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Last summer, we posted an article called “What’s Really Included in the Four Microsoft Subscription Licensing Plans?” summarizing the features and prices of the many confusing Microsoft subscription licensing plans. Since then, it has not gotten any easier to understand the details of what’s included, what’s not included, and most importantly, which licenses are best for your organization.

Microsoft has added some new plans (e.g. Exchange Online Archiving), removed some (e.g. Skype for Business Online Plan 1), and “simplified” others (e.g. although it is still offered, the standalone Intune plan is no longer listed on Microsoft’s site).

As we noted last year, no one can cover all the Microsoft licensing plans and variations in a single, succinct page, but we’ll do our best here to cover the most common plans and most important features.

For most firms, there are three subscription component areas to consider. Unfortunately, each of the three component areas have multiple choices and plans, at different price points and with varying features and limitations.

Windows 10 Enterprise

Windows 10 comes in three editions: Home, Professional, and Enterprise.

The Pro and Enterprise editions are the same installation, but the Enterprise features are disabled unless/until an Enterprise license activates them.

You might ask, “Do I really need Windows 10 Enterprise, or will I be fine with the Home or Pro editions?” This is a valid question.

In almost all cases, the answer is that Windows 10 Home absolutely will not suffice, as it is missing a number of business-critical features, such as the ability to join an Active Directory domain. While the difference between the Pro and Enterprise editions is less pronounced, there are several security and usability features exclusive to Enterprise (or the Education edition, if your organization qualifies), such as:

  • Application Guard
  • Centralized BitLocker management
  • Credential Guard
  • DirectAccess and Always On VPN
  • User Experience Virtualization (UE-V)

When you buy a Windows laptop or desktop, it typically comes with a Windows Home or Windows Pro license included. This is where the Windows 10 Enterprise per-user subscription comes in. It allows you to activate the Enterprise features on an existing Windows Pro license. That’s the tricky part, so it bears repeating. You need a Windows Pro license to make use of the Windows 10 Enterprise per-user subscription.

Did you notice the previous sentence says Windows Pro rather than Windows 10 Pro? Yes, it turns out that older versions of Windows also qualify as the “base license” for a Windows 10 Enterprise per-user subscription, so long as they are the Pro edition.

The table below outlines the four available plans for the Windows 10 Enterprise subscription.

Click to enlarge
Office 365

The Office 365 subscription can get very confusing because the name can be used to refer to either the Microsoft Office software products (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.) or Microsoft’s hosted e-mail and collaboration platforms (i.e. Exchange Online, OneDrive for Business, Teams). It also comes in standalone (e.g., Exchange Online only), Business, and Enterprise flavors. The best way to explain the inclusions, exclusions, and limitations of the available plans is in table form.

Please note that the tables below sacrifice completeness for the sake of simplicity, as they do not list every available standalone plan or every feature. Instead, we have attempted to summarize the most important distinctions between the most common plans.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge Click to enlarge
Enterprise Mobility + Security

This subscription is all about managing and securing your devices, including phones, tablets, and workstations. All three of the plans include mobile device management, as well as client licenses for System Center Configuration Manager and System Center Endpoint Protection. The two Enterprise editions of this subscription offer a number of additional management and security features and reporting, including Azure Active Directory and Multi-Factor Authentication.

Curiously, and perhaps a bit out of place, the Enterprise editions of this subscription include Windows Server Client Access Licenses (CALs).

Again, the table below doesn’t list every feature, but includes some of the most critical distinctions between the plans.

Click to enlarge
Microsoft 365 Bundles

If you made it this far, feel free to give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back. The three component areas listed above can also be bundled together as a Microsoft 365 subscription. Yes, you read that correctly; “Office 365” is something different than “Microsoft 365.” You’ll notice from the pricing below that Microsoft offers a discount via the bundled product.

Click to enlarge

Have questions about licensing? Click here to pick our brains.

The post Microsoft Subscription Licensing Explained 2019 [UPDATED] appeared first on Kraft Kennedy.

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We are pleased to announce that we have achieved a Microsoft Gold competency in Cloud Platform.

The Gold competency speaks to the high level of expertise we have reached in Azure over years of dedicated work and research. We have been testing and implementing the platform since it first appeared on the market.

Today we are helping firms move their workloads to the cloud as part of a cloud-first strategy that offers tight security, high performance, and ease of management. (Stay tuned for our sessions on moving to the cloud at ILTACON 2019!)

Microsoft competency certification requires annual review of customer references, rigorous training, and testing. Gold Certified Partners represent the highest level of competence and expertise with Microsoft technologies.

Here is a full list of our Microsoft competencies:

Gold

Cloud Platform

Cloud Productivity

Collaboration and Content

Communications

Datacenter

Messaging

Windows and Devices

Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions

Silver

Project and Portfolio Management

Enterprise Mobility Management

Want to learn more about Azure? Check out our other posts on this topic. Is a cloud-first strategy right for your firm? Get in touch for a complimentary consultation and roadmap.

The post Announcing Another Microsoft Gold Competency: Cloud Platform appeared first on Kraft Kennedy.

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iManage released a critical update today with a fix for an iManage Work Server security vulnerability.

We are recommending that firms apply the patch installer on all iManage on-premises environments with Work Servers running 9.5 R2 through 10.1.3. Environments currently running 10.2.0 will need to upgrade to a new build (10.2.0.186). This new build will ensure that future installations will include the fix.

Patching is a basic defense against hackers. An estimated 90% of data breaches occur due to security holes that have not been patched. Disheartening stories in the news show this again and again.

Have questions about applying the iManage patch? Get in touch with us.

The iManage advisory further states that the company will not disclose what the vulnerability is exactly until all customers are patched. This makes sense in light of something we’ve written about before called the “hacker roadmap concept.”

Read the advisory and download the update here.

The post Critical iManage Patch Released for Security Vulnerability appeared first on Kraft Kennedy.

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As IT consultants for attorneys, we are all for making your technology purchases last.

Windows 7, unfortunately, can’t be one of them.

As of January 2020, Windows 7 will no longer receive security patches. If you are still running it next year, you will be actively posing a risk to your clients’ data.

In 2017, Wired Magazine published this evocative description of the expired Windows XP: “A computer running XP today is a castle with no moat, portcullis raised, doors flung open, greeting the ravaging hoards with wine spritzers and jam.” In less than a year’s time, Windows 7 users will find themselves in the same vulnerable situation.

THE HACKER-ROADMAP CONCEPT

Understandably, upgrading for its own sake seems like a waste of time and money. But this is not about keeping up with the trends. In this case, not upgrading can lead to major losses.

What makes running an expired operating system especially dangerous is something we refer to as the “hacker-roadmap.” Each time Microsoft discovers a new bug or security hole, it will announce it to the world so that organizations can apply the appropriate repairs. It is probable that previous, unsupported versions of Windows will have those same security exploits. Microsoft, however, will not be releasing patches for them. By studying the new patches, hackers will find holes through which to target expired systems.

KEEPING UP WITH SECURITY STANDARDS

The new operating systems are also evolved to keep up with changes in security standards for the internet. This is important, as more and more programs are now partially or wholly online-based.

With Windows 8, Microsoft introduced a major leap in security. Along with the enhanced framework, however, it also released a jarringly new user interface called Metro UX, which nixed the classic Start Menu. Windows 10 has added more security features for users and IT managers, and made big concessions to user-friendliness, such as re-introducing the Start Menu.

New hardware already does not support Windows 7. If you are planning on getting new PCs for the office, upgrading Windows is a prerequisite.

THE STORY OF WINDOWS XP

Windows XP offers a cautionary tale. When its end-of-life date arrived in 2014, many organizations were reluctant to upgrade despite the warnings from Microsoft.

In 2015, Windows XP was deemed a breach of HIPAA regulations-with good cause, it turned out. In a sobering example, the systems of one of Melbourne’s largest hospitals were attacked by a virus when it was still on XP in 2016. The hospital released a statement saying, “While the virus has been disruptive to the organization, due to the tireless work of staff we have been able to minimize this disruption to our patients.” Without a doubt, this breach caused a major strain on the institution that could have been avoided with a timely upgrade. It happened again in 2017 when the UK’s National Health Service XP system was infected with ransomware. No patches were available from Microsoft.

WHAT SHOULD MY FIRM DO?

Depending on the size of your firm and the complexity of your systems, upgrading to Windows 10 may be a three-to-12 month project. Start planning now so you can determine how long the process will take.

Which backend servers will need to be upgraded? Which applications will be implicated? Will you keep your systems on-premises or transition some or all of them to the cloud? Decide who on your staff will be helping, and how the project will fit into your budget. As the date draws closer, many IT companies will be fully booked with upgrades. To keep your clients safe, make sure you don’t fall behind.

Reprinted with permission from: New York State Bar Association Journal, May 2019, Vol. 91, No. 4, published by the New York State Bar Association, One Elk Street, Albany, NY 12207. Authored by Chris Owens, Chief Technology Officer at Kraft Kennedy, for the NYSBA Journal.

The post Why Lawyers Should Take Windows 7 End-of-Support Seriously appeared first on Kraft Kennedy.

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How to deploy volume licensed Visio and Project with Office 365? This question has been coming up lately.

By default, you can’t install Visio or Project 2016 MSI-based installers alongside an Office 365 installation. You will receive an error message and get blocked at installation time.

This chart describes some scenarios by which deployment can be accomplished, along with pertinent information about the technical limitations.

Source

Here is a summarized version of possible scenarios and deployment options:

You can purchase new Project and Visio 365 licenses for your firm.

This is the most straightforward option. Once the Office 365 versions of Project and Visio are packaged, they will install alongside Office 365 without issue.


You already own volume licenses for Project and Visio 2016, and do not wish to purchase additional licensing.

In this case, Project and Visio 2016 need to be packaged with the Office Deployment Tool, and can then be deployed alongside Office 365.

This is not a supported configuration, but Microsoft does mention this as a method that will work.


You already own volume licenses for Project/Visio 2019, and do not wish to purchase additional licensing.

Project and Visio 2019 need to be packaged with the Office Deployment Tool and can then be deployed alongside Office 365.

This approach requires Office 365 ProPlus version 1808 or later to be installed on machines

The post How to Deploy Volume Licensed Visio and Project With Office 365 appeared first on Kraft Kennedy.

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You may have selected a document management system (DMS) or narrowed your choice down to a couple of vendors—or maybe you haven’t begun culling the list of options at all yet. Wherever you are in the process, an implementation partner can help. The odds are likely that, in any case, you will eventually be choosing a company to serve as an implementation partner for a DMS project, as few IT teams keep full-time members with the necessary skills around.

Choosing a partner can be a daunting task, perhaps even more so than choosing the system itself. Sometimes, the software company will list certified or recommended partners on its website. Even so, it pays to choose with care.

Here are a few things you should look for:

1. Experience in your industry.

Depending on your field of work, you may have particular requirements for a DMS.

Kraft Kennedy knows, for instance, the matter-centric structures that attorneys rely on for managing data, as well as the strict security standard required by financial advisory firms.

This is what Steve Moulton, NetDocuments Partner Program Manager, had to say:

“Kraft Kennedy is a long-time staple in the legal technology community. They’ve been responsible for some of NetDocuments’s most technical implementation projects and it’s comforting, for both us and the client, to know they have extensive history of delivering great results.”

2. Experience with your DMS of choice.

Kraft Kennedy’s engineers are highly certified in implementing and supporting iManage, NetDocuments, OpenText eDOCS, and Worldox document management systems.

We are, in fact, one of six NetDocuments Platinum partners worldwide. Mr. Moulton said:

“Kraft Kennedy met a very high standard to become a NetDocuments Platinum Partner. They’ve shown great commitment to thoroughly learning the product. They’ve excelled at all levels of NetDocuments’ advanced technical certifications; they even installed the platform for use as an internal DMS to test the cloud version for their clients.

3. Technical expertise.

This one seems obvious. Yet not all implementation partners are alike.

You will want to make sure that, in addition to know your chosen software, your partner has deep experience in integrating third-party add-ons to the systems. Our team is deeply versed in add-on options, as well as in custom scripting (such as automated filing), ethical walls and other security standards, and the migration and consolidation of large volumes of data.   

Kraft Kennedy’s engineers also undergo rigorous holistic technical training as part of their roles, allowing them to have a deep understanding of enterprise infrastructure as a whole.

Brian Podolsky, Leader of the Enterprise Content Management Practice, frequently writes and speaks about leading issues at industry events. His latest research has concentrated on the burgeoning field of digital rights management (check out his recent articles on digital rights management and data loss prevention).

Are you looking for an implementation partner for a DMS project? Get in touch with us to see if we might be a good fit and download the product sheet to read more about our document management offerings.

The post 3 Things to Look For In an Implementation Partner for a DMS Project appeared first on Kraft Kennedy.

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The sixth Annual Midwest Management Summit (MMS) wrapped up earlier this month at the Radisson Blu of Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For longtime folks in the industry, this conference was a replacement for the Microsoft Management Summit that used to be held annually in Las Vegas until its demise through consolidation into TechEd and later Ignite. MMS 2019 is where we went this year for all things Configuration Manager.

What separates this conference from the others is the purposeful limit of available seats to just 750 attendees. This keeps the conference from feeling too large and ensures access to the speakers, MVPs, and the product team (I even shared a cab back to the airport with Microsoft’s Director of Engineering for Configuration Manager).

The classes are deep technical dives into real-world issues that impact all of us who are involved with System Center. The length of each session is just enough to have interactive discussions, with plenty of time for Q&A.

While the May conference is the main one, there are now other, even smaller conferences held in the fall (locations/dates vary), like this year’s Jazz Edition in New Orleans, Louisiana. This allows even more folks who may have scheduling conflicts with the May dates to attend.

ConfigMgr State of the Union Session getting started

This year’s themes tended toward “Transformation not migration” and “Better together” for the Cloud and ConfigMgr. When Microsoft first announced cloud, it did a poor job properly describing its intent. Thus, the vast majority of management assumed (incorrectly) the demise of ConfigMgr. But if you look at the stats over the last four years since the inception of ConfigMgr current branch, you will see a tremendous amount of engineering effort being put into the product:

  • 11 major production versions
  • 51 technical previews
  • 75K+ customers, 140+ million devices
  • More than 71% of customers staying current on a build < 6 months old

The announcement of MBAM support being added to the product was a huge win for customers. It took seven VPs of Microsoft to come together and agree to overcome different product groups and licensing SKUs. That is not something you do to a product that is going to be shelved.

So ConfigMgr is here for as long as customers need it. It is about extending functionality into the Cloud and taking advantage of what each does well. It is not a lift and shift approach, which is not a good ROI for organizations. It must be about more and that is what extension into the Cloud provides.

Camp Fire Tent Sessions

Another unique aspect of this conference worth mentioning is the camping tent sessions. Throughout the week, you had the opportunity to have one-on-one time with speakers, MVPs and the product team in fifteen-minute sessions in a campfire-style, relaxed atmosphere.

Overall, MMS 2019 was a great conference. I am thankful to have been able to attend over the years and pass on the insights to our clients.

The post MMS 2019 at MOA – Reporting From the Midwest Management Summit appeared first on Kraft Kennedy.

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On two beautiful sunny days last week, iManage held its annual ConnectLive customer and partner conference at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square. As leader of the Enterprise Content Management Practice here at Kraft Kennedy, I attended iManage ConnectLive19 with my colleague Caesar Rodriguez.

The two day of iManage ConnectLive19 s were packed with both technical sessions as well as case studies that covered customer success stories, from implementation of RAVN to migrations to the Cloud.

On the RAVN front, Wednesday’s keynote by Nick Thomson, GM of iManage RAVN was a highlight. Nick highlighted the use cases and benefits of RAVN’s AI technologies, and described how AE should not be a “reinvention,” but rather a “redefinition.” The analogy Nick used was Spotify compared to a brick-and-mortar record store. It’s still the same music you’ve always loved. It’s still organized by genre and artist.

With Spotify, however, there is no physical media to purchase. There is no Walkman or turntable or CD player to insert the tape or disc in order to list. Instead, the music is streamed to you. You can organize how you wish, make your own playlists, and listen to similar music very easily.

That is how iManage has changed the traditional DMS content with RAVN. Nick showed how the documents aren’t just organized by client, matter, and doc type. RAVN also provides a new, redefined experience of working with content. Key concepts, entities, people, places, and clause banks can be presented to you. RAVN can surface your DMS content in ways that you couldn’t even imagine five years ago.

The next highlight was the presentation and demo of iManage Drive, which will display iManage Work as a virtual network drive in Windows Explorer. Work Product Manager Shawn Misquitta explained what the iManage development team has been up to, and then Ganesh Krithikavasan provided the demonstration. The demo showed how much effort iManage put into making iManage Drive function well within Windows Explorer. It was really slick, and will make integrations with legal websites and other (usually) non-integrated applications a snap.

RAVN and iManage Drive may have provided the “WOW” factor, but other sessions highlighted the “HOW” factor. I attended some great sessions discussing best practices for migrating content to iManage Cloud, as well as the latest technological advances in the Work 10 on-premise world. Howard Russell (CEO, RBRO Solutions) and John Carroll (CIO, Taft Stettinius & Hollister) described their case study of migrating Taft’s 800-user iManage on-premise environment to the cloud with less than ten hours of downtime, with the help of RBRO’s Lift & Shift application.

Off the cloud, iManage’s Tamikia Alford led a very technical session (in a good way!) of all of the latest best practices to ensure that each Work 10 component is highly available and optimized. Not only can the Work 10 servers, Work Web Servers, and Communication Servers be clustered, but now there are also more underlying fundamentals, such as the Redis server, that can be clustered.

It was also great to meet up with clients and partners that I’ve worked with over my 14 years with Kraft Kennedy and in the iManage ecosystem. And based on what we all saw at ConnectLive, there will be plenty of opportunities ahead to bring in new technologies to our client systems.

iManage has said that all ConnectLive19 materials and presentations will be made available to customers and partners, so be sure to keep an eye on the help.imanage.com portal in case you missed anything in Times Square last week.

The post iManage ConnectLive19 NYC Recap appeared first on Kraft Kennedy.

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In the last entry of this series, I’m going to give a short overview of telephony in Microsoft Teams.

For in-depth information on Teams, download the white paper below. Click here to read my previous posts about collaboration, chat apps, and enhanced instant messaging.

Telephony in Microsoft Teams can provide dial-tone voice service to firms that have E5 licensing and a telephony plan. This feature allows you to dial phone numbers right from your Teams client. As with all software-based telephony, it also lets your phone number travel with you wherever your Windows client or mobile phone client go.

The Cloud PBX back-end phone system has undergone rapid development to integrate all of the features we typically associate with telephony systems into the team-based operational model that Teams offers. While it is possible to integrate certain existing on-premises telephony solutions with a cloud-based Teams solution, Microsoft’s preferred method is to allow Cloud PBX to provide the entire solution.

For those who want the experience of a desk phone, there are certified Teams phones that run a modified version of the Teams client and can connect to the service to make and receive phone calls as well as join meetings. The phones come in a variety of sizes and feature sets at price points that reflect their capabilities.

Kraft Kennedy has recently cut over to using Teams exclusively for telephony and we’ve found the features to be fully suitable for our needs as a multi-office consulting firm.

The post Mobile Telephony in Microsoft Teams appeared first on Kraft Kennedy.

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