OK so there have been some changes to the licensing for Office 365 in line with the release of Office 2013. Is it time to make a decision? Well if you are planning on buying new computers you may want to check what version of Mail Server you’re running…FACT: Outlook 2013 is not compatible with Microsoft Exchange 2003.
Not a problem if you’re running Small Business Server 2008 (Exchange 2007), or SBS 2011 (Exchange 2010) but if you’re running SBS2003 then you need to contact us to discuss the options for migrating away from this operating system. If you have a PC fail, and need a replacement, or a new starter who needs a new PC you may be stuck as to how to install Microsoft Office for them.
Even if you don’t use Exchange, and you have POP3 mailboxes, or perhaps you use gmail or even a btconnect account? Now is the time to take advantage of the wealth of opportunity presented with Office 365.
But which of the licensing options is best for you?
Well, if you have less than 25 employees and aren’t planning on going over this number for the foreseeable future then one of the Small Business Plans is right for you.
Next you need to ask what version of Office are you currently running on your PCs? plus do you have any Windows XP machines that need replacing?
If you’re already running Office 2007 or Office 2010, or maybe even Office 2013 then these are compatible with Office 365 so you would need either Email Only, or Office 365 Small Business if you also wanted document storage, collaboration and SharePoint.
If you’re not, and you need to either replace PCs. or upgrade Office, then SMB Premium is the one for you which includes a desktop copy of Office 2013. Bear in mind that this will not install on XP, and also the good news is you can mix and match the licensing between any of the Small Business packages so suit your needs.
If you have over 25 employees, or may well do in the foreseeable future, then the Enterprise packages are the ones to go for, again you can mix and match so take a look at what versions of Office you’re running, and perhaps how many PCs need replacing (XP!) and make a decision based on that. E1 doesn’t include the desktop version of Office, but Office 365 Midsize Business does – up to 300 accounts.
Once you’ve decided on licensing – give us a call on 01823 478515 and we can set this up for you – you can have a 30 day trial for free.
We look forward to hearing from you…
CJ Systems announced today it has achieved the Small Business Specialization from Cisco. The Small Business Specialization recognizes Cisco resale channel partners that focus on meeting the technology and services needs of small businesses.
“The Cisco Small Business Specialization was created in response to customer demand for channel partners capable of designing and implementing Cisco solutions purpose-built for the small business,” said Andrew Sage, vice president of Worldwide Small Business Sales, Cisco. “With the Small Business Specialization, CJ Systems has made an investment in obtaining the training, skills and knowledge necessary to play a pivotal role in meeting this growing demand.”
To earn the Small Business Specialization we have fulfilled Cisco training and exam requirements and also met the personnel, training, and post-sales support requirements set forth by Cisco.
The Cisco Resale Channel Program provides a framework for channel partners to build the sales, technical and Cisco Lifecycle Services skills required to deliver Cisco solutions to end customers. Through the program’s specializations and certifications, Cisco recognizes a channel partner’s expertise in deploying solutions based on Cisco advanced technologies and services. Using a third-party audit process, the program validates channel partner qualifications such as technology skills, business best practices, customer satisfaction, and pre-sales and post-sales support capabilities — critical factors for customers choosing a trusted channel partner.
With the extension of the Cisco Easy-Lease deal, offering 3 years 0% Finance on Cisco networking equipment spend over £1000, combined with our experience in the SMB marketplace we look forward to working closely with Cisco in the future.
Today, June 8th 2011 is World IPv6 day.
Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Akamai and Limelight Networks will be amongst some of the major organisations offering their content over IPv6 for a 24-hour period. The aim is to motivate organizations across the industry – Internet service providers, hardware manufacturers, operating system vendors and web companies – to prepare their services for IPv6 to ensure a successful transition as IPv4 addresses run out.
IPv4 was conceived in the early 1980s as a way of identifying individual connections to a computer network. It is what 99% of us use at the moment whether it be to connect an internal network (private addressing), or to connect to the internet with a public IP address.
It is typically made up of 32 bits, written as 12 digits, e.g. 22.214.171.124.
That gives a maximum of around 4.3bn addresses.
You can find out your public IP address here http://www.whatsmyip.org/
However, the rapid growth in PCs, smartphones and other internet connected devices means those addresses are close to being used up, with an estimated 80 million still to be allocated.
IPv6 is a 128bit system, written in hexadecimal (base 16 counting using numbers and letters), e.g. 21DA:00D3:0000:2F3B:02AA:00FF:FE28:9C5A. It is basically a combination of a MAC address (unique to each individual device) and a TCP/IP network address.
The system gives a maximum of 340 undecillion possible addresses (1 undecillion = 10 followed by 35 zeros in the British numbering system).
The additional capacity, argue proponents of IPv6, will be needed to cater to the so-called “internet of things” where devices such as TVs, fridges and home heating systems are connected to the net.
Are you experiencing slow connectivity even when you’re in the same building as your servers and switches?
Sometimes old, damaged or poor cabling behind the scenes can be the cause of data loss, system hangs, software crashes and loss of productivity.
You may be purchasing new computers with gigabit network adapters – capable of running ten times faster over the network than older 100mb adapters, but problems such as old cabling, damaged wall ports or slower hardware along the route can cause bottlenecks.
CJ Systems are currently offering the opportunity to have your whole office tested for just £495!
Up to 180 ports can be tested in one visit (more by prior arrangement). Each port will be tested for connectivity and line speed. You will presented a few days later with a report that outlines any major issues found, together with advice of how you can improve your internal network connectivity and increase LAN speed up to ten times faster into a gigabit network. Any minor repairs can be done there and then as part of the job.
To avoid any disruption the testing is best done outside of normal working hours.
For more information and to book a job please contact us today on 01823 478515 or visit www.cjsystems.co.uk and click on Contact Us to send us a message.
SO, what is BI?
Business Intelligence is all about making better decisions and improving your business by sharing the results of your analysis with others. Bi is the process of finding, transferring, formatting and studying business data, and includes the processes you use to make your results available to others.
A BI solution should do more than give you better access to data. It should specifically support your decision-making efforts. A BI solution should help you assess and respond to business conditions, whether you require an all-encompassing view of the entire organization or a narrow perspective of a department, workgroup, or even a team of one.
The goal of a BI solution is to let you spend your time analyzing the data and finding answers to questions rather than tracking down, consolidating, reformatting and reconciling the data itself.
The development of a BI solution goes more smoothly when you have a specific business problem to solve and approach the design by first considering how people need to interact with information.
The Microsoft Solution
SQL Server 2008 is the foundation of Microsoft’s BI stack; as the data platform hosting the data. SQL Server 2008 includes three key BI components: Integration Services (SSIS), Analysis Services (SSAS), and Reporting Services (SSRS). The best way to start learning about the Microsoft BI stack is to build a simple solution using SSIS, SSAS and SSRS.
Once you have an initial design you begin by creating and populating the BI solution’s data structures using SSIS. Once the data is in place, you continue to the next step by building a cube. After your development is complete, you process the cube to load it with data. You then use SSRS to develop a report that queries the cube and displays the query results in a report.
Adding an SSAS database to your BI solution allows you to support more sophisticated, high-performing interactive queries. You use SSAS to copy your relational data into a multidimensional database structure called a cube.
Whether you’re storing your data in a SQL Server data mart or an SSAS cube, you can add SSRS to your solution architecture to make the data available to users. SSRS is a reporting platform that includes tools to develop reports, to secure and manage published reports using a centralized administrative infrastructure and to support user access to reports. Sharepoint Server and Office 2010 can be used to view and analyze the data in a user friendly, familiar environment.
In summary the new Microsoft Technologies stack-up like so:
Data Storage and Management – SQL Server 2008
Information Delivery – Sharepoint Server
Query, Reporting and Analysis – SQL Server 2008 and Microsoft Office 2010
Download trial software from Microsoft today http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2008/en/us/trial-software.aspx
Once you start using BI, you’ll probably never look at data in quite the same way again.
CJ Systems is an I.T. Consultancy and Managed Service Provider based in Taunton, Somerset. For more information visit our website www.cjsystems.co.uk, contact us on 01823 478515 or email email@example.com
When talking to clients and fellow business owners we have found that there are a number of myths which seem to surround the area of employee use of the Internet and email and the consequent monitoring by employers. For example:
Personal use of IT systems is a must
Many employers seem to be under the impression that they have to allow employees to have personal use of work Internet and email systems. This is not in fact the case, although with the increasing flexibility demanded of employees in terms of their working hours, most employers accept that it is reasonable to allow at least limited personal use.
It’s a breach of my human rights!
Employees who find themselves in hot water as a result of misuse of the corporate IT systems may well argue that the employer has in some way breached their human rights by conducting monitoring. This is generally an argument that does not find much favour with courts or tribunals. In the first instance, direct claims for breach of the Human Rights Act can only be made by employees of public bodies such as NHS Trusts or Local Authorities. Private sector employees can only bring a claim for breach of the Human Rights Act if the employee can add this to another form of claim such as unfair dismissal or breach of contract; there is no free standing right for private sector employees to bring Human Rights Act claims.
We all need social networking
Access to social networking sites presents a dilemma for employers. Most employers do not allow access to these sites and there is certainly no law that insists that employees should have such access. Some organisations take the view that these types of sites actually assist employees in making social connections which can aid the business, but employers have to consider whether the benefits that might arise from such use are outweighed by the damage that might be done.
Employees must also be aware that their online profile may come back to haunt them, with a survey conducted by Microsoft in December 2009 suggesting that approximately 40% of UK recruiters had rejected candidates following searches against their online footprint.
All blogging is evil
The increase in blogging and micro-blogging is often a concern for employers, particularly those organisations with a public profile. However, just because a negative comment is made by an employee in their blog, this is not necessarily grounds for immediate dismissal by the employer. The question is whether the comments made by the employee amount to misconduct under the employer’s disciplinary procedure, for example, conduct which brings the employer into disrepute, and also the scale of the misconduct. There appears to be a recent trend of customer service operatives using blogs or social networking sites to be very critical of both their employers and also the customers that they serve. This can be highly embarrassing for the employer, but the organisation should not act in haste, but rather investigate the matter thoroughly before coming to a considered decision.
How to Maximise Compliance and Minimise Risk
- Conduct a thorough risk assessment, identifying the particular areas of concern to the specific organisation.
- Tailor any Acceptable Use Policy(AUP) to the specific risks identified by the assessment
- Distribute the AUP and educate employees as to why the particular AUP is being implemented, stressing the importance of the policy and also its role in protecting the employees and giving them appropriate guidance on how to utilise corporate IT systems.
- Ensure that any technical solution is also tailored to support the AUP that you have put in place.
- Enforce the AUP consistently – there is no point in having the policy if it is never used or is implemented in an inconsistent or unfair fashion.
- Review the AUP regularly to ensure that it remains relevant to the threats faced by the business.
If you require assistance in creating a bespoke Acceptable Use Policy for your organisation contact us now.
Email is the primary communication and file transfer tool for most organisations. It is the backbone for a growing number of mission-critical business processes. Consider the following:
- Three-quarters of all content sent by users flow via email.
- The typical email user spends more than one-quarter of his or her day working in email.
- For the majority of users, more than one-quarter of the content they need for their day-to-day work is stored on an email system.
* Neverfail Group
Clearly email is highly critical to the running of most organisations and despite the growing use of social media, unified communications or instant messaging, email will continue to be the most important single tool for sharing information.
Is Email a Weakness?
While email solves many business problems by increasing the speed of communications and easing the sharing of information, user’s and organisation’s heavy reliance on email means that it must be available continuously. The failure of an email system can carry with it a variety of quite serious consequences, including:
- Loss of employee productivity
- Lost business records
- Loss of corporate reputation
- Lost revenue
The cost of an Email Outage
While the economic consequences of email downtime can vary, it is possible to estimate the impact of downtime on employee productivity. Using the data above and the following estimates we can assume the following:
- The typical user spends 28% of their day working in email
- The typical user works 1,928 hours per year
- Productivity without email declines by 50%
Based on the assumptions above we can apply a cost to an email outage using the following formula:
(hourly salary x hours of downtime) x productivity loss during downtime = cost of downtime for one employee
As an example, if your email system is down for 1 day, you have 10 employees and the average annual salary is £20,000 the cost of downtime would be:
(£9.60 x 8) x 50% = £38.40 cost of downtime for 1 employee for a one day outage
((£9.60 x 8) x 50%) x 10 = £384.00 cost of downtime for the organisation for a one day outage
As you can see the cost to an organisation in respect of losses due to a decline in productivity quickly escalate. However, it is important to remember that email downtime can result in dramatically higher costs, including:
- Mobile users particularly suffer when there is an email outage. Their dependence on email is much greater than that of an office based employee, therefore their productivity loss is larger.
- Prospective clients who send an email and receive a bounce back are less likely to follow it up.
- An email outage may prevent the organisation from respinding to a proposal, receiving an order or answering a client inquiry that might result in a loss of revenue.
- IT staff are drawn to resolving the email outage as soon as possible, resulting in a loss in IT productivity and delays in other projects.
Outages are inevitable / Speed of recovery is the Key
Because email is so critical to the productivity of employees and the ability for organisations to generate revenue, the ability to recover email services quickly after an outage is absolutely critical. However, many organisations have not implemented disaster recovery (DR) appropriate capabilities and so cannot recover quickly from an email outage.
The first step to designing an acceptable DR solution is to establish the amount of acceptable risk versus the cost of an appropriate solution. Using the formula above you are able to work out the potential loss in respect to a decline in productivity. Next is to look at the available recovery options and apply the cost of theses solutions against the acceptable outage time to find the right solution for your business.
Most companies that can provide a Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity Plan often do not deliver the infrastructure for the appropriate solution. CJ Systems fill that gap.
We can design, build and manage (if required) your IT systems, so that, in a disaster, the backbone of your operations are covered – from an IT standpoint. This can be dealt with in many ways, such as:
- IT system recovery plans.
- Bespoke backup strategies.
- Off-site, real-time replication.
- Hosted critical services.
Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.
With the introduction of the iPhone 4, some would say that Apple have secured their hold on the business mobile communications market. Yet, before the iPhone burst onto the scene Blackberry, as perfected by Research in Motion, dominated the business world. The Blackberry is and has always been a business tool, it integrates seamlessly into your current infrastructure and enables administrators to manage many devices easily. On the other hand, the iPhone can not be centrally managed, it requires activation with iTunes on an individual basis and gives administrators a headache. The question is, have we been blinded by the bling of the iPhone or can it really compete with the Blackberry on a business level?
Blackberry is certainly way ahead when it comes to the number of available devices in use globally. Many organizations have thousands, if not tens of thousands of Blackberry devices interlinked and almost “wired” into the very way they do business.
The company has certainly set the standard for reliability, uptime and functionality. Companies have found that they can scale the corporate use of the Blackberry and a certain number of applications have been specifically designed for the platform, enabling the device to be far more than just a phone or e-mail communications device. Thus far is appears that Research in Motion has a bulletproof network operations center and relay facilities, ensuring that when there is downtime, you hear about it right away on the national media.
The Blackberry is built on an ethos of solid core communications. Yes, the new smartphones have multitasking, touch screens, high res displays or “AppWorld” – however, these features are not included at the expense of business communications. They have stayed true to the reasons why the Blackberry quickly became the de facto business tool.
Contrary to Blackberry, which has a well-deserved reputation as being a “business” phone, iPhone has emerged into the popular culture and is a must-have accessory. You could argue that it is not designed for competent and regular e-mail use, possesses only a virtual keyboard, which has retained a share of criticism for its design, but overall, it’s a much more diverse product. This is where the key to its business future lies. We all know what an “app” is by now and there are tens of thousands of options available for iPhone users, growing by the day.
Forward thinking organisations have jumped in feet first and designed their own enterprise style applications specific to their business. This is one of the iPhone product’s greatest strengths, as the number of applications and thus the potential for productive interaction between layers of different business executives are unlimited. However, the iPhone network performance may not be as robust as its Blackberry opponent.
Blackberry devices and services are available from more than 200 carriers around the world and specifically tailored for the enterprise operation. Research in Motion works directly with technical people at enterprise level and designs services and products accordingly. iPhone, on the other hand, largely relies on an ecosystem of application vendors.
Which is Right for Business
The fact that iPhone is able to reach much further into popular culture and is becoming that “must have” accessory for our personal lives, means that it will likely see much more widespread adoption at the corporate level, if nothing else due to the fact that people do not want to carry two phones – one for business and one for work. Issues related to support, security, capability and operating system strength must all be addressed though.
Apple is clearly investing more in enterprise support for iPhone and future generations will undoubtedly balance criticisms, however, it has a fair way to go before it can match the Blackberry as a true business communications tool.