How to Record Screenshots, Audio, and Video on Windows 10

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If you have ever had to write up a report or process for a particular task, you know that images can go a long way toward helping people understand what exactly needs to be done. For Windows 10 users, there is a built-in tool that you can utilize to take screenshots, record video, and even record audio alongside all of this: the Xbox Game Bar.

Before we dive into the details about how to use this feature natively available on Windows 10 devices, we would like to point out that it is entirely possible that the Xbox Game Bar has been disabled or uninstalled completely from your work-related devices. Due to its nature, it is mostly used for gaming purposes, so your organization may have disabled it for this reason. If you need to use this solution for any reason, be sure to check with your IT department to determine whether or not it is the right tool for your current needs; don’t just go installing software on your workstation all willy-nilly!

That said, if it’s not disabled by default, why not use the tool to solve a current problem? It beats downloading an expensive screen recording software!

Start-Up the Xbox Game Bar

To start up the Xbox Game Bar, all you have to do is hold the Windows key and hit the G key. This will open up the overlay. The overlay has four main features, from left to right:

  • Take a Screenshot: The screenshot button does exactly what you think it does; it takes a screenshot of your screen. You can use the keyboard shortcut here for easy access: Windows key + Alt + Prt Sc.
  • Record the Last 30 Seconds: This feature can be used to record video if you’ve missed something retroactively. This is kind of a clunky one to use, though, as it does not always recognize the application you might be trying to record (remember, this solution is for video games normally). You can use the keyboard shortcut for this feature, too: Windows key + Alt + G.
  • Start Recording: This button will start recording your screen. A separate window showing some basic controllers will pop up, including enabling or disabling audio input. You can use the keyboard shortcut to start recording: Windows key + Alt + R.
  • Turn Mic On/Off While Recording: When you hit the Audio option from the overlay, you will see the window that details which devices, including your microphone and playback device (usually your speakers or a headset), are being used when recording. You can adjust the audio mix at this time. To quickly disable or enable audio recording, you can use the keyboard shortcut: Windows key + Alt + M.

There are a couple of shortcomings of this application, though, namely that it cannot record File Explorer, and it cannot record more than one application at a time.

Some Practical Uses for This Feature

Now that we’ve put the idea in your brain, let’s go ahead and outline how this feature might be used. Here are some common ways that you might use the Xbox Game Bar:

  • Recording a video tutorial
  • Writing up documentation for a task
  • Identifying a problem to be addressed later on

All of that said, if you want a solution that is meant for more than gaming, we recommend reaching out to AE Technology Group for help. We can equip your business with enterprise-grade tools that might be a better fit for getting your work done. To learn more, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.

Don’t Let Data Backup Concerns Hold Your Business Back

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Your business is not unique in the sense that it stores and transmits data during its day-to-day routines. Whether it’s financial information for your clients or employee records, it is more than likely that your business holds some kind of critical data that your operations rely on throughout the workday. Would your operations be able to recover from a sudden loss of data?

While imagining this worst-case scenario might seem intimidating and downright scary, failing to do so is even worse for your business continuity. You owe it to everyone who works so hard to keep your business going to do all you can to protect it as best as possible. To work toward this goal, we recommend a solution that all businesses should utilize: data backup and disaster recovery. Data backup is one of those things that you don’t necessarily realize its true value until you need it most, and failing to have it could put your future on the line.

Data Backup vs Disaster Recovery

Data backups are copies of your business’ data that you can restore in the event of a disaster that destroys the original. These are particularly useful when you suffer a data loss scenario or security breach. Data backup has been done with tape for years, a process that involves setting the tape, running the backup, and storing the tapes in a place off-site in the event they are needed.

Tape is on its way out, however, due to issues that are prevalent in the way that it is fundamentally designed. Modern technology has addressed these issues, such as slow implementation and deployment speed, user error, and storage space. The cloud makes everything involved with the data backup and disaster recovery process so much easier by eliminating the possibility of user error, speeding up the process, freeing up on-site storage, and fully automating the process.

Data backup is only one part of a successful disaster recovery solution. You also need to make sure that you are actually able to deploy these backups when they are needed most. Since disasters can disrupt operations so profoundly, you want to have your backups ready to go in the event of data breaches, natural disasters, or user errors. Failing to have these data backups available puts your operations in jeopardy not just from an operational standpoint, but also from a cost perspective when you factor in downtime and lost productivity.

Your disaster recovery solution should aim to minimize downtime through the use of a cloud-deployed backup to temporary hardware. It’s not meant to be a permanent solution; it just keeps you in business while you work to replace it. A common rule you might hear about is the 3-2-1 rule of data backup. You should have three copies of your data ready to go at a moment’s notice: one on-site or on-network, one located in the cloud for ease of restoration, and one in a secure off-site data center. This redundancy makes for an ideal solution and certainly one that minimizes downtime and data loss.

Implement BDR Today

A data backup and disaster recovery solution like BDR is the best way to approach your business’ continuity concerns. AE Technology Group has the knowledge and expertise to walk you through this process every step of the way, from determining your specific backup needs to the deployment of solutions. To learn more, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.

Remote Work: 3 Challenges and Solutions

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For the past year, remote work has been basically the only option for some businesses. If the pandemic has proven anything, it is that all of our preconceived notions of remote work being impossible for certain industries and sectors are simply not true. Most businesses can leverage remote work in some capacity, so in a post-COVID world, it is your responsibility as a business owner to act on the many benefits that working remotely can pose for organizations like yours as well as mitigate the challenges of remote work.

The Challenges of Remote Work

Let’s discuss some of the challenges of remote work, as well as how technology can help you address them.

Staying Connected

It’s one thing when you can just pop over to someone’s office and pick their brain about something on the spot, or turn around and ask a coworker a question. It’s another when you are in two different locations and physically separated from one another. Staying connected in the ways that matter—building community, rapport, and healthy working relationships—proves to be difficult in an online environment.

Data Access

Many employees have multiple devices, like company-issued smartphones, laptops, and of course, their work desktops. Files might be spread out across these devices, and if the employee is out of the office with no way to access important files, there is a chance that work might not get done. Therefore, staying connected to important documents and files is incredibly important when out of the office.

Security

One of the biggest pain points of businesses when working outside the safety of the office is security. Without the protections of the in-house network, who knows what threats could target your employees’ devices—devices that might not have security solutions installed on them. It’s critical that you take this into consideration when planning your approach to remote work.

Technology to Address The Challenges of Remote Work

As usual, technology offers several solutions to the above dilemmas. Here are some ways that modern technology solutions can help you keep your organization running in the face of remote work.

Voice over IP

Having an all-in-one communication platform like VoIP is a great way to stay connected while out of the office. VoIP lets you use an Internet connection to do everything you would normally do with your in-house telephone system, plus more. Some VoIP solutions also have video and IM chat functionality, giving you and your team more ways to stay connected even while out of the office.

Cloud Computing

Wouldn’t it be great if all of your business’s important data and information could be found in a place where you can access it on any approved device, be it a laptop, desktop, or mobile device? The cloud allows your organization to do just that by taking advantage of an online environment for everything from application hosting to data storage. The possibilities for how your business can use the cloud are quite limitless.

Virtual Private Network

To aid in network security while working remotely, you can use a virtual private network, or VPN, to securely connect to your in-house network. What this does is encrypts data traveling to and from a device, keeping it secure from any prying eyes. This is especially important for employees who might have to work in public locations due to disruptive home lives or travel.

Let Us Help!

Implementing technology that helps your business be successful in and out of the office is critical to staying competitive in today’s economy. To this end, a managed service provider like AE Technology Group can help your organization implement the best tools on the market. To learn more, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.

How to Get Control of Your Email Inbox

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As you read this sentence, think about the current state of your email inbox. Is it clean and crisp with only a handful of new emails on a daily basis, or is it an entangled mess filled with hundreds (or even thousands) of unread and often unimportant emails? If it’s the latter, you’re in luck; we’ve got some tips to help you finally get a grip on your email inbox.

First, we need to start by controlling the level of emails that flow into your email inbox. Let’s discuss some of these methods.

Send Fewer Emails

This is a pretty simple rule; if you cut down on the number of emails you send, you should, in theory, cut down on the number of emails you receive. Generally speaking, email is meant to be used (and is most effective) for tasks that are not immediately pressing. While we understand that this isn’t always possible, even a little action on your part could make a world of difference. If you send one fewer email a day, you can potentially cut out at least one email in your inbox per day.

Depending on the topic, you might be able to use an instant messaging application or a phone in place of the email. These are generally more reserved for immediately pressing tasks rather than the passive nature of an email, but you do cut down on the chance that your email will be lost in the ether.

Unsubscribe from Email Lists

A business owner needs to stay up-to-date on the latest happenings in their chosen industry, and doing so might entail subscribing to email lists. These are automated lists that send you emails on a regular basis, and if you don’t keep up with them, it is easy to lose track of how many you have subscribed to. These quickly add up and can often drown out emails that actually are important.

A good rule to follow is that, if you have not opened an email newsletter from a particular organization or website in the past month, it’s safe to say that you are no longer interested in reading their content. Granted, some email newsletters are monthly, but if they are, they shouldn’t be clogging up your inbox. We’re talking about the real offenders that might send you several messages a week (or even a day). Many email newsletters have an Unsubscribe link at the bottom of the message, but you should be careful with these; the last thing you want is to walk into a phishing attack.

Archive Whenever Possible

The idea of deleting an important email can paralyze you with inaction. While you could organize your inbox into folders and other segments for management, even this can sometimes create situations where you start to accrue too many messages. The fact that you don’t know what will be important in the next couple of months or years is also a challenge, as you cannot possibly expect to predict the future.

An email archiving system that is backed up and maintained by your organization can resolve these issues. If you have important messages that you need to keep around, you can simply archive them in a system where they can be searched for and pulled out at a later date. Most cloud-based platforms like Office 365’s Outlook or Google Workspace’s Gmail give you this capability.

Schedule Time Every Day

If you are having trouble making a dent in your inbox, you just do whatever you would normally do for a large and daunting task: break it down into more manageable chunks and chip away at it over time. If you delete or archive more emails a day than you receive, you should theoretically be able to clean it up in a respectable amount of time. Devote a short amount of time each morning or afternoon to checking and managing your inbox. You might be surprised by how much this helps in the long run.

Implement Spam Protection and Technology Solutions

AE Technology Group can help your business manage its email and implement great new technology solutions that keep threatening or time-wasting messages out of your inbox. To learn more about how we can help you with spam and email management solutions, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.

Blockchain Technology Solutions For Your Business

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Blockchain technology might be best known for its use with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Dogecoin, but that’s just one type of blockchain. There are other varieties that could prove useful in certain sectors. Let’s take a look at what they are, how they might be used, and what some of their benefits and shortcomings are.

The largest benefit of the blockchain, which is essentially a decentralized ledger of transactions, can be seen in Bitcoin, but the shortcomings are also notable. Blockchains consume a considerable amount of energy to operate, making them difficult at best for businesses to take advantage of. Bitcoin operates using what is called the public blockchain; as such, it cannot store sensitive information or proprietary data without putting it all at considerable risk. Here are the four varieties of blockchains that organizations can utilize.

Public Blockchain

The public blockchain is the most open form of blockchain, and anyone can participate in transactions and maintain their own copy of the ledger. The only prerequisite is a connection to the Internet. The public blockchain was the first type created, and it is the most common one used by cryptocurrencies, but it has other applications that could be considered in the future, such as voting and fundraising. All of these uses are only possible due to the openness of the system.

While the openness is a great benefit to the public blockchain, there are other challenges that can get in the way of its use–namely the fact that these transactions happen at a slow rate, which also limits the scope of the network in question.

Private Blockchain

Rather than being accessible to all, a private blockchain is a closed network that is maintained by a single central entity. Unlike the issues with the public blockchain, the private blockchain has greater security and trust within its own operations. Besides this difference in centralization, the private and public blockchains are similar in functionality.

The efficiency of this centralized system makes the entire blockchain operate more smoothly, but at the same time, security is hindered somewhat. Some of the key uses for a private blockchain include supply chain management, internal voting, and asset ownership–all uses that really want that security. It is critical that any organization seeking to implement a private blockchain consider this weakness.

Hybrid Blockchain

When you combine the public and private blockchains, you get a solution that can leverage the advantages of both. A hybrid blockchain allows users to connect to the public network without sacrificing privacy. Organizations can use customizable rules to keep data secure.

There are some downsides to this solution, though. A hybrid blockchain lacks the transparency of other blockchains, and as such, there is no prerogative for organizations to go through the adoption process. Despite this, there are some notable uses for a hybrid blockchain. For example, industries like real estate and retail might find it palatable.

Federated Blockchain

Similar to the hybrid blockchain, a federated blockchain combines benefits offered by the public and private blockchains, keeping some records open while securing others. This is beneficial because multiple organizations might get value out of the network, and thus, keeping it decentralized works in their favor. The federated blockchain is both customizable and efficient, but even with the use of access controls, this blockchain is more vulnerable, less transparent, and less anonymous than the others. Ideas for how to utilize the federated blockchain include banking, research, and food tracking.

Have you considered the use of blockchain technology for your organization? The latest blockchain technology solutions can be a great boon for your business if implemented properly. Contact AE Technology Group for an IT consultation; let our technicians help you determine the best path forward. To learn more, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.