Tag Archives: app

The Hidden Dangers Of “Shadow IT” To Your Business

14 Jun 17
lverbik
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We all know that using information technology — programs, apps, or internet browsing — carries a certain amount of risk. Nobody wants to have their secure data compromised, but technology brings enough benefits that the risk is worth it. So you vet certain systems, you establish protocols, you update and patch your software, and you keep track of the technology used at work.

But what about the technology your employees are using that isn’t part of your official plan? We’re talking about messaging apps, Excel macros, cloud data storage, collaboration spaces, and even hardware like USB drives, smartphone storage, and personal laptops that you don’t control.

We call this “shadow IT,” and that’s a whole lot of potential holes to cover!

Even if you ignore the dangers of having accounts hacked, data stolen, and websites vandalized, shadow IT can be very inefficient. You don’t control it, so you don’t know where important information is or what work is being done. It makes it hard to avoid duplication of efforts and even harder to manage employee productivity. What are you to do?

Well, your gut reflex might be to “crack down” on using unauthorized technology for work purposes. Swallow that reaction, though — you can’t stop it, and you’ll just harm morale. You’ll also drive usage even further underground; your people won’t be honest with you for fear of reprisal. That means that if a compromise occurs, you’ll be the last to know.

Instead, keep an eye on the situation. Make it clear that you support employees using the tools they need to get the job done, as long as they let you know what those tools are. If your people start using cloud storage apps, that’s fine — but have them explain how they’ll keep that data secure. Just as you empower them to find their own tools, empower them to keep things secure.

You probably can’t come up with a list of all the shadow IT that’s being used at your work, but you can keep an eye on the trends as they develop. Research the technology that’s being used and watch the headlines for data breaches or other compromises.

In some cases, you will have to crack down on specific apps, programs, or devices being used at your work; they’re just too risky. If you’ve worked with employees and fostered good communication, this shouldn’t be an issue. Remember to avoid blaming employees when shadow IT becomes a problem — especially if they bring the issue to your attention themselves. There’s nothing wrong with asking your people to stop using a specific program or device, as long as you’re transparent and have good reasons.

Last, but not least, try to look on the bright side. Shadow IT may be a little risky, but it also presents opportunities for employees to drive productivity and try out new best practices. If they’re using a piece of technology, it’s probably doing something that the currently “approved” tech is not. They’re also showing self-starter tendencies and trying to do their job better. And that’s always something you should support!

5 Tools To Keep Your Kids Safe Online

30 Jan 17
lverbik
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School is in full swing, your kids are digging for the data they’ll need to fill all those reports, papers and projects that fuel their passing grades…

And Mr. Google can be their greatest friend when it comes to finding tons of tidbits to keep teacher happy.

But with great opportunity comes great risk…

Threats to your kids’ safety and well-being, posed by bullies, scam artists and pedophiles, lie in wait for the innocent. For example, according to CBS news, odds are about one in seven your kid will get picked on by a cyberbully.

Fortunately, you have a few tools and tricks up your sleeve to keep your kids safe. Here’s a helpful handful that we recommend:

  1. Kids may come across offensive web pages as they search the Internet. They can avoid this content by using child-oriented search engines, such as AskKids or KidsClick.org. This method isn’t always completely effective, so you may want to combine it with filtering software.
  1. A low-cost tablet and smartphone application can monitor, restrict and time your kids’ online activities. Mobicip blocks access to sexually explicit web sites. You may also use it to filter out various other material, such as news, social media or chat rooms.
  1. Cyber Patrol Online Protection offers a similar solution for desktop and notebook PCs. It blocks harmful web sites, logs online activity and limits the amount of time that kids can surf the web. This software also does its best to detect cyberbullying and warn parents.
  1. The STOPit smartphone app lets children tell adults about cyberbullying without risking retaliation. When kids see mean-spirited posts about their peers, they can anonymously forward the messages to parents or teachers. A high school in New Jersey successfully reduced bullying by urging students to use this app.
  1. Garfield, Nermal and Dr. Nova teach kids about Internet bullying in an interactive cartoon known as Professor Garfield Cyberbullying. The iPad app gives children tips on what to do when peers engage in this hurtful behavior. It uses a story about an online animal dancing contest to keep young learners interested.

These tools can make a big difference, but it’s still vital to talk about Internet safety. Be sure to discuss the potential risks with your child. Kids usually benefit when parents take the time to listen and offer helpful advice about specific issues.

Accomplish More On Your Mobile Device

01 Dec 14
lverbik
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Microsoft announced today that they have acquired Acompli, an email app available on iOS and Android. Acompli is designed to help you work faster and smarter with emails and calendars on your mobile device. The service works with a variety of messaging services including Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Google and Yahoo. Unlike most systems that split email and calendar management into separate apps Accompli allows for both in a single app, all with keeping your most important email at the top.

Without an Outlook app available for iOS, this would seem to help close a gap in Microsoft’s mobile offerings.

“This acquisition is part of our company-wide effort to help people accomplish more with their mobile devices.” Rajesh Jha, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, said in a blog post.

This is not a new direction for Microsoft. Earlier this year the company released mobile versions of their office suite for iOS and Android. They quickly rose to the top of the app charts.

With email being so central to most people’s work lives, having a single, simple location to handle all of the various inboxes most users have, similarly to the role of Outlook on the PC, would make life easier for many.

Techno Advantage wants to help make your life easier by being your trusted IT consultant.  We are a Microsoft Certified Partner and can help you explore all the options available to you and your business.  Contact us today!