Tag Archives: features

Microsoft offers few upgrades for Skype server in 2019

Microsoft added no significant end-user features to on-premises Skype for Business in 2019, closing out the year with a December update that mostly fixes bugs.

Microsoft’s lack of investment in Skype server underscores how the company views the product as a placeholder for businesses not yet ready to move to the cloud.

In recent updates, Microsoft extended location-based routing to Skype for Business mobile clients. The feature, now a standard component of modern business phone systems, helps companies reduce PSTN costs by keeping audio traffic in-network when possible.

Microsoft also this year began a phased replacement of the Skype server’s IT control panel, which is based on outdated technology. Another update gave IT admins new tools for automating user settings on a large scale.

Otherwise, the vendor’s July and December updates contained mostly bug fixes and security tweaks for the Skype server. In years past, those updates would have included significant features for the Skype product. But more recently, the vendor has focused its research and development efforts on cloud-based Microsoft Teams.

Consequentially, many organizations are not even bothering to purchase the latest iteration of Skype server, version 2019, released last October, said Tom Arbuthnot, principal solutions architect at Modality Systems, a Microsoft-focused systems integrator.

Instead, those customers are sticking with the previous iteration, version 2015. Microsoft has scheduled extended maintenance for the 2015 and 2019 versions of Skype to end simultaneously in 2025, giving businesses little incentive to make the costly switch.

“I don’t see load and loads of people upgrading to 2019. They will string out 2015 until they are ready to go to Teams,” Arbuthnot said. “[Microsoft is] disincentivizing you from going to 2019.”

The 2019 server introduced new ways to integrate the on-premises product with cloud services, such as cloud voicemail and Azure Active Directory. It also uses more recent security protocols. But it offers virtually no new end-user features compared to what was added to the 2015 version.

Microsoft’s decision to stop investing in its on-premises unified communications product stands in contrast to Cisco. The rival vendor has continued to enhance the features of the messaging app Cisco Jabber even while building out a cloud portfolio based on the Webex suite.

Microsoft appears more focused on winning subscribers to Office 365, a cloud-based suite of productivity apps that includes Teams. In particular, the company has taken aim at the collaboration app Slack, a competitor to Teams.

Microsoft announced last month that Teams had gained 20 million daily active users, more than Slack’s 13 million. But those figures still represent only a fraction of Microsoft’s base of customers, which includes 200 million commercial users of Office 365.

Microsoft has not revealed how many organizations are still using Skype, but it likely remains one of the most-installed UC apps in the market. More than 100 million people used Microsoft Lync as of 2015 when the product was rebranded to Skype for Business.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has announced that it will shutter Skype for Business Online, a cloud-based product within Office 365, on July 31, 2021.

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For Sale – Lenovo ThinkCentre M93p, i5 4690K 3.5-3.9 GHz, Blu-Ray, Windows 10 Pro,

Lenovo ThinkCentre M93p

Windows 10 Pro Activated through Microsoft Upgrade Program and fully updated
Nero 16 Platinum HD
Intel Core i5 4690K 3.5 GHz Quad Core CPU (K for overclockable) Max Turbo Frequency 3.9 GHz
Pioneer BD-RW BDR-207DBK (Blu-Ray)
DVD-R
Multi Media Card Reader
2 x USB2 + 6 x USB3
8 GB DDRAM3 1600 MHz
500 GB HDD

1 GB DDRAM5 EVGA Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 PCIE GRFX Card 2 x DVI + HD Audio

Onboard HD Audio
Intel HD 4600 GRFX 2 GB (on the CPU)
Onboard 2 x Dual Display Port

Aerocool Integrator 600w PSU

This is a very fast capable PC. It’s actually a Business Workstation described as cutting edge computing for large enterprise by Lenovo.

I bought this to keep for myself hence some of the upgrades. I swapped out the PSU to accommodate the GRFX Card that I already had but I decided to get a SFF M93p instead so this is now surplus to requirements.

Lenovo M93p (£150)
Windows 10 Pro Activated through Microsoft Upgrade Program and fully updated
Nero 14 Platinum
Intel Core i5 4670 3.4 – 3.8 GHz Turbo Mode CPU
8 GB DDRAM3
500 GB HDD
DVD-R/RW
2 x USB2 + 6 x USB3
ATI Radeon HD5450 1 GB PCIE GRFX Card + HD Audio

Onboard HD Audio
Onboard 2 x Dual Display Port

Keyboard & Mouse

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Adobe Sign introduces updates targeting mobile device users

Adobe Sign updates this week brought new features supporting mobile devices and new integrations with Microsoft cloud products including SharePoint, Dynamics, PowerApps and Flow, Teams and Azure.

According to Mike Prizament, senior product marketing manager at Adobe, the company emphasized improving user experience on mobile because nearly half of its users start the signing process on their phones. “If 50% of people check their email, and then they try to start signing a document on their phone, we want it to be as easy as possible,” he said.

The Adobe Sign updates include the following:

Improved mobile signing experience: Adobe Sign enables users to zoom in on areas they need to sign and provides mobile-friendly navigation buttons that guide the signer through required fields. The company said these functionalities are available on mobile web and don’t require users to download an app.

New home screen interface: The Adobe Sign home screen has a new design intended to make the main e-signature tools more visible and accessible. The tools let users send out a document for signatures, track document status and manage the signing process. Users can send documents from the Adobe Sign home screen for people to sign instead of emailing the document or sending paper copies, according to the company.

 The new Adobe Sign home screen.
The new Adobe Sign home screen.

New manage page: The new page lets managers responsible for sending documents for signatures track or modify the process. The user can check to whom the documents were sent, determine whether a recipient opened the document yet, change or cancel recipients and archive the documents.

Adobe Sign allows two different levels of account sharing on the manage page: view only and full access. The view-only sharing mode allows the main manager to share the account to team members so they are given access to only view the status of the task. The full-access sharing mode gives complete control to team members to take over the manager’s account in case the person is taking a vacation or leaving the company, according to Adobe.

The new Adobe Sign manage page.
The new Adobe Sign manage page.

Users can swap back and forth between accounts in a drop-down menu on the manage page.

Integrations with Microsoft cloud productivity products

Adobe Sign has updated integrations with the following Microsoft products:

  • Microsoft SharePoint: Users can create and embed digital forms that can be filled, signed and reused. The update is intended to help customers collect information from a large number of people inside and outside the company. Data from the forms is automatically saved and mapped back to a SharePoint list.
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365: E-signatures works with Dynamics 365 Sales in more languages, including German, French and Japanese.
  • Microsoft PowerApps and Power Automate in the Government Community Cloud: Users can add signing workflows when a new document is uploaded in SharePoint, then route final documents and create an audit trail to OneDrive/SharePoint.
  • Microsoft Teams: Team members can send documents for signatures and manage, track and get notifications for the status of important documents. The Adobe Sign integration in Teams is certified as part of the Microsoft 365 Certification program, ensuring that enterprise data privacy and security are protected from third-party developed applications in Microsoft 365.
  • Microsoft Azure: Adobe Sign is now available in Microsoft Azure in Europe and stores all data, content and information within the EU.
  • Microsoft Azure Active Directory: Microsoft Azure Active Directory enterprise customers can use single sign-on to send Adobe Sign to their employees via the Adobe admin console within 30 minutes.

“Signature is a key component to identity, and identity is a key component to trusted commerce. Adobe has a huge potential to leverage over 1 billion PDF users in the future of legal signing authority,” said R “Ray” Wang, principal analyst and founder at Constellation Research.

He said the latest integrations with Microsoft products will enable tools such as Dynamics 365 Sales, Microsoft SharePoint, Teams and other apps to take advantage of signature from Adobe.

Wang said Adobe ultimately competes with DocuSign, a cloud service providing e-signature technology.

Adobe sees a big potential still ahead for the market of e-signatures, citing IDC research sponsored by Adobe that found 80% of enterprise document processes still rely on paper. “There’s still a huge opportunity there, and this is a big area that Adobe Sign looks to solve together with Adobe Document Cloud,” Prizament said.

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Jamf Protect offers visibility, protection for macOS admins

MINNEAPOLIS — Compliance and behavioral analysis features in endpoint security tool Jamf Protect may lessen IT concerns about adopting macOS devices in the enterprise.

Jamf Protect offers a kernel-less — or kextless — approach to endpoint security, which was announced here at Jamf Nation User Conference (JNUC) 2019, Jamf’s annual user conference. The platform offers day-one support of new macOS security features, insight into compliance across an organization’s fleet of macOS devices and behavior-based malware detection.

As the use of macOS in the enterprise increases, the landscape of security threats evolves, said David McIntyre, CISO and CTO of Build America Mutual, a financial services company in New York.

“There were so many more threats for Mac than I thought, so we had to add something to fight them off,” McIntyre said.

The origin of Jamf Protect

The announcement of a Jamf endpoint protection tool aligns with the company’s acquisition of Digita Security, a macOS endpoint security management company, earlier this year.

A lack of security management is one of the biggest hindrances to macOS adoption in the enterprise, said Patrick Wardle, co-founder at Digita Security and current principle security researcher at Jamf. Most enterprise organizations that consider deploying macOS devices have existing Windows machines that they manage, and as such they have a Windows-focused desktop management infrastructure.

“In an ideal world, the single pane of glass for Windows and Mac endpoint management would work, but feature parity is largely missing for the macOS components of these tools,” Wardle said.

What can Jamf Protect do?

Jamf Protect offers kextless management; instead of kernel extensions, it builds on the EndpointSecurity framework that Apple provides. Kext files extend Mac OS X kernels and can bloat a desktop with additional code. With the release of macOS 10.15 Catalina, Apple deprecated kernel extensions to encourage a kextless approach.

“It’ll be huge for us if we can get rid of apps that use kext files,” said Tom O’Mahoney, a systems support analyst at Home Advisor in Golden, Co. “Hopefully that’s the future of all desktop management.”

It’ll be huge for us if we can get rid of apps that use kext files — hopefully that’s the future of all desktop management.
Tom O’MahoneySystems support analyst, Home Advisor

Some kernel extensions only work with certain versions of Mac OS X and can prevent users from booting desktops after OS updates. Admins must troubleshoot this issue by searching through all of the OS’ kext files and determining which non-Apple kext file is causing the issue, as Apple automatically trusts kext files that have its developer ID.

“The kextless approach prevents a lot of issues that our current endpoint manager has with macOS updates,” said Brian Bocklett, IT engineer at Intercontinental Exchange, a financial services company in Atlanta, Ga.

Jamf Protect will also provide visibility into an organization’s entire macOS fleet. Admins can view the status of macOS devices’ security configurations and settings in the Insights tab of Jamf Protect and compare this data to endpoint security standards published by the Center for Internet Security (CIS).

Jamf Protect screenshot
Jamf Protect’s Insights tab

Michael Stover, a desktop engineer at Home Advisor, which has roughly a 90-10 split on Windows and macOS devices, said that macOS visibility is a common compliance issue.

“The CIS benchmarks are probably the biggest selling point for us,” he said. “It would be game-changing to see all that configuration data in one place and compare it to the benchmarks.”

The behavioral analysis style of macOS threat detection also drew some interest from JNUC 2019 attendees. This approach to malware detection identifies actions that files or software try to execute and searches for anomalies. If Jamf Protect finds instances of a phantom click, a common malware tactic, it can alert IT professionals to the suspicious behavior.

Jamf Protect forgoes attempts to recognize specific instances of malware; instead it recognizes the actions of potentially malicious software. Jamf Protect also detects software with an unfamiliar developer ID attempting to access data, install additional software or take actions that could invite malware onto a desktop.

“You don’t need to have every bank robber’s photo to know that someone running into a bank with a ski mask and a weapon is trying to rob that bank,” McIntyre said. 

Still, some aspects of Jamf Protect gave macOS admins pause, including the behavior analysis style of threat detection. In a Q&A after the Jamf Protect session ended, several attendees asked if the tool provides a more proactive approach for threat prevention and if Jamf Protect had any way to prevent false positives before they happen.

Spotify, for example, includes the suspicious phantom clicks as part of its UI, so users running Spotify could generate false positives. IT professionals can add exceptions to the behavioral analysis with Spotify and other similar cases, but it’s difficult to anticipate every exception they’ll need to add.

Additionally, some organizations require security standards far stricter than those of the CIS, and Jamf Protect doesn’t allow organizations to add their own benchmarks or customize the CIS benchmarks.

Jamf Protect is generally available as a paid subscription service for commerical U.S. customers, according to Jamf.

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For Sale – Lenovo ThinkCentre M93p, i5 4690K 3.5-3.9 GHz, Blu-Ray, Windows 10 Pro,

ThinkCentre M93, which boasts the latest processers, innovative productivity features. M93p and adds Intel® vPro™ to optimize remote manageability.

Intel Core i5 4690K 3.5 GHz Quad Core CPU (K for overclockable) Max Turbo Frequency 3.9 GHz

Onboard HD Audio
Intel HD 4600 GRFX 2 GB (on the CPU)
Onboard 2 x Dual Display Port

This is a very fast capable PC. It’s actually a Business Workstation described as cutting edge computing for large enterprise by Lenovo.

I bought this to keep for myself hence some of the upgrades. I swapped out the PSU to accommodate the GRFX Card that I already had but I decided to get a SFF M93p instead so this is now surplus to requirements.

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Salesforce Trailhead to roll out live training videos

Salesforce is promoting customer success by rolling out two new Trailhead features that will be available by the end of this year.

Salesforce will introduce live video trainings on Trailhead Live and new features to Trailblazer.me, the online resume feature designed to help job-seekers show off their skills and accomplishments using Trailhead.

Trailblazer.me already features badges and certifications achieved using Trailhead. The new version will also highlight a person’s activity throughout the Salesforce ecosystem, such as contributions to user groups, what apps users download from the Salesforce AppExchange and reviews that users have posted.

Trailblazer.me should help employers that want to be able to quantify whether job applicants have the skills they say they have, said Maribel Lopez, founder and principal analyst at Lopez Research.

“People used to be able to just say, ‘I know Salesforce,’ on their resume,” Lopez said. “I think one of the hardest things for employers is to understand whether anyone they hire is actually qualified in the things they say they are qualified in.”

Trailhead Live brings video instruction

Trailhead Live offers a new way for Salesforce users to learn with additional elements of community. Like other Trailhead courses, Trailhead Live courses are free.

The initial set of courses will include live coding and Salesforce certification preparation for administrators and others. Within two months of launch later this year, Salesforce said it expects Trailhead Live to offer more than 100 live and on-demand training courses. This will also include courses in so-called “soft skills,” such as how to interview for a job and public speaking.

Salesforce Trailhead screenshot
Salesforce plans to roll out live video training on Trailhead Live by year’s end.

Salesforce plans to have a big Trailhead presence at Dreamforce in San Francisco from Nov. 19 to 22, where the new Trailhead features will be on display.

Salesforce is doing this an acknowledgment that people learn differently, Lopez said.

“There are multiple ways people like to engage,” Lopez said. “It used to be you had a whiteboard and people took notes, but now we’re in a much more visual era and you want to be sure you’re reaching everyone.”

Inspired by Peloton

Salesforce said the design of Trailhead Live was inspired in part by Peloton, the company that offers live on-demand fitness courses via an internet-connected bicycle.

Seeing how people can engage with others without having to go to a classroom was an inspiration.
Kris LandeVice president of marketing, Salesforce

“We definitely looked at consumer applications like Peloton,” said Kris Lande, vice president of marketing at Salesforce. “Seeing how people can engage with others without having to go to a classroom was an inspiration.”

There is a community aspect to Trailhead Live, as users will able to see who else is taking the class with them, Lande said. It’s also more personalized, as the instructor verbally welcomes each participant by name.

Like Peloton, which features certified trainers, Trailhead Live will feature experts in different topic areas from the Salesforce community. If you miss a class or need more time to complete different skills tests, each class will also be available online. If there are 15 people taking an hour-long course on how to create Lightning Web Components, the instructor will give a set period of time for users to complete tasks in their own virtual workspace. The user can return and learn in an on-demand review of the course if he or she needs to finish any parts of it for certification.

Earlier this year, there were 1.2 million people using the Trailhead platform, according to Salesforce. That number has grown to 1.7 million and is expected to grow to 1.8 million by Dreamforce, with a total of 17 million badges earned since its launch. Trailhead users earn badges each time they show mastery of specific skills.

New Salesforce Trailhead trainings introduced this past year include cybersecurity and Apple iOS.

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AI for BI at the heart of third-generation analytics

AI for BI is a key tenet of the third generation of analytics.

Sometime in the middle of the current decade, features such as augmented intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing started to become key parts of business intelligence platforms.

In the years since, although analytics platforms have progressed, AI for BI still hasn’t matured to the point where analytics tools can truly free up humans from the mundane tasks associated with data analysis, to the point where data analysis is part of everyday applications rather than a stand-alone application unto itself, or to the point at which BI platforms can predict for humans a likely outcome before they even request it.

And it hasn’t gotten to the point where it’s accessible to everyone.

In September, Constellation Research released a report entitled “Augmented Analytics: How Smart Features Are Changing Business Intelligence.

Authored by analyst Doug Henschen, the report took a deep look at the third generation of business intelligence, which Henschen approximates began in 2015. The report homes in on the data preparation, data discovery and analysis, natural language interfaces and interaction, and forecasting and prediction capabilities of the BI platforms offered by leading vendors.

Henschen discussed some of his findings about AI for BI for a two-part Q&A. In Part I, he addressed what marked the beginning of this new era and who stands to benefit most from augmented BI capabilities. In Part II, he looked at which vendors are positioned to succeed, and where the third generation of BI is headed next.

Which vendors are in the best position to succeed in this new generation of AI for BI, and why?

Doug HenschenDoug Henschen

Doug Henschen: I think there have been companies that have been more aggressive about augmented analytics capabilities that have led the way, been first movers. IBM came out with Watson Analytics in 2014, SAP acquired KXEN in 2013, ThoughtSpot and BeyondCore got started in the middle of the decade. They were first movers, and then after some of the new capabilities emerged the fast followers in the market responded. Tableau was early with data visualization recommendations. But I don’t think any one company has augmented analytics locked up.

If not excelling across the board, who is doing well in certain areas of third-generation business intelligence?

Henschen: Across the four areas I’ve been seeing leaders — ThoughtSpot on search and natural language query, Oracle has stepped up a lot on natural language query and has a really good mobile app for natural language query support. Salesforce has done a lot with Einstein Analytics in trending and forecasting and prediction to focus on outcomes … three steps removed from the actual business action. In BI and analytics there’s this desire now, particularly as you move toward the business community, to say, ‘Don’t show me a dashboard, don’t show me a report that I have to interpret; tell me what to do.’ In that area Salesforce has been very aggressive with Einstein and Einstein Analytics. My next report is going to be on embedded analytics, which is about bringing analytics into applications, and I think that’s where we’re really going to see this idea of democratization realized.

Which vendors are in a precarious position, not adapting to this era of AI for BI quickly enough?

Henschen: Generally the market is responding. For vendors that have been more focused on reporting, augmented intelligence is not as much of a factor, so they’ve been less motivated to move into that area. That point of 2015 is when augmented analytics became a criteria that got added to the list, but it was by no means the only criteria, or the key criteria. I think we’re going to gradually see, as this stuff gets more and more powerful, it will become more and more important, and as it matures we will also see more capabilities. I graded vendors on four categories, but when some reports first started looking at augmented capabilities there was one grade. I’m sure in the future there will be more aspects of augmented capabilities to look at. It’s just the cycle of maturation. As capabilities become proven it will become more and more commonplace for every vendor to have to have that.

Beyond the four capabilities you discussed in your report, what’s something we can expect to see soon in the evolution of AI for BI?

I think there have been companies that have been more aggressive about augmented analytics capabilities that have led the way, been first movers … but I don’t think any one company has augmented analytics locked up.
Doug HenschenAnalyst, Constellation Research

Henschen: BI has always been about decision support, so you have these broad horizontal platforms and tools that let you analyze anything, but where the rubber meets the road is where these insights actually help customers make a decision. That’s my next report on embedded analytics — ways we’re going to be doing a better and better job of embedding analytics right into the context of decisions and transactions and applications. There are some technologies that are helping to make that happen. Microservices will let us make delivery insight more granular, so instead of a full page report or a full page dashboard we can have a micro-chart or just a KPI or imbed just that nugget of information — that nugget of insight that helps us make the decision — into the app.

There’s also this trend of no-code and low-code application development, and that will enable analysts and even business users to start developing these analytical applications or develop applications with analytics embedded within them. Those are good trends, but this is just the start of these things. The vision is always well ahead of the reality of what’s actually happening in the market.

What’s something we’re seeing the beginnings of now that you expect to be improved?

Henschen: We’re seeing a lot of natural language query, for example, but I think that’s still really immature. One of the takeaways from my report is that we’re in the opening innings, and this stuff needs to get a lot better. The customers I talked to are getting a lot more out of natural language generation than they are out of natural language query, and it’s because query is very context-specific. As we see more sophisticated query capabilities, and we see the blending of query capabilities with understanding of intent — looking at the patterns of what people are asking, what groups of people are asking for, and learning of that — that query capability is going to become more powerful than it is today.

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

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Salesforce email marketing gets Einstein AI infusion

Salesforce unveiled on Thursday Marketing Cloud email features to come, including Einstein AI tools to automate, personalize and analyze outcomes of email campaigns and interactive emails. Salesforce also introduced testing tools to detect potential errors before hitting the send button.

The Salesforce email marketing AI features scheduled for release later this month include Einstein Content Selection, which makes personalized recommendations for images based on customer preferences. Einstein Copy Insights, also slated for later this month, predicts verbiage most likely to drive customer response in email subject lines and body text, as well as for social media and text messages.

Also, part of the upcoming release is a testing and validation tool that examines email addresses for missing elements, text errors and off-topic offers before sending emails to a list. 

Einstein Messaging Insights, scheduled for January release, analyzes email campaigns to figure out why some campaigns underperform against expected results. More importantly, it can help determine why overperforming ones succeed.

“If you’re doing something that’s performing pretty well, it’s going to try to tell you why,” said Bobby Jania, Salesforce product marketing VP. “So, you’re learning from that and can use it in other campaigns.”

Salesforce also plans to pilot an interactive email builder, based on technology from its Rebel acquisition earlier this year. It can embed surveys, polls and image carousels inside emails. That avails content that otherwise might require an email recipient to click on a web link, which reduces customer engagement.

Consumers and B2B buyers prefer email as the channel to receive marketing messages, according to a Salesforce-commissioned survey of 8,000 consumers and B2B buyers conducted last April. Respondents indicated email remains the favorite channel despite the rise of competing social media and text messaging channels, Jania said.

Salesforce email marketing tools screenshot.
Salesforce email marketing tools now can tap AI to match hero images in individual emails to preferences found in customer data.

Email is not going anywhere as the most-used digital marketing channel, said Constellation Research analyst Nicole France. The upcoming Salesforce email marketing tools aren’t particularly groundbreaking, she said, as other vendors offer similar capabilities.

However, France said that Salesforce is doing what it does well: Getting Einstein AI into the hands of its customers by embedding it in tools they can use right away without help from a data scientist. That will make the tools useful.

“No one’s using AI for the sake of using AI,” France said. “This is a practical use of AI in the marketer’s daily work.”

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New Features Added to Altaro Office 365 Backup for Businesses

Our developers have been hard at work again recently and I’m happy to be able to bring you some great product news once again!

SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business Data Protection Now Available in Altaro Office 365 Backup

It often comes as a surprise that Microsoft doesn’t provide point-in-time restoration capabilities long-term for SharePoint Online and One Drive for Business. Many businesses find themselves in a situation where they require longer point-in-time capabilities than what is provided by Microsoft directly. This is where our latest product offering comes in. Altaro Office 365 backs up Office 365 mailboxes as well as SharePoint Online and One Drive for Business files simply and quickly, so you can rest easy that your data is safe and recoverable when the need arises.

If you’re familiar with the Altaro suite of backup solutions, you have likely heard about the addition of support for both SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business in our recent Altaro Office 365 Backup Announcement for MSPs. Both services are key for the storage of next-generation workloads and this update has been well received as a result. The good news for you is that we’re now bringing that same SharePoint Online and One Drive for Business support to those privately held companies (non-MSPs) and IT departments! This means that even if you’re not an MSP, you’ll still get to take advantage of these great data protection features!

Altaro Office 365 Backup

Other Updates

We’ve made a few other improvements to the product as well! Some things that have been requested by popular demand, and we are happy to include them as well!

Tamper-Proof Audit Logs – This ensures that companies can meet their compliance requirements with respect to changes in content, such as user backup enablement or suspension, content restoration from a mailbox, OneDrive or SharePoint, and browsing user data. It is possible to export the audit.

Restricted User Account Access – Administrators now have the ability to prevent certain users in their team from browsing backups or performing restores. This will provide a bit more granular access and protection to your team and organization.

Free 30-day trial

Start your Altaro Office 365 Backup free trial with no commitment for 30 days.

Read more about this great product that is making waves in the industry!

Andy Syrewicze

I currently have the distinct pleasure of acting as a Technical Evangelist for Altaro Software, makers of Altaro VM Backup. I’m heavily involved in IT community, on Altaro’s behalf, in a number of different ways, including, podcasts, webinars, blogging and public speaking. Prior to that, I spent the last 12+ years providing technology solutions across several industry verticals working for MSPs and Internal IT Departments. My areas of focus include, Virtualization, Cloud Services, VMware and the Microsoft Server Stack, with an emphasis on Hyper-V and Clustering. Outside of my day job, I spend a great deal of time working with the IT community, I’m a published author, and I’ve had the great honor of being named a Cloud and Datacenter Management MVP by Microsoft. I have a passion for technology and always enjoy talking about tech with peers, customers and IT pros over a cup of coffee or a cold beer.

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Author: Andy Syrewicze

8×8 Video Meetings replaces outdated offering in X Series

8×8 has replaced its old online meetings product with a new one that offers more features and is easier to use. The platform is available only to businesses subscribed to 8×8’s unified communications suite, but the company said it may make the service available as a stand-alone app in the future.

The old 8X8 video conferencing product — built with a mix of technologies, including some from Vidyo — didn’t cut it for many customers, executives said. The company used the Jitsi open source video conferencing software that it acquired from Atlassian last year to build the new product, called 8×8 Video Meetings.

“The feedback that we heard from our customers, and where we saw the market going, really necessitated that we … swap out our whole meetings product for a new and modern video communications solution,” said Meghan Keough, 8×8’s vice president of marketing.

The new platform lets guests join meetings without having to install a plug-in or download an app. 8×8 follows the lead of Cisco, BlueJeans, Highfive and others in embracing WebRTC, the latest standard for internet-based communications.

8×8 Video Meetings also gives users their own virtual meeting rooms and lets them live-stream meetings to YouTube. Other new features include more detailed analytics and the ability to remotely control a user’s desktop while in a meeting, which could be useful for IT troubleshooting.

“I like what 8×8 has done,” said Wayne Kurtzman, analyst at IDC. “They basically updated the system, made it more usable in more places in an enterprise and are not charging more for it.”

8×8 also rolled out an early access program for software to manage video conferencing hardware in conference rooms. The product offers a way to connect third-party video cameras from vendors like Logitech and Crestron (powered by minicomputers by Mac and Intel) to 8×8’s video services.

In July, Gartner named 8×8 one of four leaders in the unified communications as a service (UCaaS) market, alongside Microsoft, Cisco and RingCentral. But the research firm previously cautioned that 8×8 offered an unintuitive video conferencing platform with a limited set of features.

8×8 Video Meetings is part of the vendor’s X Series offering, which combines calling, messaging, meetings and contact center.

The company has attempted to differentiate itself from competitors by its own technology, rather than relying on partners. RingCentral, nearly twice as large as 8×8 by revenue, relies on Zoom for video calling and Nice inContact for contact center.

“8×8 is trying to be a complete one-cloud solution for communication and collaboration,” Kurtzman said.

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