7 Microsoft Power BI Tips for Developers

For businesses wanting to make the most out of their company data, Microsoft’s Power BI is one of the most intuitive methods of gaining access to insights that providing all of the information that you need to know by simply glancing at a dashboard. For developers working to create these tools, here are a few tips to consider while you develop your dashboard and set up your automated reports.

Why Working Remotely Could Boost Your Business

Virtual Fans Are Coming This Weekend to Major League Baseball

As the United States continues to grapple with social distancing requirements and mask mandates, sports organizations are beginning to build a 2020 sporting season without fans in the stands. While athletes themselves might be forced to get used to empty stands - unless they're in South Korea - fans at home will be able to experience FOX Sports broadcasts featuring the energy and excitement of virtual fans. 

How to Hack a Password: Common Methods and How to Protect Yourself

We live in an increasingly digital age. From our financial and personal records to our private conversations with friends, data is stored across websites and mobile apps designed to make our lives easier and more efficient. With this ease, comes an increased risk for identity theft, crippling data loss, and a comprehensive breach of privacy. 

How Does Cloud Storage Work?

Cloud-based data storage has gone from a behind-the-scenes method of data management to a fundamental part of how millions worldwide access the files they depend on every day. From clubs and businesses to high schools and colleges, thumb drives have been mostly phased out by services like Google Cloud, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive that easily and securely provide immediate access to nearly any device through a simple internet connection.

How to Use Shifts in Microsoft Teams for Your Organization

 

Phishing On Social Media - What It Is, How It's Done, and How to Protect Yourself

While social media is one of the most powerful tools of modern communication, there are still plenty of criminals online who use it to take advantage of unsuspecting users. Much like the more traditional methods, phishing on social media is the act of manipulating someone on a social media platform into revealing sensitive information. This information could share anything from a simple phone number to confidential banking information – potentially even putting you at risk of identity theft.

Why Network Cable Management Matters

We’ve all walked by it – the networking closet. This room is often a nest of tangled wires and flashing lights, all somehow magically connecting your team to the outside digital world. It’s easy to take the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to cable management (why mess with something when it’s working, right?)

Building Better Branding - Graphic Design, Modern Marketing, and How They Can Boost Your Business

 

Why Your Company Should Be On Social Media in 2020

As the digital transformation has begun to impact nearly every part of our lives, modern technology has had a profound impact on the world of communication. Whether it’s between friends, family, or coworkers, the way we communicate has been driven forward by social media. Recent figures show that the average user spends over two hours per day on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. But why should your business use social media in 2020? A simpler question would be to ask “Why not?”

How COVID-19 Changed the Way We Use the Internet

Since February, the world has been grappling with the impact of COVID-19, known as the novel coronavirus. This pandemic has swept the globe, fundamentally shifting the way that we live our lives each day. As revealed in a New York Times report last month, it’s also changing the way that internet users are taking in and engaging with the content that they use every day.

Hurricane Prep Checklist - Business IT Edition

With experts predicting above-average activity this hurricane season, it's important to take the necessary steps towards ensuring that your team is able to work safely and securely no matter what Mother Nature has in store. No hurricane preparedness checklist is a safety guarantee, but every precaution taken is one step towards minimizing the impact that the weather may have on both your people and your business.

5 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tips for 2020

 

Modernizing a Modern Business - Microsoft 365 and the Digital Transformation

 

5 Reasons WordPress is the Best Website Builder in 2020

In our modern digital era, having a well-developed and designed online presence is just as important as having a sign on the door or a listing in The Yellow Pages. Your digital presence is an extension of your company – it's the link to the online world and the thousands who search for businesses and services of all types (including yours).

Goodbye Wunderlist, Hello Microsoft To Do - Tips for Using Microsoft's To Do App

As announced in late 2019, popular organization app Wunderlist is officially offline. After being acquired by Microsoft in 2015, it was decided that instead of allowing the two apps – Microsoft To Do and Wunderlist - to coexist, there should instead be only one. Thankfully, Microsoft’s alternative app is a full-featured suite of organizational tools that integrate entirely with other elements of the Office 365 offering to create a one-stop shop for organizing your day and staying on top of your tasks.

Password Security Tips to Keep Your Accounts Secure

May 7 is World Password Day and Twitter is buzzing with chatter about changing passwords and steps towards becoming more secure online. No matter the day, there is never a bad time to brush up on password etiquette to keep your identity and data safe in a digital world.

Parenting During a Quarantine – Balancing Work and Life in a “Work from Home” World

 

NVIDIA's RTX Voice Removes Mic Background Noise - Even a Leaf Blower

 

The Psychology of Shares: Why People Share on Social Media

 

How to Write a Winning Resume

Let’s make one thing clear – there is never a bad time to spruce up your resume. Whether you’re actively looking for a job or comfortably in your ideal career, keeping an updated account of your jobs, responsibilities, and accomplishments is an important part in keeping yourself on track and your record ready for any opportunities that might come your way.

Small Business Loans to Help with Coronavirus Relief

As the world continues to grapple with the impact of COVID-19, its impact on the world of small business cannot be understated. While some businesses have flourished during this time, others have faced a direct hit that impacts the company’s bottom line and the lives of its employees.

5 Ways to Maximize Productivity with Office 365

 

Streamlining Business Processes with Microsoft 365

 

Meet SeedSpark Sessions, a Podcast for the Digital Age

 

Inside a Tech Firm Working from Home During the Coronavirus

COVID-19, known as the novel coronavirus, has had an impact on employees around the world as companies make emergency adjustments to the way that they do business. Millions are now working remotely, urged to stay at home in an attempt to “flatten the curve” and speed up society’s recovery from the virus and its impact.

How to Help the Charlotte Community During the Coronavirus Pandemic

There are so many incredible aspects of Charlotte, North Carolina. Nestled in the heart of the Carolinas, Charlotte is the ideal blend of “big city” and “small town”. While the city is home to nearly 900K people, the greater Charlotte community is packed with passion and love for one another.

Microsoft's March Event - Everything Coming to Microsoft 365 in 2020

 

Brand Building 101 - Creating a Digital Presence for Your Company

Brands are everywhere. On your cereal box in the morning, plastered on billboards scattered along your morning commute, decorating mugs and ballpoint pens in the office – it’s safe to say, they’re here to stay. The brands that we’ve all come to know didn’t simply appear one day. Teams have carefully crafted these brands with an overarching vision in mind in an attempt to market themselves and connect with an audience that will support their products and services for decades to come. Whether you’re wanting to revitalize an age-old brand to connect with a modern audience or you’re an innovator developing the next viral startup, here are some initial tips to help get your brand off the ground and into the minds of potential future clients.

Slack is Adding Microsoft Teams Integration

 

How to Run a Remote Meeting

 

Why Your Business Should Invest in Custom Graphics

We’ve already covered why social media is important for your business, but now you’re facing an even larger dilemma: what do you post? While tweeting hashtag-laden word soup or chasing the viral dream by sharing memes are both optional approaches, social media platforms are more than a digital announcement board – they’re the voice of your brand. Creating a tone, both written and visual, can act as a big brand booster for any company working towards becoming more social media savvy. One of the biggest investments a business can make in boosting their online presence is in creating custom social graphics. However, there are several facts to take into consideration beforehand.

New Features Coming to Microsoft Teams in 2020

 

How to Securely Work From Home

 

4 Reasons Why Your Company Should Use Microsoft 365

 

What is Google’s BERT Algorithm and How Does It Work?

According to HubSpot, Google has 92.42 percent of the search engine market share worldwide. With approximately 2 trillion global searches per year, you’re likely one of the billions around the world using Google Search to answer life’s biggest (and smallest) questions.

Coronavirus Phishing Attacks Are On the Rise - How to Fight Back

 

How to Share Emails and Messages Between Outlook and Microsoft Teams

Email via Outlook is a tried-and-true staple of office communication, forming the backbone of everything from business transactions to chili cook-offs. However, over the course of the past five years, Microsoft Teams has revolutionized the way that people around the world communicate with both their coworkers and their clients. Fortunately, the Microsoft development team realized early in the development of these tools that they aren’t competing – they’re complimentary to each other.  

The Power of Creating Great Content

 

SeedSpark is Now a Blue Partner in Datto's Global Partner Program

 

How to Use Microsoft Shifts in Teams

 

How Working Remotely Could Boost Your Business

“I’m going to work, have a great day!”

5 Ways Office 365 Boosts Your Business

When many business professionals hear “Office 365”, the basics immediately jump to mind. “Oh, you mean my email?” or “Isn’t that the one with Word?” are common responses. While word processing and email functionality are major parts of Office 365, the power of the toolkit that Microsoft has created often goes untapped. When users take the time to fully understand what they are capable of with these apps, entire work routines can be revolutionized by the power of technology.

Life Cycle Refreshes - How Often Should Your Company Upgrade Computer Hardware?

That initial investment in new technology can be substantial. Thousands of dollars are poured into purchasing new laptops, desktop towers, and networking equipment in the name of embracing the digital transformation and future-proofing your company. Then you get the news – the day after you’ve installed the new hardware, newer hardware gets announced.

4 Ways Business Process Automation Helps Your Business Succeed

Everyone’s got them – day-to-day tasks that are so mundane and repetitive that even the office intern loathes them. Thankfully, with the advent of technology, many of these necessary evils of office workflows no longer take hours (if not days) of your valuable time to complete. Through the power of constant connectivity and user-friendly applications, business process automation provides workers with the ability to focus less on the intricacies and more on increasing quality and boosting customer satisfaction. Let’s check out a few ways that businesses around the world are cutting their work load and accomplishing more through the power of business process automation.

CES 2020 Innovations Impacting the World of Business

5 Ways Technology is Transforming Businesses in 2020

Whether you’re ready or not, the future is here. 2015 was not the cutting-edge utopia imagined in Back to the Future II - unfortunately, no flying DeLoreans… yet. Though five years later, 2020 is poised to be packed with revolutionary tech trends fundamentally changing the way that people do business. From reaching new clients, expanding brand recognition, or completely reshaping an entire corporate business model, it’s clear that technology is collectively shaping the future of industries around the world in a variety of ways.

What is Business Process Automation?

Businesses around the world in every industry conduct their work and satisfy clients by performing thousands of processes both big and small. From fulfilling client orders to buying office supplies, processes are the heartbeat of businesses. While necessary, many of these processes are repetitive and time consuming, driving up operational overhead and, in turn, lowering overall revenue. That’s where business process automation comes in. As the name suggests, business process automation combines the power of data insights and AI-driven automation to reduce or eliminate the need to spend time on the smaller, mundane business operations.

How Starting a Blog Can Boost Your Business

Social media, when used effectively, goes a long way in expanding your brand and making contact with potential clients. Once the Facebook feeds and Twitter timelines start rolling, what’s the next step? While some companies are satisfied with redirecting social media traffic back to their website’s “Services” or “About Us” pages, there is potential to transform from being a business into something more. If that sounds like an appealing opportunity, then it’s time to start a blog.

Why Microsoft Teams is Better Than Traditional VOIP Services

With the advent of the internet, the last three decades have allowed constant exploration and discovery in terms of the ways that people can use the internet to communicate. Each year more companies are exploring new software solutions that bring teams together, optimizing communication in the workplace to create a more efficient workflow for companies around the world.

Why Do We Need Cybersecurity Compliance Audits?

In recent years, security breaches impacting millions have revealed just how important an increased focus on cybersecurity truly is. Introduced by the Trump administration in 2017, new regulations have boosted cybersecurity measures to the highest point in US history. While necessary and effective, new cybersecurity compliance audits have forced companies across the country to ramp up their security to meet new requirements outlined in the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA).

The Cyber War Fought by Managed Service Providers

Common users probably think of MSPs – managed service providers – as a group of developers ensuring that Windows updates go off without a hitch, maybe occasionally scanning for malicious viruses, malware, or spyware. In reality, managed service providers are fighting an unseen war against an onslaught of cybercriminals trying their best to infiltrate company infrastructures, snatching as much data as they can before holding your system hostage – or wiping it altogether.

Windows 7 Support is Gone - Why Now is the Time to Upgrade to Windows 10

Microsoft has finally ended support for its oldest supported software, Windows 7. Introduced in October 2009, Windows 7 went on to become Microsoft’s most-installed software of all time until Windows 10 took its place (now boasting over 700 million users worldwide). While Microsoft gave users and businesses alike plenty of notice ahead of ceasing support, users of the legacy software are still refusing to budge. Surveys show that over 400 million users – and 50 percent of businesses – have yet to upgrade to newer software, posing risks to company data and private information.

What Are Audits in Microsoft Office 365?

For many companies running on Office 365, Microsoft SharePoint and Exchange Online are integral parts of the workflow. With so many people creating, deleting, and modifying files, there has to be a process to introduce accountability and keep track of the hundreds – if not thousands – of changes made weekly. That’s where Office 365 audits come in.

CES 2020 Announcements Pushing the Digital Transformation

The digital transformation is impacting every part of our lives, shifting our world at a breakneck pace. Last week's Consumer Electronics Show showcased innovative new products from dozens of tech companies whose collective goal is to revolutionize our daily lives. The flood of new products can be overwhelming, but these new devices grow the internet of things, allowing us to do less while they do more.

5 Social Engineering Awareness Tips

According to Kaspersky, a leading cybersecurity company, social engineering is defined as a form of techniques employed by cybercriminals designed to lure unsuspecting users into sending them their confidential data, infecting their computers with malware or opening links to infected sites. With both our personal and professional lives intertwined in the digital space, it’s more important now than ever before to take the steps necessary to make sure your sensitive information is secure.

5 Tips to Keep Your Data Safe Online

As of 2018, the world’s digital population– active internet users – reached 3.9 billion people. An even more staggering statistic is the saturation of internet use itself. According to Statista, 98 percent of adults aged 18-29 are online alongside 97 percent of those aged 30 to 49. Even 87 percent of those aged 50 to 64 are connected, confirming that the majority of the world is now online, regardless of age.

Should I Hire an Inside IT Guy?

Growth in any business almost always means more technology is being brought into the workflow. Whether it be hardware or software upgrades, the transition towards a more tech-integrated culture is bound to come with some headaches. Traditionally, it’s this point that companies would hire an in-house IT tech.

What is Phone System in Microsoft Teams?

A lot has changed in modern businesses, but the basic phone call – or one of its modern variants – is still foundational. With many businesses adopting the Office 365 suite of programs to conduct their work, Microsoft developed Phone System. This service works hand in hand with Microsoft Teams, enabling complete Private Branch Exchange capabilities and call control directly in-program.

Managed Services: Proactive vs. Reactive

What are Managed Service Providers?

Why is My Internet Slow?

Slow internet speeds are frustrating, but it can also be hindering for businesses that depend on access to high speed internet to accomplish their goals. While any number of issues may be the culprit behind a speed slow down, there are several steps that can be taken to diagnose – and potentially even address – your issues.

What is End of Life for Windows 7?

End of life is the term that Microsoft uses to identify the period when the company will no longer support an operating system or application. In this case, it means that, as of Jan.14, 2020, Microsoft will move on from Windows 7 and no longer patch security holes in the operating system.

Maintaining Cost of Ownership for Desktops and Laptops

Are you struggling on what newest desktop or laptop you should spend your money on? Here is the low-down on everything you should take into account when deciding upon your newest purchase:

Computer Repair vs. Replacement After 3 Years

Is it time to replace your computer? Consider the following: What is your computer struggling with? How old is it? Was it purchased as "business grade" or "consumer grade"? How expensive was it at time of purchase? We'll walk you through the basics to aid you in evaluating your equipment and making a decision.

The Power of Email Signatures

Most communication today is done by email, with an estimated 269 billion emails sent per day. With its continually increasing presence, a consistent email signature has become an important part of your corporate identity. 

Social Engineering Red Flags

If you’re ever uncertain of a suspicious email, don’t click any links or reply to the sender, and always feel free to ask your dedicated support engineer at SeedSpark. 

Security and the Cloud

“The Cloud” is a hot topic among all users of technology. It provides many advantages to IT management and end users, but also presents its own unique challenges relating to security. 

Digital Transformation Part 4: Business Models

To Recap

One of the hottest topics among CIOs and CTOs is digital transformationBut while definitions of digital transformation have similar themes, there is no absolute description of what it is.   

Digital Transformation Part 3: Operational Processes

To Recap

One of the hottest topics among CIOs and CTOs is digital transformationBut while definitions of digital transformation have similar themes, there is no absolute description of what it is.   

Digital Transformation Part 2: Transforming Customer Experience

To Recap

One of the hottest topics among CIOs and CTOs is digital transformationBut while definitions of digital transformation have similar themes, there is no absolute description of what it is.   

Cloud DNS Threat Intelligence & Protection

 

Digital Transformation: A Guide to Relevancy in the Digital Age

What is digital transformation? 

One of the hottest topics among CIOs and CTOs is digital transformationBut while definitions of digital transformation have similar themes, there is no absolute description of what it is.   

Five Reasons to Buy Your PC from an IT Consultant

Many businesses buy PCs online or from a big box retail or club store to save money. In our experience, not only does this not save money, but usually ends up costing more money in the long run.

Why should you buy your PC from an IT consultant?

Don't Forget to Lock the Door: Security in 2018 with Some Old School Weapons

As the technology and network security landscape continues to expand, we find that many of the small, proactive measures users can take to strengthen their security get lost in the wake of the next big thing. While these strategies may seem insignificant, they set the foundation for a larger security plan without the need for special software, high levels of encryption, or even a staff to manage them. 

New Strain of Ransomware Encrypts Email Inboxes

A new type of ransomware is coming for cloud email inboxes. While this particular strain was developed by white hat hackers and hasn't been seen in the wild yet, it's a wake-up call for those who use cloud-based email services like Gmail or Exchange. According to KnowBe4, this kind of ransomware relies on social engineering to deceive users into giving hackers access to their email account.


Phishing Attacks: How To Identify & Avoid Them

When it comes to phishing attacks, all it takes is one dirty hook set in one employee to snatch up your vital data.

According to NTT’s recent Threat Intelligence Report, 25% of insider threats are hostile with the remaining 75% due to accidental or negligent activity. In other words, you can do everything in your power to keep the bad guys out of your environment, but if one of your people with the keys to the kingdom leaves the door open, the hackers have the run of the roost. 

No matter how strong your firewall, network infrastructure, or IT/security team, there is always one employee in every organization who will click on every link and attachment sent to them. Verizon’s cybersecurity report states an attacker distributing 10 phishing emails has a 90% chance of one user being hooked.

When Alcoa was breached in a phishing scam a couple years back, only 19 employees received the email sent by Chinese hackers impersonating CEO Carlos Ghosn. By impersonating an executive, the hackers only needed to convince one employee that the "meeting agenda" attached to the infected email was legitimate. Once that employee clicked the email, they had access to over 2,907 emails and 863 attachments containing critical company information and intellectual property. Considering the scope and frequency of cyberthreats in the Digital Age, all it takes is one employee to click on the wrong link; and there is one employee in every company.

Training personnel on different types of social engineering attacks is one of the best forms of cybersecurity. Why hack a computer when you can trick a human? Below are seven types of phishing attacks and how to identify them.
 

What is the General Data Protection Regulation and How Does It Affect My Business?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation adopted by the European Union (EU) Parliament in April 2016, with a final effective date of May 25, 2018.  It requires businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of European Union citizens both within the EU and when such data is exported outside of the EU. It applies to all enterprises, regardless of location, that conduct business within the European Economic Area. 

Sleep Better Knowing Your Data is Safe and Secure

At SeedSpark, we’ve seen a lot of technology paradigms come and go – and sometimes come back again. So it is with the cloud.

While data is spreading out among dozens of forms and formats throughout your business (PCs, servers, smartphones, tablets, clouds, SaaS apps), it’s also centralizing. Tablets and smartphones behave in the same way as the mainframe era’s “dumb” terminals when it comes to business applications. Sure, they enable data to empower business everywhere – but they act only as pure “client” front-ends to applications running on a server somewhere.

Increasingly, that somewhere is the cloud.

While many businesses still prefer to operate their own servers and networks, cloud adoption is on the rise – and will only accelerate.

More and more people don’t even work out of a standard office. As a result, they need access to the resources on their network, whether it be line of business applications, collaborative documents, or email. There needs to be a way for them to constantly be connected.

Thus users are pushing businesses to put more and more data into the cloud, or in SaaS applications, because this approach makes it more easily accessible for mobile devices.

But easy access also raises new challenges for data protection, because clouds are not magical infrastructures. They’re prone to the same flaws inherent in all IT. But even businesses who understand the importance of backing up their own systems often fail to grasp the risks they’re building by migrating to clouds or SaaS applications without commensurate backup and business continuity plans.

 

 


Businesses who are putting more infrastructure in the cloud – and most are – need Total Data Protection programs that integrate backup of those clouds, or SaaS applications. Otherwise, you’re betting more of your business on unprotected infrastructure.

We recommend you take five minutes – right now – for the following exercise. Open a document and just start writing down all the locations where you, or your customers, have business data. And ask yourself, “How is our data being safeguarded in each of those locations?”

With data living in different devices and different environments, you must cast a wider net than ever before to truly ensure data protection and business continuity. SeedSpark’s thorough approach to data protection:

Protect Your Data with SeedSpark's Computer Security 101 Checklist.

At SeedSpark, we know the value of computer security. As a business owner or IT professional, you understand the value of your computers’ security. Communicating the importance of computer security to every employee in your business, however, can often prove to be a challenge.

CEOs: Here's Why You Should Care About Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

As a proactive CEO, you know that implementing a solid business continuity and disaster recovery plan, also referred to as BCDR, is essential for your business. After all, why would anyone in your esteemed position ever put a business at risk to downtime or data loss when prevention is so easy? While some negligent CEOs fail to give BCDR the proper attention it deserves, we’re not worried about you. But if anyone asks, here are four critical reasons that you, the CEO, care about business continuity and disaster recovery.

Beware These Common Types of Ransomware

At SeedSpark, we constantly hear horror stories about ransomware stories and the damage it can cause. Seemingly every week, we hear about a new strain and understand it can be difficult to keep track of the different types. However, ransomware is typically broken up into a few major variants. And while each of these is spread differently, they generally rely on similar tactics to take advantage of users and hold your data hostage.

12 Ways to Empower Your Team and Manage Risks for a  Smooth Digital Transformation!

It’s been said that you must make a choice to take a chance if you want anything to change. This is especially true for business leaders implementing a digital transformation within their organization.  

Massive Flaw in WiFi and What You Can Do About It

Cyber Security Experts recently found a major security flaw in the standard technology protocol used to protect Wi-Fi networks. This security issue in wireless networks could potentially allow hackers to steal personally identifiable information (PII) such as credit card details, social security numbers, private messages, photos, etc.

How do Executives Choreograph the Change Stemming from Digital Transformation?

The role of executives in coordinating and choreographing change cannot be understated. Digital Transformation is not simply IT’s thing. It’s a business thing. The companies that successfully upgrade core infrastructure, leverage digital to make smarter decisions, and gain competitive advantages in the marketplace have business leaders that don’t just tolerate change, they encourage it.

Why Your Way of Operating is Outdated. Here is How to Fix It!

 
"Start with the vision; succeed with the plan."

Preparing Your Tech Environment For Hurricane Irma

Category 5 Hurricane Irma is the most powerful hurricane ever recorded. Its wind and extreme rainfall are destroying homes and businesses in the Caribbean already and we are deeply concerned for the many lives that will be impacted by this storm. Meteorologists forecast that it is heading toward the southeastern United States coast late this week and this weekend. prompting government officials in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina to declare various states of emergency, including mandatory evacuations. 

Data Encryption: A Key Component of Malware

Ransomware, in its most basic form, is self-explanatory. Data is captured, encrypted, and held for ransom until a fee is paid. The two most common forms of ransomware delivery are through email and websites.

What is Spoofing and how do I protect myself?

Recently a co-worker asked me “Why do people even bother to spoof my email address?”

Are You Prepared in the Event of Data Loss?

 

Should Your Small Business Have a Social Media Policy?

Working in a small business often means working on a team that is personable, relaxed, and if we are honest, usually short on rigid rules and policies. So, what is the right approach to social media policy for business owners? 

Top 10 Business Books

Are you a Charlotte based Business Owner? Would you like one of these books from SeedSpark? We are giving away our favorite business books in exchange for the opportunity to meet with you and discuss your growth goals for your company. We would be honored if you found our technology integration services to be useful to growing your business, but the book is yours no matter what you decide about SeedSpark and our fit for your business. 

How To Get a Branded Guest Wireless (Wi-Fi) Login

You've likely experienced a branded wi-fi login if you have ever joined the wireless network at Starbucks or at a hotel. Have you ever thought about doing this for your own small business? It must cost a fortune right? Wrong. It's actually a built in feature with some of the best networking equipment for small business networks. Enter, Cisco's Meraki line of network security and wireless local area network (WLAN) devices.

Three Reasons to Go Pro on your Business Headshots

Professional headshots are a small task that come with a large reward. We are now living in a digital age, where first impressions happen online. This enables us to “connect” with other professionals on digital platforms like LinkedIn prior to officially meeting them in person, and sometimes we can even do business without ever meeting in person. If you’re ready to get started with a professional photography headshot, it’s important to know the elements that make up a great headshot before you over eagerly book with anyone or opt to do it yourself. Not all headshots are created equal. To gain a better understanding of what you should look for in a photographer, check out "Taking Care of Business Headshots.” 

Backup and Disaster Recovery

Every business is an accomplishment of hard work and decisive action. Success is earned through a commitment to excellence and investments for the future, so it’s only natural that you’d want to safeguard your business from danger. In today’s always-on, digital world, data plays a critical role in the success of your business, and studies show again and again that losing that data can close a business in short time. The costs and risks associated with downtime are massive, and the damage to your business’ brand and reputation are immeasurable.  

Learning How To Use Your Mevo

 So hopefully after reading our introductory blog that details why you should be using a MEVO rather than your smartphone to film videos, you immediately realized that you couldn't live without one and you ordered your very own MEVO. Now you can start to build authentic relationships between your brand and your followers on social media. If you still need pursuading, I would recommend that you read our blog, "MEVO: Changing the Game of Live Video Streaming", one more time and check out the examples of amazing videos on Mevo's website, here

MEVO: Changing the Game of Live Video Streaming

 One of the coolest products that hit the market in 2016 was the Mevo. What is a Mevo you ask? No, this is not a type of Pokémon… Come on. No one plays that game anymore, it’s 2017.

Three Ways To Protect Your Small Business From A Cyber Attack

 Small businesses possess a lot of innovative and creative information that differs from larger corporations. Conventional wisdom was that the smaller you are as a business, the less likely you are to experience a cyber threat. However, as the sophistication of attacks and methods become more widely available to hackers, more and more small businesses have become targets. Intellectual property and customer data is what hackers will be looking for, and small businesses are squarely in the crosshairs for hackers because they tend to have weaker defenses compared to bigger corporations. Time is money for your business, and the same is true for hackers. If your environment takes less time for them to gain access to, then you are more profitable to them. Small is not secure. In fact, it may very well be the opposite now.

Drones Role in Construction

One of the leading industries to utilize commercial drones is the construction industry. The benefits outweigh the costs when this technology is adopted.

Choosing Charlotte Internet Service Providers 2017

I live in Ballantyne (located in South Charlotte). While I don’t have a dog in the Internet Service Provider (ISP) fight, I do get a lot of questions about providers in my job at SeedSpark where I am a technology and digital consultant. I have created a list of key things to know as you navigate the confusing world of ISPs.

Importance of Having a Battery Back-Up for Your Business

Think back to see if these scenarios have ever happened to you:

Malware & Small Business Cyber Security


There are 3 main motives behind why hackers do what they do: 

How Do I Use Facebook Live To Increase Engagement on My Page?

Facebook Live is a new feature that lets Facebook users share live videos with their friends. This is beneficial for marketers and businesses because it's an awesome way for them to use the power of live video to communicate their brand stories and build authentic, intimate relationships with fans and followers. 

Tech 101: Traditional Hard Drives Vs. Solid State Drives

Most people are familiar with hard drives, but we often get questions about the differences between solid-state drives and hard disk drives - SSDs and HDDs. While both accomplish the basic task of storing data, solid-state drives are the future of everything from office work to gaming at home because of their stunning load times and enhanced reliability.

Technology 101: Display Ports

 Technology can be complex. We are here to simplify IT. That’s why we started the technology 101 course, to encourage the not so tech-savvy to become more comfortable with tech talk. Technology can be transformational for your business, but too many business professionals' experiences with technology would be more readily described by the word “terrible” than transformational. Understanding the fundamentals is very important, especially if you are in the market to buy a new computer, monitor, or any other type of smart device.

Alert: Preparing Your Tech Environment For Hurricane Matthew

Powerful Category 4 Hurricane Matthew has been causing death and destruction in the Atlantic Basin and Caribbean Sea now for several days, with winds upwards of 145 miles per hour, along with extreme amounts of rainfall and storm surge.  Meteorologists forecast that it is heading toward the southeastern United States coast late this week and this weekend. prompting government officials in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina to declare various states of emergency, including mandatory evacuations. 

SyncSpark: The best file sharing tool for your business

What is SyncSpark?

What is an SSL Certificate & how will it improve my SEO?

Before I start telling you all about SSL and why it’s brilliant to have for your website, let me tell you a quick story about my friend Bill who loves Carolina Panthers football.  

Google Maps Updates iOS App for Multi-Stop Routes


Now you can build multi-stop trips on Google Maps for iOS:

Does your website need a reboot?


In our previous blog, How to create your ideal Buyer Persona, we noted that 60% of consumers are completing their buying journey online. With fewer customers being found in brick and mortar stores, it’s crucial now that you treat your website as your most important storefront. This means creating and maintaining an efficient and well-designed website that will attract consumers and increase the conversion of customers into promoters.

Amp Up Your Creative: 12 Free Creative Resources to Build Your Brand



INTRODUCTION:

Journey Mapping - Focusing on the journey and not the destination

So you’ve created your buyer personas (If you haven’t, click here to learn more) and you’ve begun tailoring content that appeals to your targeted segment. Hopefully, with the help of market research, you have a pretty good understanding of who your customer is and where they want to end up. However, your customer’s story doesn’t just have a beginning and an end – arguably more important than the destination is the path your customer will take to get there. What frustrations and pain points are they encountering along the way that may ultimately prevent them from reaching the finish line?

Tips & Tricks for Collaborating in a High Growth Organization

Every business owner dreams of improving efficiency across all departments through actionable communication. Most business owners have felt the growing pains of trying to loop in the right people on the right project or update a particular person on a client initiative, only to find out some people didn’t get that message. What if we told you there is an app that could eliminate most internal email, and organize action items for your business by channel! By operating in channels conversations become more searchable, more clearly delineated, and quite frankly more fun!

SeedSpark Ranked Among Top 501 Managed Service Providers by Penton Technology's MSPmentor

9th Annual MSP 501 Ranking and Study Identifies
World’s Most Progressive MSPs in Information Technology

 

How to Create your Ideal Buyer Persona

 

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Clock Builder

Business guru Jim Collins posts a great question in his book “Built to Last.”

Building A Turn-Key and People-Free(ing) Process

Whether you are planning to franchise your business in the future or not, business owners should always work on franchising their business. Think about it: if you can create a business that can run without you, then you are free to work on your business – and not just work in it. To make this possible, you have to create processes that will allow your business to run on its own. However, the implemented processes always involve people, and people are not programmable tools; people are complex, messy, beautiful and make the world go round.

Google Analytics and Your Website Traffic [Beginner's Guide]


INTRODUCTION:

Security Alert [ACH Email Scams]


INTRODUCTION:

NBA is embracing The Digital Age

 INTRODUCTION:

5 Things Gigabit Internet will do for Charlotte Business Owners


INTRODUCTION:

Taking care of business headshots


INTRODUCTION

5 Questions to Ask: Choosing Client Relationship Management Software


INTRODUCTION:

NBA is Embracing Digital - Are You?

The 2016 NBA All-Star week is coming up and this year it's on Valentines Day! Oh can you imagine the fights significant others will have with each other when he checks the score or sneaks out to watch the best players in the world play absolutely zero defense. All that said, I'm going to avoid relationship advice and talk tech, because that's what I do. There's an interesting development at this week's All-Star game, and that is the 2016 NBA All-Star Technology Summit. Believe it or not, this focus on technology isn't new for the NBA. They've been putting on this summit for nearly two decades!

Ransomware: A Growing Trend in Hacking

Cyber security teams discover new viruses and malware daily – exposing vulnerabilities in the devices people interact with everyday. Hackers aim to compromise secured data by seeking out susceptible users, leaking and using confidential information (including social security numbers and bank information).

Apple Fortifies El Capitan with New Security Solutions

(photo via idownloadblog.com)

Nine for iOS 9: Best iOS 9 Features for Business Productivity

(image via MacStories)

Windows 10 to be released on July 29

On July 29, 2015, Microsoft will release Windows 10, its long-awaited new operating system.  Windows 10 is not an upgrade from a previous operating system; it is an entirely new platform.  Microsoft is not charging a licensing fee for Windows 10 for the first 12 months from the release date.  This will potentially save our clients thousands of dollars.

Adobe Flash Blocked by Mozilla Firefox

On Tuesday, Mozilla announced that it would block all versions of Adobe Flash in its browser, Firefox. According to Mozilla’s support team, “Flash would remain blocked until ‘Adobe releases a version which isn’t being actively exploited by publicly known vulnerabilities.’”

LastPass Security Breach

Last week, the popular password manager, LastPass, announced a security breach – their system was hacked. According to their blog, “…account email addresses, password reminders, server per user salts, and authentication hashes were compromised.”

Microsoft Announces Launch of Windows 10

If you follow our blog, you may have seen a recent post about Windows 10. According to Jerry Nixon, Windows 10 will be “the last Windows release ever needed.” Additionally, the latest version will end the infamous “Patch Tuesday” – Microsoft’s scheduled patches to its existing operating systems.

iPhone 6 Lightning Dock

Last week, Apple released their long-awaited, official Lightning Dock. A little late to the party (with other brands already offering docks for iPhones), the Lightning Dock provides an upright charging and syncing station for your phone. 

Alpha Crypt: Most Recent Ransomware Has Big Payouts

In a previous post, we discussed the growing – and lucrative – hacking trend, ransomware. For years, the malware infected vulnerable computers and demanded large sums of money to unlock the computer system. More recent and popular forms of malware encrypt files on the system’s hard drive.

Windows 10 Will End "Patch Tuesday"

The Internet was abuzz recently with Microsoft's Developer Evangelist, Jerry Nixon's, declaration that Windows 10 will be the last Windows release ever needed. Digging a bit deeper, though one can easily gleen that what is meant by this comment, Windows will simply improve with Windows 10 in an ongoing fashion. All previous versions have come in a single, large-format that you can go into a store and buy. Going forward, the model is clearly subscription or cloud based. To facilitate this, and to improve security standards, Micorosoft will also end, what we have come to know, "Patch Tuesday."

Apple Watch Tips and Hidden Tricks

Ready for the quickest Apple Watch tutorial out there? Here are some hidden tips and tricks on the Apple Watch from our friends at MacRumors. Want to see the full article from MacRumors? Click here. Learn about the "Force Touch," how to scroll on the "Digital Crown," see the ignore feature from full hand cover up, and the quick glance features you can start using immediately on your new Apple Watch. 

How to Set Up Apple Pay on Your Apple Watch

So you have a new Apple Watch, eh? Without a doubt, one of the main benefits of wearable technoligies like the Apple Watch is the alternate payment method it affords the user. Quicker and physically safer than thumbing through credit cards in a wallet, Apple is hoping this feature especially, as well as the health and notification features, really resonate with people. That said, it's a new technology, so let's you may be wondering just how to set up Apple Pay on your Apple Watch. Here's our step by step guide to setting up a new credit card for your Apple Watch.  

The New Snapchat Discover Feature

For over four years, the mobile messaging application, Snapchat, has connected users through photo and video conversations. With three easy steps – “snap a photo or video, add a caption, and send it to a friend” – the popular application has changed the way messaging works. 

Google Fiber Comes to Charlotte

In a press conference last week, Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter – along with Google representatives – announced that Google Fiber is coming to Charlotte, in addition to three metro areas, including Raleigh-Durham, Atlanta, and Nashville.  

7 Security Risks from Consumer-Grade File Sync Services

Consumer-grade file sync solutions (CGFS) like DropBox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive, pose many challenges to businesses that care about control and visibility over company data. Below are seven of the biggest risks that these solutions pose in a business environment.*

Bash Bug (Shellshock): What is it and how can I protect myself?

This spring, the technology industry had major concerns about the Heartbleed Encryption Bug. Many tech companies were reporting ways to avoid the virus and protect your computer from a potential hacker.

IMPORTANT: SeedSpark Protecting You From “Crypto” Cyber Attacks

“Crypto” is the common name of a family of vicious computer viruses that encrypt data files located on local computers and servers attached to your network using the same encryption employed by governmental agencies (AES-258).  It is unbreakable without the key.

Cryptowall: Back in Action & Worse Than Before- How To Avoid It.

 Cyber security experts are predicting a surge in CryptoWall "ransomware" victims this month. It is believed that cyber criminals will be and have been leveraging advertising networks to spread a new variant of this nasty bug. Those who have their files locked down by the cyber criminals have been asked to pay amounts ranging from $200 to as much as $2500 to recover. 

Microsoft Expands to 104th Retail Location With SouthPark Store

 Microsoft will be launching its 104th store this Saturday in our very own South Charlotte backyard. The newest location will be the second to North Carolina and be located in SouthPark mall, a Simon property. Microsoft previously tested a kiosk in SouthPark mall. Fanfare will surely abound with a opening ceremony starting at 10:30 AM, Xbox Kinect dance contests, and of course the first 1500 people getting a free ticket to see Kelly Clarkson perform at the nearby Symphony Park the next day. 

POP, IMAP, and Hosted Exchange...What's the Difference?

In a world of ever-changing technology, one of the most preferred methods of communication is email.  In fact, by the year 2013, there were 3.6 billion email accounts worldwide.  We use email in our everyday lives, for personal and business matters.  And with over 300 different email service providers around the world, it’s clear everyone wants to get a piece of the email action.  But which one is right for you?

Password Leaked? 3 Steps to Be More Secure!

According to the Daily Dot, nearly 5 million usernames and passwords associated with Gmail accounts have been leaked on a Russian Bitcoin forum. However, recent analysis suggest that these are older usernames and passwords. (Learn more about that here) This means if you were diligent in rotating or changing your passwords regularly you are safe. Leaks and breaches seem inevitable, so what can you do now to become safer? 

Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are Here! Oh, and Apple Watch!

 The wait is over folks! Apple has just finished announcing an exciting new lineup of devices on which you’ll be able to get your hands within the coming weeks…well most of them anyway. We’ve been hearing rumors and reading about leaked information for months but all that is over now that Apple has validated this information.

Apple Releases BETA of Yosemite OSX To First 1 Million

Apple released a beta version of its new Yosemite OSX to the public today (available here). The first 1,000,000 people to sign up and download the new operating system will feel ahead of the curve. But, what else might they be ahead of? Should you be one of the first to sign up? 

3 Reasons To Cloud Connect Your File Server

Half of your employees love the file server, since it is fast, easy, and centralizes all work files in a single location on the network at the main office. The other half of your of employees likely hate the file server, since they must login with their VPN to sync up with the server when they are remote and more often than not, they often are missing critical files when they are in the field. The problem is especially acute for employees who are always remote. Over time, difficulties with remote access cause employees to get out of sync with the rest of the company, leading to data sprawl for corporate documents and to critical content becoming trapped in personal silos. There is a different way.

Has Your Website Been Optimized For Mobile Users?

The way users consume the Internet is changing rapidly. The year 2014 marks the tipping point for mobile operating system web views outweighing full operating system web views. That means more prospects are accessing your business website through their smart phones, tablets or other mobile devices than with a laptop or desktop. If you thought you had time to optimize your site for mobile users over the next few years, you may want to reconsider. A recent study revealed that around 40% of prospects move on to a competitor if they have a poor mobile experience.

iPhone Headphone Tricks You Should Know

So you have an iPhone but are you getting full use of all its features? Here are 8 quick tips about the headphones that came with you iPhone 4S, 5, or 5S:

SeedSpark Announces Release of SyncSpark 2.0

 Enhanced Security, Customizable Control, and Revision Tracking Headline Benefits of File Sharing Service

5 Ways to Maximize Employee Mobile Devices

Virtually every employee today has a smart phone. Many also have tablets, such as iPads and Android devices. Most businesses are underutilizing these devices, because they belong to the employee in most cases. They are BYOD, “bring your own device,” as they say. This is a mistake. Your hyper connected employees will be glued to their mobile devices, whether you want them to be or not. Savvy business owners and executives have realized the secret to higher employee productivity is embracing mobility and the BYOD trend. Find ways to help your staff work more, work smarter, and serve your clients better. The key is to empower the mobile experience of your staff, without compromising security and control of your corporate data. Business-class file sync services can give you the best of both worlds: you can allow your corporate data to be synced to employee mobile devices, without giving up control of your corporate data. Here’s how:

5 Things We Expect to See From Apple's Big OS Announcement TodayYour Blog Post Title Here...

Image: PAUL SAKUMA/ASSOCIATED PRESS

“Chief Data Officers” – How to leverage data for SMBs

Data is the buzzword of our day. Wells Fargo hired Charles Thomas to be its first Chief Data Officer in March, according to Wall Street Journal’s CIO Journal. As a business owner or executive of a small to medium size enterprise you have likely received many a message about the “Big Data” revolution sure to change the way you do business. You may have also dismissed that notion on the premise that you aren’t at that stage in your business yet to take on big data initiatives.

The Truth About Heartbleed & What You Can Do About It

If you have been following technology news over the past few weeks you have probably heard about the “Heartbleed” venerability that was uncovered a few weeks ago.  We have been answering questions from our customers who are concerned about this attack and want to know what they can do to secure their data.

SeedSpark Techs Review LG TONE+

LG TONE+ (LG Tones for short), I love them. They are probably the best headphones I have ever purchased. Just being able to take phone calls without taking my phone out of my purse is amazing. I have the freedom of not having to hold my phone to get things done on it. The LG Tones work fantastic with iPhone’s “Siri,” so when I need to set a reminder or even set an alarm to go off in 5 seconds in order to find my phone the experience is great. Every Siri command can now be done directly from my headphones. Since they are Bluetooth capable I have been able to use them on all of my smart devices including my computer. The freedom that comes from eliminating a wire going from the computer or phone to my ear is probably the best detail ever.

Rest In Peace Microsoft XP: What Small Business Owners Need To Know

Today, April 8th, Microsoft officially stops supporting Windows XP. The much anticipated day for XP’s end of support has forced some larger businesses scrambling to ensure no Windows XP exists in their network in order to stay PCI Compliant (A measure of security determined by the payment card industry, for which being non-compliant carries hefty fees, in addition to potential financial risks and public relations nightmares due to breach). Major news networks highlight the plight of the blue chip companies and their IT security challenges, but the majority of businesses in the United States are small and medium sized businesses. Small businesses make up over 98% of the overall firms doing business in the United States. As a small business owner you may be wondering if this really matters to you.

Samsung Unveils Knox 2.0

Samsung has unveiled Knox 2.0 at the Mobile World Congress today.  This security solution allows for the securing and managing of Galaxy devices by digitally securing Google Play apps.

iPhone User? You Could Be Compromised

This past Friday, Apple released update iOS 7.0.6 for iDevices.  Make sure you do this update ASAP! 

Could This Be the Next iPhone?

It appears the next generation iPhone might be released in two seperate devices; one with a 4.7" display and the other with a 5.5" display.

Charlotte Announced As Google Fiber Prospect

 Get ready for super fast internet speeds Charlotte!!

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