Laptops for Business

 

Finding the right technology for your business needs can be tricky work. There are so many choices out there for software, hardware and office tech that it can become overwhelming without some direction. In today’s blog we are discussing work technology in the form of the much beloved business laptop. We will look at the options out there as well as some things that you may want to consider before making your purchase.

 

According to PC Mag, business owners are looking for something that is durable, secure, powerful, light and has the battery capacity to last through an entire work day. Things to consider, then when researching the best business laptop for your needs are:

 

  • Storage – How much storage you need for your files, presentation or security software? Do you use multimedia presentations or merely need access to files?  
  • Memory – The right amount of memory allows you to keep more programs and windows open while you work.
  • Graphics – Make sure your laptop has the right type of graphics and displays for the needs of your company.
  • Connectivity – Getting connect to the web through a wifi location when you are on-the-go is important for business travelers. Choose a laptop that has options for how easily and how securely you can connect.
  • Battery Life – Most business laptops come with options of battery. No one wants to be on a long business trip only to stop every few hours to recharge. You can choose between the number of batteries and cells. The higher you go, the heavier the device will be so you need to decide if the battery performance is worth the weight.

 

Resources – Click on the following links if you would like to continue your laptop search and are looking at rankings.

 

PC Mag Top Laptops 2017

 

The 8 Best Business Laptops to Buy in 2017

Top 10 best business laptops in 2017

Are you Cyber Aware While Mobile?

As Americans, we love our mobile devices because they are so portable and easy-to-use. Unfortunately, smartphones, tablets, laptops, e-readers and iwatches are just as vulnerable to cyber attacks as desktop machines. With the expansion of capabilities and wider range of uses of mobile devices, there have also been an introduction of new security risks. Let’s look at a few steps you can take to be cyber aware while on your beloved mobile device.

 

  1. Security – Keep your mobile device locked with encryption features such as a pin, password, complex swipe, or other security option should it be lost or stolen.
  2. Monitor Apps – It is always advisable to stick with official marketplaces when installing an app in order to avoid spyware, malicious software or other viruses. Some apps ask for access to a camera or messages. Evaluate whether you really need those. In addition, remove apps that you no longer use.
  3. Consider Anti-Virus Software – An anti-virus package may be your best bet at defending against cyber crimes. You wouldn’t operate your desktop without appropriate protection so don’t do it with your mobile. In addition, make sure your system is regularly updated with the latest security features.
  4. Jailbreaking – This activity, while it may help you gain access to specific apps also strips away some of your mobile security.
  5. Bluetooth and WiFi – Disable both of these features when you are not using them because cyber criminals can track your movements when you are in range.
  6. Hotspots – Sure, doing work at a coffeeshop may sound cozy but it can give criminals access to your device and key accounts such as your email, and financial information. Consider using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) if you need a secure connection on-the-go.
  7. Getting a New Device – Consider wiping the data on your mobile device before disposing of it. Keep in mind if you have used rooting or jailbreaking, your device may not respond to the wiping.

 

Call M&H Consultants for more information on training your employees on how to be “Cyber Aware While Mobile”.

 

Spring Cleaning of Your Mobile Device

Yep, it is that time of year again – spring cleaning time. It’s not just for your house either. This is a time when, we here at M&H Consulting, encourage all computer users to clean things out and get organized. Spring is as good a time as any to get this done. Many times we focus on desktop and laptop clean outs. Today we have a few suggestions for spring cleaning your beloved mobile device – you know that thing in your hand that you can’t seem to put down.

Take a few minutes to take these clean out tips. Happy Spring Cleaning!

  • Update – Make sure your OS is running on the most recent update. “Without doing these upgrades and updates you really lose a lot of the functionality in general of the device as they continue to upgrade and add new features,” according to David Lingenfelter, the information security officer at Fiberlink, an IBM company about mobile device maintenance in a corporate environment.
  • Delete Unwanted or Unused AppsUnused or unwanted apps can chew quickly through your battery and your data. These apps can also be communicating through the web or exposing you to viruses?
  • Organize your Apps – It may seem like a little thing, but organizing the apps into business and personal can save you time.
  • Remove Photos and VideosThe biggest space-hogger on many phones is the camera roll, especially if you take lots of videos. Clean those out and transfer them to an online storage service, cloud backup or some photo app to make your mobile run faster and more efficiently.
  • Use a Cleaning App – There are powerhouse apps that clean out your Android device. It removes junk, it improves performance, and it keeps your data safe from harm.
  • Lock It Down – Once you have given your mobile device a thorough cleaning go through the security to make sure it is up-to-date. Is your password strong and do you have anti-virus protection?

 

The Future of Mobile 2017

Wouldn’t it be great if the tech industry had a crystal ball and was able to see what was coming in the future of our industry? We would be able to see things like new threats such as: spyware, ransomware and malware that threaten our networks. We would be able to see the newest gadgets that are yet to be invented that will save us time and money. . . and some that might help save our world a little. The future is pretty exciting and nerve wracking at the same time.

One area that we can almost predict, or at least see where the trajectory is headed, is the future of the mobile industry as it relates to internet use. According to Zenith’s new Mobile Advertising Forecasts, mobile devices will account for 75 per cent of global internet use next year. The mobile proportion of internet use has increased rapidly, from 40 percent in 2012 to 68 percent in 2016, and Zenith forecasts it to reach 79 percent by 2018.

It is no surprise that mobile use has grown so much and will continue to expand as the penetration of the mobile market has dispersed across Western Europe, Asia and North America. In 2012, just 23 percent of people in our 60 markets had a smartphone, and four per cent had a tablet. Smartphone penetration has now reached 56 percent, and increase of 2.4 times over four years. Zenith forecasts it to rise to 63 percent by 2018. Tablets are more of a luxury item and have not spread nearly so widely: they are owned by 15 percent of people in our 60 markets now, and Zenith expects them to reach 17 percent penetration in 2018.

Due to these major growths in mobile use, marketing and internet use via mobile is expected to overtake desktop advertising in 2017, increasing its share of global internet advertising to 52 percent from 44 percent this year. In 2018, it is expected for mobile advertising to account for 60 percent of all internet advertising.

If your company does not have a mobile plan in place or needs to beef up your current plan, call M&H Consultants to talk about the future of mobile for your company.

Tech Life Hacks (Pt. 2)

This post is a continuation of the two-part tech hack series. We will be provide the second set of tips to make your life with technology more simple! If you would like to learn about these hacks, follow along.

To maintain the life of your phone charger:

This tip is a common one that can be applied to any charger, not just that of your phone. Take apart a clicking pen and use the pen’s spring to wrap it around the top of the charging cord. This will help keep the wire from bending and breaking out.

In case you lose your phone:

Here is a tip so simple that you’ve probably not thought of it before. In your note section, type your name and contact information and then save a screenshot of it. Change your lockscreen to the screenshot image, this way, if it gets lost, someone will know how to return it to you.

Picture Taking:

Taking pictures with one hand, especially when it is a selfie, can be difficult and cause your hands to cramp. Solving this issue is very simple. Once you have gotten into the right pose or gotten the phone in the right position, use the volume buttons to snap the picture.

For charging your phone:

Charging your phone can be a tedious process, especially when you are in a rush and need it to charge quickly. The best way to charge your phone quickly is to set it on airplane mode while it is on the charger.

For “resetting” your phone:

Many times, when your phone has a hard time connecting to a signal, or has a glitch, we shut off the phone entirely or reboot it. An easier way to do this is to set your phone on airplane mode for a minute. This will help your phone to connect to a signal.

If you haven’t read the first post on this series, click here to check it out.

Tech Life Hacks (Pt. 1)

Technology can be complicated and understanding them can require a lot of work. Because of this, there are many tech hacks available to help make our technology experience easier and our overall lives easier through technology. Since there are so many hacks available, we have split these lists into a two-part series. Here is the first set of tips to help you get through your technology uses; stay tuned for the next set!

For quick browsing:

Type on “CTRL” and “Enter” at that the same time after typing a domain on the URL bar and the “.com” will appear.

For capitalization purposes:

Highlight a word or phrase and press on “Shift” and “F3” at the same time to switch the capitalization through lowercase, all uppercase and first letter capitalization. Unfortunately, this hack is only useful for PC devices.

For slideshow presentations:

When saving PowerPoint presentations, try saving it as “.PPS” rather than the standard “.PPT”. By doing this, you will be able to skip a step and automatically open your presentation as a slideshow whenever the file is opened.

For your headphones:

To keep your apple headphones handy and safe from getting tangled all up, stick them onto your macbook while doing work. Confused? Well, apparently the Headphones are able to stick onto macbooks like magnets.

To help you differentiate between left ear bud and right ear bud, and skip the misplacing process that can be uncomfortable, try painting or marking each ear bud with different colors.

Test these hacks out and stay tuned for the next set!

How to Keep Phone Apps from Knowing Too Much about You

We all love apps especially those social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram and Tumblr. Most of us are semi-addicted to the information and images that flood our smartphones daily. But these apps also come with requests for access to some of your private information. How much is too much? And how can you block the access when it gets to be too much openness?

 

Some apps request things that seem pretty commonsensical like a camera app asking permission to use your phone’s camera. If you spend time on Facebook or Instagram, you probably upload snapshots of your friends and family all the time. Naturally, the app for these services needs to be able to access your photos. But then there are other requests for access that may ask for permission to use your data around the clock. Giving your GPS may seem like a good idea for a mapping app but not so much for a social media app or a video game. Those apps do not need to know your every move.

 

In addition to wanting to know more than they should, some apps try to gain access to your cellular account and charge you monthly fees without your explicit permission. Here are some suggestion so you don’t “get taken” when it comes to allowing access to your private info and images.

  • If you are concerned about an app, delete it from your phone.
  • Use common sense when downloading apps. Buy or only accept apps that come from a reputable source.
  • Use the privacy control settings on your phone. For example, you can choose whether the app can use your contacts or access your photos. You can deny location data entirely by turning off GPS on your phone. To do that, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. (Source Apple)
  • Look at each app and what it has access to. Do this regularly so that a reset or change in user permission does not fool you.

 

Finding the Root Cause of an IT Problem

Do you ever think you have gotten rid of a computer virus just to find your computer acting the same way as it did when you had the virus? We have all been there. The reason why this happens is usually because you have actually taken care of the symptoms rather than the actual root cause. Because this is such a common issue, we have decided to go through a few steps to help you find out the root issue to your IT problem and how to prevent them from reoccurring.

We have combined a few steps to help analyze the root cause. Read along to find out.

  1. Find out what the issue is.

You have to first figure out what the symptoms are in order to figure out what the problem is.  For example, if your computer is infected, ask yourself, “why is it infected?” You may figure out that it is because your malware program is outdated.

  1. Find out why the problem exists.

This step doesn’t necessarily give you the root cause of your IT problem but, it could definitely be a first step direction to it. In continuation with the first example, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to figure it out: (a.) “Why is my antimalware outdated?” Maybe you simply didn’t update the program. (b.) “Why didn’t I update it?” Maybe you forgot to, or the program didn’t offer one. (c.) “Why didn’t the program offer an update?” Maybe there is no longer an update for this version of malware program.

  1. Find out the root cause.

Once you have figured out all the reasons why this problem exists, you are able to determine what the root cause is. Using the example, once you have figured out that you malware program no longer offers an update, you may wonder “why doesn’t it offer an update?” and through research find out that the service company may no longer exist. This means that the virus system kept coming back because you have a program that is no longer working for your system.

After figuring out the root problem, it’s important to design a plan to prevent the problem from returning. Maybe, after you figure out that you need to download a new malware, you can design a maintenance plan to remember to check for updates and to see if your malware program is still relevant.

If you need help figuring out what the root cause of your IT problem is, or you need help designing a solution for your problem, contact M&H.

Protecting your Technology While on Vacation

Vacation! You have been waiting all year to kick back, relax and step out of the rat race for a while. You may have travel plans and are finally getting to visit the places you have only dreamed of all year. The last thing on your mind is protecting your technology. While we don’t want to ruin your blissfully happy vacation plans, we also don’t want you to have a technology induced headache upon your return, or even while you are off on this idyllic vacation. Thus we have compiled a list of ways you can protect your technology while you are on your dream vacation.

 

  • Back Up – Before you head off into the sunset and dive into vacation be sure to back up your family and work devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Backing up your devices will protect your work, photos, and stored information in case of a lost or stolen device while on vacation.
  • Keep your Devices Nearby – While you are focused on jumping in the pool, playing frisbee on the beach, or getting up to capture the perfect photo, criminals are focused on how to grab any unattended devices or bags. Carry your smart phone in a fanny pack that stays around your waist. Be sure to secure external USB and hard drives, and pay a little extra for a room safe in your hotel.
  • Be Wary of Internet Logins – Avoid doing anything that requires me to log in if I’m on a completely open network at an airport, cafe or anywhere else to protect your data as much as possible. If something seems odd about your connection such as pop-up boxes start flashing on the screen, strange messages, etc.,  immediately disconnect and go somewhere else. Always try to connect to a password-protected network associated with the cafe or hotel.
  • Quit the posting Check ins and Geo-tagging – While it might be fun to post socially where you are on vacation, this comes with some risk, especially abroad where cyber attackers can zero in on you.
  • Physically Protect your Travel Devices – Be sure to have strong protective covers for all of your mobile devices. Smashing your phone can be a real bummer and can cut you off from communicating with your group depending upon how badly damaged the device is. Protective covers are useful for avoiding splashes and keeping dirt and sand away from your phone’s inner workings. Tablet covers also work in a similar way, and they’re very useful if you plan on reading, browsing the Web or checking email while on vacation.

Be safe and have fun by taking a few simple technology checks before you head off for your vacation this summer.

The Decline of Tablet Sales

Are we falling out of love with tablets? Say it isn’t so, but the love affair may be over. Or at least it is fizzling. Our relationship with tablets began in the early 1990s when Apple released the several sizes of tablets. The expectation was that the trajectory of tablet sales would shadow sales trajectory of iphones and smartphones. Well, the experts were wrong! Smartphones, for various reasons, are unique. Why are tablets on the decline? Let’s take a closer look at this phenomenon.

 

  • Many families question whether a tablet is a necessary, personal device or a luxury one that’s often shared. Instead of being a personal device that holds “all that we hold near and dear to our hearts,” tablets tend to be a community item in families. That means that instead of having one for each member, like smartphones, many families share the item – thus causing less demand for the once beloved tablet.
  • Tablets do not have a defined use. Is the tablet a leisure device? A personal assistant? A workstation? It’s difficult to say. Without that identity it becomes a foggy ground as how to market this device.
  • With the rise of the larger phone or phablet, who really wants a tablet? Think about it. It is not as easy to carry around. It doesn’t fit in your pocket. It is almost a redundant device with the larger screened smartphones. Take this info and combine with the fact that smartphones that have larger screens are faster and capable of so, so much more.
  • Tablets need to be replaced at a slower pace. Phones get dropped and smash. Phones land in the toilet or puddle and are out-of-commission. Tablets, however, stay on the bedside table waiting for you to watch your next installment of Netflix. They tend to not need to be replaced as often thus adding to the decline in sales.
  • The Apps are not as good as they once were. According to Time, almost all the best apps are already available on phones, and in some cases, only on phones. Developers have discovered that the only way to compete with such low prices (say, $0.99 or $1.99) is to produce at a mass volume, and the only device capable of selling in mass volume is the smartphone.
  • Lack of competition for the tablet and, more specifically, the Apple iPad seems to be another determining factor in the decline of the tablet. Every year, the smartphone industry only seems to get more competitive, with Apple holding onto the high-end, Samsung clinging to the middle and upstarts, like Xiaomi, snapping up customers in the budget market. The competition just isn’t there for the tablet thus causing stagnation.