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Apple iOS10 Update Breaks PPTP VPN

Apple iOS10 Update Breaks PPTP VPN

Apple have now decided that iOS 10 will no longer support PPTP VPN connections. This means that anyone connecting to their iPhone/iPad hotspot, using PPTP, won’t be able to establish their VPN connection unless they use a different protocol.

Why won’t it connect anymore?

A protocol is a specific set of rules that the computers use to communicate. PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) is a specific type of protocol for a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection. While PPTP has been a default for many users, it has been described as an old, insecure protocol and if possible, users should try to use a different protocol.

Who does this affect?

A VPN connection allows a laptop or computer that is physically located outside of a network to act as if it is a part of the network. This allows people who work remotely to access data and resources that you would normally need to be in the office to access. So anyone who normally works remotely using an Apple device using iOS 10, will no longer be able to connect to their office network.

How do I change VPN protocol? 

Changing the VPN configuration setting to a different protocol on your iPhone or iPad is quite simple.

  1. Go to the Settings app
  2. Scroll down and click on General
  3. Scroll down and click on VPN
  4. Fill in the information

For a more in-depth guide click here.

However the network your VPN connects into must also support a different protocol. Talk to your company’s tech support to work out a solution that best works for you.

“Elvis has left the building!”

Mobility is becoming the new ‘trend’ in business practices and we’re seeing more companies switching from the traditional office cubicle space to the virtual office. In theory, this sounds great for employees. You can (somewhat) set your own hours to best suit your needs and still keep your job. What does this mean for keeping up appearances when you’re not physically in the building? And, as a manager, how do you manage your staff when you don’t know where they are?

We’ve compiled a list of tips that can help keep your team communication strong.

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Do you trust me?

First things, first – micromanaging your staff isn’t going to get you anywhere. Regardless of whether your team is in the office or working offsite, building trust and creating accountability is going to be the best way forward in a mobility-based business world. So, let down the barriers and trust a little!

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Get connected.

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Here at Grassroots IT, we communicate through a program called HipChat. It keeps us in regular communication with each other, especially if we are onsite at a client’s office. It means we are able to attend external meetings or work from home and still have a presence at the Garden Shed. What’s great about this chat feature is we can also keep a record of conversations so no communication is lost along the way.

 

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Atlassian Hipchat

 

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Stop. Collaborate and listen.

 

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With the risk of sounding like a broken record, there are plenty of ways to collaborate on team projects without being in the same room. Cloud services like OneDrive for Business and Soonr are really awesome tools that not only let you securely store your company files, but also allow you to collaborate on the same documents. What’s more, these services are also available on mobile devices, so you could be waiting in an airport for your flight and working at the same time!

 

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SoonrDropboxOneDrive

 

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Socialise, socialise, socialise.

 

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It’s important to our culture that we all get along with each other. Regular social gatherings are a great way to keep in contact and build stronger relationships amongst older and newer employees, especially if we’re not all in the office at the same time. Organising a social event doesn’t have to be hard. A barbecue every few months can be a great way to bring the team back together without the pressure of deadlines hanging over everyone’s heads. Anything for a happy team, right? 😉

 

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winding back the clock

Winding back the clock

We all know that technology is a rapidly changing industry and we are constantly being told we need to keep up. Today, I want to do something different. I want to take the time to go through 10 of my favourite Grassroots IT blog posts. I’ve raided the library and chosen the ones I think are still relevant and useful to you. These are the ones you may have forgotten about, or may have never read, but they might just be coming to you at the right time.

So. Sit back. Relax. Grab that mid morning coffee and have a read. All below for your reading pleasure.

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How to get the most out of your IT support team

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How to get the best from your IT Support Team

It’s fair to say that you’ve invested a lot in your IT support team. If you have an IT support team in house, then you’ve spent time and money recruiting them, training them, and developing them with the hard and soft skills necessary to perform at a high standard. You’ve spent money on computers, software, desks, all sorts of gadgets you may not understand, and of course plain old (but not plain cheap) floor space in your office.

Keep reading here!

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The 3 things every business owner needs to know about their backups

 

Brisbane and large parts of Queensland were hit recently by Tropical Cyclone Marcia, with extensive damage and destruction left in its wake. Thankfully none of our clients across greater Queensland suffered any real damage, and by the time the weather reached Brisbane, although it brought with it a heap of rain, there was no real damage or destruction beyond some minor flooding.

Keep reading here!

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Need to know about your backups

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How to Identify Malicious Phishing

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How to identify a potentially malicious phishing email

There’s a lot of risk these days with emails arriving in your inbox, spam that’s essentially carrying some sort of a malicious payload. It’s dangerous in the sense that it will potentially risk installing some bad software or virus or malware … something like that on your computer.

Keep reading here!

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Announcing our free downloadable BYOD Policy Template

The Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend is well and truly here to stay, with employees pretty much expecting these days to be able to bring their own personal choice of mobile device to work with them, and use it to access corporate data and systems, usually starting with email.

Keep reading here!

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BYOD Policy

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How Hipchat can solve your internal communication problems

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How HipChat solved our internal communication problems

Our team cover various functions such as technical support, administration, finance and marketing, and just like more and more businesses don’t necessarily all work from the office, at least not at the same time. It’s normal for us to have at least one or two people working remotely at any one time, either from home, or from a client site.

Keep reading here!

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Going to ProBlogger? Here are our top travel tech tips.

The tickets are booked, clothes are in the suitcase and we’re humming the tune of “Leaving on a Jet Plane” (actually we’ll be driving, but you know). But what about the gadgets, widgets, and other technology to make life a little easier whilst in transit? We asked some tech-savvy business travellers what their top travel tech tips.

Keep reading here!

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Top 3 tips to reducing your IT costs

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Top 3 Tips to Reduce IT Costs

Years of IT consulting have taught me where and how people spend unnecessary money on IT and lose their competitive edge. My goal with Grassroots IT is to help small to medium businesses get the most value from their technology investment. Here are three simple tips that can help you reduce IT costs and take charge of your technology today.

Keep reading here!

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Is Your IT Health Check up to Date?

You see, while technology appears to be solving all of our problems, they still suffer from some of their own. With a little forethought and a little TLC, there are ways and means to minimise the impact when technology does fail. There are also ways to improve their function and monitor their health. Simple checks on servers and network systems can save you much time and money in the long run.

Keep reading here!

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Is your IT health check up to date

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how we collect client feedback

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How we collect Client Feedback

From the day we opened the doors at Grassroots IT over 10 years ago we have had a passionate focus on our clients, and how we can best help “keep the light green” for them, so they can focus on growing their business and not be held back by technology problems. We obviously need certain technical skills to help deliver on this, but just as importantly we need to effectively engage with the people involved. Thus our tagline – “IT Help for Humans”.

Keep reading here!

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How to successfully deal with IT problems

Technology can be an amazingly powerful business enabler, pretty much everyone agrees on that point. But it can also be bloody frustrating at times. Its ok, I get it. Even though we’re the experts it happens to us too. In fact not only do we get to deal with our own frustrations with IT, we also get to deal with our clients annoying IT problems!

Keep reading here!

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How to successfully deal with IT problems

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Crafting the perfect Web Marketing Strategy with Jon Hollenberg

A good web marketing strategy doesn’t have to be hard, in fact, it can be quite simple. You’ve just got to know where to start. Our good friend and digital expert, Jon Hollenberg from Five by Five, answered all our questions and gave us some really awesome and useful tips to get us crafting the perfect web marketing strategy.  You can watch the webinar below and to make sure you get all the notes, they’re all below for your reading pleasure.

Crafting the perfect Web Marketing Strategy from Grassroots IT on Vimeo.

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5 elements of a high performing website

 

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Crafting the perfect Web Marketing Strategy (5)

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When someone comes to your website, we want to give them the best possible chance of getting in touch. So what should your website look like at first glance?

From a design perspective, this is what you should be doing with your website:

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  • Phone number top right hand corner of each page
  • Be really clear on what you do in the headline
  • Video on the homepage
  • Benefit ridden copy
  • Testimonials
  • Communicate proof and build trust through logos
  • Capture their details
  • Use guarantees
  • Team members photos & videos
  • Load time

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Crafting the perfect Web Marketing Strategy (1)

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Mobiles are generating upwards of 60-70% of traffic, so you should be thinking of a mobile first approach. Ask yourself if your website has a mobile responsive design ? Test it.

Grab your phone and look it up. Is it easy to read? Are the web forms easy to fill out on your phone?

You can search “Google mobile friendly test” and use that as a guide to know exactly what your website needs to be mobile responsive.

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Crafting the perfect Web Marketing Strategy (6)

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Content is King.

Creating and sharing your own content can lead to online traction. Using good quality content can build your brand image and brings leads directly to your website.

Content ideas:

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  • Blog posts
  • How to videos
  • FAQs
  • Product Reviews
  • Industry News
  • Lists

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Crafting the perfect Web Marketing Strategy (7)

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You want some level of interaction with your audience. You want contact details to continue the conversation and ideally in an automotive fashion bringing maximum leverage for you.

Here are some ideas:

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  • Give away something valuable
  • Opt-in
  • Build a list
  • Build a quiz

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Crafting the perfect Web Marketing Strategy (8)

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Everyone has a story to tell. Tell your audience why you get out of bed everyday and do what you do. There is a power to telling a story through your website because it builds an intimate, personal connection with your audience, before ever meeting them in person.

Examples of how you can tell your story:

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  • https://www.nqtc.com.au/
  • https://www.gallantplumbing.com.au/
  • https://www.missowealth.com/
  • https://www.tardisadvice.com.au/
  • https://www.justincoulson.com/

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Can’t get enough of Jon? Neither can we!

Listen to our podcast with Jon here.

Learn how to create a brilliant website with Jon here.

Visit Five by Five’s website and contact Jon here.

Get a copy of Jon’s book, Love at first site: How to build the website of your dreams, here.

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Outlook 2016 Productivity Hacks

Last month we successfully held our Outlook 2016 Productivity Hacks webinar. The webinar was designed to help everyday users of Outlook 2016 expand upon basic skills and use Outlook more efficiently. The webinar expanded on our previous blog post Getting the most from Microsoft Office 365.

We have provided you with a link to replay our webinar. Enjoy!

Outlook 2016 Productivity Power Tips from Grassroots IT on Vimeo.

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Skype Meetings in Outlook

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      • Schedule a Skype Meeting through Outlook
      • “Meeting Options” button lets you fine tune your meeting

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Auto Responders

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      • Auto Responders are a powerful way of keeping others informed when you won’t be responding to email as usual
      • Rules – EG: forward specific emails to a co-worked for action in your absence

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Outlook Rules and Automation

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Outlook Rules and Automation can do some amazing stuff to help streamline and automate parts of your workflow

      • Basic rules can move emails between folders based on simple criteria
      • More advanced rules can be triggered by a wide range of conditions
      • Once triggered a rule can execute a number of actions
      • Define any exceptions to the rule

Idea:- Play the Darth Vader theme song when you receive an email from your boss

Idea:- Print all attachments from an email then file the email automatically

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Attaching Files

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      • The new way of adding attachments to an email automatically shows the last few documents that you have worked with

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Quick Steps

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      • Quick Steps can provide a super useful way of executing frequently used actions, such as moving an email to another folder

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Clutter

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      • Helps you filter low-priority email, saving time for your most important messages.
      • The email server keeps track of the email you read and the ones you don’t.
      • Once you turn it on, Clutter is automatic. As new email comes in, it takes messages you’re most likely to ignore and puts them into the “Clutter” folder.
      • The more you use it, the better it gets.
      • If you find Clutter isn’t for you, you can turn it off.

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Outlook Mobile

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      • The new and improved Outlook app unifies your email, calendars, cloud storage and contacts, so it’s easier to get things done.
      • Outlook Mobile App has long provided similar functionality to clutter, although here it’s called your Focused Inbox.
      • Manage emails with simple swipe gestures and share availability with your contacts effortlessly on the new Outlook app.
      • Email signatures will not be copied over, but you can create your own text signature.

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Filter your Inbox

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      • Filter your inbox by unread emails, important emails or even create your own filter

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BCC a Meeting Invite

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      • Add a contact to an existing meeting without notifying the current attendees.

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Quick Parts

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      • Quick Parts for standardised blocks of text
      • New Email > Highlight Text > Insert > Quick Parts > Save Selection to Gallery

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Delayed Delivery

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      • Schedule emails to be sent when it is convenient for you

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New Search Folder

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      • Will show emails that match a certain criteria that you have specified
      • Will show emails in all your folders not just your inbox

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Task Bar Shortcuts

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      • Right-click task bar to create new email, appointment, etc

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Conditional Formatting

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      • View > View Settings > Conditional Formatting
      • Apply conditional formatting to emails in your inbox
      • Useful for VIP, Projects, etc

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Clipboard

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      • New Email will appear simply but hitting Control-V and pasting the content from your clipboard.
      • This works for new Calendar items

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Desktop Notifications

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      • Turn off desktop notifications, then on for VIP using a Rule

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Email Templates

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      • Email Templates. File > Save As > Outlook Template

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Favourites Folder

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      • Pin folders to ‘Favorites’

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Setting Appointments

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      • Create appointment date using natural language. eg: Next Monday

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For further information on setting an appointment in Outlook read our blog Sending the perfect Outlook Meeting Invite.

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How secure is your Cyber Security?

Do you have a good grasp on Cyber Security and how it affects your business? Or do you leave it to someone else to worry about, such as a manager or your IT guy?

On The Small Business Technology Show, we spoke to Dr Sally Ernst who is an expert in the area of cyber security and has written the book ‘Gotcha! Your Little Black Book to a Safer E-xperience‘. Her book is aimed at business owners who are short on time but want to be cyber safe. Our recent interview with Dr Sally on the podcast explains why you need to have a good understanding of cyber security and how it can affect your business, and here is a quick summary of the information we discussed.

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Dr Sally’s thoughts on cyber security:

The need now is to get people engaged in cyber security, and this includes business owners. A lot of businesses rely on blissful ignorance that their internal IT guy (or girl) is going to make sure everything is safe and secure. The reality is that it is not just one person’s responsibility to be working towards being less cyber insecure. There is a need for a mindset shift towards everyone being personally accountable.

It is important to have an understanding what your cyber security is and where it is. Many businesses are not even consuming the basic security that already exists. There is no excuse at a corporate level not to be operating under the best practices and frameworks.

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Cyber security implementation:

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Here are Dr Sally’s five tips to get you cyber safe and secure:

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  • Start small and start somewhere
  • Understand where your information functionality is
  • Know where all your information is stored
  • Prioritise how to start protecting it
  • Beware of Shadow IT

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(For more information on Shadow IT, click here)

Examples of security breach and practices to avoid them:

It’s important to understand what type of security breaches could occur and to think ahead to avoid any occurring. Here are some examples Dr Sally has shared with us.

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  • It’s not just as simple as knowing your email is with Microsoft Outlook and banking is with your banking provider. They’re not isolated. In fact, they are all very much interconnected.
  • Think on a larger scale – who has access to your network?
  • Email providers use an authentication as a backup for your password, like sending a text to your mobile. If you’re mobile is breached, then you only have one level of security.

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If you would like more information on cyber security click this link to hear the rest of our chat with Dr Sally.

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Setting Out-of-Office message on shared mailboxes

A shared mailbox works the same way as a normal email account, the only difference is it is managed by several people. It allows a group of users to view/send emails in one mailbox, freeing up space in your personal mailbox.

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With one clearly defined email address for business use, a single copy of the email is stored as opposed to multiple copies when email lists are used. Shared mailboxes are convenient for organising, controlling and archiving, and allows members who have recently joined the list to catch up on previous emails.

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One of the biggest questions we get asked around major holidays is how to set an Out of Office (OOF) message on a shared mailbox in Office 365, which is quickly being adopted by a number of our clients as their preferred email system.

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The first step to setting the OOF is ensuring you have access to the shared mailbox. If you need access, simply ask us to add the permission.

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When you have access to the shared mailbox the next step is to login to your Office 365 mailbox, go to https://outlook.office365.com and login with your username and password.

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Once you are logged in, click on the top right of the screen where your user picture is located and select Open another mailbox.

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A popup will appear on the screen where you can enter the name of the shared mailbox. Click search directory and Office 365 will search for matching names. Select the name required and click open. A new window will open for the shared mailbox.

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The next step is to click on the cog again, this is located in the top right of the screen. Then select Automatic replies.

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From here, click the radio button send automatic replies. You will now be able to set the automatic reply with the date and time range that will go to your internal email addresses.

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If the shared mailbox receives emails from outside of your organisation, set the message (or a different message) for senders outside your organisation as well.

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Click Ok at the top of the screen to apply the settings.

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Why not have a little fun when setting your message? Ben recently took a week off with his family and his Out of Office message was:

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Hi,

Thanks for your email.

I’ve been kidnapped by my family and am being held hostage in a beach side apartment. I’m being force fed coffee every morning while being made to read the newspapers. The days are a constant labour of walking on the beach, digging holes in the sand (I’m unclear on their intended purpose, but it worries me) with occasional sessions of solitary confinement locked in a room and made to ‘nap’. In the evenings I’m forced to consume cheese and wine and made to watch the sunset. It’s truly horrible. I would much rather be at the office replying to your email, but as yet have been unable to escape my captors. As soon as I manage to do so (or they take mercy on me and release me) yours will be the first message I reply to, I promise.

I have heard whispers that my office is currently negotiating for my release, hopeful of having me back safely by Monday 25th January. For an update on how negotiations are progressing you can contact my office on 1300 554 138 or help@grassrootsit.com.au.

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Do not upgrade to windows 10 if you are using handitax or sage handisoft software

Do you use HandiTax? Read this before upgrading to Windows 10

Proceed with Caution #windows10

Sage Handisoft have recently released a warning to its users that their software will not work with Windows 10 at this stage.

The announcement reads:

“As a HandiTax user you would be aware that the ATO uses CISCO VPN software to receive and send ELS transmissions, securely. The ATO has advised that the CISCO VPN software is not compatible with Windows 10. That being the case, if you upgrade to Windows 10, HandiTax 2015 would not be able to lodge returns or receive ELS reports. In order to continue using the ELS functionality, we recommend that you do not upgrade to Windows 10.

For more information, please click on the ATO link below:

https://lets-talk.ato.gov.au/swdcommunity/news_feed/windows-10-technical-issues

Moving forward with the SBR functionality

We are making great progress in building the SBR functionality into HandiTax. These changes will provide benefits such as immediate processing of client updates and other returns at the time of lodgment. The initial pilot of HandiTax with SBR functionality is scheduled for later this year. We look forward to sharing this with you.

Read more about SBR on our Business Blog by clicking on the link below:

https://blog.sagehandisoft.com.au/els2sbr-project-update-july-2015/

If you have already upgraded to Windows 10 and you have concerns over how this will affect your HandiTax software please don’t hesitate to call us at the Garden Shed 1300 554 138.

Want to keep up-to-date with the latest on Windows 10 and a whole range of office technology productivity tips and tricks that click the button below to stay informed.

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