Don’t forget your reminders

This is too easy to forget

The reminderMost of us use calendars to add events that we need to remember. Some of us may write things down on sticky notes and leave them around so we don’t forget. If you use Gmail for your email service, there is another great way to set up reminders – and it’s free.  Don’t have Gmail? It’s easy to set up a free, personal account at gmail.com.

Within Gmail you have access to Google Docs. Google Docs has a great free add-on called “Add Reminders”. Once you have signed into your Gmail account and switch over to your Docs page you can download and install this free add-on. Once installed, just open a new spreadsheet file and give it a name, like “Reminders”. Then go to the Add-on button and choose your newly downloaded add-on. It is very easy to use and will all but walk you through setting up reminders. Just put in the email address, task, and date then save the file. Once setup, it will  automatically email you or anyone you choose a reminder that a particular task is about to be due.

Never forget about where you stuck that sticky note is or to look at your calendar and still be aware of an upcoming task. You may even be like me and like, and use multiple reminders for important dates like anniversaries which will help avoid getting into trouble that could result in sleeping on the couch.
I hope you have found this helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to post them below. Also, make sure you follow and friend us through social media at Twitter or Facebook.

Ryan Ash

 

 

Ryan Ash
Network Consultant
ryan.ash@customsystems.com

 

 

 

©Custom Systems Corporation 2016

 

Unlimited Gmail Addresses for Inbox Organizing

Did you know you can use unlimited email addresses in your Gmail account? I would be willing to bet a lot of you out there have a Gmail account.  In my opinion, Google’s Gmail is the best email client you can have.  Like so many other email providers, Gmail is free to sign up for and use.  It has many features that can be very helpful.  One of those features is the ability to use an unlimited number of email address for yourself.  I know this sounds far fetched but it’s true.  Let me explain.

By adding punctuation, like a period or plus sign anywhere in the front part of your address you can create an additional email address for your inbox.  The front part is anything in front of the @ sign.  By adding a period it will change your email address just enough that you can use a filter to move messages to that email address into folders or even directly to the trash. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

john.doe@gmail.com works just the same as johndoe@gmail.com. What’s more, you can add a plus sign and any word before the @ sign (e.g. johndoe+mostlikelyspam@gmail.com) and messages will still be sent to your inbox.

Now you may be asking, “Why in the world do I care that I can have unlimited email addresses”?  Well, the answer to that is simple.  Here are a few reasons why this can be a good thing.

The next time you sign up for a newsletter or a website makes you enter in your email address, use an address like johndoe+spam@gmail.com. That way, you can filter out everything sent to this address to a low-priority label or folder. There are a couple of different ways that Gmail allows you to mark messages as unimportant, or categorize them.

Depending on how in depth you would want to go, you could even add a specific word for everything you sign up for: johndoe+website1@gmail.com for example. This might eventually become more trouble than its worth, but it does give you the ability to know how many emails a certain provider is sending you or even if they are selling your email address.  You can also set up filters to send all of a particular email directly to a specific folder or straight to the trash.

There are many ways you can use this filtering to help keep your inbox more organized. I have only outlined a few, but the sky truly is the limit.

I hope you have found this interesting. If you’ve found another way this can be useful, let us know on one of our social media channels such as Twitter or Facebook.
Ryan Ash

 

Ryan Ash
Network Consultant
ryan.ash@customsystems.com

©Custom Systems Corporation 2015

 

Securing Microsoft Exchange Email Servers

Your Microsoft Exchange Email Server needs to do four things, and do them well:

  1. Receive email,
  2. Send email,
  3. Provide access to your remote users, and
  4. Do steps 1 through 3 – securely.

Steps 1 and 2 are a part of the setup process, but you cannot just install a new Microsoft Exchange Server and expect it to work out-of-the-box.  Every install requires a few adjustments, but for the most part steps 1 and 2 are pretty straight forward.  What about steps 3 and 4?  Well, they require purchasing and installing an SSL Certificate from a third-party provider, like GoDaddy.

This blog post should be called “Banging the Drum for GoDaddy SSL Certificates”.  I know there are plenty of other (and cheaper) Exchange SSL Certificate providers out there, and I’ve used a few of them.  But in this post the other guys will remain nameless to protect the guilty.  We’ve been using GoDaddy SSL Certificates to secure our customer’s Exchange Servers for several years, and of the very few issues I’ve had, they were due to a slight misstep on my end.  GoDaddy’s Technical Support is top notch!  They have always been quick to respond to my questions, they understand what I’m looking for, and have a solution in a matter of minutes.

From start to finish, installing and implementing a new Secure SSL Certificate on your Exchange Server can be quick and easy.  Make your Exchange Servers more secure today with help from Custom Systems (and an assist from GoDaddy, of course.)

ChaseChase Reitter
Network Consultant
Chase.Reitter@CustomSystemsCorp.com

 

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Custom Systems Corporation

Cloud-Based Apps vs Local Servers

I get a lot of questions about Cloud computing.  So today we are going to discuss a few of the differences between keeping your applications and files on local servers vs. moving to the Cloud.  We will cover some of the advantages and disadvantages of both, as well as examine my own bias.  We may even discover that I’m (GASP) wrong.  Sound like fun?  Ready?  Here we go!

What is Cloud?

Well, it’s not in the Stratosphere (though THAT would be especially cool!).  Cloud computing usually refers to a service that you pay to store data for you.  Everything from email, databases and files to accounting software can be Cloud based.  Advantage?  No servers to manage or  maintain.  No backups to check, no tapes to change.  Just sign the check on time, and it’s all taken care of for you.

This ain’t your Dad’s Cadillac, er, Cloud.

Cloud computing has been around since the dawn of the interwebs.  Why it’s just becoming a buzzword now is beyond me, but there it is.  Chances are, your bank hasn’t stored your account information in their local branch office in over a decade.  Instead, they pay a hosted service to provide the disk space and backups they need.  Banks used to dial into the data center at a specific interval each day, update any changes and check for problems.  It was painstakingly slow, but it kept your information safe.  Fast forward to today:  Even your grandmother is uploading pictures to Facebook or to DropBox.  Both are cloud.

So is Cloud better?

Well, it depends.  Internet services keep getting faster and more reliable.  So does server hardware.  Having servers in my office means that I get to manage them.  If there is ever a problem, it’s a short walk down the hallway, and I can troubleshoot in a matter of minutes.  Hardware can easily be replaced or upgraded as needed.  Servers have lights that blink, fans that whir, and hard drives that hum in perfect harmony.   And should one of them get out of tune, I can fix it.  If my data is in the Cloud, I have to rely on someone else to keep an eye on their servers.

In some scenarios, I suggest a hybrid of both on-site servers and a Cloud-based solution.  For a medium-size business, this is often the best of both worlds.  For example, keep your data on an in-house file server so you have local, secure access to your information; but use a hosted solution for email.  Email servers take a lot of work and are difficult to manage.  While I’m more than happy to take care of your email server, using a hosted email option may be the most cost-effective for your organization.

Give us a call today, and we can help find the best solution for your business!

Full disclosure:  Custom Systems uses Office365 to host our email and file services.  This article was written on my laptop, but then stored on a hosted SharePoint server for the editor to review and fix my spelling and grammar.

ChaseChase Reitter
Network Consultant
Custom Systems Corporation
Chase.Reitter@CustomSystemsCorp.com

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Custom Systems Corporation