Tips

  • Avoiding Software Audit Fees: Knowing the Terms of your License

    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.

    Protect against a SAM audit and legal implications.

    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.


  • Benefits of Implementing a Microsoft Server

    Servers are used for centralized user and resource management, network security, file and print services, and Web-based collaboration tools. As the mediator between an operating system and the rest of the network, it is arguably the most important component of that network. Microsoft Windows Server products now have a cloud ready operating system, extending the reach to resources not available on servers that are not cloud based. Before deciding to implement the Microsoft server, however, you should determine whether your business has the IT capabilities to make the switch and understand the benefits.

    The new cloud based Microsoft servers allows for businesses to have added layers of security and to stay at the cutting edge of application and infrastructure development to move your business forward. The server provides a platform for transition to the cloud when your company is prepared for the change, while supporting the operations necessary to manage current business workloads.

    Windows Server Data Center Vs Standard Editions

    There are two editions of the Windows Server R2: the Datacenter Edition and the Standard Edition. The Datacenter edition caters to high-density hybrid and private cloud environments, providing unlimited OSE containers, a nano server, new storage features, such as Storage Spaces Direct and Storage Replica, which is an Azure-inspired storage enhancement, and new Shielded Virtual Machines. In addition, it allows for unlimited on premise virtualization. The Standard Edition comes with limited features coming equipped with little more than the core of the Windows server and two OSE containers.

    Windows Server Data Center

    The Standard Edition might be sufficient for businesses that do not require or want to virtualize and just need a lighter weight server. The Datacenter Edition might be desirable for large companies and want to put more of their workflows into the cloud or want to rehash their legacy Windows applications and move them to Open Source Apps. Large companies would be able to justify the cost of the high-value servers and licensing.


  • 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 Office365 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.


  • The Risk Factor: Cheap Software VS Pirated Software

    Software companies such as Adobe and Microsoft have built their brand on the vision of creating products that can be used by creators and innovators to curate content that can be distributed to whatever market they wish to serve. This vision can be seen manifested on the screens of millions of computers globally. Programs such as Photoshop and Office Suite have become industry standards.

    Pirated Software Costs Companies

    The most marketable skills for a potential employee are often founded on the ability to master the tools found in these programs. Adobe and Microsoft have become mainstays and their products, must-have tools of success and creation. Because of this software is expensive, placing it out of reach for many users. Piracy and cheap software seem like legitimate solutions to the market gap, but can have consequences that ultimately cause the company to loss profit.

    Cheap software in particular can offer a legal solution to those who cannot afford the alternative with pros and cons. Cheap software sold through third party vendors can be 18 to 22 percent less in licensing fees and up to 50 percent of the initial annual fee. While reducing costs is often the goal of budget conscious companies, with this potential benefit comes potential pitfalls. Third-party vendors cannot fully replace vendor support programs. This means that you will not get any software updates as your software is essentially frozen.

    You may also face reinstatement fees if your company grows and you need to return to the direct vendor.

    Despite of these disadvantages of cheap software, the consequences of using pirated software can be far graver. Using pirated software, like using cheap software, means no official vendor support, potential viruses and malware, no official builds or updates, and slowed computer performance due to modifications to make the program more authentic. Unlike the purchase of cheap software, pirated software is illegal, and thus, a crime. If a company is found guilty, they can face fees up to or exceeding $250,000 in fines.

    If financial resources are limited, cheap software can be a good alternative for beginning users or smaller companies, but overall it is recommended in the long term to invest in original software sold officially by the vendor that owns the original copyright.

     


  • Amazon Buyers Beware: Software Fraud Can Cost You Thousands

    Fraud Re-Sellers on Amazon Offer Software at Bargain Prices - At a Cost To You

    With the introduction of online marketplaces such as Amazon and EBay, it is no surprise that end users are looking for the best software deals, to help them save on their often costly business investments. The problem is, most buyers don't realize the inherent risks of buying from un-registered, un-verified third parties. The fact is, an overwhelming majority of discount software retailers on these online marketplaces are selling illegitimate copies of software that often leave the end user at risk for costly audits and downtime. When buying from a re-seller on Amazon or EBay, it is important to verify the legitimacy of the products being sold and to read the reviews to determine if the product is genuine and legal.

     

    Fraud on Amazon for Windows Server 2012

    Deals That Are Too Good to Be True Usually Are: Don't Fall For Fraudulent Software

    If you find software that is listed well below list, or MSRP price, be wary. Most genuine retailers cannot afford to sell their products for rock bottom prices, and there's a reason for that: The margins on software are simply not that big. So if you find that killer deal on an expensive piece of software, it probably isn't a legitimate copy. Most of the time, if fraudulent, it's the wrong version, a compromised key, or made for a region outside of the U.S. - this means you will get software that might work for a few weeks, months, sometimes a year or more, but eventually you will be paying more to rectify these types of issues. Downtime, expensive audits, and lack of functionality can severely hinder businesses and become extremely costly in light of the up-front savings.

    Protect Yourself: Buy Genuine and Eliminate The Risk of An Audit

    Did you know a Microsoft Audit can cost businesses thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. All it takes is for one piece of software on your network to be out of compliance for Microsoft to initiate an Audit letter, placing your entire business and infrastructure under the microscope. Trying to save on that one piece of software just isn't worth it unless its certified genuine. For those trying to save a few bucks, Royal proudly offers some of the lowest prices in the business, with monthly promo codes and incentives to boot - We ONLY sell legitimate software, ensuring our clients are never put in harm's way.


  • Sharepoint Online Cloud Migration

    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).

     


  • 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!

     


  • Choosing the Right Antivirus Software for Your Computer

    Safeguard your Business 2_300x250

    Years ago, deciding on an antivirus isn’t that complicated. After all, we only had 2 options – either McAfee or Norton. Today, however, there is a huge selection of antivirus software to choose from. Many of them even have a free version.

    How do know which antivirus software is right for your personal and professional life?

    There are a lot of factors to take into account when choosing the best antivirus for your computer. By considering all of the following, you are more likely to get the right antivirus to suit your needs.

    Quality of protection

    Of course, the number one factor to consider is how good of a protection will it be for your computer. The program must be able to provide the highest level of protection against a wide range of threats and detect malicious codes. Also, it should deliver constant protection for all types of files, network elements and computer domains that could be subject to attack by viruses and malware.

    Cost

    Price is one of the most important things to consider when buying antivirus software. Some of them can be downloaded for free; while others may cost hundreds of dollars. Ask yourself. How much are you willing to spend?

    Just because you got the most expensive software, doesn’t mean it’s the best. Do your research to find the one that provides the best bang for your buck.

    User reviews

    Read user’s reviews and check out the ratings of different antivirus software before buying or downloading it into your computer. If many users prefer it, then the product must be really good.

    Free trial

    Seeing is believing. Consider getting a free trial so you have an idea how it works. You might not be able to enjoy all the features in a free trial, but it can help you determine whether or not it suits your needs.

     

     


  • How Safe Is a Password Manager?

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    Using strong and unique passwords is a piece of advise that we often hear. Unfortunately, most people still opt for weak but easy to remember passwords. Worse, some would use the same password for multiple sites. That’s not surprising since it’s not that easy to remember a handful of passwords. This is where a password manager comes in handy.

    Password managers recall all your passwords for you and help you log into all the websites you use automatically. The password database is encrypted with a master password, which is the only one you have to remember. But the question is, are they really as secure as they claim to be?

    Putting all your eggs or passwords in one basket is sort of a scary proposition. If a hacker successfully gains access to your password manager, then it’s like handing him/her the keys to your online kingdom. For some people this may be a deal breaker. But  isn’t it just as easy to break into your online accounts with weak passwords? And if you do use the same password in different sites, all others will also be compromised.

    Yes, intrusions happen all the time. Popular password manager, LastPass, suffered from an intrusion a few months ago. The good news is that the incident didn’t leak any passwords directly. They said that the passwords were so heavily encrypted that no passwords were stolen.

    Now, don’t panic. If you are using a password manager, consider changing your master password every once in a while. Remember, a password manager is only as secure as your master password. Change it often and make sure that it’s a very strong password. Don’t make a hacker’s job easier.

    While a password manager can help organize all your online accounts and increase your online security, you shouldn’t rely on it too much. Make sure that you can remember passwords for crucial services such as online banking and email accounts.

     


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