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Welcome to our blog where you can find everything from tech-tips to keeping your data secure. Have any questions? We'd love to hear from you!

10 Best Microsoft Teams Tips for Business Pros

10 Best Microsoft Teams Tips for Business Pros

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, people across the world have been getting used to new technologies at a startling pace. Ask just about anyone before 2020 if they had ever heard of Zoom and you’d probably get “No, what’s that?” in response. Now it’s a household name.

The same could probably be said for Microsoft Teams—or Microsoft, anyway. Just about everyone knows this company. Right now, you might be using a Windows operating system (Microsoft) and using Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, or another application in Office 365. Now Teams is on the radar of a lot of people, too. In March, Teams usage had ballooned to 44 million daily active users from just 20 million in November.

The chat-based collaboration tool lets you use audio, video, screen sharing, and document sharing (SharePoint) to work over the internet with your coworkers—but you probably knew that much. But here are some features you might not be aware of.

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10 Things Successful Remote Workforces Do

10 Things Successful Remote Workforces Do

The rapid adoption of remote work is an exciting development across the globe. While there are some hurdles to clear in establishing a successful remote workforce, companies that utilize one have the ability to garner the best talent, regardless of location. When workers don’t have to physically commute, they can do the same great work from much farther distances. A Georgi-based company can work with an employee in Vermont without her having to fly back and forth every day. 

That all makes sense, but how do you run a successful remote operation?

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Staying Organized While Working from Home

Staying Organized While Working from Home

It’s unsurprising that the transition to remote work has been so difficultMost companies lacked adequate systems and policies to respond to the sudden, urgent need to move people off-siteThere’s a simple reason for that.“We spent the last 120 years learning how people can be productive in an office,” explains Hiten Shah, an entrepreneur and adviser to remote-work companies.

Most businesses still have to learnthat remote work is different, says The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson. And while the percent of the U.S. labor force working from home has tripled in the last fifteen years, most workers were not adequately prepared for this change, either. 

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The Tech Tip That Can Overhaul Your Remote Workday

The Tech Tip That Can Overhaul Your Remote Workday

Now that you’re working from home, your workday probably looks a lot different. For a lot of us who weren’t planning on making this transition, the road has been a little bumpy. There are pros and cons to working from home. Many of us are discovering those now.

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Disinfect Your Tech (And House): Here’s How

Disinfect Your Tech (And House): Here’s How

People around the globe are reacting to the spread of COVID-19, the coronavirus strain that was first discovered in Wuhan, China, in 2019. The measures that are being taken—business closures, event cancellations, social distancing, work from home policies—are all aimed at preventing the spread of this infectious disease. We all play an important role in protecting the vulnerable members of society, and no one wants to get sick. So, let’s look in depth at a simple step you can take to keep yourself and your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and peers healthy: disinfecting your devices.

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Easy Cybersecurity Solutions for Employees

Easy Cybersecurity Solutions for Employees

“Important updates are pending,” reads the white-on-blue alert on your computer screen. “Ready? Restart now. Not ready? Pick a time that works for you.”

At the bottom of the blue box is a button you’ve been pressing every day for the last two weeks. It says, “Remind me later.”

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What is your Identity Worth to You?

Your identity has quite a lot of value, especially in the wrong hands. Security firm ZoneAlarm put together some numbers in 2011 concerning identity fraud, and it even shocked us. Let's talk about a few of these statistics and what it means.

First of all, what shocked us the most is that according to the FTC, in the United States, 9 million individuals have their identities stolen each year. Identity theft is a little different than identity fraud, however. Theft is when personal information is exposed and taken without permission. This is happening all the time by malicious software like spyware, but it can also happen when legitimate websites and services get infiltrated by cybercriminals. If a reputable online store (or even a database for a brick and mortar store) gets hacked into, your personal information can be stolen. That's identity theft.

Identity fraud is when that data is misused for financial gain. This is when things start to get very dangerous. In 2009, $56 billion dollars were accumulated by cyber criminals through identity fraud. The good news is in 2010 that number went down to "only" $37 billion. What does that mean to the average person? On average, victims of identity fraud had $4,841 dollars stolen per victim. Trouble is, the world has had to improve drastically to protect consumers from identity fraud. This means higher costs of doing business which then get reflected on prices of products and services. In other words, because of identity fraud, we all lose.

How does your data get stolen?  There are plenty of ways, but here are a few popular methods:
 

  1. Hackers can pick up credentials via public Wi-Fi and public PCs.
  2. Credit Card Skimming - a process that involves your credit card data being stolen when your credit card is swiped at a standard ATM or credit card terminal.
  3. Selling or discarding used computer equipment that isn't properly wiped can expose personal information.
  4. Hackers can infiltrate networks and databases.
  5. Dumpster diving and paper mail theft.
  6. Malware and viruses
  7. Phishing.


In almost half of reported identity theft cases, the victim knew the criminal.

What do you do if your identity is stolen?

Almost half of all reports of identity frauds are discovered by the user first, although banks and credit card companies have methods in place to stay on top of it as well. If your financial credentials are stolen, you need to contact your bank and/or credit card companies immediately, both by phone and in writing. You'll want to file a police report with details about where your identity was stolen, what you believe was or could have been stolen, and documented proof of the crime.

You don't want to risk identity fraud. Monitor your credit reports closely, shred sensitive mail and documents before throwing them away, and ensure your computers and network are running latest security updates and antivirus, as well as other security measures. For a complete review of your security, contact us at (508) 453-4700 and we will help pinpoint vulnerabilities and fill in the cracks before a costly event occurs.

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Microsoft Excel Tips and Tricks

There are two kinds of Microsoft Excel users in the world: Those who make neat little tables, and those who amaze their colleagues with sophisticated charts, data analysis, and seemingly magical formula and macro tricks. You, obviously, are one of the latter—or are you? Check our list of 11 essential Excel skills to prove it—or discreetly pick up any you might have missed.

Vlookup

Vlookup is the power tool every Excel user should know. It helps you herd data that's scattered across different sheets and workbooks and bring those sheets into a central location to create reports and summaries.

 

Vlookup helps you find information in large data tables such as inventory lists.

Say you work with products in a retail store. Each product typically has a unique inventory number. You can use that as your reference point for Vlookups. The Vlookup formula matches that ID to the corresponding ID in another sheet, so you can pull information like an item description, price, inventory levels and other data points into your current workbook.

Summon the vlookup formula in the formula menu and enter the cell that contains your reference number. Then enter the range of cells in the sheet or workbook from which you need to pull data, the column number for the data point you’re looking for, and either “True” (if you want the closest reference match) or “False” (if you require an exact match).

 

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How to Identify a Phishing Scam

Recently there has been a lot of talk about phishing scams. But what are they really? A phishing scam is when someone contacts you for sensitive information supposedly on behalf of a reputable company. For instance, you may receive a phone call or an email from someone claiming to be from a company such as Paypal requesting information about yourself as well as your account in order to continue using their services. The scammers may do this by providing you with a link to a fake website where you are asked to enter the information. They may simply have a form embedded in an email for you to fill out. They may even directly ask for the information via phone or email.

You may be asking yourself, “Why do I care about these phishing scams?” You definitely should not brush them aside. Scammers who successfully receive this information can do a lot of harm to yourself as well as your business. When scammers get a hold of login information to an account (i.e. your online banking account) they will likely first change the password so that you cannot login and change it yourself. They will then take advantage of the access by transferring funds to their own accounts or even making purchases on your behalf using your money. These scammers can even go as far as stealing your identity which gives them endless possibilities. Once a scammer has enough information to steal your identity, they can open bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages, car loans, and many other forms of financing and they will not pay the bills. This means that all of this debt that this scammer is building up in your name, you will have to pay off whether it be monetarily or with jail time.

But how does one tell the difference between a legitimate request for information and a scammer trying to steal your identity? Phishing scams either by phone or email will almost always request sensitive information of some type in some form. These emails will all likely be addressed universally since they are sent to so many people at a time. Most companies, banks, and other financial institutions will not request such information in this manner. An easy way to avoid having this information stolen would be to simply not enter the information. The likelihood of a reputable company requesting information using a mass email blast is highly unlikely. If the company needed to contact you about your account they would address you directly.

If you think you have received a scam email, DO NOT click the links within it, do not supply any of the requested information, do not attempt to contact the sender of the email, do not open any attachments supplied with the email. Give us a call or send the email in a ticket to the Machado Consulting help desk. We can review the email and let you know whether if it is legitimate or a scam. If you think that you may have already supplied information to a scammer please let us know and we can assist you with the necessary steps to protect your account from being compromised.

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