Date posted: February 16, 2013
The vast majority of businesses use Microsoft Office for their corporate e-mail client. As time goes on, the search results when looking for a particular word or phrase tend to be incomplete or unreliable. The reason for this is because the Microsoft Search Index within the Microsoft Windows OS (Vista, 7, 8, etc) manages the search index not only for the files on your computer, but the messages of Outlook as well. Over time, this search index becomes corrupted and you need to delete it, so that it gets recreated.
The following are the quick and easy steps you need to take to have your search index recreated:
- Open the Control Panel
- Click on “Indexing Options”
- Click on “Advanced”
- Click on “Rebuild” and then click “OK” at the warning
We recommend doing this procedure at the end of the work day, so that you can leave your computer turned on with your Outlook open overnight. This will give your computer the entire evening to rebuild its index.
Please let us know if you have any questions!
Date posted: February 9, 2013
Ever wonder how many people are visiting your company’s website or how they are getting to it? Have you ever released a press release and wondered if it actually drew traffic to your website? There are several website traffic analysis solutions out there, but one of the best out there is actually free!
Google Analytics – http://www.google.com/analytics – is completely free and it gives you an in-depth insight as to how many visitors come to your site and why they are going on it. What’s really cool is that you can set up Analytics to automatically e-mail you reports that are specific to your marketing needs: Some items that you are able to dive into are:
- Where are visitors geographically located
- Amount of unique vs regular visitors
- Effectiveness of content based on specific pages
- How long visitors are spending on your site and pages
- Effectiveness of your social media efforts
- Mobile and smartphone effectiveness
- Conversion rate – which is how many users are taking actions (filling out forms, downloading whitepapers, etc.)
Please let us know how we can help you integrate Google Analytics into your website!
Date posted: March 23, 2012
We are excited to announce that Microsoft has asked CTS to become a member of the Microsoft Partner Research Panel (MSPRP). This panel presents a chance for a limited number of Microsoft partners to have their voices heard through ongoing research studies with Microsoft. The insights and suggestions of this vital partner community help shape products and programs which are critical to our mutual success.
Date posted: November 18, 2011
Microsoft released Service Pack 3 (SP3) for Office 2007 on October 25, 2011. This is the final SP for Office 2007 and we have been installing across all of our clients without any issues. SP3 contains a roll-up of all 2007 Cumulative and Public Updates since SP2, as well as a handful of additional fixes discovered since SP2.
To download and install SP3, you can run Microsoft Windows Update or you can download it directly from: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2526086
Please let us know if you have any questions.
Date posted: August 24, 2011
From T1s and Comcast broadband connections and all the way up to dedicated fiber connections, every Internet connection has its limit. Every business requires a stable and reasonably fast Internet connection for their operations to run smoothly. This is especially important as organizations are migrating services to the Cloud. So here are some practices to conserve that precious and critical Internet bandwidth:
- Block access to all streaming websites – One of the largest drains on an Internet connection is the streaming of media sites. Examples of these would be Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, and even radio stations that broadcast over the Internet. Each of the media streams takes up a steady and small/medium sized portion of bandwidth. If you were to have a T1, which is the typical business connection, it would only take eight employees streaming an audio feed and it would consume one-third of your entire connection.
- Limit the use of personal phone calls – The second most bandwidth-intensive application is VoIP calls and each live/active call take up to 90 Kbps, which is about one-fourteenth of the capacity of a T1. So if you were to have three employees on the phone for personal reasons, it would take up a 270 Kbps, which takes away that bandwidth for business calls and data.
- Implement an external/hosted firewall – Most Internet providers offer a hosted firewall, so that all SPAM and unwanted attacks are blocked and filtered on their core routers before it is passed along to your circuit. This is especially important if you are hosting e-mail in-house, because blocking tens of thousands of SPAM before it hits your router/firewall and travels over your business Internet connection can make a huge difference.
- Regular malware scans of computers – Malicious software (spyware, viruses, and Trojans) very often make connections out to the Internet and take up bandwidth. When computers are infected, they are turned into bots and attempt to infect other computers inside the network and out on the Internet. Regular scans and reporting are necessary to ensure that no hidden infected computers are lurking.
If you have any additional questions on Internet bandwidth management, please feel free to contact us.
Date posted: August 22, 2011
A firewall is a security solution that prevents other computers on the Internet or your network to connect to your computer. A firewall protects your computer by not allowing any data connections from external systems in which you did not initiate the connection first. An example of this would be if you try to access www.google.com, you are initiating the connection to the Google server, so as the data passes outbound through your firewall, your firewall will then take any data coming from the Google server and pass it along to your computer. And if a Google server attempts to send data to your computer without you trying to access it first, then your firewall will block all of that data traffic. So if you are at a Starbucks and using the public Internet connection, your Windows firewall is what prevents others at the Starbucks to make connections or try to break into your laptop.
There are two types of firewalls – software and hardware. A hardware firewall is a physical device that will sit between your computer and the Internet. In most cases your Internet router has a built-in firewall. A software firewall resides on your computer and monitors the data passing through your wireless or Ethernet ports. Typically hardware firewalls are Cisco, SonicWALL, Netgear, Linksys, and DLink. Examples of software firewalls are Symantec 360 Protection and Windows’ built-in firewall.
So what if there was something that you wanted to share or host with others? For example, what if you wanted to share files with another user on your office network or host a website to the Internet? What you would be doing is placing firewall exceptions for only those hosted services, and then deny any other traffic besides those specific items.
More advanced firewalls can also scan and prevent viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. And even more advanced firewalls have IPS (intrusion protection system). IPSes not only blocks external attackers, but contain intelligence with how it will detect and scan, as well as advanced reporting tools.
If you have any additional questions on firewalls, please feel free to contact us.
Date posted: August 5, 2011
On a monthly basis, a client will ask for suggestions on how to get their users to be more productive. Here is a list of quick and inexpensive solutions:
1) Increase your computer’s memory to at least 4 GB of RAM: The cost of memory has significantly dropped over the years. You can get 4 GB for about $125 and for users with less than 2 GB now, they will see a huge increase in performance. Their computer will not only run faster, but it will be more stable and they will be able to run more applications at the same time. If you think you need more than 4 GB, then make sure that you are running a 64-bit OS (operating system), because 32-bit OSes will only allow you to utilize up to 4 GB of RAM.
2) Add an additional monitor to their configuration (desktop or laptop): With a dual monitor setup, users will be able to view applications and files across two different monitors, which most people think that it does not increase productivity, but it makes a world of difference. Having the ability to view e-mails and faxes on one screen, and then entering that information into your ERP or billing system on the other screen makes that process much simpler and quicker. Being able to read/view multiple supporting documents on one screen, and creating a letter/e-mail on the other screen is invaluable. The cost of a secondary 19-inch LCD is around $110 and if you need a secondary video output, that is around $60.
3) Implement and enforce a web surfing policing solution: I do not have to give you the statistics because they been published many time, but employees waste hours at work surfing the web and sitting on Facebook. Those hours of surfing add up and are the largest productivity loss on an organization. I don’t recommend completely blocking non-business web surfing, because that has a negative effect on employees’ morale and (in turn) productivity.
The first step is to publish a Acceptable Use Policy, if you have not already, that informs employees that they may surf the web for personal items, but within reason and a specific usage per day. Part of that policy should state that violations will be met with written warnings, suspension, or even termination.
Now we all know that these published policies are not that effective, but there are technologies that will assist in the “babysitting.” There are several low cost solutions that will do the following and this is what we recommend:
a) Monitoring and logging – You are able to track, monitor, and create reports on usage and trends for each user. This is a very powerful solution especially when you need to get HR involved.
b) Restrict categories of website – You have the ability to block specific types of websites and examples are: Adult/Mature, Gambling, Social Media (Facebook, MySpace, etc), Violence, Weapons, Chatrooms, Dating, and Personal E-mail.
c) Restrict the hours – You are able to create restricted and non-restricted time windows for web surfing. This is the best of both worlds when you mix it with item 2. You can allow users to surf for all websites during early morning, lunch break, and then late afternoon. So this way users do not feel like they are being completely blocked, but you are restricting the peak business times and capping the amount of time they can surf.