The Pain Free IT Blog
With Dominic Jones

Useful Excel Nuggets…

Now Excel has never been my strong point, when it comes to creating a spreadsheet I usually try to avoid it for as long as possible…

Microsoft Excel can seem like a complicated program until you’ve got used to all the menus and functions involved in its use. If you have to create spreadsheets often, it can be helpful to know some important shortcuts to make your life a little easier. Here’s a handy list of Excel shortcuts to help you out:

F2 is a quick way to edit a selected cell or its contents.

F4 repeats an action. So, if you fill a cell with colour for example, pressing F4 will do the same in the next cell you select when pressing F4.

F7 will spell check a cell or the entire document with the click of one button.

F11 will create a chart from information from cells or highlighted data.

Alt + Enter will allow you to have multiple lines of text within one cell by moving down a line when typing and pressing Alt + Enter.

Alt + = will calculate the sum of all the cells above.

Ctrl + Space highlights a whole column.

Shift + Space highlights a whole row.

Ctrl + F6 will switch between other open windows and worksheets.

Shift + F3 will open up the Formula window to make calculations.

Making an Excel spreadsheet doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Learning a few (or all) of these shortcuts could have you working a lot faster and far more productively. These defiantly helped me out, I even pinned them to my wall :)

If you have any further queries on this or anything else then give us a call on 020 3301 0003 or email support@barttech.co.uk

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4 Things That Kill Your Website…

We know that your website is your shop front, your brand on display and an essential sales and marketing tool. You spent a lot of money building it and attracting visitors. It is business critical: it would be a disaster if that shop front were smashed, your reputation was tarnished and visitors stopped coming. This is why website security is so important.

There are 4 main threats that can destroy your website…

  1. Website Malware

Your website can be attacked by malware just like desktop PC’s. The worst thing is you might not even know your website has been under threat until its blacklisted by search engines or customers start to complain about infections they can pick up from visiting your site.

Tip: Keep your website server up to date with the latest patches and security updates.

  1. Malvertising

Criminals can also sneak malware infections onto legitimate ad-funded sites using malicious advertising or ‘malvertising’.

This form of attack is insidious because the website owner often has little control over which ads are served on their site or where they come from, and conventional site scanning may miss an infected ad if it’s not visible during the scan

Tip: Use repeatable advertising networks.

  1. Search Engine Blacklisting

Search engines such as Google and Bing scan websites for malware and, if they find any on your site, your site could be blacklisted. This means that they stop listing the site, stop sending traffic to it and, depending on a visitor’s browser, they may also display a warning about the infection before the visitor goes to your site, even if they enter the address directly.

Tip: Sign up for Google & Bing Webmaster tools to get email warnings if your site is blacklisted.

  1. Brand Impersonation 

Criminals use well-known names and brands to trick people into disclosing confidential information or installing malware. Often, they use fake websites to fool people. The best- known example of this kind of attack, known as ‘phishing’, is when a fraudster uses a fake bank site to lure customers into revealing bank or credit card details and passwords.

Tip: Use Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates to authenticate your site and reassure customers that they are not using a phishing site.

I hope you found this helpful, if you need any further help with security then please get in contact. We know security is important for your business.

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The Power To Destroy….

Last year saw a huge increase on data breaches, even the big corporate companies suffered. There was the Apple Cloud hack, then Google even Domino’s was under attack.

With the New Year upon us it’s time for a fresh start, that’s why its vital that you have a clear view of how secure your data is.

Ask yourself, do you have reliable anti-virus software? Can you guarantee that the threats cant worm their way in?

If you look below you can see how many business suffered a data breach last year:

secureIsn’t it shocking how many businesses suffered? The figure is set to rise this year.

Below I’ve listed a few checks that you can do to ensure your data is safe:

Secure your mobile – It’s always good to have a password or lock on your phone encase it falls into the wrong hands. Some mobile phones allow you to encrypt your emails and data, check out if your phone has this function. If you ever want to sell your phone then I would recommend wiping it before getting rid of it.

Use strong passwords – A strong password policy may be inconvenient, but it’s nowhere near as inconvenient as a data breach or a network crash. There are lots of apps and tips on Google if ever you’re stuck for which password to use.

Be cautious with your emails – Usually the best way for a virus to take over is for someone to send you an unpleasant email. If you see an email you are unsure of or don’t like the look of then get in contact with your It team and ask them to check it out. Its better safe than sorry!

Ensure you update your Antivirus – Having antivirus installed on your machine is one thing but updating it is another. You need to make sure you are updating your software, if you miss an update then your antivirus will not be working to it’s full capacity.

Make sure your data is safe in 2015. We offer a managed antivirus software which means that we manage it all for you. You will no longer have to worry about any annoying updates.

If you would like to know more about our security options then call our security team on 020 3301 0003 or email sales@barttech.co.uk

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Unclogging Your Inbox In 3 Simple Steps…

A cluttered email inbox can be difficult to navigate – not to mention you might miss an important email! Keeping your inbox clean will give you peace of mind and help you keep all your email correspondence organised.

If you suffer with inbox insanity, try these handy techniques on how to keep your Outlook email inbox clean and tidy:

Use the labels, filters, and rules tools that Outlook has built in. This means you can label certain respondents or emails as ‘important’ or ‘unimportant’ and move them to specific folders. For example, you could set rules that only certain email addresses found in your address book are allowed into your main inbox folder. Or, use the filter tool to get rid of common spam or marketing emails automatically.

Lots of people are scared to delete emails for one reason or another, however, it will make your inbox more organised and your life a lot easier if you lose this fear. Once you’ve read your emails each day, take action on them. If you know for a fact you’re not going to contact a certain recipient or take action on the content of the email – delete it. If you’re not sure about the email – delegate it to someone who does.

If you find yourself using a lot of stock replies or short emails over and over, using an auto-responder or automatic reply system will be useful. In Outlook you can easily set up an auto-reply message for when you’re busy or out of the office. There are also excellent add-ons you can purchase or download that send automatic replies to groups of recipients to save you the hassle, such as Thunderbird Quicktext or Lifehacker Texter.

computer_happy_office_144666536Lastly, keep things simple. Create a few specific folders for spam, personal emails, business emails, and one or two more. If you overload your inbox with folders, you’ll soon lose track of what’s where and who’s who. Simple, clean, and organised is your email goal.

Until next time, happy computing!

Moving on…

This weekend I thought it would be a good idea to help my brother move into his new house..boy was I wrong! It was the most stressful day I’ve had in years.

There was stuff everywhere. He thought it would be a good idea to leave all the packing until the night before the actual move. We were all running around like headless chickens trying to get everything boxed up and shipped out. It was a very long and tiring weekend. By Sunday evening I was looking forward to going back to work just to get a break! Next time anyone asks me to help them relocate I think I’ll politely decline.

Have you ever thought about moving offices? If it was anything like this weekend it would be a complete disaster. As we’re in the New Year I know everyone likes a fresh start. Is your company outgrowing it’s current office or it’s just time to move on? If this sounds like something you are considering then you should follow the nuggets below to help your office relocation run smoothly…

Get Organised

Don’t end up like my brother and leave it all to the last minute. To make your move as painless as possible plan ahead and call in the professionals where required.

  • Put a team in place to help with your relocation
  • Break down each section of your IT setup
  • Think about getting rid of equipment you don’t need anymore
  • Check the access to your new office

Know What You Have

The earlier you plan for the move the easier it becomes. Find out exactly what you have and what you need.

  • Do you have a hardware and software inventory?
  • Is all your equipment clearly labeled?
  • Make sure you review your disaster recovery plan as you never know what might happen
  • Find out what your performance gaps are in your current set up

Access To The New Office                                                                                    

Ensure you have no unexpected surprises on the day of your arrival. Make sure that all key requirements are in place.

  • Power supply
  • Cabling
  • Cooling for business critical servers

Who Needs To Know You’re Moving?             

Make a list all your current suppliers, don’t forget to tell them you are moving offices.

  • Hardware suppliers and hardware maintenance contracts, make sure the right people know you’re moving, give them your new contact details.
  • Software suppliers—you may need to update the address and contact details of your licenses for operating systems and applications.
  • Disaster recovery plans normally include off-site backup, hardware etc. Are there any implications from your move?

Review Your Equipment

Have a look at what you already have in your business and decide whether it’s worth taking to the new building. Leave all the junk behind.

  • Servers – You may be able to reduce your hardware overhead by creating virtual servers within existing machines
  • Backup devices – Have a think about your current backup situation. Is it time to move into the cloud?
  • Printers – Instead of having random printers around the office think about having a printer station.
  • Workstations – Are there any implications in the new offices? Will it all fit in well?

Your New Office   

The key thing when moving office is what awaits you at the new place. If you have any servers then you need to ensure their new location is best for them.

  • Servers should ideally be in their own room that is secure.
  • You need to make sure your servers are not going to get too hot so a nice cool area would be ideal.
  • Do you have too many servers? Could you think about virtual servers?

Any move can be stressful whether your moving house or office. The secret is to planning ahead and being prepared. If you’re like my brother and decide to leave it all to the last minute why not thinking about having a reliable team in place to help you move? Here at Barton Technology we’ve done many office moves. If you are looking to relocate in the future then contact us today on sales@barttech.co.uk

Top Tip – Lack of notice to IT companies is a major cause of disruption & disappointment. Ensure you book the move date as early as possible with the IT & Telecoms Company (especially if you want to move over the weekend).

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Mail Merge in 6 Simple Steps

Happy New Year! Hope you have had a great start to the New Year already.

There is lots going on at Barton HQ this year and I’m always looking for ways to get more done! I have been tasked with sending out a lot of mail this year, which includes many letters & documents but all with the same template.

Mail merge is a method to send emails or letters in bulk that doesn’t require time-consuming typing of personal details. Typing out custom, personal letters to your clients or customers would take a whole day of your administration staff’s time. Mail merge is a great tool to increase productivity.

To use mail merge you need Outlook and Microsoft Word plus Microsoft Exchange server. You can create your own unique list of recipients without using Outlook if you wish. We have simplified the process below:

Firstly you will need a source file in excel of all the data you would like to send. Don’t be freaked out by source file, I was at first. This just means all the data that you would like to merge together, either name, address and that sort of thing.

Once you have your source file you then open a word document – Easy.

When you are in the word document click on tools and click mail merge manager. This will then come up with a little box:

mail merge

Then it’s plain sailing from here….just go through the steps

  1. Create new – Just add in your source file
  2. Select recipients list – Select what you want from your file
  3. Insert placeholders – Again so simple just drag where you want the title, name and address to go or whatever filters you have
  4. Filter recipients – If you want to filter the document you can do this here
  5. Preview results – Have a look before the done deal
  6. Complete merge – Click it, merge it!

That’s it! Easy peasy. I hope this helps you with getting more things done this year. It’s really benefited me with the amount of letters I have sent out this week.

Have a great week!

 

Merry Christmas

It’s that time again…

Yes, the Barton elves are working hard to get all our customers support calls finished before they have to help Santa on Christmas Eve. However they did get chance to put up some Christmas decorations and have a little boogie….

Click on the video below to see how they got on…

Merry Christmas from all the team.

Christmas Jumper Day

Last Friday some of the Barton team took part in Christmas jumper day for Save the Children charity! There happened to be a few holiday requests and meetings booked that day but the stragglers left in the office joined in. We all had our woolly’s on for the cause.

When I first mentioned it none of the guys even owned Christmas jumpers but they all put in the effort and went out especially to buy them :)

Who’s woolly do you think is best? I must admit I was impressed with Dom’s & Ray’s jumpers, they went all out with the 3d effect :)

We had a fab day and I felt very cozy in my jumper – It was for a great cause and if you would like to make a small donation of £2 to the charity you can text TEAMBARTON to 70050.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

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Christmas Wishes….

Seasons greetings from all the team. I just wanted to let you know our opening times during the Christmas period, to ensure that you know we are on hand should you happen to be working over the Christmas break.

Please pass on this message to any members of your team who may need us during the festivities.

Times are as follows:

Christmas Eve – 09:00 to 13:00

Christmas Day – Closed
Boxing Day – Closed
29th December – Normal operations
30th December – Normal operations
New Years Eve – 09:00 to 13:00
New Years Day – Closed
2nd January – Normal operationsIMG_1377

Jackie has persuaded all the Barton team to take part in Christmas Jumper Day on Friday 12th December. We are raising money for Save the Children charity. If you would like to donate then you can simply text this code TEAMBARTON to 70050 to donate £2. – There will be pictures of us to follow in our Christmas jumpers :)

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for using Barton Technology during 2014. All the team here wish you all a very Merry Christmas and an extremely prosperous New Year.

Dominic and the team.

What The Hack…

Did you see in the news last week about Sony Pictures being hacked? Apparently the security breach took down all computers studio-wide. The hackers posted a message into their network, which stated, “We already warned you, and this is just a beginning. We continue till our request be met. We’ve obtained all of your internal data including your secrets and top secrets. If you don’t obey us, we’ll release the data shown below to the world.” Looks like the hackers have already carried out their threat as at least 5 movies have been leaked already!

Message that the Hackers sent to Sony Pictures

Message that the Hackers sent to Sony Pictures

It’s not only Sony Pictures who have been compromised, we have found that lately there has been a BIG issue from people having their websites hacked. You may find its something obvious like your home page has been defaced or all your content has been changed and a virus has been uploaded :( – (I thought it was the season to be jolly?)

Whatever it is, it’s not good and we really wish all these hackers would just go away. If you have had your website hacked then you know it can really impact your business. Firstly its embarrassing and often leads to loss of sales or emails or even worse your whole website being shut-down.

A lot of people think that once you have your website built that it’ll look after itself. Unfortunately times have changed, that may have been true 15 years ago but with modern websites you must keep them maintained and up to date with the latest security.  

We don’t create websites at Barton HQ but we do host many thousands of them. We tend to find that hackers to try and claw their way into them but luckily we have a secure network so they can’t get in.

We also backup your website so if a hacker does decide to play about on your homepage we can always get it back to its original state.

To ensure your website is safe, you must check these key points below:

  • Do you have a recent backup of your website? Your Hosting Provider or your Web Developer should be able to help with this, check with them. Ideally you want nightly and/or weekly backups, or as often as your website changes…
  • Is your website secured with the latest security updates? Make sure you have the right security in place so no hackers can get in. Also consider your WordPress site and plugins if relevant. Your web developer should be able to help you with this.
  • Check your webhosting use Anti-Hack & Anti- Malware protection This will protect your site from common attacks. We offer this service, which we call ‘Stop The Hacker’.

If you want the hackers to just go away then our security team on 020 8262 4432 or email sales@barttech.co.uk

Make sure your site is safe online and secure over the Christmas holidays.

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