Handy Keyboard Shortcuts

From the tech team at iceConnect, to anyone sat at a desk, struggling to find the document they minimised ten minutes ago, here are a few handy keyboard shortcuts we deemed the most necessary to know.

Ctrl + ‘S’ = Save document

Ctrl + ‘C’ = Copy text

Ctrl + ‘V’ = Paste text

Ctrl + ‘X’ = Cut text

Ctrl + ‘Z’ = Undo action

Ctrl + ‘Y’ = Redo action

Ctrl + ‘B’ = Make text bold

Ctrl + ‘I’ = Italics

Ctrl + ‘U’ = Underline text

Ctrl + F = Find word

Shift + Arrow keys = Highlight text

Windows key + ‘L’ = Lock computer

Windows key + comma = Peek at desktop

Windows key + ‘T’ = Look through apps on task bar

Windows key + arrow keys = Change window size

Windows key + ‘D’ = Minimises everything to show desktop and again to bring everything back up

Windows key + Shift + ‘S’ = Screenshot part of screen

Shift + Windows key + Left & Right arrows = Move window to another monitor (multiple screens)

Shift + Windows key + Up & Down arrows = Minimise and close window

Alt + Tab = Quickly switch between windows – helpful to find pop up windows

Top 5 IT essentials for startups

When starting a business, being able to track your growth accurately and protect your ideas and business plans is important. Ninety percent of all start-ups fail within the first year. You should optimise every cog in the machine that contributes to the smooth take off of your business and lands you in that tenth percentile.  

Whatever sector you find yourself in, it is highly unlikely you won’t require some sort of IT or tech to get you started. As well as the standard smart phone and emails, here are five IT essentials that will ensure any hiccups in the road, won’t be because of the tech.   

1. Computers (obviously)

You’ll need a devise to carry out basic business such as accessing the internet, emailing, compiling reports, etc.

While a phone is handy and can do nearly everything a computer can, sometimes when doing real work you need a bigger screen and the ability to type – so consider portability.  

Will you need to access files and emails from remote locations or on-the-go?

If your start-up hasn’t established offices and a permanent working space with monitors and desktops, laptops and tablets are key.

Consider a screen size that works for you. Do you carry bags that will fit larger laptops? Do you need a bigger screen to see detailed images? What sort of job do you have and what features do you require from the device? Are you in a creative field and need touch screen or boosted graphics? Will any portable device with Microsoft Office, suffice?

All to take into account when choosing your brand and size.

As you’re presumably trying to spend money smartly, you don’t have to go for the premium, high range products. Having said this don’t cheap out and opt for unreliable tech with a short life span. Mid-range if perfect for new companies. As you grow and learn what best suites the needs of the business you may find changes with your devices need to be made or replacements and upgrades. It will be the safe option as you haven’t spent a small fortune on a laptop that you decide isn’t for you after a year and you haven’t jeopardised your work with shoddy equipment.

2. Online Storage

More often than not, it is easier and more efficient to store files and important information onto some sort of cloud. The unpredictability of saving crucial documents onto physical devices – with an array of scenarios in which you could lose or break them, is too risky. With all the options on offer there’s no reason not to utilise online storage. It is cost effective and saves physical space.

With apps and sites such as Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud files can be instantly backed up and accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. This eliminates the need to rummage through your belongings for the correct USB and the most recent version of a file that you’ve saved five times.

3. Security

With sensitive information and everything you use to track your company’s operations, all stored on a tech device, imagine the catastrophe when you lose it all to a silly virus.

Antivirus software is like an umbrella in the rain. Even if you don’t have a start-up, protecting your device from a virus is just good sense

4. Phone Systems

If your business is customer/client focused, a primary method of communication with them can be via telephone. This can be a tricky process to keep track of and analyse if you don’t have the correct system in place to monitor it.

You mightn’t have ever thought to use your phone line traffic to your advantage and determine key information about your clientele, but in can prove extremely useful in your marketing strategy going forward.

A comprehensive system can track the statistics and figures of your phone lines and offer you reports and insights into how your customer operates. With this information you can inform your staff and alter your business operations to better cater to the needs of the customer. This will help you grow and be seen as a reliable and professional contender in your field of work.

5. Emails

While free emails are great for personal, every-day use, consider investing in an email account provider. Having your company name in the address (johnsmith@companyname.com) gives you the platform to come across as more organised and professional when presented to customers.

What is Net Neutrality?

What is it?

Network neutrality – or ‘net’ for short, is the concept that internet service providers (ISPs) should not charge users to access platforms on the web differently based on user, content, website, platform, application, type of equipment, or method of communication.

Currently in the USA there are plans for ISPs to begin charging users to use different networks and online platforms, such as Netflix and WhatsApp, to increase the efficiency and line speeds at which they are using them.

Websites and companies will have to pay ISPs premiums to allow them to grant access to potential site visitors, giving an edge to bigger companies with more power and money.

The impartiality of this method could affect hundreds of thousands of businesses without the funds to pay ISPs. It will act as a form of censorship, dictated by companies already in good financial standing or with strong partnerships with other mega giants.

Any companies offering similar services, such as online video streamers – Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, many also have influence over several other popular sites depending on existing alliances and deals.

The future landscape of the world wide web could soon look like this;

First slower speeds:

Source: arstechnica.com, 2017

Packages you pay for because your service is slow:

Source: indivisible.org, 2019

Once you’ve paid for a subscription plan that doesn’t cover the website you’re on:

Source: stories.avvo.com, 2017

Proposals for net neutrality were repealed towards the end of 2017 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and was officially ruled out on June 11 2018.  

The issues that came into question were; who would regulate the broadband companies and ensure they weren’t abusing their powers as gatekeepers of the internet, and not favour their own content over a competitor’s?

A Republican-led FCC was stripped of its authority after Chairman, Ajit Pai abolished these old rules safeguarding net neutrality.

Currently, there is a wait for the appeal courts decision as to whether this move was legal and the fate of net neutrality.

What does it mean for me?

For now, this issue is contained mainly to the USA, with little effect on external nations like the UK. For the States, it means higher prices for have ease of access to everyday sites like Facebook and even WhatsApp. It also means the content being distributed to different factions in society will be censored and the elite can easily dictate, what those less able to pay for freedom on the web, are exposed to.

If net neutrality laws eventually fall through and the new monetisation of the internet catches on, it is highly likely the concept with spread globally too.

Secret Threats of Public WiFi

No matter where you travel to these days, you’re destined to never be left without a means of contact, with the help of public wi-fi hotspots. Free access internet is now available at nearly every shopping centre, train station, airport, major tourist attraction and even on populated streets. The temptation, to save your monthly data allowance in exchange for simply handing over your email address and full name, seems harmless, right?

Unbeknownst to too many people, by connecting to these open networks you are letting hackers know you’re open for business. By accessing emails and online banking, you have inadvertently marked yourself as a target and made all your sensitive information, vulnerable. 

Here’s How

‘Man in the Middle’ attacks

This is when someone within range of the hotspot reach is essentially eavesdropping on your online activity. They are able to intercept the flow of information you’re sending between your device and the internet service.

Unencrypted networks

The information that flows from device to wireless router should be in the form of a secret code, meaning sensitive information cannot be read. Most routers are unencrypted until set up by IT professionals who know how to encrypt it, so anyone who uses this router is protected by this private network. Public and unencrypted networks deliberately set up by hackers don’t enable this safety feature so that they can survey your activity from afar.

Malicious hotspots

Cyber criminals will set up fake hotspots named similarly to reputable businesses. They will be branded and made to look legitimate, the same way in which, BT for example has their access pages displayed. These rogue hotspots then act as a direct portal for criminals to peer into your sensitive information and give them to platform to use it anyway they see fit. When doing so they can see which web pages you visited, any log in information you submitted and hack any accounts.

Tips for staying safe:

Do

  • Turn wifi off when you’re not using it
  • Log out of accounts when done
  • Disable Bluetooth and file sharing
  • Only use web search

Don’t

  • Allow auto-connect
  • Access apps with sensitive information such as online banking/health records
  • Fill in credentials like username/password