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How Can I Use Technology To Collaborate Better with Others?

Do you find it takes too long to get things done when multiple people are involved? Is there too much back and forth with emails? Do you email documents to co-workers for them to edit and then have difficulty managing file versions? Are you sometimes unable to access current files from wherever you are?

Collaboration 5 - poor communication

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may not be maximizing technology to help you effectively collaborate. Did you know for example, there’s a much easier way to collaborate on file creation and management that includes being able to edit documents together with other people at the same time, from any of your devices, from anywhere? Storing files online (in the cloud) makes it easy to access, organize and share files from anywhere and files are always up to date, so everyone has access to the latest version.

Collaboration 4 - cloud connecting different types of devices

Online file storage/sharing solutions are subscription based, so there’s no upfront cost for software and you always know the software you are using is up to date.

There are a lot of potential ways to use the cloud for file sharing and collaboration and numerous products to choose from. We’ve identified Microsoft Office 365 as the most reliable, easy to use, cost effective and secure cloud solution for collaboration and file sharing for small business.


With Microsoft Office 365 and its OneDrive for Business, you can share files, or groups of files, within or outside your business and you can control who the file is shared with and whether or not they can edit it. You can simultaneously create, review and edit files with others, and respond to comments and track status updates. If you need to work offline, no problem – Office 365 synchronizes files to your devices and with many Office 365 plans, the latest Office applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook can be installed directly on your devices. And it doesn’t matter what type of device you like to use.


Not only does Office 365 facilitate efficient file sharing, it allows you to collaborate in other ways with contact and calendar sharing, email, instant messaging, social networking and video conferencing.

Video Conferencing

Office 365 syncs emails, calendars, and contact information across your devices in real time, so that information is always up to date regardless of whether you’re using your desktop, tablet or phone. Avoid duplicate contact entry and maintenance by sharing a unified database of contacts with others. View others calendars to check availability and efficiently schedule meetings.

Calendar Sharing

Do all this with industry leading security, including anti-malware protection and anti-spam filtering to guard your email from the increasing number of mail threats.

So, if you want to efficiently collaborate with co-workers and others, consider Microsoft Office 365. Although Office 365 is intuitive and easy to use, implementation and email migration must be planned and well executed to minimize any downtime during the transition. As such, especially for businesses, it’s best to seek the guidance of a professional.

How to Prevent Your Computers from Crashing

imagesHelp Me!!!

Have you ever had a computer crash and spend hours trying to fix it? If you own a business, has one of your employees been unable to work and your business been affected during this time? This can be very disconcerting and frustrating.

You may not realize it, but there are simple things that can be done to avoid these disruptions.

9 Tips to Prevent Computer Crashes
Update Windows, Adobe and Java

One of the most important you can do is to make sure that Window updates are happening regularly on your computers and servers. We recommend that these systems are not set to update automatically. This can cause issues. You may start up your computer in the morning and say “What happened here?” as you see an error message after an update.

We recommend that you set up a schedule to do Windows and other updates. It may be best to do them on the weekend, so that if any issues come up, you will have time to resolve them.

You also want to make sure that Adobe Reader and Flash and Java are being updated routinely. By doing these and Windows updates, you will be making it more likely that your server(s) and computer(s) will run more smoothly. This will also protect you against viruses and malware. This year, a number of viruses have exploited vulnerabilities in Java and subsequent updates have eliminated these holes.

Update Your Anti-virus Software and Scan Regularly

It is amazing how many business and personal users have expired anti-virus software or ones that aren’t updating properly. You should have someone checking weekly to make sure that these programs are running. Also, you should scan with these at least once weekly. They can be easily set up to automatically scan at a convenient time.

If you have a business, we recommend that you use commercial anti-virus programs. There are some free ones out there, but normally the ones you have to pay for offer greater options and protection. Also, they won’t bother you with annoying popups about upgrading. To make things easier and quicker, you can install and manage anti-virus software on workstations from a central point like a server.

Optimize Your Computers and Servers

There are a lot of things that you can do regularly for computer and server maintenance. For instance, you can schedule a defrag to run monthly on all of your computers. We don’t want to bore you with the technical details, but you could always consult a trusted technician about what specifically to do.

Install a Firewall

Besides the software firewall on your anti-virus program, you should have a physical firewall on your network. This is an important thing that you can do to control the traffic entering or leaving your network. This will help protect your important business, client and personal information. A firewall can also come with a antivirus protection to prevent viruses from entering your local network before they get to a specific server or computer.

A firewall is a great tool for reducing the chance of a virus or malware infecting your network.

Upgrade Your Hardware and Software Frequently

As common sense dictates, the longer you have a computer the more likely you will run into hardware or software issues and your computers may crash. For businesses, the expected life of any computer or server should be about three to four years. After this point, you are running the risk of a computer crash or some software being incompatible. It may be expensive to do this, but it can be even more costly when your business is down, your employees cannot work and you cannot service your clients.

You should renew all systems at the same time, so that things are consistent. If you do not do this, then you may run into incompatibility issues. If you have a Vista computer with Windows 8 workstations in an office, you may experience issues on the older computer when you try to run new software.

Make sure to Plans Things Out

This seems very obvious, but many business and personal users do not start to plan until they have a crisis, like a serious virus infection. We had one client who was using software, which was six versions old. When going to upgrade to newer software, we were unable to do it directly, but had to upgrade by one or two software versions at a time. This meant more time and expense for the business, when it would have been better to have a plan to upgrade more frequently.

Run Network Scans Monthly or Quarterly

You can run network/vulnerability scans to see if there are any holes in your network and policies. Then, you can implement plans to eliminate them. This will decrease the possibility of a virus or malware infection or being hacked. There are many affordable software programs which will do this.

Consider Managed Services

A lot of business owners may not have heard of or may not completely understand what are Managed Services. Basically, they are maintenance and monitoring services which include many of the suggestions we provided above, but can involve much more. With Managed Services, you are taking a proactive approach to prevent issues like computer crashes or blue screens from happening in the first place.

Many times, Managed Services has a monitoring component, so if a potential problem is detected on a server someone would receive an alert and remote into the server. They would look into the issue, before it causes a business serious interference and downtime.

Also, Managed Services may include a help desk component where a business could submit a “ticket” about a issue and then someone would remote in to work on it. It may be a minor problem like not being able to print to a certain network printer or an emergency like an important software program is not working on any workstation.

Consult a Pro

As always, consult a professional technician or reputable computer services company, if you have any question about these suggestions or implementing them. They can save you a lot of hassle, time and money compared to trying to do it on your own.

We like this final tip the most.

Useful Links to Reference:

Microsoft Article: Crash Protect Your PC Now!

PCWorld Article: Anatomy of a PC Crash

PCWorld Article: Clean Up Windows and Your Hard Drive