Interlink Cloud Blog

Interlink Cloud Blog

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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.
Matt Scherocman

Microsoft’s Active Usage - 2016 Funding Opportunities

Microsoft active usage funding 

In 2016, Microsoft is focusing on the customer and enabling their success through cloud-based technology. To support this focus, they are providing funding to eligible organizations for the adoption of Microsoft Office 365 Active Usage, Intune Active Usage and Azure Active Directory Premium (AADP):

The funding dollars are available to help customers realize the true value of their investments and ensure users are actively using these service to their full potential.

Microsoft Funding Opportunities for Active Usage:

Microsoft Office 365 Active Usage

Many organizations have starting reaping the benefits of Office 365 and its ability to empower their people using the latest and greatest collaboration services. Funding can help you use the cloud to gain control of your IT and give you the flexibility you need to run your business.

Funding may be available for those engage in “active use” in the following workloads:

  • Skype for Business Online/Lync Online: Customer’s employees are signing in and sending/receiving instant messages
  • SharePoint Online / OneDrive: Customer’s employees are signing in and accessing/creating SharePoint sites and content
  • Office 365 ProPlus: Client is installed on desktops and being used by Customer’s employees
  • Yammer: Users are commenting, posting, liking or sharing content.
  • Project/Visio: Customer’s employees log in and load one of the pages at least one time per month

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Microsoft Intune Active Usage:

Need funding dollars to help with mobile device management, mobile application management, and PC management capabilities from the cloud? Using Intune, organizations can provide their employees with access to corporate applications, data, and resources from virtually anywhere on almost any device, while helping to keep corporate information secure.

An organization will be considered for funding if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • Deployed a Microsoft Intune agent on a PC
  • Has assigned a Microsoft Intune license to a user and has at least one mobile device/PC associated with the licensed user

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Azure Active Directory Premium (AADP):

Azure Active Directory Premium is ideal for organization who are looking for identity and access management in the cloud. Providing single sign-on to thousands of cloud (SaaS) apps and access to web apps you run on-premises, Azure Active Directory Premium features multi-factor authentication (MFA); access control based on device health, user location, and identity; and holistic security reports, audits, and alerts.

Customer funding will be considered for those actively using AADP if they meet one of the below criteria. The largest number from the below will be taken into consideration for the incentive:

  • Number of licensed users accessing at least one 3rd party app
  • Number of licensed users registered for self-service password reset
  • Number of licensed users enabled for MFA

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Questions about Active Usage or anything else mentioned above?

Give us a call at (513) 444-2020 or contact us here!

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Matt Scherocman

Comparing Office 365 E1 Plan vs. the Core CAL

Things that are included in the E1 plan that are not in the Core CAL:

  • Skype for Business Enterprise CAL functionality is included.  This enables unlimited audio, video, and web conferencing.
  • Yammer is designed for social collaboration and is popular for millennials which will be beneficial to help the organization collaborate.
  • OneDrive gives unlimited storage per user and the ability to protect data on laptops, on the go, and sync data from multiple devices.
  • Office Online is a lightweight version of Office available via any modern browser – great for quickly editing documents from anywhere.
  • Office Video is your organization’s own internal video channel. Share the latest news from your management, a video on your latest product, or demonstrate weaknesses in your competitor’s product.


Benefits of leveraging the cloud for deployment:

The E plan components can either be run in the cloud, on premise, or a hybrid between the two.  So, fundamentally the E1 plan provides the cloud infrastructure as an option to the purchaser. 

  • Servers, storage, server licenses, power, cooling, etc. are offered by Microsoft in their data centers included in the pricing of E1.
  • All future cloud upgrades done by Microsoft. Automatically!
  • Global redundancy - now you have a built in disaster recovery plan.
  • Pre-integrated functionality, i.e. Lync is federated and mobile out of the box. Saves a ton of time and effort.
  • Easy to add functionality like encrypting outgoing mail for your executives which can be added for $2 a month and be up in running in minutes.
  • Mail filtering is included with a 100% Service Level on malware.  Microsoft promises not to let viruses through.

What is included in the Core CAL that is not in E1? 

Fundamentally the Core CAL is a license and is typically sold with maintenance from Microsoft called Software Assurance.  The license portion is good perpetually and clients are entitled to the last version Microsoft published under their maintenance period.  Therefore, a client can stop paying maintenance and legally continue to run the software.  The subscription model of E1 is different.  It does not include any perpetual licensing rights and rights to run the software will terminate when the agreement ends. Clients who move to the cloud on an Enterprise Agreement can transition back to legacy on premises licensing at an anniversary date if they desire.  Check with us or a licensing specialist for details and restrictions. 

Cloud Return on Investment

Is all of that worth extra money a year to your organization? We can help you figure that out. We are happy to run an ROI calculation using your data! Some quick thoughts on where savings can be found:

  • Admin savings – a low estimate around $20k per year
  • Hardware / maintenance costs - $10k per year, higher for redundant configurations
  • Storage costs – reuse expensive fast disk for other workloads - totally get rid of email archives
  • Mail filtering software – approximately $10 per user per year
  • Data protection - An executive’s laptop is stolen, but not their data because of OneDrive
  • Backups – reuse existing disk / tape, remove agents from maintenance
  • Server licensing costs if workload is deployed in the cloud.  For example, SharePoint would require a SharePoint server license, a Windows Server license, and SQL licensing
  • An email system that stays up and running even in the event of a natural disaster – priceless!

If you would like to learn more about your options as you consider your Enterprise Agreement renewal, we would be happy to walk you through your options and how to get the most out of your Microsoft licensing! Give us a call at 800-900-1150 or contact us here.

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Matt Scherocman

What are the differences between Office 365 Business Plans and Enterprise Plans?

To say that Office 365 gives you plenty of options, would be an understatement. In today’s blog we’ll take a look at what options are available for Businesses and what some of the differences are. First, let’s take a look at what options you have:

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Can you mix and match the options? The short answer is yes, however, for the best answer possible give us a call and we can talk you through what options make the most sense and why. For examples, some users can even take advantage of a light weight account called a Kiosk plan which could be even cheaper.

Are there differences in support?

Yes, a key difference in the plans centers around 24/7 Support. The Enterprise plans cover all issues; however, the Business plans only cover: Critical Issues.

Let’s take a look at how Microsoft defines critical issues. Only your organization can decide if not having phone coverage is worth it or not for high level issues. That single user could be the owner / CEO.

Severity Level

Operations and Support Description


Sev A (Critical)

One or more services aren’t accessible or are unusable. Production, operations, or deployment deadlines are severely affected, or there will be a severe impact on production or profitability. Multiple users or services are affected.

  • Widespread problems sending or receiving mail.
  • SharePoint site down.
  • All users can’t send instant messages, join or schedule Lync Meetings, or make Lync calls.

Sev B (High)

The service is usable but in an impaired fashion. The situation has moderate business impact and can be dealt with during business hours. A single user, customer, or service is partially affected.

  • One user can’t access email.
  • One user or admin can’t access SharePoint site.
  • Several users can’t send instant messages, join or schedule Lync Meetings, or make Lync calls.

Is Office Any Different?

Yes, the version of Office in the business plans does not include Access or some of the pre-installed components to make items like data loss prevention and rights management work.

I have terminal server in my environment, does that matter?

Enterprise Plans support a terminal server environment whereas the Business plans do not support a terminal services environment.

Are there any hidden gotchas?

Hybrid configurations and On-Premises are supported in the Enterprise plans only. Business plans do not support either the hybrid or On-Premise options. So, users of the Business plans would only be allowed to deploy the technology in the cloud.

Keep these differences in mind as you plan out your cloud strategy and what plans make the most sense for your company. For a more comprehensive listing of additional support offerings that are offered with the Business Plans please see the link here. Or drop us a line to discuss your options!

Microsoft EA Renewal
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Matt Scherocman

Does a Client have to Purchase another set of Licenses if they want to Run Workloads for Disaster Recovery?

The Answer is No! Provided that they jump through a large set of hurdles...

Disaster Recovery Rights

For each instance of eligible server software you run in a physical or virtual OSE on a licensed server, you may temporarily run a backup instance in a physical or virtual OSE on a server dedicated to disaster recovery. The license terms for the software and the following limitations apply to your use of software on a disaster recovery server.

The OSE on the disaster recovery server can run only during the following exception periods:

  • For brief periods of disaster recovery testing within one week every 90 days
  • During a disaster, while the production server being recovered is down
  • Around the time of a disaster, for a brief period, to assist in the transfer between the primary production server and the disaster recovery server

In order to use the software under disaster recovery rights, you must comply with the following terms:

  • The OSE on the disaster recovery server must not be running at any other times except as above.
  • The OSE on the disaster recovery server may not be in the same cluster as the production server.
  • Windows Server license is not required for the disaster recovery server if the following conditions are met:
  • The Hyper-V role within Windows Server is used to replicate virtual OSEs from the production server at a primary site to a disaster recovery server.
  • The disaster recovery server may be used only to run hardware virtualization software, such as Hyper-V, provide hardware virtualization services, run software agents to manage the hardware virtualization software, serve as a destination for replication, receive replicated virtual OSEs, test failover, and await failover of the virtual OSEs.
  • Run disaster recovery workloads as described above.
  • The disaster recovery server may not be used as a production server.
  • Use of the software in the OSE on the disaster recovery server should comply with the license terms for the software.
  • Once the disaster recovery process is complete and the production server is recovered, the OSE on the disaster recovery server must not be running at any other times except those times allowed here.
  • Maintain Software Assurance coverage for all CALs, External Connector licenses and Server Management Licenses under which you access your licensed software running on the disaster recovery server and manage the OSEs in which that software runs.
  • Your right to run the backup instances ends when your Software Assurance coverage ends.

These rules come from the Microsoft product use rights guide page 70 (will change).

To see the Full Guide to Microsoft's Product Use Rights, Click Here:


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Matt Scherocman

What Are The Different Packages That Microsoft Offers in Office 365?

Follow this link to the slides that Interlink has customized to make Office 365 pricing easier to understand.  The top chart includes all of the a la carte options that clients have.  The bottom chart are the suites that are available.  If you are considering an EA agreement, the E plans are the ones that qualify toward the minimum user count of 250.  The EA agreement offers an immediate 15% discount on the monthly prices of the service.  Let us know what questions you might have on the pricing.

Interlink- Office 365 Pricing Slides Updated

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

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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.