Tip of the Week: Using Excel to Excel-lerate

Microsoft Excel has been around for quite some time, but it’s one of the trickier Microsoft Office solutions to master. You might know all about some of the more common Excel tricks, but do you know these power shortcuts that can help you fully take advantage of the spreadsheet software? Here are some obscure Excel shortcuts that you can take advantage of.

However, before we jump into any new keyboard shortcuts, we want to remind you that all of the basic keyboard shortcuts that work in other Microsoft products will still work here. All of the tried and true shortcuts like Copy, Cut, Paste, and Find, will all work here in Excel.

Check Specific Formulas

Excel doesn’t default to showing you the formulas in your cells. Instead, all it will show you is the result of the formula. If you click on a cell, the formula will appear in the formula bar at the top of the spreadsheet. Doing this for each and every one of your cells can be troublesome and time-consuming. You can toggle your spreadsheet between values and formulas by using the Ctrl + ` keyboard shortcut.

Border Your Cells

If you don’t want to waste a bunch of time by finding specific borders for your cells, you can use the default one by pressing the keyboard shortcut for Ctrl + Shift + 7. This surrounds the cells you’ve selected with a simple border.

Remove Cell Borders

To quickly remove borders from your cells, you can use the keyboard shortcut for Ctrl + – (minus). It’s a quick solution to fix borders that didn’t turn out the way you wanted them to.

Select an Entire Row or Column

You can select an entire row by clicking the first cell in the row and using the Shift + Spacebar shortcut. The same function for columns can be accomplished by using the Ctrl + Spacebar shortcut.

Format an Object or Chart

If you’ve inserted an object or chart into your spreadsheet, Excel makes it easy to format it. You can use the keyboard shortcut to bring up a dialogue box that contains all of the proper formatting tools you’ll need to succeed. The shortcut is Ctrl + 1.

 

You Should Care About Blockchain Technology

We often go into depth about technology, management, and other business-oriented topics, and occasionally we decide to talk about a technology that may not be all that familiar to people with the hope that a short primer on the subject will ultimately help our readers to become curious and do their own research to understand the technology better. With Bitcoin being a trending topic in the news, understanding what a blockchain is will help you understand how this technology will drive data security in the coming years.

First, What Is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a type of digital currency. Bitcoin doesn’t exist physically, such as coinage or paper money does, but instead exists in code form. The interesting thing about Bitcoin is how it’s generated. Users can utilize high-end computing hardware (even commercially available computer hardware) to “mine” for Bitcoin and simply invent the money. Granted, there is a limited supply of Bitcoin and generating even a small amount of Bitcoin requires a lot of computer resources and a lot of time. That said, Bitcoin has become a viable currency online for many online stores. At the time of writing this, a single Bitcoin is worth about $17,112 USD, compared to $27 back in 2009.

What is Blockchain?

A blockchain is exactly as the name suggests, a series of blocks that contain information, chained together to provide a reliable and secure accounting for whatever the blockchain is set up to measure. The technique of blockchaining originated in 1991 and was developed to timestamp documents to ensure they couldn’t be tampered with or altered. It has since been tabbed “The Internet of Value” since it functions as a form of database. The differences between traditional databases and a blockchain are numerous, however.

In a blockchain, the information that is shared is both confirmed and encrypted; and, distributed over a number of linked transactions; and, automatically replicated by each user that uses the blockchain, providing users of the chain a secure and tamper-proof ledger of secure activity. This activity can be exchanges in currency, cryptocurrency, medical records, shareholder records, etc.–any information that requires a itemized and uneditable database in which to relay information.

Uses of Blockchain

Blockchain technology has been described by industry professionals as the “new Internet”, but since a majority of people have never heard of it, we thought it would be good to provide some examples of technologies that would benefit from moving on from the centralized hosted technologies that we have today to distributed hosting like blockchain. Here are a few:

Security: The decentralization of data makes it exponentially safer to save files in multiple locations.
Data Management: The verification data is completely transformed and more robust with blockchain.
Logistics: Individual goods can be traced to their origin, giving companies and consumers enhanced transparency.
Investing: Smart contracts using blockchain provide strong security for crowd-based funding and other investment.
Internet of Things: Provides a construct to assign automation for remote systems, and the smart contracts required to give their consumers peace of mind as many IoT devices come with some privacy concerns.

Blockchain and Bitcoin

With Bitcoin being a hot-button issue in financial circles of late; and, with other cryptocurrencies popping up all the time, you can see how blockchain technology creates a construct in which a digital currency could thrive. Since there will never be more than 21 million Bitcoins in circulation, people that choose to “mine” the Internet for this cryptocurrency do so with the understanding that today it would take a hundred years or more to mine one single Bitcoin. This ceiling protects the currency from inflation. Bitcoin miners have responded, building Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) systems to specifically mine for Bitcoins, but so many people have started to mine for them (especially as their value has started to increase) that new strategies have to be implemented in order for any of these miners are to hit paydirt, so to speak. Today, many of the so-called Bitcoin miners actually mine pools of data for small pieces of BitCoin.

What a Bitcoin is worth today is what the market for Bitcoins says it’s worth–no more, no less; and, since it uses blockchain technology, you can bet that any Bitcoin that is available, is legitimate. Since users expect almost 95% of all the Bitcoins there will ever be to be released by 2024, speculators are now saying that by then a single bitcoin could be worth a staggering $250,000. In fact, the demand is seemingly so high that some financial institutions have started offering investors the chance to invest in Bitcoin futures, suggesting that they completely believe in the stability of the Bitcoin market; a testament to the viability and reliability of blockchain technology.

The blockchain is definitely going to be a household name soon, but for now, we hope this article can give you a small look at the technology that will help the Internet of Things be the biggest shift in technological advancement this world has ever seen.

 

A DDoS Attack Hits Your Productivity and Profits

How quickly could your business recover if it were suddenly hit by a Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS, attack? Are you protected against the effects they could have on your operations? If asked these questions, most businesses should want to say yes, but in reality, over half lack the means to defend against DDoS.

It may be helpful to go over how a DDoS attack operates. Simply put, a DDoS attack overwhelms your network and its defenses by hitting it with a barrage of traffic. As a result of this attack, you can lose access to your data and be stuck with downtime. As any executive knows, this is how a DDoS attack really hurts a business. Downtime equals a loss of productivity, which in turn equals wasted time and lost profits.

In a report from CDNetworks, 88 percent of companies are under the impression that their defenses are sufficient to stop a DDoS attack. 69 percent of these companies have also been victims of a DDoS attack within the last year. This begs the question–how much are these attacks affecting these companies?

Other statistics provide a glimpse into the other costs that businesses face in response to these attacks. Companies in the United States invest an average of $34,700 into protection against DDoS attacks every year; while companies in Europe spend about $29,000 on average. These are not meager sums to sink into protections that don’t do their desired job. Some other questions a business owner or manager has to ask include: why do DDoS attacks defy the protections put in place to thwart them; and, what can businesses do to bridge this gap?

In order to secure your business against DDoS attack, you need to learn from the failures of the 88 percent (the companies that think they are ready to stop a DDoS attack), and even more so the 69 percent (the companies that have already been attacked over the past year). Nearly three-quarters of companies have already resolved to dedicate more funds toward preventing DDoS attacks over the next year. Do you plan to follow suit, and if so, how do you plan to protect your business against DDoS attacks?

If you’re looking for help protecting your business from DDoS attacks and other risk factors, reach out to Kite Technology at 855-290-KITE.

 

Without These Tools, Your Network Isn’t Secure

Your business might have a limited budget, but this shouldn’t hold you back from implementing the best and strongest security solutions. However, security is a complicated process for any business. This is problematic, especially since common threats and vulnerabilities show up frequently in the business environment. We’ll walk you through some security basics so that you can optimize your organization’s protection.

First and foremost, the basic tasks of security tools can be accomplished through the use of preventative solutions found in a Unified Threat Management (UTM) device. A UTM includes a firewall, antivirus, spam blocker, and content filter, allowing you to reduce the number of threats your business is exposed to and prevent hacking attacks entirely.

Firewalls
Firewalls are generally considered the bouncers to your business’ network, as they keep track of the traffic that flows into and out of it. This keeps harmful threats from entering and causing trouble, and keeps dangerous traffic from spreading to other parts of your network. You can then isolate and destroy any threats that are identified as problematic. Most computers these days come with a consumer-grade firewall pre-installed, but you don’t want to rely on these for your business’ security. An enterprise-grade firewall found in a UTM can be just the thing you need to keep your network secure.

Antivirus
While your firewall is busy keeping threats out of your network, the antivirus will be the force responsible for quarantining and eliminating any that do slip past the defenses. Antivirus programs scan your computer for any abnormalities, and then take action to eliminate them.

Spam Protection
Spam is something that even the average PC user will encounter, as these messages in your inbox waste your time and threaten the security of potentially important information. If you don’t take a preventative stance against spam, it could bother your employees and trick them into clicking on the wrong links or attachments. Spam is the preferred method of travel for threats, as it’s easy to hide malicious code in embedded links or images, as well as attachments. With spam protection, you can keep these messages from getting to your inbox in the first place, saving you the time and effort required to comb through it for threats.

Content Filtering
If you have some employees who can’t seem to keep themselves off of social media or YouTube, how do you keep them on task? The best solution to this is a content filter, which allows your organization control over the website users’ access on the Internet. This also allows you to keep your employees from accessing sites that contain malicious, dangerous, or distracting content, allowing you to get more productivity out of your workers while maximizing security.

To take your business’s security to the next level, consider a UTM solution. To learn more, reach out to Kite Technology at 855-290-KITE.

 

Microsoft SharePoint Makes Team Collaboration Easy

Businesses are taking advantage of new tools every day to make sure that their projects are handled in the most successful way possible. One of these tools is Microsoft SharePoint, which can eliminate many of the major pain points of project management. Regardless of what type of business you run, we’re confident that Microsoft SharePoint can be a valuable asset for your organization.

In case you’re unfamiliar with SharePoint, it’s a browser-based method of collaboration and document management. You can either host it on your own premises, or in the cloud so that you can access it anywhere. It’s one of the enterprise-level solutions offered by the Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite. Basically, it provides project team members with a place to view information or collaborate.

Create Your View of Success

There is always going to be a goal for your projects. SharePoint is designed to help an organization meet the specific goals of that project, and it can do so by providing you with a measure of success as defined by the individual project goals. The best way to find success with SharePoint is to always keep your definition of success in mind, but never change it. If you meet your goals, you want to view it as a success. SharePoint’s most incredible benefit is that it can help you build efficiency, and defining success accurately is the best way to make this happen.

Properly Use SharePoint for YOUR Business

Knowing what your business will use SharePoint for before implementation is key to your success with the program. Your SharePoint platform will inevitably contain a considerable amount of content. The question, however, is if your project has enough content to justify using SharePoint as a platform. It’s important to work with an IT service provider before going all-in on a service like SharePoint.

Train your Staff

SharePoint is an incredible tool that you’ll want to use to store content, deploy applications, and provide custom access to all of your services. It’s the ideal way to provide each of your project managers and resources with everything they need to do their jobs, but only if they know how it works. It takes significant training to make sure that your employees know how to complete their tasks. Doing this ensures that your organization can be successful with SharePoint.

If you want to find out more about SharePoint or other Office 365 products, give us a call at 855-290-KITE.