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Last Chance, “Mobilegeddon” is coming on April 21 – Are You Mobile Optimized?

Posted by on 11:28 am in News | 0 comments

Google-Mobile-mobilegeddon

http://www.executionists.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Google-Mobile-mobilegeddon.jpg

Recently Google announced, Starting April 21, they will be expanding the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in your search results.

This means we all need to prepare for (cue dramatic music) MOBILEGEDDON! Mobile optimized websites/pages are going to be a part of Google’s Ranking Signal and certainly will affect mobile searches after the update rolls out.

Get Prepared for MOBILEGEDDON

Google has been encouraging webmasters to get mobile optimized website from years including speed test and responsiveness tests within Google Analytics account. Thanks for the official update, this clearly state “Ranking in mobile search will change April 21st”. So, if you want to continue driving searches to your site, you’ll have to be sure you have a mobile-optimized site. Non mobile sites on the web could see significant decreases in search visibility..and ultimately traffic.

How to Prepare

It’s critical time to consider mobile-friendliness for those who have not implemented it yet, you won’t need to worry much if already have mobile optimized website. Few steps to consider for those implementing now:

  • There are few ways like getting subdomain, m.domain.com and responsive designs to make your site mobile friendly. Responsive designs have become trend as they don’t require special SEO considerations, but if you have separately hosted mobile version of the site, ensure to utilize canonical tags pointing to the desktop URL for duplicate mobile pages. Don’t use canonical tags on unique mobile content. This should pretty much control duplicate content issues for your mobile version.
  • Check if Google’s bots can crawl your mobile site. You should able to see crawl stat’s within Google’s Webmasters Tool.
  • Check each individual page of your site on a mobile device to ensure responsiveness for user experience. Just because your home page is mobile-friendly doesn’t mean the rest of your site is.

Google’s update looks specifically to target better mobile user experience as 60% of the searches being performed on mobile devices. We are not sure about how much impact search results will have, but if you don’t have a mobile optimized website version in place by April 21 (Mobilegeddon), your search visibility could have a serious setback.

We'll Check Your Website for FREE

Helpful Resources:

Check if your current website is Mobile Friendly
See how Google see’s your Website
Webmasters Central Blog

The Bottom Line

Mobile viewing is growing each day. Just look around and notice how many are staring down at their phone or tablet. If you want to stay relevant with your customers and keep your hard fought Google Ranking, you have to be sure you have a mobile optimized site to avoid (cue dramatic music) MOBILEGEDDON!

Mobile Flightlight Apps steals your data

Posted by on 9:19 pm in Security Tips | 0 comments

As always Vital Help Desk is back with important security alerts which we are concerned about and want to help spreading awareness between our clients, family and friends.


We are completely shocked to find that cybercrime experts talking about flashlight applications being created to steal important personal data from our phones. Question stays, “Could our Smartphone Spy on us?” If so, “What kind of data is under treat?”

Recently, with their reports Gary Miliefsky (Cyber Expert) has claimed over a half billion smartphones are affected by “flashlight apps”, which spot victims and steal personal data which we don’t want to share. Unfortunately, top 10 flashlight applications from Google play store are all such threatening devices which spy, collect data and send out to makers of the application. This data includes contacts, messages, your location and major of all they can spy your mobile banking apps and look for online transactions. They can steal more data areas depending over phone access.

Keep in mind, that the built-in flashlight tool that comes with Apple and Android phones are completely safe. They are specifically warning against 3rd party flashlight apps.

We recommend you to watch above video to find out how to stay safe and remove such flashlight apps.

Please share this article or video with family and friends to help spread the word about avoiding this security threat.

Todoist Review – how to get things done (GTD)

Posted by on 9:19 pm in Productivity | 0 comments

Are you a person who repeatedly writes down daily tasks or to-do lists? Smartphone’s are taking task manager to-do things one step further with so many apps to choose from. But not all solutions are equal. We tend to like the web-based tools as they made working across multiple devices a snap. Todoist, it may turn out to be best to-do list stuff as an answer to all of your chaos’s and getting things done, when choosing one from tons of similar services available. It also communicates with Toggl, a simple time tracking tool for tracking time to complete a certain task.

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Ease of Use

Pretty simple and elegant with minimal design like all Google products, even non-tech users will find how to add a task and reminders within couple of minutes after entering in. Step-by-step tool tips make it even better to communicate. For mobile users, Todoist also have a quick add button in notification area, so this make even easier to add least priority tasks.

Useful Features for Free

  • 13 Platforms to choose from – Believe it or not, it allows you to real-time sync across 13 platforms, including Web, Gmail, Chrome, Firefox, iOS devices, Android and Windows. You will never miss any task and always be on your mobile, browsers and more with all such Todoist platforms available.

todoist apps
  • Grouping & Sharing – You can group your tasks within certain project and even share them to make collaboration easy. For example, you have added a project which relates to your research team such as “Research papers list”. You can go ahead and start adding your team to collaborate over this task and every new research paper listed for future reading can be grouped to “Research papers list”. Though the free version only allows sharing limited to 5 users.

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  • Multiple Priority Levels with Karma – We can mark our tasks with certain “priority levels” using colours, so they remind you getting things done within time limit. Todoist uses its own Karma system to track user’s productivity and encourage increasing it through well-known approach like GTD.

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Handy features missing for Freetodoist-mac

  • Location based & Email Reminders – Now this is very cool and much needed for a person who travels. It triggers and reminds me about the task when leaving or entering a specific location. For example, once I forgot to carry novels to read while traveling, as “My Travel Novels” was added to recurring task which get things done. It also send reminders via email and SMS
  • Labels, Filters and Notes – Another check for productivity, filter out your tasks categories and make easier to attach files, spreadsheets, project templates to associated task. As already discussed I can assign “Travel” or “Novels” or even both labels accordingly to “My Travel Novels” task which reminds me about what I prefer while traveling.

The bottom line

Spending $29 per year for Todoist Premium which means $2.50 per month for a whole lot of powerful features. It proves better solution towards customizations like using Toggl with Todoist tasks. You will able to integrate Toggle timer for your Todoist tasks which needs to be billable and help in estimating cost for certain tasks. Consider reading our Toggl Review to know more about details.

 

 

 

Toggl Review – Simple Time Management Tool

Posted by on 3:09 am in Productivity | 0 comments

Toggl is one of the simplest time management tools. Wherever you might be, Web, Desktop or even on Mobile, it’s just a single click away from tracking your work time. No matter being online or offline, it syncs back to cloud once you have internet connectivity. Just assign name to your task and click start to track your work timing. It’s that easy to remind your project details using tags or multiple tags with each task entry which can even be flagged billable.

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Track with Team

Toggl allow us to assign tasks to team. Users can be invited quickly via email for any task under any project. This team-based time tracking tool gives you flexibility over user rights. They can make things visible to public for edits or lock them so these users won’t able to look into billable rates. Role based team can be formed with different tasks, rates and time estimates to track progress.

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Toggl Reports

Reports give you insight to your team-work. They are simple, though best seen in any time management tool. You get complete visibility and drilled-down reports.

  • Summary Reports – Progress bars and pie chart shows time worked and breakdown by project respectively. One can filter out and export CSV looking into reports by users/team, tasks, clients, projects and date range.

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  • Detailed Reports – Toggl claims that detailed reports let you drill down to detailed activities but they are quite similar to summary reports, just all the tasks are listed instead of charts.

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  • Weekly Report – Pretty much same to other two, does exactly what the name suggests, shows weekly data and a breakdown by day.

Timeline feature for Desktop

Very unique and surprising feature from a time tracking tool, it tracks all activities going on your computer with time even if you forget to start toggle timer. It shows chunk by chuck 15-minute graphic which displays what, when and for how long user worked with any program or window. Your Timeline can be shared to several computers or even laptops but maintains privacy which will be accessed by you only. No other users with any role will able to see your Timeline.

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Toogl free version will help

Leading in this market, Toogl is free to use and Pro plan features are available for free up to 5 users. You can even integrate it to other task manager services like Todoist which has amazing task management capabilities. Consider reading our Todoist Review to know more about details. Small business limited to five users can definitely take advantage for free and other large firms can pay $5/user/month. Compare plans to know more about which features are available in Pro Plan.

Important security tips on fighting ransomware

Posted by on 10:45 pm in News | 0 comments

An important part of our job as a secure hosting provider is keeping our Florida clients informed of new threats. And the one we’re most concerned about is ransomware.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what this malware can do to your computer:

In effect, ransomware creators act like the mafia, kidnapping all the files on your computer and demanding payment (usually in bitcoins) for their return. The most common entry points are spam emails and RDP ports left open to the Internet.

Happily, there are 3 things you can do right now to protect yourself:

1. Back-up to an external drive 

Ransomware can infect USB thumb drives and network or cloud files stores with a drive letter (e.g. D:, E:, F:, etc.) so it’s important to back up your files to an external drive or service – one that’s not assigned a drive letter or is disconnected when not in use.

2. Download the Cryptolocker Prevention Kit

This free Third Tier tool provides materials and instructions for deploying preventative blocks against ransomware. The kit is updated on a frequent basis.

3. Patch or update your software

Malware authors love outdated software with known vulnerabilities. Since they also like to disguise ransomware as update notifications, we recommend you update your software automatically or direct from the vendor’s website.

Summary

Ransomware infograph

 

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“Zero day” vulnerability in IE – what’s at risk

Posted by on 10:43 pm in News | 0 comments

You may have seen recent alerts about the “Zero Day” vulnerability in Internet Explorer. As part of our work as a secure hosting provider, we wanted to share some quick points about the threat:

Windows OS users are at risk

Zero day  vulnerability allows “remote code execution” – it’s super easy for a hacker to view your Windows OS files or install viruses on your PC via Internet Explorer (and you won’t know it’s happening).

It’s worldwide & widespread

Zero Day affects every version of Internet Explorer currently on the market, from IE 6 upwards.

Other browsers are safe

Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera are unaffected – unlike IE, Microsoft won’t let these browsers access Windows OS while you’re surfing the web.

To limit zero day vulnerability impact following actions can help

  • Install EMET to protect your PC. As tested by Fireeye, EMET 4.1 and 5 do help to break the exploit.
  • This IE vulnerability can use Flash to exploit and bypass some protection techniques from newer version of windows/IE. We strongly recommend to Disable Flash which supports IE 10 and later in windows 8. (Note that you can disable flash as its enabled by default)
  • Enable the IE “Enhanced Protection Mode” (EPM) which became available in Internet Explorer 10 and later versions.
  • We recommend switching to Firefox and installing Adblock Plus to avoid this vulnerability.

Summary

Zero Day Vulnerability infograph2

 

Was this information helpful? If so, we’d like to invite you to:

  • Sign up for our free email alerts

    Our newsletter is packed with helpful tips, reviews and industry insights delivered directly to your inbox.

  • Or connect with us on Twitter

You’ll receive regular updates on the latest security threats, plus in-depth tips on email and website marketing.

Secure Google Apps Messages for Free – Encrypt Email

Posted by on 4:51 am in News | 0 comments

In today’s competitive world, hackers are violating privacy to track what you do and making lot of money selling your private information. Maintaining privacy has been first concern of every small company.  Privacy is precious and email is grossly insecure.If you would like to get little security to your Gmail Messages, you are at the right place. We will guide you about free extensions which help to secure your Gmail Emails.

SecureGmail for Email Encryption

SecureGmail is a Chrome extension, easy to install and once done, you’ll see a lock icon right next to the “Compose” button in Gmail. “Secure compose” mode is enabled since then and your message text gets encrypted before sending it out to your contacts. No drafts will be saved to Google’s servers, so rest assured as you won’t have unencrypted data at all. You’ll be prompted to enter a security password that the recipient will need to use to decrypt the message when they get it. Password hint can be set to make sure that the recipient quickly decrypts it. Even if recipients don’t have SecureGmail installed, they’ll be prompted to install it first, and then enter the password to read your message. Ideally, you’ll give the recipient the password by some secure means, never email or IM your password for others to intercept.

SecureGmail overview

Image courtesy to steak.com

Advantages of SecureGmail

  • Compatible with Google Apps. It will work with any of your Gmail accounts simultaneously.
  • SecureGmail is Open source project and can be found on github.

Mailvelope for Securing Gmail

Mailvelope is an extension for Chrome and Firefox which is compatible with Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook.com and GMX. After installing Mailvelope, you can generate the necessary private and public keys to encrypt messages in the extension’s preferences (which are stored on your local machine) and import other users keys. This extension works from within your web-mail client while composing an email. Using Mailvelope can be difficult as Key Exchange process by secure means can’t be achieved easily by average users. Once your keys are ready, the next time you “Compose” a message, you’ll see a lock in the compose window that you can click to encrypt your message. You can even use multiple keys for multiple recipients. When you get an encrypted message, you’ll see the encrypted message with a lock overlay over it, and you can click it to enter your key password. Mailvelope will search for your saved keys to find the one needed, and decrypt the message for you.

Mailvelope Keys Option

Image courtesy to mailvelope.com

Advantages over SecureGmail

  • Compatible with Firefox browser.
  • Works with other web-mail clients.
  • Mailvelope is Open source project based on OpenPGP.js, implementation of OpenPGP standard.

Summary

Mailvelope has limitation over SecureEmail as it’s easy to assign password to encrypt email in SecureGmail while it’s more tedious job to exchange keys in Mailvelope. SecureGmal is great extension to encrypt email for those who are not familiar to Keys Export process.

FeaturesSecureGmailMailvelope
Extension available in Chromecheck markcheck mark
Extension available in Firefoxx markcheck mark
Compatible with other web-mail Clientsx markcheck mark
Open source project availablecheck markcheck mark
Ease while handling passwordcheck markx mark

Free Email Tracking Within Google Apps

Posted by on 12:05 pm in News | 2 comments

There might be many things popping up in your mind if you are marketing a campaign or tracking sales of your company. Ever wanted to track when someone opened the email you have just sent? Or maybe want to know when recipient clicks a link inside the email? It may be difficult to choose an email analytics tool which perfectly fits to your needs. Through this post we will help you to know about three useful Free Email Tracking Tools within Gmail.

Streak for Free Gmail Email Tracking

Streak brands itself as CRM in your inbox. It’s a plugin for Chrome and Safari that allows you to group emails from the same prospect together, notifies you each time a recipient reads your email so that the history with that prospect is neatly organized.

Track Email with Streak

Image Courtesy to streak.com

Below are features for which you’d like Streak to be a part of your Email Campaign Tracking

  • Track Unlimited Email for Free.
  • Allows you to schedule emails, categorize the prospect’s stage in the sales cycle and create a pipeline spreadsheet that you can view right within Gmail.
  • Right next to every email there is either green or gray “eye ball” which tells whether the email is being read or not.
  • Tracks the location and device that is being used by recipient.
  • Easy On-Off toggle to Enable-Disable tracking. According to situation you can even choose Always Enable or Always Disable tracking.
  • Compatible with Google Apps. It will work with any of your Gmail accounts simultaneously.

ContactMonkey for Gmail Email Tracking

ContactMonkey is another free Chrome plugin. ContactMonkey claims being better than Gmail read receipts because the recipient is not required to confirm and submit read receipt notification. It provides real-time notification as soon as link is clicked or the message is opened. The free version provides tracking of 100 emails per month.

Below are some features which comes with free version of ContactMonkey

  • Email tracking
  • Link tracking
  • Keeps track of Location as well as Device used to open emails
  • Real-time Analytics Sidebar
  • Detailed Dashboard

Advantages over Streak

  • Link tracking is one of the cool feature and an advantage to those who want to drill down their link-building strategies.
  • Works with both Outlook and Google Apps.
  • Salesforce integration is available.

Disadvantages over Streak

  • Limited email tracking, only 100 emails tracked per month.
  • Emails can’t be scheduled to send later.
  • Supports only Chrome Browser.

Bananatag for Gmail Email Tracking

Bananatag comes as add-on for Chrome and Firefox. It integrates with Gmail or Google Apps account, Outlook and other Clients to keep track of opened messages and clicked links. Free plan tracks 5 tags/Emails each day which is 150 tags per month. Only basic notifications are provided with this plan.

Advantages over Streak and ContactMonkey

  • Works with .btag.it method which means non integrated email tracking for all email clients including mobile email tracking.
  • Bananatag extension is available for Firefox lovers.

Disadvantages over Streak and ContactMonkey

  • Limited email tracking, only 5 emails per day.
  • Email Scheduling is not available.
  • Basic notification is provided that means location and device information will not be available in free plan.

Summary

FeaturesStreakContactMonkeyBananatag
Unlimited Email Trackingcheck markx markx mark
Email Schedulingcheck markx markx mark
Link Trackingx markcheck markcheck mark
Location and Device Trackingcheck markcheck markx mark
Salesforce Integrationx markcheck markx mark
Real-Time Notificationscheck markcheck markBasic Notifications
Other Client Compatibilityx markcheck markcheck mark

Heartbleed Bug

Posted by on 8:39 pm in News | 0 comments

heartbleedIf you have heard a newscasts about the new Heartbleed bug, you can rest assured that Vital Help Desk is already on top of it.

The Heartbleed bug only effects secure connections to servers and most likely 99% of your web surfing is not going to be effected.

However, we do run our email services within secure 256-bit SSL encryption and we have taken the necessary steps to update all SSL software on the server the day after the bug was made public.

You can check our server status here: https://filippo.io/Heartbleed/#host.vitalhelpdesk.com

Chances that someone did take advantage of the bug to steal passwords for most services are very low as the IT techs across the Internet sprang into action to close the vulnerability as soon as it was announced.

However, as a precaution, if you hold accounts at major banks, and were logging in regularly the previous weeks, it would not hurt to change to a unique password.

As always, if you have any concerns or questions, feel free to give us a call 407-982-5200.

New Outlook Virus Steals your Addressbook

Posted by on 11:23 am in News | 0 comments

A tricky new virus targets Microsoft Outlook users and lures you into opening the ZIP file attachment. Google Apps users should not worry as, Google blocks these emails. It takes many forms and that is why it has been difficult to block. Please watch this short video to give you some quick tips on avoiding it.

 

 

So far we have seen it take the following forms:

  • Mailing Labels from DHL, FedEx, UPS, & USPS
  • Fax Services from Xerox Fax Machine
  • Banking Communications from Wells Fargo & Bank of America

When you open the attachment, nothing immediately happens which make you think it was junk. But the hacker wakes the virus after business hours and proceeds to steal your address book, spreading the virus to your co-workers and worse your clients.

Unfortunately, once you come into contact with this virus your email address will added to circulated spam lists resulting in you getting more spam messages.

If you think you may have mistakenly open this attachments, you can give us a call at 407-982-5200 or take the following steps to clean it yourself:

  • Download and run MalwareBytes Free. Depending on your computer, the scan typically takes about 20 minutes. Make sure you run the scan over and over until it says nothing was found. Sometimes, the virus will re-install after a reboot.
  • Reset you Internet Connection Settings. This Microsoft support article will step you through the easy steps.

Please share this article or video with family and friends to help spread the word about avoiding this virus.