Friday, January 29, 2021

Tip of the Week: How to Waste Less Time on Your Email

 As much as we all rely on emails throughout the workday, they can be an intense pain to manage, which only makes it a hassle to deal with and can actively make it less useful for your users. We want to help you avoid this outcome, so we’re sharing a few tips to make the management of your email that much more effective.

Unsubscribe to Things You Don’t Need

One of the biggest wastes of time in email is the clutter than builds up as the days pass. First, you wind up spending far more time in your inbox than you should, and second, it becomes far more difficult to find the important items you’ve been sent in your email.

It only makes sense to eliminate the extra messages that are left in your inbox. As they come in, consider how important they are for you to receive, and unsubscribe to those feeds as appropriate. This shouldn’t be difficult, as all promotional materials are mandated to give subscribers the capability to opt out.

Sort Emails Automatically

You can also set up your email to automatically sort your messages into the appropriate categories as they come in. These categories will be called different things based on the email solution you’ve chosen to use—in Gmail, they’re referred to as “labels,” while Outlook calls them “folders.” Once you’ve defined the categories you want to use, you can set up filters to automatically sort the emails into the appropriate categories.

This means that your email comes in presorted, or you could take more of a manual route and add it to a category set aside for materials you intend to review later. You can set aside categories for specific contacts, for specific topics, whatever criteria works best for your purposes.

Write Email Templates

How many of your emails basically follow the same format? To help you save time, you can write these emails once and, if you save the copy as a template, only have to customize it a little each time you send it afterwards. Naturally, this small investment of time can make your workflows moving forward much more efficient.

Check Your Email Less, and Only Respond When Needed

Finally, one of the most effective ways to reduce the time you spend managing your email is to simply stop checking it so often. Clicking the “check mail” button can be oddly addictive, so make sure you and the rest of your team are resisting the temptation as much as is practical for each person’s individual role.

On a related note, a lot of time can be wasted by responding to emails that, frankly, don’t require a response. Make sure your team is using their best judgement as they review (and send) their emails, only checking in when needed or requested. It helps to remind your team that not every email that hits their inbox necessarily requires their full attention. Make sure that everyone knows what to look out for and focuses their energies on those messages.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Why Businesses are Embracing Network Monitoring

 Your technology infrastructure is perhaps one of the most important elements for your business, which means that you need to be sure that it is always prepared to perform as it should. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be a challenge. Let’s go over how you can address this challenge so that you can accomplish as much as possible.

Examining the Importance of a Business’ Infrastructure

There is little question that a business’ computing network is one of its most crucial assets, almost definitely being the most utilized each day. Consider your own usage for a second: how many of the processes you undergo every day are somehow made more efficient by the integration of technology? Quite a few common tasks have been made more productive by incorporating IT, with communication commonly benefitting as well.

By this logic, your operational success is directly related to your network’s continuity, which means that cyberthreats and technology issues should be considered threats to your success and, in the worst of cases, your business’ survival.

Recognizing this, many business owners, leaders, and other decision makers are already acting to minimize these kinds of risks. One action that many have undergone is to adopt monitoring solutions that help them to keep an eye on their technology and network infrastructure.

Why Monitoring Your IT Infrastructure is a Good Plan

It all depends on your perspective. Would you rather be aware of issues that were on your network so that they could be fixed, or would you rather be unaware and allow them to continue being a detriment to your operations?

I know how I would answer this question.

While the term “monitoring” is somewhat reminiscent of surveillance, this context is almost entirely positive. Using various tools, you are given the capability to keep an eye on the whole of your business’ infrastructure to better spot issues so that you can resolve them more efficiently. These monitoring tools take a variety of considerations into account, including:

  • The health and functionality of your actual infrastructure
  • The capability and security of your network
  • The efficacy and availability of your team’s business applications

With the kind of monitoring tools we’re referring to, you’ll get greater transparency into your network’s health, allowing you to mitigate any factors that could lead to downtime. Naturally, this level of monitoring takes no small amount of time… time that should be spent by your team striving toward your organization’s goals.

Trust us to monitor your solutions for you.

Net It On has extensive experience in providing remote monitoring and maintenance services to businesses a lot like yours, promptly catching and containing many IT issues before they can detract from your business processes. We’re also on-hand to assist your team members with any technical issues they may encounter with our professional and prompt support services.

Friday, January 15, 2021

When Your Contacts Aren’t Your Contacts - Display Name Spoofing

 Business success is often tied to the quality of your business relationships. There are a lot of people you need to trust: your vendors to get you whatever supplies you need, your team to complete their responsibilities without letting in threats, and your customers to turn to you for what they need. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are willing to take advantage of such trust to accomplish their own ends.

A cybercriminal really couldn’t care less how much trust you share with your many contacts unless they can use that trust to their advantage. That’s why phishing scams exist, and why a particular approach to them—display name spoofing—can be particularly effective.

Let’s go over what display name spoofing is, and how to prevent it from infiltrating your business.

Understanding Display Name Spoofing

Display name spoofing is a tactic that many hackers will include in their phishing attacks. Phishing is a scam where a cybercriminal will reach out, posing as someone else or as an organization, to subvert your security by manipulating someone in your business. By spoofing their display name, these attacks are made even more effective. Let’s break down how display name spoofing works.

Email signatures are common in the business world, which gives cybercriminals who use display name spoofing an advantage. Once the cybercriminal selects their target, they intently research that target to find someone who might be able to influence their behaviors and then target them posing as that someone.

As a result, display name spoofing could look something like this:

Looking closely, the only sign that something here is questionable is the email address… and considering that some email clients don’t show the full address by default, many employees may not even consider that an email isn’t legitimate.

How to Fight Back Against Display Name Spoofing

Consider the kinds of security you should have implemented around your business. You lock the doors, you may have security cameras, and you should have some access control policies to make sure that your employees can use the resources they need to do their jobs. Similar security measures should be put in place to protect your digital assets as well.

To do so effectively, you need to have a strategy in place that acknowledges the hard reality that your business will be faced with a phishing attack. As a crucial part of this, your team needs to be trained so they are ready to spot these attacks and respond accordingly.

Here are a few ways you can gauge whether a message can be trusted or not:

  • Thoroughly inspect both the name and sender’s email address before you act.
  • Check the content for misspellings or completely incorrect uses of grammar.
  • Consider if the sender would send a message asking you to take cavalier action.
  • Consider if the sender would ask you to send them authorization credentials through email.

If one of your team members ever doubts the veracity of an email they receive, you need to be sure that they know to—and how to—properly verify it. Doing so generally takes minutes and can significantly reduce the risks that display name spoofing presents.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Taking a Look at Some Innovative Smartphones

 Last week we took a look at some of the flagship smartphones that are on the market to give you a good idea of this year’s cream of the proverbial crop, but in 2020 smartphone innovation has taken a big leap forward. Today, we take a look at some of the devices that are pushing the envelope in the smartphone space.

LG Wing

The LG Wing is the first device we are going to look at that has changed things up. It looks like a standard smartphone would, but when you get it in your hand a flick of the thumb changes everything. The LG Wing has a 6.8-inch P-OLED display that flips up to horizontal and exposes a smaller 3.9-inch G-OLED display that’s housed underneath. 

The Wing is built from aluminum and Gorilla Glass 5 front and back and runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G. It carries 8 GB of RAM and a 4,000 mAh battery that lasts a little longer with the lack of a premium chipset. The tri-camera setup includes a 64-megapixel wide angle lens and dual ultrawide angle lenses of different speeds.

As unique as the form factor is, the LG Wing presents some innovative new options for users and software developers alike. It is currently available in Aurora Gray and Illusion Sky and will be coming to most carriers soon.

LG Wing
Body: Aluminum with Gorilla Glass 5 Front and Back
Display: 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x (~511 ppi)
OS: Android 10
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Expandable Memory: Yes (microSDXC)
Cameras: Rear - 64 MP (wide), 13MP (ultra wide), 12 MP (ultra wide) Front - 32 MP (wide)
Sounds: Loudspeaker, No Headphone Jack
Battery (endurance rating): 4,000 mAh (87 hours)
Security: In-screen fingerprint reader
Miscellaneous: Accelerometer, Gyrometer, Proximity, Compass, IP54 dust/water
Other versions: None

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2

As smartphones go, the Galaxy Z Fold2 may be the most gratuitous device currently available. Built on an aluminum frame with glass and plastic, the Galaxy Z Fold2 acts like a traditional smartphone when it is folded with a 6.23-inch Super AMOLED display, but when unfolded, the user gets a huge 7.6 inch display that resembles a tablet. 

The device offers specs similar to the Samsung flagship with a Qualcomm 865+ processor, three cameras, and a standard 4,500 mAh battery. It features two selfie cameras, one for each display. With two displays and three sets of cameras, Samsung has eschewed efficiency for a dedication to the form factor. 

Available in Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black, and a Thom Browne Edition Grey, you can get it today from most major carriers. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2
Body: Aluminum with plastic front and Gorilla Glass 6 back
Display: Folded: 6.23-inch Super AMOLED Unfolded: 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X (~373 ppi)
OS: Android 10
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+
Memory: 12 GB RAM
Expandable Memory: No
Cameras: Rear - 12 MP (wide), 12 MP (telephoto) 2x, 12 MP (ultra wide); Front (Folded) - 10 MP (wide); Front (Unfolded) - 10 MP (wide).
Sounds: Stereo Speakers, No Headphone Jack
Battery (endurance rating): 4,500 mAh (87 hours)
Security: Fingerprint reader
Miscellaneous: Accelerometer, Gyrometer, Proximity, Barometer, Compass, Bixby assistant
Other versions: 5G version

Samsung Z Flip and Motorola RAZR 

The Samsung Z Flip and the Motorola RAZR take the nostalgia of the flip phone and turn it into something special. Utilizing the old form factor of the popular flip phone, each device flips open to reveal a smartphone. Pretty ingenious if we may say so.

The Motorola RAZR 5G is actually the second edition smartphone RAZR. Motorola has built a device that features a small display on the front of the phone while folded, but the real gem is the 6.2-inch P-OLED screen while unfolded. The RAZR runs Android 10 on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip and 8 GB of RAM with 256 GB of onboard storage space. 

The Z Flip is Samsung’s attempt at making a similar device, and in many ways they do it better. The Z Flip doesn’t have much of a front facing display, but when you open the device you get a 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED smartphone display that is in line with many of the largest phones currently available. The Z Flip runs Android 10 on a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ processor, the best one Samsung uses at the moment. This provides a Samsung phone experience on a phone that you can fold up and put in your pocket. 

Eventually these thin, flexible OLED screens will allow manufacturers to do some really neat things, but to get the technology off the ground, they will need to make devices that will sell immediately. Latching onto the nostalgia of flip phones is a great way to finance additional innovations. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
Body: Aluminum with Plastic Front and Glass Back
Display: Folded: 1.1-inch Super AMOLED; Unfolded: 6.7-inch Foldable Dynamic AMOLED (~425 ppi)
OS: Android 10
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Expandable Memory: No
Cameras: Rear - 12 MP (wide), 12 MP (ultrawide). Front - 12 MP (wide)
Sounds: Loudspeaker, No Headphone Jack
Battery (endurance rating): 3,300 mAh 
Security: Fingerprint reader
Miscellaneous: Accelerometer, Gyrometer, Proximity, Barometer, Compass, Bixby assistant, IP68 dust/water resistant
Other versions: No

Motorola RAZR 5G
Body: Aluminum with plastic, Gorilla Glass 5
Display: 6.2-inch P-OLED (~373 ppi)
OS: Android 10
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
Memory: 18 GB RAM
Expandable Memory: No
Cameras: Rear - 48 MP (wide)
Sounds: Loudspeaker, No Headphone Jack
Battery (endurance rating): 2,800 mAh
Security: Fingerprint reader
Miscellaneous: Accelerometer, Gyrometer, Proximity, Barometer, Compass, Bixby assistant
Other versions: RAZR (2019)

The rectangular smartphone isn’t going anywhere, but the more that manufacturers are able to create innovative new devices with OLED technology, the more people will be willing to pay a premium price for unique smartphone designs.