Microsoft 365 Business: Office + Windows 10 in one SMB-friendly subscription

Earlier this week, Microsoft introduced two additional software-as-a-service subscription plans to the partners who will try to sell them.

The pair join an increasing number of subscription deals that the Redmond, Wash. company has modeled on the Office 365 pattern. The new plans even carry the “365” label, which Microsoft sees as a unifying identifier.

Microsoft 365 is, as CEO Satya Nadella introduced it Monday, “a fundamental departure in how we think about product creation,” composed of, initially at least, two plans. The more expensive, Microsoft 365 Enterprise, is simply a new name for a year-old, two-tier product titled “Secure Productive Enterprise E3” and “Secure Productive Enterprise E5.” Those SKUs (stock-keeping units) were introduced at Microsoft’s 2016 partner conference. Like SPE, M365 Enterprise tosses Windows 10 Enterprise, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security into a bucket.

But “Microsoft 365 Business,” or M365 Business for short, is the more interesting of the two plans because it is actually new. Nadella thought the same. “I’m so excited about the product innovation that you will see today around small and medium-sized businesses,” he said during a two-hour keynote before partners.

So, what’s Microsoft 365 Business? That’s the new deal Microsoft will push later this year after an unspecified time in preview, which will start Aug. 2.

M365 Business includes:

Office 365 Business Premium, a software-and-service plan that includes all the Office applications, hosted Exchange email, OneDrive storage service and more. Alone, Office 365 Business Premium costs $12.50 per user per month when billed on an annual basis.

Windows 10 Pro: Devices currently running Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8.1 Pro may be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro under M365 Business.

Windows 10 Business: According to Microsoft, “Windows 10 Business is a set of cloud-[based] services and device management capabilities that complement Windows 10 Pro and enable the centralized management and security controls of Microsoft 365 Business.” The services and tools include a subset of those from Intune, Microsoft’s enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform, as well as Windows AutoPilot, an automated deployment service bundled with Windows 10’s March 2017 feature upgrade, aka 1703 and Creators Update.

How much does M365 Business cost? $20 per user per month when it launches later this year.

That’s $7.50 per user per month more than Office 365 Business Premium, or an extra $90 per user annually. For that amount, customers receive the difference between the two plans: the upgrade to Windows 10 Pro and the various management service components.

Who is Microsoft 365 Business for? According to Microsoft, the plan is “built for small and midsize customers that have little to no IT resources on staff.”

Although companies of any size can purchase M365 Business licenses, any one customer can buy no more than 300 subscriptions, another signal that it aims at small and medium-sized organizations.

The limited management tools also play to that theme. They’re designed to be easy to use and offer only basic functionality, and are accessed via simple control panels similar to what they may have already used for Office 365.

What’s the Windows 10 upgrade all about in M365 Business? Good question.

Microsoft’s descriptions of this component are sketchy thus far. An extensive company Q&A on the subscription plan had the most information, saying, “If you have devices that are licensed for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 Professional, Microsoft 365 Business provides an upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.” (The “Professional” label holds for Windows 7, but 8 and 8.1 are dubbed “Pro” instead, as is Windows 10.)

Computerworld was unable to unearth additional details of the upgrade, specifically what happens when a customer cancels a M365 Business subscription or lets one expire. Do devices that were upgraded from Windows 7 Professional to Windows 10 Pro retain the latter license? Or is the Windows 10 license revoked, forcing customers to reinstall the previous OS?

Microsoft declined to answer questions about that scenario, and analysts who had been briefed by the company said that licensing issues were not discussed in Microsoft’s presentation.

The matter of expiring subscriptions requires context. Generally, when customers exit a subscription, say, Office 365, the applications and services will retreat into a reduced functionality mode or stop working entirely. Something similar happens after a subscription to Windows 10 Enterprise E3 or E5 lapses. “When a subscription license expires … the Windows 10 Enterprise device seamlessly steps back down to Windows 10 Pro,” Microsoft states in a support document.

In other instances, Microsoft doesn’t strip away an upgrade. Customers who have subscribed to Windows 10 Enterprise E3 or E5 may upgrade devices equipped with Windows 7 Professional or 8.1 Pro, to Windows 10 Pro; if they later depart the E3 or E5 plan, the Windows 10 license permanently remains in place.

Which of these options remains — cancellation or retention — is what’s unclear in the case of M365 Business.

What management tools does M365 Business include? Enough, says Microsoft, to adequately serve small and mid-sized businesses.

What Microsoft calls “a simplified management console” controls device and user management functions. The tools bundled in M365 Business include:
•Auto-install (and easy uninstall) Office
•Wipe company data from devices, both company- and employee-owned
•Enforce user settings on devices, including access to Windows Store or use of Cortana
•Force users to save all work to OneDrive for Business
•Configure new PCs as well as existing systems running Windows 10 Pro 1703 (Creators Update) or later using AutoPilot
•Automatically update and upgrade Windows 10 PCs using Windows Update for Business

We heard there’s a preview of M365 Business. What’s that deal? Yes, there will be a preview available starting, Microsoft’s said, on Wednesday, Aug. 2. The preview will be accessible from this website. Users may, in fact, sign up now for the preview on that page.

Although there is no charge for the preview, Microsoft recommended that potential customers contact their preferred Microsoft Partner — or locate one — to handle the M365 Business deployment.

Interestingly, Microsoft said, “Devices running Windows 7 [Professional] or 8.1 Pro are eligible for an upgrade to Windows 10 Pro within the Microsoft 365 Business preview.” It was unclear whether that upgrade would be retained or retracted at the end of the preview.

What does M365 Business require? According to Microsoft, Windows 7 Professional PCs “likely meet the minimum requirements.” However, only Windows 10 devices can be managed in M365 Business, a powerful motivator for equipping as many systems as possible with the newer OS.

The other major precondition for the subscription — Azure Active Directory (AAD) — is necessary to enforce user and device policies set in the management console, and for other tasks, such as AutoPilot set-up. Microsoft acknowledged that on-premises Active Directory works with M365 Business, but “it is not recommended.”

By Gregg Keizer
Senior Reporter, Computerworld |
Jul 13, 2017 3:12 AM PT

Great New Browser, Big Expectations. Be BRAVE & Get BRAVE

“We have a mission to save the web by increasing browsing speed and safety for users, while growing ad revenue share for content creators.”

Everyone is taking notice to a new browser, and for good reason.  The CEO of BRAVE Browser from Brave Software is Brendan Eich.  If you do not know who Brendan Eich is  – Don’t admit to it LOL.  He is an American technologist and creator of the JavaScript programming language. He co-founded the Mozilla project, the Mozilla Foundation and the Mozilla Corporation, and served as the Mozilla Corporation’s chief technical officer and briefly its chief executive officer  (Credit Wikipedia).

I have been using it for a few weeks and am ready to replace everything else for my personal use.  I recommend you try it.

CARVIR™ CYBER SECURITY NOW AVAILABLE THRU CLASS COMPUTING

Originally from https://www.neverpaytheransom.com/ ©2017CARVIR INFOSEC®

CLASS COMPUTING (www.classcomputing.com) is thrilled to be able to offer this elite Security Service for your companies IT Infrastructure.

The CARVIR™ security team provides the first line of defense – without the noise of managing threat intelligence, research, analysis and false positives. CARVIR will:

  • Kill malicious processes
  • Quarantine malware and infected files
  • Disconnect infected endpoints from the network to prevent lateral spread
  • Alert IT Security personnel via email and SMS
  • Immunize all other protected endpoints on the network against new, never-before-seen threats
  • Report and escalate

Heaps of deep forensic data are transformed into an intuitive visualization in real time. The attack storyline depicts the threat execution flow in high resolution, from inception. Our team can view a specific process on the attack story line and drill down into the individual network, file, process, or data actions that occurred. This information allows our team to take decisive action towards securing your network.

If escalation is needed, we will provide an outline of the attack details. This will often include attack statistics, file information, path, machine name, IP, domain, along with information about where else on the network the attack has been seen, what we’ve done to isolate or eliminate the threat and what your team’s next step should be, if any.

In addition, we can provide cloud reputation, certificate information (if the file is signed or not), and advanced attack details (such as a list of known packers that may have been used). And lastly, we will provide a .csv or .json file of the attack providing forensic level reporting on the threat for your incident response team reporting – especially helpful in compliance driven environments.

Detection

Leverage powerful, behavior-based threat detection to protect data from the types of advanced malware, exploits, drive-bys and script-based attacks that evade outdated, signature based anti-virus technology and sandboxing solutions in Windows, Apple and Linux environments.

Our team actively detects and prevents attacks, even those using memory, PowerShell scripts, insider attacks and browser based drive-by exploits. Once detected, we automatically shut down the attack on the infected machine and prevent lateral movement across the network.

Prevention

Prevention starts with silent monitoring of all user- and kernel-space activity on the endpoint. Our security agent rapidly builds a complete context of normal system activity, which serves as the backdrop for the industry’s most advanced behavior-based threat detection.

With full visibility into the endpoint, the engine pinpoints malicious activity—even by the most sophisticated, stealthy attacks.

We secure Windows, OS X, and Linux endpoint devices (servers, workstations and laptops) for full endpoint protection.

Rollback Ransomware

Eliminate threats the instant they are detected with fully integrated response capabilities. If something slips through, we can reverse any attack-driven file damage and restore* files back to their previous trusted states with the click of a button.

Well, technically our team says it’s two clicks. But who’s counting?

And it’s not just ransomware. We protect data from the types of advanced malware, exploits, drive-bys and script-based attacks that evade outdated, signature based anti-virus technology and sandboxing solutions.

* Requires use of Windows Shadow Copy

Contact CLASS COMPUTING for a QUOTE today!

sales@classcomputing.com

(312) 262-3930

Make Microsoft Office 365 Work For You Affordably

For about $4.95 per month you can get professional grade email hosted by Microsoft Exchange servers with 50 GB storage. You can use your custom or company domain and aliases. And for a couple bucks more you can add SharePoint, 1 TB of OneDrive Cloud Storage, MS Office Web Apps and Skype For Business. For the Power User you can load MS Office on up to 5 of that users machines for under $15 on a monthly basis (call for specific restrictions) Call Class Computing at (312) 262-3930. There are many more plans that make sense too.

Is Office Mobile a good buy?

Excited that Microsoft has finally developed a mobile version of its Office suite of products for the iPhone? Temper your enthusiasm. As Jill Duffy, a tech reviewer for PCMag.com writes, Microsoft’s Office Mobile is probably not worth the money.

Not free

Duffy writes that Office Mobile is an elegant piece of software, one that’s simple to use and understand. The issue, though, is that accessing the program makes it necessary that you get a subscription to Office 365. That will run you a minimum of $99 a year. And that price is way too high, Duffy writes.

Subscription

As Duffy writes, most smartphone users can make use of a collection of free options to handle everything from word-processing to spreadsheets. So why, then, should a consumer invest nearly $100 yearly for Office Mobile?

Shopping

Duffy recommends that users search the Internet for free apps that handle such tasks as word-processing and spreadsheets. Users will probably discover something interesting: The free apps are often just as effective as Office Mobile. And, needless to say, they come at the low, low price of nothing.

Hate Windows restarting after updates? Time to stop it

Windows is a living thing: It downloads updates routinely. That’s beneficial, especially when these updates include important anti-virus protections meant to keep your computer safe. But there is a frustrating side effect with these updates: Windows wants to restart your computer after every update.

Stop the restarts

As Lifehacker says, the restarts are an aggravation. Nobody likes seeing that message about your computer restarting in 15 minutes. If you don’t want this to occur, though, you can put an end to it. Tech site Lifehacker recently dealt with how to keep the automatic update on hold.

Editing the registry

Start the disabling process by turning on your computer’s “Start” menu. Open the registry by typing “regedit.” Next, start the registry editor. Now you’ll need to find a specific line in the registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindowsWindowsUpdateAU. Click on the AU key and, when you see it appear in the right pane, right-click on the empty space and select New >DWORD (32-bit) Value. Now, name the new DWORD: “NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers”. Finally, double-click on the new DWORD and give it a value of 1.

Reboot

Once you’ve finished this procedure, Windows won’t automatically restart your computer after its automatic updates. This doesn’t mean, though, you shouldn’t reboot your computer manually in the future. Your Windows updates won’t take effect if you don’t do this. And that could leave your computer and software vulnerable.

This isn’t a joke: A MacBook ranks as best Windows laptop

Another humiliation for Microsoft? Looks like it. Following the critical drubbing the company has had for Windows 8, a PC services company has now ranked the 13-inch MacBook Pro as being the laptop that does the best job running Windows software. And, yes, the MacBook Pro is manufactured by Microsoft rival Apple.

The Report

CNET recently reported on a study by Soluto that looked at the frequency of frustrating events on Windows laptops. The study examined everything from crashes to blue screens to hang-ups. The laptop that experienced the fewest of those annoying events? The 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Clean Installation

The main benefit of running Windows on a MacBook? According to Soluto, the Windows programs placed on the machine run cleanly. Simply put, they run as they are advertised.

Crashes Per Week

According to Soluto, the MacBook Pro suffered fewer crashes, hang-ups and blue screens when running Windows software. The MacBook also booted at a faster rate. Just what does this suggest? Only that Microsoft’s rough patch continues.

Can you guess which mobile device is hacked most often?

Apple’s iPhone collection of smartphones remains loved by consumers. Unfortunately, they’re also well-liked by a less savory group, hackers. Business Insider recently documented on a new study that found that the iPhone stands as the most hacked mobile device. And most stunning? It’s not even close – the iPhone is the most hacked by a lot.

The most hacked

Business Insider reported on the latest figures from Web security company SourceFire, which released the report “25 Years of Vulnerabilities.” This report charted the Critical Vulnerabilities and Exposures — better known as CVE — of a host of software and mobile devices. The CVE is the standard that security companies use when charting cyber-exploits. SourceFire found that 210 CVE reports had been filed on the iPhone. For comparison’s sake, Android only had 24 CVE reports.

What’s behind it?

This begs the question: Why have iPhones been hacked so many more times than have Android mobile devices? Just as with so many other big questions, there aren’t any easy answers. Business Insider ponders whether part of the reason could be the iPhone’s popularity. The devices, after all, remain a top seller. But the SourceFire report states that Android has received fewer CVEs in 2012 than it did in 2011. This drop happened even though Android enjoyed a big rise in market share last year.

Going after the king

A recent interview with the SourceFire report author on the ZDNet Web site proposes another excuse for the high number of iPhone hacks: Hacking the iPhone might present a challenge worthy of the most talented hackers. Consider how Android devices work. They make use of an open platform. Consequently developers could create malicious third-party apps that users can download onto their phones. That’s not very much of a challenge for hackers. But hacking the iPhone, which does not boast an open platform? That’s a true test of a hacker’s skill.

Google Reader is dead. Are other free Web services next?

Google Reader, the widely used RSS reader, is all but dead. Google revealed that it would eliminate the service once July 1 rolls around. This has hit several of the service’s biggest fans hard. The truth, though, is that there are other choices. Google made a decision to close the service because its user base was steadily decreasing. Nonetheless the closure of Google Reader provides an important lesson to consumers: There’s no guarantee that your chosen, free cloud service won’t vanish, as well.

An ever-changing cloud

In an interesting story on Slate, writer Farhad Manjoo wrote about Google’s promotion of Reader when the company first launched it in 2005. In those days, Google talked about the RSS service as if it would be part of the Google universe forever. Consumers believed them, and quite a few embraced the service. Now, obviously, it is disappearing. And the takeaway? Consumers should never be shocked when one of their preferred free Web-based services does the same.

Disappearing services

This can be considered a downside to the cloud. In the days when software came on discs and we downloaded it to our computers, there was more permanence. Sure, companies would close shop and manufacturers would discontinue software. Nevertheless, you still had access to software, even when the companies behind it terminated it. After all, it was saved on your computer and you still had the discs. This isn’t the situation with the cloud. When something is yanked from the cloud, it’s gone.

Google’s challenge

Consumers aren’t the only ones facing challenging issues with the demise of Reader. Google does, too. As the Economist explains in a recent article, when Google introduces a new product, it expects consumers to flock to it. But why should consumers do that if there’s the possibility that Google will just get rid of the programs? Eliminating Reader may have made financial sense for Google. However, it may cause consumers to hesitate before embracing the company’s next cloud-based service.