligent computing platform, can produce results in capturing and analyzing small tracks of data and receiving more accurate predictions than you would receive through standard analytical procedures.
For the small business owner, deep learning may be something you will need to see in practice before you go out and get yourself an expensive deep learning team. Or you can hitch your curiosity trailer to 24-year-old wonderkid Adam Gibson and his DL4J. Gibson has created the first “commercial-grade, open-source, distributed deep-learning library…,” as well as the company Skymind who works with IBM, Chevron, Booz Allen, Accenture and other organizations. By devoting their resources to promoting the field, they are significantly improving an organization’s ability to make business decisions that are more efficient and work best to serve the organization and its goals.
AI and deep learning are in their infancy, but if organizations begin to utilize this technology to streamline their operations, it’s likely that major progress will come quickly. What are your thoughts of artificial intelligence? Do you think it will benefit society with its unbridled efficiency, or do you think that the threats inherent with a world filled with cognizant machines outweigh the potential benefits? Sound off now in the comments.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Tip of the Week: Block Telemarketers and Other Annoying Callers From Your Android Device

Calls from telemarketers are the worst. These unwelcomed calls are especially annoying if you’re trying to be productive, and you’re interrupted in the middle of the workday by the same number repeatedly. Thankfully, more recent models of Android smartphones have the capabilities to blacklist numbers built right into the device. Here’s how it’s done.
There are multiple ways you can block numbers from calling you with an Android device. Depending on the device, there will either be several different ways to block a caller, or there won’t be any at all. In general, if the device is fairly recent, like the Samsung Galaxy S5, you shouldn’t have any problems finding the features. Here are three ways you can natively block calls on your Android smartphone.
Blocking All Calls
Depending on the device you’re using, and its current version of the Android operating system, the following steps could vary. First, open the Phone application. Next, you’ll want to click on the three-dot menu on the right side of the screen, and select Settings. Choose Call. The setting Call Rejection should immediately jump out at you. Select it.
You’ll be given some options for rejecting calls that you receive. If you select Auto reject mode, you’ll be shown yet another menu with several options. By default, Auto reject mode will be turned on, but you can turn off this setting if you want. Or, you could simply select All incoming calls, which will block the calls from connecting to your phone. This is great if you really need to hunker down and get things done, but what if you only want to block specific numbers?
Blocking Specific Numbers
The numbers that your phone blocks are pulled from an Auto reject list that’s found right beneath Auto reject mode. Click the + in the top-right corner of the screen, and you’ll be prompted to enter the number that you want to block. There’s also a default option to block any unknown number, which can be helpful at times. By adding numbers to the auto reject list, you can effectively eliminate the time-wasting calls you receive.
To do this, locate the number that called you in your Recent Calls. Select the number you want to block, then tap the three-dot menu. You should see the option Add to Auto reject list, which is an easy way to keep that number from calling you again.
Blocked-Call Messages
In the event you have blocked someone’s call, you can set up special text message responses that will be sent to the blocked number. The uses for this could vary, from being too busy to answer calls, or from being in a movie theater where it would be rude to answer and talk on the phone. To create messages or select from the available ones, selectRejection Messages. It’s right under the Auto reject list option in call settings.
Of course, there are other methods you can use to block annoying callers, but they might require you to call your service provider or download an app. If you want to just block them natively on your device, the above options are some of the best.
For more information about how to make the most of your technology, give us a call at (732) 360-2999.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Malvertising: When Advertisements on Legitimate Sites Contain Malware

Any business worth their gigabytes will practice extreme caution when surfing the Internet. Hackers tend to make users’ lives more difficult, even for those who are part of a small or medium-sized business. Teaching your employees security best practices in hopes that they’ll avoid suspicious websites isn’t a foolproof strategy, and thanks to malvertising, ensuring that your organization stays secure is more difficult.
The reasoning is that it’s becoming more difficult to identify potential threats because they can take the form of non-suspicious entities in the online environment. In particular, a new and emerging threat called “malvertising” threatens even the most cautious PC users by injecting malicious code via advertisements. This type of malware often takes advantage of zero-day exploits (mainly with flash) that haven’t been patched by the manufacturer. These kinds of threats are challenging to avoid, even under the best circumstances. For example, check out this malvertising threat described by ComputerWorld:
[...] the source of the infection was a malicious advertisement, one that was running on a mainstream news service! The news website sells ad space served up by an advertising company, which in turn sells that ad space to anybody willing to pay for it. In this case, the bad guys were paying for it. They signed up for ad space just like any other customer, but the advertisement they created — known as “malvertising” — exploited a zero-day (unpatched) vulnerability in Adobe Flash to run commands through the browser to the victim computers’ operating systems, without any knowledge or intervention by the end users.
Taking advantage of the latest cybersecurity measures, like enterprise-level firewall and antivirus solutions, can be great tools to ensure that your organization's network stays secure, but what happens if threats are capable of bypassing these measures? In the above scenario, the malware-fueled advertisement ignored all standard online threat behavior that’s expected of users. The malware needed no user activity, and because it was found on a legitimate site’s ad space, it wasn’t flagged as malicious. In other words, the malware was capable of ignoring the methods used by typical security solutions and employee training, and it managed to infiltrate the system.
Even if malware somehow finds ways to ignore security protocol, there are still ways to identify and resolve problems in a moment’s notice. If you remember anything about cyberthreats, keep this in mind: they will almost always leave some sort of sign that they’re present on your network or workstation. It could be something as simple as decreased network or PC performance, or it could be something a little more obvious. You’ll know if you’re being attacked when your firewall detects viruses or malware attempting to access the network, and phishing emails are blocked by spam filters. Even something as simple as a remote administrator login on your access log can be a giveaway that you’re dealing with a hacker.
Even if malvertising is a new and growing trend, you want to make sure that your network is protected from all threats that can be found on the Internet. Using an enterprise-level security solution like a Unified Threat Management (UTM) tool is capable of limiting your business’s exposure to questionable online entities and maximize threat resistance. To learn more, give us a call at (732) 360-2999.

Game Changer: New Li-Fi Technology Transmits Data via Light!

WiFi and Wireless Internet connections are an integral part of any workplace infrastructure. They essentially allow workers to pick up their wireless technology, like smartphones, tablets, or laptops, and connect to a network from any location with a connection. This convenience was previously unprecedented, but now a new technology threatens to usurp WiFi’s coveted throne; Li-Fi, wireless Internet connections delivered via light.
The idea might sound far-fetched at first, and until very recently Li-Fi was considered nothing more than a theory. Now, however, it’s been tested in a real-world environment, and it’s proving to be an exceptional innovation. When tested, Li-Fi was capable of transferring data at speeds of around 1GB/second. As explained by ScienceAlert:
The technology uses Visible Light Communication (VLC), a medium that uses visible light between 400 and 800 terahertz (THz). It works basically like an incredibly advanced form of Morse code - just like switching a torch on and off according to a certain pattern can relay a secret message, flicking an LED on and off at extreme speeds can be used to write and transmit things in binary code.
According to Professor Harald Haas, the creator of Li-Fi, Li-Fi addresses four of the main issues that most organizations have with their current wireless communications:
  • Capacity: WiFi currently uses electromagnetic waves (particularly radio waves) for communication, which are limited in scope and, most importantly, range. These limits don’t align with society’s need for wireless data transmission, and there’s only so much space on the spectrum remaining. Light, on the other hand, travels at a much greater frequency than your typical radio waves--approximately 10,000 times faster, making for exceptionally faster data transfer speeds.
  • Efficiency: At the present moment, data transfer is currently being distributed by base stations, which aren’t necessarily energy efficient. Only about five percent of the energy is used to transfer data while the rest is used to cool the base station. For Li-Fi, in terms of financial efficiency, data transferred alongside light essentially eliminates the costs of data transmission. There’s already a huge amount of light bulbs in the world that can be exploited for this purpose; the infrastructure already exists, and these LED bulbs can be used for Li-Fi data transfer.
  • Availability: WiFi has limited availability in certain locations, and can’t be used in others (think hospitals and airplanes). Considering how visible light is all around us, light being available isn’t a question of “if,” but “how” we can use that energy.
  • Security: Arguably most important of all is security. As we all know, wireless signals delivered by radio waves can go through walls into the outside world, where hackers and other malicious entities might be waiting. Light, on the other hand, can’t pass through walls, which means that it’s more likely to stay secure than a wireless signal broadcast to the entire vicinity.
Ideally, as Haas puts it, the world can solve the problem of high-speed wireless data transfer by taking advantage of Li-Fi. While the technology is still in development, it has been tested outside the lab environment and is currently being put on trial in both manufacturing and office settings.
Would you want to take advantage of Li-Fi? Let us know in the comments.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tip of the Week: Adjust Camera Settings and Resize Pictures to Better Store/Share Your Digital Photos

Thanks to so many people carrying camera-equipped smartphones, our society is inundated with photos like never before. For many of us, sharing and posting pictures has become second nature. Although, not everyone is aware of just how large the file size of pictures can potentially be, and why large photos can be problematic.
To give you an idea of just how many more pictures we take today than we did before the advent of the digital camera, consider this cultural insight from comedian Jim Gaffigan: “I have more pictures of my kids than my Dad even looked at me.” Can you relate? If you can, then hopefully it’s because of the crazy amount of pictures you’re taking with your mobile device.
One of the developments of digital picture taking is that, as the cameras improve, the file sizes of the pictures being taken become larger. For example, in 2008 a three megapixel smartphone camera was about as large as you could find. Today, Samsung’s latest Galaxy smartphone (the S6) boasts a 16MP camera, which produces photos of a much greater file size. Although, to be fair, the largest SD card you could find in an electronics retail store in 2008 was 1GB, and today, you can easily find a 64GB miniSD card.
For photo enthusiasts, the advancement of what smartphone cameras can do is exciting. However, casual smartphone users may not appreciate the difference between a 1MP camera and a 16MP camera. The casual user will just use their camera to snap pictures of everything and anything, and then share their photos with all of their friends, family, and social media followers. While there’s nothing wrong with taking a million pictures, having all of your pictures be full-sized can actually complicate how you store and share data.
Pro tip: when taking a picture of something that’s not all that important (like your dinner), use the smallest file size setting possible that your device’s camera will allow. Think about it, “Do you really need to take glorious 16MP pictures of what items you have to pick up at the grocery store?
It’s problematic to have each and every picture be full-sized for a few reasons.
Sharing large pictures with others: It’s fun and easy to snap a picture with your smartphone and then instantly text or email it to a friend, or even upload it to social media for the world to see. The problem here is that a full-sized picture can be a rather large file that will eat up a significant chunk of data and bandwidth, and a large photo can be cumbersome to send via text or email. Plus, it just doesn’t make sense to send a poster-sized picture to someone when you expect them to view it on the small screen of a mobile device.
Uploading large pictures to a website: If you have a blog or website, then you’re going to want to be mindful of picture size before uploading them. A full-sized, 16MP picture is going to take forever to load and annoy website visitors. For example, this is why social media websites like Facebook will automatically shrink images uploaded by its users. Otherwise, Facebook’s servers would be overwhelmed if the more than 350 million photos uploaded to its site every day were 16MP each.

Using too much data storage space: Fact: large photos take up more disk space than small photos. Therefore, you’ll want to take small pictures with your camera, or shrink your large images if you want to free up hard drive space.
Pro tip: Resizing your pictures to make them smaller is easy to do. However, you’ll want to make sure to not make your images so small that you’ll lose the desired quality. One way to do this is to open your image using any photo editing software, change the image’s size, and then save it as a new image. You can next delete the original image in order to free up space.
Another easy way to resize your image while retaining its quality is to use the website Using this free online tool, you can upload your large image and it will then generate for you a much smaller image that keeps the dimensions and quality of your picture in tact.
Bonus pro tip: Once you shrink an image, you can’t blow it back up again without losing quality, so if you think you might need a higher resolution image later, keep the largest version you have.
Now that you’re mindful of the size of your photos, you’re well on your way to becoming a more knowledgeable photographer. All you have to do next is learn about exposure and lighting and you’ll get booked for weddings and graduations in no time. Do you have any more tips on managing your photos? Share them with us in the comments.

Cloud Computing Isn’t 100% Perfect, Be Sure to Account For These 3 Risks

Organizations are taking to the skies with cloud computing solutions in the workplace, and it’s proving to be a valuable investment. However, such unprecedented growth doesn’t come without its fair share of risks. How does the cloud affect your business’s ability to function without unknowingly compromising your data infrastructure, or risking heavy downtime?
In order to help you successfully leverage cloud computing to meet the specific needs of your business, we’ve outlined several of the more common risks associated with using a cloud computing platform, and how you can combat them.
Risk #1: Data Theft
Perhaps the biggest risk that you’re taking by using cloud computing solutions is the loss or theft of your business’s mission-critical data. Since you’re hosting your business’s data in an online environment, there’s always the chance that a hacker will attempt to crack your security protocol and access files or information that are sensitive in nature.
When it comes to protecting your data from this risk, you’ll want to first realize that there is always going to be a risk of data theft. There’s no foolproof way around it. What you can do, however, is optimize your data security to minimize the damage that can be done. You want to integrate a proactive security solution that’s designed to keep threats out of your system, and effectively neutralize those that do make it in. Contact Net It On for information about integrating powerful security solutions designed to do just that.
Risk #2: Compliance Violation
For businesses in specific industries, there are compliance laws that need to be observed for sensitive information. Storing this information in your business’s cloud computing solution can potentially yield unexpected troubles. For example, if this information were to be compromised, what would you do? Depending on the situation, you will be required to inform the victim of the breach, or be subject to a costly fine.
If you’re unsure of whether or not your system is meeting the protocol of certain compliance laws, we can help to ensure that you’re brought up to speed. Chances are, if you collect and store sensitive data anywhere on your network, you should be concerned about compliance laws. Let Net It On analyze your network to find out where you need to be to accommodate this information.
Risk #3: Major Downtime
One of the biggest detriments that can result from a solely cloud-based IT infrastructure is the potential for major downtime. When you store your infrastructure on the cloud, you’re basically hosting it online. Naturally, you’ll need Internet access in order to fully access your cloud’s data. If this connection is lost, this means that there’s no more access to your cloud data, and in turn, lost access to any productivity applications hosted on it. If you’re not hosting files locally, you’ll be in quite the debacle.
This is why it’s important to store important information and applications both locally on your network, and in the cloud. Not only does this improve access to specific mission-critical assets, but it also improves mobility. By utilizing the cloud, remote workers can have the same access to information that they would if they were in the office.
For proven technology solutions that are designed to enhance and improve your business’s operations, contact Net It On at (732) 360-2999.

1 Million Websites Soon to Be at Risk Due to Change in Encryption Protocol

Eventually, one technology gets replaced by another and users of the older technology must upgrade, or else risk running an inefficient operation. This upgrade-or-be-obsolete scenario plays out most often with software, like with SHA1, the Internet’s most popular encryption protocol, slated to have its SSL certificates expire on January 1, 2017.
Essentially, any website using SHA1 certificates after this date will have problems loading, and may even be vulnerable to hacks. Websites that utilize SHA1 protocol are signified by HTTPS, which include many of the most popular websites on the Internet. In fact, ZDNet goes so far as to describe SHA1 protocol as “the cryptographic hashing algorithm that’s been at the heart of the web’s security for a decade.”
For a decade, SHA1 security has provided users with the peace of mind that their sensitive content is encrypted and can’t be skimmed by hackers, but all of this is about to change. Soon, a significant number of older devices won’t be capable of processing the new SHA2 security protocol certificates, which will put their sensitive data at risk. ZDNetputs a number to these at-risk websites; “About 24 percent of SSL-encrypted websites still use SHA1 -- or, about 1 million websites.”
Thankfully, the situation is improving every day as more websites update their protocol. In fact, it’s estimated that by the end of this year, the number of websites utilizing SHA1 technology will decrease by 90%. So no need to hit the panic button quite yet. Although, the expiration of SHA1 is still expected to leave enough websites vulnerable to cause concern and warrant caution when browsing the Internet. ZDNet puts this threat into perspective:
For most people, there's nothing to worry about. The majority are already using the latest Chrome or Firefox browser, the latest operating system, or the newest smartphone with the latest software, which are compatible with the old SHA1-hashed websites and the newer SHA2-hashed websites. But many, particularly those in developing nations, who are running older software, devices, and even "dumb phones," the candy bar cell phones that have basic mobile internet, will face a brick wall, because their devices aren't up-to-date enough to even know what SHA2 is.
The expiration of SHA1 security protocol is just one example of why it’s vital to stay on top of upgrading all of your company’s mission-critical software. A more common upgrading situation that companies run into is when their operating system expires and is no longer supported with security patches provided by the software developer, like with the recent examples of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.
It can be a chore to stay on top of upgrading every piece of technology in your office, let alone stay current with software licenses so that you don’t get fined. This is why Net It On does this for you as part of our managed IT service. We are able to remotely monitor the software situation of your entire IT infrastructure and take care of any needed upgrades, security patches, and software licenses. Call us today at (732) 360-2999 and never get caught using outdated technology again.

Tip of the Week: Find Success By Building a Professional Network On Facebook

It’s a known fact that social media is a great asset for the modern business owner to leverage, but you wouldn’t believe how often it’s misconstrued as a waste of time. In fact, social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even YouTube, are so commonplace nowadays in the business world that your organization could fall behind others that properly utilize them. Facebook, in particular, is a powerful tool that can be used for online networking purposes.
Facebook can be an effective tool for growing your professional network in your chosen industry. As reported by CIO, here are five great ways you can use Facebook to your advantage and effectively make lasting connections.
Make a Choice: LinkedIn vs Facebook
One of the most common rebuttals to Facebook is that it’s not only a massive time waster (for those who have little self-control), but it’s not as effective at professional networking as its competitor, LinkedIn. The primary difference between the two is that LinkedIn is specifically designed for use by professional organizations to connect with industry professionals. It’s completely formal. Facebook is informal and, generally, the more personal choice which allows you to be seen as more than just a suit and tie. You’re seen as a person; after all, isn’t that the point of social media?
Besides that fact, LinkedIn is generally not part of the average user’s daily routine, while Facebook has been ingrained into the very fabrics of society over the past decade. Everyone and their brother is on Facebook, so you can know for certain that you’ll find some like-minded folks who want to get to know you.
Determining Your Target Groups
One of the best features about Facebook is that business owners like yourself can make and join Groups, where they can discuss topics related to their industry. There are two types of groups: public, which can be joined by anyone; and closed, which require a user to send a request to join to a group administrator. You should try searching for groups like “New Jersey Small Businesses,” or those with similar criteria. Or, you can search for groups dedicated to enthusiasts within your industry. Either way, the point of groups is to find like-minded individuals and connect with them in a virtual space.
When You Find a Group, Introduce Yourself
Before jumping into the action, you should take a moment to introduce yourself to the group and explain what you’re all about. While Facebook is indeed a great tool for meeting people, you should take into account that these are potential colleagues you’re dealing with. In other words, you want to come off as a friendly and entertaining professional who wants to give back to both the community and your chosen industry. Keep in mind that it’s still an informal environment, and you should treat is as such.
Start Sharing Knowledge and Contributing Insight
While it’s often recommended that you “lurk” in the group at first to get an idea of the culture and demographic of it, you shouldn’t be shy about sharing what you know with them. Ask for opinions on ideas and help those in need. You’ll be able to show the members of the group what you know, which will establish your authority and help them see you as a valuable asset.
Create Local Events for Group Members
If all members of your chosen group are local, it can often be beneficial to expand your relationship beyond the digital space. Try setting up events like seminars or conferences that are designed to help group members understand a certain topic. If you get people involved with your brand and your work, you’ll be able to foster an interest in it that can lead to more exposure down the road.
What are some of your favorite ways to connect with prospects on Facebook? Let us know in the comments.

3 Favorite Technologies Politicians Use to Connect With Voters

Technology is everywhere. Coincidentally, that is exactly where every political candidate wants to be. With the 24/7 news cycle and social media leading the charge, technology has become one of the most important aspects of election season. The lead-up to any election is a tense time for the candidates, and for their supporters. With public arguments being had about different philosophies, ideologies, and platforms, it’s important to understand how today’s candidates handle technology while on the campaign trail.
Here is how some of the most noteworthy campaigns utilize technology to push their message, and their candidate into the mind's eye of potential voters.
Social Media
Social media has become some of the most important technologies used for the modern campaign, and the world as a whole. As seen from the Arab spring protests, it can even topple governments, push ideologies to the forefront, and provide the once unengaged electorate a voice about what topics are most important. It has completely changed the way people view elections.
Campaigns start on social media. Once a candidate assembles the team he or she will use to try to win an election (or re-election), it is then about polling interest and, ultimately, broadcasting their platform out to their constituency. One of the best methods politicians and their staffs have at their disposal is to utilize the interconnected world we live in to their benefit. Political discussions are some of the most divisive (and engaging) on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and forums like Reddit.
By campaigning using social networks, candidates are able to get their core platform out and keep up with trending issues when they are politically advantageous, providing the candidates, and the campaign as a whole, a popular outlet in which to communicate to their supporters (and detractors). Many media institutions will pick up these updates, allowing viewers and listeners to get real-time updates about what is going on with the candidate and their camp.
The Smartphone
To today’s would-be politician and his or her staff, the smartphone is one of the most indispensable tools. Not only is there a lot of hand-wringing going on, there are people in the field trying to convince would-be voters to choose a particular candidate. As a result, you have many people calling in, updating the candidates with tips and other information that the candidates and their handlers use to schedule events, create policy platforms, and make the appearances that are important for the candidate to make in order to get his or her message across to the constituency.
Nowadays, with events moving in and out of the public consciousness quickly, candidates can win and lose favor from day-to-day. The utilization of applications that integrate with smartphone technology to push notifications to users is a total game-changer for many campaigns. In fact, some campaigns have tabbed developers to create their own campaign mobile app, where supporters can browse merchandise used to fund the campaign or simply just recent news from the campaign trail. The use of smartphones also provides campaigns with targets for marketing initiatives aimed at increasing the likelihood that their candidate is recognized for his or her contributions and views on certain issues that are most important to their various constituencies.
The Cloud
No matter how local the election is, there are still many miles between constituents. For larger elections, especially, there could be the breadth of a province, a state, or a nation to consider. With this in mind, campaigns are beginning to institute cloud platforms to meet their needs. One major benefit of the cloud platform is that it is existentially scalable and can be implemented quickly. In fact, many secure cloud platforms are as simple to use as entering a password, making them the perfect solution for a campaign that may need to add or subtract users based on its success.
Another benefit that cloud computing provides is that it is easy to budget. Since most cloud platforms are billed monthly, it is great for a campaign that needs to raise money in order to meet their financial responsibilities. For whatever reason, some candidates decide to throw in the towel and put their support behind another candidate, and the cloud platform can be just discontinued, wasting less money.
Finally, the collaborative nature of a campaign is well documented. Cloud computing; specifically a hosted Software as a Service offering, allows for dynamic collaboration. Users can work on projects together better than ever before through a cloud platform. Since users can use the apps from anywhere on nearly every device, it makes for an efficient alternative to traditional computing solutions.
These technology solutions aren’t just used by haughty campaigns, they are used by businesses from all over the world to help drive progress forward. At Net It On, we provide managed services and other IT services to facilitate positive change for businesses like yours. Call us today at (732) 360-2999 to learn more.

Is Windows 10 Living Up to the Expectations of Microsoft?

The hype train keeps chugging along for Windows 10, and it’s obvious why. It’s a great operating system that’s changing the way that businesses handle their daily tasks. But is Windows 10 doing as well as it lets on? According to desktop operating system usage statistics from NetMarketShare, Windows 10’s adoption rate has significantly slowed down in recent months, while more people continue to take advantage of Windows 7 and 8.x. Why?
graph ib1
As of October 2015, only a minuscule 7.84 percent of desktop users have Windows 10, while the Windows 7 OS remains as popular as ever at 55.71 percent. Even the somewhat loathed Windows 8 and 8.1 combined have a greater desktop share than Windows 10 at 13.22 percent. Perhaps the most surprising (and somewhat terrifying) part of this chart is that sliver of Windows XP users; despite the fact that it’s an unsupported and unsafe operating system, 11.68 percent of desktop users still run Windows XP.
One thing is made clear from this chart: the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” is still a prevalent line of thought when it comes to technology. People will continue to use older operating systems long after a better and more recent model is released, for the sole purpose that they’re comfortable using it and don’t want to use the money on something they don’t “need,” so to speak. The problem here is that there’s plenty of risks involved in using outdated operating systems, especially those that are unsupported by Microsoft.
Using technology that’s long past its expiration date is similar to drinking a tall glass of milk past its expiration date. You can probably expect it to work as intended for a couple of days past its “sell by” date without going rotten on you, but the fact remains that one day you’re going to pour yourself a rancid glass of cow juice. You won’t be able to drink the milk, let alone use it for recipes that require it. In the end, you’ll be stuck in a bind and have to buy new milk. Your technology might seem fine past its expiration date, but it’s basically a ticking time bomb. Once it’s unsupported, it won’t have access to any mission-critical patches and security updates, rendering it vulnerable to hacking attacks and threats designed to infiltrate your specific operating system. Basically, the only way you can prevent this from happening is to “buy some new milk.” In other words, take a proactive stance by planning for upgrades before your technology reaches its expiration date. Criminals aren’t picky about how they get into your network infrastructure, and they’ll gladly use any means you provide for them against you; including operating system flaws.
As you might imagine, making sure that your systems are always updated and kept current with recent technology innovations can be a challenge. Net It On can handle this burden for you with our remote monitoring and maintenance solution. This takes the in-house IT maintenance responsibilities that your staff might have, and outsources them to our highly-skilled technicians. We can remotely monitor your infrastructure for issues that need addressing, and issue patches and security updates to your entire IT infrastructure in the blink of an eye. This helps you focus on running your business rather than ensuring your technology is up to date and functional.
However, you don’t want to just blindly upgrade your infrastructure to new operating systems. You need to be aware of how your tech upgrades will affect the legacy applications that are critical to your everyday operations. You should always contact Net It On before making any drastic changes to your infrastructure.
Even if Windows 10’s adoption rate is somewhat slow, you can change the way your business functions by integrating it into your business infrastructure. For more information about Windows 10, give us a call at (732) 360-2999.

Tip of the Week: Here’s the Easiest Way We’ve Found to Merge 2 Email Accounts

If you’ve been a computer user for some time, there is a distinct possibility that you have more than one email account. At the very least you have your home address, and it’s increasingly likely that your college, your place of employment, your ISP, or some other organization has issued some sort of email address. There is now a way to combine these accounts into a single email address of your choice.
Of course, users could always migrate their antiquated email addresses, but it is a detailed and time-consuming process. The application YippieMove has streamlined this process. It helps users move their email between ISPs, which is what needs to happen to produce a clean merge. YippieMove makes it so you don’t have to bother shutting down dilapidated accounts (on the off chance that someone important were to contact you there).
The YippieMove platform currently costs $15 per account and is compatible with dozens of email providers and ISPs. For a listing of the most popular ISPs that the app works with, visit YippieMove’s about us page, here.
The transfer process is simple and easy to follow. All you will need to do is know what address you would like to move, what address you would like to move the messages to, and what files you are looking to transfer. You can transfer the following information:
  • Drafts
  • Inbox
  • Saved
  • Saved/SavedMs
  • Sent items
  • Spam
  • Voicemail
The service takes less than 24 hours to complete. Enjoy the convenience of having a single conduit for all of your incoming messages by utilizing the YippieMove app. If you would like more information on how the YippieMove transfer process works, visit their help page, here.
The weblog Online Tech Tips has released some advice for troubleshooting this process in the event that you encounter some problems:
It’s worth noting that the website does not give you any error message if you mistype your login credentials on the first two steps. When you get to step 3, it’ll be empty instead of listing out the folders. In that case, go back and retype your login credentials. Also, if you’re using two-factor on any of the accounts, you will probably have to disable it in order to do the transfer.
YippieMove is a wonderful tool for the individual who is searching for an easy way to merge email accounts, but, of course, to merge enterprise-level email accounts together, you may want to consult the technology experts at Net It On. Our certified technicians work daily to help New Jersey small businesses maximize their efficiency using technology. To learn more about what we can do for you, call us today at (732) 360-2999.

YouTube Now Offers a Premium Paid Service, Is It Worth the Money?

YouTube has been a monstrous hit for Internet video enthusiasts ever since its creation, but just recently, it was announced that YouTube now has a premium service called YouTube Red. Now you can watch viral videos and other great entertainment flicks in a whole new way. Still, this change has some people concerned over what it means for their current YouTube watching habits. What do you get with a YouTube Red subscription, anyway?
What is YouTube Red?
The impact that subscription-based streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus have had on the entertainment industry is staggering. We’ve seen people cutting the cord on their cable TV subscriptions in favor of streaming services. Despite these changes to how entertainment is consumed, YouTube has remained free, but with ads for some YouTubers’ videos. Now, however, YouTubers can pay $10/month to get rid of all ads. That means no more waiting to get right to your video browsing.
The only catch here is that YouTube Red is only available in the United States at the present moment. Given time, it will surely spread to other countries around the world. With YouTube Red, you can use any of the following devices for ad-free videos:
  • YouTube and YouTube Gaming apps for both Android and iOS
  • Google Chromecast
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • Video Game Consoles: Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, Playstation 3, and Playstation 4
  • Roku (LT, 1, 2, 2 HD, 2 XS, 3, Streaming Stick, Roku TV)
  • Some smart TVs
Starting in 2016, there will be members-only content from popular YouTube channels, but this content is expected to eventually hit the common masses (with ads). It’s also worth mentioning that a YouTube Red subscription is essentially the same thing as a Google Play Music subscription (ordinarily valued at $10/month). If you already subscribe to Google Play Music, you automatically have access to YouTube Red.
Other YouTube Red Benefits
The primary reason to get YouTube Red is probably to get rid of ads and to take full advantage of Google Play Music, but there are a couple of other handy features that might see some use. YouTube Red allows for the downloading and viewing of videos, as well as listening to videos while your device screen is turned off. Keep in mind that these features only currently work with the mobile YouTube and YouTube Gaming apps for Android and iOS. Here’s some more information about the features:
  • Offline viewing: If you’ve used Google Docs at all, you know you can edit documents offline if you previously set up the “edit offline” feature. YouTube Red lets you do something similar with videos. You can download YouTube videos to your device for offline viewing. These are available for up to 30 days without an Internet connection. Naturally, there are some features that aren’t available while offline, like liking and commenting on the videos, but offline viewing is still a pretty neat benefit that might see some practical use.
  • Background listening: You know how if you lock your device while watching or listening to a music video with the YouTube app, the video pauses and music stops playing? That doesn’t happen with YouTube Red. You can listen to videos while the screen is off, which is great for listening to music or audiobooks.
What This Means for You
YouTube Red might be an interesting new way to consume online videos, but it should be mentioned that this doesn’t affect the way you currently use YouTube in the slightest. Nonsubscribers can still enjoy the same benefits that they’ve come to know and love, but with the minor nuisance of ads. Basically, whether or not you take advantage of YouTube Red will probably be determined by just how desperate you are to eliminate ads, and whether or not you want to use both Google Play Music and the new download feature.
What are your thoughts on YouTube Red? Share them with us in the comments.

What it Takes to Successfully Migrate to the Cloud

Now that the cloud has become an affordable and versatile part of the business environment, more organizations than ever are moving to take advantage of it as much as possible. However, for the folks who are new to cloud computing, you might want to hold your horses and take a look at how you can prepare to move your business to the cloud. Doing so can alleviate some of the challenges that come from overhauling your IT infrastructure.
It’s no surprise that the cloud is a highly sought-after technology for businesses. According to a 2014 survey, nearly 70 percent of enterprises take advantage of some type of cloud technology, be it a cloud-based application, cloud storage, or an entirely cloud-based IT infrastructure. Before jumping too deep into the cloud, consider the following precautions.
Why Are You Moving to the Cloud?
Before committing to a cloud solution, you should assess your current IT assets and consider why you’re moving to the cloud. Do you want greater mobility for your data? Do you want to improve your organization's accessibility to mission-critical data? Regardless of your reasoning for moving to the cloud, it likely falls under one of these criteria.
The cloud has the capabilities of performing all of these feats, and then some. By storing information in the cloud, your business’s employees can access information whenever and however they want on approved devices. The cloud can also be used to store and access critical applications that are necessary for everyday operations, improving accessibility and, in turn, productivity.
Depending on what you want out of your cloud solution, you can invest in a private cloud platform which maximizes control, a public cloud system which promotes user efficiency, or a hybrid solution that combines the benefits of both public and private clouds. Your cloud model will likely be determined based around how much control you want over your data, as well as any security regulations your business needs to have in place.
What Are the Challenges?
Moving to an entirely cloud-based infrastructure has significant requirements. For one, you need to have the technology to guarantee access to your infrastructure at all times. This means keeping your systems online and functional at all costs. If you lose access to your infrastructure, you’ll experience expensive downtime that can crush your IT budget. This is why it’s so important to ensure that your business’s Internet connection is capable of handling the increased traffic that comes from using cloud-based technology.
Furthermore, some businesses that want to move to the cloud might still be taking advantage of legacy applications that may not be compatible with more recent operating systems. This makes moving to the cloud tricky, even for seasoned in-house technology departments. Any drastic change to your business’s IT infrastructure should only be made after a careful analysis of the costs, benefits, and challenges.
This is where Net It On comes in. Our skilled and knowledgeable technology professionals have what it takes to identify potential challenges and problems associated with moving your entire IT infrastructure to the cloud. To discuss what the best way to approach cloud computing is for your business, contact us at (732) 360-2999.

Tip of the Week: 3 Steps to Find Your Email Message in Gmail

If your business uses Gmail as its preferred email client, then you know that it’s a great way to keep communications running smoothly. Sometimes, however, a message might fall through the cracks, and you’ll need to locate it in order to acquire certain information. Gmail has made it easy to locate lost messages with their search feature.
Normally, if you wanted to perform a search in Gmail, all you would have to do is enter your search terms into the search bar at the top of the screen. While this is somewhat helpful for finding messages in your inbox, you also have several other options for searching through Gmail for your messages. Here are three tips that can help you perform a thorough search for your missing messages.
First, enter your search results in the search bar. If you don’t find your desired messages, click the down arrow:
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You’ll see a window where you can sort through your messages according to your search specifications, including sender, receiver, subject, and keywords. You can even omit certain results by using the “Doesn’t have” field. There are checkboxes for where you can specify whether or not the message has attachments, and you can place a size or date range to help narrow down the search further.
The most notable of these features, however, is the top button that defaults to “All Mail.” If you click it, you should see a whole range of options that you can use to search through the specific parts of Gmail, including the inbox, sent messages, and even the spam or trash. This helps to ensure that you don’t miss an email ever again.
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If there is a message in your spam or trash, and it matches your search query, a message should appear underneath your inbox that says “Some messages in Trash or Spam match your search. View messages.” If you click the link, you’ll be taken to the messages, where you can view them at your leisure.
Please keep in mind that this latest update to Gmail only applies to the Web application at this moment. It’s not currently available on Gmail’s mobile applications, but may be coming in the future.
What are your thoughts concerning Gmail’s search features? Let us know in the comments.