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Matt Scherocman brings more than 15 years of experience in the information technology industry to Interlink Cloud Advisors. His experience includes both the system integrator and manufacturer sides of the business. During his time at the Microsoft Corporation he was responsible for all the the Large Account Reseller (LAR) relationships in the...

Matt Scherocman brings more than 15 years of experience in the information technology industry to Interlink Cloud Advisors. His experience includes both the system integrator and manufacturer sides of the business. During his time at the Microsoft Corporation he was responsible for all the the Large Account Reseller (LAR) relationships in the four state Heartland Area of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Prior to Microsoft, Scherocman led a Cincinnati based IT consulting company to grow 5000% and become a Microsoft Worldwide Partner of the Year. He is actively involved in the strategic vision and operation decisions of the company including finance, selling strategy and marketing. Matt holds a Bachelor of Science in Business degree from Miami University and is a Certified Expert in Microsoft licensing including speaking engagements at both Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference and Channel Partner Summit. He is a frequent contributor to leading industry publications.

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Matt Scherocman

The Azure Hybrid Use Benefit – Don’t Purchase Windows Server Twice

microsoft azure hybrid use benefit

One of the primary reason companies move their software to the cloud is because of the cost savings, but there are still ramp-up expenses to consider even if it’s not a capital expense anymore. As companies undergo the transition to the cloud, whether it be a hybrid solution or all in the cloud, every little bit of savings counts.

Until now, many organizations have owned Windows Server licensing through a licensing agreement and then purchased access to Windows Server again when they setup a new virtual machine on Azure. Many clients were paying for the same functionality twice!

The Azure Hybrid Use Benefit has changed all of that. As of February 1, 2016, the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit lets those owning Windows Server Licenses with Software Assurance to use that existing license on Azure, which saves money. For each Windows Server 2 processor license with Software Assurance, customers may run two virtual machines with up to 8 cores each or one virtual machine with up to 16 cores.

Azure hybrid use benefit savings chart

Savings based on a D2 instance in US East 2 Region, operating at the full time hourly rate, and including the cost of Software Assurance. (source)

Next Steps

The Azure Hybrid Use Benefit is Microsoft’s effort to help you get the most value from licenses, on-premises and in the cloud. But first find out…

  • Do You Qualify? The Azure Hybrid Use Benefit is currently available for customers with Windows Server licenses covered with Software Assurance.
  • What Next? The Azure Hybrid Use Benefit is applied by creating a Windows virtual machine through PowerShell and setting the new license Type property for each virtual machine. Windows virtual machines with the new property are billed at the base compute rate, with a specific notation in the bill that the benefit has been applied.

Do you want to save with this new Azure Hybrid Use Benefit? Check out the FAQ here and contact us to learn more!

* Base compute rate is described in the FAQ.

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Matt Scherocman

Important Notice About Certificate Expiration for Exchange 2013 Hybrid Customers

Attention customers running Exchange in hybrid mode

Microsoft is making a change on April 15th that will possibly break mail flow from your on-premises environment to the Office 365 platform.  

This will have no impact on you if you are not running Exchange in hybrid mode. Please see the full details below on who will be affected. 

Our team is standing by to assist you with this change if needed to ensure mail flow is not interrupted.  


If you’re running Exchange 2013 and you’ve configured a hybrid deployment with Office 365, this post contains important information that might impact you. Please evaluate this information and take any necessary action before April 15, 2016. 

On April 15, 2016, the Office 365 TLS certificate will be renewed. This certificate is used by Office 365 to provide TLS encryption between Office 365 and external SMTP servers. The new certificate, which will help improve the security of mail sent to and from Office 365, will be issued by a new Certificate Authority and it will have a new Issuer and Subject.

This change has the potential to stop hybrid mailflow between Office 365 and your on-premises Exchange servers if one of the following conditions applies to you:

  • Your on-premises Exchange servers are running Exchange 2013 Cumulative Update 8 (CU8) or lower.
  • You’ve upgraded the Exchange 2013 servers that handle hybrid mailflow to Exchange 2013 CU9 or higher. However, since upgrading to CU9, you HAVE NOT re-run the Hybrid Configuration wizard (either from the Exchange Admin Center or via the direct download link).

If one of the previous conditions applies to your organization, hybrid mailflow between Office 365 and your organization will stop working after April 15, 2016 unless you complete the steps below.

Note: This only affects hybrid mailflow. Regular mailflow and TLS encryption is NOT affected.

How to keep hybrid mail flowing (MUST be completed before 4/15/2016)

Let the new Hybrid Configuration wizard do it for you

You can use the latest Hybrid Configuration wizard (HCW) to configure your Exchange 2013 servers to work with the new TLS certificate. Just follow these steps:

  1. If the Exchange 2013 servers handling hybrid mailflow are running Exchange 2013 CU8 or lower, follow the instructions in Updates for Exchange 2013 to install the latest cumulative update on at least one server.
  2. After you install the latest cumulative update, download the new HCW application and run the wizard following the instructions here.

Note: For information on which releases of Exchange are supported with Office 365, see Hybrid deployment prerequisites.

Manual update

If you can’t upgrade Exchange 2013 to latest cumulative update right now (although we would like to remind you of our support policy), you can manually configure your servers to work with the new TLS certificate. On each Exchange 2013 server that’s used for hybrid mailflow, open the Exchange Management Shell, and run the following commands:

$rc=Get-ReceiveConnector |where {$_.TlsDomainCapabilities -like "**"}

Set-ReceiveConnector -Identity $rc.Identity -TlsDomainCapabilities "mail.protection.outlook.com:AcceptCloudServicesMail

View original article...

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Matt Scherocman

Office 365 - Pros and Cons of a Consolidated Tenant with Global User Dispersion

Office 365 Pros Cons Consolidated Tenant Global User Dispersion

A single Office 365 tenant may not be sufficient for some organizations. In certain cases, a company may need to provision mailboxes or manage end users in more than one tenant.

Below is a detailed breakdown and summary of a single global Office 365 tenant versus multiple tenants. This assumes that there are two or more agreements in place.

As it exists today, a single Enterprise Agreement cannot have licenses allocated to multiple tenants without an exemption and Microsoft intervention to allow it. However, agreements made underneath that entity, such as a second Enterprise Agreement for a sub-company in another country or division of the organization can have its own tenant.

Single Global Tenant

The Pros

  • Single name space support.
    Example: company.com is shared across the organization and everyone needs it as the primary email address. In this scenario, there is no way to provide a unified email address alias without all users existing in the same tenant.
  • Single point of control and management - The proper implementation of Role Based Access Control allows for flexible controls to be put in place to manage licensing, users, and services such as Exchange.
  • Branding controls for portal pages and SharePoint sites is unified.
  • Tenant location is nearest to the primary company listed as the contact location for Office 365. In some cases this is beneficial where the largest set of users exist in a specific office. Retail would commonly see this as a benefit, for example, where the corporate office contains most of the information workers.
  • Perfect solution when a single directory for the entire company is leveraged for user, group, and device management.

The Cons

  • No flexibility in the location of the services today. All services such as Exchange, Skype for Business, and SharePoint are provisioned in the nearest datacenter to where the company's contact listing.
  • Role Management is very cumbersome - even with groups.
  • One directory and its trusted relationships can be synchronized, a third party tool must be used if the company has multiple directories and no trusts in place.
  • Can be very complex when you are leveraging multiple AD forests and Trusts - Overlapping contacts and sync errors are common.
  • Services can be very slow when global access is enabled. An example is Skype, which has a low tolerance for latency and is impacted significantly for users outside of the country where the tenant is provisioned.
  • Global instances of Yammer and SharePoint can cause companies to rethink putting all collaboration sites in the cloud.


Multiple Tenant

The Pros

  • Primary benefit is autonomy and control of your own portal and services underneath it.
  • Performance on a per company / agreement basis is markedly better due to the location being closer to the sub-company.
  • Provides less complexity about managing admin roles on a large scale and can be less cumbersome.
  • In scenarios where the company is global and large sets of users are distributed, this provides the best performance on a per agreement basis.
  • Managing licenses is much easier and based intimately on the way each company operates.

The Cons

  • No single namespace and consolidated company domain support exists today.
  • Global policy adherence is very difficult to achieve since the policy setting company doesn't have a view into the settings.
  • Multiple locations to manage licensing can have limitations if only a single Microsoft licensing agreement exists.
  • Security of company information is in the hands of each company managing its own portal.
  • Compliance configurations are hard to regulate and enforce on an individual and consistent level.

If you have any addtional questions or would like to discuss, please contact us.

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Matt Scherocman

Microsoft Office 365: Taking Information Security to a Whole New Level

Office 365 Taking Information Security

Imagine a world where you can continue work without even worrying about security. Microsoft Office 365 is getting closer and closer to that reality with controls that follow your data without affecting user productivity. Microsoft has (and is) investing a ton of time and resources making Office 365 secure, and it goes way beyond hard passwords and data encryption. Below is a quick look at just some of the ways they’re accomplishing this.

Secure Access Anywhere:

Once you set the rules for data loss prevention, the Office 365 service proactively protects in the background. You don’t have to take the data out of the service to protect it. It’s still usable in the cloud while completely secure to your organization based on who you’ve allowed permissions. New identity and access management controls allow you to set appropriate permissions that can be revoked at any time. Better yet, no matter where your data resides, Office 365 protects it while also protecting your device.

Policy Tips:

When you author a document, Office can inform you of any risks through policy tips before you save that document. Policy tips are based on the policies that you have set up in Office 365. When you’re checking email, Office 365 can detect malware before you’re even exposed to it, blocking malicious links across all devices.

Advanced Threat Protection (ATP):

ATP proactively protects against incoming threats. Phishing attacks are becoming more common and definitely more advanced. ATP catches any and all suspicious content and runs it through a real-time behavioral malware analysis. Suspicious attachments and malicious links don’t stand a chance when Office 365 is on the case.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP):

Office 365 backs up your data, sure, but it does it with security top of mind. DLP allows you to set granular policies so that when data is shared, it follows certain actions that you determine.

Productive Artificial Intelligence:

In the future, Office 365 will have the ability to suggest proactive security, giving you a 360-degree view on the security of your data wherever it is stored. To do this, Microsoft is using machine learning, which is implementing pattern recognition so that computers can learn without being explicitly programmed. Yes, artificial intelligence…but not take over the world type AI, beneficial and useful AI for you and your business. Intelligent protection can further help keep your data secure.

These advanced controls, accessibility, and security measures are making Office 365 even better and making users even more productive. For a service that already streamlines business processes, they are covering all the bases of security while they’re at it.

Are you wondering how these security features fit into your overall data protection plan?

Maybe you need insight into how to license the different options?

Contact Interlink and we’ll answer any and all of your questions.
We’ve helped highly regulated industries like banking and healthcare make the move – we can help you.

Office 365 Free Trial

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Matt Scherocman

The New OneDrive For Business

The New OneDrive For Business

Microsoft has made significant improvements to their backup, syncing and sharing client - OneDrive for Business and has had an amazing 179% growth in active usage. The new client builds on the strength of the Consumer client for OneDrive and adds the features that businesses need like:

· Consolidated single sign on to Office 365 tenant

· Clear corporate ownership of data

· Attractive web and mobile interfaces - now iwth offline capabilities

· Shared and improved desktop-folder syncing

· Real-time coauthoring in Office with notifications of others' edits

· Increased mobile functionality

 

Let’s break down some of the new features and improvements to OneDrive for Business.


Solidified Syncing

First, the syncing process is solidified and more reliable with the new “next generation sync client (NGSC)” for companies. The new mobile clients allow access to both the Consumer and Business editions of OneDrive from the same app. The sync limit has been lifted to now allows individual files up to 10 GB in size and has removed the 20,000 file sync limit. As an added IT bonus, you can configure and deploy the client silently to help benefit the client on behalf of your users. Selective sync is also available – so you can select the files that are needed on each device that you are syncing.

one drive for business

Browser Experience & Sharing

The new browser abilities make sharing files quicker and easier. There is a new, easy to access command bar, tile or list view options, and enhanced sharing options. Therefore, the new browser experience lets you have more flexibility with new sharing features: link forwarding, non-sign in options, and even the option to add an expiration date.

Mobile Updates

In addition to OneDrive for Business being more flexible in sharing, there are now more mobile options. Recently released was a new OneDrive app for Windows 10 Mobile, which offers all the essential capabilities to view, edit, delete, share and upload files onto both your personal OneDrive and OneDrive for Business storage services. Offline flagging in the mobile Android apps lets you work unconnected. New PDF annotating abilities in the iOS app also add essential capabilities to the mobile work space.

OneDrive for Business update on storage plans 2a 509x1024

 Amplified Control

With more file-sharing capabilities and document access comes the need for new and improved controls and managing options for OneDrive for Business. These new controls will allow for governance of external sharing, limiting external sharing permissions, managing external sharing domains, and even auditing of external sharing invitations. For example administrators can turn on or off external sharing for single users. Administrators will also be able to limit sharing by domain in the near future.


 Interested in learning more about OneDrive for Business, seeing it in action, or utilizing its abilities?
Contact us here or give us a call at 1-800-900-1150.

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Welcome to the Interlink Cloud Blog

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations or warranties regarding the information from our partners or other external sources.