Tip of the Week: Simple Fixes for Some Common Android Phone Issues

Lock Your Screen in Place One of the most annoying parts of using a touchscreen mobile device is the screen rotation. Sure, it is useful when you want to use it, but when you don’t mean to, it can discombobulate even the most seasoned user.  Since Android 9, the OS has provided an option to lock your screen in place. If you are using a device with stock Android, simply go to System Settings, access Display and from there, Advanced. Here is where you’ll find the Auto-rotate screen option and the means to switch it off. On Samsung devices, users find a bit of a different process as the toggle for this can actually be found in the Quick Settings menu that you can find at the top of your notifications tray. Look for the icon labeled Auto rotate, which you will want to switch to Portrait. This will disable Landscape mode completely.  Notifications Bothering You? You have Options Sometimes there are just too many notifications. Android has done a good job of simplifying the process to take control over all these notifications. Once you get a notification you don’t want, you can press and hold it to access the control panel. This will allow you to silence them or completely turn them off.  Clean the Charging Port for a Faster Charge If you are like a lot of people, your phone goes with you everywhere. Sometimes debris can get in the charging port and hinder the connection between the charger and the phone. Before you go out and drop $1,000 on a new phone, try seeing if it could be something you can take care of quickly.  With caution, take a toothpick and try to tease any stuff lodged in the charging port. Most of the time you may get some pocket lint, but there may be other debris stopping the charge from being as effective as it can be.  Android phones are some of the most popular phones on the market. For more great tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your mobile device, visit our blog weekly or call our technology professionals today at (831) 758-3636.


Why (and How) to Build a Company Knowledge Base

Here, let’s discuss how to put together a knowledge base to ensure that your team has access to the information they need. The Root of All Knowledge is Data With the right data at your disposal, and a means of using it, your capability to improve your business’ many processes is substantially improved. Whether you’re considering your procurement processes, your standard operations, or your delivery and support, the right information makes all the difference. However, you need to collect this information first. How do you do that? Simple. By educating yourself through experience and analysis, you can devise improved processes for your business, ultimately boosting its productivity and its general success. Documentation Of course, for this to happen, your information needs to be in a usable, accessible format. This is where a documented knowledge base becomes key. Creating one is an important task to undertake and is a process that needs to be standardized so that others can and will follow it as needed later on. Your documentation should cover the correct procedure for completing a defined task, as well as the reason for that process and the underlying goal for doing so. Creating a knowledge base like this brings you some considerable benefits, including: More consistent service delivery—If a standardized process is followed each time an activity is carried out, your clients and customers should be able to reliably expect a certain outcome, growing their confidence in your business. Reduced time consulting support—With a reference to lean on, problems can be solved more efficiently, without needing to expend extra time or manpower pulling in an additional resource for help. Reduced training costs—With a comprehensive knowledge base, you have a tool that can help you train your employees, as well as a resource for them to refer to when needed. Establishing this knowledge base also helps you when the time comes to onboard someone new. Starting Your Knowledge Base The first step to creating a knowledge base is recognizing the need for one. If your team keeps asking the same questions repeatedly, they will likely benefit from such a resource.  Once you’ve identified the need for a knowledge base, you should go through any training content or informational resources you do have to see if there are any gaps. Then, once you’ve picked a tone for your knowledge base to take (to help avoid apparent contradiction) you can put together your completed resources. After that comes the management. As circumstances change all the time—especially in business—these documents will almost certainly need updating on occasion. You also need to be sure that your documentation is in a format that makes it easy for your staff to access it and find what they are looking for. This process can help you create a knowledge base for whoever needs it, whether that means for your employees or your clients. If you need assistance with the technical side of managing a knowledge base, or any IT challenge you may be facing, reach out to SRS Networks at (831) 758-3636.

Strategies for Remote Workers and Students

Tip #1 – Get a Workspace Sometimes it is hard to rearrange your life, but it is much easier to rearrange your home. If you are being asked to work from home, or if your kids are going to be telelearning or doing a hybrid approach like many schools are doing these days, a space to do work is crucial. It gets a little hairy when online school and work overlap, but most people’s homes are filled to the brim with leisure space. You’ll need a dedicated workspace if you want to get anything done.  Tip #2 – Prepare Like You Always Would Just because you aren’t going to leave the house doesn’t mean you should act like you aren’t. A great way to get yourself in a productive frame of mind is to get up and go through your routine like you would if you were leaving all day. Sure, your cat will still try to sleep on your desk, but getting in the right frame of mind is really important if you want to be your best during the workday. Tip #3 – Limit Your Social Media Use It’s completely understandable that when you are home that you would want to engage with people via social media. The problem is that you are expected to be working or doing schoolwork and social media is a never ending distraction. To facilitate this change, it is a good idea to remove social media shortcuts from your work browser or use a whole other browser for work. You can also choose to use an incognito window for work so that you don’t have as easy of access to your social accounts.  Tip #4 – Understand When You are Most Productive Even when you were working from the office or going to school, you didn’t spend all day focused on your work. Most people don’t work like that. The ones that claim to typically sign the checks. You need to know when you are most effective and buckle down during those times. Save your most difficult tasks for times when you are at your best and your workday will get easier.  Tip #5 – Make Sure Everyone is On the Same Page In order for you to be productive you need to sustain focus. If there are constant distractions coming from the other people at your house, you likely won’t get much done; and what you get done will likely not be your best. You need to communicate your needs and expectations with the people who are around you. Set ground rules that make everyone understand that when you are at work that you are not to be disturbed. It’s hard to work from home if people keep bothering you all day long.  Tip #6 – Communicate with Others While you try to manage your distractions at home, you need to understand that you still have a team out there that works more effectively if you are on the same page, too. Be sure to reach out to your co-workers to talk about work or life every once in a while. You are working from home, not the Sahara Desert (unless that’s where your home is), make sure the people you work with know you’re still alive.  Working from home or going […]

Do You Know What a Strong Password Looks Like?

What is Password Hygiene?The practice of securing your accounts with well constructed, unique passwords is called password hygiene. Having good password hygiene means that you will avoid the use of authentication methods that can be easily compromised. Below is a list of unhygienic password creation practices: The use of personal details, like your name or birthday The names of friends, family, or pets The use of commonly used words (like “password” or a favorite sports team) Using simple keyboard combinations (like “12345” or “qwerty”) The us of repeated login credentials (like username: Cornoa2020, password: Corona2020) Using short passwords  If you are now worried that your passwords are easily guessable, don’t fret. Here, we’re going to outline some strategies you should stop using immediately as they no longer provide the value they once did to keep your accounts secure.  Alphanumeric Switching – This is just a fancy euphemism for turning some of your letters in your password to numbers. If you’ve been making passwords for any length of time, you’ve probably taken part in this practice. The problem is that it is ineffective against the modern hacking software designed to crack passwords. Length Requirements – For much of the past decade, if you needed to make an account password, it had to be a certain number of characters. According to the Nation Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) longer passwords are actually hurting your chances of keeping an account secure as they are harder to remember.  Banning Cut and Paste – This practice was only done for a few years, but industry leaders now find it to be a pointless security gimmick. It eliminates the availability for users to use a password manager, which is one of the best practices for password-led security in 2020.  Password Hints – If you set up online banking anytime in the past decade you were asked a series of questions that would allow you to gain access to your credentials. This isn’t as effective nowadays as more information about users are available online.  Too Frequent Password Changes – You’ll still want to make users change their password, but having them do it so frequently that they forget their credentials can be a major problem for a business.  Best Practices of Password Hygiene We have come to recommend that users create passphrases made up of at least three words that don’t have any correlation. In this method, if you want to use replacement characters (like the aforementioned alphanumeric switching), it has value. For example if you were to make the  At SRS Networks, we recommend that users use a passphrase made up of at least three words that don’t have anything to do with one another. We also believe that using replacement characters can have value in this method. For example, a passphrase of “japanlovessushi” is not in itself secure, because it’s a common phrase, but a passphrase of “japanlovesenchiladas” is better. Use substitution methods to add security from there. If you would like more information about password hygiene or securing your accounts and identity online, call the IT professionals at SRS Networks today at (831) 758-3636.

Understanding FinTech and Its Impact on Businesses

Defining FinTech Financial technology, or FinTech, describes the services and solutions that are now available to assist individuals and businesses alike in properly managing their finances. This application of technology has exploded with options in the past few years, providing more options for people without the solutions themselves carrying a substantial price tag. Many established financial institutions have also implemented FinTech to give their customers secure access to various services and tools. As you might imagine, this demonstrates quite a shift from the origins of FinTech, which was basically a tool for financial institutions to use behind the scenes. With the industry’s growth, the customer soon became the intended user, and now, these solutions provide access to bank accounts, credit cards, stock portfolios, and insurance policies alike. What are the Most Common FinTech Services Today? As more FinTech-powered applications have been developed, the potential uses for these tools have been expanded upon considerably. In addition to the assorted solutions listed above, there are now apps that allow users to send payments quickly and easily to retailers and other users. To name a few examples of these, think PayPal and its subsidiary, Venmo. Other varieties of FinTech have also popped up. FinTech also includes crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and GoFundMe, assisting users to collect donations for business ideas and other goals. Cryptocurrency is an example of FinTech that has become so popular, it spawned its own application ecosystem. FinTech Can Also Be Used by Businesses Today, developers have created a litany of FinTech tools and applications designed for business purposes. Using these tools, companies can secure loans and otherwise access the financial resources they need to manage to ensure efficiency is preserved in their operations. Many of today’s dynamic business management platforms also integrate with FinTech applications, assisting businesses as they interact with financial institutions and crunch the numbers, as they say. Monitoring your organization’s finances without incurring too much cost is key to properly distributing and investing your available resources. FinTech can help you do so, and SRS Networks can help you properly make use of it. To learn more about the options your business has to consider, reach out to us at (831) 758-3636 to start a conversation.

Where Can a Business Find Analytical Data?

Data Equals Insights This simple equation does a good job of summarizing the benefits of analytics. Because analytics are just data-driven predictions applied to your business’ circumstances, you can infer quite a bit just from the data you collect during your normal operations. One type of analytics you may have heard of before is business analysis. By drawing out the value from massive data sets by processing the numbers, analytics can provide you with the answers to your business questions and—as a result—assist you in shaping the most effective business strategy. Data Sources The data your business uses to generate these analytics can come from a variety of sources. These sources include: Data Aggregation—Collecting and filtering through data from transactional records and data provided by your customers. Forecasting—Examining past trends and using them to form expectations for the future. Association and Sequence Identification—Identifying patterns to help predict your future needs. Properly using your data to generate such analytics has been shown to provide businesses with considerable benefits to various aspects of these organizations, including their productivity and profitability, among others. Many of your resources can be considered a gold mine for data: your CRM solution, your line of business applications, your marketing statistics, your sales opportunities, and of course, your website. Many solutions are available to help you collect and leverage the analytics that will most assist your business’ operations. SRS Networks can help you put them to use with our proactive support services. Give us a call at (831) 758-3636 to find out how we can help your business accomplish more.

Tip of the Week: The Very Basics of Computer Cleaning

Does a Clean Workstation Make that Much of a Difference? Yes! A computer collects a surprising amount of junk and grime, not to mention germs. Maintaining it can help ensure it doesn’t overheat. Plus, it just looks better, anyway. Therefore, you need to make a regular habit out of tidying up your workstation. Let’s touch on a few best practices for cleaning the major components. How Often Do I Have to Clean My Computer? That all depends on a few variables, but you should make sure that you’re cleaning your computer at least once a year. Other factors will render it necessary to tidy up more often. Take, for instance, the computer’s location. Its environment may introduce specific kinds of debris that make more regular cleanings a prudent course of action. So, if your computer spends its time… In an industrial environment In the presence of pets Around carpeting …it is probably best to clean it more frequently. Who it is that typically uses the computer is also an important factor. Younger people  (especially children) are a leading cause of sticky fingers on a keyboard and a smudged monitor. Either way, if your computer hasn’t been cleaned within the past 12 months, now is probably the time to do it. How to Properly Clean Your Workstation’s Components The different parts of your workstation need to be cleaned differently. Otherwise, they could become damaged in your attempt to keep them shipshape. Keep in mind, we’re focusing on desktop workstations here, as the process of cleaning a laptop is somewhat different. For starters, here are a few general best practices: Do not spray any liquid directly into the computer. Spray a cloth and wipe instead. Do not use a vacuum, as it can create a damaging static charge. Use compressed air to blow away any debris. Don’t allow fans to spin freely as you are cleaning them, as it could actually damage them. Always turn off the computer before you attempt to clean it. The Case Cleaning the exterior of your workstation can help to improve its ventilation, as well as make it look more presentable. You can remove any dust built up with a few swipes of a lint-free cloth. The Interior Also helping to keep the device’s temperature in check, it pays off to clean the inside of any dust and debris. Use compressed air to do this so that you don’t risk damaging the internal components. The Peripherals Finally, it makes sense that things like the keyboard and mouse would get a little grimy over time. A bit of diluted rubbing alcohol or disinfectant and compressed air can remove this grime and any germs it may have housed. As for your monitor, dusting it off with a lint-free cloth will naturally improve the visibility of your display. For more assistance in cleaning your computing infrastructure, or any other technology maintenance, give SRS Networks a call at (831) 758-3636. Our expert technicians are ready to help.

Proactive Services Are Keeping Business Running Fluidly

What It Means to Be Proactive A lot of business is preventing major swaths of downtime. Seriously, the more downtime you have, the less you get done. There are plenty of risks inherent in doing business, so being more proactive allows you to mitigate them more effectively. Think about it, a problem pops up in your business, you immediately stop what you are doing to fix the problem, which takes you away from the productive endeavor you were working on. By being proactive, however, you ensure that no problem exists, making certain that your time is used productively. If the effectiveness of your business comes down to the amount of time you can focus on it, being interrupted with constant problems to fix destroys that focus.  Avoiding Downtime Your business isn’t some publicly-traded, multi-national company. If the most lucrative businesses faced even an hour of downtime, they are wasting six, sometimes, seven figures worth of capital. That’s why they routinely write proactive measures into their processes.  For your business, the amount of wasted capital will be substantially less, but it might just be a larger percentage of revenue lost or capital spent. This can sink your business; and, it doesn’t just come from having to stop what you are doing. Downtime can be problematic in these ways as well: Customer frustration – Your relationships are extremely important. Too much downtime can have a major negative impact on your customer relations. Not only will customers be inconvenienced, they will let you know it. This time spent smoothing everything over can get extremely expensive, especially for the small business that needs their people to be productive, not engaging in costly support roles.  Staff frustration – As hinted at in the previous paragraph, many small businesses rely on their staff to do more than one job. One of those jobs isn’t always fun. That is a customer service representative. Many employees–especially if they were hired for a specific purpose–tend to get fed up when they have to spend a large chunk of their work life supporting a faulty product.  Exorbitant cost – Cost will always come with downtime. If you are paying people who should be building your product or service to sit around dealing with downtime, you are wasting valuable capital.  By being proactive you are effectively controlling the amount of downtime your organization has to deal with.   Being Proactive! At SRS Networks, we offer a couple proactive services that could really make a difference in the profitability and efficiency of your business. They include.  Remote monitoring – Your hardware and network need to be in tip-top shape for your staff to be as productive as they can be. By remotely monitoring your entire IT infrastructure, our knowledgeable technicians can find even the smallest incongruency. Doing so before downtime has a chance to rear its head and affect your business works to keep downtime to a minimum and productivity high.  Cloud computing – Moving some of your IT to the cloud is a proactive move as public cloud resources are typically managed by the provider. Having a cloud provider take on the comprehensive management of your IT, while also gaining anytime, anywhere access, is a sound strategy for any-sized business.  Patch management – Software vulnerabilities can be a major problem for your […]


What are the essentials of a business continuity plan?

A list of your key contacts One of the most important elements in your business continuity plan is a list of all your important contacts who should be informed of the disaster. This can include all your C-level execs, HR managers, IT Manager, client facing managers, etc., A comprehensive list of your IT inventory Your business continuity plan should contain a list of all the softwares, apps and hardware that you use in the daily operations of your business. This list should identify each of those as critical or non-critical and mention details pertaining to each of them such as The name of the app/software Version/model number (for software/hardware) Vendor name and contact information for each of them Warranty/support availability details Contact information for customer support for these hardware/apps Frequency of usage Backup information Data backups are critical to your disaster recovery and so your business continuity plan should include information about data backups. It should mention how often data is backed up, in what formats and where. It should also mention what data backups are available–ideally, you should be backing up ALL data already! What’s your Plan B? Make sure your business continuity plan lists a backup operations plan that will come into play in the event of a disaster. Examples include alternative workflows such as options to work remotely or to allow employees to bring their own devices to work (BYOD) until the time regular business premises or systems are ready. Floor plans and location Your business continuity plan should also include floor plans of your offices with the exit and entry points clearly marked up, so they can be used in the event of any emergency. It should also mention the location of data centers, phones, key IT systems and related hardware. Process definition Make sure your business continuity plan defines the SOPs to be followed in the event of an emergency. Think business continuity planning is too complicated? Don’t give up! A lot of SMBs, don’t create a business continuity plan thinking it is too much of a hassle. But this can prove fatal to your business later. A qualified MSP can help you understand business continuity planning and even help you create a business continuity plan that’s best suited for you..

Examining the State of Data Privacy

However, despite these views, most people are far too lax when it comes to their own security. Let’s take a closer look. Consumers on Businesses and Their Data Practices In a recent report from advisory firm KPMG, the results of a survey that asked American consumers about their expectations of corporations and the privacy of their collected data were revealed. These results showed a few concerns very clearly, while revealing that not all respondents were fully aware of today’s most pressing cyberattacks. 86 percent of respondents to the survey felt that their data privacy was a rising concern. 70 percent claimed to be “generally familiar” with how companies collect their personal data, while 64 percent were familiar with how it was used and stored, 63 percent say they understand how it is protected, and 57 percent say they know how it is sold. Having said that, 68 percent don’t trust these companies to sell this data ethically, 54 percent don’t trust it will be used ethically, 53 percent don’t feel it will be collected ethically, and 50 percent don’t trust these companies to protect their data sufficiently. Most consumers are concerned about the theft of their social security number, with 83 percent of respondents identifying this concern. Following closely behind come the 69 percent worried about their credit card numbers. Surprisingly, only 16 percent are concerned about the theft of their medical records. Data Practices Amongst Consumers While this sounds like a decent start, the survey’s results showed a bit of hypocrisy. Most users agreed that repeating passwords, saving credit card information to a website, and using public Wi-Fi are risky behaviors, but more than 40 percent of them did these things anyways. 61 percent neglected to use all available tools to secure their accounts, as well. What We Can Learn It doesn’t matter if it’s your data at stake, or your business’… your highest priority needs to be your security. In another study, this one conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, it was shown that almost half—46 percent—of consumers surveyed had stopped doing business with a retailer because of issues with that retailer’s privacy statement. Are you willing to let half of your client base abandon your business? It just goes to show that, from the consumer’s perspective, it is our responsibility to make sure that companies are accountable for the data they collect. From the business standpoint, it shows that data security is something that can’t be slapped together or neglected. Is ensuring data security simple? Far from it… but when compared to what you risk otherwise, it’s a no-brainer. SRS Networks is here to help. We can help you to implement the security solutions and processes that will help protect all your data. To learn more, or to get started, call our team at (831) 758-3636 today.