Microsoft announced a change to licensing options for Windows Enterprise edition on March 1. Below I provide an overview of the changes and how they might impact organizations looking to take advantage of the features and functionalities.
Historically, Windows Enterprise edition has been only available through the acquisition of Windows Professional with Software Assurance (SA). Organizations that wanted these capabilities needed to purchase them through one of the following means:
- A new upgrade License with SA
- The renewal of existing SA
- The acquisition of SA only within 90 days of OEM or a Full Packaged Product (FPP) purchase
These procurement options were accompanied by certain restrictions on the type of qualifying volume licensing programs. For example, organizations couldn’t acquire SA within 90 days of OEM or FPP purchase under the Enterprise Agreement program, only via Select or Open. In addition, the ability to renew existing SA depended on keeping maintenance current to ensure continuity of coverage. SA renewal rules are defined in the Microsoft Product List.
Microsoft will now provide Windows Enterprise edition as an upgrade License only offering moving forward, making the features of Enterprise edition available to organizations not invested in Windows annuity licensing or programs. In addition, SA will come standard with the Windows Enterprise edition only, eliminating the Windows Professional Upgrade with SA option. Organizations with active SA on Windows Professional will have the option to renew using the Windows Enterprise SA SKU. Continue Reading…
By now everyone should know that Windows XP support ends on April 8. But that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone has jumped into action. Despite a nearly two-year warning about this deadline, at the end of 2013 more than one in four PCs around the world had yet to break the XP habit. And while the number of PCs running on Windows XP is surely dropping, many organizations still need to step into the light and adopt Windows 7 or Windows 8.
While moving to a new version of Windows might seem like a hassle, organizations should look at it as an opportunity to inspect their entire IT infrastructure beyond just the OS they use and identify any room for improvement.
For those working to upgrade their OS in the next couple months, Microsoft offers three free tools for all organizations, no matter their size, infrastructure, or IT resources, to smooth the transition. Here’s how they can help: Continue Reading…
Organizations will face a predictable IT operations and security challenge this year when Microsoft ceases support for Windows XP. Effective April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer publish security updates and hotfixes for the operating system.
Recently, Microsoft said it will extend updates for Windows XP security products through July 14, 2015. But even with that extension, organizations aren’t in the clear. Though Microsoft will provide signature updates to Microsoft Security Essentials that will aid in blocking attacks against security vulnerabilities, it will not patch those vulnerabilities or impact those users not using Microsoft Security Essentials. This means that vulnerabilities discovered after the end-of-life will continue to remain despite this increased support window.
This might not seem significant but according to the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures database published by Mitre, 721 Windows XP vulnerabilities have been identified over the last 13 years. One hundred sixty-six of which are highly exploitable code execution vulnerabilities that have been discovered in the last five years.
So what do you do with legacy systems that have reached their end of life? Here are three simple steps that can help prepare your IT lifecycle.
First you need to identify the scope of the Windows XP desktops and laptops in your IT environment. This step can be as simple as accessing Active Directory or performing an Nmap fingerprint scan on your networks. Support tools, such as help desk systems, the Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), and Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), can also assist in this effort. Organizations should be forewarned that these tools often only provide 90 percent accuracy since legacy laptops and systems might not exist under your domain or are only connected intermittently. Continue Reading…
Effective IT asset management hinges on flexibility and accuracy. Organizations that can quickly transfer software or hardware between users can keep up with changes in projects, responsibilities, and personnel. The introduction of Adobe Creative Cloud with subscription-based licensing simplified software deployment and the delivery of updates, but also left organizations confused regarding transfer rights.
I recently spoke with clients struggling to transfer or reassign Adobe Creative Cloud subscriptions from one user to another via Adobe.com. After investigating, I discovered that in each instance the software subscription was licensed for an individual instead of a team.
While Creative Cloud for individuals is perfect for small shops or freelancers, Creative Cloud team licenses are the optimal choice for creative groups within larger organizations. Team licenses give management full access to an administrator console that allows them to add, transfer, or revoke licenses as needed.
Team licenses are available under the Adobe Value Incentive Plan (VIP) program, an evergreen program that doesn’t require a minimum purchase. Customers receive one agreement number upon purchasing, and anything acquired throughout the year is co-termed with a single anniversary date. This allows for greater budget predictability, ensures compliance, and fosters collaboration among workgroups without sacrificing immediate access to the latest and greatest Adobe technology updates. Continue Reading…
There’s an app for just about everything. But until recently, few companies designed apps for their own employees. The focus has long been on consumer apps that build brands or generate revenue. But over the past couple years, a clear shift has become evident. Organizations are now building apps as internal tools designed to better equip their mobile workforce.
Through these apps, enterprises are offering essential and consistent functionality for their business by adapting desktop applications to the mobile realm to increase employee productivity on personal devices.
If your organization is debating developing an internal app, it’s important to understand what you want to accomplish. There are a few different options for developing an internal app, and like Goldilocks, you want to find the choice that’s just right. To ensure an app will meet your needs, define your company’s requirements and segment your users before starting the process.
Knowing what functionality is most crucial to your mobile workforce will help narrow down the best app development path for your organization. Here’s a guide to the three main methods of creating internal apps, including the pros and cons of each approach, how to implement it, and the best vendors to turn to for help. Continue Reading…
Managing all the hardware and software assets for an enterprise workforce is no easy feat. A large organization must manage thousands or tens of thousands of employee devices, all of which are loaded with myriad software subject to various maintenance dates, combinations of licensing agreements, and therefore a multitude of licensing rules.
With so much technology under one roof, it’s easy for a licensing event to slip through the cracks and harm an organization in the long run. For example, the use of unlicensed software could expose organizations to hefty fines and leave companies scrambling to purchase new licenses to bring them into compliance. Not only do missed events hurt an organization’s bottom line, they also damage corporate reputations and can increase scrutiny from other manufacturers and vendors.
To help customers avoid the risks of non-compliance and give them a better understanding of their software entitlements, SHI offers several tools that provide complete visibility into the software and quantities an organization is licensed to use. Here are two of the best: Continue Reading…
Of the 20 most needed future job skills, Microsoft Office ranks as the third most required skill, explicitly requested in 15 percent of positions, according to a study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by IDC. Designed to explore the technical and cognitive skills necessary for success in tomorrow’s high-growth, high-salary occupations, the study also found that Microsoft PowerPoint and Word hold the number 11 and number 13 spots, respectively.
With this data in mind, Microsoft will roll out a new program called Student Advantage on Dec. 1, 2013 to equip students of qualifying academic institutions worldwide with the latest version of Microsoft Office 365.
Microsoft introduced the program as a way to help students gain the skills and technical acumen necessary to pursue future occupations in high-growth career fields, such as medical support, sales, marketing, computer programming, and others.
Student Advantage also benefits academic institutions, namely in the form of huge cost savings. Mark Hachman of PCWorld estimates that a large institution such as Pennsylvania State University could save upwards of $2.9 million per year by using Student Advantage to equip students with Microsoft Office.
Beginning Dec. 1, any academic institution that licenses Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 A3 or A4, or Office Professional Plus for its faculty and staff and does so via Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES); Open Value; Subscription Agreement for Educations Solutions (OVS-ES); or School Agreement will be eligible to provide Office 365 ProPlus to students at no additional cost. To take advantage of this program, institutions must order the $0 Office 365 ProPlus SKU for students through their large account reseller (LAR) or a Microsoft Authorized Education Reseller (AER). Student Advantage will not be available through the Microsoft Online Services Portal. Continue Reading…