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Scott Cummings

CEO of Excalibur Technology


4 Reasons Why The Cloud Is A Smart Business Decision cloud is a great way to make services and solutions available to your employees anytime, anywhere. There are now plenty of ways to leverage out the cloud for the benefit of your business. Here are four such ways:

The Cloud Offers Enhanced Security
All businesses need to consider security a priority, and the cloud can offer an improved stance on data security. One of the primary values offered by cloud providers is their security. You can trust that your investment in the cloud, will keep your data protected.

Plus, if you want to keep the risk factor to a minimum, you can allow for the remote wiping of devices via your cloud solution. This lets you eliminate sensitive data that might be compromised should a device be lost or stolen. You might be surprised by how often this happens, especially during business trips.

Improved Data Access
One of the best ways to use cloud solutions is on the go, be it from a coffee shop or a convenient park bench. If something were to happen that renders the employee unable to make it to the office that day, they can maintain their output without falling behind.

Emphasis on Reliability
Your business needs reliable access to data, and the mark of any good cloud provider is how reliable they are. When you’re looking for a cloud solution, be sure to scour through the contract to find how much uptime is guaranteed. While 100% uptime is impossible, a good cloud provider will do their best to make their uptime rates as high as possible, and provide the support to make sure that any problems are resolved as soon as possible.

When you use services hosted in the cloud, you can access resources without worrying about managing the hardware that they’re located on, or the software being deployed. You can stay productive without halting operations to maintain your infrastructure.

Cloud Services Save You Money
The cloud provides an opportunity to cut out unnecessary expenses. This is primarily due to the fact that you no longer have to manage the servers that your data is hosted on, or purchase additional software licenses. This means that you also don’t have to procure this equipment. Instead, all you have to do is pay your cloud provider a monthly fee, just like you would for any other service.

Excalibur Technology wants to help your business benefit from quality cloud solutions. To learn more about our Data Center and Cloud Services, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.

How Consolidating Your Technology Vendors Will Save You A Ton Of Time

Consolidation of Technology VendorsWho manages the relationships that your organization has with its various vendors? Do you have someone who specifically handles this role, or is it pushed onto your already-full schedule? If this is something that takes up a significant portion of your day, vendor management (though necessary) can become a detriment. Thankfully, there is a better way to handle your vendor relationships, and it doesn’t involve stretching yourself thin.

With Excalibur Technology’s Total Support Solution, we directly handle all vendor relationships so that your organization doesn’t have to. Vendor management solutions have the potential to save your organization a large amount of time and capital.

Basically, how this works is that you no longer have to deal with the frustrating and time-consuming process of reaching out to each and every one of your vendors, and Excalibur Technology handles this responsibility for you. In a sense, a service provider like Excalibur Technology can be your single point of contact for your technology vendors.

There should be no question whether you have time to deal with the emails and phone calls required to keep up with your technology. We can handle all of this for you, plus some, reaching out to your vendors as your business encounters issues. If you have questions about your products, you don’t have to worry about being put on hold or finding the right technician. We’ll deal with all of that for you so that you don’t have to waste your time.

Consolidating Your Vendors Into a Single Phone Number
Without vendor management, your business would be wasting countless hours that would be better spent on profitable initiatives. Furthermore, relying on vendors to resolve issues can quickly put a time-sensitive project behind schedule. With outsourced vendor management, you achieve all of the goals that you want to get to without sacrificing the time that you would spend making sure that your technology solutions are working as intended. This single point of contact allows you to take the unpredictability out of your tech support.

If your business wants to improve operations and take technology management to the next level, consider our managed services program. To learn more, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.

How To Charge Your Mobile Device Battery Faster

How To Charge Your Mobile Device FasterMost of the time, you don’t care about how long it takes to charge your device’s battery–that is, until you find yourself in a bind and need a full charge ASAP! It’s in a moment like this when you frantically ask the question, “Is there any way to make this battery charge any faster!?” Fortunately, there is.

Power Off Your Device
The first charging tip happens to be the most obvious: turn off the device while it charges. This way, your battery is fully devoted to the task of charging, instead of your juice being diverted to open apps.

Although, as we’re all well aware, there are many times when you need a charge, but you’re not in a position to power off your device. After all, you may need to take a phone call or use the device to get work done. In an all-too-common scenario such as this, there are actions you can take to speed up a charge. Consider the following.

Disable the Device’s Internet Connection
Your phone uses a bunch of juice just to stay connected to the World Wide Web. If the task you’re working on doesn’t require an Internet connection, then you can disconnect from the web by activating airplane mode. While in airplane mode, you can still use many of your device’s core apps, like the calendar, calculator, alarm clock, etc.

Turn Off Bluetooth
Bluetooth is another major power drain for mobile devices. If you’re not in need of a Bluetooth signal, then your device will charge faster if Bluetooth is turned off.

Use a Wall Outlet
Yes, you can charge your device while it’s plugged into another device’s USB port, but the reality of the situation is that a direct connection to a wall outlet provides way more juice than another device’s USB port. In fact, in some scenarios, you may experience that a device charging via another device’s USB only prevents your device from losing power more quickly.

The mechanics behind this actually makes a lot of sense. Essentially, different chargers have different power outputs. PC Advisor explains, “While a PC’s USB port is specified at 2.5W for USB 1.0 and 2.0 and 4.5W for USB 3.0 (so always use a USB 3.0 port in preference to USB 1.0 or 2.0 when available), a phone charger might be rated at 5W and a tablet charger 10W, for example.”

Upgrade Your Charger
We should note that just because you’ve got your device plugged into the wall, doesn’t mean that it’s receiving the maximum charge. Sometimes, a charger may be rated at 5W when your device can accept a higher charge like 10W. If this is the case, then upgrading your charger appropriately will allow you to take full advantage of your phone’s charging potential. To better understand your device’s charging capability, consult the owner’s manual.

Quick Charge 2.0 By Qualcomm
Thinking beyond the tweaks you can make to your device, you can employ an outside solution like Quick Charge 2.0 by Qualcomm and have a 3300mAh battery reach 60 percent capacity in only 30 minutes. Compare this to a normal 5W charger which would charge the same battery to 12 percent in the same amount of time. Of course, the catch is that the device needs to be running certain Snapdragon processors. So again, be sure to look into your device’s capabilities before following through with this solution. See the Quick Charge 2.0 in action by clicking here >>

By trying these best practices, you should be able to get the charge you need in order to supercharge your productivity! Do you have any additional tips that you try to get the most out of your device’s battery? If so, share them in the comments below!

3 Ways Managed IT Takes Pressure Off Your Workday

Managed IT Services Saves You Time And MoneyYour computer always starts acting up when you need it most; otherwise, you might not notice the minor technical hiccups that happen. To try and fix it, you tap the tower, but the problem only worsens. Now you’re seeing a blue screen, which is definitely not a good sign. If you’re unlucky, you may have lost data, and you might need to start the project over again.

This is one reason why it’s so frustrating to deal with a break-fix IT provider. They only fix your technology when it breaks down, rather than prevent problems in the long run. Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common problem for people who don’t have the skills to fix their own technology troubles. Organizations that do try to find alternative ways to fix their technology often waste time and resources doing it themselves. Don’t let this happen to your business; instead, implement proactive managed IT services, which are designed to prevent problems altogether.

You Can’t Ignore Cost-Effectiveness
When you’re experiencing IT trouble, the last thing you want to do is waste time trying to get back in action. This is downtime that costs your organization money, so you naturally want to make sure that you minimize it. Furthermore, you can convert your IT maintenance from a capital expense to an operating expense, adding more flexibility to your business. After all, monthly payments are much more manageable than large upfront costs.

You’ll Have More Time in Your Day
When you aren’t wasting time dealing with your technology problems, what are you doing with that time? You’re probably using it to get more done, like starting new projects and simply not being stressed about faulty IT equipment. Since you’re not wasting time, you’re wasting less money, which lets you invest more into innovative solutions. Ultimately, the main benefit is that you’ll have more time and more resources to invest in your own business.

Your Technology Gets the Maintenance It Needs
If you don’t have an internal IT department, you’re probably relying on your employees to perform mandatory maintenance on IT systems. This isn’t an ideal situation to be in, as chances are your team doesn’t have the experience and skill required to perform adequate IT maintenance. When this happens, mistakes can be made and time can be wasted. This is why it’s important to have trusted professionals like Excalibur Technology on-hand and ready to go.

Proactive IT services can go a long way toward mitigating issues and preventing them from turning into bigger problems. You could say that we’re the go-to technology professionals in the Florida and Illinois community. To learn more about managed IT services, reach out to Excalibur Technology at (877) NET – KING.

Study Confirms That Over 75% Of Organizations Are Vulnerable To Hackers

Weak Security Leads to Hacks and Data BreachHow does your business handle threats to its data security? You might think you’re safe, but according to the Ponemon Institute, nearly four out of every five organizations aren’t prepared to fend off threats to their security. This is a major problem, so it should make you question whether you’re prepared to handle the various security risks that could potentially plague your business.

Some organizations have cyber threat intelligence for specific reasons, or one that’s exclusive to only one part of a company’s network. More than one-third of organizations have no way of gathering intelligence, while close to one-fifth claim they have a process for gathering information on network threats. Either way, the results are clear; security is not the priority that it needs to be for the respondent’s businesses.

Due to this less-than-ideal focus on cyber security, the Ponemon institute claims that businesses experience an average of at least one cyber attack every month. These breaches result in costs totaling over $3.5 million annually. You need to assess your organization’s current state of security and consider whether you can afford to suffer from a data breach.

Hint: You can’t.

One of the most dangerous ways that hackers try to harm organizations is through the use of phishing scams. These attempts to convince users to part ways with sensitive information by using an elaborate ruse. By the end of a successful phishing scheme, the hacker will have all of the information they need to access a sensitive network, compromise an online account, or steal the user’s identity. If users can’t tell the difference between a hacker and a normal user, there’s an increased risk of communicating with anyone online. More often than not, hackers are allowed to have their way specifically because organizations either don’t take the threat of a hacking attack seriously enough, or they just accidentally let a threat through their defenses.

The easy solution to this problem can be implemented by any business professional. All you have to do is keep two major points in mind: 1) Implement preventative measures, and 2) Educate your employees on security threats.

  • Preventative measures: When we talk about security measures, we mean the basic ones like firewalls and antivirus solutions. These are designed to protect your organization from threats in the first place, so that you don’t have to suffer from an unexpected data breach. In other words, by cutting your organization’s exposure to threats, you enhance your business’s cyber security.
  • Employee education: If your business wants to take the fight to cybersecurity threats, your employees need to know what to avoid and why. Show your employees what phishing scams look like, and what to do about them. By doing so, you’ll be making security a part of your organization’s culture, which is crucial to keeping your data safe.

If your business is concerned about cybersecurity, Excalibur Technology can help. To learn more, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.

Get To Know Your Firewall And Better Protect Your Business

Firewall protects your networkFirewalls are one of those things that businesses need, but may not have. They are integral parts of network security for organizations of all shapes and sizes, as well as the average PC user. We’ll discuss what a firewall does for your organization, and why it’s important that you implement one as soon as possible.

What Does a Firewall Do?
The easiest way to explain the concept of a firewall is to say that it checks the data that flows in and out of your network for anything that looks suspicious. It does all of this before any data enters or exits your network. Firewalls must be updated periodically with the latest threat definitions in order to stay effective. After all, the threats posed by hackers and other online entities are always changing, so it makes sense that your firewall can accommodate this change.

A firewall is usually just for the purpose of identifying threats entering the network. However, it is also a great tool for finding threats that are already on your in-house network, validating connection and data packets, searching for legitimate application data, and performing a cavity search on all messages that that are sent to and retrieved by your network.

It’s also crucial to know that not all firewalls have the same amount of strength. The average personal computer may come with a pre-installed firewall, but for business purposes, this type of firewall is not going to be very helpful. The typical SMB should go above and beyond their needs by implementing an enterprise-level firewall, which is commonly seen in solutions like a Unified Threat Management (UTM) tool. A UTM comes with much more than just a firewall, compounding its effectiveness by offering a spam blocker, antivirus, and content filter, making it invaluable for your organization’s network security.

What Doesn’t a Firewall Do?
While a firewall is certainly a good first step toward optimizing network security, you don’t want to place all of your security hopes on it. Instead, you should focus on augmenting network security with other preventative measures. Ideas for how to do this include actively monitoring your organization’s network for threats or suspicious activity, as well as regularly applying critical patches and security updates.

You might be asking yourself, “How can I make sure all of this happens when I’m so busy running my business?” Employees often don’t have the time or expertise to attend to such tedious, time-consuming tasks. Furthermore, you can implement as many security measures as you want, but your employees will still find ways to unknowingly expose your organization to online threats. This is why it’s so important to enforce best practices in the workplace.

If you find yourself strapped for time and need assistance with network security, call Excalibur Technology. We can implement security solutions designed to prevent issues rather than respond to problems. To get started, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.

Does 10,000 Hours Of Practice Automatically Make Someone An Expert?

Becoming an ExpertYou’re already a business owner, but let’s say that you want to pick up some new skills. You want to be known as an expert in a new field, and you’re pretty dedicated to doing so. Perhaps you’re familiar with the 10,000 hours rule, which attempts to explain how someone becomes a master of a particular craft. Well, we hate to burst your bubble, but this rule might not be as simple as it sounds.

What the 10,000 Hour Rule Is

The 10,000 hour rule claims that in order to learn a craft and develop world-class skill, one has to have at least 10,000 hours of experience working with the skill. The original report, published in 1993, found that the most accomplished students at a music academy in Berlin had put in an average of 10,000 hours of practice by the time they turned 20 years old. It seems simple enough, right? You put in plenty of practice and you can possess a world-class skill.

Why it Might Be Wrong
In his new book, Anders Ericsson (who worked on the original report), along with his co-author Robert Pool, attempt to further understand and isolate the science behind the 10,000 hour rule. They came to a number of conclusions concerning the nature of the initial study:

  • There’s nothing special about 10,000 hours: The number 10,000 was chosen specifically because it was a nice, rounded number. Plus, regardless of how skilled they were, the musicians tested were nowhere near their peak, or “world class,” by the time they reached 20 years old. It’s been proven that pianists tend to reach their peak at around 30 years old, so the 10,000 rule isn’t quite true.
  • 10,000 was only the average: By proxy, if you put in 10,000 hours of effort, you’ll only be meeting the average skill level of those who are working toward the same goal. Thus, you can’t be considered “world class” at all. Other studies have shown that it can take as many as ten years to reach a goal.
  • Practice isn’t enough: It was found that investing time and practice into a task doesn’t necessarily make you better at it; rather, it’s the quality of the practice that yields results. This “deliberate practice” pushes the practitioner beyond their comfort zone and forces them to up their game.

The Lesson: Practice Makes Perfect, Not Necessarily Time
There are a few lessons that can be learned from the 10,000 hour rule, but none of them actually have anything to do with 10,000 hours of practice specifically. They can still, nonetheless, be very helpful when learning a new skill and applying it to your life.

  • Train the right way: You can dramatically improve your own skills if you’re diligent about it, but only if you approach it in a productive way. For example, a writer who’s trying to develop their skills can’t improve if they write while the television is turned on.
  • Practice, practice, practice: Regardless if you spend 500 hours or 10,000 hours honing a craft, you’ll be improving your skills. After all, practice is the only real way to improve, and regardless of how much time you invest into it, you’ll see results.
  • There’re no limitations: Regardless of where you stand professionally, there’s always room for self-improvement. You can always reach for loftier goals, and once you start working on a skill, keep working at it. You’ll likely see your hard work pay off.

We think it’s safe to say that you can’t become an expert in a craft overnight, and that even successful business owners have skills that they can dramatically improve by focusing on the right things.

Apple iCloud Passwords Hacked – Update Yours Today

Infected Cell PhoneA hacker group claims that they have collected over 250 million user accounts and passwords from Apple iCloud.  There is some truth to this as reported by the folks at ZDNet.  For the complete story, please CLICK HERE.

We highly recommend that you update your Apple iCloud password and turn on two factor authentication as an additional security measure.  Since iCloud ties into your iPhone, Mac, iPad and all of their online services, you do not want to have your account compromised.  May users have never changed their password since they setup their account years ago.  Time to do so!

If you need any help with your account management, please call our friendly support staff at 877-NET-KING.

And remember, change all of your passwords on a regular basis, do not use the same password on multiple sites and use complex passwords!

Be More Efficient With These Windows 10 Shortcuts

Windows KeyboardA mouse can be very handy when it comes to navigating around the documents you have to work on, but it can also slow you down. Fortunately, key command shortcuts exist for situations just like these, and as Windows 10 has continued to improve, more shortcuts have been included to accomplish more tasks with improved efficiency.

Quick Access to the Start Menu
Take, for instance, the Start menu. Almost anyone who has sat at a computer knows that by clicking the Windows icon in the bottom left-hand corner, a comprehensive menu of your available content is revealed. However, for those those cases when a mouse is unavailable and a trackpad (if working on a laptop) is inefficient, you can navigate the Start menu exclusively with your keyboard. Press the Windows key to open the menu and navigate up and down the column with the arrow keys. You may also begin a search by just typing, once you have opened the Start menu.

For users seeking a more advanced experience, there’s an additional menu, the Power Users menu, that offers utilities like your device’s Event ViewerDevice Manager, and Command Prompt module.

Greater Accessibility of Your Apps
You can also press the Windows Key in combination with a number key to open the associated apps that appear on your taskbar. If the app is already open, it’s a quick way to minimize and maximize a window. Adding the Control key to the combination will open a new window for an app. For example, if you want a separate Chrome window, and Chrome is the fifth app on your taskbar, you would press Ctrl+Windows+5. Alternatively, to open a new app from your taskbar, you can use Windows+T to highlight your first toolbar app by selecting which app to launch with the arrow keys and Enter.

Utilizing a Virtual Desktop
If you are one to heavily use virtual desktops in your day-to-day, you can quickly create one by pressing Windows key+Shift+D. Once you are finished, Windows key+Ctrl+F4 will close the virtual desktop back down.

With these shortcuts now in your arsenal, you have the tools to help you stay productive–with or without a mouse. For more tips, tricks, and handy information, keep coming back to Excalibur Technology’s blog!

3 Ways VoIP Phone Systems Are Superior To Traditional Landlines

VOIP UserCompared to traditional telephone solutions, software-based phone systems have become a major opportunity for businesses to cut costs and improve efficiency. Even if traditional phone systems have their uses, VoIP still wins out by eliminating unnecessary costs and simplifying your business’s physical infrastructure. You might find that VoIP has a place in your office, too.

VoIP takes advantage of your business’s Internet connection to transfer your voice to the desired recipient, usually through a software client that’s installed on a workstation, laptop, or smartphone. The main draw for VoIP is that it works anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection. Organizations have widely accepted VoIP as a viable alternative to the traditional telephony system for a number of reasons. We’ll go over the three most beneficial reasons to use VoIP as your trusted communications solution.

VoIP is Versatile
One of the big pain points that businesses have with their office phone system is that they can’t easily take it on the road with them when they leave the office. VoIP makes this easy by installing a softphone application on any applicable device, like a smartphone or a laptop. Just hook up a headset or microphone and you’re all set–it’ll be just like using your office phone.

VoIP is Flexible
Onboarding new employees is another major problem for growing businesses. A larger workforce means adding new telephones and new cables to your communications infrastructure. In a worst-case scenario, you may need to remodel your office to accommodate for the changes in the size of your workforce or communications infrastructure. VoIP eliminates this need. All you have to do is add a new user, including their extension, and configure the phone system. Although, depending on the size of your workforce, you may need to keep a close eye on your bandwidth, as it relies on your Internet connection to work properly.

VoIP is Cost-Effective
If you compare the costs of VoIP to those of a traditional phone system, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. A great way to describe the cost savings is by comparing VoIP to that of cable cutters who no longer want cable television. Those who pay for cable television get access to countless channels that they can’t possibly watch all of. Thanks to monthly services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, viewers pay a fraction of the price they would normally pay for entertainment, leading them to cancel their television plans in favor of more affordable monthly payments. Similarly, telephone providers often bundle together services that your business may not want or need, and you certainly don’t want to pay for things you won’t use. Since VoIP only uses your Internet connection, it uses a service you already pay for, making it convenient and budget-friendly. You can add all of those additional features later on if you want them.

If your business is considering a new approach to communications, try VoIP from Excalibur Technology. We’ll work with you to find a solution that’s just right for your business. To learn more, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.

Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology