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Windows Server 2003 EOL; a 3 step approach to winning the strategic long game

On July 14, 2015 Windows Server 2003 reaches “End of Life” (EOL), meaning that it will no longer be supported by Microsoft. So what should you do? Our advice is firstly that there is no need to panic, but it’s definitely time to start considering your options. Use this as an opportunity to think strategically about how your IT can work better for your business by enabling a competitive advantage, enhancing workforce productivity, or reducing business risk. Or if you'd like an end to the costly upgrade cycle, why not consider third party managed cloud services? In addition to transferring costs from Capex to Opex, cloud services will negate the need to react to future EOL announcements. Today the focus is on corporate IT becoming a busin......
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Software Defined Networking – still more concept than reality?

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is increasingly being hailed as the ‘next big thing’ after cloud computing. But, like cloud, is it going to take years before it is widely adopted? In my opinion, the signs are very similar, and I don’t think that it will happen as fast as the experts think it will. The premise of SDN is straightforward and very compelling – decouple the systems that decide where traffic is sent from those that subsequently send that traffic to the chosen destination, and add a level of abstraction between the two. As a result, control of the network becomes directly programmable, rather than being a part of the network hardware. In order to work effectively, SDN needs two things: a means of communication between t......
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THE CASE FOR CHALLENGER BRANDS

Do you prefer to buy a well-known brand when upgrading your IT infrastructure, rather than choosing the new kid on the block? By not considering up and coming vendors and new technologies organisations miss out on opportunities to innovate, improve productivity and cut costs. They also risk getting tied into their existing vendor’s upgrade cycle, which can be expensive, may not take them along their desired path or, even worse, may promise new developments which then take longer than promised to materialise. Considering new market entrants and making a considered decision whether or not to change vendor should be part of the strategy for every organisation which is serious about using IT to gain business advantage. Is there an opportunity to do things better?  Has the i......
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Office 365 Customisation

Moving your Microsoft collaboration applications from on-premise to the cloud using Office 365 can offer both cost savings and improve reliability. Another benefit is that Microsoft Exchange messaging, Microsoft Lync communication and Microsoft Sharepoint co-authoring and collaboration can all be customised to match your company’s brand. Many companies are unaware how easy it is to provide users with a tailored interface. The benefits go beyond the cosmetic; not only can branding the Office 365 web based application provide a greater sense of corporate engagement, but it can also reinforce a data loss prevention mind-set because of the visual cues between on-screen information and your branding. The ability to add corporate branding to the Office 365 suite is available to anyone using Office 365 whether you are u......
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G-Cloud simplifies procurement and lets you try before you buy – what’s not to like?

The Government’s G-Cloud programme seems to be gaining momentum, with sales passing £400 million in 2014 and the sixth iteration of the framework launched this week. We’ve added two new services to our offering in the new framework – Cloud Monitoring as a Service (CMaaS) and Cloud Service Management.  We have upgraded all our other services, including introduction of our SecurePlus offerings, which offer additional security controls and reporting for PSN and other regulated environments to allow us to properly handle OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE information. However, whilst in our experience central Government has readily embraced G-Cloud, there’s been limited take-up of G-Cloud among local authorities and NHS thus far. This may be because potential users in the IT department first have to convince their procurement colleagues to adapt to a n......
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Windows Server 2003 End of Life

What Does End of Life Really Mean? Today, let’s talk about the topic of the next eight months and that is Windows Server 2003 end of life.  So firstly, what does end of life really mean?  No, it doesn’t mean that all of your servers running Windows Server 2003 are going to overnight spontaneously combust on July 14th 2015 nor does it mean that these servers will go into two hourly reboot cycles (like when you tried running Windows Server 2012 Beta builds past the Beta expiration period). What end of life really means is that Microsoft will transition Windows Server 2003 from its current state of Extended Support to no support.  What this really means is that you will no longer receive updates for Windows Ser......Windows_Server_EOL_200
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Why cloud security is no longer an issue

One of the reasons organisations frequently cite for not using cloud computing is security.   They’re worried that they don’t know where their data will be held, or that it will be accessed by third parties. Although they’re right to be wary of unsecured public cloud services, which are not designed for business information, at Fordway we'd argue that in most cases their fears are overstated, and the issues that concern them are more about general risk management than security. We believe that most cloud service providers will implement and manage considerably better IT security controls than internal IT departments.  A bold claim?  Perhaps – but we think it’s justified.   Here’s why. Firstly, ensuring good security is vital to the success and well-being of the cloud provider’s business.  If they can’t guarantee it, ......Security
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Making your existing resources work harder

We all like getting more for our money, whether it’s spending customer loyalty points, negotiating a better electricity deal or reusing something we already have. This approach applies equally well to IT - existing resources can usualy work harder thn they already are.  We recommend that organisations regularly carry out an audit to find opportunities for costs savings, whether it’s getting more from what they already have or eliminating duplication.   Here are five tips for getting more from your existing IT at minimal cost. 1.      Are you over licenced? We carried out a survey which found that most organisations are over-licensed for many of their key applications. One 5,000 user organisation had bought over 9,000 copies of Microsoft Office in the previous six years and had nearly twic......weightlifter_sad_150
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