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Don’t get hacked: 5 Tips For A Secure Password

Jul 6th, 2016 | Posted by | Filed under Indianapolis IT support
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It has not been a good summer for password security. Within the last few months, LinkedIn and Twitter have had issues with leaked login information, and big names such as Mark Zuckerberg and Katy Perry have seen their accounts hacked.

While at first glance it can appear scary, these leaks can be used as a learning experience for both websites and individuals. For example, according to TechCrunch, over 120,000 accounts simply had “123456” as their password and 17,000 accounts chose only “password.” While you can’t control the security of an outside party, you CAN control the strength of your password.



Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when creating a password:

    1. Variety is your friend
      • This tip is two-fold. One, avoid using the same password for multiple sites. This way if your information is compromised hackers only have access to one account and not ALL OF THEM. Two, don’t repeat characters in a password (such as 444enter), and combine uppercase/lowercase letters with special characters, numbers, and spaces.
    2. Misspell words/leave out letters
      • If it’s not the dictionary, it will be harder to crack. So leaving vowels out of some words in a password or other misspellings may feel like betraying your English teacher but will create a more secure password (example: wldntUlike2know?)
    3. Hint list
      • It can be tempting to have a document with all your passwords saved on your computer for easy use. While this is convenient, anyone who gains access to the computer can then login to any account. If you MUST have a written list, try a password manager. But a better option is creating a document with personalized password hints only you’ll remember.
    4. Phrases versus words
      • If a long combination of letters, numbers, and characters is difficult to remember, try a phrase. You can replace certain word with numbers to get variety while achieving longer length, such as E@sy2useSE
    5. Meaningful > Random
      • It makes sense that longer is better. But still, some people would probably assume F4%sd! Is safer than Makinmagic2daymate. But length trumps randomness, and will be easier to remember anyway. However, it is important to remember the words chosen not be easy to find like names of family members or pets.

Having difficulty coming up with a password? Try Xkpasswd. It allows you to put in a desired number of modifiers to fit the requirements you need. For safety, it is best to change one of the words to assure you are the ONLY one who knows the password you decide to use.

Don’t let your information be the next to be compromised. Use these tips to keep your password memorable but safe, and update it frequently- especially on your most sensitive information such as your bank login. It might seem a hassle – but recent news have taught us it’s not worth the risk.

Additional source:


Custom Software Development from Beginning to End

Jun 29th, 2016 | Posted by | Filed under Guest Post
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Today’s guest author is Sara Dillard, Director of Communications at Inverse-Square. She works on creating marketing messages as well as managing the “Team Awesome” brand.  You can follow her on twitter at @mssaradillard.

Contracting a software development company to build a custom web application to support your business processes may seem daunting, but with the extensive knowledge and experience of the custom software developers at Inverse-Square, we can make sure that the engagement is as smooth and stress free as possible.

The following steps give a high level view of what you can expect during a typical custom software engagement.

Step 1: Presentation 

We begin our relationship with a few meetings to get to know you, to understand what you need, to explain what we can offer you, and then finally to demonstrate how we can work together. Integrity and transparency are our core values and we promise that there will never be any funny business.

The first meeting is generally a, ‘are we a good fit‘ kind of meeting. In our second, we will delve deeper into the challenges your organization are facing. And at the third meeting, we will present you with a plan of how we will overcome your challenges and increase your process efficiency with process automation.


Step 2: Assessment

If your problem is especially intricate, it may require that we go through a brief assessment period to thoroughly understand all of the details involved. This usually takes two to three days but is not required for everyone.


Step 3: Design

The design phase is when we create the custom software blue print. Expect a number of meetings, phone calls, and emails during this step as we will need a lot of information from you. The design generally makes up between10% and 20% of the project. During this step, we build wireframes and hash out functional requirements. At this point everyone involved with the project will be clear as to what’s being built and why.


Step 4: Build

Things begin to come to life during the build stage. The Developers start to develop, our Business Analysts will continue to clarify and demonstrate progress, and you will be kept up to date with weekly project reports.


Step 5: Acceptance

Along the way and when the application has been completed, you will have the opportunity to accept (or reject) the work that is being presented to you. Once you have accepted it, your warranty period will begin.


Step 6: Warranty and Upgrades

We encourage our clients to consider engaging in an enhancement plan to keep their application up to pace with their needs. Enhancements are items that can be seen as a lack in functionality that escalate in priority until the items are worth building, and will also ensure that your application keeps pace with new technology.


For a more in-depth look at a custom software development life cycle, sign up today for our free tutorial that will walk you through the process from the beginning brainstorming sessions, through to the build, the implementation, and finally to installation and beyond!

The Custom Software Guide   

Inverse-Square is a custom software development shop based in Indianapolis. We build software that makes business processes easier.


OneDrive for Business Update Brings Improvements

Jun 22nd, 2016 | Posted by | Filed under Indianapolis IT support
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OneDrive for Business is a cloud based system for saving and sharing work documents on Microsoft Office platforms such as Word. Unfortunately, there were some bugs in beginning versions of the system – particularly with syncing what documents were locally on the computer. We’ve seen users deal with sync failures, some confusion with using the system, administrator task issues, and problems with selective sync.

next gen
In December of last year, Microsoft released “The Next Generation Sync Client.” This new version of OneDrive for Business was intended to help address user issues with rolling changes over time. Here are some of the most recent changes and what they mean:

  1. Stronger Office 2016 Integration

One of the appeal to using OneDrive over other cloud platforms is the connection with Office programs. Now users can share documents from directly within the Office application and open cloud documents from the “Most Recent” tab. Also, real-time coauthoring is now available.

  1. More freedom in file types

The update means you can now “sync and file type you want.” Microsoft added support for previously unsupported file types such .aspx, json, .aspx, and .swf. Now users don’t have to worry their file type can’t be added.

  1. Sync Control

If for whatever reason you need to pause sync, such as on restricted Wi-Fi in a public place like an airplane, you can now do so. This gives the user more control over when and where they sync files. Selective sync has also seen improvements, with the ability to block files from syncing and better specification tools.

  1. User-friendly Interface

The new version includes an interface that will hopefully reduce confusion and be easier for consumers to understand. This helps avoid wasted time and promote productivity.

  1. Windows 8.1 Support

While the OneDrive for Business sync client was originally only supported on Windows 7, 8, and 10 but has now added version 8.1. This means that the client should work on most modern Windows devices.

Many of these updates should already be available to users, but those who don’t seem them yet should expect to by the end of the summer.

These updates are not the end though – Microsoft plans to continue to improve OneDrive for Business. Promised updates include more IT controls for bandwidth, better integration with the Windows Explorer for users, and syncing from “SharePoint online document library.”

Only time will tell how well the new features work. But either way to is encouraging to see Microsoft making changes to attempt to make One Drive for Business a more viable tool for teams.




5 Reasons Why Dual Monitors Are Still More Productive

Jun 8th, 2016 | Posted by | Filed under Indianapolis IT support
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Innovation is giving people more ways to work than ever before, including on mobile devices. However, Samsung recently revisited the benefits of using multiple monitors. The company seems to still stand by the claims of a 2003 study by the University of Utah which states people using “dual-screen monitors resulted in 33 percent fewer errors, 16 percent faster edits.”

So what makes a dual-monitor set-up better?

1. Less chance of carpal tunnel

Carpal tunnel is a nerve issue that effects the wrist and fingers. Consistent repetitive mouse use over a long period of time can contribute to someone developing this issue. Using a dual monitor is one of the ways to help minimize this risk, because there is less need for clicking back and forth between tabs or programs.

2. Easier multi-tasking:

With multiple screens, a chat support employee can have relevant information up without having to close the conversation. An accountant can create a report with receipts open at the same time. These are just a couple examples of efficiency with a multi-screen set-up. Multi-tasking means less interruptions, because an employee can reply to an incoming email without losing focus by closing their project.

3. Seeing the whole picture

When reviewing lengthy charts or spreadsheets, it can be difficult to see the whole thing on one small screen. This equals a lot of scrolling to see all the information. With multiple monitors, it is easier to understand the bottom line and pull out necessary data.

4. Cheaper than one large monitor

There are some arguments for just buying just one large monitor to increase the digital workspace – but this isn’t a cheap option right now. A quick google search showed a 34-inch monitor costing 748 dollars, while buying two 24 inch monitors would cost 280.

5. More relaxed working environment

Adding an extra monitor might seem like a simple or small change. But Dr. Phyllis King is quoted in the Samsung study to say “People perceive a high level of mental stress when working on a single monitor.” This is because employees on a single monitor are not feeling as productive when they can’t multi-task. People like feeling accomplished.

I used a dual monitor set-up to write this blog post. This allowed me to have Microsoft Word open on one screen, while being able to have sources open on the other. This way, I didn’t lose my train of thought while fact checking. Fads will come and go, but a dual monitor set-up seems to still be a staple of the workplace.




Circle with Disney Review: Take Control Of Your Kid’s Internet Usage

May 25th, 2016 | Posted by | Filed under Indianapolis IT support
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The Problem

It’s no secret kids are using technology more and more. According to Common Sense Media, 75% of children (ages 0-8) surveyed have an access to some kind of “smart” mobile device in their home– be that a table, phone, etc. And while technology is an excellent resource for education and creativity, it can also be distracting and potentially dangerous un-monitored.

Circle Media has partnered with Disney to create a variety of Circle products – Circle, My Circle, and Circle Go. The primary application Circle has several tools to help parents have more control over their child’s network usage on their smart devices. L5 Solutions has tried out “Circle with Disney” and learned about how it can fit into the family home.

Circle Product picture


  • Time Limits: Parents can set how long the network will be active on their child’s device. There can be an overall limit for a device as well as individualized for different apps – so a user could be given 2 hours on Twitter, but only 1 on Netflix. Parents can receive notifications when limits have been reached, and kids are able to see how much time they have left.



  • BedTime: Each user can have a different daily “BedTime”, or a time at night when the device disconnects from the internet for the night until a preset time in the morning. Adults can set this on their devices as well as a chance to sleep undistracted. Devices will reconnect at wake-up time.


  • Filter: As kids grow and mature, so does their ability to make smart choices online. So it makes sense that Circle has “age presets” for pre-K, kid, teen, and adult. These presets have different recommendations for applications and websites that are blocked and allowed on that device. Circle also defaults to safe search on google to keep results clean.


  • MyCircle This is the Circle companion app where users can keep track of their time online, time limits, and BedTime on a dashboard. Users can also use the application to interact with built-in Disney content such as games, blogs, video and music. This is a nice feature because kids can interact with entertaining content without having to go anywhere else.

mycircle with disney
Looking ahead…the company just launched “Circle Go” – a subscription service that allows all these settings to also apply to the child’s device outside the home. At this time, they are taking reservations because of the demand.

Bottom Line: Frank Howard, owner of L5 Solutions, personally uses Circle to manage his family network. You don’t want to worry about where and when your kids are browsing on their smart devices. If you’re looking for an easy to control your kid’s network usage – Circle with Dinsey might be worth a try.

To learn more about Circle with Disney:

(Photos screenshots from application or taken from website)


Dropbox Announces “Dropbox Infinite”

May 16th, 2016 | Posted by | Filed under Indianapolis IT support
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Dropbox is taking the problem of limited storage space out of the equation with its newly unveiled project called “Dropbox Infinite” for its Dropbox Business users. While ideally the member of a team would want to have a copy of any file they might need, laptops have a limited amount of space. This means turning to a web browser or other system to access a cloud every time they need to look at one of those files.

With Dropbox Infinite, it doesn’t matter how much space a user has. All the files in the company’s drop box will be available to view in the desktop interface. Local files will still contain a green checkmark next to them, while the rest will have a cloud icon next to them. Cloud files will contain file size and creation information available to view before a user can decide to download a local copy for offline use.

Genevieve Sheehan covers these details in a recent Dropbox blog post, describing it as a way “to reimagine how people find, access, and collaborate with large amounts of data”. A demo video shows that Project Infinite is cross-platform and therefore works on both Windows and Mac operating systems, and is backwards-compatible for computers still running Windows 7 or 8.

Sheehan reveals that select sponsors are currently using Project Infinite, and that more updates will be available as they continue to fine-tune the project. A release date has not been announced. Dropbox also hasn’t revealed if the product will ever be available to other account types.

As a small business grows, so does the amount of files and data they need to store. This is inherently a good thing as it means progress, but can lead to stumbling blocks with limited storage. Hopefully products like “Dropbox Infinite” will ease the continued innovation of small businesses.

L5 Solutions is a proud Dropbox partner. 300 million users and 4 million businesses are using Dropbox – is yours next? Sign up now to receive a FREE 1-year license ($150 value) with the purchase of a business plan.

To learn more about how you can sign up for Dropbox Business at a reduced rate, click the graphic link below. This is a LIMITED TIME offer, so don’t wait! Discount will vary by the size and type of the office.

dropbox offer pic



Office 2016 – Risks and Opportunities

Oct 15th, 2015 | Posted by | Filed under Indianapolis IT support
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Microsoft Office 2016


Microsoft launched its latest version of their popular Office suite last month.   Office 2016 builds on its predecessors with added functionality and a similar look and feel to Office 2013.  This blog post won’t go into the new features or changes, but rather discuss some things to be aware of and some promotions that Microsoft is providing because of these items.

If you are connecting to a Microsoft Exchange Server, please note that Outlook 2016 requires Exchange Server 2010 or later.  If you are connecting to Exchange 2003 or 2007, you will need to upgrade.  A great option is Office 365.  Contact us at L5 Solutions to learn more about options or sign up for a Free Trial of Office 365.

Have you purchased standalone 2013 products like Project, Visio, or Access?  The bad news is that they cannot be installed along side the Office 2016 suite of products.  This is a big change from the past where you could mix and match office products.  The good news is that through June 30, 2016, Microsoft is offing free upgrades to some of the standalone products.  More information can be found at Special offer for customers with Office 2016 and Office 2013 standalone applications.

Have you recently purchased Office 2013?  Microsoft is offering an upgrade for $40.  The offer expires the end of the year and is for activations that were done after August 22nd.  For more info see Special offer for customers wanting to upgrade from Office 2013 or Office for Mac 2011 to Office 2016 or Office 2016 for Mac

If you would like to try Office 2016, here is a link to a Free Trial of Office 365 Business



Microsoft Phone Phishing Scam

Jul 14th, 2014 | Posted by | Filed under Indianapolis IT support
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“Don’t talk to strangers!”

Every child in the country has probably heard this phrase at least half a dozen times, but for some reason we seem to forget about it when it is over the phone or online. Which is precisely how phone and internet phishing scams work. For example the Microsoft Support scam; where a person calls claiming to be with Microsoft and stating that they have been receiving errors from your machine. They then go on to request access to your machine to remedy the issue. Anyone who has worked with us at L5 is very familiar with the phrase “Let me hop on and take a look.” I know that everyone here says it a couple dozen times a day, but what happens when these phone scammers do the same thing. Many of these scams begin with some form of remote access; whether that be a connection, a Log me in connection, or any other of the hundreds of options, and they generally end in the loss of personal data. When I say personal data I mean of course your own personal data, as these scams are generally focused on individual home users, but what if they were to focus on a business rather than a home.

While the home computer holds much of our personal and family information that would be detrimental to credit scores and livelihoods, the business computer and network contains the personal information of employees, coworkers, and clients; things like billing information, payroll, taxes, contact information, passwords, you name it. As I mentioned losing things like that on a home computer could ruin your credit; imagine if all of that private and sensitive information from your business was lost, resulting in security violations, fines, stolen identities, and the loss of quite a bit of money as well as lasting damage to your business image and reputation.

These scams only work if you let them, which makes them a little easier to avoid than traditional malware that one might run into while browsing the web or downloading software. That being said, they are just as dangerous, and proper security still remains very important. More than likely you are implementing some kind of network security solution, hopefully more than one, to take care of attacks on your network from outside sources on the web. These work great for the common malware and if you do a very good job securing your machines and network then they’ll probably catch that the download that this scam is performing is malware. That being said; these scams often will have you log in with administrator privileges in order to make the changes needed, which then allows whoever is on the other end of the remote connection the ability to bypass many network security solutions and give themselves access to all sorts of data. Because of this ability the best way to protect yourself is with knowledge. Knowledge is power, and in this situation it is very easy to outsmart the scam. Generally just about any question that you ask will be met with uncertainty, but there are a few in particular that are extremely powerful.

–          “Which machine are you referring to?” Their “reports” should contain this information!!

–          “What operating system is the machine running?”  If they were planning a fix they would already know this!!

–          “What brand is the machine?” If they have error reports detailed enough to have your contact information, they should know if it’s a Dell or not!!

Any one of these questions will either scare the scammer off, or make it apparent that the information that they are giving you is false. That being said the best defense is still what your mother always told you “Don’t talk to strangers!” and quite simply hang up.


Microsoft Increasing OneDrive Business Storage Quota

Jul 1st, 2014 | Posted by | Filed under Indianapolis IT support
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As of today July 1, 2014, Microsoft has increased the Default storage Quota from 25GB to 1TB. Yes TB as in 1000 GB (roughly). This applies to the Users of OneDrive for Business as well as users of Office 365 Pro Plus. It is worth mentioning of course that this is on a per user basis, which means that this will drastically increase the storage potential for OneDrive Users.  This increased storage quota allows for users to save much more of their work in the cloud as well as allowing them access to that work from anywhere they have access to the internet, this also allows them to collaborate and share their work with coworkers without having to send these files through Email as attachments and constantly overwrite previous versions of the file after changes have been made and sent back. As well as removing the need to prioritize what you want to have saved in the cloud due to storage quota/cost concerns.

 For those of you who may not be familiar with OneDrive (previously known as SkyDrive), now would be a good time to give it some very serious thought. OneDrive is an application that can be a part of Office, whether for you that means Office 2013 or Office 365, plans. The purpose of this application is to offer a cloud based storage, hosting, and sharing center where your employees can save and access their data and work from anywhere using either the locally installed Client, Mobile application, or via their web browser.

Many may be more familiar with Similar Services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Amazon Cloud services, which all seek to offer an offsite backup for your data as well as a place for collaboration and easy access from any device with a simple log on. The primary difference between these services is the default storage limit and usability. Google Drive’s storage limit for their free service is 15 GB and can be increased from their with a monthly subscription, Amazon starts you out with 5GB which can be increased per monthly subscription, and Dropbox starts you with the same 5GB and can be increased from there with payments or limited “refer a friend” bonuses. While yes you are offered the ability to collaborate and backup data in the cloud with these other services, the collaboration really only works perfectly on devices which have the office applications installed. Whereas with OneDrive and its ability to open office apps in the browser it offers yet another major benefit to the service.

OneDrive offers all sorts of cool features, similar to the other cloud storage services, that allow you to back up and access your data from anywhere. Similar to features that you would generally see with the Exchange email, where the emails you send and receive are seen from whatever workstation or mobile device you access your email through, OneDrive Saves the data that you place in its storage in such a way that allows you to access it anywhere that you can log in to the service. Giving you access to your Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote Etc. anywhere and everywhere that you might need them.

( For example I began this blog post as a word document on my local Word client, and Saved it to my OneDrive folder, closed my local word client altogether, opened my favorite web browser, navigated to, signed in, and was able to open my word document just as I would in the traditional Microsoft Windows Explorer. From there I was able to select that I would like to edit my document, and I was asked if I would like to open in word, if I have it installed, or to open it in word online which allows me to make these changes right in the browser. I then was able to click save, close my browser, open word, reopen my document there, and then this entire example was now saved in my document. After a quick install and sign in, I was then able to access that same document on my android smartphone and view the same changes as well as pick up right where I left off using a version of word online on my phone.  )


Multi-Layer Network Security for Small Businesses

Jun 10th, 2014 | Posted by | Filed under Indianapolis IT support
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In terms of securing anything it is important to make sure that all bases are covered; this remains especially true for networks in the business setting and elsewhere.

When it comes to “attacks” on networks there are several different aspects that need to be considered; Malware, Viruses, Spyware, and Phishing, all things that we have spoken of before as they relate to network “attacks.”

Just as you would not take one medicine to cure everything that ails you, it is important to use more than one technique to secure a network, thus adding multiple layers of security. Each aspect of network security relies heavily on known information, and often refer to databases of information that have been documented as harmful, malicious material. It is because of this that it is often possible to see certain harmful programs slip through the cracks of a single network security solution, as each database is different and each method of security has its own pro’s and con’s.

–          Anti-Malware tools

Malware is an all-encompassing term for nearly everything that can infect and harm your computer. Malware includes Viruses, spyware, adware, things of that nature. That being said it is important to realize that each of the different forms of malware are different from each other and are even different from other items within their own sub group. Because malware is a blanket statement for all things that can infect and harm your computer, the software labeled anti-malware is generally a broad and vague service that does a decent job of cleaning up most of the annoying problems, as opposed to the more dangerous and harmful ones. Because antimalware tools are tasked with being the jack of all trades when it comes to dealing with malicious content, their databases are often are geared toward the broadest and most general forms of pc infections, i.e. adware and spyware which most people pick up from downloads from email or the internet which can leave some problems largely unhandled. Malware tools do a good job of policing these general problems, but have been known to really lack the power to deal with some of the online world’s more heavy hitters and thus often require the aid of other solutions to effectively protect and secure a network or device.

–          Anti-Virus software

Similar to Biological viruses that infect living things; computer viruses come with varying methods of infection and affects, but their intent is still the same; replicate and spread. Because each virus is different, it is impossible to rely on a single layer of security provided by a single piece of software to properly reduce and eliminate the risk of computer infection or data loss/theft. Most if not all antivirus software requires a database of virus signatures that can be referenced when scanning files and network traffic. Databases must be maintained and updated and the only true way to update a list of malicious software is for someone to first experience its effects, making relying on a single service a dangerous game. The point being that just as viruses are each different, the measures taken to prevent and eliminate them should be as well.

–          Email filtering

Email is a powerful tool in the business world, and without it many small businesses would not have a quick and effective means of communication; unfortunately, Viruses can also use this tool to quickly and effectively spread themselves across numerous machines and networks. This makes email an important place for another layer of network security. Email filtering allows us to keep this risk as minimal as possible by prevent emails with certain keywords and known associations to malicious content from being released onto the network, by essentially stopping them at the door. There are varying levels of protection when discussing Email filtering and the implementation holds the same variance, but the end result is generally the same. Emails that are suspected of malicious content, are from unrecognized senders, or are known to be linked to spam, phishing, or virus software will not be carried to their intended recipient without first being analyzed, changed, and/or redirected.

–          Firewall services

Even with the best Antivirus software on the market and the strictest of email filters, it is still possible to see certain infections from the depths of the internet rooting themselves in network machines. A firewall can be put in place either at a hardware level, software level, or a combination of the two to even further limit the traffic of malicious software onto the network by blocking traffic from areas of the internet which are known to contain software that could be potentially harmful to your machine, network, and business as a whole. Good practice is to ensure that the firewall is set to monitor traffic from websites that contain things such as chat components, gambling, pornography, and even some online gaming websites to name a few. Generally speaking the viruses that will be handled by the firewall will be coming from what many might consider obvious places, though it can be a powerful tool in minimizing the security risk on the network as a whole if implemented properly. Working as a filter that keeps known harmful information from making its way from these sources onto the network by at times even limiting the ability of machines on the network to communicate with or visit sites of a certain category altogether.

Implementing one of these solutions is never a bad idea, but it is best to take a more multi-faceted approach when it comes to securing a network to ensure that there are overlapping levels of security working together. Each level of security only reduces the risk of data loss and potential disaster, as well as reducing the points of entry for malicious software onto the network as a whole.