Office 365 Promo to Expire Shortly, Regeneration Expected

Office 365 Promo to Expire Shortly, Regeneration Expected

We had a client tell us yesterday that the current pricing promotion for Microsoft Office 365 is too good to ignore.  Office 365 is being used by some of the largest enterprises in the world (CapGemini, American Red Cross), and it is most definitely an enterprise-class solution.  To lower the barrier of adoption, Microsoft put some VERY attractive pricing and bonus offers in place for its customers which currently have Enterprise Agreements (EAs) - on the order of $1.00 per user per month PLUS a potential for $40 per user for partner implementation services.What's Going On?This offer expires on 3/31/2013.  While we expect the offer to be regenerated, the new version will likely have pricing differences.  As a result, we are actively encouraging our clients to get in on this offer.  With a minimum of fifty users (regardless of how many you have on your EA), and up to eighteen months to do the implementation, the best time to jump into...
Read More
Office 365 Hybrid Deployment; Get Prepared!!

Office 365 Hybrid Deployment; Get Prepared!!

Hybrid deployment?  What exactly is it?  Over the last several months we have worked on many Office 365 deployment projects. In some cases, they can be straightforward, but most commonly they are not. This seems to hold particularly true for hybrid deployments.  This is especially true if there are several integration points.  Also, you need to consider network devices such as load balancers, and restrictive server access from the Internet. Advanced Planning Although rolling out a Hybrid deployment of Office 365 isn’t straightforward, it doesn’t necessarily have to be difficult. It’s extremely important to have your documentation and proper planning done in advance in order to be prepared for the implementation (as with any project!). Main difficulties?  There is no single point of reference for how a hybrid deployment should be implemented.  Also, what steps need to be taken and in what sequence. The lack of documentation and improper planning can lead to misconfigurations and re-work.  As a result, this can lead to issues and...
Read More
Dismantling an Office 365 Hybrid Deployment

Dismantling an Office 365 Hybrid Deployment

Recently we dismantled an Office 365 Hybrid Deployment. In this scenario, we had a hybrid with SSO deployed but hadn’t started migrating users. We were signed up in the v14 tenant and wanted to start deploying Exchange 2013 in our organization, but that’s not a compatible configuration. The solution was to remove the association between Office 365 and our on-premises Exchange servers so we could do the upgrade. We had to take this route because MS could not commit to any time frames to have our tenant upgraded to v15 but only suggested that we would receive notice in advance of any upgrades. Being a partner, I would have hoped for a better answer than that! Anyways, moving on… Why Remove A Hybrid Configuration? There may be other reasons to remove a hybrid configuration. Most commonly it may have been implemented as part of a larger staged migration that had requirements to take advantage of Hybrid features until the migrations were completed,...
Read More
Office 365 Managed Services

Office 365 Managed Services

The Business Office 365 value proposition is greater reliability, security, and productivity at less cost than on-premise server infrastructure or applications.  Office 365 is a hosted offering for Software as a Service (SaaS) providing portals and applications for administrators and end-users. It combines the familiar Office desktop suite with cloud-based versions of next-generation communications and collaboration services.Why Office 365 For Your Business? Exchange Online offering business-class e-mail, scheduling, and mobility SharePoint Online giving advanced document storage and application integration Lync Online providing presence availability, instant messaging, and desktop sharing. Microsoft takes a comprehensive approach to protecting your data at both the physical layer with significant investment in state-of-the-art data centers and the logical layer using security-aware engineering practices for services and software. Office 365 provides secure access across platforms and devices, as well as premium anti-spam and antivirus technologies that are automatically updated to protect against the latest threats.SecurityThe security features and services associated with Office 365 are built in, reducing the time and cost...
Read More
Busting Office 365 Myths

Busting Office 365 Myths

Ready for some Office 365 myths?  Here we go.  Microsoft has paved the way for Office 365 and its components to become part of computing infrastructure. The good news is that these new technologies create a better, more efficient way for teams to work together. This can result in better collaboration, information sharing, and discoverability.Myth BustersThe bad news is, however, there is a fear of the unknown. Many myths and misunderstandings surround Office 365 and its capabilities.According to a Microsoft survey of over 2,000 Microsoft Partners, the most common myths regarding Office 365 stemmed from issues relating to: Security and privacy Compliance Maturity Complications regarding productivity when offline Debunking Office 365 MythsTake a lunch or coffee break and join in on a 20-minute webinar dedicated to busting common Office 365 myths. In a fast-paced, "Pecha Kucha" format style webcast, you'll learn invaluable information on four topics: Identity myth: Azure and SaaS identity integration Data location myth: Data connection/web apps co-authoring Data analysis myths: Unlocking data insights Mobility myth -...
Read More
Microsoft Now Publishing Office 365 Roadmap

Microsoft Now Publishing Office 365 Roadmap

Who needs an Office 365 roadmap?  I do!  Microsoft has recently announced the publication of an Office 365 road map to give customers a glimpse at what is coming down the Pike.  For you bleeding edge folks, they're offering a first release program to allow you early adoption of features before they hit the masses.Microsoft 365 Road MapThis is great transparency not previously provided to customers, considering the scale of investment for some, and will be a helpful tool for those responsible for maintaining technology road maps.About OakwoodSince 1981, Oakwood has been helping companies of all sizes, across all industries, solve their business problems.  We bring world-class consultants to architect, design and deploy technology solutions to move your company forward.   Our proven approach guarantees better business outcomes.  With flexible engagement options, your project is delivered on-time and on budget.  11,000 satisfied clients can’t be wrong....
Read More
Office 365: When is Email Gone For Good?

Office 365: When is Email Gone For Good?

Here is something interesting around the Office 365 Email category.  We often get questions from clients asking about deleted items in Exchange Online. There seems to be some lingering confusion about how long a deleted item persists, who can see it, and when it can be recovered. So, I thought I’d share my take on this - for what it’s worth. Here is the process from beginning to end. Office 365 Email | Gone? When a user initially deletes an item from their mailbox, it is moved to the Deleted Items folder. There, users can view it, move it, or respond to it, just like messages in any other folder. There, the message will remain indefinitely by default. There is no Microsoft policy to automatically empty a user’s “deleted items” folder. So, the only real difference between the “deleted items” folder and all other folders is that items do not show up via a full mailbox search (although of course items are...
Read More
Office 365 Compliance and Regulations

Office 365 Compliance and Regulations

What does Office 365 compliance mean to you?  If you're in a highly regulated industry like a lot of our clients you might have some real challenges with everything to do with the cloud.  Good news!  Office 365, which includes cloud-based services, is being put in a bucket with "cloud" which is really perhaps a bit unfair.  Office 365 is much more than just cloud.What IS Office 365?This table below outlines what Office 365 is and is not:Office 365 ISOffice 365 is NOTA suite of hybrid on-premises and cloud-hosted services and software:ExchangeSharePointLyncMicrosoft OfficeJUST e-mail in the cloudA highly-available service developed for businessA consumer-grade e-mail solution designed for end-usersPrivate and transparentA vehicle for generating more advertising revenueCompliant to regulatory requirementsAn all-in cloud solution unable to handle on-premises data requirementsSecure - both for physical and logical accessAlways a valid answer for every security requirementA licensing vehicle for flexible access to the Microsoft Office suite of applicationsA replacement for your EA licensing agreement with...
Read More
Top 7 Email Tips and Tricks from my Time at Microsoft

Top 7 Email Tips and Tricks from my Time at Microsoft

Need our top e-mail tricks?  We have you covered.  Working at a company with over 100,000 of your best friends teaches you NOT to Reply All to e-mails. Here are those e-mail tips and tricks. If you have your top email tricks, please share them with your neighbor!Be Polite and ProfessionalYou never know who your e-mail will be forwarded to and you might not ever know if it does get forwarded. Whenever you write an e-mail, you should assume your boss, the CEO, and your mother might eventually get a copy. If there is ANY question about the content, leave it out. E-mails are easy to track, copy and print out.Being polite and professional does not require you to use big words and complex language. As a matter of fact, you should write e-mails using language that is easy to digest - say at a 10th-grade level or so. If you use Microsoft Outlook or Word, there's actually a grammar...
Read More
10 Reasons To Migrate to Microsoft Office 365

10 Reasons To Migrate to Microsoft Office 365

Thinking about a Microsoft Office 365 migration?  If you haven’t migrated your messaging and collaboration infrastructure to Microsoft Office 365 you are missing out on one of Microsoft’s premier service offerings.  Oakwood can facilitate and manage the entire upgrade and deployment process for you.  So, why is this so important for my business you ask? 1. Reduce Risks By moving your email infrastructure to Office 365 you reduce your risks of power outages taking down a mission-critical application such as email. Microsoft’s infrastructure is highly available and Database Availability Groups are implemented worldwide. By migrating to Office 365, the burden of keeping your services up and running is shifted to Microsoft, who has the infrastructure, the staff, and a financial obligation to keep your services available at all times. 2. Microsoft Hosting By allowing Microsoft to host your Exchange environment, you avoid the burden of patching and upgrades. No more patching On-premise Exchange Servers Forget about purchasing the Exchange Server Software to deploy On-Prem ...
Read More
Office 365 | Modernized Security Controls

Office 365 | Modernized Security Controls

Let's talk about advanced cybersecurity controls with Office 365.  We call it modernized security.  Who is ready? Here we go!  Identity is the new security boundary. For many decades, boundaries were dictated by traditional firewalls or routers. That was a simple life. Today, proper identity management is key to securing any environment. It used to be that we controlled what identities came into our networks and applications. It was our directory space. That’s no longer true in today's multi-cloud, multiple-identity world.Identity & the Dark WebMost people associate the “dark web” with a murky underworld where users buy and sell illegal items, such as drugs, counterfeit passports, or weaponry.  It is also proven to be a popular destination for users to traffic in stolen identity data. This includes banking information and online streaming credentials.  As a result, the extent to which our private and financial data is readily available to anyone willing to pay for it is downright scary."In the not-so-distant...
Read More