Microsoft preps for the coming Office 365

Microsoft is planning a major refresh of its Office 365 cloud-hosted business apps, possibly later in January. Microsoft officials still have yet to share publicly the planned launch date for Office 2013 and the related Office 365 refresh. But the company is beginning to prep its channel partners for the occasion.

  • Office 365 users will receive upgrade notifications 14 days prior to the date Microsoft plans to move them to the latest Office 365 release. (Some users already have been told they will be allowed to upgrade in January 2013).
  • U.S. customers will receive upgrades first, with Europe/UK/Africa following several months later. Japan/Korea/Pacific Rim will follow after that.
  • Upgrades will all be completed by “early November 2013.” Even users who’ve opted to postpone their upgrade dates, will be required to upgrade by this time.
  • Standalone Exchange Online tenants will be upgraded first, with “E” Suite (Enterprise)  tenants to follow. For those with hybrid online/on-premises Exchange deployments, Exchange 2010 Service Pack 3 will be required in order to use the Exchange Management Console. (Here’s what’s new in the on-premises version of Exchange Server 2013.)
  • The new Office (2013 components) will require Windows 7 or Windows 8. As of April 2013, users who want to deploy the new Office components on both PCs and Macs (under the new Office 365 terms allowing installation on up to five PCs and Macs) will have to have Office 2011 and/or a “newer” version installed on their Macs.
  • Microsoft’s free Office Web Apps also will be updated to the latest version. The Lync Web App will be upgraded to HD and will include a “Brady Bunch” style group-video conferencing feature that allows participants to see everyone at once.
  • Office 2010 will be available for download through Office 365 until April 8, 2014

Microsoft did make public late last year a list of the coming Office 365 SKUs that should be available as of launch. These include everything from Office 365 Small Business, to Office 365 for Mid-Size Business and Enterprise. Microsoft has made public the official pricing on some of these SKUs.

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Tesco kiest voor Microsoft Office 365

Tesco heeft gekozen voor de cloudgebaseerde productiviteitsuite Microsoft Office 365 die wordt gebruikt door werknemers in Europa en Aziatische vestigingen. Mike McNamara, CIO van Tesco CIO, zegt dat Office 365 zorgt voor meer flexibel werken, productiviteit en klantvriendeijkheid.

Volgens McNamara kunnen werknemers met een mobiel apparaat en Office 365 beter werken in kantoren, winkels, distributiecentra en onderweg. Dit biedt toegevoegde waarde voor klanten, aldus de CIO van Tesco.

 

Gartner: Cloud computing, mobile ushering in “major shift” for enterprise security practices

etwork World – Gartner Thursday held forth on what it expects to be the top security trends for 2013, citing the rise of cloud computing, social media and employees bringing their own devices to work as among the forces likely to produce radical changes in how enterprises manage IT security. The market research firm also says the “major shift” expected in IT security in 2013 will shake up established IT security vendors as newer players in cloud and mobile challenge them.

RELATED: Cloud security to be most disruptive technology of 2013

Earl Perkins, Gartner research vice president, said during a webinar with clients that the forces cited above, as well as an “information explosion” in the enterprise, are putting enormous pressure on enterprise IT professionals and vendors by “making some of the existing IT infrastructures obsolete.” He added: “Will the major providers of security technology be the same ones in three to five years? The answer is probably not.”

Perkins said Gartner analysts believe the vendors, service providers and value-added resellers of today are starting to feel the volatility of market changes wrought by the rise of cloud-computing services and new practices such as enterprises adopting smartphones and other mobile devices, and allowing employees to use their own at work. A large IT security firm such as Symantec, although certainly “aware and making changes” due to the growing importance of cloud and mobile, said Perkins, is nonetheless under pressure from many smaller companies that are “nimble” in introducing new technologies.

Mobile and BYOD “challenge the fundamental principles by which we deliver applications,” to users and protect user data, said Perkins. It means “consumer identities” will need to be tied to “corporate identities” in terms of authentication, authorization and other identity access and management functions. There will be pressure to “manage diversity” in this, he added. And when it comes to access to cloud-based services, the goal will be to find ways for introducing cloud-based access and authentication so users will “enjoy” these services “adequately and securely” in what may be a hybrid-cloud environment with the enterprise network.

Ricoh CIO explains why he let 9,000 employees go BYOD.

Gartner thinks these forces in motion in 2013 mean the time has come to embrace new ideas about security policy. And Perkins said one such idea is that of “people-centric security” that Gartner says holds each person more responsible for security but in which enterprise IT security staff and the business managers “will respond quickly” if people who are trusted appear to have “abrogated” their responsibilities for data security or unduly challenge requirements put upon them.  More…