Create the Modern Workplace Webcast Series – Join Us!

Join us for a virtual webcast series live from the Microsoft Technology Center to learn how to empower your employees and organization with tools from Office 365.

With the industry’s most advanced productivity suite—Office 365—Microsoft is focused on creating the modern workplace to help you communicate and collaborate without borders and barriers. We know that connecting with coworkers, customers and partners is critical for your business. With better tools and better connections, your opportunities for business growth are limitless.

This three-part webcast series will help you learn about the industry’s most innovative productivity suite. Today, with Office 2016 and Office 365, there is no one else who takes such a broad view of productivity. We think about productivity across individuals, teams/groups and organizations. Explore how you can take advantage of our solutions to create a more modern workplace.

Join this virtual webcast series to hear insights into Microsoft’s latest productivity solutions and to understand how you can:

  • Improve meetings with new features in Skype for Business and Office 365.
  • Collaborate and share files in real time with advanced tools and the cloud.
  • Enable mobile productivity with Office 365.
Date Webcast title Registration link
November 12, 2015 at 10 a.m. PST 5 Ways You Can Modernize Your Meetings Register here
November 19, 2015 at 10 a.m. PST Drive Connected Collaboration Register here
December 4, 2015 at 10 a.m. PST Fuel Mobile Productivity with Office 2016 Register here

Register now and join us live or on demand and learn how you can empower your employees to be more productive from anywhere on any device or platform.

Email Archiving—5 Reasons Why This is the Best Email Feature You Never Use

Whether you work in the corporate world or not, you probably send and receive multiple emails every day. It’s a fast, convenient way to communicate with peers, colleagues, clients, friends and family. Of course, email is an extremely popular communication tool for companies—in part because of its ability to document conversations and serve as a searchable repository of information.

In fact, studies suggest that three-fourths of an organization’s intellectual property is contained within email and messaging systems. That means it’s important to protect this data and not just send it to the trash. But keeping that much information can overload your company’s storage servers.

So what’s the best solution?

Email archiving is nothing new. The tool has been around for years—so why don’t more companies use it? Here are five benefits to using an email archiving solution:

  • Storage. When email data is stored on live servers, it can greatly reduce performance as the server gets fuller. The only other options are to delete emails altogether—not a wise option, since important data can be lost forever—or store them elsewhere. Email archiving follows this latter option and moves data to a secure off-site server or cloud environment. Some solutions use advanced compression and/or deduplication to reduce the required disk space in the archive—sometimes by 50 percent or more.
  • Restoration. Depending on what backup solutions you already have in place, email archiving can speed up the process whenever your data needs to be restored. This is because the archived data takes up less space. In addition, restoring non-archived emails becomes faster and easier, because the mail server’s data load is lessened.
  • Security. Just because your old emails are “out of sight” and stored elsewhere doesn’t mean they aren’t protected as well as emails in your live inbox environment. If you’ve got the right email archiving solution, your data is immutably preserved and safeguarded with continuous data backup and premier disaster recovery capabilities. For the best service, look for a provider that delivers reliability, availability and performance with a guaranteed 99.9 percent uptime and financially backed service level agreement.
  • Productivity. When your live servers are bogged down with tons of email data, it can make searching for a specific email or a specific subject grueling and slow. In addition, by getting rid of email box quotas and setting up automatic email archiving, employees no longer have to spend precious time deleting emails or moving them to PST files like the old days. Finally, when you give your employees the ability to easily access archived and backed up email data, you place the power in their hands—meaning they won’t have to engage the IT department to do it for them.
  • Compliance. Most industries require organizations to keep business records—and since emails often contain such records, deleting them is a no-no. Specific industries like health care, financial services, pharmaceuticals and energy have even stricter regulations about what business records must be kept.

When you consider an email archiving solution, remember to research providers and select one that will deliver a user-friendly solution that keeps you in control and maintains high standards of security and reliability.

Related content:

Credit to Microsoft Office Team:https://blogs.office.com/2015/11/05/email-archiving-the-best-email-feature-you-never-use/

ExpressRoute for Office 365 Now Available for Secure and Fast Cloud Connections

Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute is now available for Office 365 in addition to pure Azure Cloud deployments. Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 enables organizations to establish a private, managed network connection to Office 365 as an alternative to connecting over the Internet.

This direct connection offers you more predictable network performance, an SLA for guaranteed availability and additional data privacy. As more organizations depend on Office 365 for document collaboration (SharePoint/OneDrive/PowerBI) and communications (Skype – Video and Voice), they will come to depend more and more on the network connectivity they have between their users and Office 365. Pricing is based on port speed and starts at $300/month for unlimited data (metered data plans also available), including two redundant connections.

As always, the Atidan team is available to assist with Azure and Office 365 solutions and security. office365@atidan.com

Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 - Atidan

Express Route Partners and Peering Locations

Case Study from Microsoft

Today we’re pleased to announce that Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 is now generally available from these network operators:

  • British Telecom
  • Equinix
  • Tata Communications
  • TeleCity Group
  • Verizon

Connecting your network to Office 365 using Azure ExpressRoute

Depending on your network configuration, here’s how you can work with network operators offering ExpressRoute for Office 365 to establish a connection between your network and Office 365:

  • If your organization already uses Azure ExpressRoute, your network operator can simply turn on the connectivity for you. Since use of Office 365 generates additional network traffic, you should discuss the requirements for additional bandwidth with your network operator.
  • Organizations using IP VPN technology for a WAN provided by a network operator can ask the network operator to add Office 365 as a node on your WAN. Once Office 365 connectivity is added, Office 365 services appear as if they are on your WAN—like an offsite datacenter.
  • ExpressRoute can also support large or point-to-point network connections. If you have a large broad network, then you may already have a network connection in a co-location facility where Azure ExpressRoute is available. You should work with your network provider to identify the best way to connect to Azure ExpressRoute.

For more information, read about ExpressRoute for Office 365 here and watch this episode of Office Mechanics:

Frequently asked questions

  1. Where in the world is ExpressRoute for Office 365 available?
  2. Your users can connect from anywhere in the world that your network operator provides access. Each network operator connects to the Microsoft network at specific locations. They can provide networking from the user location to the Microsoft network connection. You should discuss the options with your network operator. The locations where they will connect to Microsoft’s network are listed here.
  3. How do organizations purchase ExpressRoute for Office 365?
  4. Organizations interested in purchasing ExpressRoute for Office 365 should have an Azure subscription and should discuss details of the connectivity with an Azure ExpressRoute partner.
  5. Are there any Office 365 services that Azure ExpressRoute cannot provide a connection to?
  6. Today connectivity is available for Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Skype for Business Online, Azure Active Directory, Office 365 Video, Power BI, Delve and Project Online. Services that ExpressRoute does not provide connectivity to include download of Office 365 ProPlus installation files, Yammer, Domain Name Service and Content Delivery Network servers.
  7. Is QoS supported on Azure ExpressRoute?
  8. Yes. QoS is supported for Skype for Business Online over Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365.
  9. Does Microsoft provide tools to test for network performance issues?
  10. Yes. We have the Office Client Performance Analyzer (OCPA), which was recently updated to add a number of new performance test metrics. Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 may be a solution to network performance problems experienced by users. OCPA can be downloaded from the Office 365 admin console here.

Introducing Office 2016 – Takes the Work Out of Working Together

Atidan is pleased to announce the availability of Office 2016! Contact us for a free trial and no obligation briefing and demonstration.

The New Microsoft Office 2016 Video

Office 2016 Product Guide

The new Office—takes the work out of working together

Check out additional resources on our SlideShare site here

The new office is here 1 v2

Collaboration is the way we get things done in the workplace, but the process itself can be complex and frustrating. It shouldn’t have to be. We set out to make working together easier and more impactful by building a suite of integrated apps and services that removes barriers and empowers teams to do and achieve more.

Office has always been the go-to tool for helping individuals do their best work—whether for professional documents, powerful analyses or school presentations. People often start and end their work in Office, but there is often a messy middle that involves a lot of discussion—in person, by phone or via various tools—as well as multiple (sometimes conflicting) inputs. Today we are delivering a set of experiences that is built for making teamwork seamless.

  • We have had real-time co-authoring in all of our web apps since 2013. We are now taking it to the next level by building it directly into our native apps. With this release, we’re making co-authoring in Word real-time, which lets you see what others are writing immediately, as it happens. We’re committed to expanding real-time co-authoring to each of our native apps and you should expect to see more over time.
  • Skype for Business is now available in the client apps, allowing you to IM, screen share, talk or video chat right in your docs. This same experience will be coming to Office Online later this fall. Skype for Business also has faster screen sharing and now adds the option to start a real-time co-authoring session from any conversation or meeting.
  • Keep teams connected with Office 365 Groups, now available as part of Outlook 2016 and in a new Outlook Groups app on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Office 365 Groups allows individuals to easily create public or private teams. Each group includes a shared inbox, calendar, cloud storage for group files, and a shared OneNote notebook to keep the team productive.
  • Office 365 Planner helps teams organize their work, with the ability to create new plans, organize and assign tasks, set due dates and update status. Planner’s visual dashboards and email notifications help keep everyone informed on the overall progress of their initiative. Planner will be available in preview, to Office 365 First Release customers, starting next quarter.
  • Originally unveiled earlier this year, GigJam is today available in private preview and will become part of Office 365 in 2016. GigJam is an unprecedented new way for teams to accomplish tasks and transform business processes by breaking down the barriers between devices, apps and people.

Works for you

Excel 2016 - New Sunburst Chart

In today’s workplace, we have too many apps, devices and tools—we just don’t have enough time. Office is built to cut through the complexity and help you get things done quickly. It gets work done for you.

Some highlights:

  • Outlook 2016 provides the smartest inbox yet, delivering lightning fast search, removing low priority mail automatically and making sure everyone on the To: line has the right access to modern, cloud-based attachments from OneDrive.
  • We also have significant new updates to OneDrive for Business coming later this month across sync, browser, mobile, IT control and developer experiences. The highlight is the preview of the next generation sync client for Windows and Mac, offering improved reliability and selective sync, as well as increased file size and volume limits.
  • Tell Me helps you easily and quickly find the right Office feature or command, and Smart Lookup brings insights from the web right into your documents. Previously available only in Office Online, Tell Me and Smart Lookup are now available across the Office 2016 client apps.
  • Excel 2016 now includes integrated publishing to Power BI and new modern chart-types to help you make the most of your data.
  • The cloud-powered most recently used documents list allows you to pick up right where you left off in seconds, because it travels with you across your devices whether working in Office Online, the mobile apps or in the 2016 client apps.

Perfect with Windows 10

Office Mobile Apps

While we have made a lot of progress on delivering Office cross-platform and remain committed to this strategy, we see Windows as being “home” for Office. Together, Office 365 and Windows 10 are the most complete solution for getting things done.

  • With Windows Hello, you can sign in to your PC and Office 365 with a simple look or a touch—no need to type a password anymore.
  • In the coming months, Cortana will get even smarter and more useful by gathering intelligence on Office 365 through Outlook 2016 support.
  • With the Office Mobile apps and Continuum on Windows phones, your phone can act as a desktop, and you can project, create or edit your presentation or sales budget from your phone to a monitor while using the same phone to take notes with the OneNote app.
  • Sway on Windows 10 was released in early August, and customers love it! It has received a 4.6/5 app store ranking, with customers calling it “funtastic,” “brilliant” and “elegant.” People love Sway’s simple and intuitive yet powerful approach to next-generation digital storytelling. With Sway, you provide the content, and Sway creates beautiful, shareable, interactive stories that look great on any screen.
  • Our Office Mobile apps on Windows 10 (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) have also received great reception and 4+ app store rankings. Customers say they are touch-friendly, fast and easy to use—making them wonderful for on-the-go-productivity.

For the enterprise

Office 2016 apps with Office 365 provide the most secure Office yet. We are adding built-in Data Loss Prevention (DLP) to significantly reduce the risk of leaking sensitive data by giving IT admins tools to centrally create, manage and enforce policies for content authoring and document sharing. Multifactor Authentication ensures secure access to content anywhere when employees are away from the corporate network. We are also adding Information Rights Management to Visio. Then, later this year, we will be enabling Enterprise Data Protection (EDP) in Windows 10, with support in Office Mobile, which allows more secure corporate content sharing across corporate managed apps and network/cloud locations, preventing inadvertent content sharing outside corporate boundaries. We will be following up with EDP for Office on Windows desktop in early 2016.

Some of our favorite enterprise apps—Visio and Project—have been updated as well. With Visio 2016, customers can get started quickly with diagramming using starter diagrams and contextual tips. Bringing process models, manufacturing plant or IT architecture to life is now only one step away. With Project 2016, customers can streamline resource engagement processes, manage resource pools through visual heat maps, benefit from multiple timelines, and create custom experiences in Project desktop through write-back capabilities for add-ins.

We are also making deployment easier and have a lot of other new capabilities to help IT professionals, as announced in our blog to IT admins two weeks ago.

Office 2016 for Mac

The new office is here 4 v2

In July, we released Office 2016 for Mac to our Office 365 customers. The new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote are a significant step forward and provide the best of both worlds for Mac users—a familiar Office experience paired with the best of the Mac platform. The level of engagement and excitement about this Office for Mac release has surpassed our expectations. As promised in July, today Office 2016 for Mac will also be available as a one-time purchase.

Ongoing Office 365 customer value

Whew—that was a lot! With this release, we’re also shifting the cadence of Office on Windows to feel much more like the cadence we have on the Office mobile and web apps, which release every month with new value. So, going forward, Office 365 customers will now enjoy new features and capabilities delivered continuously in the Office desktop applications as part of their subscription. It’s a new day for our desktop apps.

And as a bit of a teaser, here are some examples of the types of new features and benefits Office 365 customers will see:

  • Built for teamwork—We’re committed to rich co-authoring and collaboration across our native clients, starting in Word 2016, with other big advances in collaboration coming throughout the year. By the end of 2015, we’ll introduce Office 365 Groups insights and discovery in Office Delve. In addition, we will have a new generation of personal work analytics in Office Delve that will help individuals, teams and organizations to be more effective at work by understanding their reach and impact, time allocation and network.
  • Works for you—For those of you who are excited about our new charts and forecasting, we will be delivering even more new charts, formulas, connectors and other Excel capabilities throughout the year. (If you’re interested in telling us which charts and charting features you’d like to see first, we have a survey going on our Excel Facebook page right now!). We also have some very exciting developments in the pipeline for PowerPoint that will make it easier to design and deliver presentations to wow and engage your audience.
  • Perfect on Windows 10—We are especially excited about how even more valuable your personal assistant Cortana can be when she has insights from Office. This will start to allow Cortana to unlock helpful scenarios, like retrieving your documents, preparing for meetings and more.

Get started

  • Are you ready to purchase? Buy Office 365 to get the new 2016 apps – contact us at office365@atidan.com
  • Are you an existing Office 365 customer who is ready to upgrade? Go here for instructions on how to upgrade to Office 2016 for home, or here for business customers.
  • Do you want to learn more? Go to office.com/2016.

Credit for this blog content is from Microsoft blog https://blogs.office.com/2015/09/22/thenewoffice/

How Does The Cloud Change The Way We Do Business?

“Crawl, walk, run” is what we are advising clients of all sizes when it comes to the cloud. Atidan is helping to deliver a variety of cloud services including backup, test/development servers, production servers, application and mobile services, advanced security solutions and much more. Contact us for a no obligation analysis and briefing to find out your best path to the cloud.
 

This article excerpt, by Stewart Parkin, originally appeared here: http://bit.ly/1AM21pt 
How has the cloud revolution enabled businesses to be more efficient and cutting edge? Let’s count the ways. There are many.
Effective and Inexpensive
First of all, the cloud has made businesses more cost effective by allowing them to store unlimited amounts of data inexpensively. Companies don’t have to spend exorbitant amounts of money to access cloud technology. A major capital expenditure is not necessary to access cloud based applications. This cost saving allows businesses to be more efficient and streamlined. This is just one of the many benefits of what the cloud has to offer.
Performing Varied Functions
For example, customers can have instant access to information and services using only a laptop or using their smartphones. The cloud allows them to perform a variety of functions online ranging from shopping, reading, participating in discussions, and many more, all in one place. Cloud technology essentially offers the end user a one-stop portal. There is no need to flip through the yellow pages of your old phone company.
Mobility
The same is true for a company’s employees. They can have instant access to company files and information allowing them to interact with the home office, suppliers and customers. The data they need can be accessed instantly in one convenient place on the web, saving them time and making them more efficient.
In fact, access to cloud-based applications also allows employees more mobility and freedom. While traveling the globe, all they need is access to the Internet via a laptop or their smartphone, or just have to pop into an Internet café to access their data in the cloud. Their data and important documents and files can be safely stored and accessed in the cloud, allowing them to travel without worries, with peace of mind.
Instant Access
Collaboration is a breeze thanks to the cloud. Businesses can share information with their suppliers and employees, allowing them to access important data instantaneously. Sharing information, ideas and data has never been so easy.
Improved Technology
In addition, the cloud has helped businesses in a variety of other ways, including compliance and risk management, customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, E-commerce, help desk and support services, document management, disaster recovery, and supply chain management. All of these tasks have been made easier thanks to the advent of the cloud. As the technology keeps improving, there will be many more ways in which the cloud can help companies become more efficient.
So, for these and many other reasons, the cloud has changed the way we do business. What’s there not to like? The cloud has changed the way we do business for the better.
Contact Atidan today at azure@atidan.com to find out more about our cloud solutions!

SharePoint Server 2013 Dev/Test Environments on Microsoft Azure

SharePoint Server 2013 Dev/Test Environments on Microsoft Azure

*Written by Joe Davies, Microsoft

Are you in need of a SharePoint Server 2013 dev/test or proof-of-concept environment? Check out these four options:

  • Basic configuration for an Internet-facing farm (3 servers)
  • High-availability configuration for an Internet-facing farm (9 servers)
  • SharePoint 3-tier configuration emulating an intranet farm (5 servers)
  • SharePoint intranet farm in a hybrid cloud (6 servers)

Basic configuration for an Internet-facing farm

Here is the basic, Internet-facing farm.

TCP80Use this configuration as an Internet-facing test farm using a cloud-only Azure virtual network. This farm is not connected back to your organization network through a site-to-site VPN connection.

You can deploy this in two ways:

In both cases, you specify very few configuration settings and let the template or the Preview Portal perform the computer and farm configuration for you.

For information about the new Azure Resource Manager, see Azure Compute, Network & Storage Providers under Azure Resource Manager

High-availability configuration for an Internet-facing farm

Here is the high-availability, Internet-facing farm.

Web1Like the basic configuration above, this configuration is for an Internet-facing test farm with a cloud-only Azure virtual network. This farm is not connected back to your organization network through a site-to-site VPN connection.

These methods can save you a lot of configuration time, but you will need an Azure subscription that supports 9 servers and 19 cores.

SharePoint 3-tier configuration emulating an intranet farm

With the SharePoint 3-tier farm in Azure Test Lab Guide (TLG), you build a simple 3-tier farm, complete with a client computer. This is an Azure-based alternative to building a SharePoint test lab with on-premises computers or virtual machines.

Cloud ServiceUse this configuration as an intranet test farm using a cloud-only Azure virtual network. It emulates an intranet farm relative to the CLIENT1 computer, rather than from your organization intranet. Unlike the SharePoint Server Farm configurations previously described, there is no Internet access to the resources of the SharePoint farm.

The advantage to this configuration is that you can use a set of existing SharePoint TLGs to configure permissions, authentication, profile synchronization, and social networking. For more information, see SharePoint Server 2013 Test Lab in Azure.

SharePoint intranet farm in a hybrid cloud

With SharePoint intranet farm in a hybrid cloud, you build a simple two-tier farm, complete with a simplified on-premises organization network containing a domain controller and client computer.

DC1Use this configuration as an intranet test farm using a cross-premises Azure virtual network. It emulates an intranet farm relative to the CLIENT1 computer on your simplified on-premises network. There is no Internet access to the SharePoint farm.

The advantage to this configuration is the inclusion of a site-to-site VPN connection and the ability to experience the performance and administration of an emulated intranet SharePoint farm relative to your location on the Internet.

Note that you can also build this using the simulated hybrid cloud. Here is the result.

Hybrid Contact the Atidan Azure cloud team at azure@atidan.com for additional information and a no obligation briefing!

Blog written entirely by Joe Davies at Microsoft http://azure.microsoft.com/blog/2015/06/08/sharepoint-server-2013-dev-test-environments/

Tapping Cloud Computing’s Full Potential

Even Atidan’s Cloud forward clients have only just begun to scratch the surface of possible opportunities. The power of the cloud is now within reach of even the smallest of companies and can change the way business views technology. Enhanced reliability, performance, security and a drastic reduction in physical infrastructure brings many benefits. Please contact the Atidan cloud team today for a no obligation analysis and briefing  Azure@atidan.com
This article excerpt, by Louis Columbus, originally appeared here: http://onforb.es/1zDfn6M 
Enterprises are realizing only 35 percent of the value from their workloads already in the cloud. Leading enterprise cloud adopters have migrated nearly two-thirds of their workloads to the cloud, yet the average company has only 18 percent there.
Up to 50 percent of the value of cloud investments is predicated on streamlining and improving company operations.
These and other insights are from the recently published Bain & Company study, Tapping Cloud’s Full Potential. A downloadable version of the study is available here (8 pp, free no opt-in). Bain & Company interviewed 428 companies and found that enterprises that are focused on getting strategic value from their cloud investments aim to migrate at least 50 percent of their workloads to the cloud.
Key take-aways from the study include the following:
• Only 35 percent of the value from workloads in the cloud today is being realized, leaving 65 percent of their value untapped. Enterprises have the potential to gain much greater value from the workloads they already have in the cloud. This figure from the study shows current realized value versus potential value.
• Bain advises enterprises that want to lead their markets to take a “cloud first” approach to initiating new IT workloads. Taking a cloud first approach requires redefining how new IT operational models scale to support and accelerate emerging and existing business models. This graphic illustrates this point.
• Bain found that putting workloads on public or hybrid clouds delivers more value in the form of bigger cost savings, greater flexibility, more scalability and better built-in services. Bain cites enterprises that moved development to IaaS and PaaS clouds from Amazon Web Services (AWS) reducing downtime by 72 percent and improving application availability by 3.9 hours per user per year.
• Change management is essential for any enterprise to realize the full value of their cloud investment. Bain found that no matter how much effort is put into planning, piloting and implementing cloud technologies, up to 50 percent of the value of cloud investment is predicated on streamlining company operations first. Change management strategies endorsed and evangelized by senior executives is critical for cloud-based systems and platforms to succeed.
• Enterprises that take an agile development approach and tighten the integration between development and infrastructure with DevOps practices increase the probability of cloud project success. Bain sees enterprises that standardize their development platforms, leverage automation tools and take advantage of self-service options for stakeholders succeed with their cloud initiatives.
• Investments in virtualization pay off. Bain also found that well-run IT organizations with 60 percent to 75 percent of their traditional server environments virtualized are able to migrate faster than those that are less reliant on virtualization.