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These Innovative Technologies Are Helping eBay Move Beyond Passwords

Password InnovationTechnology continues to grow more advanced, and with it comes major pain points that need to be resolved. Today’s modern businesses will need to adapt by implementing new solutions for both themselves and their customers or clients. In this fashion, eBay has begun to implement an assortment of new features to assist with the customer experience.

The first of these features is called “One Time Password,” which is an initiative that’s attempting to take the “two” out of two-factor authentication. Rather than requiring users to remember a password, eBay wants to send you a confirmation code via SMS that can keep the user logged in indefinitely. The goal is to keep users logged in regardless of how the code was used–allowing those who logged in via a mobile device or desktop more flexibility with their logins.

eBay is also working to allow account authentication through the use of the Touch ID sensor that’s found on more recent Apple devices. The goal is to eliminate the need to remember a password in the first place so that users of Apple products will be able to more efficiently use eBay’s services.

Of course, these services are bound to bring about questions regarding eBay’s motivation for creating such features. Senior Director for Identity and Member Communication Product Management Dave Comer stated: “One Time Password and Touch ID Authentication eliminate the need to remember your password when you want access to the eBay Marketplace… We all use so many applications that require passwords and login information that it is impossible for users to remember them all. We want to eliminate the friction entirely.”

eBay’s reasoning might make sense, but does the security hold up on its end of the bargain? Consider how easy it would be to accidentally leave eBay open on an unlocked workstation. Users could fall victim to either lighthearted pranks or financially motivated crimes. Passwords might make things more difficult for the user, but this difficulty is for their benefit. Complex passwords are more difficult to guess, which makes things more difficult for hackers.

In addition to these advancements, eBay plans on increased functionality with Android Wear devices. Users will soon be able to receive notifications on their wearable devices that show them items they may be interested in purchasing. Users will also be able to read and respond to messages through their smart device.

Yet, this presents a similar security problem. Wearable devices have consistently shown that they are less secure than other mobile devices, and much less so than desktop solutions. Unless eBay is implementing other serious security measures, these new features may not be worth the risk.

For the small and medium-sized business, eBay’s technological advancements should resonate. SMBs should be using two-factor authentication whenever possible, such as security systems which utilize a user’s smartphone to deliver an access code when logging into a network. This way, hackers will have a much harder time accessing an account–even if they’ve somehow managed to get a hold of legitimate credentials. Plus, new physical security solutions like pin pads and smart door locks can now be unlocked directly with an employee’s smartphone.

If your business is ready to tackle network security, Excalibur Technology can help. To learn more, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.

Crank Up The Tunes And Turn Up The Productivity

Listen to music at work to boost productivityWith the use of portable personal music players and streaming services like Spotify, Google Play Music, and Pandora, unobtrusively listening to music in the workplace has become much easier–but has it also made it easier for employees to be more distracted from their tasks? Additionally, assuming that music does create a boost in productivity, why does it do so?

Research has shown that, depending on what variables are present in the environment and what the employee is engaged in doing, music can either boost or hinder productivity levels.

One such variable was the nature of the task itself, and how much cognitive creativity and focus it demanded of the employee. The process of checking email certainly doesn’t change very much as it progresses, but developing a proposal for a business transaction very well might. In cases where a task is mostly repetitive, studies have shown that listening to background music does show notable benefits to both employee performance during such tasks, and how efficiently the task is completed.

Another hypothesis is that (especially in the increasingly-popular open office spaces) productivity may be boosted simply because the headphones employees use to listen to music also help to drown out the other distracting factors present in the office environment. These other distractions, whether they’re caused by equipment noise or coworker conversations, can break employee focus and disrupt tasks. Naturally, if these distractions are blocked out and overpowered by a consistent environment created by music, the employee will be less likely to shift their attention to the distraction, and instead, be more likely to stay focused on their work.

Despite the boosts to attentiveness that listening to music can provide to someone performing a relatively mundane, basic task, someone trying to focus on a new or complicated process will most likely find that even the most subtle tones can be horribly distracting. These effects can be made worse if the song is unfamiliar to them; worse still if there are lyrics involved. After all, the first instinct many will have when encountering new music (especially music with lyrics), is to focus on the tune as part of their overall critique of the music. In fairness, studies have indicated that tasks involving parts of the brain that don’t deal with verbal language can be benefitted by lyrical compositions–designing and developing software, for instance–but it may be safer to stick with exclusively instrumental pieces.

Of course, every worker is different. Some may not be bothered by lyrics or new music being introduced to them, others may find that these common distractions are uncommonly distracting. As a result, it may not be a bad idea to give your employees a few options to take advantage of until they can lock down how their own auditory secret sauce is composed.

What do you prefer to listen to while you’re working? Share your favorite selections in the comments below!

Save Considerable Time By Automating Your Data Backup Process

Backup ProcessingIs your organization still relying on antiquated tape backup to keep your data safe? A more reliable, less time-consuming alternative known as image-based, or “snapshot” backup, could change the way that you look at disaster recovery. In fact, image-based backup has the potential to optimize your business’s data continuity.

Tape backup, though it used to be an industry standard, has simply fallen behind the times for modern businesses. Compared to modern data backup practices, tape falls short of the demands placed on a modern organization’s data infrastructure. They are resource-intensive and often need to be performed after-hours so as not to disturb normal workflow. Plus, since they’re so resource-intensive, tape backups are often only performed once–at the end of the day. This means that in a worst-case scenario you could lose up to 24 hours worth of information and productivity.

The Big Difference
Compared to tape backup, image-based backup is much more efficient and manageable. As its name suggests, image-based backup takes a snapshot of your organization’s data. These snapshots record changes to files that have been altered recently and apply these changes to a backup that’s stored on or off-site in a secure, compliant space. Since these backups only record changes made to files, they are smaller and less resource-intensive, which allows them to be taken multiple times a day–even as often as every 15 minutes.

Perhaps the greatest advantage that image-based backup offers is its autonomy. It’s less prone to user error, since your team doesn’t need to manually set and run the backups at the end of each work day. Granted, you still have to check the backups and make sure that they work properly.

Your business can’t afford to cut corners on backup and disaster recovery. If a problem happens down the road, disasters could render your business dysfunctional for extended periods of time. Even the most common of disasters, like a power outage or a hardware failure, could cause downtime and major data loss. Other disasters like floods, fires, collapsed power lines, and more can even damage the integrity of your company. Replacing hardware can damage your IT budget, and the resulting downtime could push your business into the red even further.

Excalibur Technology can arm your business with a quality backup and disaster recovery solution designed specifically for your needs. You can back up your data to off-site locations, including our secure data center in the cloud. This data can then be restored back very quickly when needed, right to the BUDR device, your server or any other location. The BUDR device and software helps keep downtime to a minimum and your operations pushing forward even in the face of disaster.

To learn more, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.

New Microsoft Word Zero-Day Attack Installs Spyware On Fully Patched PC’s

Computer Viruses Attack Your PC and MacZDNet has reported a new Microsoft Word attack that is able to strike even fully updated and patched machines.  The attack uses HTML to install spyware onto attacked systems.  Microsoft says that a patch will be coming out tomorrow.  Be sure to patch all of your machines against this vulnerability.  For more information, see the original ZDNet article by CLICKING HERE.

Client Feedback

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– Jean T.
Barrington, IL

Excalibur Technology Newsletter – March 2017

We invite you to read the latest edition of our newsletter, by CLICKING HERE.

Be sure to check it out!

Highlights in the March 2017 Edition Include:

– Get To Know Your Firewall and Better Protect Your Business

– Study Confirms That Over 75% of Organizations Are Vulnerable To Hackers

– How Consolidating Your Technology Vendors Will Save You Tons Of Time

– 3 Ways Managed IT Takes Pressure Off Your Workday

– 4 Reasons Why The Cloud Is A Smart Business Decision

– How To Charge Your Mobile Device Battery Faster

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.

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