Posts by aspiraadrian

AspiraCloud Earns Distinction Through Commitment to Academic Customers.

Posted by on Apr 16, 2016 in Cloud, Microsoft | 0 comments

AspiraCloud today announced it has renewed its status as a Gold Microsoft Authorized Education Partner (AEP), demonstrating its ability to meet Microsoft academic customers’ evolving needs in today’s dynamic business environment. To earn a Microsoft AEP authorization, partners must complete a test to prove their level of academic licensing and market expertise. The AEP program is designed to train participating resellers on Microsoft’s Academic licensing, authorize them to purchase and resell Microsoft Academic licenses, and demonstrate to potential customers that they are approved and knowledgeable academic partners. AspiraCloud is Microsoft Gold Cloud Platform Partner based on the South Coast of the UK with an office in the West Midlands.  Formally known as SharePointEdutech we now offer the same great services with a strong alignment to the ever changing IT landscape. We specialize in SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure for the education and small business sector. We have experience working with clients who want to make the most of using Office 365  who enjoy the flexibility cloud hosting using Microsoft Azure and with customers who prefer SharePoint as a hybrid or in-house hosted solution   We work with a variety of SMB clients, education customers and local authorities in the UK, but also in Europe and the United States.  Our smallest client is a primary school with twenty users and our largest to date currently is a multi-tenant environment for an LEA, currently at 175000.  “This Microsoft AEP authorization shows our commitment and specialism in the academic IT marketplace and demonstrates our knowledge of Microsoft and its academic products,” said Adrian Edgar. “We are pleased to offer high quality services to support our academic customers’ successes by serving as technology advisors for their IT requirements.” “By becoming AEPs, partners show themselves to be committed and trained in providing discounted Microsoft academic products to the education market,” said Anthony Salcito, vice president of Education for Microsoft Corp.’s Worldwide Public Sector. “This authorization, along with our other education partner initiatives, gives our partners recognition of their areas of expertise and our academic customers the confidence that they are buying from academic IT specialists.” The Microsoft AEP Program is designed to authorize and equip organizations that deliver academic products and services through the Microsoft platform with the training, resources and support they need to provide their customers with superior experiences and outcomes. For more information, Adrian Edgar, AspiraCloud, +44 (0)2476 362712,

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AspiraCloud Exhibiting at BETT 2016

Posted by on Jan 12, 2016 in BETT 2016, Cloud, Microsoft | 0 comments

This year, for the first time AspiraCloud will be exhibiting at BETT 2016. BETT is the world’s largest IT in Education show held at Excel in London every year.  The exhibition will be visited by nearly 50,000 Teachers and School leaders over four days. We will be there as part of the Microsoft Partner Village, right next to the Microsoft main stand.  Come and meet with Chris McKinley, Adrian Edgar or Seb Matthews and talk about how AspiraCloud can help you  make the most from your investment in IT. The Partner Village Theatre No only will we be on our stand talking about Microsoft Azure and Office 365, but Seb Matthews will also be presenting a thought leadership piece in the partner village theatre. Seb Matthews will be talking about the benefits of moving to the cloud but with a focus on finding the right path for your organisation.  We want schools and colleges to consider a move to the cloud but also look carefully at which option is best for you in order to do more and achieve your strategic goals. At AspiraCloud we want to help your school improve the way students learn, inspire your teachers, engage your parents and empower your school leader.  A wise investment in the cloud can help towards these aims. Seb will be talking at the Microsoft Partner Village Theatre at the following times: AspiraCloud Stand – Right Next to Microsoft On stand C300, we will be talking to schools about the cost benefits of moving to the cloud.  How we can help assess not only the technical benefits and the improvements to teaching and learning, but how you can make real savings to your already tight budgets. With the help of AspiraCloud we think you can make some real term savings and still offer top class services to support your school. We look forward to seeing you there and helping you Head to the Cloud.    ...

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Are You a Cost Saving Super Hero?

Posted by on Dec 8, 2015 in Azure, Cloud, Microsoft | 0 comments

  Everyone has the potential to be a cost saving superhero. Have you thought about how to save costs with your IT infrastructure? How often do you thing about saving money when standing up new server infrastructure in your office or school? When you look through the online catalogue for your preferred supplier to get the best price on the hardware, how often to you thing about the hidden costs associated with your purchase? The cost of electricity The cost of ventilation and cooling Back up infrastructure and media The cost of licensing (and the stress of making sure you have got it right) Support staff costs Environmental costs As your need for efficient workloads increases and we demand more from our server infrastructure, that too puts a strain on other budgets to support this.  But that’s OK isn’t it because someone else has to worry about those additional hidden costs. Right ? In preparation for this blog post it has been incredibly difficult to get some real life figures for you to consider, but I am grateful to Ray Fleming at Microsoft Edu in Australia for this very simple table designed to just start the conversation. Consider why IT managers worry about consuming cloud services like Azure IaaS.  Is it because they imagine an open cheque book or an open charge account against their budget.  What about the open ended cost of simply plugging more servers in.  The table shows below that you can run a server in Azure for about the same cost as a light bulb and that includes electricity, software licenses and maintenance. Description KWh rating Electricity cost Cost per day Cost per week Cost per month Standard On Premises Server 0.75 £0.18  £3.36  £23.52 £94.08 100W light bulb 0.1 £0.18  £0.43  £3.02 £12.10 Azure small server  £0.35  £2.47 £9.90* *Basic tier: A1 Server with 1 core, 0.75 GB Ram and 20 GB Disk This simple calculation looks at electricity alone.  How much could you save if you look at the whole picture.  Even if the cost of electricity doesn’t appear on your budget sheet you are demonstrating to the management team that you can think about the entire organisation.  You’ve just become the cost saving super hero. So now think about the cost of your next project and take a look at the Microsoft Azure Cost Estimator Tool. Click on the image to download the tool. You can: Profile your current environment and estimate the cost of your existing workload Prepare a budget forecast for a new service Scan your existing Hyper V or VMWare environment Follow usage patterns for up to a month in order to iron our peak costs Download the tool here and remember there might be even more savings to be made for enterprise users. Talk to the team at AspiraCloud who can get you some pretty nice discounts for a longer term commitment to Microsoft...

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New! Office365 E5 Plan with Cloud Based PBX

Posted by on Dec 1, 2015 in Cloud, Microsoft | 0 comments

Microsoft have announced availability of the Enterprise E5 plan in the UK for Office365.  This new offering as part of the Office365 plans is bound to be a great opportunity for many small and medium sized businesses to consider a refresh to their telephone systems. Built on the experience of Microsoft’s  Skype know how, the new E5 plan offers everything we have come to expect from Office365 but several additional online services. Host online multi-party HD video and audio meetings, it feels like working together face to face, virtually anywhere.  Nothing new there, but now you can join the power of Skype for Business in to your business model and start saving money. Never miss a meeting It’s easy to meet and connect online from wherever you are on whatever device works best. No travel time, no travel costs. So you can get more done and keep your projects on budget. Meet from wherever you are In the office, on the road, or with a client or supplier? Video meetings can be quick and easy. And an effective way to do business. Schedule ahead or meet on the fly Set up online meetings in advance with Outlook integration, or on the fly with a personalized link for easy join. Your new Office365 Telephone Exchange in the Cloud is here Now you can replace your PBX telephone system with the modern facilities provided by Skype for Business. You can add your own direct lines and set up PSTN calling to your cloud based PBX.  This will allow you to make and receive calls in Skype for Business whilst still managing all the modern call features you expect like call waiting, hold etc. Meeting attendees can dial in to Skype meetings from virtually any device and organizers can dial out to pull attendees in. The dial-in capability is in addition to single-touch join options on PC, smartphone, and browser, and allows people to join an online meeting even in places with no Internet access. So how much will this cost and where can I get it? Pricing for the E5 plan is due to be released soon and it will be available through your Cloud Service Provider (Like AspiraCloud) Keep an eye out for the next post when I will let you know just how much you could save with the Enterprise E5 Plan as part of Office...

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Is the Microsoft Cloud Secure Enough For Your Business?

Posted by on Oct 13, 2015 in Cloud, Microsoft | 0 comments

Can my Business Trust the Microsoft Cloud? The simple and straightforward answer to this question is yes.  If its secure enough for the US Navy, the MoD and a variety of other government departments, its safe to say that the Microsoft Cloud will meet the security requirements of your business in most cases.  But lets take a look at your security needs in a bit more detail and look at some examples of how are where the standards are met.  In this blog post I want to help colleagues working in the Legal Services Industry to fully understand the benefits and implications of a cloud strategy for their business. Microsoft have published a great deal of information detailing how Office 365, Azure and CRM Online are in compliance with the Governments 14 Cloud Security Principles.  You can read all about this in an article written by Stuart Aston, the Chief Security Advisor at Microsoft UK.  The Law Society of England and Wales and the Solicitors Regulation Authority have both issued guidance notes explaining the requirements and recommendations for the industry when using cloud services like Office 365 and Azure.  In this article we will look at each section of the guidance and provide some real life examples of how the requirements can be met. Thank you to Microsoft for allowing us to republish content from their original articles which are linked below. The Data Protection Act 1998 When handling personal data Solicitors must comply with the Data Protection Act 1998. The processes in place for Office 365 and the way your data is handled by Microsoft are transparently clear and independently audited.  As Microsoft cloud customers you can find out where your data resides, who can access it and how that data is processed.  Its your data and you maintain ownership.  Microsoft provide easy to understand information detailing how that data is managed and their commitment to your privacy.  The Office 365 Trust Centre and the Azure Trust Centre provide further details on what exactly this commitment to your privacy means.   Protecting Confidential Information Outcome 4.1 of the SRACode of Conduct. It is essential that your clients trust you to keep their affairs confidential.  Microsoft do not provide any third party organisation, including government with direct and unfettered access to your data and does not provide any ‘back door’ method for gaining unauthorised access.  Microsoft will provide the customer with legal requests for Customer data and will insist on all authorities complying with the correct legal process.  In fact, in response to internet speculation regarding governmental surveillance of the internet, Microsoft has already taken steps to further improve data encryption and further reinforce the legal protection for customer’s data. Save Harbour Protected Data Firms must be aware of the eighth principle of the DPA.  Firms must ensure a written contract is in place with the cloud provider, requiring the provider to follow the firm’s instructions. Microsoft have a regionalised data centre strategy such that all European customer data is stored within the EU.  The Online Service Terms include this commitment by default.  In April 2014, Microsoft became the first (and to date, only) company to receive approval from the data protection regulators of all 28 European Union Member States (Article 29 Working Party) that its implementation of the EU Model Clauses meets the higher standard of EU data protection legislation.  If effect this means that customers can be totally reassured that no matter where their data is located throughout the world, it is protected by a standard which is no lower than required by the EU data protection authorities. In addition Microsoft abide by the relevant Safe Harbour frameworks regarding the collection, use, transfer and retention of data from the EEA and Switzerland. Who Owns the Data? Outcome 7.10 of the SRA Code of Conduct. When it comes to storing data in the cloud and using Office 365, one of the most frequently asked questions is ‘Who Owns the data’.  The simple answer is you.  When you store data in Office 365, you will always own the data and retain all rights, title...

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