Do you have a lot of data?

Are you able to organize your data in a convenient logical way and then search for it with ease and/or with advanced search criteria so that the results are not in the hundreds but in the tens or less?

Is managing it or finding specific data at any given time proving time-consuming? Does that consumption of time eat into your budget?

If any of this is true, you may need an advanced program, something like Advanced eDiscovery that you can use via your Microsoft 365 subscription. It’s great for lawyers and it’s great for just about anyone else in any other industry who needs a better way of managing data.

Here’s how

Advanced eDiscovery helps people like you manage data.

What is Advanced eDiscovery?

First, what is Advanced eDiscovery? You may already be familiar with eDiscovery. eDiscovery is software that helps you process and collect information in a digital form or from digital sources. Examples include:

  • Emails
  • SMS
  • File Shares
  • Web pages
  • Social media
  • Other online documentation

eDiscovery allows you to search and put together information and unstructured data with relative ease. You can also search, tag, review, organize, analyze, and/or export it whenever necessary.

Office 365 Advanced eDiscovery is the next level — it fills many of the gaps left by eDiscovery and incorporates Equivio Zoom technology — Microsoft acquired Equivio in January 2015. Advanced eDiscovery, by optimizing the powerful tools provided by Equivio technology, makes managing data and gathering things like evidence much more efficient and intuitive.

What features does it offer?

The powerful features presented by Advanced eDiscovery include some of the following capabilities:

  • Powerful search capabilities that allow you to:
    • search documents stored within Office 365 as well as information and data outside of Office 365,
    • search using keywords and/or specific conditions defined by the program or added by the user,
    • identify information that is redundant or duplicative,
    • determine the relevance of using advanced predictive coding, and
    • apply tags to in effect label certain documents under one theme.
  • Intuitive organizational capabilities that allow you to:
    • cluster or group information from relevant topics,
    • define who has access to the data or allow only certain persons to view information, and
    • set up notifications.
  • Extensive analysis, reporting, and exporting capabilities that allow you to:
    • analyze data using different criteria,
    • filter information into a specific package using tags or labels that the user created, and
    • generate reports that can be submitted to government agencies or other legal institutions.

How does Microsoft Office 365 Advanced eDiscovery help manage your data?

Managing data is all about the above-mentioned features. Using these features, you can prepare a case, process it, analyze information and data, determine and save what is relevant, create reports, and export information, data, and/or reports.

The following is a breakdown of steps you would typically take when using Microsoft Office 365 Advanced eDiscovery to manage a new set of data:

  • Step 1: Conduct a search and pair down the information by about 60%. You can use different modes and themes to narrow the search.
  • Step 2: Click on the Relevance tab to mark each entry as R (relevant), NR (not relevant), or Skip (for later determination).
  • Step 3: Decide if you should move forward by clicking on the Decide tab.
  • Step 4: If you want to create a package to send to another party, you click on the export tab.

Microsoft Office 365 eDiscovery

Advanced eDiscovery is all about helping users assess their position, protect data and information, and respond to requests for data, information, or compliance issues, among many other uses. There’s a lot to learn about Office 365 programs. It offers a lot of tools, but you can’t build if you do not know how to use the tools. Return to this blog regularly to learn more about these tools to make your professional life more efficient and productive.

How Advanced eDiscovery In Microsoft 365 Helps Manage Data

Multiple Monitors

Looking for ways to help your team accomplish more? Consider equipping their workspaces with additional monitors. Skeptics are likely shaking their heads at this, wondering, “Will that really improve productivity, or only give my employees an extra incentive to stream videos or play games? Aren’t more screens just a recipe for distraction?” Believe it or not, business leaders recommend providing your employees with two or more monitors. Here are just a few reasons why multiple monitors should be on your radar screen:

Digital Decluttering

It’s well-known that a messy workspace typically leads to chaos and confusion. Working at a crowded or disorganized desk requires you to navigate piles of paperwork or jumbles of office supplies to get things done. A cluttered desktop computer has the same effect. An abundance of icons and open tabs creates headaches for your team, while a second monitor keeps apps and programs organized.

Higher Productivity

Industry leaders report that productivity increases with two or more monitors. Users can navigate multiple applications efficiently, view more information simultaneously, and customize each monitor’s layout– with different landscapes and resolutions– to optimize ease-of-use.

Most modern computers are designed with multiple-monitor systems in mind. That means your employees can enjoy the benefits of added data availability without having to learn a new software program or spend valuable time configuring a new system. Those advantages alone are enough to boost productivity and streamline workflows. It’s also worth mentioning that Windows automatically “remembers” which monitor you last used to open a program, defaulting to that screen when you need to access the program again. When you’re multitasking or working on a big project, you can keep application accessibility consistent to maximize efficiency.

Versatility

Multiple screens prove invaluable in a variety of occupations– from graphic design to market analysis and stock-trading. You can easily make use of multiple applications and copy, paste, and edit data and images when you have access to more than one monitor. If your marketing team uses social media to promote your brand, they can reserve one screen for Twitter and Instagram and keep other documents open on another.

Likewise, if you must frequently respond to email, you can glance up from your work occasionally to check the other monitor for new inbox arrivals, rather than having to toggle back and forth within one screen, which can make digital correspondence more of a distraction than it has to be.

Workstations with extra monitors are also helpful for people who use laptops and need to frequent multiple workspaces throughout the day. Some companies provide “docking stations” where employees can connect a laptop to multimedia equipment– such as a monitor, speakers, and wireless keyboards– to access data, utilize a particular application, or perform other tasks. This is more cost-effective and efficient than providing each employee with a desktop and a laptop.

Data-Sharing and Referencing

When meeting with colleagues, you can effectively keep them “in the know” by enabling them to view the same information simultaneously. Whether you’re presenting information to a small group or a larger crowd, multiple monitors can be adjusted to display information from different angles, making it highly-visible to everyone. Similarly, if you are communicating with clients and vendors, you can track inventory or an order’s status without putting people on hold while you look up the information.

When preparing reports, you can have a PDF or HTML file open on one screen for reference while you create a Word document or Excel spreadsheet on another. If you have more than two monitors, you can keep other pertinent information within easy reach, too, allowing you to transition more smoothly from one task to the next.

Collaboration

When teleconferencing via Skype or a similar app, you can make your data visible to colleagues while still communicating almost as though you were face-to-face. Displaying data on one screen while video-chatting on another allows you to keep the interaction personal without compromising data accessibility.

The idea of providing multiple monitors for your staff may seem counterintuitive at first, but the advantages outweigh potential drawbacks. When you make dual-monitor systems a staple of your workplace, using them will become second-nature, especially when you see how they make it possible to move so effortlessly from one application to another. This low-maintenance solution gives your team the opportunity to get more accomplished in less time and paves the way for better communication and collaboration. All these benefits can go a long way toward improving morale and serving as a catalyst for enhanced creativity and innovation.

Can 2 or More Monitors Increase Staff Productivity?

2018 Cybercrime Stats

What Is the Big Picture in Terms of Cybercrime in 2018?

The past few years have revealed trends that show us cybercrime won’t just go away. The following stats put the breadth of the threat into perspective:

  • Cybercrime was the 2nd largest crime in terms of the number of incidents reported.
  • Cybercrime accounts for more than half all criminal activity in the U.K.
  • An attacker is present in a network an average of 146 days before getting caught. That’s enough time to get what they need without getting caught.

What Did Cybercrime Cost in 2018?

With technology continuing to advance in favor of cybercrime, 2019 is likely to see its share of hacking headlines. The Cyber Security Breaches Survey revealed that 43 percent of businesses experienced some kind of cybersecurity breach in 2018. California alone lost $214 million to cybercriminals.

VPNs are one way people try to protect their online privacy, but user behavior continues to counteract the best firewalls and security strategies. For example, despite knowing the risks of clicking an unknown link or email, many people do so anyway.

What is a Cybercrime Platform?

The cybercrime economy mimics the global economy’s shift towards a platform model. This mirrors the legitimate shift to social media, Amazon and Google. Platforms connect retailers and consumers and give people a place to interact in other ways. Unfortunately, this has given unscrupulous people an opportunity to get to know how these systems work and use that knowledge to commit cybercrimes.

What Is the Most Common File Format Used By Cyber Criminals?

Hackers love Microsoft Office file extensions. They know people trust them and are more likely to click on them. Emails are the most common way that cybercriminals defraud their victims, and they do so by sending files with familiar extensions to mask malware and spyware. People use emails every day for all kinds of communications, including very sensitive information. Unfortunately, it’s relatively easy for bad actors to send you an email that opens you up to viruses, identity theft and other risks.

How Are Cyber Criminals Making Money Off Your Computing Power?

Some hackers aren’t interested in your personal information or causing havoc with your sensitive files. Believe it or not, some cyber criminals break into your computer to steal your computing power. They may use these unauthorized resources to mine cryptocurrencies, for example.

One of the latest threats involves the use of your computer or other devices for bitcoin mining. Symantec has reported an increase of 8,500 percent in the number of people caught coin-mining. This indicates that there are hackers dedicated to accessing and using a victim’s computer resources in lieu of stealing personal data.

How Much Money Can a Cybercriminals Make?

The short answer to this is that an individual with the right skills can earn far more via cybercrime than most legitimate lines of work. Individuals can earn about half a million dollar a year by selling stolen data. There are several levels involved, however. Low-level hackers may be happy with petty crimes that put extra cash in their pocket. Highly specialized hackers can make millions working alone or as a team. Generally, though, hackers make about 15 percent more than those in traditional crime brackets. High earners bring home about$167,000 a month, mid-level earners rake in $75,000 a month and at the low end of the spectrum, petty cybercriminals make $3,500 a month. For instance, someone managing multiple card data forums can bring in millions each month.

How Do Hackers Use Existing Platforms to Make Money?

Just turn on the news any given night and you can find stories on data breaches, the bread and butter of cyber thieves. Personal data can be sold as is or used to created bank accounts and apply for credit cards, which are sold for small or large fortunes. Theft isn’t the only crime possible. Major platforms are targeted for the myriad of data they collect. Even Facebook is not immune. It was in the news for a significant data leak in 2018. Yahoo also had a major breach that compromised 3 billion user profiles. Cybercriminals aren’t shy about going after these giants, so it’s up to you to increase your vigilance at home and at the office.

Are Smart Homes Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks?

Smart home devices usually connect to your home network from an outside network. If your router is adequated protected, you’re opening the front door of your home for cybercriminals. With smart home devices becoming more common, savvy criminals are learning to take advantage of their vulnerabilities.

A Look At The 2018 Cybercrime Stats

What Are The 3 Primary Aspects of Network Management?

The network is a vital part of the IT environment – at its core, what are the most important elements of network management?

Think, for a minute, about the many, many parts of a modern IT infrastructure. What comes to mind?

First, you’ll likely think about the parts of it that you and the other staff members actually deal with. The desktop computer that you start up each morning and turn off each night. The printer that you fight with every time you need something in hardcopy. The router with the signal that doesn’t make it quite all the way to the smoking section outside the building.

But what about the other parts?

Think beyond the aspects that represent the user interface. Consider the servers – do you know if they are they stored in a closet or server room on site? Or maybe they’re taken care of a few, or even hundreds of miles away, in a data center. Depending on what cloud applications you use for business every day, the servers you’re relying on may be on the other side of the country.

That’s not all though. You’ve got the technology you use and the technology behind the scenes that you rely on – but what’s the third part of an IT environment? What ties everything together?

The network.

Why Is The Network So Important?

Often the least thought of aspect of an IT infrastructure, the network is just as vital as any other part – why? Because it’s everything. Both literally and otherwise, the network ties everything together, and by definition, includes all aspects of the environment.

Think about it this way. Your heart may be the “star”, the big name of your cardiovascular system, but in reality? It’s your veins, vessels, capillaries, arteries, and other connective parts that make the whole system work. Without them, your heart could pump all it wants – nothing would get anywhere.

Similarly, it doesn’t matter how new and expensive your desktop computers are if they’re not connected to anything. Especially given the prevalence of cloud computing in today’s business world. Whereas at one point, locally-stored data on desktop computers that weren’t connected to a network were “good enough”, these days it’s more likely than not that you’re storing data in the cloud. That means a functional network is a must.

In the same way, it doesn’t matter how fancy and well maintained your servers are. Whether you manage an optimized onsite server farm or pay a huge monthly fee for access to server space in a Tier-3 data center, that will all amount to nothing if your network isn’t managed properly.

So, what’s the answer?

What Are The 3 Main Steps To Managing A Network?

Configure Your Network To Encourage Work

This is a fairly simple idea – if your network is set up to allow employees to go on social media, or access sports and entertainment websites, can you really be sure that they’ll be doing their work every minute of the workday?

Maybe. Maybe you have a staff of truly ethical and committed hard workers who wouldn’t even consider wasting their workday doing something frivolous online.

But it’s not likely.

If you want your staff to focus on their work, then simply take away the distractions. Configure the network to block websites that you don’t need for business purposes.

Implement Security Standards – And Keep Track Of Them 

Security policies are a vital part of network management because they allow you to standardize the way employees handle their access to business data.  By deploying a range of monitoring systems and best practices, you can eliminate variables that would otherwise degrade network integrity. Be sure to consider email monitoring, password policies, personal web use standards, compliance validation, access control, and identity management.  Put simply: all of this can be verified through regular security training for the whole staff. When they understand their role in the security of their network, they’ll do a better job of maintaining it.

Keep An Eye Out

Depending on variables like network complexity, the availability of network management personnel, and others, it can be easy to lose track of activity on a given network. That’s why it’s so important to implement a system or solution that will raise the alarm when something out of the ordinary occurs. Whether this is an automated monitoring solution or a team of IT technicians dedicated to the task, it’s a vital part of network management.

Long story short: the network is simply too important to overlook, just because it’s not the technology you see or think about every day. The best way to protect your network and ensure it’s being used properly for business purposes is to work with an expert partner like K2 Technologies. We’ve recently been named a Premier Partner by Calyptix Security and will equip you with their proven network security and management solutions.

Like this article? Check out Watch Out for This New Type of Scam Email! The Hidden Costs of Your Next Data Breach or What Are The Top Cybersecurity Predictions For 2019? to learn more.

Managing Your Network Effectively (Questions/Answers)

Facebook Messenger

Users of Facebook Messenger, which number over 1.2 billion people worldwide, now have a new feature that makes life a bit easier after making an “oops.” An oops is a mistake in an instant message that is immediately noticed, right after sending it, by the person who wrote it. It could be that a message includes a goofy typo. Typos are usually much easier to see right after sending a message than before sending it. This is a psychological thing.

The need for message deletion could also come from a message intended for one person that might be accidentally sent to the wrong person or incorrectly to a group. It could be that a group message was sent to someone who should not be included.

One thing that is helpful with this new feature is the ability to remove a photo that was sent in error. If the person receiving the message with the photo does not make a copy of it, it is possible that the mistake goes away when deleted by using the new unsend feature.

This may save considerable embarrassment. There is probably nothing more unfortunate than sending an explicit photo to your mother by accident. Hopefully, she does not see it before you get a chance to unsend it and send her a new message with the correct photo attached.

Ten Minutes to Change Your Mind

Now, for up to ten minutes after being sent, Facebook Messenger allows a person to delete a message. It disappears and then in its place appears the notation that the message was deleted.

Be aware, that there is no delay in sending the message out. Perhaps, if the receiver of the message is not paying close attention to their Facebook Messenger, the message may go unread. However, if a person already read the message, they know what it was about. The time limit of ten minutes for deletion also means that a message is not changeable the next day after a late night, drunken, message-sending binge.

Everyone Has Zuckerberg Unsend Power Now

The idea for message deletion on Facebook Messenger came from users who noticed that some of Mark Zuckerberg’s messages would disappear after a certain amount of time expired. Zuckerberg had this power to remove the messages if he changed his mind about the content with an afterthought. This was a superpower built into Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook account that allowed him or his assistants to delete messages but was not part of the overall Facebook Messenger software’s capabilities.

Facebook Messenger users in droves petitioned the company to give them this unsend power for their accounts. The company agreed to do this and leaks came out during 2018 that this upgrade was underway.

Facebook also owns WhatsApp. Facebook bought WhatsApp for $14 billion in October 2014. On the WhatsApp system, it is possible to delete a message for up to an hour after it was created. This WhatsApp feature was extended to Facebook Messenger.

Adding this feature to all the Facebook Messenger accounts was not trivial. It took nine months of software retooling to get this feature working for all of Facebook users. Finally, in February 2019, it became available to everyone in the latest Facebook Messenger software release and upgrade.

What’s Next for Facebook Messenger?

Behind the scenes at Facebook, there is an ongoing effort to integrate all the messenger apps into one. Adding this unsend feature is heading in that direction of making Facebook Messenger blend with WhatsApp.

Facebook also owns Instagram, which it bought in 2012 for the bargain price of only $1 billion. Instagram was considered a startup at that time. Instagram has about one billion users now. About 80% of them live outside of the United States. The plans for 2019/2020 are to continue the integration of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram with a redesigned interface that is simpler to use and elegant.

Until now, WhatsApp operated independently of Facebook Messenger. It has features, like message encryption, that Facebook Messenger does not have. There are also plans to make WhatsApp a payment gateway to challenge payment services like PayPal.

One significant problem is that Facebook is suffering from a serious diminishing of public trust. Many users have been leaving the system and deleting their Facebook accounts. Some do not trust Facebook’s influence over WhatsApp and think that Facebook can be persuaded to put a “backdoor” in the WhatsApp system to allow law enforcement the easy ability to spy on the encrypted communications of the WhatsApp users.

This is not so far-fetched because of the revelations that Facebook allowed its users’ data to be hacked and private information of its users to be misused by hostile foreign governments. The Facebook system was gamed in an attempt to influence the American elections.

Facebook has quite a way to go in order to rebuild trust with the public. There is no point in using any encryption service if the encryption protection can be bypassed by anyone, especially governments. Facebook may find that it loses WhatsApp users by trying to convert them to Facebook Messenger users, since, at this time, most WhatsApp users do not even realize that the service is owned by Facebook.

The Facebook Messenger Behemoth Rises

The New York Times reports Facebook wants to integrate the underlying system structure of Facebook Messenger with WhatsApp and Instagram while keeping the public interface of these three systems appear to be operating as stand-alone apps. This will aggregate the instant messaging of over 3.2 billion users. This move to integrate the three services by the Zuckerberg team brings up serious anti-trust issues and more concerns about privacy and security. Can Facebook really be trusted with all of our most private conversations?

To address privacy concerns, adding point-to-point encryption is one of the main goals for the integration of all three services during 2019 and 2020. The challenge for Facebook may not be convincing its users that it is serious about protecting their privacy as much as being able to avoid having to introduce a “backdoor” in the encryption software to allow government spying on the messages.

The new anti-encryption legislation, which just passed during December 2018 in Australia, suggests that this backdoor policy may become a new standard of government intrusion on privacy. A backdoor makes systems vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Criminals may gain unauthorized access by exploiting the vulnerability of having a backdoor. Government workers may misuse private data that they can access.

The project requires thousands of Facebook programmers to work on it. Facebook estimates that the upgrade and integration of Facebook Messenger with the other systems will take over one year to complete. That timeline may be overly optimistic when it took nine months for Facebook just to add the unsend feature.

While the unsend feature may keep others from continuing to see a message if deleted within ten minutes, it does not permanently delete the record of the message from the system. Beware that Facebook will continue to store that embarrassing photo you mistakenly sent to your mom forever.

Facebook Finally Allows Users To Delete Sent Messages

Facetime bug fixed

Apple is yet to disclose how much it is going to reward a 14-year-old U.S. teenager for discovering a massive security breach on its FaceTime video call system. It is believed that part of the reward money will be set aside for his high school education fund.

On Thursday, Grant Thompson noticed the group FaceTime bug while on a video call with his friends. Apparently, they were discussing different strategies they could implement on Fortnite, a 3D video game which is widely popular among the teenage demographic.

Upon contacting Apple, necessary action was taken and the iOS 12.1.4 iPhone update was then released on Thursday. Prior to the discovery, an unknown security researcher noticed the presence of the FaceTime bug but was unwilling to come out with it, since Apple had not put a bounty on offer.

Missed Opportunity

Towards the end of January 2019, details of a suspicious bug on FaceTime emerged. A couple of users noticed suspicious activity on the widely used video call system among iPhone users.

Sometimes when they contacted friends and family, they could distinctly hear what was happening on the recipient’s end (regardless of whether they answered the call or not). Apple got word of the bug and immediately disabled the recently-launched group Facetime feature on iOS phones.

Earlier that same month, the teenager and his mother phoned the trillion-dollar company with a similar potential security threat. As expected, Apple considered the 14-year-old’s discovery a hoax and thought the boy was craving attention.

The problem was uncovered by Grant on one of his group FaceTime video calls. When Thompson’s plea was given a deaf ear, his mother, Michele Thompson stepped in and repeatedly reached out to Apple via social media and emails. For some reason, Apple was adamant to heed to the vulnerability in their FaceTime feature.

Ever since other users of the video call system came out with a similar bug issue, Apple has credited Grant, who hails from Catalina, Arizona, with this major finding. Grant’s name went viral hours after Apple released a software update to counter the bug’s detrimental effects.

About the Update

The iOS 12.1.4 is the latest update from Apple for all iPhone 5S phones, iPad Air devices and the 6th generation iPod Touch. A week ago, Apple disabled Group FaceTime when news about the bug emerged.

Apple noted in turn that it solved a similar unknown issue some time ago in FaceTime’s Live Photos feature. On Friday, Apple reported that it solved the major security flaw on its servers. It would also release an advanced software update to re-activate Group FaceTime.

iOS 12.1.4 release notes state that there was an existence of a logic issue in Group FaceTime. It was also emphasized that the bug was fixed with “improved state management”. On Thursday, as of 10 a.m., the system status page of the massive tech company noted that Group FaceTime’s restoration was successful.

iPhone users can update their gadgets by doing the following:

  • Open settings
  • Tap on ‘General’.
  • Select Software Update
  • Download the update

Once the download is complete, your iPhone will automatically install the new software.

Swift Security Measures

A representative for Apple had this to say in regards to the update and the reported bug: In regards to the bug that has noticeably established its presence in the FaceTime feature, a security audit has been conducted by our team. Additional updates have been made to not only the Group FaceTime app, but its Live Photos feature as a whole in a bid to enhance our security. This will go a long way in securing our customers who are yet to upgrade to the latest software.

The representative also revealed a major server upgrade to block older versions of macOS and iOS from making use of FaceTime’s Live Photos feature.

For a global company that is keen on preserving users’ personal information, the bug was a huge misstep. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has often advocated for increased regulation of privacy. In the recent past, he has subtly called out companies that utilize their customer’s vital data for the creation of personalized ads. In this case, it’s safe to say that Apple is not so perfect either.

Apple’s bug bounty program

Apple missed a massive opportunity to solve the FaceTime bug problem soon enough. Based on reports from The Wall Street Journal, as early as the start of January, Apple received warnings from a concerned teen but decided to do nothing about it.

Fortunately enough, before the issue escalated to something even more serious, more and more users noticed the flaw and issued a public outcry to the company.

Apple has offered its sincerest apologies to the teen and his family and is yet to fully reward them for their vocal assistance on the bug issue. The company is not willing to share the exact amount they will pay, but it will be substantial enough to see Grant through high school, according to a report by Reuters.

In regards to this incident, Apple developed the ‘bug bounty program’ in late 2016. In most cases, researchers can receive more than a hundred thousand dollars for reporting bugs early enough. One of the first people to receive substantial compensation from the program was 19-year old Luca Todesco.

In that same year, Facebook followed suit and rewarded a 10-year-old Finnish youngster a whopping $10,000 in bug bounty. The boy allegedly figured out how to delete anonymous users’ comments from all Instagram servers.

Aside from Grant Thompson, a 27-year-old software developer from Texas by the name of Daven Morris was also credited. Unlike Grant, Mr. Morris reported the problem several days after it was already made known.

Either way, Apple rewarded the young man for noticing the problem soon enough.

14-yr-old Teen Who Discovered Eavesdropping Bug to Be Paid by Apple

Microsoft’s Visio Visual and Power BI are two extremely useful software tools that help business owners store, organize, and interpret data with easy-to-understand visual representations.

Using these tools can take your business to the next level. Still, many business owners don’t know about Visio Visual or Power BI. Moreover, many are skeptical as to why data interpretation is important at all.

Why is data interpretation so crucial to your business?

As a business owner, it is vital that you understand the “big picture” of your company’s data. Any given company will have a plethora of diverse data at any given time. This may include:

  • Sales records, recorded by the hour, day, week, month, and year
  • Sales records by location
  • Sales records by department
  • Floor plans of stores, warehouses, offices, and more
  • Employee information
  • Subscriber or client information
  • Inventory data
  • And more

Storing all of this data and never looking at it will inevitably hurt your business. Doing this almost certainly means missing the “big picture” and subsequent opportunities for growth and improvement.

How can Visio Visual and Power BI help?

Here are the biggest reasons companies don’t examine, analyze, and interpret their data more often (or at all):

1. They have too much of it.

2. It’s difficult to organize and understand.

This is where tools like Visio Visual and Power BI step in. Both tools create easy-to-see and understand visual representations of your data, with the goal of targeting what’s working and what’s not.

What is Microsoft Visio?

From flow charts and 3D graphs to network schemas and floorplans, Microsoft Visio Visual is one of the most capable pieces of software for creating and manipulating diagrams of all kinds.

What is Microsoft Power BI?

Power BI is another indispensable Microsoft tool that allows businesses to analyze their data in a variety of ways and see and share insights via the dashboard. Everything on Power BI is updated in real time and can be accessed from anywhere in the world via the cloud. This software includes a myriad of invaluable features for analyzing, fixing, and understanding data.

What can you learn from your data with Visio Visual and Power BI?

We know that Visio Visual and Power BI allow you to see your data clearly and concisely. This starts with using Visio Visual creating the necessary charts and diagrams that pertain to your industry.

From this data, the goal is to learn what’s going wrong and why, what’s going right and why, and where you need improvement. For example:

  • If you own a retail establishment, what’s selling and what’s not?
  • If you own a restaurant, what ingredients are you constantly running out of?
  • If you own a transportation business, why are your trucks stocked to the brim one month and empty the next?

This is largely Power BI’s job.

Business Insights

Power BI layers the base data organized by Visio Visual with analytic tools that share insights about how your business is doing across numerous benchmarks.

Empowered with the information and data-based insights both Microsoft Visio Visual and Power BI provide, you can make impactful changes in how you run your business. Try these tools today and see what you think for yourself!

Business Insights With Visio and Power BI

Cyber Security Specialists

Cybersecurity threats have shown no signs of slowing down, and small and mid-sized organizations are expected to be more heavily targeted going forward. Although splashy headlines about Fortune 500 companies suffering breaches may lead some business leaders to think that hackers are after big corporations, cybercriminals are just as likely to steal data or infect your system with ransomware.

It’s important to keep in mind that these nefarious people are nothing short of petty crooks, and they look for systems that can be breached at every level. That’s why it’s in every business’s best interest to have a high-caliber cybersecurity specialist in place.

If you own or operate a local small or mid-sized outfit, you may be mulling over the cost-to-benefit ratio of outsourcing your cybersecurity defenses. Consider these key reasons why outsourcing to a locally-based cybersecurity specialist makes sense.

Hiring A Talented, Full-Time Expert Proves Difficult

There is a school of thought in business that having your own team in place would be more beneficial than outsourcing. The arguments for that position include having control over work-hours, in-house supervision, and the ability to review performance. The clincher is often that decision-makers know the person managing the tasks.

This old school thinking is often tried-and-true when hiring for profit-driving positions. It’s difficult to imagine outsourcing a sales team or other critical positions, but cybersecurity is not necessarily an old school job. It remains highly unlikely that a small or mid-sized organization has a supervisor in place to train cybersecurity specialists like they would a salesperson or other full-time posts.

A cybersecurity expert has years of education and training under their belt. They also are tasked with keeping up-to-date on the latest hacker methodologies and tools. It’s just impractical to have an in-house professional stay abreast of the fast-changing threats and keep your systems secure. Even if your company invested heavily in a full-time cybersecurity specialist, in all likelihood, they would be wooed away by other opportunities resulting in turnover.

The difficulties associated with filling a cybersecurity position and keeping that person does not make good business sense. It’s far better to outsource the cyber defense work to a local company staffed by experts. Why pay for a full-time person with benefits when you can contract with a local expert?

Benefit From Real-Time Industry Intel

Along with keeping a stable expert to protect your systems, local cybersecurity outfits are tasked with keeping tabs on real-time cyber attack methods. Outsourcing your technology and data protection to a cybersecurity specialist allows small and mid-sized organizations to have a critical risk assessment performed by a consultant that has hands-on experience.

Cybersecurity experts offer business leaders an opportunity to protect and defend critical data and communications in ways that might not occur to even the best in-house IT staff member. Enhanced knowledge and training can help identify cracks in your cyber defenses, inconsistencies in the password or login protocols, and advise you about forward-thinking employee policies.

It is not uncommon for hackers to target employee email and devices as a way to infiltrate a company’s data and personnel files. Given the fact that the methods hackers use change quickly, it’s imperative to an organization’s survival that a vigilant line of cybersecurity defense remains in place. Working with a local company that specializes in cybersecurity brings expertise to the table many outfits might not be able to afford otherwise.

BYOD Is Becoming Commonplace

The line between employees using company devices and personal ones has increasingly been blurred. Millennials tend to be of a mind that their device is just as, if not more suitable for professional tasks. In many cases, that probably holds true.

This new era of “Bring Your Own Device” poses a more significant challenge to organizations that merely have team members on fixed in-house desktops. These days, valuable staff members prefer to use their own mobile device, laptop and work from home options. This emerging tech reality inherently increases potential entry points for cybercriminals. In the BYOD business world, cybersecurity requires employees to be more educated about protocols and have a working knowledge of how and why they are being implemented and routinely changed.

Hackers are not necessarily working night and day to skip off with a big criminal payday. They are more prone to identify outfits with poor or low-level defenses. While cybercrime profit can be gained by breaching a major corporation with a strong defense, it may be a lot easier and more lucrative to knock off small and mid-sized organizations that are ripe for the picking. Outsourcing to a specialist can prevent you from becoming the low hanging fruit.

Data Breaches And Lawsuits

Captains of industry often think of cybersecurity as a way to protect their trade secrets, critical data and avoid costly work stoppages. While all of those ideas have merit, there’s another level of cybersecurity that CEOs and other decision-makers do ordinarily understand. You could face civil litigation if a hacker breaches your system.

That idea seems incredibly counterintuitive. Why would you — the victim — be sued? The simple reality is that businesses use technology for company-to-company communications and file transfers on a regular basis. When one system suffers a breach, access to others in the network may become available to the cybercriminal.

Just as your organization is responsible for bringing a safe product to market or shoveling snow off your doorstep, you could be held liable for not adequately securing critical data and access. Along with your business reputation taking a significant hit, previous clients and associates may be looking to recoup their losses from you. Civil litigation can prove costly unless you have taken industry standard measures to protect your system.

Hire A Local Expert Cybersecurity Specialist

Cyber attacks are an ongoing reality of living and working in the technology era. Organizations of all sizes and sectors are routinely tested by hackers to see if their cybersecurity defenses can withstand an assault. Cybercriminals are not going away any time soon and unless you want to risk shuttering, it’s time to contract with a cybersecurity specialist to protect your vital business interests.

Why Local Companies Need To Hire A Local Cybersecurity Specialist

Advanced Data Governance (or ADG) is a tool from Microsoft. Available to be used within Office 365, this tool assists businesses in meeting compliance requirements and managing risk. Most of all, it helps organize the massive amounts of data that companies are now dealing with.

Each quarter, the data owned by a given business grows by exponential rates. Over time, organizations are met with the challenge of organizing this unstructured data. Moreover, they are challenged to be able to find pertinent data, retain sensitive and important data, and safely destroy or archive obsolete or otherwise useless data. These are the pain points that Advanced Data Governance aims to handle.

According to Microsoft, the goal of ADG is to help companies:

  • Assess their current compliance status
  • Protect their current and future data
  • Respond to requests

Other goals include:

  • Reducing costs across the board
  • Maintaining business continuity

What is the Advanced Data Governance dashboard?

The dashboard of ADG is where most of the magic happens. Here, companies can clearly see a visualization of their data, along with helpful widgets, which explain key features about data status. This is useful as it can help companies decide what data or cross-sections of data to keep and which to discard.

How does ADG help companies meet compliance?

A particularly useful element of ADG is that cloud intelligence assists in recommending policies. All companies have their own rules and regulations to comply with. For EU businesses, for example, GDPR rules need to be observed. According to whatever rules and regulations a business must comply with, Advanced Data Governance is able to quickly filter through everything in order to detect the appropriate data. In doing so, any policies set up by the company can be applied to the pertinent data in one easy action.

Applying a given policy may mean retaining all data that meets that policy’s criteria, or it may mean automatic removal of a given set of data. When detecting data via a policy, any type of criteria can be used. Most of the time, keywords are used to search and sift through data; however, some companies may choose to use financial, healthcare, or PII related information to conduct searches.

An added feature of ADG is its ability to apply policies to all Microsoft Office 365 services, including Exchange, OneDrive, and SharePoint. This streamlines all enforcement of policies.

What are ADG labels and event tags?

Labels can be created and applied easily in ADG. Each label denotes specific data retention actions. For example, you may create a label that retains all employee record data for a select period of time. You can choose to apply these label policies to all Microsoft services or only to select services.

Event tags allow companies to start certain policies on specific dates as it’s not uncommon for policies to only need compliance during certain periods of time (during specific employment periods, mergers, events, and more).

Data Governance

How Can Advanced Data Governance Help Your Company?

Allow Microsoft’s Advanced Data Governance to help your company regulate and meet compliance, manage risk, improve data organization and understanding, operate more efficiently, and increase revenue. It’s an excellent tool for businesses who are noticing an upsurge in data volume and structural issues.

How Advanced Data Governance Helps Manage Risk & Meet Compliance

You can create a data entry form in Microsoft Excel without using VBA or even recording a macro. If those terms don’t mean anything to you, don’t worry. You won’t need to learn them. Excel has a hidden tool you can use to make dreaded data entry fast and easy. Using a data entry form lets you view one record at a time while entering the data, but also makes it easy to analyze multiple records in a tabular format.

1. Open an Excel file.

2. Place the Form tool in your Quick Access Toolbar.

3. Click the Form command to bring up the data entry form view (no other step is needed for this).

4. Use the Find Prev and Find Next buttons to analyze your data one row at a time.

How do I Format the Data for the Data Entry Form?

To use the data entry form, simply put the data in the following format:

  1. One record of data goes in each row in Excel.
  2. Include column headings above the data.
  3. You need at least one record prior to activating a data entry form.

How Do I Add the Forms Toolbar to Excel’s Quick Access Menu?

You can add the Forms… command to Excel’s Quick Access Menu for convenient usage. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Press the options icon that lies to the right of your quick access toolbar.
  2. Choose More Commands when the drop-down list appears.
  3. Add the Form command to the quick access toolbar.
  4. Go to the Choose commands drop-down list. Select Commands Not in the Ribbon from the list.
  5. Scroll down until you come to Form… and click on it to highlight it.
  6. Press Add.
  7. This brings the Form… command in the rightmost box.
  8. Press OK.

Microsoft Excel Data

How Can You Analyze the Data?

Here are some quick tips for navigating the data block created by your entries.

  1. Place the cursor anywhere inside your data block.
  2. Each row has a single record.
  3. Each column has a column heading.
  4. Press the Form button in the quick access toolbar.
  5. The data entry form activates, allowing you to view data or add records one at a time.
  6. Use the Find Prev or Find Next button to surf through the records.
  7. Add a record using the New button or delete existing records with the Delete button.

How Can I Enter and Analyze Data via a Data Entry Form in Microsoft Excel?