We recently held a breakfast workshop for clients and newcomers and wanted to share the info with those you who could not attend. This is the first of our quarterly workshops we plan to hold in Minneapolis.
The focus of the breakfast was on three Microsoft topics that are important for IT leaders of small to mid-sized businesses:
- EOL of key Microsoft solutions and the options available
- Microsoft 365 security solutions
- Microsoft Azure Cloud Services
Here is a summary of the presentation and discussion:
1) EOL of key Microsoft solutions
We highlighted the following products that will be sunsetted by Microsoft and provided options to begin to transition:
- Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2
- Support will end on January 14, 2020
- SQL 2008
- End of life in July 2019
Read more about the info we discussed from our recent blog on Microsoft end-of-life plans.
2) Microsoft 365 security solutions
As security becomes more and more critical, we decided to include a section on the following key new security components of Microsoft 365:
- Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS) – EMS includes Azure Active Directory, InTune, and Advanced Threat Analytics. The solution provides cloud-based active directory and single sign-on. The attendees found the real-time security monitoring across devices and data plus the device/system logging especially interesting. Most useful is that logs are processed live to identify suspicious activity and send alerts.
- Data Loss Prevention (DLP) – DLP protects sensitive data by enforcing compliance requirements and control over what can or cannot be shared over email. This was demonstrated to the attendees to show how they can enforce policies around the transmission of sensitive data and be compliant with HIPAA/PCI/ITAR/GDPR.
- Azure Rights Management (ARM/RMS) – ARM secures data across multiple devices and solutions, even as the data is shared both inside and outside of your organization. This helps keeps IT in control of the organization’s data and also creates/enforces policies around the use of sensitive data.
- Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) – MFA is a security solution that requires more than one method of authentication to verify a user’s identity. Most common approach is including a cell phone number + username/password. This is used to further protect user accounts and identities against being breached.
It is critical that they are secured as these accounts have access into your organization’s data and network.
3) Microsoft Azure Cloud Services
During the breakfast workshop, we reviewed some new solutions and tools within Azure that we are ready to help our customers with including:
- Azure Backup – cloud-based backup service
- Azure Site Recovery – disaster recovery-as-a-service
- Azure Virtual Servers – infrastructure-as-a-service
We also discussed that the cloud is not an all or nothing approach. Hybrid cloud models are more the norm with a combination of on-premises and cloud.
To help discuss typical cloud adoption models, we discussed that many companies start with the email systems followed by backups and identity data management. For additional items being moved to the cloud, NG2 can work with you to assess options, migrate systems and optimize.
We enjoyed hosting our clients and newcomers and look forward to seeing you at our next event. If you would like to discuss more about any of the topics or have any questions, please feel free to contact me.