What's New at TCG?
Windows Server 2003 Support Ending
March 16, 2015
When your business has been using the same server for years, sometimes it's tough to realize that it might be time to upgrade. You get used to how everything works, all of your processes work smoothly with it and you just don't want to let go. Here's the truth though: you are missing out. Your business is not running to the most optimized capacity it could be because you are still relying on old technology! The new Windows servers are designed to make your business processes simple and efficient and allows your business to flourish!
If you are still running the Windows Server 2003, it's time to move on. On July 14, 2015, Windows will no longer be supporting Windows Server 2003. What this means is that there will be no more security updates to help protect your system, which means you need to plan to migrate to another server in order to protect your infrastructure. Microsoft has provided a 4 step process to help prepare you for the migration process along with tools to assist you in the process. You can see the full details here.
Determine which applications and workloads are running on Windows Server 2003 today.
Categorize applications and workloads by type, importance, and degree of complexity.
Choose a migration destination for each application and workload, either in the data center or in the cloud.
Build you migration plan- do it yourself, collaborate with a partner, or use a service.
When it comes to technology today, it is constantly changing and improving, and for the safety of your business, it's important that if you are still running Windows Server 2003, that you begin to work towards this transition. Luckily, TCG Network Services is always here to help you work through the transition process and help make the change as smooth and painless as possible for everyone involved. We understand these changes can be stressful, but with TCG, we will help you every step of the way, and get your business up to speed with the best server for your work.
"Migration Is worth It!" Windows Server 2003 End of Support. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2015. <http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/windows-server-2003/>.
WAIT! Don't Click That!
March 13, 2015
"Wanna save your company thousands of dollars? DO NOT CLICK THAT.....".
Here at TCG, we witness first hand and concur that according to Microsoft, the majority of virus infections are the fault of users themselves. By opening unrecognized files from unrecognized senders, clicking links from sources you don’t recognize, or not carefully reading dialogue boxes that pop up to prevent this sort of behavior, your business or the company you work for is directly impacted by the attention you pay - or don’t - to the emails you open and the websites you visit. Having antivirus software installed on your network is not a guarantee. You are the final line of defense between your company and damaging viruses.
Thankfully, this behavior is under your control and almost entirely preventable! By using common sense, you can save your company literally thousands of dollars in damage recovery.
THINK FIRST! DO NOT CLICK THAT IF:
1) “Do I recognize this sender? Does it make sense that they would be sending me this file or link?” If the answer is “I’m even slightly doubtful,” DO NOT OPEN THE ATTACHMENT OR CLICK THE LINK. If it doesn’t seem like someone would send you the email you received, they probably didn’t - and opening it can be all that stands between you and virus infection.
2) “Is this email unsolicited or not something I wouldn't normally receive, such as a resume, fax, or voicemail attachment?” If the answer is yes, DO NOT OPEN THE ATTACHMENT OR CLICK THE LINK. If you don’t normally get your voicemail emailed to you, you didn’t suddenly start without realizing. If you don’t work in HR, why would someone send you a resume?
3) “Am I even slightly doubtful about any of this?” DO NOT OPEN THE ATTACHMENT OR CLICK THE LINK. A short phone call to the person who sent you the mail, or to the TCG Help Desk, protects you; the cost of the time you spend being careful is far less than the cost to your business when a virus spreads.
Err on the side of caution, read carefully before clicking links or opening attachments, and as always: count on your friends at TCG to be here to help prevent virus infection, or - should you not apply this knowledge - to help you recover the damage.
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Goldman, David. "PC Viruses Are Mostly Your Fault, Microsoft Says."CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 12 Oct. 2011. Web. 13 Mar. 2015. <http://money.cnn.com/2011/10/12/technology/microsoft_security/>.
What Can Office 365 Offer Your Business?
January 28, 2015
Has your company upgraded to Office 365, yet? If you haven't you may want to consider making the transition. Office 365 is compatible to work anywhere you need it to, and it provides the tools to enhance your business.
Just like in older versions of Office, you will have an Office Suite that has all of the latest Office applications that let you create, edit, and share from your PC/Mac, iPad, tablet, or phone with anyone in real time. Applications include PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher, and Access on either a desktop, or streaming the application from a device connected to the internet. You can do any editing or creating on any device no matter where you are. Office 365 also does all application updates behind the scenes without you having to manually deal with the updates so you can simply log on and get to work with no hassle.
Office 365 email includes a breakthrough in office communication software, giving you access to email, calendar, and contacts from virtually anywhere, at any time, on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices along with helping to protect against email malware. Office 365 syncs emails, calendars, and contact information across your devices in real time, making it up to date on all of your devices. The schedule feature tells you when people are busy or open, making meeting plans simple. You can customize your email with new tools to build your brand and create unique messages. Since the email feature protects against malware, it also has a simplified admin center and built-in security, making managing your emails stress free! Office 365 includes industry-leading anti-malware protection and anti-spam filtering to protect your email from threats, which further improves the safety of your business.
Office 365 also includes a great Online Meeting Feature, Lync, which allows you to host meetings from any device at any time. It has a video conferencing feature so that you can have the feel of a person-to-person meeting, with up to 250 people all calling in, no matter where you are. One-click screen sharing and real-time note taking allows everyone to be in sync and keep up to date. There is an instant messenger feature, along with a feature that allows you to connect with Skype users, optimizing your ability to stay connected with your coworkers no matter where you are.
There is also a great Video feature that allows you to upload, watch and share videos with everyone in your company. You can easily find videos and video messages from people in your company, while uploading videos is a simply drag and drop feature. It’s easy for admins to manage permissions, add or remove channels, and spotlight key content. This is an industry-leading platform that can improve the communication within your company.
The File Sharing feature stores all of your documents online so that all documents are constantly up to date and available to anyone who needs them. You can share files inside or outside the company, with your team or with customers, but with you always having control over the documents and who gets to see and edit the files, along with allowing you to work together on a file. When updates occur on your document, you are sent an update instantly so you can easily keep track of the work. You can even create a team library or team site so that you can compile all your work and make it easily accessible to everyone you are working with.
Delve, an information sharing feature, shows you information based on what you're working on and what's trending around you. It is completely tailored to you and your needs as you are working. It helps you easily find documents, items that were shared with you or your own past work, without having to remember too many details about who and when it was written. Delve shows you how you and your colleagues connect with documents and one another. Simply type in a name to see what someone’s working on and what’s trending around them.
Security is a top priority for Office 365 and it provides the best quality security it can. For example, if you lose your phone with all the Office 365 applications on it, don't worry! You can remotely wipe data from the device so that no one unauthorized can access your data. They have many different levels of Security including:
Built-in Security: Service-level security through defense-in-depth, customer controls within the service, security hardening and operational best practices.
Privacy by Design: Your data is not used for advertising, you have extensive privacy controls, you can take your data with you when you want.
Continuous Compliance: Proactive processes to meet your compliance needs, customer controls for organizational compliance, independently verified to meet evolving standards.
Transparent Operations: You know where your data resides and who has access, visibility into availability and changes to the service, financially backed guarantee of 99.9% up time.
Office 365 is made to improve your company’s ability to communicate and collaborate, on as many different platforms and devices as possible. It has a huge emphasis on security and efficiency, and will be able to improve the quality of work in the office place. Many of our customers have started to make the switch over to Office 365 and we are fully equipped to help your business transition easily and get started! To learn how TCG Network Services can help get your business started with Office 365, visit our website!
"Office When and Where You Need It." Microsoft Office. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2015. <http://products.office.com/en-US/business/explore-office-365-for-business>.
Cloud vs. SaaS: Which One are You On?
January 26, 2015
Today, it seems like everyone is talking about the Cloud. The Cloud is constantly referred to in the News and it seems that all the businesses claim to be either using the Cloud or not using the cloud. But what most people don't talk about is SaaS (Software as a Service). In fact, many people are actually using SaaS rather than the cloud. So what's the difference?
First, let’s break down what cloud computing is:
"Cloud Computing is often described as a stack, as a response to the broad range of services built on top of one another under the moniker “Cloud”. . . Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction . . . What this means in plain terms is the ability for end users to utilize parts of bulk resources and that these resources can be acquired quickly and easily" (Kepes).
There are several characteristics that define exactly what cloud computing is, and these characteristics include:
"• On-demand self-service. The ability for an end user to sign up and receive services without the long delays that have characterized traditional IT
• Broad network access. Ability to access the service via standard platforms (desktop, laptop, mobile etc)
• Resource pooling. Resources are pooled across multiple customers
• Rapid elasticity. Capability can scale to cope with demand peaks
• Measured Service. Billing is metered and delivered as a utility service" (Kepes)
The stack that makes up the cloud is composed of three layers, Systems as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). This is where SaaS comes in. Most businesses use SaaS rather than the other two platforms (for our purposes, we won't address those) because " SaaS applications are designed for end-users, delivered over the web" which is why businesses use them (Kepes).
The definition of SaaS is as follows:
"software that is deployed over the internet . . . With SaaS, a provider licenses an application to customers either as a service on demand, through a subscription, in a “pay-as-you-go” model, or (increasingly) at no charge when there is opportunity to generate revenue from streams other than the user, such as from advertisement or user list sales. SaaS is a rapidly growing market as indicated in recent reports that predict ongoing double digit growth . This rapid growth indicates that SaaS will soon become commonplace within every organization and hence it is important that buyers and users of technology understand what SaaS is and where it is suitable" (Kepes).
Characteristics associated with SaaS include:
"• Web access to commercial software
• Software is managed from a central location
• Software delivered in a “one to many” model
• Users not required to handle software upgrades and patches
• Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) allow for integration between different pieces of software" (Kepes).
An article by Mark Patterson from ItWorld explained SaaS to simply mean "any software application that you run that is not located on your premises. It is a full-blown application, not a component part of something else. It is not a way to build applications. It is not a plug-in to other applications. It is never something that sits on your machines." Essentially, SaaS is running via a Vendors machine rather than your own businesses servers.
In sum, SaaS is essentially part of the Cloud layering but is actually more commonly used by businesses than the cloud itself. Hopefully this gives a better understand of the difference between SaaS and the Cloud, but if not, TCG Network Services is here to make sure your business as using the best service possible! To find out how TCG can further help improve your understanding of the Cloud, visit our website and learn how we can help!
Patterson, Mark. "Back to Basics: The Difference between SaaS and Cloud Computing." ITworld. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2015. <http://www.itworld.com/article/2758057/enterprise-software/back-to-basics--the-difference-between-saas-and-cloud-computing.html>.
Kepes, Ben. "Understanding the Cloud Computing Stack: SaaS, PaaS, IaaS."Understanding the Cloud Computing Stack: SaaS, PaaS, IaaS. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Jan. 2015. <http://www.rackspace.com/knowledge_center/whitepaper/understanding-the-cloud-computing-stack-saas-paas-iaas>.