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.
Matt Scherocman

The Future of Microsoft SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint started out as a collaboration tool designed to help with team sites, and it has come a long way. The evolution of SharePoint includes management layers along with customizable features, and is now focusing on taking things to the cloud for the next generation of business productivity tools. As technology continues to evolve, so do the needs of the modern business. Microsoft is using tools like SharePoint to continue to provide solutions for its enterprise clients.

SharePoint in the Cloud

The cloud is the next level of business productivity. The core areas of SharePoint, experiences, management, and extensibility are evolving in Office 365; as well as other Microsoft Office products, are taken to a new level in the cloud. Many organizations still run much, if not all, of their SharePoint on-premises. Microsoft is making significant investments in a Hybrid SharePoint solution. That’s why with this latest release of SharePoint, security has been at the forefront so that organizations can take advantage of cloud innovation on their terms.

Office Sharepoint

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Matt Scherocman

Microsoft is Keeping the Cloud Safe, and They Want You to Know How

Is your cloud provider keeping your information safe? This is a fair question and one that certainly needs to be asked.  In the past year the cloud has been battle tested and the answer, fortunately, is yes.  Yet even though the cloud has proven to be a secure platform, skepticism persists – largely due to the fact that providers are hesitant to share their security measures with the public. Microsoft wants you to know that these complaints are not falling on deaf ears.   Microsoft recently confirmed its commitment to transparency by announcing three of its products are now part of the Cloud Security Alliance’s (CSA) new STAR registry. 

The STAR (or CSA Security, Trust and Assurance Registry) is a searchable database that allows the public to compare a cloud service provider’s security to CSA established standards.  In April, Microsoft was proud to announce that Office 365, Windows Azure and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online are all certified members of the registry. Check it out at and see for yourself what Microsoft is doing to keep your information safe. 

In addition to Microsoft’s commitment to transparency, Microsoft has taken numerous steps to ensure their cloud platforms are secure. For example, they were the first major cloud provider to be independently certified as ISO27001 (one of the best security benchmarks in the world), and the first to sign the EU’s Model Clauses for Security.  To find out what else Microsoft is doing to keep the cloud safe visit click here.

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Matt Scherocman

Do Not Go To The Cloud, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200

My last article talked about the benefits of heading to the cloud.  The cloud is not for everyone.  Prospects frequently ask us why they should avoid the cloud – or delay their cloud purchase.  Here are some thoughts on when Office 365 migrations may not be a fit.

·         Control – you wouldn’t have control of the environment- it would be configurable, but not customizable.

·         Integration with other systems in the environment – may need to add hybrid ability.

 ·         99.9% uptime is not 100%; some clients can achieve better performance in their own environment.  Or at least want to be responsible themselves for trying. 

 ·         Loss of visibility – unsure of when issues will be resolved, limited ability to escalate outside of Microsoft’s predefined structure.

 ·         Office upgrade- Microsoft will require the current version or one previous one for access to the platform which will require a regular investment in licensing.             

 ·         Loss of functionality –  for example – mail enabled folders in SharePoint; Public Folders in Exchange are both not supported.  Business intelligence features of SharePoint are more robust for the on premise version. 

 ·         Dealing with Level I support in a foreign country – it is horrible. 

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Matt Scherocman

What are long- and short-term cost benefits of the cloud?

It varies for each client that we work with.  Some are bursting at the seams in their data center, some need the speed of adding new users, and with others it is just a cost savings play.  Here are some overview ideas on the areas that we are seeing customer savings.

·         The elimination of a workload within their environment - Physical server support for Exchange

·         Hardware costs associated with the Exchange Server – Virtual machine processor and memory / SAN storage usage / Tape or Disk Backup / DR Setup / Maintenance Contracts

·         Software costs associated with Exchange Server – Exchange Server licenses / Windows Server Licenses / Backup Agents / Blackberry Server

·         Trade costs of migrating to an online platform versus upgrading to a new version

·         Services Costs – Email archiving, Email filtering, Antivirus Enterprise Plans, Tape offsite storage

·         Facilities Cost – Power / Cooling / Space

·         Reduction in future version upgrade costs / faster speed to deployment

·         Tiered workforce takes advantage of K plan economics

·        Economics of scale in setup – Example: Lync for mobile clients takes time to setup and software to ensure that it is deployed securely.  Lync in the cloud is as simple as downloading from the app store and entering a user’s email and password.

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Matt Scherocman

Skype for Business Mobile: Cloud and On Premise

Microsoft finally released the mobile client for Windows 7 Phones, Androids, iPhones/iPADs, and the Symbian devices.  Finally, we can now use Lync anywhere and those of you out there that have enabled Enterprise Voice have a host of options from dialing out your PSTN connection from anywhere, to auto-joining conferences with a tap on your phone.

The clients have been an average experience for me to this point.  I use the iPhone and, like many, I was anticipating the release of the Lync client to be able to use on my iPAD and iPhone.  Conferencing is the biggest dissappointment to me.  Not being able to connect using the iPad to a conference to see whiteboarding and screen sharing is, to say the least, disappointing.  Especially on the iPad where you would expect a more rich experience.  However, it is classified as mobile and has the same limitations as the other mobile clients.

As for deployment, if you are using Lync online, it couldn't get any easier!  A CNAME change is required for the Lync mobile client to connect, point to online.lync.com. It's as simple as the push notifications provider you have to use anyway!  In discussion with Kevin Peters, MVP and MCM in Lync Voice and Enterprise Messaging, he didn't make any changes; with a single vanity domain, Lync mobile was able to connect with no problems.

Lync on premise is a bit of a different challenge however, there are some great resources out there for you to use.  Don't put your faith in the Microsoft Lync Mobile Deployment Guide - it does not have any of the gotchas in it at all!! 

Resources:

TechNet Deployment Guide

Jeff shertz has a great blow post you can use: http://blog.schertz.name/2011/12/deploying-the-lync-2010-mobility-service/

Jeff does an excellent job clearing up some of the confusion surrounding deployment.

Most notably, the challenge you will run into with certificates and their assignments, how to deploy internally and externally.  There are some good blogs to help with this process, and as always, advise with your partner before attempting to do it on your own.  On this one, there are a ton of catches.

Good luck and enjoy your mobile client!

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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.