Author Archives: Mark Charleton

On 1st December 2012 Microsoft will make significant changes to User CAL pricing which will directly affect the Core CAL and ECAL Suites, ALL Volume Licensing Programs* and customers with renewals after 1st December 2012!

We have highlighted the most important points for you below:

  • User CALs will have a +15% price premium. Device CAL pricing will not change
  • All Volume Licensing programs* will be affected. Microsoft will apply the user CAL price premium across all user-based CAL products and programs in Volume Licensing and OEM programs
  • Differentiated CAL pricing will take effect with the release of the December price list. Subject to current approvals, you may request early renewal to take advantage of lower user CAL pricing prior to 1st December 2012
  • You can continue to choose to license CALs per user or per device. You may prefer device CALs if you have fewer devices than users and prefer to count devices. You may prefer user CALs if you have fewer users and prefer to count users.

*Does not include Dynamics, SQL, SPLA or EES (Academic).


Changes to Microsoft's OV Grace Period:

From 1st November 2012, Microsoft adjusted the renewal grace period from 30 days down to 48 hours after expiry date for OV, OVS and OVS-ES agreements. Notice of this change has been within customer contracts and the OV handbook for the past year.

This change now means customers renewal orders must be received prior to the expiration of the agreement. You can renew agreements 30 days prior to expiration, and any purchase orders placed will be held by Microsoft and invoiced on the start date of the renewal. Should the order be placed on the days following the 48 hours, it will be set up as a net new agreement and run from current date. This means that potentially there could be a gap in customers coverage. In cases such as these distribution will need to log requests with Microsoft to backdate the agreement.

The 90 day grace period remains for Open agreements.

Microsoft OfficeOffer your customers Office 2010 and they can upgrade to the new version for free!

How the offer works:

1) Buy Office Customer purchases, installs, and activates a qualifying Office product during the eligibility period (October 19th 2012 – April 30th 2013)

2) Sign up for an email reminder Customers must visit and enter their email address. Microsoft will email the customer when the new Office products are available.

3) Get the next version of Office free, when available Customer receives email from Microsoft to redeem the offer.


We’re encouraging our reseller partners to keep on selling Windows

According to TrustedReviews the date for Microsoft to launch Windows 8 has been set for 26 October 2012. This could lead some businesses to delay or considering delaying the purchase of new PCs or operating systems. To combat this, Microsoft is offering a deal which means end-user customers who buy Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate between 2 June 2012 and 31 Jan 2013 can upgrade to Windows 8 for just £15.00. An upgrade can cost between £100-£150 normally, so this is a great offer. To access the offer, customers should visit:

We’re encouraging our reseller partners to keep on selling Windows, we can’t see any reason to hold back, but if you have other views, we’d love to hear from you. Comment below.

Windows 2012 has now been released and with its arrival comes new versions and new licensing rules

Windows Server 2008 is no longer available; Windows  Server 2012 has now been released and with its arrival comes new versions and new licensing rules. The current enterprise, Web Server, Small Business Server (SBS) and High Performance Computing (HPC) editions will all cease, to be replaced with a more simplified and standardised product line up [to match other infrastructure products] divided into ‘four flavours’:

  • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter edition for highly virtualized private cloud environments (which includes unlimited virtual instances)
    • Datacenter licence prices have doubled, but they do now provide for two processors instead of the one, so the overall pricing remains the same
    • Unusually for Microsoft, Datacenter requires both a processor license and Client Access Licenses (CALs) for every user or device accessing a server. ...continue reading

Trend Micro has released another attention-grabbing video tutorial on mobile and smartphone security in the workplace.

Some of the scenarios it demos are really very frightening (from a corporate perspective) and if I ran a company, no matter what the size, it’d probably have me tapping out an email straight away to our head of IT about tightening the control on staff use of mobile devices. However, the real issue is bigger than just control.

I think companies should be asking themselves how they can secure their business from threatening access via devices, rather than how they can control the devices themselves.

Devices are often owned by the employees, not the company, but the majority of those devices will have “guest” internet and LAN access. This means that the organisation is legally unable to secure & control those devices, because a company cannot enforce security and control software upon devices which it does not own. Yet, its data could be at great risk and if devices are compromised, the scenario demonstrated in the video above will become a reality.

...continue reading

The Infographic (pictured right) is created by one of our vendor partners, Trend Micro. It suggests (putting it bluntly) that employees can take much of the blame for data protection breaches. 78 per cent of organisations have suffered from at least one data breach over the past two-years, but only 8 per cent cited external attacks as the main reason. Loss of laptops and other mobile devices is the biggest failing. It looks like us employees could be responsible!


Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is rather under rated on this Infographic. It only makes number 10 on the riskiest employee practices list. However, I think the risk could be much higher, especially in SMBs. Using the right software, large businesses, which have their own “fleets of IT” can control device access, website access, data encryption, applications, and in the event of device loss, remotely wipe data too. SMBs by contrast rarely provide staff with devices for work use, but still need to protect (but probably don’t) corporate data held or accessed (intentionally or by accident) using an employee’s own device.

Legislation will only increase

Personally, I don’t think individuals are all entirely to blame. They may lose the devices or cause the data breach, but SMB owners also need to take data protection more seriously. For one thing, legislation in this area will only increase. It is interesting that the research behind the infographic suggests only 43 per cent of organisations protect sensitive information with data protection technology. I should imagine in SMBs that figure is much lower.

Consultancy first, product sell second

The Infographic really highlights some sweeping trends, but for me the biggest point on data protection is that every company is different; every company operates with different levels of protection sophistication. The biggest opportunities for resellers right now – with support from consultancy-led distributors and vendors - is to sell consultancy services to end-user customers. Consultancy first, product sell second. Resellers should now be working with business owners to provide security audits, to really understand how their businesses operate and then to help them find the security holes. In many cases, owners simply don’t realise they have a security hole!