On a weekly basis there are now articles regarding a big brand company which has been hacked, these usually relate to what data has been lost, how they are notifying those affected and what they are going to be doing to prevent this from happening again.

So how do you prevent it from happening in the first place?

From experience I can see that if a hacker wants to get details from somewhere they will take the easiest target, the ‘Low Hanging Fruit’ as they say, in ensuring your company has some basic security principles in place can help mitigate this.

So how do you ensure you are not the ‘Low Hanging Fruit’

Simple measures can be taken within your environment to help secure it. As a basic level you should be meeting the following guide - CyberEssentials Requirements

This sets out some advice regarding Firewalls, User access control, Passwords, Malware protection and Patch management.

Once you have met the standards given within this document you should be looking to increase the security standards within your organisation. The most effective we have found is the use of education, once educated your staff will be able to react to the threats quicker and reduce the risks to your company.

Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2011 PremAddOn  becomes obsolete on 31st of December:

Win SBS PremAddOn 2011 64Bit DE 1pk             2XG-00155
Win SBS PremAddOn 2011 64Bit EN 1pk             2XG-00153
Win SBS PremAddOn 2011 64Bit FR 1pk             2XG-00154
Win SBS PremAddOn 2011 64Bit ES 1pk              2XG-00162
Win SBS PremAddOn 2011 64Bit IT 1pk              2XG-00157
Win SBS PremAddOn 2011 64Bit NL 1pk             2XG-00152
Win SBS PremAddOn 2011 64Bit CS 1pk              2XG-00151
Win SBS PremAddOn 2011 64Bit PL 1pk              2XG-00159
Win SBS PremAddOn 2011 64Bit PT 1pk              2XG-00160
Win SBS PremAddOn 2011 64Bit HU 1pk             2XG-00156
Win SBS PremAddOn 2011 64Bit SV 1pk              2XG-00164

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