Adobe takes a big step toward Creative Cloud. Here’s everything CS6 customers need to know

Posted by at 7:30 AM

Adobe Creative CloudDespite some early misperceptions about how Adobe Creative Cloud‘s subscription model would work, customers have signed up in droves. Some 1.8 million users now subscribe to Creative Cloud, enjoying instant updates and a predictable annual spend. Now a recent announcement could drive further adoption. At the end of May, Adobe will stop offering Creative Suite 6 (CS6) suites and products to commercial and government customers via the transactional licensing program (TLP) and cumulative licensing program (CLP).

If you’re still using CS6 under a TLP or CLP license, you probably have questions about this announcement. Here are some answers:

Why is Adobe phasing out CS6?

This move isn’t exactly surprising, after Adobe removed Upgrade Plan for its Creative products in December 2012, and announced in May 2013 that no new versions would be made available via perpetual licensing — Creative Cloud was the direction for the future.

CS6 is nearly two years old, and there have been more than 500 updates to the products since then. By making the Creative Suite available only through Creative Cloud, Adobe further simplifies its purchasing options and ensures it can deliver feature updates to customers as soon as they’re available. Continue Reading…

Office for iPad: Answers to your most common licensing questions

Posted by at 7:57 AM

Since Microsoft’s unveiling of Office for iPad two weeks ago, SHI has been inundated with phone calls and emails from customers asking about how they can get the new offering. This question would seem to have a simple answer given the nature of how easy it is to obtain apps on an iPad — just download it!

However, as organizations assess their current and future mobile device strategy, it stands to reason that the more robust capabilities available for Office for iPad require a more complete and thorough understanding of the licensing and cost models involved. For that reason, we’ve taken the time to address the five most common licensing questions organizations have asked about Office for iPad.

1. Is Office for iPad included in my existing Office 365 (O365) service plan?

In order to edit and create documents with Office for iPad, organizations must have an O365 ProPlus subscription. The following volume licensing (VL) O365 subscriptions include O365 ProPlus:

Microsoft-Office-365--Volume-Licensing-Plans

2. Is Office for iPad included in my existing Enterprise Agreement (EA)? Continue Reading…

Microsoft updates licensing for Windows desktop operating system

Posted by at 9:48 AM

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…

Saying goodbye to Windows XP: 3 free tools for Windows deployment

Posted by at 12:10 PM

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…

How to prepare for the end of Windows XP

Posted by at 9:44 AM

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.

1. Identify
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…

Adobe Creative Cloud: team versus individual licenses

Posted by at 3:18 PM

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…

How to develop your company’s next mobile app

Posted by at 9:02 AM

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…