August News:

On The Calendar We'll let you know about any upcoming 2018 special events through our social media pages, which we'll update on our Events page as they occur. Quick links to our social media pages are accessible right from our website and in every monthly newsletter email you receive from us. If you're new to our newsletter and you'd like to subscribe, let us know.
Tips For Improving Email Communication Email Best Practices From The Fulcrum Group Contributed by Robert Curtis, Director of Consulting Services at The Fulcrum Group Recently, Robert Curtis prepared a brief guide for Fulcrum staff on email communications best practices.  In it, he details a few good tips we thought we might pass along to you this month: Email Use Guidelines
  • Check and Answer your email daily.
  • Check the distribution lists and recipients before you send.
  • Assume your email is permanent and can be read by anyone at anytime.
  • Think about your audience before sending jokes or humor.
  • DO NOT USE email for confidential information.
  • DO NOT USE email company email for personal use.
  • Before you forward an incoming message, obtain the sender's permission – covers you against any possible “copyright” issues.
Tips For Email Organization
  • Schedule daily time to review email.
  • Create Folders.
  • Create Rules.
  • Use Quick Steps.
  • Color Code VIPs or Important Messages.
For more thoughts on best use of email, download the full presentation from our Media page. For additional email management tips, these ideas echo some of our advice.
  Back To School Cell Phone Safety Annotated by mom of 2 and Fulcrum Group Marketing Coordinator, Laura James Article in its entirety, can be found here at  Cell Phone Safety tips from The Fulcrum Group If your child is headed back to school with a new cell phone in his or her backpack this year - like my youngest will be - or even if your kid isn't new to having a smart device at his/her fingertips - these Tech Tuesday Tips from The FBI are well-timed and quite helpful.  Do your self, spouse, and kids (or anyone who's cell phone safety you care about) a huge favor and go over these cell phone safety tips with them: 
  • The phone should default to a locked setting. The only people who should have that access code are the child and the parent.  As a parent who carpools 6th graders back and forth to school, I know for a fact they grab each others' devices and know each others' passwordsHave a serious talk about keeping those just between you and him/her. 
  • Parents should know every password to every device and every password to every app on that device. Sure you want your kids to have some privacy as they grow up, but they are still kids. You pay the bill, and as long as that child is a child, he or she is your responsibility.
  • Check those accounts—as well as instant messaging programs and texts—for disturbing content on a regular basis. You and your kids should have a non-negotiable understanding that this access is a requirement for continued phone use. A good resource for best current parental monitoring controls can be found here. Don't be caught off-guard by the lack of text monitoring features with Apple iOS devices.  With that exception, I've found Qustodio to be a great blocking tool with a simple, easy to use parent portal, which is a good match for us right now. The free version has been working for us with (pre)teen #2, since blocking is high on my list of priorities and I don't need too much other detail at the moment. Know that certain apps handle monitoring priorities differently - Qustodio has powerful reporting features but doesn't monitor texts on iOS devices and at this time only tracks use of Facebook social media (and not a variety of other social media platforms).  Be sure to read each application's functions and limitations before spending any money - some of them are pricey.  And ask your friends what tool/s they use.  
  • Parents should make sure their child is using appropriate screen names. “Babygirl2005” and “sweet16” may sound cute and innocent, but they can be a beacon to predators.
  • Check the privacy and security settings on the phone and the apps. Check regularly to make sure they are up-to-date.
  • Learn about how photos are geo-tagged. Even if you are discreet about what you post, your photos could be tagged in the meta-data with your child’s exact location. Do you want just anybody to know what school your child goes to or what field his team uses for soccer practice? You should be able to turn this feature off in settings.  Here's a great article I found which explains this concept and gives details on exactly how to turn geotagging off on your child's (or spouse, or other family member's) iOS device, which I made sure to do on my kids' (and my own) phone.
  • Teach your kids to never respond to calls, texts, or emails from unknown numbers or people. Scam artists and predators will victimize anyone, regardless of age.
  • Talk early and often to your child about the dangers that they may find on the other end of the line. If your child is old enough to carry a phone to school, he is old enough to have a frank discussion with you. Be open and responsive. If your child does encounter a bully or other disturbing content, you want him to feel like he can come to you to for help.
  • Talk to your kids about what constitutes appropriate language and photos. One sexually explicit photo can change a life forever. It is crucial that they understand that just because something starts out as a private communication between two people does not mean that it can't be shared with thousands of people in mere seconds.
  • Teach your children to program the privacy settings on social media feeds to the highest level and to reject any “friend requests” from those they don't know and trust in a face-to-face relationship. Parents should also consider forbidding any new “friend requests” by their kids, without parent approval. Here's an article with some points to discuss with your kids before they cross into the chaotic world of social media. Before handing over my preteen's new phone, I had a group conversation which included a few friends of his who have had their phones for a while, but do not opt for using social media at this time...I think it was impactful for him to hear some of the stories they shared with him about witnessing some of the mistakes made by some of their school peers. He seems more than happy to stay away for the meantime.
If you have any other great tips, feel free to share them on our Facebook page. We hope this info helps you tighten up security (and practice better use) on the devices of the folks you care most about. Feel free to forward this to a colleague or friend so everyone heads out this fall on the right foot! If you or your child has been victimized by an online crime, make a report to the FBI. You can file an online report at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at or call your FBI local office.
Office 365 Features & Tools SPOTlight On: Office 365 - More Than Email Let’s face it, Office 365 has a lot of features, and almost no one uses all of the available features.  Office desktop software – check, we’re using that.  Hosted Exchange email with calendars and mobile access to email – got it.  But Skype, Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, and other tools?  Not so much. Implementing the full functionality of Office 365 requires a longer period of planning, discovery, and change management to understand how your business can effectively use these tools and improve employee productivity. Many organizations start and stop with email because Microsoft makes it easy to migrate existing email and calendars.  End users really don’t see a functional difference once email is in the cloud. What are the most common reasons for stopping at email and Ofice desktop software? This is what we hear from clients:
  • Don’t know what else Office 365 can do.
  • Unclear about what tools and features are a fit for their organization.
  • Other IT priorities.
  • Don’t have a clear understanding of the process and cost for implementing additional features.
Another common reason employees fail to see the value in the Office 365 tool set - all the free tools available to them. The Cost of “Free” Tools There’s no question – free tools are appealing to end users. Not only are they easy-to-use and already a part of their personal lives, but free options are tempting because they don’t involve working with your internal IT team. Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive – all of those are simple, “secure” tools in the eyes of a user, and don’t require IT to setup, manage or approve. But “free” can come with a price. Free tools are great until you realize the security risk you’re introducing into your organization. First, it’s hard to manage data in these tools. Many of these tools require a paid subscription to manage and govern. Individuals may have visibility into their content, but the organizations responsible for the data do not. Second, it’s easy to slide down a slippery slope when it comes to intellectual property exposure, legal content management and compliance. Personal information stolen, compromised or hacked is one thing, but corporate theft could mean significant exposure and risk for the organization. The good news is this – if you’ve licensed Office 365, you already have a set of tools that are on par with many of these free document collaboration tools. In addition, you have visibility into corporate use of data and sharing. Finally, you may already have sophisticated rights protection, and automated information protection. If you want your employees to adopt this secure and compliant platform, you must help them see the value. Show them that the “free” tools only offer a stripped-down version of features they’ve grown to rely on in the Office suite. Remind them about this bonus piece: They only have to use one system to do it all. Getting Started To get started with Office 365, you need to fully understand capabilities of each tool in the suite to determine which tools will work for your organization. Organizations we work with often complain that Office 365 has too much overlap in features and functions, which confuses users. Here are some examples of where confusion takes place:
  • I need to collaborate with a group of people on a project – Should I use Teams or Groups or Yammer? Or, is it better to use a SharePoint team site?
  • I want to schedule a weekly conference call with my team – Should I use Skype for Business or Teams?
  • I want to store my own files in Office 365 – Do I use OneDrive or SharePoint or both?
Because we know choosing the right tools and features can have a big impact on adoption, we want to help eliminate confusion and bring clarity.  Reach out to your Fulcrum Group Account Manager to learn more about Office 365 features above and beyond email and Office desktop software.
  Vistage Executive News - Economic Considerations for SMB Executives Vistage Executive News Excerpt from Decision factors: H2 2018 Economic Considerations For SMB Executives Available as a resource for executives, on our website, here. There’s a lot to be optimistic about in 2018: The U.S. economy is strong and many small and midsize businesses have a positive outlook for the future. However, the consequences of taxes and tariffs are yet uncertain and an eventual recession is inevitable, whether triggered by traditional risk factors, or caused by the natural end of an economic cycle. But until that happens, SMB CEOs should take advantage of low interest rates and access to capital, using this time to make key investments in technology, equipment and people. In other words, enjoy the good old days — while they’re still here. Download the entire article, here on our Media page. For CEOs, here are a few other important considerations to factor into your decisionmaking: • The rising cost of everything. Rising costs will force you to raise your prices, which will cause others to raise theirs. Massive government debt and a growing deficit will drive more government borrowing, which will only fuel the inflation furnace. • The talent war is reaching new levels. The talent crisis is already throttling growth. Workers are in high demand at all levels —from factory-floor workers to corporate cube-dwellers to managers, executives. Competition for talent is high, which means that your best people are already being recruited. Retaining your superstars should be a top priority. • Taxes, trade and tariffs. The new tax law, along with radical shifts in trade policy and tariffs, means that the legal and financial landscapes are rapidly evolving. The impact and outcome of these shifts are highly unpredictable, so keep a careful eye on them. • Cyberattacks. Cyberthreats are a clear and present danger for every SMB. As sudden as a heart attack, a cyberattack can compromise your computers, highjack your wire transfers, or steal computers, highjack your wire transfers, or steal customer, employee and financial data. If you don’t defend your digital assets, you will expose your business to a ruthless hacker.
Fulcrum Group Did You Know   Did You Know...Office 365  Did you know The Fulcrum Group offers FREE Office 365 online training and tools for Office 365 clients?   Contact your Fulcrum Group Account Manager for details.