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Category Archives: Email

Find the mail you want in Gmail

How many times have you looked through your inbox for a specific email or file and ended up grumpy because you couldn’t find it? With hundreds or thousands of emails plus a certain number of attached files stored up in your inbox these days, sorting through them can be a hassle. Here are 6 search operators from Gmail that will help you locate what you need in no time.

1. Where did I put that file?

Looking for a file your colleagues sent you ages ago? Don’t remember the file’s specific name but you do recall some keywords? That’s a good start. Simply type a keyword after filename: to search for a particular file. For example, you can typefilename: minutes to search for a file named meeting minutes. Don’t even remember a part of the name but know what type of file it is? Then you can also use the same search operator to search for a file type. For example, typefilename: doc to search for document files.

2. CC or BCC

There are times when you want to narrow down the recipients: whether they are direct, carbon copy (cc), or blind carbon copy (bcc) receivers. The basic “To” search boxes are proven to be useless in this case. What you can do to be more specific is to type cc: or bcc: followed by the recipients’ names or email addresses. For example, instead of typing “anna” in the “To” search box, you can type cc: anna to look for email sent to Anna as a carbon copy (cc) only. Note that you won’t be able to find messages that you received on bcc.

3. Search by time period

You don’t have to remember the exact dates to be able to search for a specific email. With the search operators before: or after:, you can just type the period when the email is sent or received. Don’t forget to use the date format yyyy/mm/dd, otherwise, Gmail wouldn’t get it. By typing after: 2016/07/01before: 2016/07/15, Gmail will look for emails sent or received between July 1, 2016 and July 15, 2016.

4. Search for read, unread, or starred messages

You can search for messages that are read, unread, or starred by using is:read,is:unread, is:starred. By typing is:read is:starred from:Anna you are searching for messages from Anna that have been read and marked with a star. If you have more than one type of stars (or if you don’t, we suggest you learn how to manage your emails with Gmail’s stars option), you can type has:green-star to search for messages marked with that color.

5. Don’t ignore Spam or Trash

Whether using the simple search box or search operators suggested above, both ignore emails that are in Spam or Trash box. And from time to time, important emails can mistakably be thrown into Trash box for some unknown reasons. Usein:anywhere to look everywhere in your inbox, including those two places, to make sure that no important email has slipped through.

6. Look in the chat box too

We all hate it when our colleagues send important files or message via a chat box. That makes it difficult when searching for them later. But by typing is:chatfollowed by keywords or name of the person you’re communicating with, you can actually search for messages or files in the chat log. Next time you can tell your colleagues to send vital files or information via proper email instead. But if that still doesn’t work, now you know how to help yourself.

When it comes to managing and sorting through confidential emails in your inbox, no one can do it besides you. Yet there are still the matters of database management and security to take into consideration. Why not outsource those issues to us and enjoy a more carefree communication with your colleagues and customers? Call us today to see what our experts can do for you.

Spot a Fake Email

Three Ransomware outbreaks are happening right now:
Australia Post, Paypal and Cryptowall Attachment.

Here is 5 ways to spot a Fake Email

Be very aware of Fake Emails!

The spam (distributing Cryptowall 4) is using an obfuscated JavaScript attachment.

The obfuscated JavaScript downloads malicious content from URLs such as:
hxxp://dertinyanl.com/img/script.php?tup1.jpg

hxxp://yalcingulten.com/dbsys.php

At the present we have seen 85 fake Australia Post websites (the list is still growing):
hxxp://adventuredmc.com/JXZ9TMtUgiI/VvqyrjDo.php

hxxp://wilanowski.net/uUJTW/9oyONj.php

We advise users:

  • Not to enter Captcha codes to any postal tracking site
  • Not to open invoice / refund attachments from email (Cryptowall)

Be especially careful about anything purporting to be a parcel notification or Australia Post (use the phone to call Australia Post and confirm any such email).

27-01-2016-Ransomware-Screen

5 Ways to spot a Fake Email:

Unfortunately in today’s world, scammers are coming at us from all angles to try and trick us to get us to part with our hard earned money. We all need to be vigilant in protecting ourselves online. If you aren’t paying attention—even if you know what to look for—they can get you.

There are numerous ways to detect fake sites or emails, phishing, etc.
Here are 5 you should know about:

27-01-2016-Ransomware-Screen

If you have any questions regarding how to protect your organisation against Ransomware,
Fake Email, Phishing or other Security issues, please do not hesitate to contact us.

For more information please contact the Black Knight IT Helpdesk

Other methods of logging tickets still are available- including our phone support line on (07) 3806 6717, web portal (here) or by emailing the helpdesk directly at helpdesk@blackknight.net.au.

Phone: (07) 3806 6727 | Web: www.blackknight.net.au | Email: helpdesk@blackknight.net.au

For IT technology status, news and updates follow us on Twitter and Facebook

 

The Ashley Madison hack and your company

You’re probably all too aware of the Ashley Madison hack by now. Maybe you are closely following the names and people involved, perhaps you don’t care or most likely you are somewhere in the middle. No matter where you find yourself standing on this issue, it should be used as a valuable learning tool for your company’s security. Here are three lessons your business can take away from the scandal.

1. Make sure your company’s security data is actually secure

You probably tell clients their information is secure, but just about every company makes that claim. One of the biggest mistakes made by Ashley Madison was the failure to know if its data was truly secure. The company publically lauded its security, but it now seems like those claims were rather hollow. In fact, it appears as if no one at Ashley Madison knew the potential for a Ashley Madison hack or a whole lot about its security practices until it was too late.

Don’t simply pass off your business’s security to the IT department. Being involved will allow you to see how it works. You don’t need to be a tech expert to understand how your data is being secured. Your security provider, whether it be in-house or via a managed services provider, should be able to explain security practices in layman’s terms. This will allow you to ask questions and be proactive because chances are if you see a weakness, others will notice it as well.

2. Beware of your employees and their email and Internet activities

Another takeaway from this scandal was the fact many employees, both from private companies and government offices, were using business email accounts to sign-up for Ashley Madison and office Internet connections to access the site. Putting the ethical questions aside for a moment, public sentiment is undoubtedly negative and companies with employees who used Ashley Madison at work have been exposed to the scandal’s backlash.

By placing the appropriate email and Internet security solutions in place at your business, you can reduce the amount of risk your company is exposed to by employees. No one really wants to put restrictions on their employees’ Internet and email access, but it is important to be smart. Being connected to scandals like this can bring unwanted publicity to your business. Worst of all, your employees might not even realize they are putting your company in harm’s way when they access this type of content at work.

3. Be prepared for data loss

As the Ashley Madison case has shown us, massive data theft or loss can be the end of your business. When clients trust your business with their data, they are confident in your ability to protect it. Of course, things do happen and if your data does go missing, it’s important to have a plan of action ready. While it’s unlikely your company’s data breach is unlikely to garner the attention of Ashley Madison hack, it means a whole lot more to you, your company and your employees. Just because your company isn’t big doesn’t mean it’s invincible.

A disaster recovery plan can help your company ensure it has backups and even backups of your backups. If you believe your data has been stolen by hackers, it is important to act immediately. You’ll need to quickly assess what information has been stolen and inform the appropriate parties so they can take the necessary steps to protect themselves. From there, you will want to re-secure your company closing any security loopholes that have been found. Finally, access your backups and make sure your business continues to operate as close to normal during the crisis.

Worried about your security? We can show you how to protect yourself.
Contact us today for more information on how to keep your company safe.

Streak snoozes emails and clears your inbox

GoogleApps_Aug13_BStreak snoozes emails and clears your inbox

Nobody wants to arrive at the office in the morning to an inbox full of hideous emails, and then to have those same messages staring at you all the way through the day – it’s a certified motivation and productivity killer if there ever was one. But it’s the reality for most of us, and all too often inbox zero feels more like a distant dream than an achievable goal. Enter the Streak plugin for Gmail and, crucially, its snooze feature. This handy extension has the capacity to bring a clear and uncluttered inbox back within reach – grab it.

Streak is a full-on customer relationship management tool that allows you to track emails and carry out plenty more tricks to streamline your client engagement workflow – but it’s the snooze feature that has the real potential to get you to that inbox-zero nirvana.

The premise is simple. When you receive an email that you can’t instantly file away forever – as you ought to with the likes of updates and notifications from colleagues and clients, which don’t require a reply – but which you can’t take action on right now, with one click of a button you can snooze it for as long as you need to. The email is stored away in a specially created Gmail folder, and resurfaces at the top of your inbox when the snooze time elapses. You can opt for the snooze period of your choice and even enter it in plain, human-speak text (like “in 30 minutes” or “tomorrow at 11am”), which the ever-intelligent Streak understands.

Additional options include the ability to only activate the snooze alarm if nobody replies to the email thread – making it perfect for getting sales enquiries out of your inbox, by prompting you to follow up if the client doesn’t get back in touch (and if they do, their reply will force the email back into your inbox, and onto your radar, anyway). Any time you need to, you can review a list of the emails you’re holding in snooze mode, and pull back to your inbox any that you’re ready to work on sooner than you had initially expected.

Snooze, along with the rest of the Streak plugin, is simple to understand and easy to use, and has the potential to help you better manage your email – and stop it from managing you instead. If it feels like you’re constantly waging war with a never-ending barrage of messages in your inbox, this is one more tool you might want to consider adding to your productivity arsenal.

If you’re ready to take on the inbox-zero challenge and regain control of your workday, contact us to find out how Google Apps and other innovative tools could help.

This entry was posted in Cloud – Google Apps, General Articles B and tagged App, Email, extension, Gmail, inbox zero, plugin, Productivity, snooze, streak. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

Keep deleted emails forever with Office 365

Keep deleted164_O365_C emails forever with Office 365

Most of us have probably at some point deleted an important email we shouldn’t have. It happens. We think an email is pointless and don’t want to file it away or create a new folder for it, so instead we carelessly delete it. 30 days pass and then the email is gone for good. And that’s when you end up slapping yourself on the forehead wondering why you ever hit the delete button in the first place. The email ended up being important, but now it’s too late – you can’t get it back. Microsoft Office 365’s new policy has now made this problem a thing of the past, allowing deleted emails to be recovered indefinitely.

If you’re a regular user of Outlook 365, you’re likely aware that you can only recover an email that was deleted 30 days ago or less. After that, it’s gone for good. For those that have been agitated by this policy, Office 365 has now made a change that allows emails in the Deleted Items folder to be accessed indefinitely. However, take note that if an end user makes the effort to empty the Deleted Folder, those items will still in fact be unrecoverable.

But what if you don’t want to indefinitely recover email?

Believe it or not, indefinite access to emails may come as bad news for some. It can create industry compliance issues for organizations and can also affect offline storage as deleted emails pile up.

Not to fear. Along with this new policy, Office 365 also allows you to customize the retention duration to a time span that works for you. To do this, click on the following:

  1. Office 365 Admin
  2. Exchange Admin Center
  3. Compliance Management
  4. Retention Policies

From here you can modify the retention duration of your emails to a time span of your choice.

Want to learn more about how to Keep deleted emails forever and other cutting-edge Office 365 features? Give us a call today and get all the info you need.

This entry was posted in General Articles C, Office 365 and tagged delete, Email, indefinite, new policy, Office 365, outlook 365, recover. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

How to retain customers with email marketing

BusinessValue_Apr21_CHow to retain customers with email marketing

As a small business owner you’ve gone through the painstaking effort of making your products or services known to potential clients. Once you’ve managed to close the deal, the next step is to plan how to get repeat business from those clients. You can do just that by using email marketing to retain clients for longer, and build profits over an extended timeline. Here are some email marketing ideas to use on your list of subscribers.

Offer promotional codes

Offer your customers a promotional code that provides a special discount or a freebie on their next purchase. You can place the code in an email as a thank you for your customers’ sign-up or first purchase. Also consider adding an expiration date as a way to monitor whether your customers have used the code or not. Promotional codes are a great tool to express gratitude to your customers, and show that you value their business.

Rewards program

This is one of the simplest email marketing strategies as you can offer anything to make your customers feel special. You could go for a “buy one, get one” promotion or offer an extra month of service after a yearly subscription. If applicable to the nature of your business, you can create points programs for your customers to collect, and they can redeem the points for something afterwards.

Host contests

The purposes of contests are to excite your customers, increase engagement, and increase brand awareness. You will also have the opportunity to find out more about your customers by asking detailed questions as part of the contest entry process. For instance, you could ask them to complete a quick survey about your products or services, giving you ideas for future email campaigns.

Give freebies

Send freebies via emails occasionally, or on your customers’ birthdays. You can give away anything related to your business that your customers will find helpful, such as eBooks, videos, or other tools. Add an expiration date to these freebies to enable you to follow up if they haven’t claimed it.

Send notifications

When you have a new product or service, you can notify every customer on your email list. In addition, when you run promotional codes with expiry dates, rewards programs, or contests, you can send reminder emails to alert your customers, encouraging them to take action on your offers.

Email marketing is best used to retain existing clients. Since it’s much cheaper to retain an existing client than acquire a new one, email marketing is an incredibly cost-effective marketing solution that is well worth a try.

If you’re looking to implement email marketing to improve sales, give us a call today and we can help.

This entry was posted in Business Value – ROI, Why MSP Services Matter, General Articles Cand tagged , , ,, , , . Bookmark thepermalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

How to protect your email account

Security_Apr1_CIf you think your email is fully protected from hackers, think again. A lack of sufficient email security measures can result in data theft, unauthorized access to sensitive information and the invasion of your computer by viruses and malware. Here are some tips to secure your email account from unwanted intruders and the many troubles that come with them.

Email is the most ubiquitous method of communication on the Internet – maybe even on the planet. It’s built into almost everything, from phones and tablets to traditional computers to gaming devices – heck, even connected home appliances and cars can do email. More importantly, being “on the Internet” means having an email address (or dozens of them); they’re our IDs, how we sign up for things, how we receive notices, and sometimes even communicate with each other. Email is the original “killer app.”

But email was not designed with any privacy or security in mind. There have been many efforts to make email more secure, but the recent shutdown of highly-touted secure email services like Lavabit (reportedly used by NSA leaker Edward Snowden) and Silent Circle in the wake of government surveillance programs highlight the difficulties. Lack of email security is also having some surprising collateral damage, like the announced shutdown of the respected software and law blog GrokLaw.

Is email security hopeless? Are we looking at the end of the Internet’s killer app?

Why isn’t email secure?

Email isn’t secure because it was never meant to be the center of our digital lives. It was developed when the Internet was a much smaller place to standardize simple store-and-forward messaging between people using different kinds of computers. Email was all transferred completely in the open – everything was readable by anyone who could watch network traffic or access accounts (originally not even passwords were encrypted). Amazingly, email sent using those wide-open methods still (mostly) works.

Today, there are four basic places where most people’s email can be compromised- on your device(s), on the networks, on the server(s) and on your recipient’s device(s)

The first and last places – devices – are easy to understand. If someone can sit at your computer, grab your phone, or swipe through your tablet, odds are that your email is sitting right there for them to read – You do use a lock screen or password on your devices, right? Same thing goes for your recipients’ devices. But even passwords and lock screens sometimes aren’t much help. While a few email programs encrypt the email messages they store on the device, most don’t. That means anyone (or any program) that can access the device’s internal storage can probably also read email and get to file attachments. Sound far-fetched? It doesn’t have to be a person; rifling through email is one of the most common things malware does.

Networks are a little tougher to understand, and covers three basic links:

– Your connection to your email provider (whether that be your ISP, Google, Outlook, Yahoo, Apple, or someone else).

– Any network connections between your email provider and your recipient.

– Your recipient’s networking connection to their email provider.

If you’re sending email to someone on the same service you use (say, Outlook.com), you have at least the first and third potential network vulnerabilities: your connection to Outlook.com and your recipient’s connection to Outlook.com. If your recipient’s email is elsewhere (say a company or school) then you have at least one more: the connection between Outlook.com and your recipient’s email provider. The reality of network topography means each of those connections involves a series of routers and switches (perhaps a dozen or more), probably owned and operated by different outfits. If one connection is secure, there’s no guaranteeing any other connection in the sequence is secure. And if you’re concerned about things like the NSA’s PRISM surveillance program, indications so far are that some of it happens at these interim network points.

Read more about why email isn’t secure at digital trends.

5 tips to secure your email

Use separate email accounts

Most people use a single email account for all their personal needs. As a result, information from websites, newsletters, shopping deals, and messages from work get sent to this one inbox. But what happens when someone breaks into it? There’s a good chance they would be able to gain access to everything else.

Having multiple email accounts will not only boost your security, but also increases your productivity. You can have a personal account to communicate with your friends and family, another solely for receiving emails from work, and one recreational account for various website registrations and getting newsletters. Wise email users never put all their eggs in one basket!

Set strong passwords

Too many email accounts have predictable passwords. You might be surprised to learn that email passwords like ‘123456’, ‘qwerty’, and ‘password’ itself are still the most common around. For the sake of security, be a little more selective with your passwords. Spending a few moments on coming up with a good password will be beneficial in the long run. Mix upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters to form a unique password that makes sense and is memorable to you, but no-one else. Also, never use the same password for all your email accounts. This way, if someone hacks one of your accounts, all of the others are still safe.

Beware of links and attachments

When you see a link in an email, don’t click on it unless you’re expecting the link from a known source, such as from your friend or a confirmation link for your game account registration. The truth is that you never know where those links might lead you. Sometimes they can be safe, but other times they can infest your computer with viruses and malware.

Similarly, if you’re expecting a file from your friend or family, then go ahead and open the attachment. It’s always good to know the person sending the file. But be wary of attachments in emails from strangers. Even if the file name looks like a JPEG image, you should never open it. File names can be spoofed, and innocent files may be a clever virus in disguise, ready to latch itself onto your computer the moment you click on it.

Beware of email phishing

Phishing is a type of online scam when malicious users send you an email, saying that they’re representatives from high-profile websites like eBay, Facebook or Amazon. They claim that there’s a problem with your account, and that you should send them your username and password for verification. The fact is that, even if there was a genuine issue with your account, these companies would never ask for your password. You should ignore these phishing emails and sweep them into your spam box.

Encryption to the rescue!

The best way to protect communications is to encrypt them: basically, scrambling the data with complex mathematical transformations so it’s only intelligible using the correct password or other credentials. A common form of encryption is public key cryptography, where people (or ISPs or companies) give away a public key that anyone can use to scramble data intended for them, but can only be decoded using a private key that the person (or ISP or company) keeps secret.

Public key cryptography is the basis of two primary ways to protect email- Encrypting messages and Encrypting network connections.

The idea behind encrypted messages is straightforward: instead of sending plain text anyone can read, you send scrambled gobbledegook only the intended recipient can read. Common tools for encrypting email include PGP (now a commercial product from Symantec) and numerous mainstream apps and tools that support the open source OpenGPG and S/MIME. Encrypting messages is a straightforward idea, but the approach has pros and cons. On the positive side, encrypted messages are protected across both networks and servers, even if they’re compromised or store messages as plain text. (The gobbledegook could make Gmail serve up some weird ads, though!) The message is probably also encrypted on your device and your recipient’s devices (until they decode it), which offers some additional protection.

Now the downsides. Encrypting individual messages is a pain. You have to have the public key of everyone you want to communicate with securely. For one or two people, that’s not bad, but most people have dozens (or hundreds) of contacts. Getting all of them up and running with public key cryptography won’t be easy. Further, everyone who wants to send you secure email needs your public key! You can send it to them via email … but that won’t be encrypted so it’s not secure. Same with a blog post or a Facebook page or keyserver services or any other insecure channel. The only really safe way to exchange public keys is face-to-face or some other way you can be truly sure you’re getting the right key from the right person. That can be wildly impractical. Some folks who send you sensitive email – like banks, credit card companies, hospitals, schools, or the local fertility clinic – probably won’t (or won’t know how) to use your public key even if they had it. Bottom line, not many of your email messages are going to be encrypted, so encrypting messages isn’t a general solution for secure email.

But wait! There are more downsides to encrypting messages. Only the message contents (and attachments, if any) are scrambled. The header information (including your address, the recipient’s address, subject, date, and more) are all still plain text anyone can read. That information might just be metadata, but over time it can paint a surprisingly detailed picture of your online activities. (Just ask the NSA or Australian Gov !!) .

It all comes down to common sense when you’re dealing with email security issues. If you’re looking to secure your business emails, give us a call today and see how we can help. We have a wide range of security solutions to suit different budgets and a variety of scope.

This entry was tagged email account, Email security, password, Phishing, Security.

Make your email subjects more productive

Productivity_Mar3_CEmail is not your job. Repeat: email is not your job. Too many of us spend our days slaving over our inboxes, while our real jobs get neglected and we sacrifice the opportunity to be truly productive. But there is a solution, and it starts not with the message itself but with the subject line. By keeping your email subject lines short, focused and consistently structured, both you and your recipient can identify which emails warrant which action. And that means you both spend less time battling with your inbox and free up more precious time to get on with what you’re really paid to do. Embrace a culture of email efficiency in your workplace with these three tips for more productive email subject lines.

Specific subjects spell success

If someone sends you an email that’s headed simply with the word “report”, how are you meant to know what they want from you? Do they need you to write a new report, proofread one they’ve already written, or print a report for them? You inevitably start reading the email without the first idea of what it is you’re being asked to do.

In an ideal situation, when you receive a new email you want to know in an instant – just from the subject line – what the message is about. And that is something you should make possible for recipients of your own emails too. So structure your subject line using keywords – for instance, change that “Report” to “Sales Report for February 2015”. Better still, give your colleague all they need to know at a glance – “Draft Sales Report for February 2015 by Monday, 1pm” – so that the body of the message is preserved for you to get down to details as succinctly as possible.

Use prefixes and suffixes

Another simple way to help your recipient understand at a glance what you need from them – and to make it easier for them to categorize their incoming emails, too – is to specify right in the subject line what type of message it is that you are sending them. Emails come in all shapes and sizes, and by placing a prefix before or a suffix after your main subject line, you’ll get quicker results.

For instance, if your email needs a definitive response from the recipient, start it with “ACTION:” followed by the subject. An example would be “ACTION: Draft Sales Report for February 2015 by Monday, 1pm”. If, on the other hand, you are simply dropping your colleagues a quick notification that the printer is out of order, you can use one or both of “FYI” (for your information) and “NRN” (no reply needed). For example: “FYI: Printer out of order until further notice” or “NRN: Printer out of order until further notice.”

You can take this one stop further. If you can get your entire message across in the subject line alone, then that’s exactly what you should aim to do. That way, your colleague can read the subject line, add the task to their to-do list and delete it straight out of their inbox. To quickly signal that there’s nothing in the email body, you can suffix your subject line with “EOM” (end of message) – for example, “FYI: Printer out of order until further notice. EOM”.

Keep it consistent

These tricks will only help you beat a never-ending inbox if they’re adopted and applied consistently across your organization. Make them a part of your company’s basic IT training, and encourage your staff to use them in their own work and to pull up others who fall back into bad habits. They may be skeptical at first, but they’ll soon jump on the bandwagon once they start to realize how much less time they spend managing their email account!

Think too about introducing standardized formats for subjects of emails you and your teams send on a recurring basis. For example, if you regularly send reports around for review, prefix your subject line with “Report for Review:”, followed by the topic of the report. Or if your employees send you a weekly update on their workstreams, have them title it “Weekly Update:” followed by the date. That way, you can set up filters in your inbox and have those emails smartly stored in one place, ready for you to look through when the time is right, rather than clogging up your inbox and making it look like you have more urgent tasks to complete than you actually do.

Want to learn how to use email systems efficiently to boost your firm’s productivity? Chat to us today about the innovative email solutions we can provide.

Five Gmail productivity hacks for 2015

GoogleApps_Jan12_AFive Gmail productivity hacks for 2015

Time is at a premium for every small business owner and, for all its benefits in modern communication, email is one of the major drains on your schedule. If you’re feeling choked by the amount of time you spend dealing with email on a day-to-day basis, try some of these Gmail productivity hacks to give your schedule a new lease of life in 2015.

Customize your email address and harness filters

Did you know that, if you use Gmail, you can customize your existing email address? Whether you have a regular @gmail.com or @company.com address, you can adjust your username depending on who you are giving it to and what you are likely to receive. For example, if your basic address istheboss@company.com, you could give theboss+friends@company.com to friends and use theboss+blog@company.com to invite blog comments.

Combine this feature with Gmail’s native filters to add labels to emails depending on which address they are sent to – so you can keep work and play separate, or file blog comments to deal with at a set time. Don’t want to see Facebook email notifications? Change your profile to use the email addresstheboss+spam@company.com and set up a filter to direct those messages to the trash. Your email is compartmentalized and you can see what you need to, when you really need to.

Can frequent responses to save time

Do you get similar email enquiries every day? If you currently pen a fresh reply to each message that arrives, then kick that habit right now and save yourself a heap of time. Gmail’s built in Canned Responses function allows you to store messages that you frequently send so they are ready to use at the touch of a button.

Enable Canned Responses from the Labs tab of the Gmail settings page, then when composing a new message just click the arrow icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen and select Canned Responses. From here you can use an existing canned response or add a new one. Then just hit send!

Schedule emails and reminders with Boomerang

The Boomerang add-on, which comes as a web extension for Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers and as an Android app, enables you to bounce new emails right out of your inbox and schedule their return when it suits you. The emails are stored remotely, freeing you up to concentrate on more urgent tasks.

Likewise, if you need to send one or more emails at a specific time but won’t be at your desk, with Boomerang you can schedule the emails in advance to send automatically when you need them to. You can also put this feature to use to schedule emails to send to yourself that act as task reminders.

Quick question? Chat instead

Don’t underestimate the value of Gmail’s chat system, or Hangouts as it is known in the age of Google+. Save yourself the time spent composing a long-form email, and the back-and-forth of conversation between recipients, by penning a brief chat message when you just need to ask a question.

Chances are too that colleagues will be less daunted by an instant message than an email, and more likely to respond right away than put it off. Hangouts need not be limited to one-to-one conversations – to start a group chat, open a chat with one colleague and then click the stick person icon beneath their name. You’ll see a list of contacts that you can add to the conversation.

Treat your email like a relay race

Of course, the best way to save time on email is to limit the amount of time you spend on it – one great way is by using the browser extension Mail Timer. This nifty add-on allows you to set yourself a maximum amount of time – say two minutes – to respond to each email. After that, a pop-up message will let you know you’re out of time and encourage you to continue to your next message. Not only will Mail Timer train you to be more concise in crafting emails, but it is a great way to get into the habit of swiftly clearing your inbox of messages that only need a brief reply – you can archive others to deal with at a set time (or use Boomerang to bring them back automatically when it suits you).

If you would like to learn more about using Gmail, or any other Google app, please get in touch with us today.

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IMAP or POP email protocols?

IIMAP or POP- what's the differenceMAP or POP email protocols?

What is the difference?

Email is an essential tool for a business’s productivity. While there are a wide variety of email programs out there, almost all of them rely on one of two major protocols: POP or IMAP. As a business owner, it would be a good idea to know what these protocols are and which of the two is better for your business.

Difference between POP and IMAP

POP, or Post Office Protocol, was first developed in early 1984 and is currently in its third version (POP3). POP works by allowing users to retrieve email and download it onto their computer. Because this protocol was developed before constant Internet connections, it is meant to allow users to interact with their email on their computer and then connect to the server to send it.

What this means is that usually, you connect to the server and download all of your messages onto your computer and then disconnect from the server with all messages being deleted from the server. When you connect to the server again, the messages are uploaded from your computer to the server which then sends the messages to the recipients.

IMAP, or Internet Message Access Protocol, is a newer protocol that was designed for faster and constant Internet connections. Essentially, the email messages live on the server and the user downloads copies to their computer. When the copy is sent, it is uploaded to the server which then overwrites the message and sends it to the recipient.

Which protocol should my company be using?

While most email servers will support POP, many experts agree that it is best if companies use newer email protocols. The reasons for this are:

  • POP is largely outdated. As stated above, this protocol was first introduced in the ’80s. The current, and most popular, version was introduced in 1989.
  • POP can be less secure. By default, older protocols can transmit password and login data unencrypted, which means anyone with access to your network and tools could gain access to the data.
  • POP can’t support multiple devices. Due to the way POP works, only the currently connected client can see email messages. If you are on your mobile device, but logged into your email client at work, you won’t get messages on your device.
  • POP lacks important business features. Most of us rely on calendars, address books, and task lists that are integrated into most email clients. With POP, these are most likely third-party solutions that live on local machines. This makes it difficult to access this information from other locations.

There are some really great newer email systems out there, including servers that run IMAP protocols, and even Web-based email solutions that pretty much negate the need for email servers in the office. If you are currently using POP, it may be worthwhile to contact us to see how we can help upgrade your email solution.