We have organised some of the best tips to help out with the upcoming Black Friday – Cyber Monday Weekend.
- Beat the Crowds With Night Owl Discounts on Friday at Predawn
Internet shoppers can shop online in the predawn hours of Black Friday. Many retailers will post Black Friday specials that can be ordered online and picked up at your local store. Special “web only” deals will also be available starting as early as Friday 00:01 am
- Compare Prices
Use price-comparison Internet shopping sites to assist you in comparing product prices.
Compare the “options” included with the product. A good example of this is super low-priced computer printers that come without the cable or printer ink.
- Budget Accordingly
If you’re shopping for everyone on your list this Christmas, outline what your spend ceiling is when it comes to each person, especially because it’s easy to get caught up in the shopping frenzy with competitive consumers stocking up. That way, you won’t blow your budget on the first enticing sale you see.
The worst thing to do is have your heart set on a discounted item only to realize that the larger, heavier items, including furniture and technology have shipping costs that are more expensive than the item itself. Do yourself a favour and look up shipping costs in advance.
- Bookmark Retailers’ Websites and research on Social Media
Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t take full advantage of bookmarks.
Also following social media of sites that you are thinking of purchasing from can save a lot of time and effort in finding the best deals. This information can give you a jump on competitive offers as stocks can be limited
- Avoid Sketchy Websites
Avoid patronizing merchants that shrug at safety. When you visit a new e-commerce website, look for two things: SSL encryption and Verisign protection.
SSL certificates protect against payment card fraud, the bane of online retailers’ and shoppers’ existences alike. The encryption protocol makes it much more difficult for hackers to capture and collect usable payment card information in transit between consumers and retailers.
While SSL encryption is not foolproof, it’s better than nothing. You should never, ever enter your credit card information on a site without it, full stop. SSL-protected page URLs have “https” prefixes.
When you’re dealing with sensitive information, it’s better safe than sorry. Look into browsers with these protections (or free plugins that do the same thing) if you plan to visit lots of unfamiliar sites. You can view our post regarding Online Safety here
No matter what happens on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, remember to relax and try to enjoy yourself. Shopping for holiday gifts isn’t the highest-stakes thing you’ll do this year.
Windows 10 Professional doesn’t take anything away from Home users; it simply adds more sophisticated features.
All of them have some relevance for power users and more traditional businesses alike. Here are five key aspects of Windows 10 Professional will help you decide whether the upgrade is worth it for you.
Remote Desktop Connection
Windows 10 Professional machines can initiate Remote Desktop Connections, such that the “master” machine controls the slave machine and all of its resources.
The upshot is that work machines can be accessed from home, but home machines can be controlled only from work. If you run a small business, Remote Desktop Connection is another reason to consider Windows 10 Professional.
Microsoft’s encryption software has been developed and updated since Windows Vista, and it’s been built into Windows 10 as well. BitLocker has offered the option to encrypt the Windows boot drive and other fixed drives within the system, as well as USB keys and external drives.
BitLocker is especially handy for travelling. Locking down your data isn’t 100-percent foolproof, but it’s a start. If a drive is encrypted, BitLocker will encrypt other files that are added to it. You also have the option to suspend encryption or remove it entirely. Files moved from a BitLocker encrypted drive to another drive are automatically decrypted.
A cloud storage solution like OneDrive can be a great way to store your files, but a USB key encrypted with Bitlocker and clipped to a keychain can provide an additional layer of security and keep precious files close at hand.
Virtualization creates a secure operating environment within your PC that allows you to run different operating systems, including Linux, future builds of Windows 10, and even older versions of Windows. (Just make sure you still have valid license keys for the operating system and a PC processor that supports virtualization—not all older models do.
Once you have Windows 10 Professional, you’ll still have to install Hyper-V manually. You can begin typing “Hyper-V” in the Search box. Windows will suggest that you install some optional features. You’ll be given a list of options, where you can install Hyper-V.
Microsoft Update for Business
Updates will be applied. If you’re a conservative type, Windows 10 Professional lets you defer updates for up to several months (security updates excepted). That chance to wait and see if anything blows up might add an extra layer of peace of mind.
Features for businesses first
Several features in Windows 10 Professional are aimed squarely at the business market. Domain join, allows you to bring in your own PC and connect it to the office domain. Group policy management allows an IT admin to control which PCs do what. Likewise, if your business needs specialized enterprise apps, an admin can lock down the Windows Store to make sure employees get those, and nothing else. There’s also the ability to join Azure Active Directory, with single sign-on capabilities.
Summary – Get it for the flexibility
Moving to Windows 10 Professional makes sense for people who could use its more advanced features. It costs money, though, so don’t feel compelled to upgrade unless you really need them. Windows 10 Home will suffice for the majority of individual or family users.
U2’s “A Beautiful Day” has been chosen as the most popular song to help Ireland’s workforce get ready for work with one in three (33%) selecting the 2000 hit as their go-to song as they set themselves up for a day at work.
Ed Sheeran has been voted the most acceptable artist to play in the workplace (51%), beating Coldplay (42%) and U2 (26%) to the top spot according to new research released by LinkedIn.
Benefits of Workplace Music
The study shows many workers think listening to music at work helps make them be better at their jobs. Almost three-quarters of workers (78%) think music makes them more productive, while more than half (56%) of professionals who listen to music at work argue it keeps them motivated, helps them to keep calm (42%) and helps them be more creative (31%).
Advantages of Workplace Music have been listed as:
- Music improves mood and productivity
- Music helps you regain concentration at work
- Improves morale and work environment
- It helps you work faster and more efficient
- Help you create your own ‘work space’
- Music without lyrics works best
- Music influences your behaviour (really!)
- Has a significant effect on culture
The study also found that music tastes can be divisive and potentially harmful. While a third (34%) try to be considerate in their music selection, 7% are reluctant to ask their fellow colleagues to turn their music off or down – even if it’s bothering them.
Most likely to turn a workplace into a nightclub nightmare is Eminem, who was voted the least acceptable artist to have on at work (35%).
Pop music is employees’ workplace most popular, with more than half of workers (57%) selecting it as their genre of choice, but there are some surprising tastes across different industries in Ireland.
LinkedIn data identified most popular types for different industries:
Classical music as the most popular choice for those working in education (49%)
Electronic/dance is the most popular choice for marketing professionals (42%)
Those on the frontline of consumer demand working in retail are most likely to select Pop (66%) for their playlists.
To bring harmony to the workplace, LinkedIn offers following advice:
Consider music as part of your professional brand:
- Just as music plays a role in forming people’s social identity, it contributes yourself professionally and make sure your music tastes, and attitudes towards others, reflects it
Check your workplace’s music policy:
- While headphones are generally favoured, some workplaces ban them as it’s considered anti-social
Learn what helps you focus:
- Listening to songs with lyrics while writing can be distracting but instrumental music can help you to mask a noisy environment and improve focus and concentration.
When working on something complicated, look for music to keep you calm.
While working on repetitive tasks, stimulating music could motivate you to finish it faster
Be considerate of your colleagues:
- Music in the workplace is divisive: some love it, some hate it. Be mindful that everyone has different opinions on songs, genres and artists and some prefer silence.
Visit this infographic to find what’s best for your work listening –
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Maintenance You’ll Want to Do
Update Windows: Don’t neglect Windows Update. Install updates when it gets them, and restart your computer if necessary. This will keep your computer safe and stable, and really takes no effort on your part.
Run Antivirus Software: In the current climate you’ll probably want some form of antivirus software running in the background. There’s no need to pay for antivirus, though—Microsoft Security Essentials is pretty good on its own or using Avast also has merits. Of course, the best defense against malware is safe browsing, so the more responsible you are, the better off your computer will be—antivirus or no antivirus.
Clean Temporary Files with CCleaner: Windows can leave a lot of clutter and temporary files lying around your hard drive, and it’s a good idea to clean these up once in awhile. CCleaner has been proven to be one of the best tools to use for this function. Just set it up to run automatically on a schedule, and you’ll keep your computer free of all the temporary clutter.
Uninstall Programs with Revo Uninstaller: Windows’ Add/Remove Programs dialog is okay, but Revo Uninstaller is even better. Not only does it remove every trace of an application from your computer, but it also helps you uninstall apps you can’t find, as well as manage your startup processes which will help you boot up faster and run smoother once you do.
Maintenance You Don’t Need to Do
Defragment Your Drive: One of the maintenance operations people always talk about is defragmenting your hard drive. Times have changed, however, and this isn’t actually necessary. Windows Vista and 7 automatically defragment your drive, so there’s no need to do it yourself. If you’re on XP, however, you’ll still want to defragment, and you can just set Disk Defragmenter to run on a schedule.
Clean Your Registry: The fact of the matter is that this probably won’t do much to help your computer. It won’t cause harm to your computer, but you’re very unlikely to get any kind of results.
Mess with Windows Prefetching: You may have seen a few articles on cleaning out Windows’ prefetching to speed up your computer, but it’s pretty much a myth. Not only will you not see any performance gains, but you could actually cause more problems instead of solving them. Just leave prefetching alone; Windows has it there for a reason.
Regularly Reinstall Windows: Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but as long as you’re responsible about what you install, there’s no reason you need to reinstall Windows every six months. Be careful about what you download, test new programs in a virtual machine, and run the maintenance tools we mentioned in section one, and you should be able to save yourself a few hours every month.
Also a mouse pad is not a coaster!
“One third of Irish companies have been targeted by cyber attacks in the last two years” (PWC)
It is important to remember that such attacks are only increasing in both complexity and frequency leading up to €1.7 million in losses to Irish firms in 2016 alone.
What are the biggest cyber security threats that face SMEs?
“Ransomware is probably the biggest threat, as many companies are probably not prepared for the impact that it can have. There’s nothing quite so stomach-churning as discovering that all the backups had failed many months ago and that there’s no way of restoring this data.”
Vince Warrington , Protective Intelligence
“The first was distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, the second was data breaches, while now we’re seeing an increase in malware and smart intelligent attacks, of which ransomware is part.”
We’ve seen the threat change from isolated to combined attacks that involve both phishing. We’re also seeing more attacks targeted on high-value individuals, such as board members and IT staff.
Mark Skilton, Warwick Business School
To what extent are employees to blame for the success of attacks?
“There’s a role for the organisation itself to prioritise cyber security, both in terms of the technical solutions that it puts in place, and staff and customer education programmes.
“We need organisations of all sizes to move away from the ‘It won’t happen to me’ mindset, because all organisations are at risk. They must also ensure that good cyber hygiene is second nature.”
Jennifer Shiels, UK Home Office’s Cyber Aware Campaign
Where’s best to start when it comes to putting a security strategy in place?
“First, SMEs should secure their network via a good firewall or unified threat management (UTM). This is an advanced firewall that also restricts dangerous websites, stops malicious emails, prevents network exploits and more.
“Second, protect your business from malware and hackers by using strong next-generation anti-malware product. Finally, control access to your IT – restrict access where necessary.
“Encrypt devices where they contain sensitive information. This ensures that if a device is lost or stolen, the data that it contains can still be kept secure. But make sure you use a management tool that can prove that they were encrypted if lost.
“For mobile devices you might want to consider a mobile device management solution.”
John Shaw, vice president, product management, Sophos
How can SMEs keep on top of new threats, given that budgets are often tight?
“Remember that effective security controls could already be built into products. For example, the Windows operating system has a lot of security baked in – it’s just a matter of managing it.”
“Also, apply the appropriate restrictions to [to certain users] and remember to install the latest security patches. Staying up to date on these can help stop a large majority of cyber threats and could have prevented the chaos caused by WannaCry.”
Mr Shaw, Sophos
What are top cyber security tips for SMEs?
Constantly updating your systems software and hardware is the only way. Hackers don’t stop innovating, yet many businesses still run the same security tools as they did 10 years ago.
The hygiene basics, such as updating software and operating system patches, are too often seen as an irritant, rather than a necessity.
- Don’t get lured by lucrative online offers
- Use the best Antivirus available
- Keep changing your passwords for emails as well as social networking sites – an excellent resource for this is password management
- Avoid monetary transactions on public computers
- Configure your PC properly
- Choose websites that ask you for double verification
For more on this visit Eurieka.ie GDPR issues for Small Businesses and Top Tips to buying online in a safe and secure way or on Eurieka.ie Twitter for weekly Tech Tips.
Also Cyber Expo Ireland is set to take place 29th November in Dublin 2017 –
How to make your home office the right place for getting things done
The amount of people working from home has risen in 2017 to its highest ever. Here are some top technological tips to help you make the most of your home office and maximise productivity.
Use Two Screens
A dual monitor setup is the best thing you can do to improve your home office productivity. Being able to use programs simultaneously means running multiple applications, making the majority of tasks much easier to get through smoothly. Have that important email open to refer back to while you focus on your project, or keep your image optimiser, address book, or even calendar handy on your “spare screen” to make the rest of your to do list easier to handle.
Switch to a Hosted VoIP Phone System
Hosted VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology can transform the way you work from home, especially when you are working on a budget. Essentially this is a “virtual” phone system hosted in the cloud – meaning your entire system is on the Internet. Not only are you freeing yourself of painful phone bills, you are given incredibly useful options that you’d never had with a normal phone, including VoIP and CRM integration, limitless call logging and monitoring and the lowest-cost communications than ever possible.
Set Alarms and Stick to Set Hours
Homeworkers have more trouble than anyone else when it comes to procrastinating and keeping a disciplined schedule. You can use your Google Chrome alarm system to keep you in check, or set alarms and reminders on your mobile phone – whichever way you do it, set yourself an 8-hour working day with regular breaks, and finish exactly when you plan to, regardless of what you still need to get done. Finishing at the same time every day will help you to switch back into “home mode” and also increase your productivity during working hours.
For this, and also social media temptations, try using StayFocusd a free Google Chrome extension that allows you to choose how much time you spend on time-wasting sites.
Try to Avoid Social Media
This is not as easy as it sounds, but, unless you are a social media manager or journalist without leads, you should be able to dodge the timeless abyss that is Facebook “browsing”. This has a domino effect, affecting your set working hours, concentration levels, and according to some studies, can even lead you to feeling depressed or anxious.
Use a Noise Cancelling Headset
Noise cancellation technology is not always just for a busy working environment, it can also be for your benefit to stay focused on the job. Even if you are not in a loud workspace, the sound is crisper and higher quality, making your communications easier and more comfortable.
Working at home will always have the downside of blurring the lines between a ‘work environment’ and being the place you live.
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