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How to improve your customer interactions

When speaking with a client try to identify a common ground–like shared interests. Having this point of understanding makes conflict easier to overcome by humanizing the relationship, and it endears customers to your rep (and ultimately your company).

Practice active listening so customers feel heard. Clarify and rephrase what the customers say to ensure you understand them. Empathize with and reflect their feelings by saying things like, “That must have upset you” or “I can see why you feel slighted”.

Admit your mistakes, even if you discover them before your customers do. This builds trust and restores confidence. It also allows you to control the situation, re-focus the customer’s attention and resolve the issue.

Follow-up after a problem is solved. Make sure the issue stays fixed and that your customers were satisfied with the service. Sending an email, or even a feedback survey is an excellent way to let the customer know you’re still on their side.

Website Tip: Keep WordPress up to date

Modern CMS (content management systems) powered websites are far more complex than ever. When a user visits your site your webserver runs code to assemble the webpage. This code grabs content from your database, from several template files to generate the HTML, CSS and JavaScript your browser understands. This complexity makes it much easier to manage and update your website. You no longer need to know HTML and CSS to update your website, and websites easily scale to hundreds or thousands.

But CMSs (like the popular WordPress which powers 2 out of every 10 websites), require regular updating. As security issues are found in the WordPress code patches are quickly released. By keeping up to date you ensure that your website does not get compromised.

Thankfully updating WordPress is a straightforward process (to upgrade other CMSs check with your web developer).

  1. Login to to WordPress by visiting the page (replace with your website address)and login with your username and password.
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  2. Check to see if there are any updates in your WordPress dashboard
  3. If you see updates click on the update menu on the sidebar (see above) to be taken to the update page
  4. Once on the update page you can determine what components need updating.
    There are 3 components that might need to be updated.

    1. WordPress Core
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    2. Plugins
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    3. Themes
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  5. Before clicking the update buttons it is important to make a backup of your website files and database.
    The WordPress Codex has more information on how to properly backup your website.
  6. Once you are ready to upgrade you just click the upgrade buttons for The WordPress core, plugins and themes.
    Each WordPress must be upgraded individually.
  7. While upgrading your website, it will be placed into maintenance mode and be temporarily unavailable. This typically lasts less than a minute.
  8. Once your site comes out of maintenance mode, the upgrade has finished. Take a few minutes to browse to the home page and make sure everything is working correctly.

If you have any question we would be happy to help you keep your website fully updated.

The Value Of Backups

Are you backing up your files? Below are a few tips on why backups are so important.

• To keep your files safe and accessible at all times.
• Electrical power failures can be a computer’s worst nightmare. Power outages or failures can destroy a computer’s hard drive.
• Viruses picked up from the Internet can wipe out your computer overnight.
• Without backup files, you may never see that information again.
• Your hard drive has the possibility of failure. Hard drives do break down from time to time.
• Your operating system may fail and corrupt the data on your hard drive.


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Office 365 tips and tricks

Work together, better!
Team emails, calendars and meetings.

office 365

Create a team email alias in Outlook

• In the Outlook Web App, click Home | Options | Groups.
• Click New under Public Groups I Own.
• Under Display Name, type in your desired team alias.
• Under Membership add new members with the Add | Select Members buttons.
• Share your calendar with a group In the Calendar view, click Share | Share This Calendar. Enter the person or people you want to share with.


Promo of the week

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In light of recent hacks, you might be interested in the groups that pose the greatest threats to our cybersecurity.

Ironically, the hacker groups that you should be afraid of also have the least intimidating names. Deep Panda, Putter Panda, and Flying Kitten have been listed by security technology firm CrowdStrike as the groups to watch out for. While they may seem cuddly, these hackers continue to be some of the most dangerous in the world.

CrowdStrike is monitoring over 70 different hacker groups from around the world, most of which are based in China, Russia, and Iran. Many have ties to nationalist activist groups that are specifically seeking data on corporate America.

Here’s are a few of the most prominent hacker groups you should know about:

Deep Panda

CrowdStrike has deemed Deep Panda one of the most advanced Chinese cyber intrusion groups active today. This group has been known to target national security think tanks, infiltrating the defense and telecommunications industries of foreign countries. CrowdStrike believes the group operates on behalf of the Chinese government.

In early July, CrowdStike reported the group had shifted its sights to individuals with a tie to Iraq and the Middle East. That makes sense since China is Iraq’s largest foreign oil investor.

Putter Panda

Active since 2007, Putter Panda primarily targets the American and European defense and aerospace industries. The group is based out of Shanghai and has been linked to the Chinese military, due to the fact that the hackers reportedly work from buildings belonging to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) — the military of the People’s Republic of China.

In May, the US government filed a criminal indictment against members of Putter Panda (also known as PLA Unit 61398). China continued to deny its military had ever engaged in cyber theft. However, CrowdStrike subsequently released documents that purported to show evidence of Putter Panda’s illegal hacking, IT News reported.

Flying Kitten

This Iran-based hacker group has been on CrowdStrike’s radar since mid-January, and is best known for targeting multiple US-based defense contractors and Iranian political dissidents. Formerly known as the Ajax Security Team, this group has shifted its sights from hacktivism to cyber espionage and targeted attacks, InformationWeek has reported.

According to CrowdStrike, the group began targeting the defense industry earlier this year, using spearphishing emails and spoofed Microsoft Outlook Web Access pages to infiltrate the accounts of defense contractors. InformationWeek reports that the group also lured in Iranian dissidents using anti-censorship tools that had been infected with malware.

This targeting may imply that Flying Kitten is either an Iranian government entity or some private actor hired by Iran’s government to take down agitators.

What’s In Store

In its 2013 Global Threat Report, released in January, Crowdstrike predicted this kind of third-party targeting will continue, especially with events like the G20 Summit and midterm elections both coming up this November.

CrowdStrike CTO and co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch confirmed by phone that these groups, as well as others identified in the Global Threat Report — including Magic Kitten, Emissary Panda, and Deadeye Jackal —continue to pose an active cybersecurity threat.

These groups are also highly skilled and very sophisticated. “These are organized criminal groups that by some accounts have the same abilities that nation-states have,” said Marcus Christian, a criminal defense attorney at Mayer Brown, whose practice focuses on the intersection of cybersecurity and white collar crime. “They are very streamlined in terms of their responsibilities, and often take old exploits and use them in new ways.”

Read more:

Change your password anyhow!


Change Your Passwords!

What is Heartbleed and what makes it so dangerous?

Heartbleed is a flaw in the internet encryption where a bug could have exposed your login information and/or credit card information. This is being called one of the biggest security threats the internet has seen! It’s not a hack or a virus, but something as simple as a flaw in a layer of security. Think of locking all your windows and doors but forgetting about that one back window. Its left cracked. Without you even knowing it. This is all it takes for someone to gain access to your home. It’s the same with the internet. Something so small can wreak havoc on security and your passwords. If you use the same password on multiple sites, all it takes is for one site to be vulnerable for your password to no longer be safe.

So what is the flaw? Well basically it allows anyone on the internet to read the memory of the system that is “protected.” This means anything that you thought was safe may be open for an attacker to “eavesdrop” in on your internet activity.

Popular sites like Google (email), Yahoo, Pinterest, Etsy, Netflix, and many others were effected. They have all either taken, or are in the process of taking corrective action to protect your privacy and information. Just as a rule of thumb, it probably is a good time to reevaluate your passwords and make a change!



Here are some good rules for making your new password secure:

  • Make at least 8 characters long
  • Does not contain your name, company, or user name
  • Does not contain a complete word
  • Is significantly different from your other passwords
  • Contains characters from the following categories:
    1. Uppercase
    2. Lowercase
    3. Numbers
    4. Symbols
    5. Spaces

*Pro Tip: Try taking a sentence and turning it into a password such as, “I love 2 eat 3 tacos on Tuesdays!” You would then take the first letter of each word and make it a letter as part of your password. Il2e3toT! I used a capital for Tuesday and changed the word “two” to the number 2. I also started the sentence with a capital “I” as well. This may take some time to get used to but generates complex passwords that are nonetheless easy to remember.

We are getting close to the end of the road!

That’s right, the end of Windows XP support is fast approaching us. The end of the road is April 8th for anyone using Windows XP. Sure you can keep using it after the 8th, but as each day goes by, the Operating System gets more and more vulnerable. Computers have something known as updates and patches. Updates are pretty basic enough, but patches act much like how they sound. They patch holes. A patch is a piece of software that covers what are known as security “holes.” As hackers get smart and try to get into systems, they discover these “holes” in either the operating system, or some of the applications that connect to the internet. Often times the way a web browser interacts with certain sites or plugins (think of those pesky or annoying Java or Adobe updates); there is sometimes a small, unknown gap or “hole” between how they interact. Hackers stumble upon these as an easy way to get in. Think of locking your house up for the day, but leaving a window unlocked and cracked. A robber is going to open it and come right in. It’s the same thing with computers and certain ways they connect to programs and the internet. A patch is a way to close that window and lock it up.

Well…after April 8th, your computer will not be getting any more updates or patches. So any holes or open windows a hacker finds, will now remain open. Upgrading to either Windows 7 or Windows 8 will ensure you are protected from hacks, giving you peace of mind knowing that someone is actively looking for those “open windows” before a hacker does. With a few upgrade choices available, upgrading to a safer and more secure computing experience is easy. If you’re looking for help on upgrading or migrating your old pictures and files to a new system, no job is too small for our team of experienced techs.

Give us a call at 604-275-5100 for more info on how easy the move from XP really is! Also ask us about our great financing options for those who need to do a few more machines than they thought!