Clearing Up Cloud Security

Cloud Security Azure Softchoice

You’re about to begin your journey to cloud adoption.

Or, you’ve already started but aren’t sure if there’s something you missed.

Most organizations moving to the cloud face the same problems. They don’t have a real plan. They have a skill gap in their organization. Or, they haven’t taken the time to define governance.

When it comes to cloud security, the same challenges apply. Planning for security is different in the cloud. 65% of enterprise businesses report a skills gap when it comes to cloud security. Governance questions arise about who will procure cloud technologies and who will have access rights to cloud resources.

[Read more…]

3 Secrets to Getting the Most Business Value from Office 365

3 Secrets to Getting the Most Business Value from Office 365

We just did an entire webinar on how to get the most value out of Office 365 — and we did it all without mentioning a single feature. Not one.

How on Earth is that possible?

For the same reasons every technology project, ever, succeeds or fails: it isn’t about the speeds, feeds or special features. It’s about achieving a business use case and bringing value to end-users. Features are just the details to be worked out after!

[Read more…]

Avoiding the common Azure mistakes and missteps

Avoiding the common Azure mistakes and missteps

It’s not a question of if your organization is going to migrate some of its workloads to the cloud, or even when. The real questions are: what are you moving, how can you make the most of it, and how can it be done with minimal risk?

[Read more…]

Avoid Office 365 gotchas with these key considerations

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One C-level executive was so excited to get going on her company’s new Office 365 bundle, that she asked to be first on the list to adopt it.

Everything was going great until a week later when she started missing important calls and meetings. Uh oh… All of a sudden IT leaders were scrambling to figure out what went wrong.

Can you guess it?

In the rush to get her on the platform, IT failed to give the proper permissions to the executive’s assistant. As a result, all the meeting requests the assistant usually handled never got read.

Sounds obvious, but we’ve seen plenty of examples just like this one. Unfortunately, this story points to a much larger phenomenon. Too many businesses make the switch to Office 365 without thinking through all the key considerations that might get in the way of success — and it’s not just the end-user perspective like the example above. These are serious issues, from infrastructure, finances and security.

At a glance: key considerations to make before adopting Office 365

So what can be done? We discussed this at length in our latest webinar – which you can watch below.

Shared Responsibility:

In the chart below, everything on the left-hand side is Microsoft’s job with Office 365. The rest is up to you. As soon as “the copper leaves the building” it’s on you to ensure your business is properly set up.

Security and data are a major concern here. But so is how your business processes need to adapt to Microsoft’s ongoing software updates. Last year alone there were nearly 500 updates released — each one would have to be vetted to ensure your individual Office 365 implementation and processes would continue, unfettered.

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Internal Silos

Traditional businesses split roles into silos, from your server to storage to networking, right up to applications, telephony, and security. But when you switch to Office 365, these roles are merged and sometimes completely off-loaded to Microsoft’s team.

IT leaders must consider how this impacts their teams, and make a plan to include existing team members in future plans to ensure their own success and avoid fighting and loss of productivity.

Infrastructure and the network

Your data center is no longer down the hall, it’s in another part of the country. This has a significant impact on your line of sight when issues arise.

Simultaneously, this puts a drastically increased importance on the strength of your network. It is now more important than ever that you can handle the bandwidth to support cloud, ensuring reliability, scalability and end-user satisfaction (i.e. speed.)

Data Considerations

Office 365 is often thought of simply a new way to license – when in reality it has enormous implications on your data and the infrastructure used to store and move it. This cannot be overlooked.

You need to think through such things as the size of mailboxes and detailed user permissions. Use the 3 W’s and an H approach: What data do we need to migrate, Who has access to it, Why are we moving it, and How will we move it?

Operational Challenges

It would be incredibly rare if you had an Office 365 veteran in-house already. Therefore it is extremely likely mistakes will be made in both the configuration and ongoing management of Office 365, causing you undue costs and wasting your time in the process.

Understanding the skills gaps, and the need for expert guidance upfront and perhaps on an ongoing basis are crucial questions to address from the start.

Want more details on the considerations, and how Softchoice’s Office 365 tools and managed services can help you? Watch the full webinar recording now or contact your representative today.

How Microsoft OMS simplifies IT’s chaotic times

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As the world of IT is transforming at an unprecedented rate, enterprise technology leaders want to find a simpler way to manage everything. And they don’t want that solution to be limited to a single operating system, cloud provider or environment type. Your company doesn’t fit a pre-baked template, so why should your management tool? OMS can be that tool.

OMS is the solution for a complicated IT world

Our cloud experts just wrapped up a 1-hour webinar all about Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS). In it, we discussed how it’s a simplified enterprise management suite for any enterprise – designed to manage and protect all your environments, regardless of location, operating system, hypervisors or cloud provider.

Watch webinar and download the presentation deck:

Simply put, it’s a comprehensive set of ready-made tools and solutions to use when managing cloud services. It offers options that actually fit cloud services rather than just cloud-aware versions of the usual System Center options.

And, it’s not just for managing Azure; it works with any instance in Amazon Web Services and other clouds, managing Windows Server, Linux, VMware and OpenStack. Plus, you can integrate with your own servers including Linux hosts as well as PowerShell DSC nodes.

Why OMS?

OMS delivers a rich set of ready-made solutions that help you manage and protect your workloads.

Here are four key tools enterprises will find useful:

Log Analytics: a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution tailored for IT operations teams. This service uses the power of Azure to collect, store and analyze log data from virtually anywhere. Data from Windows Server or Linux source, from any datacenter or cloud, is turned into real-time operational intelligence to help you make better-informed decisions.

The key benefit here is letting you spot problems fast and troubleshoot quickly, thanks to its effortless centralized log collection, integrated search and custom dashboards for analysis.

Backup and Recovery:  a unified solution for protecting your critical systems and applications. It offers cloud integrated backup and easy to manage recovery points. This gives you reliable business continuity for both physical and virtual machines, on-premise and in the cloud.

Security and compliance: OMS enhances security and compliance by quickly recognizing missing system updates and assessing the health of workloads like SQL and Active DirectoryIt also collects security related events for future audits and breech analysis and can help you pinpoint operational issues across your environment.

IT automation: One of the most crucial utilities with OMS is its automation capabilities. With it, you can automate complex operations and take control of your environment by making operational issues simpler.

Getting started with OMS and common concerns

With a solution such as OMS, there will be natural concerns related to cost and security. However, there are many easy and cost effective ways to get you started.

Watch the video above to get answers to your most burning questions.

9 Tools to Accelerate Your Cloud Journey

9 Tools To Accelerate Your Cloud Journey

I spend the majority of my time talking to customers about how they can leverage public cloud for their infrastructure and application requirements. When I ask them why they are considering the move, more often than not, moving ‘faster’ is cited as the biggest motivator.

Being ‘faster’ is great, and you can realize big improvements in speed and agility very early in your cloud journey, particularly when creating new compute and storage resources. It becomes more challenging, however, as your solution grows and becomes more mature. [Read more…]