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How To

Azure Logic Apps: Connectors and REST and SOAP, oh my

When you start working with Logic apps, one of the things you’ll encounter is that there are hundreds of services presented as actions available to add easily to your integration workflows. Along with the numerous Azure services, there’s Dropbox, Slack, GitHub, Jira, Salesforce, and many, many more. As long as you have a license to access these services, and a way to authenticate, it is easy to begin interacting with them. However, what if you need to access an API that is not in the actions library? For instance, what if you have an on-premises application, or are connecting to a less-popular service such as Assuming the API is using REST, it would be possible to manually construct URLs and JSON documents and then use the HTTP actions in Azure to get, post, delete, etc. It is also possible, if your API has a correlating Swagger or OpenAPI document, to reference the document from an HTTP+Swagger action. However, Logic apps is not able to expose the returned data elements as easily consumable Dynamic content without further definition. Fortunately, there’s a relatively simple, more reusable way to add APIs, including those implementing SOAP, while also providing drag-and-drop access to the returned data elements. And you may be able to do it without writing any code, JSON, or other computer-readable syntax.

5 Key Steps for Implementing a Business Continuity Plan

The major disasters this past year made people aware of a lot of things including the manner in which businesses assess risk and devise plans to deliver critical services in the event of a disruption. Although catastrophic events have a minimal probability, the businesses that plan carefully for business continuity are the ones that stand the best chance of continuing their services in the event of a disaster.

Too Much To Manage? Top Challenges Facing Tech Leaders Today (And What To Do About Them)

Guest blog co-written with Precision Solutions Group, Inc.

As the technology landscape continues to change and evolve at lightning speed, CIOs and CTOs have more on their plates than ever before. For many, spending time on valuable business drivers—the ones that give your business a competitive advantage—takes the backseat to managing and maintaining an IT environment that’s increasingly complex. This challenge is diverse, with many tech leaders needing to oversee everything from vendor management, to rising cyber security concerns, to the many facets associated with maintaining business continuity. And at the end of the day, these tasks leave little time to focus on innovation.

Throughout this blog series, we’ll touch on three major challenges that today’s tech leaders are facing, along with some suggestions to alleviate the burden.  Let’s start with our first challenge: vendor management.

What Goes into the Massive Fireworks Displays on the 4th of July?

Every 4th of July in many cities all over the United States there are massive fireworks displays for thousands to see. One of the biggest is right in our backyard in Boston, Massachusetts. The Independence Day celebrations in Boston are so large that it takes around 4 days to install the explosives but much longer for the pyrotechnician to plan and design the firework display to make it look amazing and go off seamlessly.

Password Management for Your Business

Gone are the days of simple passwords. I remember the days (yes I am showing my age here), where everyone had the same password for everything. If you were security conscious you had a different password for the “less secure” account and had another password for all the other accounts. If you are still doing that then I officially name you the Gambler. You would be surprised by how innocuous accounts lead hackers to other accounts until the eventually get into something that causes you real pain. But the question is how to stop this. Well, there are a couple of ways.

How to Avoid Choosing the Wrong Outsourced IT Provider

Outsourcing has been growing in popularity. It represents an opportunity for companies to expand, as needed, while cutting the costs associated with new technologies and services. Recent studies conducted by Computer Economics, Inc. showed outsourcing made up only 4 percent of IT costs in 2008. By 2009 this percentage increased to more than 6 percent. By 2011, outsourcing IT services made up more than 10 percent of the total IT expenditures, and this trend has only continued in 2012.

This means that choosing the right outsourced IT provider is now more important than ever. There is a lot at stake in terms of business continuity, company productivity, growth of revenue, and company expansion.

Part of choosing an outsourced IT provider is knowing what mistakes to avoid. Investing the time at the beginning means fewer headaches over the long term and minimizing the potential for unexpected costs as a result of making the wrong decision.

How to Spot a New Type of Spear Phishing Attack

In the every changing world of online threats, a new type of spear phishing attack has emerged.

Have you ever gotten an email in your office asking you to receive money on behalf of someone in distress? These emails are easy to spot as pure SPAM and/or Phishing attempts. Even if you didn’t recognize this as SPAM, you would remember what your mother told you as a kid: “If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.” Take a look:

How to Turn Off “Protected View” in Microsoft Office 2013

Did you just open a document in Microsoft Word 2013 and nothing is happening? Oh, that’s right….. You forgot to click on that annoying, little, yellow button on the top of the window. Welcome to the world of Protected View in Microsoft Office 2013.

Protected View in Microsoft Office 2013

As annoying as it may be, there are valid reasons for this security feature in Office 2013, which first appeared in Office 2010. As explained by the Microsoft Office Engineering Team

“Files from the Internet and from other potentially unsafe locations can contain viruses, worms, or other kinds of malware that can harm your computer. To help protect your computer, files from these potentially unsafe locations are opened in Protected View. By using Protected View, you can read a file and see its contents while reducing the risks..”

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t open a document from a sender that you don’t know. If you’re ready to turn off this annoying alert permanently, here’s how you can do it:

5 Common Patch Management Problems

Regardless of your industry, staying proactive with patch management can be a time consuming but extremely important effort. This is where a managed patching provider can be an invaluable resource.

If you were to conduct a survey of businesses to discover whether or not they are happy with their patch management strategy, the majority of them would likely say that they struggle with patch management processes and are overall dissatisfied with their patch management system. If you are one of the businesses that is constantly burdened by patch management, here are a few of the most common issues companies face and how a managed patching provider can help.