Open Licensing

  • What Happens During A Microsoft Audit (SAM)

    How to Survive a Microsoft Audit

    Avoiding unforeseen liabilities is an ongoing reality for most businesses, and one of the biggest expenses can come from the licensing problems associated with Microsoft software. The management of such high-value software can be a difficult problem, exasperated by ever evolving licensing agreements with greater levels of complexity and lack of best practices for software license management.

    In medium to large companies, the risk of fees associated with failed audits is compounded due to the sheer number of software license contracts they must manage. With an average of 70 software license contracts, determining compliance can become almost ambiguous until an actual audit is performed. A failed audit can lead to company embarrassment and fees that can negatively impact company profitability.

    Internal Management Is Costly; Outsource SAM to a Partner

    Microsoft is reported to have an especially aggressive audit strategy, from informal audits through audit partners and workshops, to more formal, official on site audits. These expensive ordeals are highly likely for medium and large sized companies, with over 60 percent of executives reporting some sort of Microsoft audit associated activity occurring in the last 12 months. Preparing for an audit begins with understanding the terms of your software license agreements.

    Illegal Software Audits

    Until recent years, internal SAM management systems haven't aligned with the cost-conscience business models most companies utilize, encouraging the tendency for reliance on poor data. This leads to costly miscalculations and mistakes, but is also where Software asset management systems come into play. These services handle the complex issues presented by high value enterprise applications. The best methods for asset management include maintaining continuing compliance utilizing SAM services, keeping a roster of active software licenses (using VLSC or others) and ensuring constant preparation for any potential upcoming audit.

    Centralizing license operations can give managers access to all agreements for tracking and maintenance. Automating licensing operations also ensures software availability and easy reassignment or bill-back. One best practice is to analyze usage reports, in order to make sure usage data is as accurate and complete as possible and adopt the right management tools. Effective management of software assets is almost impossible without effective tools and software.

    Preparing for a company-wide SAM audit can be as simple as meeting with a Microsoft Certified Partner, and setting up an free consultation. With the right plan and tools, maintaining compliance can be largely automated and easily managed to prevent future worries.


  • Choosing an Office 365 Enterprise Plan for your Business

    Office Pricing Made Easy

    Determining which version of O365 would best fit your company and budget requires an assessment of both the needs and access your employees require to fulfill their roles; as well as what your company budget will allow. Microsoft designed its Office 365 plans to fit the needs of any company, of any size, regardless of scope and budget.

    What is Office 365 for Enterprise?

    The Office 365 Enterprise plans are broken down into six plans, including a basic plan and even two plans for kiosk worker types, showing the versatility of the features and pricing. There are four main offerings for businesses, whether for a entrepreneur or a large company employing tens of thousands.

    Enterprise E1 & E2

    The MS 365 Enterprise E1 and E2 plans were designed for businesses with no more than 25 employees. This is a good plan for small businesses with no plans to expand. While the E1 variant doesn’t have the Office Web Apps, the web version of the Microsoft Office Suite, it does give access to Skype for Business, with on-premise options to Exchange and SharePoint. If you find that your employees need online access to Microsoft Office Suite, the E2 plan does contain the Office Web Apps, along with all the features included in the E1 plan.

    Enterprise E3 & E4

    The Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise E3 and E4 plans were designed with medium to large companies, with 50 to thousands of employees, or small businesses with goals for expansion. With these options you can install the desktop versions of the Office Web Apps, with the E4 option offering the Microsoft Lync enterprise VOIP solution, allowing for fully integrated voice capabilities on premise.

    Which Plan is Best for Me?

    For many businesses, the Enterprise E3 plan might be the happy medium or unicorn plan, giving you all the benefits of the E1 and E2 plans, with the added advantage of advanced analytical tools and document sharing capabilities.

    Office365 Enterprise Pricing
    Whatever option you chose, Office 365 “E” plans offer flexibility and on premise licensing rights for SharePoint, Exchange and Lync; making it easy and convenient to quickly view your options and chose a customized feature tier that caters to your company size and needs.

    Ready to get started? Have more questions? Call us for more information or shop our online store.


  • Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite Is Catching Up to Competitors

    Enterprise Mobility Suite Brings Device Management To Enterprises

    Organizations all around the world are finding it increasingly difficult to cope up with the phenomenon of BYOD (bring your own device). Employees are bringing in their own devices into the corporate network and store not just personal data but also work-related data on it.

    Managing such a variety of different devices and platforms becomes quite a challenge for any IT department. There is also the question of ensuring privacy, i.e. where do you draw the line in separating personal data from work-related.

    As a solution to this problem, software vendors have rolled out what are popularly known as MDM or mobile device management solutions. For example, Symantec, BlackBerry and IBM have such solutions. Likewise, Microsoft too has one, which goes by the name of Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite.

    This offering was announced in 2014 and leverages the capabilities of Windows Intune as well as Microsoft SCCM. It also utilizes certain Azure-based services behind the scenes. The tool's main purpose is to facilitate controlling the different portable devices that are deployed in a company network using a single administrative console. It also enables certain security scenarios such as being able to remotely lock a stolen device and reset / wipe its data as necessary.

    Enterprise Mobility Suite

    Most MDM solutions are licensed on a per-user model and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite is no exception to it.

    Features of the EMS include for example, geo-location capabilities. The fragmentation and lack of a native management API in Android may also be a hurdle. Microsoft's sincerity to treat all of the different platforms similarly may be considered to be questionable by some vendors, because unlike competitors like Symantec and VMWare which have no mobile platform of their own, Microsoft does have one. Also, Microsoft is highly keen on presenting Windows as a unified platform across the PC, tablet and the phone, unlike how Apple clearly differentiates between OS X and iOS.

    For more information on EM+S or the new Microsoft 365 Packages, contact us direct at 1-877-292-7712.


  • Licensing Sharepoint Online - Migration Guide

    What Are CAL's for SharePoint?

    SharePoint is a free add on to Windows Server 2003/2008/2011 OS which supports extranet, intranet, and Internet applications from any single, integrated platform. As such, accessing SharePoint is bound by Microsoft Server licensing for the server it’s installed on. If you’ve a server in the business then you’ll probably have all the required CALs (Client Access Licenses) for your staff to access the Windows server – and by definition, SharePoint CALs. You may, however, need to consider external, remote and or mobile staff who may not have a SharePoint CAL to the server but due to SharePoint’s simple remote access features will begin to connect and use the Windows server infrastructure.

    Sharepoint online cloud

    When purchasing a Microsoft SharePoint Portal server (or other Microsoft servers like SQL, Exchange, Windows, Windows Terminal or Systems Management), a license is needed for each copy of the installed server software. Besides, a SharePoint CAL (client access license) is needed, for the same Microsoft server version, for each device or user (or combination of both) which uses or accesses the server software. The only time you don’t need a SharePoint CAL is if:

    • Access is to a server that runs Windows Server 2003 Web Edition
    • Access is through the Internet and is unauthenticated
    • Use or access is by an external user and instead of CALs, External Connector licenses are acquired.

    With the release of the Windows 2003 Servers, there’re now 2 types of SharePoint CALs available, a user-based and a device-based CAL. This means you can acquire a Microsoft CAL for every named-user accessing your Windows servers (from any device), or you can acquire a Microsoft CAL for every device (utilized by any user) accessing your Windows servers. Although both device CALs and user CALs are available under the Select agreement, only device CALs are available under the Microsoft Campus agreement. A Microsoft SharePoint Server Enterprise (MSSE) user CAL can be used only in conjunction with a Microsoft SharePoint Server Standard (MSSS) user CAL. It authorizes the user to access extra features in Microsoft SharePoint-Server from any device (for instance, when a staff accesses the server from a PC at work and another at home).

    For specific questions around Sharepoint licensing, contact our experts here.


  • MSDN Subscriptions Give You Access To Everything

    The Latest Collaboration Tools, Training And Resources For Coders

    Software developers are always looking for ways to create amazing applications. With a Microsoft Developer Network subscription, a computer programmer can build any kind of app out there.

    Microsoft Developer Network is a section of Microsoft in charge of developing a relationship with software developers and testers. This relationship is developed through websites, developer conferences, newsletters and other channels. Microsoft Developer Network's subscriptions are also sold on an annual basis, and the price varies from a couple of thousand dollars to twenty thousand dollars. Subscribers get new software every few months either on DVD or other formats. They can also download software, and this gives them further benefits.

    Licensing Made Easy

    Microsoft Developer Network's subscriptions are licensed, and they are sold in a per user basis. A user can develop, test, design or demonstrate her or his programs in any kind of device. They can also evaluate the computer program as well as simulate any kind of customer environment. This will allow users to diagnose any problem down the road. Microsoft Developer Network users can also run their programs on an Azure virtual machine, and this allows them to have greater flexibility when it comes to developing and testing applications.

    Elimination of Shared Subscription Costs

    Microsoft Developer Network doesn't offer a shared subscription. So you'll have to include each one of your team members individually as well. Microsoft Developer Network allows users to get access to any of Microsoft's personal and commercial software that are designed for the deployment of software development projects. Even if the product support service hasn't been extended, Microsoft Developer Network can still use the software package to test and develop legacy applications as well as transition to any new software.


  • Microsoft Open Licensing

    Big Business Tools At An Entry Level Price

    Microsoft Open Licensing is an entry-level volume licensing program for small to mid-sized companies with between 2 to 250 personal computers (although it can accommodate companies with up to 750 computers). Microsoft's latest service offering allows corporate, charitable, academic, or governmental organizations to obtain volume license schemes for Microsoft products. Microsoft Open Licensing is generally a better value when compared to traditional licensing methods (i.e. - retail, or individual license purchases). Open License provides a simple, yet flexible and cost-effective approach to buying the latest Microsoft technology, maintaining said technology, and standardizing licensing methods to meet your company’s needs and budget.

    The Microsoft Open Licensing Model Is Designed To Simplify

    • Open Value – Specifically designed to offer you simplified license management, lower software management costs, and greater control over your IT investment. This option includes Software Assurance, an improved maintenance program from Microsoft which provides you access to added benefits such as training, software upgrades, deployment planning, and product support. The Open Value program has 3 options: company-wide, non-company-wide and subscription; each designed to meet diverse business needs and applications.
    • Open Value is designed for companies that want to boost their up-front order or purchase amount in one-or-more product pools to take advantage of group s. These options use a system of product pools as well as product points to set up purchase minimums for discounted prices.
    • Open Business – Ideal for organizations looking to pay for Microsoft Software Licenses as they add resources. This program gives your company the flexibility to grow as your business licensing needs increase.

    Does Your Business Qualify?

    To qualify, the initial purchase is to be no less than five licenses (of any product combination); there are some exceptions whereby a single product qualifies (for instance SQL Core licenses and Visual Studio with an MSDN Subscription).

    Office 365 Through Open License

    If your business has met the initial eligibility requirements, the program will run for two consecutive years (further licenses can be added to this plan a-la-carte as desired). This offer does expire, albeit the licenses bought are perpetual and may be used repeatedly. Licenses include all commercially-available Microsoft software products; Check out the Microsoft Open License page and learn more!


  • Why Office 365 Is the Right Choice for Your Business

    Office 365 for business

    Why You Should Consider Opting for Office 365

    Have you made the move to Office 365 yet? Sure, we understand that change is scarier than a Thanksgiving without Turkey, but your trusted experts here at Royal are ready to address all of your qualms. The pricing and plans for Office 365 are really a beautiful value, and once you make the transition, you’ll wonder how you managed to operate your business without it. Here are the top five reasons to jump on board 365:

    Usable on Up to 5 Devices

    1. 365 can be used on up to five devices. That’s right. FIVE devices. Remember when you’d buy a CD and install it on your one computer? Those days are gone. Now, your new Office is downloaded directly from the web and you can use it across all of your devices. That means your phone, your iPad, your work computer and your home PC will all be suited up with the newest version of Office. No CD-ROM necessary.

    Always Up to Date

    2. Office 365 will be up to date for good. That’s because it all comes to you via online download. So again, your days of manual entering key cards are in the past. Let’s say Microsoft updates their software again in a few years. You’ll have guaranteed access without having to buy a copy of the newest edition. How sweet is that?

    Always Available - Anywhere You Go

    3. You can log in from any machine virtually anywhere to access your OneDrive. Your OneDrive will be where all your documents live, so you’ll have anywhere access to all your saved stuff at any point in time. Your OneDrive is equipped with unlimited storage. Know what this means? External hard drives are VERY close to becoming obsolete. It’s all backed up to the cloud, baby, and that means you can bid adieu to that chunky piece of technology.

    Easily Share

    4. The same aforementioned OneDrive gives you the chance to share documents with your coworkers without having to swap versions via email. Your inbox will be so thankful.

    365 For Business Makes Life Easy for IT Managers

    5. 365 for business will help you run your organization in a more timely and efficient manner. Your IT guy should be worried. This is because you now have the power to add and remove employees without having to resell or return used software. Office 365 delivers an unprecedented amount of control to business owners and will save on capital expenditure costs in the long run.

    Still need convincing? Call up one of our friendly specialists (and avid 365 users) for a few more reasons as to why the new Office 365 is the right thing to do. For more information, or to shop our online software store, visit https://www.royaldiscount.com/