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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Working with a Microsoft Cloud Platform Provider

Posted by on Sep 14, 2015 in Cloud, Microsoft, Partners, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Earlier this year AspiraCloud (or SharePointEdutech as we were known then) was awarded their Gold Cloud Platform Provider competency from Microsoft.  That might not mean a great deal to you now, but its big news for us.  In this blog post, I hope to unpack some of the key features of this program and why it will be of benefit to you to work with AspiraCloud as you Cloud Solution Provider partner. The whole purpose of the Microsoft cloud competencies is to improve the customer route to the cloud with the help of a trusted partner like AspiraCloud.  Like any good consultancy company we wanted to engage with the customer at every level of the process, from the initial consultation, right through to the sale.  By helping and supporting our customers the purchase of licenses and setting up a cloud tenancy is just the start.  The cloud platform program allows us to directly engage with the customer and support the development of their project throughout the early stages and in to the maturity phase.  By the time annual renewal comes around, the customer and AspiraCloud are fully engaged in assuring successful implementation and management of the project and the business solutions provisioned in the cloud. By working in partnership with AspiraCloud the customer will get a much netter picture of the billing process and what their cloud services are really costing them.  They can start to see the savings build up over time which maintaining the same strict financial controls they are used to operating with capital expenditure. Each month the customer and the partner receive a clearly laid out bill detailing their cloud usage and the associated costs.  There are no hidden extras. Working with a cloud specialist like AspiraCloud also allows the customer to tailor their spend exactly how they want to see it.  They can make an annual commitment or more to benefit from the best prices or simply commit to a monthly contracted fee.  This model also benefits AspiraCloud as we can create special offers and incentives in our own right to attract new customers and promote the fantastic opportunities available to the customer in the cloud. From time to time things will go wrong.  As part of the provisioning process for customers working with a Cloud Partner like AspiraCloud we are able to set up a direct route to technical support services and mange the calls on behalf of the customer.  Its like having your own team of support services but with the extra back up services from Microsoft, the world’s leading cloud provider.   So by now perhaps you are wondering what Cloud Services we can offer you as part of this program.  Well the answer is simple.  We can offer you Office 365, Windows Intune, Microsoft Azure, Dynamics Online, Microsoft Project Online and so much more. At AspiraCloud we want you to Expect More from your partner of choice.  We want our customers to Do More and work with us as your trusted Microsoft Gold Cloud Platform partner.  Contact us  or email us and use our experience so you can Aspire to Be More. Stop Press News AspiraCloud Director of Strategy and Business Development, Seb Matthews will be the KeyNote speaker at the SharePointalooza event this coming weekend. For more information, check out their...

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Have you considered the cloud?

Posted by on Sep 9, 2015 in Azure, Cloud, Law in the Cloud, Microsoft | 0 comments

July 15th was an important date for anyone using Microsoft Server 2003 and it probably passed many people by without noticing.  Support for Windows Server 2003 ended on that date and many of our customers are looking at this as an opportunity to move towards the cloud for their hosting and workload needs. We have a number of partners who are able to help you move to the cloud. This post explores some of the factors and objectives that you and your business should consider when migrating to the cloud.There has never been a better time for businesses and education providers to consider moving their workload to the cloud. Microsoft Support for Windows Server 2003 has come to an end and many organisations are looking at ways to migrate that load. Moving to the cloud can often be a challenge and we are here to help you, overcoming obstacles from financial, ethical or an institutional reluctance to trust the cloud. How many IT Leaders and network support staff still say that they “like to see their server workload buzzing away”?   The role of the IT Leader in business and education has never been more important. As budgets tighten and workloads increase it can often be a balancing act to find the best solution to meet the needs of the users and stay within budget. The concept of transferring that cost to a subscription model rather than capital expenditure is a great way to effect savings whilst responding efficiently to the needs of your customers. The first step for many is a migration to Office 365 in order to lever the benefits of world class email and communication technologies such as Exchange online or Skype for Business. There are so many more opportunities in the cloud ‘beyond the mailbox’ and it is the role of Microsoft Partners to help customers see the wide range of opportunities available. AspiraCloud, (formally SharePointEduTech) has been a Microsoft Partner for several years working in the education and SMB space delivering some great communication and collaboration solutions. As a Gold Cloud Platform Partner we are strategically aligned to help customers explore the cloud and see the potential benefits. Whether it’s a simple migration to Office 365, or an infrastructure move to Microsoft Azure (IaaS), or even a University research facility looking to make use of big data compute space, there are options in the cloud that make compelling reasons to make the move....

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Replace Forefront TMG with a high quality, flexible, edge security, SSO application from KEMP TECHNOLOGIES

Posted by on Sep 9, 2015 in Cloud, Kemp, Microsoft, Partners | 0 comments

AspiraCloud have been working with a series of education and SMB clients all looking for an effective replacement for their Microsoft Forefront TMG server that will reach end of support in December 2015.The answer comes in the form of an Edge Security device from KEMP.   TMG goes End of Life Many businesses, schools, colleges and universities around the world are still deploying services such as Exchange, Lync, SharePoint or other web based services on premises and will continue to do so despite the compelling reasons to consider the cloud. For many years, these services have all sat securely behind a Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway device. With TMG reaching its end of life status and Microsoft declaring no replacement models we spent quite some time looking for a cost effective replacement. The answer came in the form of the Kemp Technology LoadMaster and its extended feature pack. Built in as a standard feature, the Edge Security Protection (ESP) has the ability to secure all of the usual public facing services. The ESP features offer a secure and effective gateway and offer all of the following familiar requirements from TMG. End Point Authentication for Pre-Auth Persistent Logging and Reporting Single Sign On across Virtual Services Active Directory Integration RADIUS Authentication Support Fully Customizable FBA Forms Soft Lockout Group Membership Validation Dual factor authentication with RSA SecurID AspiraCloud have found, in KEMP LoadMaster, a flexible solution that allows customers to decide on the best options for their infrastructure when deciding on installation. You can chose between, Virtual devices on Hyper V, Xen, VMware or Virtual box Custom built hardware devices on premises Cloud devices on AWS or Microsoft Azure Bare Metal conversions of your existing high performing server solutions. Five reasons why this solution suits our customers?   1. Flexible solutions with straightforward installation and commissioning As you can see from the options above there is a Kemp Solution to meet your requirements, either on premises or in the cloud. Once installed the commissioning process is so straightforward. If you can manage a rule set on TMG then there is no reason you can’t manage your Kemp device. The device will come with a series of inbuilt templates to allow for quick commissioning of all the familiar workloads. If your workload isn’t listed there is likely to be a downloadable template for you. 2. Top class Support From time to time, things will go wrong, after all it is IT we are talking about here. The level of technical support offered by Kemp is first class. You decide on the level of support required from Basic to Premium plus. In our experience the Premium support gives you a high level of support that is really proactive. How often have you had a support engineer chase you for a response rather than the other way around? We have found the level of technical support from KEMP to be quick and effective. What more could you ask for? 3. Industry Standard KEMP is not a new company. When we started to look for a replacement for TMG they took some finding. This might make you think that they are a small company. Nothing could be further from the truth. KEMP have been in operation since 2000 with over 26,000 worldwide installations. They are listed third in the Load Balancing market with a rapidly growing profile and they are consistently marked as an industry leader. KEMP is a big player who places a great deal of importance on customer satisfaction. 4.  Simple Licensing Model Whether it’s on premises physical, cloud or part of your virtualisation infrastructure, KEMP have the right model to meet the scale of your implementation. The ESP features all come as standard and there are no hidden costs. Ask about pricing for your school and we guarantee you will be surprised. 5. Let’s not forget the Load Balancing This post has talked about the TMG replacement provided by KEMP LoadMaster but don’t forget that you also get a top quality load balancing service as the primary feature of the device. Maybe you’ve been using...

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