Polish your PowerPoint

6 tips for polishing up your PowerPoint presentation!

A professional presentation can have a lasting impression on your clients and stakeholders so here are our six favourite tips for polishing up your PowerPoint:

1. Position your elements correctly.

It’s important to align your images and text boxes to make your slides look neat and tidy. The trick is to hold down “Ctrl” while you use your arrow cursors to line up each element with precision. Turn on gridlines for the best accuracy. To re-size each element simply hold down “Shift” and tap the cursor keys.
A nice shortcut for lining up elements is to use the Align function. Select the elements you want to tidy up (use Ctrl+click to select multiple elements) then click the Arrange dropdown on the Home menu tab. Under the Align submenu, you’ll find options to align the tops, middles or sides of the selected objects.

2. Embed all fonts.

It’s frustrating when your fonts don’t show correctly when you play the presentation on a different computer. Sometimes this throws off the positioning of your text and makes it look very unprofessional. To make sure this doesn’t happen, go to File | Options, open the “Save” pane and tick “Embed fonts in the file”. It’s best to embed all characters, even if you don’t plan to edit the presentation.

3. Compress all pictures.

Before sending a large presentation by email or sharing it online, you may want to reduce its file size. Click “Compress Pictures” under the Picture Tools | Format menu. The “220ppi” setting may save the space you need, so try this before reducing the resolution any further.

4. Set up your presentation to play automatically

You can make your presentation start automatically as soon as you double-click on its icon. Save the file as a PowerPoint Show (PPSX), not the default Presentation (PPTX) format. You can still edit a PPSX file by opening it in PowerPoint.

5. Blank the screen during pauses

If you don’t want to draw your audience’s attention to the slide content, tap W to temporarily turn the screen white, or B to turn it black. Then you can press any key or click the mouse to resume your slideshow.

6. Use your mouse as a laser pointer

In PowerPoint 2010 and 2013 you can draw attention to a particular part of a slide by holding down Ctrl then clicking and dragging the mouse: this activates PowerPoint’s “laser pointer” feature. To hide the pointer, simply let go of the mouse button. You can change the colour of the pointer by clicking on the Slide Show tab then “Set Up Slide Show”.

 

The IT Budget

What is a good benchmark for deciding how much to spend on IT for your business?

We have read the findings from leading IT research firms such as Gartner and Computer Economics and these are our main take-aways.

  1. Proportion of income. The general consensus is that businesses spend between 2% and 6% of their annual income on IT. Looking at it another way, Computer Economics tells us that the average cost per IT user in 2013 was $8,000. How does that compare with your business?
  2. Differences between businesses. IT budgets vary greatly depending on the size of business and the industry in which it operates. Small business tends to spend more as a percentage of income, as do the more IT dependent industries such as web, banking and finance. Large organisations tend to benefit from efficiencies of scale and industry sectors such as retail usually spend less than 2% of their revenue on tech.
  3. Where the money goes. No matter the company size or industry the majority of IT budget is spent on maintenance, upgrades, new projects, development and support. Hardware and software make up a surprisingly small percentage of overall spend (usually less than 20%).

You may use these statistics to benchmark your business but IT spend is not the most important gauge. The key is to be efficient with your IT budget and make sure you get the most out of your products and services. Quite often we will visit a new client that has made a lot of buying decisions without much due diligence and in some cases without consulting an IT expert. These buying decisions inevitably result in overspending on inadequate technology so my advice to you is to consult someone you trust before you continue investing in your IT.

*References: gartner | computereconomics | networkalliance

HP DL380p G8 Server Deal!

Buy a HP DL380p this month and save.

  • Powered by Intel Xeon® Processor
  • Get a great price on a HP DL380p server this month.
  • Plus collect up to $500 cash-back (ex GST)

It’s definitely the right time to buy.

About the HP ProLiant DL380 G8 Server

HP ProLiant DL380 series Server are the top selling servers in Australia, New Zealand and worldwide

Organisations around the world rely on HP ProLiant DL-series rackmount servers for the highest level of computing efficiency, insight and control. Based on open-standards technology, ProLiant DL380p supports the widest variety of virtualisation, operating system and application software solutions, making it a favourite flexible platform for email, messaging and collaboration solutions, web hosting, database, virtualisation and countless other workloads.

This is the perfect rack-mounted server for your growing business because it has the flexibility and performance that you need to deal with expanding workloads.

Get these great specifications:

  • 1 x  Intel® Xeon® E5-2630 v2 (2.6GHz) processor
  • 16GB Memory
  • HP iLO Management Engine
  • Server Warranty includes 3-Years of Parts, 3-Years of Labour, 3-Years of Onsite support with next business day response

* Terms and conditions apply. Ask us for details.

WatchGuard WAPs

As mentioned in our previous blog: WatchGuard Firewalls, the work environment is changing, and many offices now require wireless access to their network. The solution may seem simple enough, with hundreds of wireless access point (WAP) devices available, at increasingly competitive prices. However before taking the plunge, it is crucial to remember that opening access to the WLAN exposes your network and creates new security requirements. For this reason, secured access points are a great option for ensuring your business network stays safe whilst allowing you to benefit from the flexibility of wireless access. When deliberating which secured access point is the best fit for your requirements, is also important to consider how the device will interact with your existing security system…

 

The WatchGuard WAP

WatchGuard is a company that continues to impress us with value for money, simplicity of use, and high performance results- read more about their firewall devices in our previous blog. Now, with the introduction of WatchGuard’s WAP device, it is possible to extend WatchGuard’s UTM security services from the firewall to the WLAN whilst also benefiting from advanced wireless hardware, simple roaming, and great coverage.

Previously, the only way to provide seamless corporate grade wireless coverage in an organisation was to make use of very expensive solutions from vendors such as Cisco. The solutions typically would require the purchase of a number of very expensive wireless access points and an even more expensive wireless controller. Watchguard has extended the functionality of their existing firewall hardware via a firmware upgrade, to now also provide the wireless controller function. This in itself is a potential saving of thousands of dollars! Furthermore, with the wireless connections being controlled by the firewall, we are able to easily manage the wifi traffic.

Using WatchGuard’s simple unified management tools we can quickly enforce policies that best meet the needs of the business environment, such as acceptable use policies for employees requesting mobile access to corporate data. These controls protect the network as it is accessed in even the most hostile environments, such as public Wi-Fi hotspots. As you would expect considering WatchGuard’s reputation for manageability, these WAPs fit seamlessly into the existing firewall infrastructure, and WatchGuard’s unified management tools allow us to manage both the WAP devices and XTM firewalls from the same console. This not only makes the system easier to control, it also reduces setup time and maintenance costs. Value for money is increased when you consider that bundling security and access into one device saves on separate controller hardware/ software fees, as does WatchGuard’s per licence, rather than per-WAP seat cost. Importantly if you already have WatchGuard security, the WAP and XTM devices actually work together, further increasing the security of your network.

 

Why we recommend WatchGuard solutions…

There are of course many different vendors when it comes to choosing a suitable UTM device for your business requirements- including big names such as Cisco and Dell. While all the vendors to have capable offerings, we typically recommend Watchguard solutions because we truly feel they tick most of the boxes that are important in terms of security, performance, cost effectiveness, and manageability. Comparing WatchGuard’s XTM devices with offerings from other leading vendors there are several features that separate WatchGuard from the crowd:

 

  • WatchGuard allows us to control (monitor / block) usage of over 1800 applications via Application Control, which is more than any other NGFW, including offerings from Palo Alto Networks and Fortinet.
  • With WatchGuard’s innovative HTTPS inspection, encrypted connections are inspected in a way that no other security vendor offers.
  • When it comes to cost, WatchGuard maintained the highest Info-Tech Value ScoreTM of the vendor group, including offerings from Cisco, McAfee, Fortinet and SonicWALL.
  • WatchGuard’s flexible, intuitive organization simplifies workflow, and gives us tailored control over your system, as WatchGuard allows the administrator to establish policy broadly across application category, or granularly through user category, application, and application sub functions.

 

WatchGuard’s reputation for smart manageability is particularly apparent when this device is deployed in the secure transactional business environment. For organisations that accept payment by credit card, XTM devices allow us to segregate cardholder information from the rest of the network for PCI compliance and set uniform security policies, whilst the manageability tools enables us to access PCI compliance reports with just one click. Similarly, WatchGuard facilitate Healthcare providers looking for a solution to keep Electronic Health Records (HER) safe whilst also keeping the organization compliant with regulations such as HIPAA. WatchGuard’s XTM devices allows us to easily control and audit which personnel can access which resources. The XTM device also provides easy-to-access reports that allow your business to prove compliancy and maintain reputation. In this way WatchGuard devices provide solutions to business requirements and not just security risks. For more on PCI compliance and what Systemnet can do to help your business prepare for and external PCI audit, visit our blog on the topic.

 

Let us help you secure your business

Systemnet have been WatchGuard partners for more than 12 years and are one of their leading expert solution providers. This is the highest level of WatchGuard’s reseller qualifications, and means we have proven expertise and product certification in the entire range of WatchGuard solutions.  Every Systemnet engineer is WatchGuard certified, and we have successfully deployed WatchGuard solutions in many organisations, ranging from small business’ and branch offices to large, complex, multi-site environments. Contact us now and let us show you how WatchGuard WAP devices can help solve your wireless requirements!