Do You Need to Keep the Devices You Rarely Touch Charged Up?

Everyone has those devices that they pull out once in a great while, but don’t really use on a day-to-day basis. Maybe your business keeps a small video camera handy for events, social media content, and the like. If it isn’t used all the time, however, the battery could become subject to an assortment of issues as it sits idle. Battery life duration could diminish, or the battery itself could become unstable and replicate those found in the explosive Samsung Note 7. Think about how many devices you have that feature a rechargeable battery and are stashed away somewhere for safekeeping. That’s a considerable risk that’s piled up for some time. How to Charge These Devices Safely When storing these devices for extended periods of time, it is recommended that you level out these devices at 50 percent charge before packing them away, refreshing them every three to six months. Try storing it someplace cool and dry. If it’s been a while since a device has been used, make sure that you double-check that there’s no sign of damage or other issues before plugging it in again. And, if you do need to dispose of some older technology, make sure that you’re doing so properly. When it comes to the smartphones, tablets, and laptops that you likely use more often than some of these other devices, the rules are a little different. These devices tend not to lose any battery life until after they have been fully drained and charged back up about 500 times, and they can be left plugged in without doing too much to the battery in terms of wear and tear. This doesn’t count towards that 500 count, either. Why Does This Matter to Businesses? How many spare devices does your business have lying around? How much would it cost your business to replace these devices if the need should arise? More likely than not, quite the sum. Therefore, it is important to know how to maintain your technology so that it can be relied upon when you need it, and to have a resource at the ready should it need to be repaired or replaced. SRS Networks can be that resource for you. Give us a call at (831) 758-3636 to find out more about what we have to offer.

Tip of the Week: Changing Your Notification Settings on Android Devices

To begin, check the version of Android that you  have installed. A few of these tips will require that you’re using Android 10, and some may not work on all devices. Interacting with Your Android Notifications How to Clear Your Notifications Once a notification has, well, notified you of something, its job is done, so it can be dismissed. Doing so is as simple as swiping it to the right or to the left. Dismissing all your notifications at once only requires you to scroll to the bottom of the notification list and select the Clear all option. Silent notifications can be cleared by tapping Close. Some notifications will only dismiss if the process it describes is no longer active. For instance, a notification that informs you that your music player of choice is active will require you to stop the music before the notification will go away. How to Snooze Your Notifications You can also “pause” your notifications by snoozing them. This will require you to activate snoozing in your Settings. Under Apps & notifications, Notifications, and Advanced, you’ll find the option to Allow notification snoozing. Once you’ve done so, you can snooze an individual notification by slightly dragging it to the side and selecting the Snooze option (which is presented as a small clock icon). The Down arrow allows you to select the time that the notification will be postponed. How to Review Your Options Some notifications have multiple options for you to act upon. Expanding these notifications is just a matter of pressing the Down Arrow and making your selection from the options that pop up. Selecting Your Notifications How to Change Your Device’s Notifications In your Settings, select your Apps & notifications and in there, Notifications. You can then select your default notification options from the following options:       On lock screen       Allow notification dots       Default notification sound       Swipe fingerprint for notifications       Do Not Disturb Activating and Deactivating Notifications for Certain Apps There are multiple options available to you in terms of setting your notifications. In your Settings application:       Select Apps & notifications, and from there, Notifications       Under Recently sent, you can see all the applications that recently sent you notifications. From there, you can turn off all an app’s notifications, among other capabilities. From the notification itself:       Tap and hold your notification, and then tap the gear icon that appears to represent the Settings.       You can then select the settings of your choosing, either to Turn off notifications or to select which notifications are Alerting or Silent. In the actual app, you may have the option to change your notifications in the settings as well. Selecting which Notifications Can Interrupt You Some Android devices enable you to select the notifications that an app will provide. Alerting will alert you with a sound, a lock screen message, and a status bar icon. Silent will obviously not provide a sound or vibrate but will still provide a notification if you swipe down on your screen. You have a few options as to how to select these settings. In the Settings application:       Tap Apps & notifications, and then Notifications     […]

Careful, This Wallpaper will Brick Your Phone. Wait, What?

It was discovered that users who set a particular image as their phone wallpaper on Android devices suddenly found their phone crashing. Once the wallpaper is set, the phone will refuse to boot back up, even in safe mode. This means the only way around it is a hard factory reset, which will lose everything on the phone that isn’t backed up elsewhere. Users are able to safely view the image, and even download the image on their device. The issue occurs once the image is set as a background wallpaper on Android devices, especially newer phones, and it seems to affect Samsung phones especially.  Let’s Take a Look at the Infamous “Cursed” Android Wallpaper In a Twitter post by user @Universeice, we get a glimpse of the image and the warning not to set it as a wallpaper. Definitely heed our warning and do not attempt to make the image your wallpaper, but it is safe to view: WARNING???Never set this picture as wallpaper, especially for Samsung mobile phone users!It will cause your phone to crash!Don’t try it!If someone sends you this picture, please ignore it. pic.twitter.com/rVbozJdhkL u2014 Ice universe (@UniverseIce) May 31, 2020 Why Does This Image in Particular Break Android Phones? After doing a little research, this photo was taken last year by photographer Guarav Argawal, and ended up on a lot of popular smartphone wallpaper sites recently. Argawal owns the copyright to the image, which means it probably should not have been made available on these wallpaper sites. The issue has to do with hidden data stored within the file itself. There isn’t anything malevolent going on here – any image can have hidden metadata stored within it. Most digital cameras, for example, record the type of camera and settings used, the time and date, and other information automatically when taking a photo. There is a specific type of data called the ICC profile, which has details about the color profiles of an image. All of our modern-day devices have limited colors that they can actually display. Our eyes are pretty limited to what colors we can see, so it doesn’t usually affect us. Color profiles set standardized ranges of colors used in an image that devices can use so colors are relatively uniform across our devices. Ask a graphic designer or photographer and they will have a lot to say about their frustrations with color profiles. That said, the ICC profile used on this image was a fairly uncommon one, and likely not something that Android was configured to use for a Wallpaper. In fact, simply saving the image using a standard color profile makes it safe to use, although it does make the image a little more visually dull. The craziest part about this image, is that if it weren’t for a single pixel, it would likely work just fine. Combined with the uncommon ICC profile, there is a single pixel (a tiny, nearly invisible dot of color) that causes the actual conflict that crashes Android phones. You can’t see it by looking at it, but somewhere in the pinkish lining on one of the clouds is a single pixel that most modern smartphones just can’t handle existing on the wallpaper! Okay, I Won’t Set This Image as a Wallpaper. Am I Out of […]

Tip of the Week: Should You Unplug Your Laptop While in Use?

Laptops and Remote Work Recent events have made a device’s portability a major selling point, as it makes it easier for work to be done from home. However, rather than moving back and forth to the office, these laptops have effectively become ad-hoc desktops—never moving, and as a result, rarely being unplugged. Is This Bad for the Battery? The answer to this question depends quite a bit on how old the device you are using from home is. In the not-so-distant past, the batteries found in a mobile device were made up of much different compounds and materials. This left them vulnerable to overloading if left plugged in, damaging the battery and (among other impacts) reducing its lifespan. Today, the batteries that manufacturers use are made of a lithium-polymer or a lithium-ion. This means that, rather than overloading, any extra power can be diverted to the device directly, supplying power while the battery waits in reserve. Additional Battery Concerns Of course, overcharging isn’t the only risk presented by leaving a device plugged in. As anyone who has used a laptop before will likely know, they can get extremely hot as they operate while connected to a power source. This prolonged exposure to heat can also cause some damages that could harm the battery over time and diminish its performance. A study by Battery University demonstrated that different temperatures could reduce the battery’s overall capacity when it is always plugged in. The cooler the temperature, the smaller the impact to the battery. This tells us that, at least under the right conditions, leaving your laptop plugged in is okay to do… if you have the means to keep it cool. For more advice and direct assistance with your business’ technology, the team at SRS Networks is available. To learn more about what we can do, give us a call at (831) 758-3636.

The ABC(DE)s of Mobile Security

That’s why we wanted to share how your business could exercise mobility, while still preserving security. Why You Aren’t Safe as a Small/Medium-Sized Business Once upon a time, cybercrime was a simple animal. A target was picked, and the method of breaching it was developed. This meant that the smart strategy for cybercriminals was to focus their efforts on larger targets, as breaching them would be more profitable for cybercriminals to take the time to do. Unfortunately for the SMB, this is no longer the case. Nowadays, like many other industries, cybercrime has largely become automated. So, once an attack is designed, there is no reason that a cybercriminal wouldn’t use it against a wide variety of businesses. It’s a little like using a bug zapper compared to the traditional flyswatter–you actually have to actively swing around the flyswatter, whereas a bug zapper allows you to set it up and let it do the work for you. Less effort, for equal (or really, improved) results. Furthermore, a mobile device does tend to invite a greater risk of other kinds of cybercrime. Actual device theft is much easier when the device in question can be casually picked up and walked off with by a stranger, which is more likely to happen outside the office than within its walls. Convenience is a cybercriminal’s best friend. What to Do About It Therefore, you need to make sure that the mobile devices your employees are using throughout their day have the proper protections, and that (perhaps even more importantly) your employees are actually using them, and properly. Here, we’ve put together a quick guide to help you get started with a more secure mobile strategy–and to hopefully make it more memorable, it follows the alphabet! Mobile Security, as Simple as A-B-C-D-E Authentication Okay, so one of the foundational concerns of the mobile security issue is that it is harder to ensure that only someone with permission to access data is actually going to be accessing it. Let’s face it, all it takes to potentially have a device stolen is for someone to leave their phone unattended in the coffee shop as they add more creamer. However, with the right authentication measures, the risk of the thief accessing data is greatly reduced. Enforcing strong passwords and requiring two-factor authentication measures for your data helps to restrict access to your data to just the people who should have it. Therefore, this is the first step to any data protection process. Backups As we will get into, a big part of keeping the data accessible on mobile devices safe is the capability to delete it. As a result, it is important that you can then restore this data and continue using it once the issue has been resolved. Maintaining an up-to-date backup will ensure that you are able to do so. Keep checking back on this blog to learn what makes a backup as reliable as can be, or give us a call to find out. Control While yes, the mobile devices that your employees own are their property, you cannot allow them to use them as a part of a mobile device strategy if they are going to expose your business to security threats or vulnerabilities. The apps a user installs can contribute to both, so […]

Tip of the Week: Improve Your Mobile Data Management

Mobile Information Management – How Does It Work? Mobile Information Management keeps sensitive data encrypted. Encryption doesn’t discriminate which mobile platform a user is on. By allowing only approved applications to access information, MIM has proven its value amongst the mobile-equipped workforce.  Cybersecurity is not something in which budget should be cut. The risks of having poor security measures in place should not be taken lightly either. MIM benefits businesses of all sizes by securing endpoints, keeping sensitive data only visible by those who it was originally intended to be visible by.  Endpoint security plays a critical role in business data exchange. Data interception can result in a devastating outcome if the cybercriminal is experienced. The most dangerous cybercriminals know how to maximize profits and deliver the hardest blow with the wrongfully acquired data.  Here Are a Few Ways to Enhance Mobile Security! Mobile data exchange can easily be further secured by practicing some simple, yet effective security tips. These are just a few of the ways to better distance yourself from a ill-willed cybercriminal:  Backup can get your business back up and running – Mobile data is constantly being targeted due to mobile information security being more of an afterthought than a priority.  The circumstances in which this is accomplished is always changing as the cybercriminals develop more devastating attacks. There are phishing attacks, ransomware, and so many more ways your data can be hacked or compromised. Backing up your data on a regular basis keeps your business up and running in the event a cybercriminal locks your devices while trying to collect data.  MIM & MDM Duality – Mobile device management (MDM) controls which data can be viewed, copied, or moved on mobile devices. Limiting capabilities might seem a bit cruel, but it is necessary to secure data. Why should employees who would never need to venture into certain databases have the required access to do so? MDM also allows you to monitor your staff as they use or exchange mobile data.  Audit Your Mobile Security – How secure is your data? Finding out the effectiveness of your security which your business has put in place is better done through an audit, rather than falling victim to a data breach. Today’s workforce constantly needs to send or receive data. Don’t let the convenience of mobile data exchange ruin your business. Mobile information doesn’t need to be difficult to secure, it just requires expertise in the field. Our experts at SRS Networks are prepared to help implement business-saving software and security measures. Call us at SRS Networks today. 

Technologies You Need If You’re Going to Use Remote Workers

Communication & Collaboration Solutions This is a no-brainer, simply because you probably need these solutions regardless. If you are going to promote a remote work policy, you need to have solutions in place that will enable teamwork and productivity. Maintaining open lines of communication throughout your organization is critical, which is why using solutions designed for your business’ specific problems is the best path to take. Today there are tools like cloud-based productivity suites and Voice over Internet Protocol that can give your remote staff the tools they need to thrive. The better the tools you provide to promote collaboration, the better your product or service will ultimately be.  Project Management Tools Finishing projects on time and on budget can be a pain if it isn’t well coordinated. No place is this more evident than with project managers. They need access to tools that will allow them to oversee all individual contributions and ensure they are working toward a successful end.  Today, there are project management tools that integrate dozens of different types of software, instant messaging, and other collaborative tools in one cloud-based platform. By using reliable project management software, you can connect people from all over the world and create something great.  Cybersecurity Keeping files safe is becoming harder and harder and costing businesses more than ever before. To ensure that remote workers are doing what they can to protect your business’ resources, they need to adhere to the cybersecurity strategy you’ve put in place. The use of multi-authentication procedures, encryption, and more can go a long way toward keeping business data safe as it comes in from multiple locations.  Time-Tracking Software How else are you going to manage to make determinations on whether or not your initiatives are profitable without clear cost management? The only way to do that is to track your employees time. Time tracking also gives you the opportunity to shift priorities on the fly so that the parts of a project, or service tasks get completed by their deadlines. Managing remote workers doesn’t have to be a full-time gig. Get the technology needed to turn your remote employees into profit centers for your business. To learn more call SRS Networks today at (831) 758-3636.

Build a Comprehensive Bring Your Own Device Policy

How Can BYOD Manifest Issues?Despite the benefits of BYOD, there are considerable drawbacks that need to be mitigated if you want to maintain an adequate control over your network security. Here are just a few of the drawbacks. Business and Personal Data Shouldn’t MixAn employee that uses a mobile device is almost certainly going to also use it for personal aspects of their lives. With all this in mind, it’s important to remember that combining personal and business data will only result in a further blurring of the lines, particularly in regard to employees that have access to sensitive company data. You need a policy that will help you eliminate the majority of the risk associated with BYOD. Your Business Will Be Vulnerable to More ThreatsA poor-quality BYOD policy will open your business up to a number of threats that could create considerable issues for your organization in the near future. If an employee isn’t careful, they may find themselves exposing devices to unsecured networks or other vulnerabilities. Malware and viruses are also issues that could take root on your organization’s network if they are allowed to sprout. Your Infrastructure Will Need ReworkingYou’ll need to take into account all of the new devices being brought into your infrastructure, which is likely to add more traffic and could potentially create problems as it grows. You’ll need to take this into account when planning out your infrastructure from a BYOD policy standpoint. How to Put Policies in PlaceBYOD needs to be governed by very strict policies. Your employees should need to opt in to your BYOD policy before being allowed to use their devices for work purposes. Here are a couple we like to recommend: Mobile Device Management and Endpoint Protection: This technology allows your business to place a partition between their data and the business’ data, ensuring data privacy for users. If a device is stolen, the business’ data can be safe. Endpoint protection software is also important, as any device accessing your network represents a threat. This software should scan a device and identify if it has been infected. Access Control: Not all employees need access to the same data. Role-based access controls can help an employee access data they need based on their job description and work duties. Some solutions even prevent devices that aren’t up-to-date from accessing a network, forcing users to think twice before accessing the network with out-of-date software or hardware. Exit Strategies and Safeguards: What happens if the devices used by your business are lost or stolen? Do you have ways to cut off access to them? Can you remotely wipe them? You should be able to. Whether it’s an employee leaving your business for good or a hacker stealing the device, you should have the option of remotely wiping the device to prevent data from falling into the wrong hands. SRS Networks can help your business plan for a BYOD policy. To learn more, reach out to us at (831) 758-3636.

Technology Fuels Mobile Food Delivery Services

Food Delivery Is Not New You know all about the local Chinese restaurant or pizzeria that will get their professionally-made food to you, but why do these services offer at-home delivery, while other restaurants expect people to visit their establishment? Simple, pizzerias and Chinese restaurants offer delivery because of their demand. In other words, they can afford to. As people were more apt to stay at home, namely because of the advent of the television, restaurants, who depend on foot traffic, started seeing that traffic, and therefore their margins wane. Unfortunately, ninety percent of independent restaurants that open close within the first year. Chain restaurants, that typically are franchised from corporations, and offer the same fare in all of their locations regardless of ownership, have a better chance of success, but still only have an average five-year life span. How Technology Got Involved With the razor-thin margins many restaurants operate under, there isn’t a lot of extra capital to pay delivery drivers. Some restaurateurs even believe that it is beneath their establishment to offer delivery. Regardless of what an establishment’s reasoning is for not offering home delivery, the demand for it remains. Savvy entrepreneurs saw the demand (in a $7 billion market) and decided that with people’s dependence on technology that it would be profitable to create new companies that develop mobile apps to order and set up take-out or delivery. Some of today’s most successful food delivery apps include: Seamless Grubhub Doordash Uber Eats As reliance on mobile continues to grow, and with the advent of 5G networks, it won’t be surprising for the technology to become more commonplace.  While most of the services are only available in larger markets, these companies have been aggressive at moving the services to new ones. Food Delivery Doesn’t Have to Be Prepared Another trend you are seeing in food delivery, is that grocers are beginning to make available produce, and in some cases complete meal plans, for people using mobile technology. These services hire renowned chefs to come up with recipes that can be searched on an online catalog. People will select which meals/food they want from the catalog and the company will ship it to the recipient. Since the company uses fresh ingredients, orders are shipped immediately in refrigerated containers. Some of the top meal-delivery services include: Plated Sun Basket Martha & Marley Spoon HelloFresh Green Chef Corporation Blue Apron Advances in food delivery have just begun to scratch the service of their value. Have you used an app to get food delivered to your house? What do you think about technology’s role in your dining experiences? Leave your comments below, and return to our blog for more great technology information.