Archive Monthly Archives: May 2018

Wish That You Could Use Excel Like A Pro? Now You Can!

Wish That You Could Use Excel Like A Pro? Now You Can!

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Excel Like A Pro Part III

This is the final of a three-part series about using Microsoft Excel 2016. It will cover some of the more advanced topics. If you aren’t great with numbers, don’t worry. Excel does the work for you. With the 2016 version of Excel, Microsoft really upped its game. Excel’s easy one-click access can be customized to provide the functionality you need.

If you haven’t read Part I and Part II of this series, it’s suggested that you do so. The webinar versions can also be found on our site or on YouTube.

This session will discuss the following:

More with Functions and Formulas

  • Naming Cells and Cell Ranges 
  • Statistical Functions 
  • Lookup and Reference Functions 
  •  Text Functions

Documenting and Auditing

  • Commenting 
  • Auditing Features 
  • Protection

Documenting and Auditing

  • Built-In Templates 
  • Creating and Managing Templates

More With Functions And Formulas

Naming Cells And Cell Ranges How do you name a cell?

You do so by the cell’s coordinates, such as A2 or B3, etc. When you write formulas using Excel’s coordinates and ranges you are “speaking” Excel’s language. However, this can be cumbersome. For example, here G12 is significant because it refers to our Team Sales.

You can teach Excel to speak your language by naming the G12 cell Team Sales. This will have more meaning to you and your teammates. The benefits of naming cells in this fashion are that they are easier to remember, reduce the likelihood of errors, and use absolute references (by default).

To name our G12 cell Team Sales, right-click on the cell, choose Define Name, and type “Team Sales” into the dialog box. You can also add any comments you want here. Then click Ok.

Another way to do this is to click on the G12 cell and go up to the Name Box next to the Formula Bar, then type your name there.

And, there’s a third option at the top of the page called “Define Cells” that you can use.

Notice that there’s an underscore between Team and Sales (Team_Sales). There are some rules around naming cells: 

  • You’re capped at 255 characters. 
  • The names must start with a letter, underscore or a backslash (). 
  • You can only use letters, numbers, underscores or periods. 
  • Strings that are the same as a cell reference, for example B1, or have any of the following single letters (C,c,R,r) cannot be used as names.

How To Name A Range

Highlight an entire range of cells and name your range (we’re doing this in the upper left-hand corner).

You won’t have to go back and forth from spreadsheet to spreadsheet clicking on specific cells to calculate your formula. You simply key in the name of the cell range you want to add. Just be sure to remember the names as you build your spreadsheets over time.

If you ever make a mistake or want to change names, you can go to Name Manager to do this.

Remember that if you move the cells, the name goes with it.

Statistical Functions

The three statistical functions are:

  1. Average If
  2. Count If
  3. Sum If

 The Average If can be used to figure out the average of a range based on certain criteria. Here we’re going calculate the Average If of the ERA of 20+ Game Winners from the spreadsheet we developed in our last session.

We’ve already named some of our cell ranges (wins, era). And we want to know the average greater than 19.

Hit Enter and you have the average.

You can use this feature across a wide variety of scenarios. For example, if you wanted to know the average sales of orders above a certain quantity – or units sold by a particular region, or the average profit by a distinct quarter.

Count If is used for finding answers to questions like, “How many orders did client x place?” “How many sales reps had sales of $1,000 or more this week?” or “How many times have the pitchers of the Philadelphia Phillies won the Cy Young Award?”

As you can imagine, it’s essential that you type in the text exactly the way you named that particular cell. Hit Enter and you get your answer

Now we’re going to use the Sum If function to calculate the number of strikeouts by the pitchers on this list who are in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Sum If is a good way to perform a number of real-world statistical analyses. For example, total commissions on sales above a certain price, or total bonuses due to reps who met a target goal, or total earnings in a particular quarter year-over-year.

Lookup and Reference Functions

These are designed to ease the finding and referencing of data, especially in large tables. Here, cells A1 and E3 relate to a variable interest rate that is paid on a bank account. For balances under $1,000, the interest rate is 3% – between $1,000 and $10,000, the interest rate is 4%, etc.

Cell A6 shows the balance of a specific account. The Lookup Function is used in B6. It looks up the interest rate and applies it to the account balance of $45,000. This is what the formula looks like in the bar at the top:

The vector form of the Excel Lookup Function can be used with any two arrays of data that have one-to-one matching values. For example, two columns of data, two rows of data, or even a column and a row would work, as long as the Lookup Vector is ordered (alphabetically or numerically), and the two data sets are the same length.

V Lookup and H Lookup are used to pull information into reports. We’re going to use Report Setup. Here, we have a worksheet that references salespeople, sales data, pricing, revenue, and the clients that they sold to. You’ll see on the top right where we set up a report with names referencing sales data.

You can access the sales reps in the drop-down menu. Pick a rep and use the V Lookup Function to find the price.

To Find Price, key in =vlookup and the corresponding cell number for Rep 16, plus the table array which is the entire table not including the header at the top.

Then you need the column index number. This is the number of columns to the right of your lookup value column, which is column A. It’s the 4th column from column A (Price).

Enter 4,

For range lookup we’re using true or false. We are entering false here.

Hit Enter and this is what you have for your Find Price value.

Now we’ll do a similar V Lookup for the Client. Copy and Paste:

Make the necessary changes in your formula:

Client 16 goes with Rep 16

Note: If you change the Sales Rep, all the corresponding values will change.

Note: If you change the Sales Rep, all the coIf you have a lot of data and long tables, V Lookup helps you find information easily. The V stands for Vertical (or by column), because columns are vertical. H Lookup is for Horizontal-like column headers.

Text Functions

Text Functions contain some very powerful tools to adjust, rearrange and even combine data. These functions are used for worksheets that contain information and function as a database such as mailing lists, product catalogs, or even Cy Young Award Winners.

The first text function we’ll show you is concatenate. It links things together in a chain or series. Here, we have our Cy Young list. But we no longer need to see our Wins and Losses in a separate column.

To do this easily rather than manually, create a new column where your data will reside.

Hit Enter

Now, just go in and hide the Wins and Losses columns. Don’t delete them or your new column will have a reference error.

If you do want to delete the Wins and Losses columns, you must first make a new column. Copy the W-L numbers and Paste Value in the new column. This way you’ve moved from a formula to the new information. If you delete your source information without taking this step you’ll be left with nothing.

Combine as many columns as you need with the concatenate function to make the data appear as you need it to.

The Left Mid and Right Functions

These are used to tell Excel that you only want part of a text string in a particular cell. Here, we have a product list and product IDs that tell us the date of manufacturer, the item number, and the factory where it was made. We’re going to pull the data out so we can put it in columns to use in different ways.

We use the Mid Function here.

This works because each of the product IDs are the same length. If they were different lengths you’d have to do something more creative.

Documenting and Auditing

You want to make your Excel files easy to understand for both yourself and others who need to use them – and this includes auditors. An organized worksheet results in clear error-free data and functions.

Commenting

The purpose of commenting is to provide notes to yourself or especially to others. Comments can include reminders, explanations or suggestions.

You’ll find the New Comment button at the top under the Review Menu. Simply click the cell where you want the comment to go and click New Comment. Then type your comment and click outside the box to close it. The comment will disappear but it’s still there. Anywhere you see a red flag, there’s a comment.

If your name doesn’t appear in the comment, go to File>Options>General and personalize your copy of Excel (in this case Microsoft Office) under the User Name. You won’t need to go back and change each comment; Excel will do this for you.

To format a comment, click inside the comment box and a drop down will come up where you can format the text.

You can change the color of the box and lines around the box. Some managers have different colors for members of their teams.

If you change the default color, it will change that for all your Microsoft products.

To delete a comment, go to the cell that hosts it, then go up and hit delete.

If you have a lot of comments, grab the handle on the box and resize it.

Auditing

What we really mean is formula auditing. This is an advanced way to check your work.

The yellow diamond on the left of this cell indicates that there’s an error.

Or to find any errors, go to Formula Auditing in the top menu.

You have a number of helpful tools here. Trace Precedents shows where the formula looks for information. Click the formula you want and click Trace Precedents. It will display where your data came from.

Here’s a more complex formula and trace auditing:

To hide the arrows, click “Remove Arrows.”

Show Formulas

This expands all of your columns and shows all of them in a bigger way. You can go in and check your formulas on the fly very easily. Click Show Formulas again and the worksheet goes back to the way it was before.

Error Checking This feature lets you check all formulas at once.

This makes it easy to find errors and correct them.

Evaluate Formula

This feature allows you to check a formula step-by-step. It shows the results of each individual part. It’s another great way to de-bug a formula that isn’t working for you. Click the formula you want to evaluate. Click Evaluate Formula and you’ll get a dialog box.

Click Evaluate and it will change the formula to the actual value that you can review. Each time you click Evaluate, it will take you through the steps of how you got to the final formula. You can trace your way through to see if you made any errors.

Protection

With protection you can lock in your changes in individual cells, spreadsheets, and entire workbooks. You can also protect comments from being moved or edited.

This is how to protect an entire workbook. It’s the highest level of protection.

You’ll want to do this if your workbook contains confidential information like:

  • Pre-released quarterly results 
  • Employee salary tables 
  • Staff member evaluations

Click File>Info>Protect Workbook>Encrypt with Password.

Enter your password and be sure to make note of it because it can’t be recovered if you lose it. You can use password management software to keep track of your passwords.

Once complete, click OK and your Protect Workbook function turns yellow indicating that you’ve protected your workbook.

Once complete, click OK and your Protect Workbook function turns yellow indicating that you’ve protected your workbook.

You can also protect cells and comments from this option.

In the same way you protected the worksheet, you can protect your workbook.

Using Templates

To see the variety of templates you can use in Excel, click File>New and you’ll be presented with a collection of 25 templates you can choose from.

For example, there’s a great Loan Amortization Schedule you can use. Formulas are built in for you. All you need to do is change the numbers.

You can also go online while inside Excel to find more. You don’t want to download templates from outside Excel because they may contain macros that are contaminated with viruses.

 On the right side of the page, you have a huge selection to choose from.

It even provides employee time sheets you can use that can save you so much time trying to figure out formulas.

Creating and Managing Templates

Go to File>Info>Save As and save the template to your location, then save as an Excel Template.

Before you save as a template you want to:

  • Finalize the look and feel of your template 
  • Use review and auditing tools 
  • Remove unnecessary data and information 
  • Unprotect cells and sheets as appropriate 
  • Create comments as guides

Congratulations! Now you’re an Excel Pro! This completes our Excel Like a Pro Series. If you have any questions or need assistance, feel free to contact our Excel 2016 experts.

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Challenges Law Firms Should Be Ready To Face In 2018

Challenges Law Firms Should Be Ready
To Face In 2018

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A critical skill that an aspiring lawyer must possess is commercial awareness. One particularly important aspect is to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the market in which these law firms work. At the end of the day, any firm is just a business like all the others and therefore, it should react similarly to the changes made in the industry.

A law firm should capitalize on new opportunities that pop up while also working on overcoming the obstacles so that it can stay ahead of other law firms. The year 2018 brings about a new set of challenges that law firms should work on if they wish to thrive in this globally competitive sector. Below, we cover three of the major issues that law firms will be facing this year: 

Cybersecurity 

Cybersecurity is becoming a big issue, and hackers have started to target an increasing number of institutions. For instance, there was a ransomware hack back in 2017 that threatened numerous organizations in more than 150 countries across the globe. 

Hackers target law firms since they possess exceptionally confidential and valuable information that hackers can use for monetary purposes. Sensitive information that law firms possess include patents, bank information, trade secrets, and in some cases, government secrets as well. One key task for law firms is to make sure that the client’s data is protected at all times. However, with the increasing number of threats, as well as the complexity of the attacks, security has become a great challenge.

Failure to protect the data adequately can cause two major problems. Firstly, law firms can face claims of negligence and claimants can argue that law firms are negligent about taking care of data. They can also argue that law firms have breached the contract that stated they would carry out services with reasonable care and skillfulness.

Secondly, when looking from an economic and business perspective, it can undermine the reputation of the firm.

The solution to this challenge is to choose only top-of-the-line security. This year, firms should make security their top priority. An attorney must make sure that the firm itself, as well as third-party vendors, adhere to advanced industry standards to guarantee that a secure environment is maintained. They should follow practices such as conducting training with users regarding best security practices, never storing data on personal devices, and multi-factor authentication.

Incorporating technology 

Technology also plays a big factor in determining how employees work in law firms. Due to technological advancements, efficiency has increased such that the time lawyers spend on a task is reduced.

While technology that enables lawyers to become more productive has been evolving for a number of years, the underlying problem is that firms usually have many people working for them that may not be well-trained. This failure has led to data breaches and ransomware attacks when employees take certain actions that allow cyber thieves inside. Training for all employees must be ongoing. People get busy and forget, then make careless mistakes. Monthly training sessions can raise awareness.

Though some security solutions promote unrealistic and lofty expectations, simple monthly training has proven to be very effective. Human error is most often the reason why a law firm’s network is infected with a virus or worm.

The easy solution for this problem is mandatory monthly security training. People can be readily taught exactly what to look for in emails. A security professional can explain how phishing scams work. Better informed employees are far less likely to click on a suspicious link that downloads a deadly ransomware attack.

Helping users accept change

Implementing change is difficult because humans are just naturally resistant to change. Research suggests that 70% of initiatives taken for organizational change do not achieve their target. While there are numerous factors that can be blamed for this failure, employee resistance is the biggest one, contributing to 39%. While change is often not welcome, it is definitely possible. Employees must understand the reason for these changes. They must fully grasp the cost of one single breach. 

Employees once resisted new technology as well, but today, people seem to enjoy learning about all the new robotic gadgets being invented. Users of new technology or changes to security should be fully involved from the beginning. The key is to keep it simple. The management is responsible for communicating their expectations and explaining to the staff why the change is critical.

Once employees understand why new security measures have been put in place, they should be fully on-board. After all, if a law firm experiences a huge breach that costs millions, it will affect everyone that works at the firm. Jobs could be lost, along with damage to the firm’s reputation.

Each year brings new challenges with it. Though new technology is often viewed with some trepidation, the end result is that law firms will be able to get more done with fewer resources. This can improve the bottom line and help a firm move ahead of the competition. Whether you’re dealing with new security challenges or a new content management system, face the challenge head-on.

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2018 Security Breaches Indicate That Cybercrime Is On The Rise

2018 Security Breaches Indicate
That Cybercrime Is On The Rise

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Cyber breaches have become the norm across the United States and in many parts of the world. Regardless of the size of your company or your budget for security, your company could be at risk. This has caused rapid growth in the cybersecurity industry. According to Forbes, this market will reach 170 billion dollars by the year 2020.

Some of this growth is being fueled by the advancement of new technology in cloud-based applications, the Internet of Things, and the increase in the number of computers and mobile devices. However, much of it is being initiated by the constant onslaught of cyber-attacks at home and at work.

Biggest Data Breaches of 2017 

During 2017, there were actually hundreds of data breaches in the US, though the public only heard about a fraction of those. 

The Equifax hack topped the list with a devastating breach that affected 145 million customers. It stunned the public, proving once again, that no one is out of reach of hackers. With each passing breach, hackers refine their techniques so that more consumers are affected and even more extensive damage is done. 

The financial data for over 3 million customers was compromised in the Hitachi Payment Services malware hack. This was reported in February 2017 and eventually led to a massive decline in credit card use. Hitachi suffered damage to their reputation and loss of profits and revenue.

Regardless of how many attacks there are, they continue to have the same effect on the public. Cyber breaches cause consumers to be leery of doing business with the company. People stopped buying products from Target stores right after that breach. The cost to Target was substantial. Breaches damage a company’s brand name and cost millions to resolve in many cases.

Worldwide Data Breaches 

The largest leak in the world, known as the Big Asian Leak, exposed the personal information of 185 million customers. Though the names, addresses, passcodes and some financial information was stolen by hackers, most of the Asian companies who were hacked refused to admit they’d been breached and most refused to comment as well. The stolen data was eventually offered for sale on the dark web by an online vendor known as “DoubleFlag.”

In the US, consumers expect companies to be fully transparent when a breach does occur. They expect certain steps to be taken to avoid future attacks. Sometimes this happens and sometimes it doesn’t. Company leaders tend to think that if they’ve already been hacked once, there’s very little likelihood that it will happen again. There’s no solid proof to indicate that this is true. Hackers search for easy targets; companies with weak, ineffective cybersecurity.

How data breaches for 2018 are shaping up 

The last few years have shown a few definite trends. For instance, in 2015 and 2016, businesses were targeted 40.1 percent of the time with the healthcare industry a close second at 35.4 percent. In 2017, there were a total of 868 cyber breaches with businesses and health care agencies the main targets. 

Major businesses across the country have stepped up their security on every level and yet 2018 has already proven to be a busy time for hackers. A new trend involves cyber thieves looking beyond computers and phones for targets. They’ve discovered a whole world of unsecured devices, such as medical devices, educational and government organizations, and other vulnerable technology.

A new study shows that only 51 percent of all companies monitor and analyze their security information on a regular basis. About 45 percent subscribe to some type of intelligence service, while only 52 percent said they used high-tech intrusion detection systems. These numbers indicate a troubling trend. Only about half of all American companies are actually taking their cybersecurity seriously enough.

Ransomware attacks are on the rise as well. In some cases, the cyber thieves do not ask for much money. They demand smaller amounts like $1900 or $4,500. This strategy makes it far more likely that a business will pay the ransom. It’s just more prudent to pay those smaller amounts than to call in the authorities or security experts to resolve the issues. Below are a few of the major cyber-attacks that have occurred for 2018.

Cyber Breaches and Ransomware Attacks January 2018 

Several Indiana hospitals reported ransomware attacks. In one instance, the hospital paid $55,000 to thieves but reported that no data was stolen. The San Diego Office of Education reported a breach of employee retirement data. It was discovered that an unknown number of email addresses were leaked from MailChimp. National Stores, Inc. reported that some financial data from an unknown number of its credit card users was leaked. 

WordPress continued having major issues with cyber thieves who were secretly placing crypto-mining code on the computers of its users. This code is designed to run in the background on a user’s computer without their knowledge for the purpose of mining cryptocurrency. A major embarrassment to Kansas officials, it was reported that the Kansas Secretary of State website accidentally leaked the last four digits of hundreds of Kansas state government workers. 

Cyber Breaches and Ransomware Attacks February 2018 

The City of Allentown, PA was crippled by a malware attack that has to date cost at least one million dollars. Both financial and public safety systems were attacked. In a phishing attack, 50,000 Snapchat users had their log-in credentials stolen. A hospital in Tennessee revealed that 24,000 of its past patients may have been exposed to crypto-mining attacks. Both Chase and Hometown Banks revealed that customer data may have been compromised due to skimming/shimming devices placed at ATM machines. A dangerous T-Mobile bug was responsible for hackers being able to highjack the accounts of T-Mobile customers. 

Cyber Breaches and Ransomware Attacks March 2018 

In March, the city of Atlanta reported various government systems were down due to a ransomware attack. Several schools and hospitals reported malware and ransomware attacks that shut down their systems for indefinite periods of time. Some data was compromised in these attacks. Other hospitals reported that employee email accounts were hacked leaking confidential patient information. Even the National Lottery Association reported the loss of log-in info for over 10 million players. Emails were sent out instructing players to change their passwords. A point-of-sale breach occurred at some Applebee’s Restaurants exposing the credit card information of its patrons. 

Cyber Breaches and Ransomware Attacks April 2018 

April was a busy month for hackers. Over 72 million records were leaked in a long string of ransomware, malware and data breaches. The most notable included Sears Stores, Delta Airlines, K-Mart and Panera Bread. A service that connects handymen with customers called TaskRabbit had to shut down its website and suspend use of its app due to a massive data breach. SunTrust admitted that a former employee had stolen the customer data of 1.5 million customers. A data search service called LocalBlox reported that 48 million records were left accessible on the Internet. The data included personal info, as well as psychographic data used by marketing agencies. 

Moving into the Future 

Though the numbers are not out yet for May, experts believe that there will continue to be massive data leaks, ransomware attacks, malware attacks, and cyber breaches. Cyber thieves refine their strategies with each passing month. Consumers and business owners must stay on top of the activities of cyber thieves. Experts recommend hiring security experts to gauge how effective your cybersecurity is and recommend methods to improve it. The best defense continues to be a strong offense.

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How to Publish and View Your Microsoft Planner Tasks in Outlook

How to Publish and View Your
Microsoft Planner Tasks in Outlook

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Individuals and teams in organizations are always looking to get more things done within the shortest time possible. In this regard, Microsoft Planner comes in handy as a means to quickly get organized and collaborate effortlessly on projects, particularly where remote teams are concerned.

In its drive to make Office 365 ever more useful to its clientele, Microsoft has constantly rolled out new features for its Planner. These features are designed to provide users with greater visibility into project schedules, allow them to receive notifications of upcoming deadlines as well as let users filter and group tasks accordingly.

The latest and one of the most amazing features added to Microsoft Planner enables you to publish tasks to your Outlook calendar.

This feature is really handy if you want to see your personal calendar items alongside the calendar items in your Microsoft Planner. Chances are that you are not already much familiar with this functionality – allow us to show you how it works.

First things first: what you need to know about Microsoft Planner 

This is a simple work management app that Microsoft offers as a part of its Office 365 subscriptions – the company’s cloud-based environment that includes different lightweight versions of apps like Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote. 

Microsoft Planner lets users organize their projects, assign tasks, share files, publish and view tasks, as well as chat and collaborate with other users. The full functionality of the app is available to premium, business and educational users subscribed to Microsoft Office 365.

Microsoft Planner and Outlook Calendar 

You can now view Planner tasks on your Outlook calendar. This feature allows you to import Planner tasks into Outlook via an iCalendar feed. From the My Tasks page, there is the option to pick specific plans to publish, or simply select the Tasks that are assigned to you by a different owner. 

Viewing a Planner task in Outlook Calendar 

To be able to see your Planner calendar in Outlook, the owner of the plan must first add it to the Outlook calendar using an iCalendar format feed. Adding a plan to the Outlook calendar generates a link that each member can use to add the plan to their own Outlook calendar. 

Publishing an iCalendar feed 

Supposing that you are the plan owner, to add the plan to the Outlook calendar, tap the ellipsis (…) at the top of your plan, then select the “Add plan to Outlook calendar” option on the dropdown menu that appears. 

Notice that you should be able to see the “Add plan to Outlook calendar” option as long as you are the plan owner. If it is missing from the dropdown menu then chances are that your admin has turned off the Outlook calendar sync feature in Planner for your organization. 

If the feature is available for your organization however, a dialog box with the Add plan to Outlook calendar with an iCalendar feed title should pop up. In the dialogue box are two options, Unpublish and Publish. The “Unpublish” option is the default state that you’ll find in the dialog box. Select “Publish” to automatically publish your plan’s schedule information to anyone with whom you’ll share the generated iCalendar link.

Anyone you share the iCalendar link with can open up the plan in their own Outlook.

Adding iCalendar link to Outlook 

To add your plan to your own Outlook calendar, simply tap the “Add to Outlook” option in the dialog box. 

This prompt opens up your own Outlook calendar in Outlook on the web. It also opens a Calendar Subscription dialog with the “Subscribe online and keep up to date” description.

The dialog box also contains the same iCalendar link and the calendar name (which you can change to rename the plan if you so wish).

Notice that you can also copy your iCalendar link and paste it into any calendar app that connects using iCalendar. Anyone who has this link can see your plan’s task information without needing to sign in.

Adding a plan to your Outlook calendar if you are not plan owner 

If a plan owner has shared an iCalendar link with you and you wish to add it to your own Outlook calendar, simply tap the ellipsis (…) at the top of your plan then select “Add plan to Outlook calendar” in the dropdown menu that follows. 

You will then have the option to review the link and calendar name in the Outlook for Web Calendar Subscription dialog box. Once everything checks out for you, proceed to choose Save at the top of the page.

This imports the details to Outlook. You can then find the name of your plan’s calendar to the left of your calendar, under People’s calendars. If you select it, you will see a new tab above your personal calendar with the plan’s name, along with the plan’s tasks on this calendar.

For more information about getting the most out of your Microsoft solutions, be sure to keep an eye on our blog.

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Why Managed Detection and Response Is More Important Now Than Ever

Why Managed Detection and Response
Is More Important Now Than Ever

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Technology is constantly evolving, and so is its relevance. In the world today, technology is fast-becoming a human being’s best friend. Just think of the number of times that you rely on technology in a day’s time. Everyone, even the self-proclaimed analog dinosaur, depends on technology to some extent.

Of course, this has spawned a major increase in the number of cybercrimes that occur daily across the globe. Cybercriminals are targeting information technology systems that are simply not well-protected from intrusion. The fact that people are so reliant on technology makes it easier for these criminals to achieve their goals. This is where Managed Detection and Response (MDR) comes in.

Information Technology experts face a constant struggle to curb cybercrimes. This crime, which has become deep-rooted in our society today, has led to the loss of time, money and reputation. Cybercriminals target websites with weak security because they’re an easy mark. Then they sell that data on the black market. It’s an ongoing crime and has quickly become a familiar scenario to many.

This is why MDR is so important in our society today. MDR is not a new concept; it has been around for a long time. Like technology, however, MDR continues to evolve with the changing trends in hacking. The main goal of Managed Detection and Response is to ensure that cybercrimes are prevented. It’s not enough to arrest and prosecute these criminals. The crimes need to be stopped before they actually happen.

How can MDR help with this cause? The simple answer to this question is that MDR is a system used to enable organizations to better understand their cybersecurity environment. With this program in play, your organization can more fully understand the IT environment in which you operate. This will provide you with some important advantages that can help prevent hacking.

Environmental threat detection 

First, as mentioned above, the main goal of MDR is to aid in detecting cybersecurity threats in a particular environment. To this end, this system performs a series of functions including analyzing the types of risks that your organization may be exposed to. This can enable you to determine exactly what the most critical threats are. Using MDR, companies are able to gauge which threats are more serious. This allows you to take preemptive steps to close those doors to cyber thieves. Preventing just one attack can save you millions of dollars. 

Makes threat detention faster 

By making the organization aware of the threats they face, MDR makes threat detection simpler. Since MDR enhances threat analysis, your business can fully understand exactly which cybersecurity threats you face. Imagine being able to act before a breach occurs. You can take action today and avoid a nightmare tomorrow. With MDR, your company can quickly assess its level of security and take action right away. 

Increases ability to respond to threats 

MDR enhances the capabilities of organizations that use it to respond to cybersecurity threats. Preparation is everything when dealing with hackers and cyber thieves. Your organization needs to be prepared for every type of threat, from ransomware and hacking to data leaks. Having greater knowledge of those threats that pose the biggest risk helps you to respond with more precision. Anticipate threats before they happen. Define those weaker areas and eliminate them. 

Enhances threat prevention 

An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, they say. This holds true especially when millions of dollars are at stake. The impact of cybersecurity in our world today is far-reaching. Every year, cyber breaches cost businesses millions of dollars. They damage your reputation and slow your forward progress. With MDR, threat prevention becomes your greatest ally. Proactive security monitoring can apply proven rules to your security system, thus offering a new level of breach management. 

Do we really need MDR? 

Many business owners feel frustrated by the sheer number of cyber breaches occurring each day. It seems that the criminals have the upper hand and there’s nothing we can do to stop them. MDR allows you to take back control of your data security. It’s a reliable system that focuses on one thing: preventing cyber breaches from occurring. 

The threat of cyber-attacks is ever looming. Thieves are constantly finding new ways to get through any crack or hole in your security system. And, their methods are getting more and more sophisticated as the days go by. The whole cyber security industry evolves at such a fast pace that most business owners are unable to keep up with it. This fact leaves you at a distinct disadvantage.

Final thoughts 

Though the intricacies of MDR may be somewhat complex, it is important to remember the advantages of this system. With MDR in place, you can avoid being the next victim and sleep much better at night. For business owners, peace of mind is priceless. You can focus on running your company once again and take pride in your accomplishments.

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Who Can Come To Your Rescue When You Need The Best In Total Computer Solutions?

Who Can Come To Your Rescue When You Need The Best In Total Computer Solutions?

Would you call a plumber to help draft a legal contract? No – you definitely wouldn’t get the best results. So why would you call anyone but Parkway Tech for your total computer solutions?

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Would you call a plumber to help draft a legal contract? No – you definitely wouldn’t get the best results. So why would you call anyone but Parkway Tech for your total computer solutions? 

There is no such thing as downtime at a law firm, is there? There are slower days, where legal processes seem to take longer due to hearings that run long, testimonies that get drawn out, delays for any number of reasons. Slower days don’t translate into downtime, though – once further progress can’t be made on one case in a given day, focus shifts to another case to make progress there. Still, time is money, and every law firm most certainly applies the billable hours where needed. These hours, case notes, briefs, and everything else related to a firm’s caseload is documented appropriately – and no longer strictly on paper, in thick case files. It’s not like what is shown on television, that’s for sure!

Modern law offices use modern technology. For example, if a practice takes advantage of cloud data storage, attorneys and paralegals can access needed information from anywhere, any time. At Parkway Tech, we have a saying: Your productivity is our productivity! 

How can we help improve your productivity? 

Does your law firm need to update your total computer solutions? But – not just any IT service provider… you want the best in the business. There are countless individuals and groups out there claiming to be the best, but you want someone who understands the highly-specialized needs of a law firm. As with any relationship, you want to be heard and understood. 

Finding the right IT services provider that can deliver best-in-class IT services and solutions in the Carolinas can be incredibly challenging. To start, you know the law – but maybe not technology. But that’s ok – your clients depend on you to know the law inside and out. You need a provider that can support your needs and take care of you, so you can focus on taking care of your clients. An IT provider who doesn’t specialize in technology for law firms can’t fully comprehend your industry or how technology impacts your entire operation.

Taking care of your clients surely involves technology. From the servers on which you store your data to the screens you see the information on – and everything in between – you need a provider that can cater to you.

We focus on a few key areas:

  • Details

Your information has to be stored somewhere. Whether you maintain on-site servers for your information or want to use the cloud’s many advantages, from flexibility to ease of accessing your data, and more, your information is critical to your daily operations – and this is a need we fully understand. Parkway Tech’s IT management solutions adapt to any size law firm.

  • Safety First

What is the number one concern for every business owner? Security! You hear about data breaches almost every day in the news, and you don’t know the details other than what was in the latest story. What you do know is you don’t want to be next! Want to know the good news? It’s our job to make sure that never happens. It’s no surprise that cybersecurity is a major priority in our book. Protecting your data and your business is just as important to us as it is to you. We work with you and your staff to train everyone on how to spot potential threats and discuss cybersecurity best practices.

  • Stratospheric Success

We want what you want: to help you succeed. Your success is our success. After all, isn’t that the best kind of relationship? Your strategy with our behind-the-scenes support sounds like a great combination!

  • We’ve Got Your Back

What’s better than someone always cheering for your success to boost your chances? Someone who is always watching out for you! While you’re handling your caseload, we’re keeping you online and secure. Outsource your total computer solutions and see your operational costs drop significantly. How? Imagine not paying an in-house staffer when there’s not a full-time need. Downtime won’t be spent investigating potential “improvements” simply for the sake of spending the money and finding work to fill their time – especially if the improvements aren’t really necessary. The best part is, we are ready at a moment’s notice, just like an on-site full-time staffer, but without the full-time salary cost!

In fact, our immediate response is part of the Parkway Oath and includes:

  • Five-minute response guarantee
  • No lost files guarantee
  • Uptime guarantee
  • Virus-free guarantee
  • 90-day money back guarantee

For law firms in North Carolina and South Carolina, enjoy the benefits of a full-time total computer solution partner with the expertise you expect but without the cost. More than just a tech firm, our clients have the satisfaction knowing they’re covered:

  • Compliance with all regulatory guidelines
  • Web content filtering to ensure safe Internet access
  • Virus and malware protection
  • Back-up and disaster recovery

That last point is one that no one wants to think about – but it happens. “Bad guys” are out there, and they are everywhere. Our job is to make sure they don’t get to you – or your data. By the way, we are very good at our job!

Parkway Tech promises productivity and cost-efficiency in the perfect package. Contact us today to see how we can make this year your best yet with our total computer solutions!

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How to Simplify Microsoft Outlook 2016

How to Simplify Microsoft Outlook
2016

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Microsoft Office 365 now has over 60 million active users each month and has become a favorite of large and small business owners. Just about every task that business people complete each day can be accomplished using Office 365. From Excel spreadsheets to professional word processing, users say they get more done with Office 365.

Their flagship email program is Outlook and this program can handle much more than your average email tasks. It integrates perfectly with the other Office 365 programs and it features a similar look and feel. The “Ribbon” that everyone has become so accustomed to has many of the same commands as you might see in Word. That makes it much easier to learn how to become an expert user.

Outlook 2016 features so many good shortcuts and handy tricks to make every project go smoother. However, sometimes users simply want to sort through their emails, answer them and move on to something else. For those times, you can follow a few easy steps to create a much more streamlined Outlook experience.

Simplifying the Home Page 

The home page of Outlook 2016 contains six major areas. The ribbon runs across the top, then across the middle are four sections. On the far left is the folder pane, next is the Inbox and then the wider section is your reading pane. On the far right is the calendar. Here’s where you can set appointments. Down below, across the bottom is a new area that Microsoft has recently incorporated in the design called the Navigation Pane. This area contains links for your Mail, Calendar, People, Tasks, and More. 

This new area replicates some of the other areas on the page. Therefore, you can just close the whole right-hand section where the traditional calendar is located. To do this, simply click on the small “X” in the upper right-hand corner. This makes the Calendar area disappear. When you’re ready to restore that area, simply click that X again and the pane reappears.

In addition, you can minimize the whole Navigation Pane by clicking on More (represented by dots). Select “Navigation Options” from the drop-down list. A small dialog box appears where you can check the box that says, “Compact Navigation.” This reduces the Navigation Pane to small icons that are barely noticeable. They will still work the same as the original, only now they’re inconspicuous.

Following along that same concept, you can also remove the left-hand pane which contains your folders. Now, you’ve effectively reduced the Home Page from six sections to three. This is a good idea for anyone who just wants to comb through their emails, see what is important and respond. Your attention is no longer drawn away by a busy-looking page. Now things appear much simpler. If you need to look at any of the sections you’ve removed, it’s very easy to restore each section. For the folders, you can click on the word “folders” and they will appear until you click the word again. In many Microsoft programs, hovering over a word or section causes additional information to appear. This is a good way to learn more about a section or get a quick look at what is contained in an area. These pop-outs usually appear when you hover over them and then disappear once you move your cursor.

Working with the Ribbon 

The Ribbon in Outlook 2016 contains four major tabs with various tools available. It’s easy to remove the Ribbon if it seems distracting. Simply click on the arrow on the far right side and this collapses the Ribbon. The keyboard shortcut for this action is Control+F1. If you need to quickly show the Ribbon, then click on the View tab and it will appear until you click away. It’s often just that easy to make a section appear or disappear. This makes it fast to remove areas you might not need and it’s a good method of personalizing your Outlook program. 

If you’d like to just completely get rid of the Ribbon, there’s an icon in the upper right-hand area next to the question mark. Click on that and you’ll see that they are three options for the Ribbon. You can Auto-Hide, Show Tabs or Show Tabs and Commands. The last one is the most commonly used. The other two allow you to have as much of the Ribbon at the top as you need. If you click on Auto-Hide, the whole Ribbon disappears leaving you with a very clean looking page that deals only with your Inbox and Reading Pane. You can quickly move through emails or read over longer emails that require more attention. When you need to temporarily view the Ribbon, just place your cursor over the colored bar at the very top and the Ribbon will reappear.

Personalizing your Program 

Once you get the hang of how easy it is to close and open areas, you can adjust your Outlook email program so that it displays only those things that you work with most often. Microsoft purposely builds software programs that can be easily modified by the user to give each person their own personalized experience. 

One thing that many users probably know but may forget is that all Microsoft programs have one thing in common: you can right-click in whatever area you’re working and get a list of options. Often, on this list, you’ll see the action you want to take, thus preventing you from having to completely restore an area of the page. This is a quick, easy way to accomplish almost any task.

Reading Emails 

The new Outlook also allows you to click on “Reply” and then start typing your email. There’s no longer a new window that appears. This has proven to be a huge time-saver. Let’s say you’ve clicked reply but you want to add some bolding to your typing or use a larger font. Highlight the text and the font section appears next to your typing. This works exactly the same as it does in Word. You can quickly change fonts, colors, add underlines or bolding, highlight text or even add indenting to your paragraph. If you right-click the Inbox, you’ll see a different set of commands that pertain only to the Inbox. 

Attachments can be viewed just by clicking on them. If you’re reading an email that has a Word doc attached, just click it once and it opens in the Outlook program. If you double-click on the attachment, it will open up in Word. This is also true for PDF attachments. This can save lots of time if you only need to take a quick look at an attachment someone sent with their email.

Keyboard Shortcuts 

One of the big time savers in all Office 365 programs involves learning the keyboard shortcuts. People who use these daily say that it improves their speed and prevents them from losing focus. If you print them out and keep them handy, you’ll quickly learn the most commonly used ones. Below are a few that everyone uses in Outlook, but there are many more that you could learn if you want to be an over-achiever:

  • Alt+S: send email
  • Ctrl+R: reply to email
  • Ctrl+M: or F9 to Send/Receive all
  • Alt+R: reply to all in email or switch to work week calendar view
  • Ctrl+G: open the “Go to date” dialog and jump to any date in the calendar
  • Alt+W: forward email or switch to weekly calendar view

More Shortcuts Press 

Ctrl + [the place number of the item] to switch between email, contacts, calendar and other items in Outlook. This is a quick way to move from one task to the next. Create a reminder by pressing Ctrl + Shift + N. This creates a virtual sticky note that you can drag anywhere on the screen. 

When setting appointments go to your calendar and just type a phrase like, “next Thursday” or “one week from now” and your calendar will automatically open there.

You can block annoying emails that you don’t want to receive by going to Home>Junk email options and selecting the sender you wish to block. View long emails as a conversation by clicking on the message and then selecting View>Show as Conversation. Flag a message for further inquiry by pressing the Insert key to toggle the flag off and on.

Learn to Make Outlook Work for You 

Outlook 2016 includes so many great time-savers like these. If this is a program you use daily, it’s a good idea to become a pro at using them. You can cut precious minutes from your busy day simply by learning how to streamline and personalize Outlook. As Microsoft continues to update its Office 365 programs, they will build in many more shortcuts. They’re easy to learn and the company offers a number of great video tutorials and training videos to help even a novice learn all the helpful features.

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9 Time-Saving Tricks for Microsoft Outlook 2016

9 Time-Saving Tricks for Microsoft Outlook 2016

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Microsoft Office 365 offers a number of useful tools for today’s busy professionals including some new shortcuts for Outlook 2016. With so many companies now using Outlook as their major email program, Microsoft works to improve its operation with each annual update. A number of the great features in this program are also found in other MS Office programs. For instance, if you’re familiar with Word, then learning how to use Outlook will be much simpler.

New Changes for Outlook 2016 

Using Outlook 2016, you can do a lot more than send and receive emails. You can also manage your calendar, set appointments, schedule meetings, and create/manage groups. In addition to being able to set up various types of groups, you can set up groups in Yammer. Yammer has become a central place where teams can exchange files, get updates and have conversations with others. 

In Outlook 2016, distribution lists are now known as contact groups. Though the instructions for setting up each type of group vary a bit, they’re very similar. Users can find the instructions for setting up each type of group online or by using the F1 key in Outlook. The new Outlook has many helpful features like this to make your workday go smoother and help you improve efficiency. Below are our top 9 Tips and Tricks for getting the most out of Outlook.

One-Turn Off Notifications 

There are several ways to turn off notifications in Outlook. This is an easy way to stop all those interruptions that prevent you from getting your work done each day. Go to the taskbar and click on the triangle. The programs that are already available will show up. Right-click the Outlook icon and you will get a list of things you can do. One of them is turn off notifications. Uncheck the box that says “Show New Mail Desktop Alert”. If you have Outlook open, you can also go to File>Options>Mail. Here, there are many options. Click on, “Turn off notifications”. You can also personalize your mail client here. Most workers report that they’re a great deal more efficient with notifications turned off. 

Two-Setting up Meetings 

Automatically One of the favorite shortcuts in Outlook 2016 is the one for setting up a meeting. There are actually several good ways to do this. Drag an email from your Inbox to the Calendar icon at the bottom of Outlook. This will automatically set up a meeting. You can turn any email into a meeting by doing this. Another effective method, with your email open, click on “Reply with meeting”. This is found on the ribbon in the “Respond” group. Clicking on “Reply with meeting” will send out an invitation to everyone who was addressed in the email. 

Three-Blocking off Some Private 

Time We all need private time each day to get special projects finished or just take a breather from a busy day. An easy way to do this is to pull an email into your calendar to block off some time, perhaps an hour or so. You might need to read a proposal or document sent by someone. You might simply want a few moments of peace and quiet. The blocked off time appears as a meeting in your calendar so that coworkers can see that you are busy and will not disturb you. 

Note that you can now set the time simply by typing the numbers. You don’t have to type the colon and a.m. or p.m. Type a number, such as “11” and the program fills in the time as 11 a.m. This can be a real time-saver. You can also enter time using military times. For instance, type 800 for 8 a.m. and 1600 for 4 p.m. No matter how you type it, time will automatically update so that it looks correct.

Four-Ignore Button 

We all get emails that are not important but they still take valuable time to look over and they can clog up your Inbox with correspondence that isn’t relevant to what you’re doing. Let’s say you’ve been getting emails and reminders about an upcoming luncheon for your department, but you know you will not be able to go on that particular day. So open one of these emails and click on the “Ignore” button. From then on, you will not see any emails about that topic. 

Five-Quick Access Toolbar 

Customize this toolbar located at the very top left portion of Outlook. You can add the commands that you most often use so that they’re handy. This can be done in any Microsoft Office program. Go up to the very top left portion of the screen where you’ll find the quick access icons. Click on the triangle at the end. This opens a drop-down list. One of the options is “more commands.” Once at this dialog box you can filter commands by clicking on:

  • Popular commands
  • Command not in the ribbon
  • All commands
  • Macros

Choose whatever commands you most frequently use and add them to your Quick Access Tool Bar. For instance, work offline allows you to work without the constant interruption of emails and notifications from team members. This can be helpful if you are up against a tight deadline and every moment counts. Experiment with various ones and you’ll soon find your favorites.

Six-Instant Messaging a Group 

This is a good way to get a fast answer from team members who may be involved in an important project with a fast-arriving due date. Open your last email about this topic or from one of the members of the email. Next, click on IM>Reply All. This will send out a response as an instant message. Team members who are online will get notified immediately via instant message. 

Seven-Quick step 

Quickstep is a handy way to set up an email message so that several actions are taken in one step. The message can be marked as read, flagged and then moved to a specific folder. Quickstep can be used to set up one or more emails and you can set it up with any combination of steps that you want to be completed with one click. 

You can set up certain emails to go into specific folders. You can also set up a folder for a special project and then designate which emails will automatically go into that folder. This is an easy way to organize emails by project title or by the supervisor who is in charge of the project. There are many ways to arrange them.

Begin by clicking on “More”, found in the Ribbon, then “Manage Quick Steps”. You can do this for existing or new emails. To create a new Quick Step, go to the Quick Steps portion of the Ribbon (found in the middle area) and click on “Create New”. In “Edit Quick Steps” you can choose a category and then create a new action. There is almost an endless number of steps you can accomplish with one quick step and that’s the goal of this timesaver. It allows you to take multiple actions with just one click. For instance, copy an email, pre-populate the “Send to” line, and include information that’s constant throughout similar emails. With daily use, you’ll become a whiz at making this timesaver work well for you.

Eight-Set Automatic Replies 

Did you ever go on vacation and forget to set up your automatic email for your vacation? This happens to everyone. To avoid this happening, go ahead and set up your Vacation Out of Office email weeks ahead of time. Go to the file menu and click on send automatic replies, then fill in the dates and times when you will be leaving and when you will return. You can set up a message for both external and internal emails. By setting this up in advance so that it’s ready to go when you are, you won’t have to worry about forgetting or having to do it at the last minute. 

Nine-Search Mailbox 

All email programs now have a search box that allows you to search through your emails using a single word or phrase. It’s much easier to find all your emails pertaining to any name or topic. Once you click on “Search”, this opens a whole menu of Search tools that can be helpful if you know certain things about the email. You may be looking only for emails with an attachment; specify that in search tools. If you know a name and that the email had an attachment, this can filter your results even more. 

Getting Help 

These are just a few of the many ways that Microsoft Outlook 2016 will help you get all your work done without too much extra labor and stress. Learning these shortcuts, tips, and tricks can help you modify Outlook so that it’s customized just for you. If you take a little extra time each day to learn one Time Saving Tip, you’ll get the most out of the program. In addition to the articles and tutorials found at Microsoft, you can also find hundreds of YouTube videos that will show you exactly how to do something. 

Of course, within Outlook or any Microsoft program, you can get help by pressing F1 or clicking on the question mark in the upper right-hand corner. Type a few words about what topic you need to get instructions for, such as how to use Quick Steps and a whole list of helpful instructions will come up. Once you get Outlook 2016 set up and organized especially for your workflow, you’ll find that Outlook can be a great tool to help you get more done each day.

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What To Do When Your Privacy Is Violated And Your Details Are Public

What To Do When Your Privacy Is
Violated And Your Details Are Public

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Your relationship with the Internet started out so well! Long before you realized it, sites like Facebook and Google were tracking your every move and keeping records on you to you use against you. Fight back!

It may have started with an American Online disc promising 40 hours of free time, or it may have started with your university email account and use was limited to time spent in the school library. Perhaps it was with odd-duck Juno, connecting to download new email messages and then only dialing back in to re-connect for a quick send-and-receive, and no real time spent “online”. Or it may have started after “AOL” was unlimited and free, and you weren’t among those who had to create a brand-new email address every time you needed to score more free time from a new disc – seriously, those things were everywhere!

No matter how it started, we’re all in the same boat today. Well, unless you’re still connecting from a university library computer anonymously and your home life is spent in a cabin in the mountains somewhere living the life unplugged. Side note: There’s a reason people pay to travel to the most remote locations in the world – unplugged – for a back-to-the-basics experience, sometimes all the way to staying in a tent in a sleeping bag and fishing or foraging for food. It’s ironic how we’ll consider paying for this as a vacation, given the access we have to modern amenities like running water, indoor plumbing, air conditioning, and maybe a Keurig.

Are we on information overload? Are we overwhelmed with data and addicted to being busy? Well, yes to both – but that’s not the real reason we revert to rustic living. It’s the feeling of control over everything in your immediate world and being in charge of your destiny. It’s knowing the unknown doesn’t live in some dark room halfway around the globe, waiting to steal your credit card information or plant malware on your laptop through one innocent but careless action on your part. We’re going to skip the part about possible bears or wild animals on that extreme camping expedition analogy we’re making here.

Back in the real world, where Google and Facebook exist, we now know that those are just two of the major organizations who use the information gathered from us online to benefit them. Yes, the fine print we accept without reading vaguely indicates the information they collect will be used to cater our online experiences to our preferences, etc., but no matter how you look at it, the primary benefactor in that data collection isn’t us. Google collects the data to serve us advertisements, deliver sponsored search results which are really ads that charge the advertiser a premium to show their search result at the top – from which, again, Google benefits. We’re not saying this is a bad thing – oh, no! But at the same time, we need to be incredibly cautious about what information we do share. After all, knowledge is power. We already know Google is in an extremely powerful position, being the exception and the rule, depending on the circumstances.

Now that we’re learning more about the Internet and how organizations are using data to target consumers – us – and we’re learning the unfortunate side effects – for us – about the relationships these organizations have with other major organizations who are willing to pay for our information. All so they, in turn, can then target us with more advertising and messaging. We refer back to the earlier comment about information overload.

The question we face is, what can we do? How can we take back control of life in the world where we connect to the Internet every single day, whether it’s to check email, post a status to Facebook, share an image on Instagram, or use Google to search for a recipe?

We’ll tell you. 

There are steps you can take to see what information Google has collected on you. We warn you, before you follow these steps, be prepared to understand Google has far more information than you realize, and it can feel like an intrusion. It may feel like the last time you went to a physical ATM – way back in the day – and were worried about that guy behind you who wasn’t at least 4 feet back, and you were worried he’d see your PIN and rob you.

For Google:

  • Log into your personal Google Account. You already have one if you’ve read this far. Chances are you’re already signed in. How to know? This is simple: go to https://www.google.com/ and look in the upper right corner. If there is the avatar you’ve chosen or an image you recognize, you’re signed in. If not, there will be a blue rectangle that says “Sign In”.
  • Once you’re logged in, visit this link: Google Maps Timeline.
  • “What’s Location History?” wants to tell you that you’re about to see a personalized map of all the places you’ve been with your logged-in devices. This is where you’re promised better commute options and improved search results.
  • This pulls up Google Maps and may give you a dialogue box with a brief introduction: “Explore your timeline”, with the text under this that “Only you can see your timeline”.
  • You’re next promised control, with the option to delete anything you prefer.
  • Clicking through will take you to a page where Google tells you what it thinks your home address and work address are. These may be blank.
  • At the bottom left, there is a blue button: “Manage Location History”.
  • Facebook will happily email you when your archive is complete – it’s ok, they already know your email address, remember?

For Facebook:

  • Log into your personal Facebook Account.
  • Once logged in, there will be a drop-down menu in the upper right corner that just looks like a triangle pointing down. Click this to see the drop-down menu.
  • Select “Settings”.
  • In the left navigation menu, select “General”.
  • In the center panel, you’ll see a series of items – probably about a half dozen, depending on the latest iteration of Facebook. Underneath these menu items, you’ll see an option to “Download a copy of your Facebook data.”
  • Depending on your Facebook tenure and activity, this can take a very long time to download. Clicking this text will take you to a page with a green button that reads “Start My Archive”. You will probably be prompted for your password again at this point.
  • Facebook will happily email you when your archive is complete – it’s ok, they already know your email address, remember?

This is not necessarily related to all those personality quizzes some Facebook users love about “Which Harry Potter Character Are You?” or “What Color Is Your Aura?” or “What Type of Dog Breed Are You?”, and the data that is collected through this – by the way, it’s typically your email address and your list of friends. With the news of Facebook selling information on over 80 million of its users recently, there is a large movement to #DeleteFacebook, but we’re not sure jumping ship is the answer.

Updating activity on Facebook isn’t as straightforward as it is on Google, but at least now you know what is being collected from you now from both and how to handle it. As we mentioned, knowledge is power, and the more power you can take back, the more control you have over your digital destiny.

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Law Firms Hot New Target for Hackers

Law Firms Hot New Target for Hackers

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The legal industry is facing its most challenging obstacle to date and it’s not from judges, court cases, the mafia, felons or any of those things you might guess. Instead, these attacks against law firms are coming from hackers. Once viewed as impenetrable to hackers, today’s law firm is just about as likely to be hacked as any other business.

John Sweeney of LogicForce explains: “Law firms are the subject of targeted attacks for one simple reason,” he recently said. “Their servers hold incredibly valuable information. That includes businesses’ IP, medical records, bank information, even government secrets. For hackers looking for information they can monetize, there is no better place to start.”

His comment highlights a growing problem for the legal industry. Each day, they are faced with new and practically unstoppable cyber-crimes. One of the most startling aspects of this troubling trend is that many times, the law firm doesn’t even know it’s been hacked. A 2016 study done on this topic showed that 40 percent of the law firms that were breached had no idea that a crime had been committed. This is disturbing on several levels.

If you’ve recently done business with a law firm, there is a possibility that your business, personal and/or financial information could already be in the hands of hackers on the other side of the world.

A global problem for law firms 

The fourth largest law firm in the world, Mossack Fonseca lost 11.5 million files from its database. The information was eventually shared with journalists, the BBC and newspapers. This offshore law firm specializes in helping wealthy clients hide their money. The documents that were leaked contained highly sensitive information about wealthy clients and their offshore tax schemes. 

Mossack Fonseca’s client base also included national leaders and well-known politicians. The documents that were leaked held clear evidence of how and where large amounts of money were hidden by illustrious leaders like Vladimir Putin. Embarrassing revelations were made public such as how British prime minister, David Cameron’s father, had been avoiding paying taxes in Britain for many years. Any law firm would find it difficult to recover from such a devastating breach of security.

Solving the problem 

For most companies who are breached by cyber thieves, the recovery process begins with contacting those who were affected while stopping any other data leaks. With law firms, this process usually begins with helping the firm to find out whether they’ve already been a victim of a cyber-crime. This requires experts in cybersecurity who will run a series of tests looking for specific anomalies. Once they find out whether data has been lost, the experts will recommend a course of action. This typically includes securing the data so that no other intrusions will occur, while notifying those who were affected. 

Law firm hacking on the rise 

In spite of all the hype about hacking and cyber-security, a new report says that 14 million businesses were, in some way, affected by cyber-crimes last year. The experts believe that the reason the number is so high is that most small business owners do not believe they are at risk. This is also true of most law firms. They simply think they are exempt from data breaches. This leaves them even more at risk because they are unprepared. 

Senior attorneys don’t fully understand how hacking is done and what types of weaknesses a hacker looks for. The principles at a law firm are often not up to date on the latest techniques that hackers are using. This leaves them defenseless. If you want to defeat an enemy, you must first learn everything you can about that enemy. Very few people including attorneys, understand the science behind hacking.

In addition, lawyers use a wide range of devices from smartphones to laptops and desktop computers. Each device is a potential gateway for cyber-thieves to enter and steal information. With the Internet of Things (IoT) now growing, even appliances in the break room can be hacked.

The recent rise in law firm breaches proves that professionals are still not fully aware of the dangers lurking around us on the internet. Attorneys may be reluctant to spend the money and time on a security team that will come in and create the proper security protocols. But waiting to see will place all customer data at risk. People often tell their attorney sensitive information that could harm their clients in many ways. A data breach is embarrassing and hard to explain to those clients who have entrusted you with personal information.

Preparing for data breaches 

A good place to start for a law firm that does not have proper security in place is the American Bar Association’s guide. This comprehensive document includes a great deal of information about preventing cyber-attacks. It also addresses ways to respond once an attack has occurred. Employees should be trained about phishing attacks and this training must be ongoing because the method that hackers use evolves with each new attack. 

The managers at a law firm can begin by engaging an outside IT security expert that specializes in legal data. The team of security experts will assess your current level of protection against intruders, then recommend new initiatives. They should institute a regular training program that teaches employees how to spot phishing attacks in emails. Even trained employees may get careless, but continual training helps everyone to remember how important it is not to click on suspicious links or give away passwords.

What a law firm can do today 

Many law firms are also writing their own policies about password protection, log-in credentials, and web-surfing. Once you have policies in place that your employees are aware of, you can begin to enforce them and this will help to eliminate threats. Your onsite IT people should be checking weekly for patches and updates to software. New updates should be downloaded as soon as possible. 

Regardless of the time and expense of these security initiatives, the alternative could be devastating. One of the most important assets a law firm has is its reputation. Once a data leak has occurred, it’s too late. Legal professionals must do everything possible to prepare and prevent these leaks.

There’s every reason to believe that this digital age will continue to expand across the world. Businesses and the legal industry are facing unprecedented challenges for the future, but there are solid remedies that work. It all begins with realizing how vulnerable you are and how important it is to protect your client’s information. Regardless of the cost, the alternative is just too costly.

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