Cloud Computing – Azured
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Microsoft set deadline for 365 services upgrade.?

Microsoft customers running older versions of Outlook have until 1st November 2021 to upgrade – which we all know will feel like next week! Customers who miss the deadline will lose access to all Microsoft and Office 365 services.

After November 1, 2021, only Outlook 2013 Service Pack 1 (with latest fixes) and later will be able to connect to Microsoft 365 services. It’s worth noting here that Outlook 2007, 2010, and Office 2013 versions earlier than 15.0.4971.1000 aren’t supported now…just in case anyone’s still using them!

It’s important to stay on top of tech upgrades:

Find out more on the Microsoft Community Blog.

#microsoft#office365#microsoft365#upgrade#cloud#azureduk#microsoftgold

Discover IT that enables, empowers, enriches, evolves.?

We kick all consultancy projects off with a discovery session…you don’t know what you don’t know, and neither do we. So we have to fix that first. And the benefits of getting IT right? Well…

• IT with a purpose
• competitive advantage
• cost reduction
• risk minimisation
• measurement and accountability

If IT were to stay still, frozen in time, then continually assessing its performance and usefulness wouldn’t be necessary. But, it doesn’t, and it is.

There’s no point trying to shortcut the ‘getting to know you’ phase of any relationship (as Geoff in accounts will no doubt tell you). It’ll only cost more, take longer and be more painful.

Think of the discovery phase as you and us, working together to make sure your IT strategy and deployment is compatible with your overall business objectives. IT that enables, empowers, enriches, evolves. That’s the dream. If only all relationships were that life affirming… Poor Geoff.

Find out more about the discovery phase or book a call.

Solving challenges through collaboration, cutting edge tech and crazy hard work.?

Solving business challenges is our thing. And our starting place and mainstay for any cloud consulting project is security because, ultimately, identity and access management should be at the heart of any sound IT strategy.

Imagine storing your 20 carat diamonds in a bank vault with the door left wide open and a big sign saying “20 carat diamond stored here in a bank vault with the door left wide open.” You get the point.

Our consultancy service includes:

Head over here to find out more about how we can help improve your security posture. Or book a call.

CASE STUDY: Hyve Group?

No one works in isolation in any business, but in the aptly named Hyve Group plc, a FTSE 250 international trade show organiser, the need to join forces is intrinsic. The company operates a highly collaborative environment sharing ideas and opportunities between teams. With 1,200 workers in 13 countries focused on delivering innovative and dynamic events around the world, its need for a flexible, collaborative IT environment made it a strong candidate for digital transformation.

“Azured deliver more, for less. An environment that is more cost effective – and a service with greater security that is more reliable and easier to manage. Our global team, operating in 13 countries, went home Friday evening and came back Monday morning and everything was in place, ready for us to start working.”

Keith O’Hara, Group Technology and Information Director, Hyve

The challenges of multi-platform identity migration – with unreliable data…

As a consequence of growth through acquisition Hyve’s international footprint was made complex by different IT architectures. They naturally ran multiple applications – some shared, some not – and inevitably maintained multiple identity platforms, with all the complexity that implies for user, device and application identity management.

Hyve approached Azured to lead the project, knowing that it has specific and deep expertise in identity migration – one of the central challenges of the project. Acting as lead architect for the transformation, Azured assembled a team of project specialists whose knowledge and skills are not normally found in-house among client IT departments.

In crafting the solution, the core objective was that everyone on Hyve’s creative teams around the world should be able to use a single sign-on to virtually all the applications they need, from all the devices they use during the transition and after completion.

Given the complexity of the existing state, it would be a tall order for any specialist IT consultancy, but is firmly in the home territory of Azured. The confused state of the identity data made it unfeasible to consolidate into an existing directory services system.

Shaping a seamless single sign-on solution

Azured suggested it would be more favourable to migrate into a new hybrid identity platform (both on-premise and cloud-based). To do so would also be consistent with the planned move to cloud-based infrastructure for applications available across the enterprise.

To manage the migration, Azured would need to analyse the source platforms and remediate its data, removing duplicates (typically multiple identical objects in different identity platforms), cleaning up incorrect entries, deleting obsolete identity objects – for all its people and devices, current and past. It is a challenge that appears more straightforward in the description than in practice, when you bear in mind that each one of Hyve’s people might have more than fifty applications for which her log in needs to work, and consequently multiple objects relating to that identity must be migrated.

The Azured approach is marked by its attention to the device identities as well as the users of those devices. As an object of the user’s identity, everything she uses has identity data that must be recorded and moved into the new platform for it all to work as seamlessly as the brief required, namely, a single sign-on experience to everything: devices, networks, applications, permissions.

To guarantee all would be operating perfectly on the Monday morning after the migration, Azured created a simulated environment in a lab. The team focused on the critical applications first, analysing each device type (laptops and desktops) to understand the relationship between the user and the device, its operating system, and the applications the user needs to access.

Azured used a combination of scripts and software to iteratively interrogate the identity data, remediating it where it was inconsistent with the new platform in a lab simulation. The lab approach refines the migration process by continually analysing devices, applications and identities to arrive at a stable setup.

Streamlined. Secure. Cheaper? Sorry, did you just say, cheaper?

The migration was completed in a year, with the switch over achieving the Azured target of 72 hours downtime over one weekend, with critical systems such as mail and messaging only being off-line for a few hours overnight.

The identities for all Hyve’s people and its devices are in the new identity management system giving them uninterrupted access to all the applications they need. While holding all identity information in the new system Azured was also able, during the transition, to make accessible legacy applications whose server identities still reside in the old system. Azured were able to demonstrate that it was more cost effective to leave some of the legacy applications in the old world – having remediated it, than to migrate them to the new environment, saving Hyve significant sums of money.

The success of the project can be in part attributed to the technical solution, but also to the management of the project team and the relationship between Azured and the Group IT Director at Hyve. Hyve kept Azured operating at arm’s length, allowing the team to analyse, test, simulate and craft the solution to the IT brief, free from outside influence.

The net result for Hyve is not only a more easily managed identity system within a cloud-based IT architecture, but greater flexibility, more security, and ease of use to enable its people to collaborate more effectively between teams and across borders. The control the organisation now has over access and permissions is far greater, giving them a stronger sense of security and reduced risk.

“Cost savings and improved performance”?

“Azured halved the annual cost of our network connectivity and management, and gave us more visibility along with much improved performance,” says Greg Horner, MD of LEAP, the leading engineering application provider.

Read more about how we did it in our most recent case study.

How SD-WAN is changing the way the world works?

We’re all using ever greater amounts of data to keep our businesses moving. We need to work together across continents, but we still want to make things happen more quickly. We need to increase our productivity, but without increasing the cost, or compromising safety.

We’re also using networking technologies mostly based on ideas that, though revolutionary in the 1970s, have largely stood still while the world has changed around them.

It’s time for something new.

Azure makes it possible. Azured makes it easy.

Download our white paper explaining how SD-WAN is changing the way the world works.