Tech tip: Microsoft Office 365, “Your account doesn’t allow editing on a Mac”

I use Microsoft Office 365 for licensing Microsoft Office applications, Word, Excel, etc. This provides the rights to install Microsoft Office on 5 PCs or Mac, 5 tablets and 5 phones.

Well, recently I received the below error.

Office 365 account doesnt allow editing on mac

This was due to letting my license expire – on initially expiry Microsoft Office reverts to reduced functionality, and this specifically means you can view but no longer edit documents.

After renewing my subscription, the same notification still occurred. Wait didn’t I just renew? The fix is easy, you need to choose the “Use Another Account” option and log in back in with the account you just renewed. This process must update Microsoft Office that you have rights to edit.

Of course, you will continue to get the above message if you choose not to have a paid license for using Microsoft Office applications via Office 365.

By |May 9th, 2016|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Two free website security audit tools for your small business

I recently used a couple of online website security tools that are worth looking at if you have a small business website.

Both tools provide a high level summary the anyone can understand – “high risk”, “medium risk” and “low risk”. However, understanding the specifics behind the risks will require an IT professional – as such, if you are interested in securing your website, I recommend you ask your IT professional to use these tools (after all, the tools are free) – and if your IT professional cannot explain the results, get a new IT professional!

Virus checker

Sucuri checks a site for viruses on your website and potential vulnerabilities created from out of date software.

The test has to be manually run, and is as simple as putting your website address into their online tool at https://sitecheck.sucuri.net.

To get automated regular tests a paid plan is required, starting at $16.99 per month for scanning every 12 hours.

As you can see from the below test results, Securi provides something called a website firewall that is used to protect against certain types of external attacks – for example, traffic that is obviously attempting to compromise your website will automatically be blocked – this isn’t something the average small business will need, but if your website is being overloaded with malicious traffic, it will prove invaluable.

Sucuri SiteCheck

Vulnerability checker

ScanMyServer is by far the most comprehensive free vulnerability scanner I have come across.

To use the setup you, or your trusted IT professional, will need to add some code to your website.

ScanMyServer will then do a daily check for free. Have a read of their FAQ for more details.

The below test results show the extent of the testing performed – as you can see, I have no “high” issues. “low issues” can be comfortably ignored. “medium issues” may need action, and this is where you need an IT professional to interpret if action is actually required.

It is important to note, that often vulnerabilities can be introduced due to installing a plugin, as an example, have a read of this. As such, a vulnerability check should always be part of a post plugin instal evaluation.

ScanMyServer vulnerability test result

By |December 29th, 2015|Security, Website|0 Comments

Step by step tutorial for securing your small business website with https

Summary

This tutorial provides step by step instructions for securing your small business website with https.

The step by step instructions use the technologies we recommend for small business, in this case: a WordPress self hosted site, Bluehost web hosting, and a domain name registered with GoDaddy.

Time required: 2 hours

What will it cost: Depending on the options chosen it will cost around $100 or more per year to have https in place (these are costs from GoDaddy and Bluehost).

Prerequisites: You should complete our tutorial on setting up a WordPress small business website. You will need administration access to your WordPress site, Bluehost and GoDaddy for this tutorial.

Complexity level: Medium

By |December 28th, 2015|Security, Website|0 Comments

New Top 10 Tips guide: Email for your small business

I’ve just published a new Top 10 Tips guide, this time on email for your small business. The tips are below, with the full guide available on the deBaffle free guides page.

1. Consider something other than email!

2. Keep email synchronized across devices

3. Manage access to employee devices

4. Consider email encryption

5. Understand your compliance obligations

6. Choose an appropriate email client

7. Monitor and control email usage

8. Use a common, shared, directory

9. Use a shared integrated calendar

10. Have a process when an employee leaves

By |October 12th, 2015|Email|0 Comments

Top 10 Tips: Building or improving your small business Website.

I have a new guide available for small business owners who are thinking of building or improving their website, “Top 10 tips: Building or improving your small business Website”

This guide is for small business owners who are thinking of building or improving their website.

The tips are written with the expectation that someone else will be doing the work for you. Thus, I do not go into any detail on “how” implement the tips, rather I focus on what to ask for.

The tips are below, with each explained in the full guide available here.

1. Understand the jargon.

2. Understand the cons of website builders.

3. Choose a mature website platform and theme

4. Choose a website host that is recommended by your platform provider

5. Select a mobile and tablet friendly website theme

6. Integrate with Google Analytics

7. Monitor your website performance

8. Optimise your content to be Search Engine Optimisation friendly

9. Enable your site for secure browsing

10. Have a backup and disaster recovery plan, and test it.

By |October 10th, 2015|Website|0 Comments

Ideal business applications that can benefit from being consumed via a cloud service

I’m a big fan of the Question and Answer site Quora. The site is generally devoid of spam and the answers provided by the community are often very thoughtful. Today a question caught my interest, “What are the ideal business applications or systems fit for cloud computing?“. I answered on the site, and have repeated it below:

Ideal business applications that can benefit from being consumed via a cloud service have the following characteristics (IMHO):

1 – Applications that are shared between multiple devices.

This means the application needs to synchronise the latest data modified on one device, across all devices. Cloud computing infrastructure will perfectly support an application that has this requirement. File sharing applications, or customer relationship management are great examples.

2 – Applications that rely on using the Internet already.

Local office networks can have data througput of 1,000Mbps, while Internet connections of 10Mbps are relatively common. If you move an application to the cloud you need to be aware of the (most likely) decrease in data throughput. If your application already relied on the Internet, then you will not notice the difference. A great example here is email. If most of your email is external to your organisation, then you were traversing the Internet already. Everything else being equal, moving your email server to the could will not be impacted by any difference in local network versus Internet data throughput rates.

3 – Applications that need to scale up/ down quickly.

Any application that needs to quickly scale up, or scale down, should benefit from cloud computing. This benefit is a consequence of cloud computing applications sharing a common infrastructure platform that can be used to even out peaks, or troughs, in processing demand. Importantly, most cloud computing operators charge for what your application actually uses, rather than what it might use. This compares favourably to the alternative of applications that have dedicated computing capacity. This requires investment to meet maximum capacity requirements, even if this is rarely used. A great example that would benefit from cloud computing is a website that needs to cope with a peak in visitor traffic due to a promotion, due to malicious traffic, or just due to an increase in business!

By |September 28th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The I.T. Components of a Small Business

The below picture provides a visual representation of the I.T. components of a small business. For a short description of each component see the free guide.

Office network7

By |September 27th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How is small business I.T. like a paper plane competition? Backup, availability and disaster recovery

 

Paper planes

Imagine you are in a paper plane flying competition representing your workplace.

You make 10 different versions of your plane during the competition. Based on performance, you discard some of your later designs, for more effective earlier versions (the benefit of having backups that can be easily retrieved!).

During the competition you get a paper cut on your right hand, so you use your left hand to continue competing. While less effective, it keeps you from being eliminated (the benefit of high availability through having redundant systems!).

But then disaster strikes, and you get a paper cut on your right hand! At this point a co-worker steps in, and finishes the competition in your place. While they were not as skilled as yourself, a respectable result was achieved (the benefit of having disaster recovery!).

The considerations for backup, availability and disaster recovery don’t just apply to paper plane competitions, they also apply to small business I.T!

By |September 20th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Checklist for Buying a New Small Business Computer

I’ve just published a checklist that will help anyone buying a new computer for small business use.

Debaffle computer buyers checklist

There are nearly 47 points in the list, with each coming with our recommendation on what to think about.

The guide is free and can be downloaded from our debaffle.net/guides

By |September 16th, 2015|Computers|0 Comments

Computer Buyer’s Guide For Small Business: Computer types

I’ve just published a computer buyer’s guide for small business covering the considerations for between different types of computers.

debacle buyers guide - computer types

The guide provides a high level description of smartphone, phablet, tablet, netbook, hybrid, “2 in 1″, ultraportable, Ultrabook, laptop, notebook, desktop replacement, portable workstation, workstation, desktop, server, and network attached storage (NAS)!

This guide is useful if you are in the market for a new computer and want to cut through the terms and understand what they really mean.

The guide is free.

Please see our free guides page to download.

By |September 16th, 2015|Computers|3 Comments