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You’ll often find that in most offices, certain people will get bombarded with emails on a daily basis whilst others get very few. Why is this? The main reasons for receiving spam is how visible your email address is (or has been) on the internet. Every time you enter your email address onto a web form, there is a chance that it’ll used in some way to send you junk. Most companies have a very good data protection record and will only send you mails you have agreed to but others are less scrupulous. Always make sure when filling out web forms, that you un-tick agreements for companies to send you mail from time to time. Especially un-tick anything that says that partner companies may mail you. This is basically allowing them to sell your email address to the highest bidder! (email address lists are regularly traded on the internet).

If you are filling in a web form and are in any way unsure of the company, then ideally try not to give them your email address. If you absolutely need to enter an email address but definitely don’t need to receive anything from them, consider just typing in some junk! I.E. xyz@bob.com – this will usually then allow you to then proceed with the form.

Also consider if you have any alias email addresses on your mail account. Whilst your main mail address may be john@johnsdomain.com, you may also have something like info@johnsdomain.com pointed at your inbox. General addresses such as info@, sales@, accounts@ can be considered spam magnets and will usually get a lot of random spam sent to them. If you need to get mail to these addresses but don’t want the associated spam issues, then consider creating a shared mailbox. This at least keeps the spam out of your inbox! Shared mailboxes are free on Office 365.

With hosted email usage being so high these days, spam doesn’t tend to be so much of a problem so it’s definitely worth considering hosting your email system if you haven’t already. We can (of course!) help with this.

If you need any help with any of the above topics, please do give us a call.

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When we set-up a server or start working with a new customer, one of the first things we’ll do is try to ensure that backup system and it’s corresponding alerts are working correctly. We usually set-up a system that will email alerts both to you and to us here at Academy. This is an essential step in making sure your backup is working as it should. This means we’ll usually spot pretty quickly when a backup fails due from these alerts and it also allows you to keep tabs on your backup.

So, if you haven’t checked your backup alerts for a while, it’s definitely worth making sure you’re receiving them and that your backup is good. We’ve seen an awful lot of preventable data loss over the years due to unmonitored backups not working correctly. Please don’t be a statistic!

We also have some great options for cloud based backup if you’d like the extra piece of mind that this offers. Prices start at £15 per month for a 50GB backup and go up from there.

If you have any questions or would like us to double check your backup is definitely functioning correctly, please do give us a shout!

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As you may have heard, Windows 10 will be release on July 29 and is a free upgrade (for the first year) to anyone with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. The prerequisites for this upgrade are that you have either Windows 7 with service pack 1 installed, or that you have Windows 8.1 (as opposed to Windows 8).

If you’ve recently updated your computer, you may have noticed a Windows 10 button appear in the system tray (near the clock). This button allows you to register your interest for Windows 10 and we believe that filling in the form may then automatically upgrade your PC to Windows 10 on release – we’re not currently sure if it actually asks you at that point! Our thought on this is to hold off registering to see if its generally painless or is likely to cause issues on an existing computer. If you do absolutely have to try it, then our advice would be to install it on the least used PC in your office to see if it causes problems before rolling it across your entire domain.

As ever, if you’d like more advice please call us nearer the time to discuss in full. Andy has a Windows 10 course booked and I’ll be installing it pretty much on day one to gain familiarity with the product.

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Microsoft have recently announced that their premium telephony & collaboration software, Lync, is now Skype for Business. The new name brings many changes to the way the product was previous laid out as well as various new features. The only issue seems to be that although the release date is noted as April 14 2015, it doesn’t actually seem to be available anywhere! Office 365 still lists Lync 2013, as does the Apple store. We think it should start replacing Lync in the coming weeks though. No word on whether this is a forced upgrade but we’re presuming that Lync will continue to exist alongside Skype for Business for a while to come. More information below:

Skype for Business

*Edit*

Microsoft have now pulled it together and this update has fully rolled out. You should see that Lync is now Skype for Business. Cue obvious question: “So I now have two versions of Skype on my computer?” Yes, unfortunately you do!

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You may have recently received a mail from Outlook / Office 365 regarding the new clutter feature. This is a system which learns which mails you are likely to ignore (through your actions) and moves them to a new folder named ‘Clutter’. These are mails that you may genuinely want to receive but may not always want to read. This would be things like virus alerts from your Antivirus vendor, special offers from companies you regularly buy from and news items. The idea being to de-clutter your inbox and stop you missing genuine mails between all the daily junk you may receive.

If you find you never read mail from a particular sender, you may want to them to your junk filter or create a rule to delete them on receipt (or simply un-subscribe from the mailing list if its a trusted sender – never un-subscribe from unsolicited spam emails of course!) but the de-clutter feature can definitely be a help when trying to clean up your inbox.

One point to note about this – it would not surprise us at all if spammers were to jump on this bandwagon and try and disguise virus or ‘phishing’ type mails such as this. To ensure the de-clutter mail is genuine, please hover your mouse over the links on the mail before you click them and check they point to outlook.office365.com. You can test this by hovering your mouse over the following link or clicking it if you’d like to enable this feature (noting of course that this can only be enabled if you have an Office 365 account!)

Click here to turn on Clutter

Please give us a shout via the normal channels if you’d like more information on this feature.