This recent Computer Weekly article caught our eye in the office the other day. It details how Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs are set to save £50 million on their IE6 Upgrade, opening the way for further modernisation, including a planned move from Windows XP to Windows 7.
Working with CDG and Browsium, a pilot plan has been put in place to start testing the first 15-20 of the company’s applications in the next few weeks. To find out more about what Browsium have to offer, be sure to come along to our App Compat Session in London on the 3rd May! They will be presenting alongside Microsoft and Camwood on the many different techniques you can employ to join take the same path as HMRC, moving off of IE6 and saving money for your business.
Click here for more information and to register with Camwood.
This fortnight’s TechNet Flash is all about being prepared for the Windows XP end of support and getting your systems ready for the next generation of applications.
Our feature article by Andy Hodges provides some great insights into how to create custom domains for Office 365 and this month is a really busy one in terms of events!
To get your copy of TechNet Flash direct to your inbox just pop over here.
You can also hear about the latest news via Twitter or Facebook along with all sorts of interesting tips, articles and competitions.
Starts: 21 June 2012 10:00 Time zone: (GMT) GMT, London Duration: 3 hour(s)
We have a very exciting wave of new product launches and announcements for the Microsoft Private Cloud in 2012 – starting with the release of System Center 2012, which allows you to manage your virtual, physical, and cloud environments from a single console, using common and consistent management experiences that provide full control across your existing datacentre investments.
We have also introduced a new edition line-up and simplified licensing for System Center 2012 to address both your server and client management needs – including Virtual Machine Manager, Operations Manager, Configuration Manager, Data Protection Manager, Service Manager, Orchestrator, Endpoint Protection, and App Controller.
System Center 2012 – UK Virtual Launch– These ½ day events will provide you with the best possible opportunity to learn about what’s new in System Center 2012 and our next step forward in the Microsoft Private Cloud vision, strategy and roadmap – with deep dive sessions on infrastructure management, service delivery & automation, and application management – which is an opportunity you won’t want to miss!
Agenda & Registration Details
My last post was about how, in order to embrace consumerisation, you need to start thinking in terms of managing the access that people and devices have, or more accurately the access that People on Devices have. This post is an extension of that previous post in that we’re going to start thinking about the two other of the four ingredients in our consumerisation cocktail that represent the things that people want to access.
Other than admins no person should ever have to think about accessing a server, they shouldn’t need to be thinking – “golly gosh I need to access the latest sales data so I need to go to \\sales\2012\march\week3\some-random-share\sales.xls”. In fact no person ever really wants to have to remember that, they just want to access the sales information. More over they really don’t need to be thinking, “what credentials were they, umm, lets try this, no, how about this, no err, how about…”. People just want access to information.
OK, it’s not that simple, they do need a way to access that information but we can see a marked shift here too in resent times. Today people think in terms of Apps, services have become apps – just pick up the mobile device nearest you and the proof is instantly visible. There are also really only two types of Apps too: Viewing and Doing. The former category, Viewing, are in fact ways to consume information and the latter so they fall into our information category, Doing, are generally ways to create information. It’s hard to cite a single example of anything other than these two.(You could argue that there’s a 3rd type, Games, but that’s about it).
What we need to do when we consider how to allow a more consumerised environment - whilst also protecting our corporate assets - to control who has access to Do what with Information. Nothing new, it’s a problem we’ve had for many years and we have a wealth of well known solutions, but do they stack up in this brave new world?
Today what many organisations are doing is using the same old solutions, that were perfectly good in the past, applied to todays problems and they’re being effective some of the time – but not all. The old way to manage information was to manage who had access to it where it rested, on the server, but the trouble with that approach is that the information is no longer at rest, it’s constantly moving and through many applications, devices and people. How do we cope?
To give you an example, what happens when your CFO emails the financial accounts to his home PC because it’s more convenient. The chances are that the information is only protected at rest, so when it’s attached to an email that protection (the file system ACL) is removed, it then goes over a HTTPS (good) connection to the email provider (who could then read it at will) then it lands on his mobile device…or rather it wood if he’d sent it to the correct email address, instead it lands on JoeBloggs@contoso.com ‘s device not Joe.Bloggs@contos.com ‘s email inbox.
The best idea is to manage the information assuming it’s mobile, assuming that it will leave the confides of the firewall, essentially assuming the worst case will happen.
In a modern environment where employees can use their own devices and you might not have access to control those devices your best approach is to manage the information in a way that never leaves the information. To embed security into the information.
We’ve had a technology built into Microsoft Office documents, built into Microsoft Exchange and built into Windows for quite some time to manage this issue but now is the time to turn it on. Rights Management is built on the requirement that the App that is opening the information (the document, the email) will check to see what the person opening the document can do. The App does this by requesting that information from Active Directory Directory Services, normally this only happens if the device is allowed to request that information. As such you have a mechanism to ensure that the right person can access the information from a device or App that’s secure enough to store the information.
You might well notice that again, the two variables of management you have remain People and Devices.
A second thought might well be that you need some kind of rich client software (Microsoft Outlook 2010, Microsoft Word 2010) in order to ascertain the rights that the user has over the information. Apps of course don’t have to be delivered on a device, they can be delivered as a Web App and AD-RMS works with Office Web Apps. Web Apps of course play an important part in the mix. With Web Apps you have a way to reduce the potential for data walkabouts because with a web app your data doesn’t need to leave your firewall – even though it’s displayed through a web portal outside your firewall.
Apps probably cost money and as such you will probably want to protect access to apps not primarily to prevent access to information but to prevent you from overspending. Controlling access to apps is a fairly simple process but it’s something we’ve done a great job of automating in System Center Config Manager 2012 – which is a future post all of it’s own. The key thing to remember though is that SCCM 2012 implements and user self service request mechanism and administrator approval mechanism for application installs, in addition to admin driven installations. Essentially you get a corporate Store for Apps – and people are comfortable with that these days, just look at your mobile device.
Control access to information at rest and in motion based on People and Devices and try to control access to apps to manage cost not information – after all what would you do if the user brought their own app?
We’ve decided to take things a little off topic this afternoon and all in the name of education and children. Many of you reading TechNet UK are parents and may of you may not have heard of the Microsoft initiative called DreamSpark. Microsoft are very much into getting children and students into software development and enabling them by providing the latest technology. As a result Microsoft launched a project called DreamSpark.
So what is DreamSpark then… well in a nutshell, Microsoft DreamSpark is here to make software development more motivating, relevant, and engaging for today’s students, educators and institutions. It allows students to access professional-level development, design, and gaming software at no cost! From the basics e.g. KODU, to full on App development with Visual Studio.
Still not sure what it is? Check out our video of the basics from the perspective of students and faculty. (the one above)
To keep up to date on what Microsoft are doing with DreamSpark follow us on Facebook by ‘Liking’ our Microsoft UK Student page on Facebook, as we’ll be posting content all week.
In a related way to how tablets provide a more flexible and intuitive interface to applications, unified communications provides a way for us to better and more productively communicate with our colleagues, customers, clients and partners. Providing a single interface to instant messaging, voice and video services, conferencing and desktop or application sharing a UC client can help you communicate the right information to the right people at the right time, and therefore resolve issues quicker and easier.
Microsoft Lync 2010 is a core component of Microsoft’s unified communications platform, working together with Exchange and Office. The Microsoft UC User Group are holding a number of event across the UK and in Dublin over the coming weeks. If you’d like to learn more about what Lync and unified commutations is all about, and how it could help your organisation register for one of the events:
Dublin 23rd April
Bristol 14th May
Liverpool 15th May
Derby 16th May
Newcastle 17th May
Edinburgh 18th May
Register here if you are interested in attending one of the above events:
The agenda for each day:
Start End Title
09:30 10:00 Registration and coffee.
10:00 10:15 Welcome.
10:15 11:00 Introduction to Lync.
11:00 11:15 Coffee break.
11:15 12:00 We have a PBX, how do we move to Lync?
12:00 12:45 High availability and disaster recovery.
12:45 13:15 Sponsor Session - A10 Networks.
13:15 14:00 Lunch.
14:00 14:45 Using an existing video conferencing solution with Lync?
14:45 15:30 Deploy our own or use a cloud offering, if cloud who's?
15:30 15:45 Coffee break.
15:45 16:45 All of this sounds good, how do I get my boss to agree?
16:45 17:00 Q&A and wrap-up.
The days are being run by Adam Gent and Russ Kirk, both Lync MVPs with a background in UC and telephony, with additional guest speakers from the local community and Microsoft varying between locations. The days are made possible by sponsorship from www.a10networks.com.
You can sign up for free attendance at these events at http://mucuguk.eventbrite.co.uk/
Last week we extended the number of IT Camps that we are running in London, we released the details of the SQL Server 2012 Virtual Launch event and provided details of our IE Migration seminars.
That wasn’t enough for us though! So we also gave you the value proposition for Microsoft Certification, we hosted a Guest post on setting up custom domains on Office365 and went back in time to find out about Dan Pilling’s experience of TechEd. Along similar lines we also announced the book of the fortnight.
This week look out for even more awesome events and some great insights as well as something to pass on to your children!
One of my memories of TechEd from the past was IT Forum(the previous name for the event) 2004, in Copenhagen. My first role at Microsoft was working with universities in the UK. As part of the activities associated to IT Forum I had organized a session with Bob Muglia, a senior executive at Microsoft. I can remember having to provide Bob’s team with a comprehensive briefing document that had taken me hours to fill out and having to send personal invites to the customers attending. I had just over 100 senior representatives from UK Universities waiting for him to arrive.
About 5 minutes before he was due to present, I received an international phone call, which turned out to be Bob’s assistant. He told me that Bob had taken off from Paris airport, the plane he was in had developed a problem and had to be diverted back to Paris. This meant there was no chance he was going to be able to present. It was one those times where you have to deliver bad news and reset expectations. We ended up delivering a session about how we could work better with Universities that was really well received. That was one of my lasting memories of TechEd/ IT Forum.
If you would like to find out more about TechEd Europe 2012 then pop over to the website and check out the blog.
The book of the fortnight is all about Exchange Server 2010.
MCTS 70-662 Rapid Review: Configuring Microsoft® Exchange Server 2010
Are you ready to take your MCTS exam? Assess your readiness for MCTS Exam 70-662 and quickly identify where you need to focus and practice. This practical, streamlined guide walks you through each exam objective, providing "need to know" checklists, review questions, tips, and links to further study—all designed to help bolster your preparation.
TechNet Offer – 40% discount:
Buy a print copy with free UK p&p for £13.79
You can also buy this as an ebook - enter code TechnetUK in the basket
Andy Hodges is a SharePoint Solutions Consultant at Mando Group, a leading digital agency specialising in creating enterprise web sites and RIAs. Andy works with SharePoint to create engaging Intranets, Extranet and Internet sites. Andy can be found on twitter @AndyRHodges
Cloud technologies have been around for a number of years and are increasing in maturity, which is filtering down to organisations, as not just a viable option when building a new application, but the best option. Working for a digital agency we build a lot of critical online systems using the SharePoint platform. Most of these systems are externally facing to the public and the biggest need to be hosted on large server farms. A lot of the work we do is design led, it is important to be able to have control over the presentation of the HTML and CSS in a SharePoint Solution.
I started to look into SharePoint Online which is part of the Office365 suite to see if the external facing aspects of SharePoint Online have the potential to be used for hosting SharePoint internet sites. As you may know SharePoint Online has the ability to host an externally facing website on your own domain. There is also a comprehensive interface that enables business to quickly setup their own website. Unfortunately this interface doesn’t provide the control over the HTML and CSS that we require for some of our customers, but there are ways around this. Before I look at the ways around this I wanted to test getting one of my own domains setup in Office365, in this article I will explain how I did it.
Step One – Confirm your domain ownership with Office365
I am not yet moving my whole site to SharePoint Online so I setup up a subdomain http://cloud.sharepointrescue.com. Setting up a subdomain requires a bit of knowledge around DNS records, but if you have access to you domain admin account you should be able to do this fairly easily.
To be able to use a “Vanity” or custom domain with SharePoint Online you must first add the domain into Office365 using the admin portal. After logging into Office365 as an Admin user, select “Domains” from the left menu and add a new domain and click check domain.
Now you need to verify the domain. To do this you need to add a CNAME record to you DNS, which is auto generated for you.
Once you have added the record you can try and verify the domain.
This part took a relatively short time to wait for the record to propagate, probably about 10 minutes in my case. If successful this will add the domain to Office365.
Step Two – Change the intent of the domain to SharePoint Online
Right, this is a part I got stuck on briefly, if you thought you could use the same domain for Lync Online, Exchange Online and SharePoint Online you would be wrong, like I was. If you want to use the domain for SharePoint Online, un-tick Lync Online and Exchange Online, then tick SharePoint Online.
Step Three – Change the domain of the SharePoint Internet Site to your new domain
At this point we need to jump into SharePoint Online so click the SharePoint Online Manage option. If you haven’t already create a Site collection, select your site and click on the Website Domains option on the ribbon when it appears. The domain that you have added to Office 365 will be in the dropdown, select this and click ok.
Step Four – Amend the DNS of your domain to point at SharePoint Online
Now the difficult bit, for your domain to resolve to SharePoint Online you will need to change the DNS once again to point at SharePoint Online. Again in the site collections part of SharePoint Online, select the site you have just renamed and click the DNS Information button on the ribbon.
This gives you the target for the CNAME record that you now need to add to your DNS. The Alias or Host name should be the (root), which it doesn’t tell you in the help. I also did two other things here that are not mentioned in the help, firstly I deleted the previous CNAME records that had been created to get the domain verified with Office365 and secondly I deleted the A record for my domain. Whether you need to do the second step is debatable, but it worked, so I am leaving it as it is. This took a good day to propagate so it is difficult to know if you have it right the first time, be patient.
Great you now have a SharePoint Internet facing site on your own domain in the cloud! Here is mine http://cloud.sharepointrescue.com. You will notice that the standard Adventure Works master page has been applied. This is not something that I will cover now, but there is a way to enhance the external facing website by allowing custom master pages and CSS. I will be writing a follow up on this topic.