If you have been following Microsoft security news recently, you are likely aware that support for Windows XP ends on April 8, 2014. It is important to note that after this date, customers running Windows XP will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates. This means that any new vulnerabilities discovered in Windows XP after its “end of life” will not be addressed by new security updates from Microsoft.
If you’re already using Windows 8, getting 8.1 is sort of a no-brainer. Although the improvements aren’t mind-blowingly spectacular, many of them are useful, such as customizing the split screen between multiple apps, better multi-monitor support, a more configurable start screen, and a lock screen that acts as a slideshow. Windows 8.1 allows you to boot straight to the desktop. It also brings back the Start button, but that doesn’t really work the same as the real start menu in Windows 7 and before, so you’re better off still using a Windows 8 start menu replacement.
Current Windows 8 users: Head over to the Windows.com page for the link to the free download on Windows Store (or just head to the Windows Store on your computer). When you update, your files, desktop apps, and settings will be transferred–and you can even keep working while the update is happening. (Download can take anywhere between 30 minutes to several hours, according to Microsoft.)
Be warned though this can take quite some time to complete. It does appear to have been well tested and the updates that I’ve been through have happened gone very smoothly.
You can get it from the Market Place – it should turn up as the prominent tile on the left
Microsoft officially announced that as of July 5, 2012 their Small Business server product family is end-of-life and will no longer be available for purchase. Microsoft Small Business Server was designed to provide small businesses with cost effective access to Microsoft’s enterprise products such as Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL.
SBS Microsoft Small Business Server’s main purpose was the bundling of applications like Exchange. This bundling is becoming less relevant now days as most small companies are leveraging cloud solutions such as Hosted Exchange and Hosted Desktop’s which offer greater scalability, reliability and security.
For your customers utilizing Microsoft Small Business Server 2008/2012, the products will continue to function. Microsoft is officially ending support for Small Business Server 2008 in 2013 and Small Business Server 2012 in 2015. But the real question is are you contacting your customers now to let them know it is time to upgrade/change?
The principle behind small business server was good in the fact of the scalability up to 75 users offering pretty much everything a small business required. However the technology needs to provided a new solution at a price point that is affordable to the small to medium business sector using Windows standard licensing is not so appealing. A collaboration of Cloud and Windows licensing creates new issues dealing with multiple suppliers and a rather disjointed mythology of deployment due to multiple vendors requirements.
So what is the answer? Cloud services are definitely the key to the success of the small to medium business sector moving forward to facilitate “work from anywhere” technology that can adapt to their current and future needs. Facilitating scalability, business continuity and enterprise class security from a single supplier.
Small to medium business still need the ability to have a centralized IT support to work with them in achieving their business goals but generally cannot afford dedicated IT resources in order to achieving this. Outsourced solutions are generally the only viable option to facilitate grown and keep a control upon expenditure.
Both the outsourced support company providing this service and the end customer do not have time to deal with large amounts of different Cloud suppliers to provide the required service and the management headaches that this type of arrangement creates. So what is the answer? Hosted desktops provide a proven solution to providing each customer with a private Cloud that can facilitate growth and the ability to bolt in multiple technologies (private and public) that the end customer would not normally be able to afford. The hosted desktop provides a network in box with the ability to access the company network from anywhere so in the event of industrial action employees can work remotely.
The next problem for the IT company facilitating the hosted desktop is costs and economies of scale from going it alone which tends to make most IT companies enter into hosted desktop via the reselling market. The reseller market can put many barriers in the way of the IT Company actually providing a good service to its customers which tends to put IT companies off the reselling model and equally lose interest in the hosted desktop market.