Why all companies should use Signature deployment software

Whether you're using a cloud-based email solution such as 365 or On-Premise exchange you should utilise an email deployment tool for Signatures.

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Job Titles can be and should be set by HR
A signature is a sign-off from an employee of your company to and internal or external party. This job title of a signature If needed or not is like a business card where the receiving party can see the seniority and Role of the sender. Sometimes employees have changed their own job titles for various reasons and this is not picked up until it is too late. Signature software can integrate into Active Directory and grab this each time to standardise the signature per user. You can also create templates so specific users display or don't display their mobile phone numbers for privacy reasons.

Consistent Branding for Logo's and marketing updates
Whether you have changed your logo, or have some new exciting news to share with your new and existing customers a Signature is a great place to show this. Centralising your signature store means you can change the Signature in real time with business updates getting you new leads.

Consistent legal notes and disclaimers
Laws change all the time, and disclaimers are there to protect the company and person sending each email. The company should deploy these when necessary and keep them up to date with the click of a button to protect itself.

Make your signatures Mobile and Device Friendly
If you have created your signature in Word with your company logos sometimes the width of this will make the email UNREADABLE on mobile devices. With 20% of the internet traffic being mobile nowadays you want to make sure you have this covered

Make sure your emails do not get marked as Spam
We recently had a customer whos employee has created a LinkedIn Logo pointing to the companies linkedIn site to be more socially aware. Unfortunately the colleague sourced the image from an unreliable spam site and the companies email was being blocked at receiving mailservers due to this. 

 



Intergrate your Xero Accounts straight into Power BI

We work with our Local Gold Xero Consultants in Surrey : http://www.dna-accountants.co.uk/ , in helping move our existings customers accounting Systems to Xero to offload more of their resources to the cloud for better management and mobility.

Most of our customers will now be utilising Office 365 which comes with Power BI so in 5 minutes we can integrate their accounts package into a very powerful reporting tools giving the below

What's included

The content pack dashboard includes tiles and metrics that cover a variety of areas, with corresponding reports to learn more:

Cash
Cash in
Cash out
Closing balance by account
Closing balance today

Bank Accounts

Customer

Invoiced sales
Invoiced sales by customer
Invoiced sales growth trend
Invoices due
Outstanding receivables
Overdue receivablesCustomer
Inventory

Supplier

Billed purchases
Billed purchases by supplier
Billed purchases growth trend
Bills due
Outstanding payables
Overdue payables

Suppliers
Inventory

Inventory

Monthly sales amount by product
Inventory

Profit and loss

Monthly profit and loss
Net profit this fiscal year
Net profit this month
Top expense accountsProfit and Loss

Balance sheet

Total assets
Total liabilities
EquityBalance Sheet

Health

Current ratio
Gross profit percentage
Return on total assets
Total liabilities to equity ratioHealth
Glossary and Technical Notes



SMBv1 now disabled by default in Azure VMs

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/azuresecurity/2017/08/18/disabling-server-message-block-version-1-smb-v1-in-azure/?

Flow on effect from the recent WannaCry and Petya epidemics. Applies to only new Azure VMs that are created through the Azure Marketplace, does not impact existing VMs. Funnily enough Server 2016 Core is the only VM image that still has SMBv1 enabled by default.

If SMBv1 is required, it can be re-enabled using the steps in this article: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2696547/how-to-enable-and-disable-smbv1-smbv2-and-smbv3-in-windows-and-windows



Logitech Smart Dock - the perfect SMB Conference Phone

Walk into a conference room and instantly launch your meeting using the high performance, easy-to-use Logitech SmartDock. Transform your meeting with a rich, collaborative Skype for Business experience. Meeting organizers enjoy the familiar Skype for Business interface, and IT admins appreciate the easily deployed and managed Windows® 10 Skype meeting app.

 

Edholm_SmartDock-pricing[1].JPG

SmartDock includes three USB 3.0, Dual HDMI Out, Gigabit Ethernet, and HDMI In. You can use the USB ports to integrate with existing audio-video solutions in the meeting room. Certified for Skype for Business audio and video solutions are recommended.

The real experience comes from the Skype for Business Room software, which is designed for easy meeting joins as part of a resource-based video conference room model. When a room receives an invite to a Skype for Business meeting, the meeting will appear on the Surface Pro screen. An attendee merely touches the meeting to join. During my visit we unfortunately did not have time to explore other options, such as using the room with a user login, but I assume that works also.



RPC over HTTP deprecated in Office 365 on October 31, 2017

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/3201590/rpc-over-http-deprecated-in-office-365-on-october-31--2017

The following are the minimum required Office updates to install to avoid connectivity disruption on October 31, 2017.
 

Office 2016The December 8, 2015 update Subscription: 16.0.6568.20xx - MSI: 16.0.4312.1001

Office 2013 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and the December 8, 2015 update - 15.0.4779.1002

Office 2010 Service Pack 2 (SP2) and the December 8, 2015 update - 14.0.7164.5002

 

I'm using Office 365 with Outlook 2007 or earlier. What actions do I have to take?

MAPI over HTTP was not backported to Outlook 2007 or earlier versions. Therefore, Outlook 2007 and earlier versions will be unable to connect 

 



Microsoft Flow - Free Workflow Tool for 365 Users

Microsoft-Flow-offers-more-than-150-connectors-600x558.png

Have an automated task in 365 that you want to Automate e.g.

Saving emails to Sharepoint?

Email you when specific SQL varies are entered into your Application in SQL?

 

Microsoft has just released Microsoft Flow to do this Automatically for you saving you time and administrative headaches

https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/frequently-asked-questions/



Thinking about deploying Skype for Business for your Small to Medium Business?

If you have Office 365 for your Email , you might be making the next step and deploying the Office 365 suite's replacement Phone System ( PBX )

https://www.microsoft.com/itshowcase/Article/Video/695/Skype-for-Business-at-Microsoft-SME-roundtable-March-2017

Skype for business gives your orgainisation

  • Instant Messaging Interally and Externally
  • VoiceCalls
  • Video Calls
  • Online Meeting Collaboration Internally and Externally

Available on

  • Desktop Phones
  • Tablets
  • PC's and Macs
  • Smart Phonnes

    If you are thinking about Deploying Skype for Business you can use the self assesment tool to check your internet is capable :

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/confirmation.aspx?id=53885

 



Microsoft to Bundle Office and Windows into a Single Package!

At the Microsoft Inspire conference going on in America at the moment, we have been closely following, Microsoft has just announced it will be offering a package bundling its Office and Windows package into one

https://blogs.office.com/en-us/2017/07/10/introducing-microsoft-365/

They are calling it : Microsoft 365 Enterprise and comes with Office 365, Windows 10 Enterprise, Enterprise Mobility + Security.

It's going to be available in 2 flavours E3 and E5 depending if you would like PBX Functionality or extra security.

Microsoft 365 Business will be available in public preview on August 2, 2017.

Priced at US $20 per user, per month which comes to around 16 GBP

This will greatly simplify Licensing for Users and Business



Potential service disruption for Outlook 2007 for Windows users - October 31, 2017

How does this affect me?: Beginning October 31, 2017, Outlook for Windows clients using RPC over HTTP will be unable to access their Exchange Online mailbox.

What do I need to do to prepare for this change?: The necessary action depends on the version of Outlook in use in your organization.

 
If you are using Outlook 2007 or earlier, you need to upgrade. Outlook 2007 does not contain support for the MAPI/HTTP protocol. We encourage you to update to the Office 365 ProPlus subscription, or access Outlook via the web browser (which is included in your current subscription plan).

 
Outlook 2010-2016 customers will need to ensure their version of Outlook for Windows is set up to support MAPI/HTTP. At a minimum, you should ensure you have installed the December 2015 update. 

 
Lastly,  ensure your Outlook clients are not using a registry key to block MAPI/HTTP.



Petya Virus - Another Virus in the Wild and how to keep safe

Another Cyrptovirus has reared it's ugly head in the wild called Petya. It's already infected an Ukrainian Bank , DLA Pipa Law Firm in the USA and a few other agencies.

So far there has been no kill switch found to stop mass infection.

It utilises the same flaws that Wanna Cry used with SMB 1 so if you have already disabled this you should be some what protected. This virus gets into organisations through Email to Spam Filters behind your email servers are a real time defense against these new virus as well as up to date Windows and anti Virus on your Firewall.

Important Note per below :



CAL ( Client Access License Guide )

A Client Access License (CAL) is a license granting access to certain Microsoft server software. CALs are used in conjunction with Microsoft Server software licenses to allow Users and Devices to access and utilise the services of that server software.

Microsoft give you a guide here

http://download.microsoft.com/download/6/8/9/68964284-864d-4a6d-aed9-f2c1f8f23e14/CAL_Suite_Bridges_Overview.pdf

I have created a cheat sheet : 

Products Which Require CALs:

  • Windows Server
  • Windows MultiPoint Server
  • Exchange Server
  • Windows Small Business Server
  • SharePoint Server Remote Desktop Services (RDS)
  • Skype for Business Server
  • Microsoft Identity Manager (MIM)
  • SQL Server (except in per core model)
  • Visual Studio Team Foundation Server (TFS)
  • System Center Dynamics AX
  • Project Server Dynamics CRM

Core CAL Suite (User & Device Options):

  • Windows Server
  • Exchange Standard CAL
  • SharePoint Standard CAL
  • Skype for Business Standard CAL
  • System Center Endpoint Protection CML
  • System Center Configuration Manager CML

CAL Equivalents of your On-Prem Rights from your Online Subscription Licenses (Most Popular Plans – see Product Terms for more details):

  • Exchange Std CAL – E1/E3/E4/E5/SPE E3 & E5
  • ADRMS - EM+S E3 & E5/SPE E3 & E5
  • SCCM - EM+S E3 & E5/SPE E3 & E5
  • Exchange Ent CAL – E3/E4/E5/SPE E3 & E5
  • MIM - EM+S E3 & E5/SPE E3 & E5
  • SharePoint Std CAL – E1/E3/E4/E5/SPE E3 & E5
  • SfB Std CAL - E1/E3/E4/E5/SPE E3 & E5
  • EM+S E3 & E5/SPE E3 & E5
  • SharePoint Ent CAL – E3/E4/E5/SPE E3 & E5
  • SfB Ent CAL - E3/E4/E5/SPE E3 & E5
  • Windows Server CAL – EM+S E3 & E5/SPE E3 & E5
  • SfB Plus CAL - E4/E5/SPE E5

Additive CALs:

  • Often referred to as Enterprise CALs,
  • although not exclusively, these CALs
  • require a Base CAL and provide
  • additional functionality to the users or
  • devices assigned them.

Enterprise CAL Suite (User & Device Options – Includes Everything in Core CAL Suite:

  • Exchange Enterprise CAL w/Services – includes DLP & Exchange Online Protection
  • Exchange Online w/Archiving for Exchange Server
  • SharePoint Enterprise CAL
  • Skype for Business Enterprise CAL
  • Windows Server AD Rights Management Services (ADRMS) CAL
  • Advanced Threat Analytics


Careful with Windows Update .NET 4.7 Upgrade

Be careful installing this update on Exchange Servers per Microsoft Recommendations

https://redmondmag.com/articles/2017/06/13/avoid-net-framework-4-7.aspx

There are some also Current Known Issues Listed here

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4015088/known-issues-in-the-net-framework-4-7

Careful installing this manually or approving this via WSUS!



Citrix XenApp & XenDesktop v6.5 End-Of-Life

The new step forward for anyone currently using Citrix XenApp and or XenDesktop v6.5 the Upgrade path is Citrix Version 7.14 or maybe migration to another product altogether such as Citrix in VDI per below or Microsoft Terminal Server.

https://www.citrix.co.uk/global-partners/microsoft/azure.html

  • Do you need help identifying if your applications are supported in either of these setups?
  • Are you wary of security of the cloud and Azure?
  • Benefits of Citrix 7.14 and changes for your IT Team support?

If any of these questions are going through your head , please contact us today so we can guide you in the right direction



British Airways IT Disaster

If you haven't heard in the news recently British Airways had an IT meltdown last weekend causing thousands of passengers to be grounded.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40081112

Some points to take away for your network and IT Infrastructure: 

Everything critical should have dual power supplies. The incident currently is being blamed on a power surge or cut. If either of these were to happen, this should not have caused any issues. Each rack should have a PDU for UPS and PDU for UN-UPS power meaning you are protected from either of these

Highly Critical devices should be in a highly available state! Whether this be a server using Vmware Highly Available option, or 2 sets of routers in automatic HA, technology makes this easy to implement and can be shared across production and Diaster Recovery Site.

You should have a plan for Diasters - Another blame for the recent outage was due to lack of personnel on the ground to fix and manage the problem. If you have mission critical devices to your business you should have a proper monitoring and oncall person 24/7 so your TTF ( Time to Fix ) is reduced due to knowing about the problem 5 minutes after this has happened.

 

 



Wanna Cry Virus - What you need to know!

Cyprtolocker Variances such as the recent "WannaCry" have been around for years. The main reason this hit the news headlines is of big outbreaks across the NHS and other global organisations.

Per below we've put together a list of things you can do to mitigate this for this strain and other strains : 

http://www.response-it.co.uk/news/2016/10/27/ransomware-the-small-business-guide?rq=Cryptolocker

Install the MS17-010 update that patches the vulnerability in Windows

Done with finding out the version? Here are the links to the updates for all of the Windows versions for which it has been released. Note that if you aren’t sure if you use 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows, you can simply download both patches — one of them will work for you; trying to run the wrong one will bring up an error box but will do no harm.

 

 

You can also be extreme and disable SMB 1 totally from your network however careful with this as things such as VCentre use this for domain authetnication! 

Microsoft have put together a full list here thats uses SMB1

https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/filecab/2017/06/01/smb1-product-clearinghouse/

 

 

 



The Cloud is helping us get rid of Software Asset Management

Part of Response IT's duties for our customers is to help with their Software Asset Management and Licenses. Find the most cost effective solution for their needs and make sure this is kept in a way to produce to Software Vendors if ever the need for Audits. One of the benefits from buying software from Us is that this happens automatically for you.

Game Changer ....

Salesforce was a close creator of the vison of Software being a service instead of a product. The solution would be paid for in a subscription which would let you use it and have access to all the future updates instead of a once off purchase. Some people like paying for things outright as they can see the final price , however when things get more expensive due to celeverer functionality, the cost goes up and this doesn't become viable. Some key companies who have followed : 

Microsoft

The whole microsoft license sheme has changed from a direct one purchase now to a monthly per user model, no more software assurance rules like MDOP, VDA, per device. And the upgradability on these licenses are mearly a flick switch so computers can be upgraded to be joined to the domain , and functionaly for 365 Users can be changed by changing their price plan ( per user not for the whole group !) 

Adobe

They have been on the front runner for this for sometime, and probably due to the cost of their product its been a great welcome. Initial outlays from Adobe Creative Suite where a big hit for one company , and change thing between users where complex and needed software for auditing. Now this is managed in a central dashboard for all the companies products that can be switched around when needed and activated by email straight to the user.

 

Pluses

Self Audits and Costings

Employee's sometimes in a rush were forced to buy software and or hardware themselves which would get them up and running however to check if they had purchased the correct version E.g. Home instead of a professional version of Windows to Join to the domain and Audit the purchase for future SAM Adutis and expense the purchase under the right cost center!

Instant meaasurments

Companies can now check their monthly spendature on Software and Software Vendors can see in realtime companies use which means auditing can be done efficently without SAM Consultants or Software

No Wastage

As instant measurements are so easy , licenses can be re-assigned in realtime making sure no license is doubly users and users who have left the firm do not leave with it on their personal device

 

All in all , this helps everyone , simplier equals easier to manage which reduces the overall costs ! Microsoft are even stopping SAM

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/04/13/microsoft_we_have_a_bullet_ready_for_12_competencies/



Microsoft 365 Intune with EMS

If your organisation has Office 365 with Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), you’re probably already familiar with Intune, Microsoft’s solution for mobile device and application management.


ems.jpg

You can use EMS as a Single Sign on Solution to over 1200 Software as a Service Cloud Applications such and salesforce and box across devices and browsers

Active Directory Premium gives you full Active Directory into the cloud so you don't need local servers for management of Active Directory , see here for a full list of differences

Group membership can be requested by users to the groups Owner and this can be approved from the cloud

User Password resetting can be done in the cloud and automated to be self service to reduce the time for users to fix their issues and load on helpdesk staff

Intune is also your go-to solution for managing shared tablets in limited-use mode. With Intune, you can bulk provision, secure, and centrally manage shared tablets configured to run in limited-use mode.

 

This makes IT’s a job a lot easier: you don’t have to configure settings on individual tablets, and you don’t have to do anything differently than you would for devices not in limited-use mode. With Intune, your transactions, inventory, and other information are protected, no matter what your tablets are used for.



What is Azure Information Protection (AIP)

Azure Information Protection (AIP) allows you to classify and add security directly to your sensitive data so that it's always protected and identifiable.

Example : 

Admin creates policies for data classification, labeling, and protection. Sally, an accountant, creates a document that has customer PII, including credit card numbers.

When Sally saves the document, it’s automatically classified CONFIDENTIAL and encrypted with permissions

When she emails the document to her team, she accidentally includes two unauthorized users. Sally’s team are able to open the file, but cannot print, save, copy text, or forward the file. The two unauthorized users are unable to open the file or forward the email.

Sally and IT can view successful/unsuccessful attempts to open the file. Sally or IT can quickly recall the document from unauthorized users.



The next tech is here - Hyper-Convergence

Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI, also called a hyper-converged integrated system. HCIS) refers to integrating virtualization of storage, computing and networking in a data center into a single appliance.

Why is the industry moving towards this?

Compatibilty out the box : Storage, Networking and Computing providers have come together with their products to offer something out the box that has been thoroughly tested together. No more searching three providers on compatibility when updating a single firmware for a device.

Support ; Single point of support for all of your hardware 

Management : Again single management interface for all your virtulised hardware

Faster setup : You can have new infrastructure setup to expand your ERP system or increase your VDI seat count in less than one hour!

There are multiple hyper converged providers at the moment , but we've had great Demo experience with HP's solution per below

 

Companies will tend to expand on their existing infrastructure due to their already inhouse expertise on existing technologies and human nature of staying the same however this can unnecessary increase costs and manageability by not looking at all solutions at the time of expansion.



Legal E-discovery in 365

Discovery is the process of finding search terms in your organisations data. Searching your who organisations files for keywords can be difficult and duanting task unless all of it is in a collaborated cloud system such as 365.

 For example if you need to trace a client named "client 1" due to a legal case you can use the below method to search your company Documents stored in Sharepoint, Company Emails in Exchange Online and User Data stored in One Drive for Business

You can also Upload Old larges PST's to 365 to Exchange and or sharepoint giving you discovery of all your archived email and mailboxes