Think Ahead with Azure!

Businesses can’t ask where they want to be in 5 years without considering where they want their tech to be as well.

The way we handle our IT solutions has a direct impact on how we handle business, growth, and disaster.
How do we build solutions now that will work later? By building solutions that can evolve over time!

The need to build forward-thinking solutions with existing hardware is why understanding Azure is key to your next step. In last week’s post, we talked about “Why Azure?”, discussing why Azure is our cloud solution of choice and the merits of its security, support and cost. This post, we’re getting a little more technical and talking about IaaS and PaaS, the two basic services Azure offers users.

Azure is Microsoft’s cloud platform.
Users can buy service for storage, hosting, or running application on-demand from its global network of datacenters houses servers, storage, and software. It supports the largest number of operating systems, devices, databases languages, and tools.  Azure’s primary options are IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service)

 

IaaS: What you get

 

Why it matters

 

How to use it

 

  • No on-premises server that you have to manage and maintain:
  • Access to Microsoft datacenters, servers, storage and software.
  • Run your applications, operating system, and manage your data
  • Increased security
  • Business as usual if on-premises servers fail
  • Hybrid IT options (on-premises and off)
  • Cost + flexibility
  • Scalability for growth and/or use
  • Increase your blob storage and power
  • Create hybrid solution for on-premises and off
  • Integrate Azure with your IT and use as much or as little cloud as you need.
  • Add security through secure private connections, data residency, and encryption features
  • Disaster recovery: have data on site and in the cloud

 

 

PaaS: What you get

 

Why it matters

 

How to use it

  • Off-premises platform for building, testing, deploying, and managing cloud based applications
  • Development tools, business analytics features, and workflow, security, or scheduling features
  • Ability to provide the CPU, memory, and storage for applications as-needed
  • IaaS benefits +
  • Cut development time for applications
  • Add development capabilities
  • Application lifecycle management
  • Improve remote development
  • Manage you service/product while PaaS handles your network and infrastructure.
  • Improve development, testing, and deployment speed
  • Streamline development, deployment, and management through one platform instead of buying software licenses for each application
  • Improve access and stability by scaling usage as needed

MAKING MOVES

Depending on your business, one of the above may be more appealing than the other. Learning about both should help you see how your current solutions can benefit from Azure’s features.

Even for those of us with infrastructure in place, there are excellent options to leverage our on-site assets, benefit from off-site infrastructure and still be thinking 5 years ahead.

You can also contact us with questions or to discuss an azure-readiness assessment!

Digital transformation to look forward to in 2017

Security

In Computerworld’s Forecast 2017 survey, 47 percent of the 196 IT professionals polled said they plan to increase spending on security technology in 2017.

High-profile data breaches such as the Australian Census DDoS attack have prompted companies to ramp up their defences.

Analytics

In Computerworld’s Forecast 2017 survey, 38 percent of survey respondents said they plan to increase spending on data analytics (a category that includes big data, enterprise analytics, data mining and business intelligence tools) next year, and data analytics was No. 4 on the list of technology projects that respondents cited as their organizations’ most important initiatives.

XaaS

Cloud computing has been growing steadily and 2017 is forecasting more growth.

In Computerworld’s Forecast 2017 survey 33 percent of survey respondents reported that their organizations are planning to increase spending on software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings next year, putting SaaS at No. 5 on the list of respondents’ most important technology projects.

Virtualization

Virtualization is becoming a cornerstone for all businesses within increased employment of staff with expertise in virtualization.

If you would like to discuss how you can improve your digital presence, contact us today.

How To: Shared Calendars

Sharing a calendar in Outlook can be done in 5 easy steps:

  1. Select the Calendar mode in Outlook
  2. On the Home Tab click on share Calendarshare-outlook-calendar-1
  3. Enter in the email of the person/s you wish to share your calendar with & select the level of detail you want them to see.share-outlook-calendar-2
  4. If the person you are sharing with needs to edit your appointment etc click on Calendar Permissions.share-outlook-calendar-3
  5. Select the level of access for the required user, for a PA select Editor or Publishing Editor then click okshare-outlook-calendar-4

Download a copy of the steps here.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Why Azure?

As a Managed Services Provider, we work with customers to select the best services to support their IT and make it secure.
It’s our job to know the difference between a trend and solutions worth adopting.

In this cloud market, we’re an MSP that recommends Microsoft Azure.

They’re an efficient, secure, flexible, and cost-effective method for data storage and IT infrastructure. How those solutions are delivered is where do our best work. Building the right cloud solution for your business is how you get the most out of the cloud at the best cost, with the least hassle. Whether beginning your move to the cloud or building out an existing solution, we’ll tell you why we think Azure is the best foundation for your custom cloud solution.

Azure’s Security outstrips its competitors by taking an “assume breach” approach to its cloud. Its focus on compliance, privacy, and threat detection are hard to beat. Answer the following questions and see if your security stacks up to the features we list below.

“What does your security look like? Who runs it and what does it protect?” Does it match:

  • 24/7 global incident response team monitoring servers
  • Certificate and Private Key Management
  • Encryption protected communications
  • Identity and access management
  • Firewalls, partitioned Local Area Networks, and Network Security Groups
  • Intrusion detection and distributed denial of service

If you’re interested in a technical summary of 10 critical security functions Azure uses, you can learn more here.  For an overview of even more security features, click here.
In terms of privacy, Azure adheres to the international standard for cloud privacy, ISO 27018, publishes transparency reports, and publishes law enforcement guidelines. Microsoft also tells users about government data requests and requires a warrant for content.

A lot of customers worry about compliance, but Azure offers guidelines for compliance by service, location, and industry. No matter what Azure option you choose, there’s help.

Azure offers a wide range of support. We don’t just mean technical or billing support when you need it. IT support comes in the form of automatic patches, security updates, and upgrades. For running workloads, Azure supports the broadest number of cloud solutions, operating systems, software, development languages, and devices.

Azure integrates with existing Microsoft licenses, SQL servers, and Sharepoint. It also supports different OS, development languages, frameworks and third party technologies.

Cost is up to you. Since Azure is a cloud, you pay for what you’re using and can use more or less. It’s important to work with a professional if you’re looking to build the most cost-efficient model for your business, as some workloads may be more expensive than others.

The ability to research, right-size, ultimately build a secure, efficient and cost-conscious infrastructure makes this a worthwhile move for many—especially when compared to the maintenance and service costs of running infrastructure on-premises. Some customers are worried that switching to Azure will mean moving everything they have and stop their search there. Not only is this untrue, but it misses the opportunity to explore the different Azure options for storage, infrastructure, and deployment. Plus, it’s a huge missed opportunity to develop better disaster recovery and preparedness.

Next week, we’ll start thinking ahead with Azure and look at two forms of Azure that help customers understand what they’re looking for.

Until then, we’re all about learning more with you. Contact us with questions or read the links in the article to learn more today!

Interlinked Summit 2016

The Summit 2016

The Summit hosted by Interlinked at the Hilton, Sydney has wrapped up and was a success.
Thank you for supporting Interlinked by attending the event.

Interlinked Summit 2016 | Vendors

Feedback from attendees:

“Very worthwhile attending” – Concrete Recyclers
“Very informative and something’s that we can look into to implement (SharePoint)” – Cohenhandler
“Microsoft presentation (especially demo) was very informative” – Arab Bank

Stay one step ahead of potential disasters. Download our Ultimate Disaster Recovery Checklist and our Documentation Retention Summary.

At The Summit, our attendees had exclusive access to a showcase of world class partners such as Datto, Dell, NEC, Microsoft, NetConnect and more.

Our guest speakers presented fascinating demos and insight to where technology is moving:

Interlinked Summit 2016 | Microsoft

Brett Fraser, Microsoft

Digital transformation is becoming the norm. Microsoft have created Office 365 where you can run your business in the cloud and access your data securely from anywhere.
New malware variants are a growing reality with 74% of small and medium sized businesses having reported a data breach.

Dell provide leading edge, advanced threat prevention solution with artificial intelligence and machine learning technology that prevents malware from executing and before it can do any damage. The solution is lightweight and is targeted at businesses that require an effective advanced threat prevention solution. It is easy to setup for businesses that do not have a dedicated IT department. Leveraging algorithmic models and DNA markers, it is easy to deploy, and can be centrally managed via cloud based console, while offering subscription based pricing. This solution stops malicious executables as well as malicious active scripts and PowerShell attacks.

Interlinked Summit 2016 | Dell

Greg Darthoit, DELL

Interlinked Summit 2016 | NEC

Sandy De Luca, NEC

NEC’s solutions for fingerprint scanning, facial recognition, iris scanning, vein geometry and mobile DNA analysis ensure that agencies can accurately and swiftly identify people in the field, within an organisation or at the border. NEC has deployed its identification systems to over 1,000 customers in more than 30 countries.

  • NEC’s core solutions include:
  • LiveScan: digital finger and palm scanning technology
  • Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) NeoFace: facial recognition technology
  • Portable DNA Analyser: fully integrated on-scene analysis.
Fines can range up to $10,000 under taxation laws for not keeping proper records.

Document and data retention:

Interlinked Summit 2016 | BWS Lawyers

Anant Bamra, Brown Wright Stein Lawyers

Taxation Law Documents relating to income and expenditure 5 years commencing after records were prepared or obtained, of the completion of the transactions or acts to which the records relate, whichever is the later
Corporations Law Financial Records 7 years after the transactions covered by the records are completed
Employment Law Employee records 7 years after termination of employment
Work, Health and Safety Record of a ‘notifiable incident’ At least 5 years from the day that notice of the incident is given to the regulator
Interlinked Summit 2016 | Datto

James Bergl, Datto

As data is the nucleus of today’s businesses, ransomware has the potential to take out even the most stable businesses in a matter of minutes.

Small to Medium business rely just as heavily on data as bigger organizations, yet they often operate without the proper data protections in place to defend against, prepare for, and recover from ransomware.

Ransomware attacks have become a common, growing occurrence for small businesses around the world. According to IT service providers, the majority of end users aren’t as concerned as they should be, making them even more vulnerable to an infection.

Interlinked Summit 2016

Interlinked Summit 2016

Interlinked Summit 2016

Interlinked Summit 2016

Interlinked Summit 2016

Interlinked Summit 2016

Interlinked Summit 2016

Interlinked Summit 2016

Register for future events:

Register your interest for upcoming VIP events where we invite you to exclusive access to top vendors in the industry and emerging technology.

Interlinked Summit 2016 | Register Your Interest

Interlinked Blog | App Launcher

Introducing Office 365 App Launcher

Microsoft has released a new version of the Office 365 App Launcher which provides improved discoverability to new and recently used apps.

What’s New?

  • New tabbed layout
  • Resize and organise tiles
  • Support Office 365 themes
  • Access to recent Office documents

Office 365 plays a vital part in running your business and with that in mind, Microsoft have improved the App Launcher so that you can customise it to suit your personal needs as well as the needs of your business.

“As we continue to expand the great set of online productivity tools available to Office 365 users, we are committed to improving the experience that ties these services together,” the Office 365 team explains in a new post to the Office Blogs. “Today, we’re announcing a new version of the Office 365 App Launcher, which will provide improved discoverability to new and recently used apps, additional customization options and search across all the services and applications you use in the Microsoft Cloud.”

Interlinked Blog | App Launcher

Interlinked Blog | App Launcher Interlinked Blog | App Launcher

How do I use the app launcher?

Tile What it does
Outlook or Mail Takes you to your Mail in Outlook Web App
Calendar Takes you to your Calendar in Outlook Web App
People Takes you to your Outlook contacts
Tasks Takes you to your list of tasks in Outlook
Newsfeed Takes you to your SharePoint Newsfeed
Yammer Takes you to Yammer, your organization’s social network
Sites Takes you to your Sites home page, where you can navigate to team sites, sites that you’re following, and any other sites that are shared with you
Projects Takes you to your organization’s Project Web App site (see Get started with Project Online
Delve Takes you to Office Delve, where you can discover relevant information in Office 365
OneDrive Takes you to your OneDrive for Business library
Video Takes you to Office 365 Video, where you can view your organization’s internal video content
Word or Word Online Creates a new Word document in the browser window (Word Online), which is saved automatically to your OneDrive for Business library
Excel or Excel Online Creates a new Excel workbook in the browser window (Excel Online), which is saved automatically to your OneDrive for Business library
PowerPoint or PowerPoint Online Creates a new PowerPoint presentation in the browser window (PowerPoint Online), which is saved automatically to your OneDrive for Business library
OneNote or OneNote Online Opens your OneNote notebook in the browser window (OneNote Online), which is saved automatically to your OneDrive for Business library
Admin
(Available only to Office 365 administrators)
Takes you to your Office 365 admin center
Sway Takes you to http://sway.com, where you can sign in and try Sway, a new app you can use to share and express ideas
Interlinked Blog | Windows 10

Free Windows 10 Upgrade Offer Expired

Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade offer has officially expired. The free upgrade offer was valid for Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 and has not been extended by Microsoft.

Anyone who has upgraded to Windows 10 before the expiration of the offer has a “digital license” and that upgrade does not expire. If you have not upgraded to Windows 10 prior to the expiry of the offer, you will need to purchase the full version of Windows 10.

8 Features of Windows 10

  1. The Start Menu is back
  2. Apps are windowed and no longer default full-screen
  3. Virtual desktops and task views
  4. Access recent files faster
  5. Share files from File Explorer
  6. Cortana
  7. Windows Store App
  8. Tablet mode

If you would like more information on Windows 10, please contact us on 1300 302 207 and speak to one of our experts.

Interlinked Blog | Microsoft Bookings

Introducing Microsoft Bookings

Recently, Microsoft has released Microsoft Bookings for small businesses to schedule and manage appointments with their customers which runs on the Office 365 platform.

With Microsoft Bookings you will:

  1. Scheduled your business directly online
  2. Reduce missed appointments with confirmations and reminders
  3. Make it easy for your customers to reschedule or cancel bookings
  4. Manage bookings and customer information from anywhere
  5. Automatically add bookings on staff calendars
  6. Grow your business

Microsoft Bookings will be available to all Business Premium subscribers worldwide in the coming months.

Interlinked Blog | Microsoft Bookings

To get started:

  1. Sign in to Office 365
  2. Open Bookings from the app launcher
  3. Click the Get it now button. You’ll need to provide a bit of information about your business and the services you want your customers to book.
  4. Click the Save and publish button in the booking page tab to publish your scheduling web page.

Your customers will now be able to start booking appointments with your business. It’s that easy!

Interlinked Blog | Microsoft Bookings Interlinked Blog | Microsoft Bookings

Watch how easy it is to manage your bookings through Microsoft Bookings in this video:

Interlinked Blog | Ransomware Scam Results in Small Business Complaints to the ACCC

Ransomware Scam Results in Small Business Complaints to the ACCC

It has been revealed in the Small Business in Focus Report #12 that during the first half of 2016, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has received more than 7,600 enquiries and complaints from small businesses. Their main problem was ransomware by way of Cryptolocker that have been disguised in emails from reputable companies such as AGL Energy Bills, the Office of State Revenue (OSR), Australia Post, the Australia Taxation Office (ATO), Woolworths and more. The emails mislead small businesses by claiming false bills and fake vouchers.

Interlinked Blog | Ransomware Scam Results in Small Business Complaints to the ACCC

Interlinked Blog | Ransomware Scam Results in Small Business Complaints to the ACCC

“An emerging scam posing a threat to businesses is the business email compromise scam (fake CEO scam). It usually involves a fake instruction from someone pretending to be the CEO or other senior staff member, advising changes to payment arrangements for a supplier and redirecting invoice payments to the scammer,” stated the report.

“The number of small businesses contacting the ACCC with concerns has risen steadily over the past few years. The current review of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) provides a valuable opportunity for small business to speak up and ensure that their concerns are taken into account during that process. Concerns about changes to new credit card surcharging laws in September, and new changes to the ACL that will extend protections from unfair contract terms in business-to-business dealings in November are expected to generate significant interest from the Small Business community,” said Dr Michael Schaper, The ACCC deputy chairman.

A few tips to help you stay protected:

  • When attempting to open it on your phone or MAC devices, it will give an error to use a Windows computer
  • The .zip file will be suspicious
  • Ensure that your backups are working and you have a rotating set of drives or tapes
  • Ensure your Antivirus is up-to-date
  • Be aware of any emails that ask you to reply quickly or act fast
  • Alert users to new malware campaigns immediately.
  • If the email is from someone you do not know, do not open it
  • Implement effective email security tools and policies, such as blocking executable or zipped attachments from unknown senders, or setting email filtering rules.
  • Prevent downloading executable or zipped attachments via HTTP/HTTPS connections.
  • Microsoft Essentials, AVG, and other free AV products should not be used
  • Isolate infected endpoints from the network as soon as possible
  • Subscribe to alert services such as Australian Government’s Stay Smart Online, which updates on the latest trends in our region.

If you have received this email and have any urgent concerns regarding this issue, please contact Interlinked on 1300 302 207.

Related posts:

Microsoft Planner

Microsoft Planner Released

Microsoft announced the release of Microsoft Planner which will be rolling out for users of Office 365 Enterprise E1-E5, Business Essentials, Premium and Education subscription plans.

If you love using project management apps like Trello, you’ll love Microsoft Planner. Microsoft says “with Planner, teams can create new plans; organize, assign and collaborate on tasks; set due dates; update statuses and share files, while visual dashboards and email notifications keep everyone informed on progress”.

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Microsoft have created an easy to use interface where you can organise your work visually and have it works across most mobile and tablet devices so you will never miss an update.

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Watch the Microsoft Planner Overview below.

Find out more on the Office 365 blog.

If you would like help configuring your Microsoft Project for your business, contact us on Contact Us.