Easy way to secure your accounts from cyber hacking

Ebay released a statement last week confirming that their online auction house had been hacked sometime during January – March 2014, compromising 145 million accounts. Their investigation revealed that employee login credentials were stolen by cyberattackers which were then used to access their corporate website.
While their official position is that there has been “no evidence of any unauthorized access to financial or credit card information, which is stored separately in encrypted formats”, the personal information of users including name, address, emails and passwords have been stolen. If you are a user of ebay, you would have received by now an email from them asking you to change your password.
The real concern here is not third parties unauthorised access to your ebay account. Instead, it’s third parties being armed with your personal information logging into other databases such as your emails or paypal account with a password that is the same as the one you used for ebay. It is a serious problem.
Users can change their emails and passwords of other accounts but cyber hacking is prevalent and such an incident will happen again.
Two step verification is an increasingly popular setup with regards to account access. It should be available with all your online bank account access. Please contact your bank if you don’t already have this setup. Further, you should set this up with your emails. I recently posted a blog on how to setup 2-step verification in Gmail. If you use Gmail then I highly recommend you set this up as well. http://www.onsitehelper.com/index.php/blog/99-2-step-authentication
If you are a user of PayPal, it is recommended that you set up the PayPal Security Key rather than simply changing your password. For further information see https://www.paypal.com/au/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=xpt/Marketing_CommandDriven/securitycenter/PayPalSecurityKey
PayPal Security Key is a form of 2 step verification which along with your password, an additional method of verification is sent to you which is unique and changes every time you need to login. This can come as an additional password sent to you as an sms.
There are two options with PayPal:
Security Key card: This is an electronic device that creates a unique security code instantly at the press of a button. It is the size of a credit card. One time cost of $32.95 AUD.
Mobile phone Security Key: You can sign up to receive security codes by text message. – free.
I use the mobile phone Security Key which only took 30 seconds to setup. Here is how to do it.
1. Sign into PayPal
2. Click this link to register your mobile phone to receive sms https://www.paypal.com/au/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_register-security-key-mobile
Then follow the prompts.
Be proactive with your security and prevent your accounts from being hacked. The 2 step verification system is by far the best solution to date.
If you need any help in setting up or reviewing your IT security, please contact helpdesk@onsitehelper.com or call 03 9999 3106

Google Classroom

Google has created a new product called Classroom which combines Google Docs, Drive and Gmail. Google Classroom is an application targeted for use by educational institutions to assist in the creation and organisation of paperless assignments with ease and efficiency.
Classroom is very versatile as it allows teachers to create assignments, share a single document or automatically make copies for each student. The application automatically creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each student taking out the hassle of organising paperwork. Classroom also allows teachers to view the extent of completion of work and provide direct feedback in real-time along with making announcements and posing questions to students. Students can also easily see on their homepage the assignments which are due.
Classroom, which assist in assignment creation, management and communication will be officially released in September 2014. Google is currently offering educational institution an opportunity to trial the product for free before its release. If you are an educational institute on Google Apps you can apply for a trial here. If you would like help implementing Classroom, feel free to contact us to assist. googleappssupport@onsitehelper.com ph: 03 9999 3106

Deleting users in Google Apps

This video shows the process of removing ex employees from Google Apps.

It’s very important for a business to have an employee termination process to protect the businesses data as well as ensure there is an archive easily accessible if information needs retrieval.

Best business IT support services recommend the following steps for better managed IT services in your company.

1. Reset user password
This should be acted on straight away to prevent possible data loss or malicious behaviour from any disgruntled ex-employees. Once a user’s password is reset, it will lock them out of all Google Applications such as Email, Calendar, Drive, etc. This will take effect the next time they open their browser to access the systems.

2. Reset sign-in cookies
Any business It support will advise you to cover situations where the user may continue to have access to their data where their browsers are not closed. It is usually the case where the user has enabled passwords to be saved on the browser. Resetting cookies immediately kicks them out of any open session and requires them to log in again which they won’t be able to do as the password would have been changed.

3. Google takeout
Google Takeout archives their entire Google Apps profile into a zip file, which you can download to a computer/server or upload it back to a central storage in Google Drive.

This will come especially handy now that most of your employees are performing work from home services. Even in the near or far future when you will be recruiting people for work from home jobs, or employing freelancers, this will be really helpful to you.

As a business, you can have a Google workspace ID and can directly allot a sub ID within Google workspace itself to your employee, which will be under your control, the password being known to you. So when it would be time for you to let the person go, you can simply use Google Takeout from the same Google workspace account to archive the data and use it as required for your other workers or the next employee that you would recruit. If the process seems too complicated to you, you can hand out your tasks to managed IT services who will take care of everything.

4. Wipe the device remotely
If the ex-employee of yours is using a computing device with internet access to operate emails, documents, calendars and contacts related to your company, then you can remotely wipe the account from their phone/laptop or factory reset the phone to wipe everything. This will, again, be beneficial while dealing with a work from home employee when you don’t have physical access to the device the person is using and it hadn’t been possible for you to take out the data before him/her leaving.

5. Change owner for Google Drive items
When someone creates a document, slide, or a spreadsheet in Google apps, it adds him/her as the original owner of the document. All the requests regarding the particular file reaches only the owner and he/she is the one with full control over the sharing, editing, or even restricting access to the document. It is highly recommended by all business IT support services to change this name of the owner to the company owner himself/herself, once the document is fully ready to use. You, as the owner of the company, would want this control to be with you, especially in case the owner of the document would be leaving your organisation.

6. Delete or rename user
Rename the user and email address to a new account if someone is taking over that person’s role and needs their history of emails and other data. Otherwise delete the account if this is not necessary.

7. Email forwards
Another important guidance from most business IT support services is for you to create an email alias for some other user in the organisation to whom the emails sent to your ex-employee would be forwarded to.

If you require assistance with this, feel free to contact reputed and certified managed IT services provider, Onsite Helper, at helpdesk@onsitehelper.com or +613 99993106.

Server security – has your data been “heartbleed” out by hackers?

Data that flows through the internet, under normal conditions, is encrypted by the SSL/TLS encryption making internet usage safe and secure to use. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and so virtual private networks (VPNs). However, in recent times, hackers have been using an application called the Heartbleed Bug to reverse the encryption in popular OpenSSL cryptographic software libraries. The Heartbleed Bug allows hackers to access names, passwords and data content.
Whilst most of the popular internet services such as Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo, Instagram and Youtube have patched up their systems to prevent the Heartbleed Bug from reversing the encryptions on these sites, there are many versions of the OpenSSL software which remain vulnerable to attack and often these are ones used by businesses to protect their servers.
How big is the risk?
When the Bug was first disclosed on 7 April 2014, around half a million (17%) of the Internet’s secure web servers certified by trusted authorities were believed to be compromised. Unauthorised access to servers’ private keys, users’ session cookies and passwords were being made with the use of the Bug.
How does it work?
The Bug in OpenSSL works by firstly making an encrypted (TLS) connection to the vulnerable server. A heartbeat request is then sent and instead of real data being sent, the Bug tells the server to keep the connection alive. Data is then streamed off from the server, in the same way as a “heartbleed”, until some exciting data fragments is detected.
What should I do?
You may be tempted to change all the passwords used for emails and websites but it may be fruitless exercise if your server is already compromised.
The first point of call would therefore be to get an expert to check and assess the SSL/TLS used the protect your server. The process can indicate whether or not your server is susceptible to the Bug (or if your server is already “infected” and sensitive data is being bleed out).
Further, to be better protected now and in future, we recommend you implement 2-step authentication process to increase password/access security. See my article
http://www.onsitehelper.com/blog/99-2-step-authentication for further information.
The 2-step authentication process will protect you against the Bug for any services you use as an additional set of passwords are required for access which is not streamed through the internet and is updated upon each access.
Onsite Helper is offering a free consultation this week for any businesses that would like to discuss their risk from the Heartbleed Bug (and any other security concerns). We can implement the fixes and improve security on your network if required for a competitive quote.
For more information about Heartbleed bug take a look at http://heartbleed.com/
To check if your server or someone elses server you login to is at risk, perform a check on this site https://filippo.io/Heartbleed/

Share your inbox the safe way

Businesses commonly set up a central email account whereby a number of staff have access and manage the account. This is most used suchin sales or technical support teams. The central email established are usually sales@ or support@. Multiple users, multiple access managing queries and workflow. Another scenario is where personal assistants are delegated access to deal with their boss’s correspondence. Whilst this may work well in some business, a major issue for consideration is tracking of correspondence and security. With a communal email account, it can be hard to track work flow and/or assign responsibility for correspondence. In the case where staff leave, there can be serious issues of security particularly where the staff continues to have access to the account. It is a huge vulnerability in the setup if the usernames and passwords are not changed. A better, more secure solution is to use a system where the central account remains with the primary user with the option to delegate access to third parties. This functionality is available with the Google Apps Gmail platform. The primary user of the account can enable or disable access to their account at any time. The beauty is that while the delegated user can access the correspondence, control of the account remains with the primary user. How does it work? The primary user grants a third party access to his or her correspondence without providing direct access to the account through usernames or passwords. The delegated user accesses the correspondence and replies on behalf of the primary user (or as the primary user) depending on how you wish the recipient to view the email. For example, below, Cassy (a delegated user) has sent an email to Benito on behalf of Murthy (the primary). When Benito responds to the email, it is directly received by Murthy and Cassy can view and access this correspondence. how messages appear to recipients Here are the instructions to set this up:
  1. Click the gear mail_gear in the top right.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Select the Accounts and Import tab.
  4. Under ‘Grant access to your account,’ click the Add another account link.
  5. Enter the email address of the person you’d like to access your account and click Next Step. Remember you can only enter a Google Mail address.
  6. You’ll see a confirmation message. Click Send email to grant access if you’re sure.
  7. The delegate will receive a verification email explaining that you’ve granted access to them.
    After the delegate confirms this request, it may take up to 30 minutes for the verification process to be completed. To see if the delegate has confirmed access to your account, look at the Accounts and Import tab in Settings
Gmail can also be setup so that a recipient receives the email as if it has come directly from the primary user even though it is sent by a delegated user. It is important to also ensure the signature is that of the primary user and not the delegated user. This can be setup in Gmail as follows upon your manager’s approval. If you use Microsoft Outlook with Google Apps, follow the instructions as the above and then simply add the primary email account into outlook. This is done by:
  1. Click Start
  2. All programs
  3. Google Apps Sync
  4. Add account for delegation
  5. Enter the person’s email account you want delegated access to open Outlook and wait for it to sync up.
You will then see the delegated inbox and be able to send emails as the manager. Email delegation using Gmail or Outlook will help keep your business data secure. For additional security, it is highly recommended you implement the 2-step authentication process which will further protect your login access. The setup is so that not only will the direct password to your email be required but an additional code, either generated from an App on your phone, sms message sent to you, or a phone call is provide to you each time you login. For more on 2-step authentication read this article. If you dont have the option to setup email delegation in Gmail then its likely that you dont have this feature enabled for your domain. Here are instructions to enable or disable email delegation for your Google Apps users.
  1. login to admin.google.com with a Google Apps account with administrator privileges
  2. Click on Apps
  3. Google Apps
  4. Gmail
  5. Advanced Settings
  6. under End User Settings, tick Mail Delegation
If you need any help with setting up email delegation, feel free to contact us at helpdesk@onsitehelper.com or 03 9999 3106.

Cloud-Based Services: Why Data Backup Is Important for Businesses in 2022

It is best standard practice to backup your data. Businesses are increasingly sending critical data to cloud-based services or applications (known as software-as-a-service (SaaS)) such as an online email exchange service or accounting application providers.

According to a recent research paper by global research and advisory firm Forrester Research Inc, it is projected that by 2015, companies will be using up to 66 providers each. Whilst there has been a continual growth of the use of SaaS, alarmingly most businesses do not have a proper plan for data retrieval and data recovery. It is important to understand that many SaaS providers will not restore lost data for their users and if and when they do they charge a premium. So, it is critical for businesses to ensure that a proper plan is set in place to mitigate the risk of losing cloud data. The simplest way to do this is to back up the data using cloud-based services.

Why are data backup cloud-based services important for businesses in 2022?

Updated: February 2022

The benefits of cloud-based services

1. Security

One of the biggest concerns that many businesses have when it comes to cloud-based services is security. If you don’t have your precious files and sensitive data onsite, how sure are you that your cloud service provider is protecting it? If you can access your files remotely, why can’t the hackers? These are valid concerns and you should know that a cloud service provider’s main concern is to carefully monitor the security around your files and data.

It’s a lot more secure than keeping it in-house. How? Cloud service providers are specialists and well updated when it comes to cybersecurity trends. They allow you to focus on what you do best while they ensure that your files are safe and ready when you need them.

Google’s regular updates, for example, on their DLP or Data Loss Prevention protocols and Drive labels show your how they take security as a priority.

2. Cost savings

Another concern that businesses have is the cost. With cloud-based services, it has been proven that you’ll be able to save on costs in the long run. While weighing the advantages and disadvantages, there are a lot more factors to consider than just the initial cost – one of the more significant ones is the ROI.

At the same time, most cloud-computing services are pay as you go. This means that if you’re not going to take advantage of the full capabilities of the cloud, you don’t have to keep spending on it.

3. Flexibility and Mobility

Cloud-based services offer flexibility by allowing you to redistribute your manpower, especially your IT team, to more important matters such as reaching your business goals, improving services, and satisfying customers on the backend of transactions. In other words, your IT department won’t have to spend time paying attention to data-storage issues. This is the case when your cloud services provider will be taking care of that for you.

In terms of mobility, most cloud-based services such as Google Workspace are now available on different devices. Access your files, work uninterrupted, work on the go with the right cloud-based solution.

4. Insight

Cloud-based services such as Google Workspace have an integrated smart AI. This provides you with a different perspective when it comes to looking at your data. Features like this will make sure that you’re above the curve when it comes to the trends of your data. Information that AI integration provides can help improve the overall efficiency and planning of the company.

5. Collaboration

For businesses with two or more employees, cloud computing services are going to be really helpful. Cloud-based services make collaboration a lot easier. Platforms such as Google Drive, for example, allow for real-time coediting of documents.

6. Quality Control

With cloud-based services, employees can access the same files in one place. Due to this, there will be a consistency in data, human error is easily avoidable, and there’s a clear record of the changes done by each member.

7. Loss Prevention and Disaster Recovery

Investing in cloud-based services mean that you won’t be relying on your onsite computers and servers to handle your sensitive company data. You’re making sure that whatever happens to your devices, you can still access your data due to the cloud. There’s no fear of losing data due to office incidents since your data is stored safely and separately.

In an event, however, where your devices are all wiped and you have to start from scratch, you won’t entirely be starting from nowhere. Since you can recover your data from the cloud, you can make sure that your business will continue to run smoothly despite uncontrollable incidents.

8. Automatic Software Updates

One way to stay ahead of the malicious users is by regularly updating your cybersecurity protocols. This is another feature that cloud-based services can assure you. Should you choose not to invest in cloud-based data solutions, you would have to dedicate a few personnel from your IT department to take care of your data which is an expense you can definitely avoid.

9. Competitive Edge

Data security, AI integration, regular software updates – these features ensure that your data security and backup is at the top of the line. You can rest easy knowing that your business is safe from numerous potential threats and complications. Cloud computing is the future of data storage and analysis – stay ahead of the curve by integrating it into your business now.

10. Sustainability

Hosting your data on the cloud is more environmentally friendly as opposed to running your own data servers on site. It results in fewer carbon footprints and they address wastefulness at every level of the business since data is everywhere.

The most common ways business loses data in the cloud

  • Migration errors where data is lost during the migration process either by sync inaccuracies, human error or overwriting of data.
  • Accidental deletion particularly when the problem is left undetected and the data “ages out” of the trash can. It can also be caused by accidentally overwriting the correct copy with incorrect information. Many cloud platforms cannot fix this problem easily.
  • Malicious insiders such as disgruntled employees or contractors consciously and maliciously destroy data. The degree of damage will depend on the authorisation and access granted to the user.
  • Rogue applications in the form of add-on applications that corrupt, delete or duplicate existing data. This is a real threat considering for example salesforce.com’s AppExchange now boasts almost 2,000 apps and 1.9 million installs.
  • Departing employees and closing down of accounts often mean closing down of access to associated data. It is important that there is a backup of the data prior to deactivation.

What is the cost of not backing up your data for your business?

Many SaaS providers will not recover data for customers and when they do it is a very costly exercise. For example, Salesforce.com will charge a minimum of $10,000 to recover customer data. Even then, it will usually take several weeks.

Always ask your SaaS providers about their data recovery policies. If they do not have an inbuilt data recovery service then you should engage a third-party backup provider to manage this for you. During the past few years, a new class of backup software providers has emerged known as cloud-to-cloud data backup providers. A highly recommended cloud-to-cloud backup provider which we use for our clients is Spanning Backup. As most of our customers are using Google Apps, Spanning works hand in hand to ensure all the users’ data is backed up. This includes the backup of whole user profiles, emails sent/received, email folders, contacts, calendar appointments and all the data in Google Drive. Spanning is versatile as it allows users to easily restore the data themselves or for designated administrators to do this for them.

As a Spanning and Google Apps partner, Onsite Helper ensures the systems are set up correctly and educate the relevant people on data restoration processes. The cost of the Spanning service is $40 per user per year for businesses that are highly affordable. Spanning also offers backup of Salesforce.com. This is fantastic considering that businesses without backups can be subject to at least a $10,000 fee and weeks of stress when data is lost.

It is also recommended that businesses create a DRP (Disaster Recovery Plan) and simulate the disaster to test it works.

What should the Disaster Recovery Plan include?

  1. A list of places where important business data is being stored in the Cloud such as Google Apps or Salesforce.
  2. The process of how to restore the data including time frames for the recovery.
  3. All the login credentials for the providers and support contact details if the issue needs to be escalated.
  4. How often the DRP is tested/simulated for example once per year, once per quarter.
  5. Where the DRP document is located. I personally have a hard copy which is stored in the server/IT room of my client’s business.

Interested in Google Workspace?

Want Google's Cloud-based Services? Let us help!

Onsite Helper is the leading Google partner in Australia. We are here to help you with anything Google Workspace – from migration to creating a fully Google-integrated working atmosphere. 

Right now in the post-pandemic era, most businesses have embraced remote working setup. Are you also thinking of building a perfect home-based or remote team for your business? Reach out to us today by filling out the form below. Let’s talk about how Google Workspace can help you ensure productivity and smooth collaboration and communication in your organisation at these different times.

Move from Outlook to Gmail

Last week I wrote an article about the benefits of using Gmail over Outlook as an email exchange platform. http://www.onsitehelper.com/blog/103-gmail-benefits-over-outlook It is understandable that people can be a little uneasy about the thought of moving away from an email platform they are familiar with, such as Outlook, to a newer more versatile platform such as Gmail. Sometimes the drawing to use the old platform is so great that people go back to using Outlook. The good news is that Gmail can be setup for users with the same layout and feel as Outlook. How? It only takes a few steps. 1. Migrate using GASMO (Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook) If you are new to Google Apps and have all your history emails in outlook, it is best you upload them to Google to making tracking old emails easy. Further, it will allow you to track these emails via your mobile phone. If you don’t require your emails uploaded, you may still want other items in Outlook to appear in Gmail such as your calendar and contacts. You can run the GASMO tool and select to only upload these items. Its important to have all the same information you had in Outlook in Gmail. You dont want to have to open Outlook to get something once you move to Gmail. You can download the GASMO tool from here https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gappssync 2. Disable Conversation View A common frustration of users coming from older versions of Outlook (2007 or earlier) is that Gmail groups messages together based on the subject line of the email. So after a few correspondences the email gets quite long and can be a little tricky to follow the conversation if you’re not use to Gmail. So we can turn this feature off so your emails will be separate again. png;base64579b152b21f8da0c a. Login to Gmail b. Click the Settings gear icon in top right hand corner. c. Click settings d. Scroll down the page a little and look for Conversation View: Select Conversation view off e. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click save changes 3. Enable the Preview Pane The Preview Pane in Gmail is the same as Outlook where you can preview the contents of the email once you have selected it. This makes Gmail really look and feel like Outlook. png;base64b59e0201b6223d3f a. Click the Settings gear icon in top right hand corner. b. Click settings c. Click the Labs tab at the top of the bar d. In the search bar, type on preview pane e. Click Enable for Preview Pane png;base645df4ead89dac9ea0 f. Click Save g. Back in your inbox there will be a small new icon next to the page navigation. When you click this icon you can chose if you want the preview pane to appear on the right or below your inbox. 4. Use of Labels Gmail labels are similar to folders in Outlook. You can drag and drop emails from your inbox into your label in Gmail. It is a good way to clean up your inbox. If you don’t have all the same labels in Gmail as the folders in Outlook then you may want to run the GASMO email migration tool which will create all the folders with emails in them the same as Outlook. One great feature of Gmail labels over Outlook folders is that you can have multiple labels on the one email. For example, if I sent you an email and you had an Adrian label as well as an IT label, you may want to find my email on both labels. You can simply drag the Adrian and IT label to the email and you will see the email in both labels. If you would like more information on how to use Gmail in the way you use Outlook, feel free to send us your query at GoogleAppsSupport@onsitehelper.com or call us on 03 9999 3106.

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Cloud based platforms and Australian privacy laws

Businesses look to Cloud based hosting and/or storage of data as an important way to improve efficiency and ease with data access, storage and processing. However, the recent changes to the privacy laws in Australia with regards to the collection, holding, use and disclosure of personal information may make some businesses uneasy about hosting their data/personal information in the Cloud particularly if they are misinformed.
For this reason, this article aims to clarify some of the concerns around the use of Cloud services for small businesses which should assist in business management and risk planning.
How does privacy law apply to business?
Australian businesses with an annual turnover of $3 million or more are required to observe the 13 new Australian Privacy Principles (“APPs”) made under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). These principles came into operation on the 12 March 2014 and determine the way personal information is collected, held, used and disclosed by businesses. It replaces the National Privacy Principles (NPPs) which previously applied to the private sector. For a list of the APPs please see the Office of Australian Information Commissioner (“OAIC”) website at http://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/privacy-resources/privacy-fact-sheets/other/privacy-fact-sheet-17-australian-privacy-principles
The APP which is of most considerable note is AAP8. AAP8 deals with cross-border disclosure of information. This privacy principle deals with disclosures or transfers of personal information by an agency or business to a different entity situated outside Australia. Before the business or agency makes such disclosures or transfers they must first take reasonable steps that the disclosure complies with and does not breach the APPs.
So, in a situation where a business contracts their data storage or email exchange to a Cloud service provider, such as Google, they must ensure firstly that they have consent from their client to store the data outside Australia and secondly that they have taken “reasonable steps” to ensure that the contracted party outside Australia does not breach the APPs.
Also, APP11.1 requires that businesses take reasonable steps to protect the personal information it holds from misuse, interference and loss from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
This can be done with the proper drafting of a service level agreement between the business and the contracted party.
What are the risks in breaching of the APPs?
The good news is that the use of Cloud services such as Google Apps which hosts emails and stores data outside Australia poses minimal risk in breaching the APPs; particularly if the Cloud service provider has strict privacy policies in place. This is simply because there is no processing of data by the Cloud service provider. The Cloud service provider in essence is simply renting the “tin” to the business customer and is not itself involved in the handling, use or processing of the personal information. The business customer remains in control, at all times of the handling, use or processing of the personal information.
Are certain businesses exempt from the APPs?
Yes. The APPs generally only applies to businesses with an annual turnover of more than $3 million (and some small businesses such as those in the health sector). For most small businesses however, they are not required to comply with the APPs. Check the following website to see if your business is exempt http://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/who-is-covered-by-privacy
Strict regulation of the financial services sector?
Yes. While a small business operating in the financial services sector may not be required to comply with the APPs, the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) may still require the business to put appropriate risk management procedures in place to protect sensitive data.
See for example http://www.apra.gov.au/CrossIndustry/Documents/Letter-on-outsourcing-and-offshoring-ADI-GI-LI-FINAL.pdf
This by no means suggests that such business cannot use Cloud services as part of their business practices. It just means they will need to consult with APRA to ensure that their decision to use such services meets their approval.
So, if you are a small business with an annual turnover of less than $3 million and do not work in the health sector, there is no real reason for concern in using Cloud services. I will, in a future article, examine the privacy policy of Google, the provider to Cloud services Google Apps.
If you would like to discuss this topic further, please get in touch with us at cloudstorage@onsitehelper.com

Gmail Benefits Over Outlook

Gmail Benefits – Most businesses that come to us asking for us to migrate their email exchange to Google apps come from using Microsoft Outlook. A great feature of Google Apps is that it is very versatile allowing users to continue using Microsoft Outlook as their email, calendar and contacts program by installing the Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook (GASMO). GASMO syncs all emails, calendars and contacts with Gmail as well as gives the user additional functionality of seeing or managing other people’s calendars in Outlook. However, the full functionality of Google Apps is not realised with this setup as users are limited to the capabilities of Microsoft Outlook. Using Gmail in a web browser gives a user far more options as well as the benefits of improvements of Gmail with upgrades from Google. I myself had been long term user of Outlook having used it for close to 10 years. Only within the last 2 months I made the move to Gmail and have never looked back. Some of the benefits I see Gmail has over Outlook or any other email include: 1. Search feature. Gmail’s search feature is very smart and fast. You can find emails much quicker than any other method just by typing in a few key words from the email you’re looking for. There is no longer the need to move emails into folders to find them as the search tool is powerful enough to find them. 2. Mailbox size. Outlook often runs slow when you have thousands of emails in your inbox. There is also a limit of up to 20GB per Outlook inbox size. Outlook users may need to archive emails into separate data files and there is further the risk of losing data when changing computers or where there is hard drive failure. Gmail has 30GB inbox capacity which you can increase to up to 16,000 GB (16 Terabytes). The brilliant setup of Gmail is that your email never slows down with the increased storage. Further, you will never have to delete or archive email again using Gmail. 3. Gmail labs. There are many additions you can make to customise your Gmail inbox including:
  1. Setup with multiple inboxes where you can see the top 5 emails of your favorite folders, such as started items or drafts to quickly remind you which email you need to respond to next.
  2. png;base641b888d63422b603c
  3. Undo Send. Oops, hit “Send” too soon? Stop messages from being sent for a few seconds after hitting the send button.
  4. Canned Responses. Save and then send your common messages using a button next to the compose form. Also automatically send emails using filters.
There are many more Gmail Labs extensions. You can try them out by clicking the Settings icon in gmail. Then click the Labs Tab and enable the features you want. 4. Third Party integrations. Most of the big cloud applications build integrations into Gmail or there are third party companies that can integrate them for you. For example there is a product called Cirus Insights http://www.cirrusinsight.com/ that allows you to run your Salesforce software within Gmail. You can save emails into Salesforce, sync Google Calendars, Contacts and much more. Grexit is another great integration tool I use that enables collaboration of Gmail labels. You can share your labels/folders with other staff and when you drag an email into that folder it will sync to everyone elses folder which have access to it. I use it for assigning tasks to my staff and knowing what’s still outstanding. With all these integrations you save time in processing information and for email users dealing with high volumes of emails, it also ensures that emails are not missed while allowing you the ease to collaborate with others within your business. Take a look at the Google Apps Marketplace to see the hundreds of integrations out there. www.google.com/enterprise/marketplace/ Next week I will show you how you can move Outlook users to Gmail and give them a similar experience by customising gmail to look and feel like Outlook.

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New additions to Google Docs & Sheets including add-on integrations.

Yesterday Google released a huge update to its Docs and Sheets applications by creating an integration to many third party cloud services such a MailChimp or one of my favourites LucidCharts (which I use for drawing network diagrams and flowcharts).
To access these new add-ons, simply create a new Google Docs or Sheets and at the top bar you will see a new option called Add-ons.
Click this menu and select Get add-ons. This opens up the Google marketplace where you can search and review the addons you want, most of which are free.
* Note. The add-ons are only available for the new Google Docs and Sheets. If you have existing Docs and Sheets which are not in the new format then you wont have access to this. I will create an article on how to convert old to new in the next few weeks.
A few of the more popular addons include:
Merge by MailChimp:
Merge makes it easy for organizations to create and send personalized email straight from a Google Doc. By pairing your Google Doc to a Google Sheet with users’ email addresses and data fields, you can merge in personalized content like first name, last name, address, etc., right from your Google Sheet. Then, when you’re ready, hit send. It’s that simple. Merge by MailChimp merges in the data from your sheet and sends the email content to the addresses in your Google Sheet.
LucidChart Diagrams:
Quickly create and insert flowchart, mind map, network IT schematics and more diagrams directly into a Google document. Work together in real time with your team and clients. Lucidchart is an HTML5-based visual collaboration tool that makes drawing diagrams fast and easy. Work together with an unlimited number of others to create and edit diagrams in real time, with changes merged and synced instantaneously
– great for team collaboration and working with clients. With the Lucidchart add-on for Google Docs, you can quickly:
– Create and edit Lucidchart documents from Docs
– Insert diagrams directly into a Google document
– Update inserted diagrams with latest changes made in Lucidchart
Letter Feed Workflows:
Need to gather approvals or feedback? Use Letter Feed to automatically send out emails and gather the approvals you need quickly. You’ll be notified immediately when it’s approved.
– Automatic: Choose your reviewers, and hit start—everything else is taken care of for you.
– Stay up to date: You can check the status of your approval at any time by simply visiting your original spreadsheet. You’ll know when each reviewer has received an email, opened the spreadsheet, and made a decision.
– Easy Publishing: One-click publishing allows you to easily publish a read-only version of your approved spreadsheet.
– Seamless: With Letter Feed Workflows, there’s no separate site to visit or separate login to remember. It works seamlessly with Google to automate your processes.
– Secure and Private: All document data is stored within your organization’s Google domain. Neither your document nor any sensitive data is ever sent outside of your domain.
To find out more about what Google Drive can do for your business, please contact Onsite Helper on 03 9999 3106 or email googleapps@onsitehelper.com

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