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Secure your iCloud account (9/14)

Earlier this month a number of celebrities had their iCloud accounts hacked and the Internet was “treated” to a number of embarrassing photos. There is no reason not to have a secure account. This starts with a strong password, but you can also use a service called two-factor authentication. Many banks and credit card companies use this method – it requires the use of a secondary pass code when logging in via a new or unknown device. If you haven’t logged in from a device before, a code is sent to a cell phone or email account. This code is used to verify identity, so to remotely hack such an account someone would have to have access to your password AND your phone/email, etc.

Here is how to setup two-factor authentication on your iCloud account:

• Go to appleid.apple.com and log in with your Apple ID credentials (this is the same email address and password that you use to make purchases on the App Store)

• Select “Password and Security” on the left side

• Select “Get Started” under Two-Step Verification

Apple will then walk you through setting up the service, including verifying trusted devices like iPhones and iPads, as well as SMS-based services for backup verification. You will also get a 14-character Recovery Key that should be kept in a safe and secure location

Microsoft Office 365 – Recovering Deleted Items (6/12)

We have had a number of questions about recovering deleted email in Office 365 and wanted to clarify how it works.

Recovering Deleted Items
Summary – when using Office 365 you have 14 days to recover any items that are deleted from your deleted items in Outlook.

Details – when you delete an email in Outlook it is placed in your Deleted Items Folder. It stays there until you manually delete it or until it is deleted by rules or archiving. In Office 365 items that are then deleted from the Deleted Items Folder are placed in the Recoverable Items folder for an additional 14 days before being permanently removed. Users can recover these items using the Recover Deleted Items feature in Outlook Web App or Outlook. If a user has manually purged an item from the Recoverable Items folder, an administrator can recover the item within the same 14 day window, through a feature called Single Item Recovery.

Recovering Deleted Mailboxes
Summary – you can recover deleted mailboxes within 30 days of the date the mailbox was deleted, after that they are deleted permanently..

Details – When an Exchange Online mailbox is deleted, its contents are recoverable for 30 days. A recovered mailbox contains all of the data stored in it at the time it was deleted. After 30 days, the mailbox is not recoverable. Administrators can recover a deleted mailbox using the Exchange Control Panel.

Microsoft Office 365 Tips and Update (5/12)

May, 2012

FISMA Certification
FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act) is the latest security certification for Office 365. FISMA is important to our customers because it creates a process for federal agencies to certify and accredit the security of their information management systems. Many BEI clients are government contractors who are required to meet specific standards for their internal networking and applications.

Office 365 Trust Center
You can learn about FISMA Certification and more at the Office 365 Trust Center.

Office 365 Data Center Tour
This video tour takes you through a tour of Microsoft Data Centers that support their online, cloud-based services.

Big Easy Rebate
The Big Easy Rebate is available to give you funds to help with your Office 365 migration or purchase other products or services.

Office 365 Trust Center
You can learn about FISMA Certification and more at the Office 365 Trust Center.

Office 365 Data Center Tour
This video tour takes you through a tour of Microsoft Data Centers that support their online, cloud-based services.

Big Easy Rebate
The Big Easy Rebate is available to give you funds to help with your Office 365 migration or purchase other products or services.

Our Email NEVER goes down – Continuity with LiveOffice (10/11)

We discussed LiveOffice in the August BE Eye, but thought the Continuity aspect was worth reinforcing. If our email server or internet connection to our data center happens to go down, we can send and receive email via our Live Office email archive. How does this work? BEI Email is sent first to Microsoft Forefront Online Protection for Exchange, our hosted email filtering service. The BEI Exchange server is then setup as the primary DNS entry, but the Live Office network is backup. So if email can’t be delivered to our server for any reason, it is sent to Live Office. Sent and received email is automatically flushed back to Exchange when the Exchange server comes back up. want to know more? Give Kurt Duesterdick a call at 703-528-8300 x101 or kurt@beinetworks.com.

The BIS, BES & Buzz about Blackberries & Exchange Online (5/11)

There has been quite a bit of confusion around the support of Blackberries and Microsoft Exchange Online. We’re going to try to clarify the situation here!

BPOS Exchange Online, the service that Microsoft has been selling and supporting since 2008, provides free BES service. Microsoft does this by hosting a BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server).

Office 365 will NOT include BES support until early 2012 or so. This is because the plan is to use RIM’s online BES service that is currently being tested and is expected to be available in early 2012 (rather than Microsoft hosting a BES).

So if you want to use Exchange Online and need BES service, be aware that you must sign up for Exchange Online and the BES service during June 2011 – we expect Office 365 will be generally available toward the end of June, and once Office 365 is generally available BPOS Exchange Online will not be offered to new accounts. (Generally available just means sold as a standard service, no longer in the testing period.)

BlackBerry users can use BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service) with Exchange Online and Office 365 if they only need email. This service is free but will not sync contacts, calendar, tasks, etc.

If you are currently using BPOS Exchange Online and think there is ANY POSSIBILITY that you may want to add and BES users you should purchase one seat (cost = $0) right now. You will then be able to add users any time later. But, if you do not have any BES accounts you won’t be able to add them once Office 365 is generally available.

Questions? Call or email Ellen Jennings at 703-528-8300 x125 or jenningse@beinetworks.com.

The Perils of the Cloud – Amazon’s Debacle (4/11)

Last week Amazon Web Services’ EC2 (Elastic Cloud 2) experienced an outage that lasted for about 30 hours – taking down such websites as Foursquare, Hootsuite, Quora and Reddit. Should this event cause you to reevaluate your plans regarding moving part (or all) of your IT infrastructure to the cloud? Our opinion – use this as input to your decision but it really shouldn’t cause you to change your plans. Here are the key points:

  • Outages WILL happen – not every month or even every year – and not 30 hours. But keep in mind that this is the worst wide-scale outage to date. There will be some downtime with any network, or at least periods of reduced functionality.
  • You need to understand and manage your risks – many of the Amazon clients who were down had opted for a less expensive redundancy plan. The risks in the cloud are still usually considerably less than hosting applications on your own premise and should be compared with the risks of a private cloud operating at a data center.
  • Read and make sure you understand your SLA (Service Level Agreement.) Amazon’s SLA for EC2 is 99.95% for multi-AZ (Availability Zone) deployments, which means that you can have 4.38 hours of downtime before Amazon violates their SLA. In fact, it has been reported that this recent outage did not violate the SLA because the actual services that were down (Elastic Block Storage and Relational Database Service) were not part of the SLA.

Want to know more? Here are some interesting websites to read and digest:

BEI hosted a Cloud Seminar last fall and will be having another one later this year. “The Cloud” is an often used term and means different things to different people. Each business needs its own cloud strategy to meet its needs and requirements. BEI can walk you through all the pros and cons of different cloud offerings and tailor the one that best suits your business. Give us a call if you would like to explore your options.

Office 365 & BPOS Update (4/11)

Microsoft’s Online Services offerings are evolving over the next several months. Here are some key points to consider:

  • BPOS, the current suite of services, will be sold to new clients through early June.
  • Office 365, the new suite of services, is currently in “Extended Beta Testing” and will be released for general availability in early June
  • Current BPOS clients will be able to transition to Office 365 later this year. Exchange Online “Only” (meaning no other services besides Exchange) will be the first group to make the move. More information about timing and transition plans will be available later this year.
  • If you must use Outlook 2003 and you want to use Microsoft Online Services remember that Outlook 2003 will NOT be supported under Office 365. So you either need to upgrade Outlook to 2007/2010 or adopt/stay on BPOS until you are ready to upgrade Outlook.
  • If you are using or want to use Microsoft’s BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server) with Exchange Online then you should adopt/stay on BPOS until early 2012 when RIM’s online BES offering will be available.

If you’d like to talk over your Microsoft Online plans or options please contact Ellen Jennings (ellen.jennings@beinetworks.com), 703-528-8300 x125.

Everything you SHOULD know about your IT but are afraid to ask (2/11)

Friday, March 11, 2011, 7:30 am – 9:30 am
Fairfax County Economic Development Authority
8300 Boone Blvd, Suite 450 Vienna, VA

With apologies to Woody Allen, who better than Mike Jennings to speak about the current state of information technology (IT) as it relates to operating a successful business in today’s always-on and connected world. C-level executives do not need to know what version of Windows or Linux their server are running so this is not a “bits and bytes” chalk talk. It is an interactive education for top managers about what they need to know to ensure their organization’s IT is secure, flexible, responsive and cost effective. (click here if you need help with the reference to Woody Allen…)

Using real-world examples culled from years of supporting hundreds of organizations, the most current IT technologies and implementation models are explained along with tips for evaluating and utilizing them (or not.) Mike will give his unique perspective on hot tech topics such as Security, Business Continuity, Teleworking, Mobile devices, Cost/expense control and Cloud Computing.

To register please click here

(The Executive Exchange Seminar Breakfast Series is a monthly series addressing timely & vital topics challenging today’s business leaders.)

IDC Study: Profle of a Microsoft Online Services Practice (BEI) (1/11)

This case study looks at Microsoft Gold Partner Business Engineering Inc. (BEI) and its move to build an Online Services practice centered on Microsoft Office 365. BEI is a successful IT solution provider offering network design, installation, and services as well as managed service expertise to companies throughout the national capital region. Recognizing the cost savings and simplicity offered by cloud-based solutions, BEI began offering clients a third party–hosted version of Email Filtering in 2004; thus, BEI’s involvement in cloud-based Exchange predates the launch of Office 365. As companies look for cost-effective solutions and simpler IT models, BEI is helping businesses find answers in a changing technology landscape.

Ellen Jennings, CEO of BEI, is quoted: “I think we have been successfulbecause we really don’t care if ourprospects select BPOS or Exchangeon‐premise — we just want them toend up with the best solution for their business. If we help them do that, the service revenue will come.”

IDC Study: Profle of a Microsoft Online Services Practice (BEI)

BPOS Update – Blackberry Support (7/10)

In the past, Blackberry Support in Exchange Online has meant paper forms, phone calls and time lags. Now – this can all be done online via the MOAC (Microsoft Online Services Administration Center). If you’re using Exchange Online and have Blackberry uses you’d like to add, let us know and we’d be glad to help. Background – BPOS is Business Productivity Online Suite, which includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Live Meeting Online and Office Communications Online all for $10/user/month. Click here for more information.




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