Interlink Cloud Blog

Interlink Cloud Blog

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.
Sarah Bunt

Does Microsoft Have a Service Pack Available for Windows 8.1?

Many of you wait for service packs to release before you begin deployment. As a heads up, for planning purposes, Microsoft is set to release Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Office, SharePoint and Exchange in early 2014.  SP1 will deliver performance enhancements, feature updates and improve compatibility with Windows 8.1. More information on all that will be available with SP1 and when you can acquire it, will come early next year.

  

http://blogs.office.com/b/office-news/archive/2013/11/20/office-2013-service-pack-1-coming-early-next-year.aspx

 

 

 This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights.

 

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Sarah Bunt

What are the Compliance Updates to Windows Azure?

Windows Azure Compliance Updates: PCI DSS and ISO


PCI DSS Compliance

We are pleased to announce that Windows Azure has been validated for compliance with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (DSS) by an independent Qualified Security Assessor (QSA). The QSA has issued an Attestation of Compliance, having audited the Windows Azure against the PCI DSS 2.0 security standards for Level 1. To assist customers in achieving PCI DSS certification, Microsoft is making the Windows Azure PCI Attestation of Compliance and Windows Azure Customer PCI Guide available for immediate download.

Visit the Trust Center for a list of other compliance and certifications.

What is the PCI DSS?
The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) is an information security standard designed to prevent credit card fraud through increased controls around credit card data. PCI certification is required for all organizations (merchants and payment service providers) that process credit card transactions.

Is Windows Azure PCI “certified”?
As a cloud provider, Windows Azure does not directly manage cardholder environments, and therefore, is not eligible for PCI certification. However, Windows Azure has been validated by a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) as providing a secure environment that merchants can use to achieve their own PCI certification.

What Windows Azure services are in scope?
The Information Security Management System (ISMS) for Windows Azure, including infrastructure, development, operations and support for Compute, Data Services, App Services and Network Services are in scope for the PCI DSS Attestation of Compliance. This includes everything listed under Services on http://www.windowsazure.com/. The Windows Azure datacenters in the following regions are in scope: Asia Pacific East (Hong Kong), Asia Pacific Southeast (Singapore), Europe North (Ireland), Europe West (Netherlands), US North Central (Illinois), US South Central (Texas), US East (Virginia), and US West (California).

This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights.

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Matt Scherocman

What are my options for reporting and monitoring in Office 365?

Office 365 is a great product that continues to improve, but when it comes to monitoring or reporting what is happening on the tenant today we feel it comes up short.  We have reviewed a few products that can help improve this experience:

Exoprise:
Exoprise will monitor your Office 365 tenant with a client that is installed on a local PC and then compare this data to results gathered by other clients around the world.  The crowdsourcing of the performance data allows the tool to narrow down if an issue is being caused by an Exchange Online server malfunctioning or if it is a potential local network issue between your client and the online tenant.

Pros:

  • Day to day report of how healthy your tenant is compared to others that are available
  • Ability to see how others are doing the same day helps to identity where problems are
  • Gives the ability to show where your data is headed on a geographical map
  • You can add multiple sensors/clients that will give you a more rounded view if you have multiple sites.

Cons:

  • If the PC with the sensor is off, no data can be gathered.
  • Limited number of reporting features

Cogmotive:

Cogmotive is a web based report driven tool for your Office 365 tenant. It gives detailed reports of statistical data on Exchange, Lync, mobile usage, licensing, and security.

Pros:

  • Great interface and easy to setup
  • Excellent graph outputs to quickly digest data
  • Detailed mailbox usage information
  • Mobile device reporting by device
  • Easy view of who has permissions to which mailboxes

Cons:

  • Limited custom reporting

This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights.

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Matt Scherocman

Skype for Business Server Licensing – A Hidden Gem

As we are working with clients on deploying Lync in their environment, there can be a number of different server roles engaged.  These can include conferencing servers, monitoring servers, front end, back end, and mediation servers.  One advantage of deploying Lync is that the current licensing rules allow for these additional software roles to be run without purchasing additional server licenses.  One suggestion, buy the Enterprise version to give yourself the most flexibility.

 From Microsoft’s Product Use Rights Guide:

Running Instances of the Additional Software.  You may run or otherwise use any number of instances of the additional software listed in the table below in physical or virtual OSEs on any number of devices.  You may use those instances only with the server software.  Use of any instance with the server software may be indirect, through other additional software, or direct.

 

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Matt Scherocman

Does Office 365 Include a New Version of Office?

The short answer here is, no.On a feature set level the version of Office that you can rent in the cloud is the same version of Office that you purchase at retail.However, from a licensing perspective, the versions are extremely different.

Licensed by user - In the cloud Office is licensed to the individual user versus the device for traditional licensing.This is great for many clients while it allows the user to install Office on up to five different machines for their use.

 

No downgrade rights - You have to stick with the version of Office - currently 2010 Professional, that is the one in the cloud.This is primarily done to easy downloading and complexity in the product.

 

Subscription checking - The version of Office from Office 365 will check to ensure that the subscription payments are up to date.

 

No Remote Use Rights or Roaming Rights - Due to the per user licenses, these rights aren't needed while the user can typically use their five device limit to accomplish the same access.

No Home Use Program - Again, while you can install a copy of Office at home, there isn't a need for a separate formal program or additional costs.

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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.