Browsing Posts tagged Cloud Services

Despite the explosive growth of cloud services in recent years there remain those individuals and companies with deep skepticism around the safety and security of their data when it doesn’t’ reside in their own physical data center. With all the headlines about security breaches at Target, Home Depot and, yes, even the NSA, that mistrust is understandable. And when we talk to clients about cloud services like Microsoft’s Office 365, this is a prime concern that is frequently raised.

Trust is defined by Merriam-Webster as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something” and interestingly it ranks as the 77th most searched term on their website (at least it did today when I looked it up!). So it’s no surprise that companies like Microsoft have a significant challenge when it comes to earning and keeping their clients’ trust. But a recent Office Blog goes a long way in showing the steps they take to accomplish exactly that goal.

To view the entire article go to What Does It Mean To Own Your Data In Office 365? How We Aim To Raise The Bar On Visibility And Control Of Your Organization Data With Office 365.

Alternately, you can simply view the five short embedded videos in the article that will explain:

How Microsoft protects your data at rest
Who has access to your data within Office 365
How Office 365 does continuous compliance
Why trust Office 365? and
What does it mean to own your data in Office 365?

Of course, we don’t live in a perfect world. That fact remains. Stuff happens. But I think you’ll agree after viewing these clips that Microsoft has done its homework. And they continue to work hard to earn your trust. If you haven’t already, maybe it’s time to reconsider how Office 365 can benefit your organization.

As evidence that more and more government entities are turning to Microsoft Office 365 cloud services in order to serve their constituents better and at a lower cost, the County of Los Angeles has recently announced they are rolling out this technology across their public safety, operation, and health and human services. “In all, over 30 departments will make the move,” it’s reported.

For this to happen in the most populous county in the United States, we believe this is making a big statement. Key in their decision, according to Dr. Robert Pittman, Chief Information Security Officer for the County of L.A. was the security and built-in compliance for both HIPAA and CJIS (The Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) provides state, local, and federal law enforcement and criminal justice agencies with access to critical, personal information such as fingerprint records, criminal histories, and sex offender registrations.)

If your agency is thinking about how to move their communications and collaboration forward, you can read all about it here: http://blogs.office.com/2014/06/18/passion-for-service-l-a-county-chooses-office-365/

Office 365Office 365 is well known as Microsoft’s offering for cloud-based email, but there’s a lot more under the hood than you may realize. Join Simplex-IT for our free June Lunchinar and we’ll show you how organizations just like yours are using Office 365 for enhanced collaboration, video conferencing, mobile file access and so much more! Plus we’ll review some of the latest Microsoft offerings for mobile devices, including iPads, iPhones and Android devices.

Note: this will be a BUSINESS discussion and not a technical deep dive, a real world overview about how businesses are increasing productivity and security without a huge up-front investment!

This is an important discussion you won’t want to miss!

When: Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 11:30am-1:00pm
Where: Stow Hampton Inn, 4331 Lakepointe Corporate Dr. (off Rt. 8 at Steels Corners Road)

As an extra bonus, we will be awarding a door prize of a Microsoft Xbox gaming system. Free food AND a free Xbox. How awesome is that!

We remind you, though, seating is limited. To reserve yours, go to http://bit.ly/1tWyTnE, email John@Simplex-IT.com or call 234.380.1277. Come join the fun!

Effective now through April 1, 2011 Microsoft is offering an incentive to new subscribers of their Business Productivity Online Services (BPOS) that is quite compelling. If your organization has been considering moving to the cloud for Hosted Exchange email, SharePoint Online, Live Meeting or Office Communications, you definitely want to listen to this. Here’s how the promotion works:

For every seat for which a new BPOS client signs up Microsoft will issue a check payable to the Partner assisting in the implementation (that would be us) for a percentage of the first annual subscription fee, up to a total of $1,500! Wow!

These Partner Subsidy funds, as they are called, can be used by the client to pay for any services they wish to obtain from Simplex-IT. Most often, they are directly applied to the costs of setup, configuration and migration of emails, contacts and calendar appointments from your previous service. In most cases, these Partner Subsidies will serve to bring your cost of moving to the BPOS solution down to zero (0!) in terms of setup and migration costs.

Microsoft is offering this promotion to encourage potential customers who may be waiting for the new Office 365 to stop waiting and make the jump to cloud services NOW! As Office 365 does become available later in 2011, current BPOS customers will be moved seamlessly to the new service. Automatically. At no additional costs!

Of course, you may have questions. Like how soon can I get started? That’s why Simplex-IT is here…don’t hesitate to call! Just dial 234.380.1277, or you can email me at John@Simplex-IT.com. Let’s take the first step to claiming your place in the cloud today! There may not be a better time!!

 

The following video is from a December 2010 Lunchinar presentation by Bob Coppedge, president of Simplex -IT. Originally titled “Moving Your Organization to the Cloud with Microsoft Office 365”, this is part 4 of 4.

 

 

The following video is from a December 2010 Lunchinar presentation by Bob Coppedge, president of Simplex -IT. Originally titled “Moving Your Organization to the Cloud with Microsoft Office 365”, this is part 3 of 4.

 

The following video is from a December 2010 Lunchinar presentation by Bob Coppedge, president of Simplex -IT. Originally titled “Moving Your Organization to the Cloud with Microsoft Office 365”, this is part 2 of 4.

 

The following video is from a December 2010 Lunchinar presentation by Bob Coppedge, president of Simplex -IT. Originally titled “Moving Your Organization to the Cloud with Microsoft Office 365″, this is part 1 of 4.

Ok, to understand my point here, it’s important to understand the lengths I’m willing to go to in order to make a point. Right now I’m on the 8th deck of the cruise ship “Monarch of the Sea.” Before you ask, no, it is not the sister ship of “Chicken of the Sea.”

Anywho, here’s the fun part. I’m on day 3 of a 4-day cruise, taken under extreme suggestion from my lovely wife, Julie. Most folks, when they hear about going on a cruise, they immediately check out destinations, menus, activities, etc. Me? I’m checking out Wi-Fi, cellular charges, wanting to make sure that, fun or not, I’m as online as I need to be. Yup, that makes me at least a workaholic. And yup, it makes a saint out of Julie.

Now, here’s how it works. Cell charges change immediately to $2.75 a minute when out to sea (this is based on my provider, Sprint). And Wi-Fi is available, at (drum roll, please)…$.65/minute. And it’s only available at certain parts of the ship.

So, how do I get to my files? Working on my emails? Talking with my staff while I’m gone? Am I forced to pay a premium every time I want to talk to somebody or do anything with my data.

Welllllll, no. Actually it’s worked out pretty well (so far). And unlike web applications, most of my applications are installed on my laptop (Office, as an example). So here’s what I do.

  1. Open Outlook. Review my current emails, and write any new ones (or replies). But here’s the catch. Do this while offline, so I’m not being charged anything.
  2. Head to where there’s wireless (huh, go figure…a bar!). Connect to the ship’s wireless, and put Outlook back online. All my outgoing emails are sent, and all new emails waiting for me are delivered. Total time, a couple of minutes.
  3. Turn Outlook offline.
  4. Disconnect from the Wi-Fi network.
  5. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But what about files? No problem there, either. Because at Simplex-IT, we do a lot of our file work using our internal SharePoint site. And I’m synchronizing our files using Outlook 2010 (I could have just as easily created SharePoint Workspaces). Which means as soon as I connect, all new files added by anybody to our SharePoint site are automatically added to my Outlook, and I can edit those files offline as well.

And talking to my staff? Well, I’ve got the cell phone ($G$ulp). Or I can go with email. But how about using Office Communicator, which gives me an encrypted chat session with my folks (I can see while I’m online whether they’re available). Yeah, I have to be online for this, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

The nice thing about this scenario is it highlights the benefit of both thin (where everything is in the cloud) and thick (where some or all of everything is installed locally) solutions. Relying solely on one strategy opens up several vulnerabilities. By combining the strategies, you give yourself an additional layer of protection and control. And it ain’t that expensive.

So, am I too reliant on the software installed on my laptop? What if, as my wife has threatened, she takes it snorkeling with her? Not a problem. Office 365 (Microsoft’s successor to BPOS) gives me the flexibility to work on Office files from any web-connected workstation.

Ok, let me clarify this. Not a problem in terms of my data. But I think I’d better get back with my wife before I put this to the test<g>.

Ummm…anybody think I could claim this cruise as a business deduction now?  No?  Ok, just a thought<g>.

Bob here.  Ok, for years (since the last millennium, at least) Microsoft has touted (albeit somewhat inconsistently) their Small Business Server (aka “SBS”) product for companies with fewer than 75 users.  It packaged Windows Server (traditional security, File/print sharing, SharePoint, remote access), Exchange (email) and sometimes SQL Server (database) with some reasonable pricing and relatively simple management tools.

Pretty decent product, all told.  It made a lot of these tools available to companies at a price they could afford.  At least, if they were talking at least 10-15 folks attaching to the server.  For companies with fewer users, the costs (especially the CALs, or Client Access Licenses) were pretty substantial for startups with 4-5 users.

Plus, with the advent of cloud based services like Microsoft BPOS (which includes Exchange, SharePoint, Live Meeting and Office Communicator), which requires no hardware or expensive licenses ($10/user/month), the need for all of that stuff on the server kinda went away.

So Microsoft, who will never walk away from the possibility of adding more options with their product lines, has split up their SBS product (click here for more info).  Currently in pre-Beta, they’ve split it into the traditional SBS (SBS 7), which will pretty much be the next version of SBS (think SBS 2008 R2).

But the interesting piece will be SBS “Aurora” (their code name, not necessarily the product name.  This version of SBS will be aimed at the smaller…um…small business.  Limited to 25 users, offering automatic backup of the computers connecting to it, remote access and other local tools.  But the key function will be to work with cloud based applications (like Microsoft BPOS).  I haven’t heard pricing yet, but I’ve heard rumors that there will be no CAL licensing.

If this sounds a wee bit familiar, it’s because it is.  Microsoft released their “Home Server” edition a couple of years ago, and many small businesses found it to be a great alternative to the more expensive SBS.  So Microsoft is adding the ability for small companies to have the benefits of a local server, but the economy of cloud based services as well.

Could be pretty cool.  Of course, Simplex-IT has already signed up to beta test both products, and we’ll keep everybody up to date with what we find!