Leadership

How to Capture Dead Time

Jacque McFadden

 

The average cost of unplanned downtime per minute in 2016 was nearly $9,000 per incident.

Your organization doesn’t have to eat the cost of dead time. Download our free whitepaper now to learn five easy steps you can take to capture dead time.

From more efficient integration to beating your inbox addiction, this paper gives you the tools to increase your company’s productivity by 2.5% at no additional payroll cost.

 

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Press Releases

Rocket IT Named Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Club Business of the Month

Rocket IT

DULUTH, GA – The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce named Rocket IT the Chairman’s Club Business of the Month for November 2017. The Metro Atlanta-based company was recognized on October 25th at the Gwinnett Chamber’s premiere On Topic luncheon series.

“Rocket IT is named November 2017 Chairman’s Club Business of the month due to its Chamber involvement, superior customer service, and outstanding community involvement,” said Vince DeSilva, Gwinnett Chamber Senior Vice President of Membership Services.

This prestigious recognition is based on monthly nominations from other Chairman’s Club members and the company’s qualifications in those three areas. The staff of the Gwinnett Chamber then selects from the nominations.

“We are proud of the team we have and thankful to receive this honor from the Gwinnett Chamber,” said Ryan Bonilla, Rocket IT’s Business Development Manager. “We’ve been active members for many years now, and the value we get from this community is immeasurable.”

This acknowledgement is the eighth recognition in 2017 Rocket IT has received for their growth, innovation, status, and community involvement.

Rocket IT is the IT partner of choice for Gwinnett County organizations, providing both the strategy and support they need to thrive. By providing a client’s leadership team with the strategic foresight necessary for them to align technology investment with business goals, they can work from a shared vision, which increases efficiency, decreases risk, and increases revenue. Rocket IT is the recipient of multiple awards, such as Partnership Gwinnett’s Innovation Award and a spot on the Inc 5000.

For a list of Rocket IT’s additional awards, visit Rocket IT’s Newsroom.

 

 

 

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Technology

Advanced Office 365 Webinar

Rocket IT

How well do you know Office 365? If you’re looking to use your current subscription to the fullest or just trying to see what all the hype is about, join Rocket IT vCIO Eric Henderson (official Office 365 aficionado) for an Advanced Office 365 webinar.

Learn about the best intermediate and advanced features for your organization that you aren’t using yet.

Register now to join us on November 29th at 11:00 AM EST for the Advanced Office 365 webinar. If you are unable to join us live, a link to the recording will be sent out to everyone who registers.

Fill out my online form.

Eric Henderson is the virtual CIO for Rocket IT, a technology company based out of Duluth, GA.  He received his B.S. in Management from Georgia Tech in 2003, and has worked in a variety of industries.  Eric serves on the National Board for 48in48, a nonprofit dedicated to creating websites for other nonprofit organizations, and on the Endowment Board for the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology. He is passionate about technology, leadership, and seeing people and their businesses thrive. 

Eric lives in Atlanta with his wife Heather, and their two sons, Thomas and Jonas. 

 

 

 

 

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Technology

Bad Rabbit Ransomware Outbreak Targets Users

Rocket IT

A new ransomware known as “Bad Rabbit” is hitting users in the US and several European countries. This malware is a “new and improved” version of the NotPetya ransomware that uses social engineering to trick people into installing it by posing as an Adobe Flash installer.

Once downloaded, users have 40 hours to pay up to decrypt their data, though it is currently unclear whether ponying up the bitcoin will actually unlock your files.

(Want to learn more about ransomware and how to keep your organization safe? Get our free Security in the Age of Ransomware webinar on demand here.)

Like Petya, Bad Rabbit is a “disk-coder” which means it first encrypts the files on the infected user’s computer before replacing the MBR (Master Boot Record). Once this is encrypted, it makes it virtually impossible for your computer to locate a specific file. In fact, this new ransomware shares some of the same code as the Petya virus that caused the big ransomware crisis that hit global corporations earlier this year.

After the ransomware is done with these processes, the ransom message appears. Unfortunately, Bad Rabbit disables your ability to access the internet through this computer since at this point it has effectively placed itself between you and your OS. To pay the bitcoin ransom, you must use another computer to do so in order to get the decryption key and save your files.

Phishing attacks like Bad Rabbit, Petya, and WannaCry have been so successful because of the social engineering aspect of the hackers’ strategy. Users are used to being prompted to download or update their Adobe Flash… And many don’t even think twice before clicking.

To avoid effectively bricking your workstation, be cautious about the source when downloading any software. If you need to update a program like Adobe Flash, it’s best to go directly to the official Adobe website yourself and download it from there. Not paying attention to where you’re downloading things from or which permissions you’re allowing can land you in some hot water.

To learn more about the role of social engineering in cyberattacks, check out our other article here.

 


 

About the Author-

Jason Hand loves making music, serving his church and getting people excited about technology tools. He currently lives in Georgia with wife and two adopted sons.  Jason is the Systems Administrator at Rocket IT.

 

 

 

 

 

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Technology

Keyboard Shortcuts for Your Inbox

Rocket IT

 

We’re always trying to find a better way to do things here at Rocket IT. A lot of your time as a professional is spent in your email inbox, and your email applications should work with you, not against you.

Want to be more efficient and cut down your time in Outlook and Gmail? Check out these shortcuts for actions you use all the time.

Outlook (for Macs, replace Ctrl with Command or ⌘)

Action Shortcut
New mail message Ctrl + N
Send Alt + S
Insert file in a message Alt + H, then AF
Insert link in a message Ctrl + K
Reply Ctrl + R
Reply All Ctrl + Shift + R
Forward Ctrl + F
Create appointment Alt + H, then N1
Create a meeting request Ctrl + Shift + Q
Go to the Search box F3 or Ctrl + E
Expand the search to include all items Ctrl + Alt + A
Switch to Mail Ctrl + 1
Switch to Calendar Ctrl + 2
Switch to Contacts Ctrl + 3
Switch to Tasks Ctrl + 4
Add bullets Ctrl + Shift + L

Gmail (for Macs, replace Ctrl with Command or ⌘)

To utilize Gmail keyboard shortcuts, you need to enable this feature by going into your Gmail Inbox settings using the gear symbol in the upper right corner.

Action Shortcut
New mail message C
Send Ctrl + Enter
Insert a link Ctrl + K
Reply R
Reply All A
Forward F
Archive conversation ] or [
Go to search bar /
Add conversation to tasks Shift + T
Switch to Mail G + I
Switch to Contacts G + C
Switch to Tasks G + K
Switch to Sent Messages G + T
Switch to Drafts G + D
Decrease text size in a message Ctrl + Shift and –
Increase text size in a message Ctrl + Shift and +
Add bullets Ctrl + Shift + 8
Add numbered list Ctrl + Shift + 7
Add quote Ctrl + Shift + 9
Remove formatting Ctrl + \

 

Interested in becoming an email aficionado? Check out our other articles below.

Scheduling Smarter Using Outlook

Search Smarter in Outlook

 


 

About the Author – 

Emily Connolly is the Project Coordinator at Rocket IT. She graduated from Auburn University and has extensive project management. Emily works directly with our vCIO and the Projects team to provide key strategic insight to our clients. 

 

The average cost of unplanned downtime per minute in 2016 was nearly $9,000 per incident.

Your organization doesn’t have to eat the cost of dead time. Download our free whitepaper now to learn five easy steps you can take to capture dead time.

 

 

 

 

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Technology

The Role of Social Engineering in Cyberattacks

Rocket IT

A quarter of all security breaches are inadvertently caused by employees, according to IBM’s 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index.[i] With phishing continuing to rise and more industries at risk of cyber-attacks, how does social engineering factor in?

There are four primary types of cyberattacks: ransomware, phishing, spearphishing, and spoofing. Three of these rely entirely on social engineering in order to be successful.

Phishing emails throwback to the messages from foreign nobility with too-good-to-be-true offers, but now contain risks from the traditional attempts to get personal information from its recipients to malicious links in disguise.

Spearphishing, as the name implies, are phishing attempts that are curated to their audience. These cybercriminals research their intended target, be it company, vendor, or individual, and use that knowledge to convince their victim to click a link, enter login information, or otherwise compromise their security. They use a number of methods to do this, sometimes including spoofing.

Spoofing is a malicious campaign that mimics the sending information of a trusted source, i.e. makes it look like their spearphishing email is a legitimate one because it’s coming from a real person’s email address (including people you may know personally whose accounts have been compromised). People are significantly more likely to open emails or click links from individuals or companies with whom they’re familiar, even if they shouldn’t.

All of these methods rely heavily on social engineering which means it depends on making the end users believe something – that they need to click a link to track a package or open an attachment to view an invoice – that will then cause a security breach. And these hackers can be very convincing!

So how can you protect your end users from this psychological manipulation?

By training them.

Unfortunately, spammers are constantly finding new ways to make it past even the best filters, so the odds that one will eventually make it through to your end users are pretty high. That’s not to say you shouldn’t bother with a strong firewall and spam filter, but you need to be sure those aren’t your only lines of defense. Prepare your employees so they can be security stewards for themselves and your organization.

Teach your end users what to look for in suspicious emails. Find out who your habitual clickers are by sending your own phishing campaigns to see who may need additional security training.

And if you need any help with your organization’s security or employee training, we’d be happy to provide you the peace of mind to sleep well at night.


[i] http://ibm.biz/2016CyberIndex

 

About the Author-

Jason Hand loves making music, serving his church and getting people excited about technology tools. He currently lives in Georgia with wife and two adopted sons.  Jason is the Systems Administrator at Rocket IT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Technology

Top Eight Collaboration Tools

Rocket IT

Collaboration is key here at Rocket IT, like it is at many organizations. But when you have team members out at client sites, working from home, and glued to the office, effective collaboration is a little harder than it is when you have everyone in the same room.

To help your team thrive when collaborating in the office or remotely, here are the top eight tools we’ve found help us increase efficiency.

1. Microsoft Teams

Since Microsoft is gearing up to discontinue their Skype for Business tool, a lot of organizations are making the switch to their other Office 365 tool – Microsoft Teams. While we’re still huge fans of Skype in the office, we’ve worked with Teams as well, and it does have some good collaboration functions. Not only does it function as an office chat service, but you can also create and add people to specific Teams within the tool and work together on files all in that specific Team tab.

This is very similar to another collaboration tool below called Slack. Both are a way to organize small groups of employees and give them a private collaboration area to chat, share files, and have a shared email address.

2. Slack

Slack shares a lot of similar features to Microsoft Teams. In fact, Slack was successfully operating as a collaboration standalone service before Microsoft Teams in its current iteration came out, and Slack does collaboration really well. If you’re not ready for the commitment to Office 365 just for the advanced collaboration alone, then Slack’s free offering may be a good alternative. But keep in mind that you’re not just receiving Microsoft Teams when you subscribe to Office 365. Getting the full benefit of the full Office 365 suite can be more cost-effective if you need additional programs.

3. Trello

If you’re big on checklists and want to be able to share them with others as well as assign tasks, Trello is a great free software. Don’t expect the full functionality of other, more expensive programs, but it is a great program for what it does.

4. dapulse

A personal favorite of our Projects team, dapulse is an incredible project management tool. Everything is managed within boards, and you can customize the content of each board to add projects, tasks, team members, timelines, and more. Need to add an email between your team and your clients to the board to have everything in one place? Just include the custom email address for that particular board in your emails to add the entire thread to the rest of your notes and documents.

The dapulse support team is very responsive. Our Project Coordinator Emily Connolly swears this tool is the ultimate project management helper.

And if you’re willing to pay for the Business version, you can share specific boards and projects directly with your client so they can collaborate with you.

5. Basecamp

If you’re looking for a project management tool, Basecamp’s solution has worked for a lot of organizations. It isn’t as intuitive as other tools, but it’s a decent software once you find your way around. It’s good for working on less sensitive and less formal projects. With more tools than Trello, Basecamp is a better alternative if you want something cheaper where you can organize tasks amongst your team. They even have a “Campfire” chat room for your team to stay in touch. And Basecamp is a base price for every team, no matter the size, unlike Slack, Dropbox, and Asana who charge per user.

6. Asana

Similar to dapulse, Asana’s capabilities are highly customizable and well beyond the basic project management tools like Trello and Slack. It also comes with a free version with fewer features for those who don’t need the whole gamut and who have a team smaller than 15 members.

7. A social media management tool like Buffer or Hootsuite

Pretty comparable to each other, both Hootsuite and Buffer are great collaboration tools for teams focused on social media. You can customize your feeds and schedule out social media posts, as well as communicate amongst your team by sending tweets and messages back and forth. For anyone who would just like to use the scheduling capability, both companies offer a free service for you to try.

8. Zoom

If you’re looking for a video conferencing system that allows you to share video and your screen at the same time with multiple team members, Zoom is a great solution. Not only does it not lag as much as Skype, you can also use it for conferencing in with clients. Considering hosting webinars for internal and external training? They have an add-on for that as well.

 


 

About the Author –

Janel Brooks is Rocket IT’s Service Coordinator. She is an avid triathlete. Janel has finished 3 half-Ironman races and dreams of completing a full one someday. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Leadership

Becoming a Servant Leader

Rocket IT

I was once told that the way to know if you’re a leader is to look behind you and see who’s following. If no one’s there, then you aren’t a leader. We all want to be leaders, but few are willing to put in the time, work, and humility to become a leader worth following.

The concept of servant leadership has been around for thousands of years but the term was coined in the essay “The Servant as Leader” by Robert K. Greenleaf in 1970. Robert defined servant-leader as follows:

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first […]
“The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant – first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?”

Leading another person should not be taken lightly. Leading others is not about you; it’s about the impact that you have on others. Simon Sinek would say that “it’s not about being in charge; it’s about those that are in your charge.” We can do so much more together than we can ever do separately. At Rocket IT, we believe the true leaders are ones that know and understand the people they are leading and can help them see where they need to go.

I started at Rocket IT 5 years ago at the most entry-level position at that time, Field Support Technician. After a year in this role and exemplifying the values of the company, I was promoted up to the second tier of support and began taking on a leadership role, investing in those technicians following after me. After two years in this role, I promoted to the top tier escalation role, continuing to be a team lead and beginning to take on the role of transforming the culture at Rocket IT.

It was at this time that our CEO and founder Matt Hyatt allowed me to be a part of an Executive core group put on by GiANT Worldwide consisting of many leaders from different companies from all over the world. GiANT Worldwide is all about helping people become leaders worth following. It was at GiANT Worldwide XCore that I began to better understand myself, understand those who were in my charge and really learn how to lead, and it was there that I truly learned how to be a servant leader.

I recently completed leading a year-long leadership course in the office that we called “Rocket IT Core.” When you learn something that is so life changing, you can’t help but talk about it to everyone. It’s like the old joke: “How do you know if someone does CrossFit? They tell you about it.” I am so blessed that I could bring this material back to my team. It inspired me to write and share about my experience as well as talk about why I feel that servant leadership is so important in the workplace today.

 


 

About the Author

Steve Hopkins is a Support Professional and Team Lead at Rocket IT.  He is a lifetime learner and loves to invest in others. He believes that people are blessed to be a blessing. Steve and his bride have grown their family of 3 to a family of 8 through adoption.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Technology

Top Seven Reasons to Switch to Office 365

Rocket IT

We’re big fans of Office 365 in the office. It’s accessible from anywhere you can access the internet, keeps your programs automatically updated, and is infinitely better to transition to than the 8-loading-disc packages of the past. And we know others love it too!

But there are a lot of great features that others don’t really know about. Here’s a list of our top 7 features ranging from the apparent to the more advanced.

1. Exchange Online

This is obvious. It’s email hosting in the Cloud. You have the same reliable product Exchange has always been (same as the one you had on your server), but you no longer have to host it. And it’s accessible from anywhere. This is easily one of the top reasons people make the switch to Office 365.

2. Office Licensing

Move from buy once to buy forever, with perpetual upgrades. I’m pretty sure there’s an entire generation that now has no idea you used to have to buy upgrades in textbook-sized packages.

3. OneDrive

This feature is well known, but really underutilized by a lot of users. A Dropbox clone, this allows individuals or teams to share files online.

4. Advanced Remote Collaboration

Office 365 has helpful tools for your team to collaborate in real time while in separate locations. During Tropical Storm Irma, our team kept in contact using Skype for Business. This tool connects coworkers via chat and video conferencing (though its video conferencing feature is not as strong as GoToMeeting or Zoom). It’s best for impromptu, small group meetings.

Not as talked about as its chattier counterpart, Microsoft Teams is another collaborative Office 365 tool for working with others remotely. A clone of the popular system called Slack, it’s a way to organize small groups of employees and give them a private collaboration to chat, share files, and have a shared email address.

5. Microsoft Sway

This feature is a more narrative-based version of PowerPoint. It allows for more interactive and engaging presentations.

6. Real-Time Coauthoring

It’s now possible to simultaneously modify the same Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document on your desktop at the same time as other users. This is excellent if you’re under a deadline and need two or more people to edit the same part of a proposal or other document. This feature requires Office 365 Office licensing / Business Premium, and the file in question must be stored in OneDrive for Groups.

7. MS Bookings

This tool is only available for the Business Premium plans, but it provides a system for scheduling appointments. If you need to schedule meetings, consultations, or any other event with others, MS Bookings makes the process easier. This is similar to Calendly.

Want to learn how you can use Office 365 to the fullest? Join Rocket IT’s vCIO Eric Henderson for an Advanced Office 365 webinar on November 29th at 11:00 AM EST.

 


 

About the Author – 

Emily Connolly is the Project Coordinator at Rocket IT. She graduated from Auburn University and has extensive project management. Emily works directly with our vCIO and the Projects team to provide key strategic insight to our clients. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best Practices, Productivity, Technology

Five Best Practices for Working Remotely During a Disaster

Rocket IT

As Irma makes its retreat and Jose makes its way through the Atlantic, disaster recovery has officially left the planning stage and become a stark reality for many organizations. With several US states under a state of emergency this weekend into this week, many companies kept their employees at home for their safety. Even once the storm has passed, it still may not be safe for your employees to return to work. Downed trees, ravaged buildings, and more could prevent your team from returning to work.

So how can you keep increasing revenue when your workforce is stuck at home? Enable your workers to stay productive as long as they can safely work from home by incorporating telecommuting in your organization’s disaster recovery plan.

Here are five ways to make sure your team can thrive while working remotely.

Invest in the right tools.

Does your team need to be available over the phone? Consider using a phone system that allows your team to use a soft phone application through their computer or smart phone so they’re reachable at their usual number.

Also, if your team needs to work remotely, make sure they have the right devices to do so. Do they need to connect if they lose wireless access? Consider equipping them with a wireless hotspot or unlimited data on their smart phone so they can stay online if needed.

Make sure the necessary software is installed in advance.

If your employees need to work remotely, at home or abroad, it’s best to have all of the software they need to do their jobs effectively already installed and tested on their devices before they need it.

Set up a virtual private network (VPN) so your team can connect securely.

Make sure your end users are connecting to your network securely. If they’re using public Wi-Fi or another insecure connection, your sensitive data could be open to people from outside your organization. Setting up a VPN for all your employees before disaster strikes and they’re forced to work remotely will allow your team to get back to work right away, increasing efficiency and decreasing risk.

Keep devices charged.

Of course, having the right software and connection won’t help much if your team’s devices aren’t charged. Make it a policy to shut down laptops when not in use so the battery doesn’t drain as quickly, and use battery-saving techniques like dimming your screen, using the native battery saving tools for your devices, and closing background programs when not in use.

Document your telecommuting policy.

If you don’t already have a telecommuting policy in place, you should create one before it’s needed and make it easily accessible to your team. If your employees need to be accessible between certain times or if their availability can be more flexible, outline it. Make sure they know the security guidelines for connecting from off-site (like only connecting to your shared networks through a VPN, not saving secure documents directly to their personal drive, or saving all work to saved networks for access by the rest of the team later).

If you’d like an experienced Virtual CIO to help you build the right disaster recovery or business continuity plan for your organization, contact us. We’d love to help.

 


 

About the Author-

Eric Henderson is Rocket IT’s virtual Chief Information Officer. He is also the tallest person at Rocket IT (by a fraction of an inch).

 

The average cost of unplanned downtime per minute in 2016 was nearly $9,000 per incident.

Your organization doesn’t have to eat the cost of dead time. Download our free whitepaper now to learn five easy steps you can take to capture dead time.

 

 

 

 

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