Microsoft Customer Experience for Accountants

Day In The Life of the FutureVal Steed of K2 and Kevin Fream of Matrixforce present an exclusive event for members of the Oklahoma Society of CPAs on November 19, 2014 12:30PM – 4:00PM representing 4 hours of CPE.

NOTE: If you represent any other business association with 10 members having more than 30 employees each, Matrixforce can provide this event for your organization. Contact us and ask about scheduling the Microsoft Customer Experience event.

From Val -

It requires a very rare set of circumstances for me to write to you like this.  I would like to make you aware of a very unique CPE opportunity that may never happen in your area again.   The Oklahoma Society of CPAs, in partnership with Microsoft has scheduled a four-hour CPE, hands-on, training session.  This class is limited to 10 people per session so only 10 people can attend this event.  If I were a salesperson, I would blast this email with the phrase “limited number!” which is actually true in this case.

Office 2013 Professional License Raffle

At the end of the session one full Office 2013 Professional license will be given away so you have 1 in 10 chances of winning a $350 value.

Why is this training so unique?

Each person is provided with their own touch-based laptop system that is pre-installed with all the key software and Internet tools.  Each system also headset attached for video and audio conferencing.  The session will be taught using Office 2013 and Windows 8.1 Update.  You will be given a login name and password and you use that persona during the session.  This session is being held in the beautiful Microsoft Office in Tulsa, OK.  This is a very unique opportunity to attend training at a real Microsoft training center.

Hands on training?

 Yes, this is real hands-on training with new touch laptop systems running Windows 8.1 and Office 2013.  We at K2 Enterprises, wrote the course curriculum so it will NOT be “salesy”. We also designed the content to allow time for you to recreate as many examples as you can and converse with others in the room using powerful new tools such as Microsoft Lync. Matrixforce will also be on hand as one of Microsoft’s top national cloud partners to answer real-world deployment questions.

What will I learn in four hours?

  • The benefits, costs and key features of Office 365 – Is Office 365 a real option for my company or not?
  • The key features of Office 2013 for accountants with emphasis on Excel 2013 -  Is there reason to upgrade or not?
  • You will learn how to use a very powerful communication tool called Lync.  Lync alone is worth the time and money to learn and use.  I have never met anyone that does not love using Lync once they understand what it can do for them and their company or firm.
  • Learn how to run a touch-based laptop system.

Why does this four hour CPE event cost more?

Simple – we can only have 10 people per session so we have to increase the price over our standard CPE pricing model.  I can guarantee you that both K2 Enterprises and the Oklahoma Society of CPAs are running this near or at our breakeven point.  Both organizations are doing this because Microsoft has agreed to provide the lab and training center at no cost to us and we really want this event for the folks in Oklahoma that have supported our regular CPE events over the years.

OSCPA Registration Website:
http://www.oscpa.com/Public/Catalog/CourseDetails.aspx?courseID=14355

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OneDrive for Business Explained

What is OneDrive for Business? OneDrive for Business is intended to replace your user folder on your network, while offering easier sharing, better search and file management, and more security. The tagline is “One place for everything in your work life” and the following points are key aspects to understand:

  • OneDrive for Business only with Office 365. When saving files, the consumer OneDrive is for personal use and OneDrive for Business is for work.
  • Known limitations. You get 1TB of file storage and there is a 2GB upload limit per file. Also, folders and files may not contain any of the following characters: ~ # % * {} : <> ? / | “
  • Better features than file servers. Enjoy the benefits of fast search, Office Apps online, alerts on file changes, previous versions of files, a recycle bin, and regulation security compliance not available with other services like Dropbox.
  • Sync NOT recommended. While you can sync your OneDrive for Business for a trip on your tablet or notebook, there is a 20,000 item limit for folders and files. Syncing that much data regularly is not practical and there are so many reported problems that there is a published support article: Solve Sync Problems with OneDrive for Business.
  • Enhancements on-going. Microsoft has demonstrated a pattern of deploying nearly 3 dozen updates to online services each year with projected roadmap delivery of new capabilities for: extended cross-platform support, new mobility apps and enhancements, additional data loss prevention, new auditing and reporting, and file management improvements.

Office 365 Free Trial for 30 Days

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InnoTech Oklahoma 2014 Augmented World

Cox Convention CenterWelcome to the Augmented World is the opening keynote of the 9th annual InnoTech Oklahoma. Robin Raskin will kickoff the region’s largest business and technology conference.

Last year InnoTech hosted over 3,000 of the area’s top business and technology professionals for a full day of education, hands-on exhibits, special events, and peer networking.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about innovative technology to help your business and get advice directly from the experts.

Registration

Innotech Oklahoma is regularly $30 per person. However, as a nine time presenter and exhibitor, you can register for FREE using code MATRIX4C.

To register, visit the official InnoTech Oklahoma registration page.

When and Where

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Cox Convention Center
1 Myriad Gardens
Oklahoma City , OK 73102
Get Directions ››

Hands-on Exhibits

In Booth #98, specialists will be providing cloud demonstrations, cost evaluation, and security comparisons for Office 365, Azure, and Intune. We will also have representatives from the Microsoft Store showcasing the latest devices.

There are over 200 vendors exhibiting including major manufacturers like Microsoft, Aruba Networks, and Sophos. Interworks software development is the presenting sponsor.

Featured Sessions

1:00 PM  Top Facts of Cloud 2.0 presented by Matrixforce CEO, Kevin Fream in the InnoTech Main Stage Theater.

There are also 50 other sessions and registration includes access to the Route 66 Information Security tracks of mobility, information security, Infrastructure, Development, and IT Leadership.

 

 

 

Top 5 Active Directory Best Practices

Shields UpPrescriptive guidance about Active Directory hasn’t generally been updated since the January 21, 2005 TechNet Active Directory Best Practices article. Some of the legacy information no longer applies, but we see many of the basics being ignored putting organizations at high risk:

  1. Two Domain Controllers. Always have a second domain controller for Active Directory, DNS, and DHCP failover. If you only have one domain controller and it fails, no one can access either the network or the Internet.
  2. Authoritative Backup. Backup the system state and not simply the virtual image of your domain controllers. Without an authoritative backup, you cannot restore Active Directory and must create a new domain (even if named the same) and rejoin all workstations for potentially days to weeks of user profile and application problems. If you don’t have an authoritative backup when the main domain controller fails, but do have a second domain controller then you face the pending emergency tasks of USN rollback error:
    • Seize roles on another domain controller
    • Export any DHCP scopes
    • Manually remove the problem domain controller from Active Directory and shutdown
    • Build another domain controller
    • Import DHCP scopes
    • Test proper Active Directory replication and network logon
  3. Standard networking. These rules are law with few exceptions:
    • Only one network connection enabled and it should be listed first in priority
    • Single static IP Address assigned with valid subnet mask and default gateway
    • DNS 1 is the IP Address of the machine and DNS 2 is the IP Address of the second domain controller
    • IPV6 is enabled with settings set to obtain
    • There should be no forwarding addresses in DNS to other servers internal or external
  4. Firewall On. Domain controllers should have the firewall on as the most sensitive machines on the network, containing the master user security database and network configuration. The firewall should be on for all devices for encapsulation to prevent rampant hacking and virus outbreak. Backup and anti-virus programs generally will not install without the firewall enabled.
  5. Anti-virus Installed. If a domain controller is accessed by a malicious intruder, you should have anti-virus to prevent installation of a rogue Trojan program or Rootkit. Proper exclusions of files or folders in use do not slow response or interfere with network access on a domain controller.

Active Directory and associated network security are the only things that should run on a domain controller. Running applications, hosting websites, and sharing files should be avoided on a domain controller. Microsoft also doesn’t support installation of Exchange (or SQL Server) on a domain controller.

 

 

Why Snapshots Are Not Backups

Online Backup

You are likely one of those too. You want terabytes of data accessible anywhere on any device. The same is true of your most critical applications. If you inadvertently delete something, you want the information restored in just a few minutes.

That magic is called a snapshot. For a Storage Area Network (SAN) that holds your data and has regularly scheduled snapshots, a previous copy of your data is available and can be rolled back to that point in time. However, there are some important aspects to understand about snapshots and these are the key take-aways:

  1. Without the current copy of your data, snapshots are worthless as they are dependent upon the differences between the original information.
  2. Snapshots for virtual machines allow rollback for any changes, but cannot be used by themselves as a functional virtual image.
  3.  Snapshots are not a backup of server system state, especially for critical roles like domain controllers.
  4. Snapshots do not clear the transaction logs of Exchange databases.
  5. For all of the above reasons, online backup should backup system states and databases independent of server incremental snapshots.

This post was inspired by a customer who recently and painfully experienced why snapshots are not backups. The customer was updating an application on their main domain controller (not a good practice either and a topic for another time) which went awry. After restart, the NETLOGON service would not remain started and Active Directory would not replicate with the secondary domain controller.

The customer lamented that they had performed the application update on several servers with no issues and had not taken a snapshot of the virtual machine. It wouldn’t have mattered. The problem is known as USN rollback where the server was no longer recognized as the master security database for the network. With a system state backup, the issue could have been resolved in a few minutes with an authoritative restore.

Instead an emergency project was required to:

  • Create a new virtual server
  • Export DHCP scopes
  • Manually remove the errant server from Active Directory
  • Seize the FSMO roles on the secondary domain controller
  • Shutdown and destroy the errant server
  • Promote the new server as a domain controller
  • Change the IP address of the new server to the previously errant server
  • Broadcast to users to shutdown workstations for cutover
  • Import DHCP scopes
  • Verify Active Directory replication

Fortunately, the secondary domain controller processed user logons during this scenario, even though no changes could be made to any Active Directory accounts. If the customer had not had a secondary domain controller, they would have had the ugly prospect of building a new domain controller and rejoining every user and device to the domain with weeks of profile and application hell.

When asked about other backup scenarios like Exchange, the customer said they used Symantec Backupexec as it was easier to restore than using their current online backup. More likely, someone on their staff discovered the Exchange logs weren’t being cleared and they had no way of restoring an individual mailbox using a server snapshot.

If you’re depending on snapshots only, then heed the warnings above and know you’re operating under high risk of downtime and data loss. The simple fact is snapshots are not backups.

 

How to Disable Apple iCloud

Apple iCloud LogoAccording to industry experts, Apple is 10 years behind in security. Apple.com currently asks “What will your verse be?” on the home page in the wake of a huge security breach. The rise in popularity of Apple products in the last 5-7 years has primarily been centered around music, so it should not be a surprise that the Apple iCloud has serious security vulnerabilities.

Unlike Microsoft or Google, Apple iWork is still in beta and has achieved none of the high compliance standards required for commercial use or proven years of safe productivity across millions of users in the cloud. To help protect business users who may be using Apple devices, the following steps outline how to disable Apple iCloud:

  1. Be sure to have photos saved on your PC or another storage device first.
  2. Go to either the Photo Stream tab in your photo gallery in iOS or the Photo Stream option in iPhoto on Mac OS to view existing photos in Photo Stream. Here you can manually delete existing individual photos or whole albums.
  3. Then go to the settings menu on your iPhone or iPad (‘System Preference’ on Mac OS)
  4. Open the ‘iCloud’ category
  5. Switch off Photo Stream (which automatically uploads photos to iCloud)
  6. Repeat this on all your Apple devices

To be fair, Apple does offer Two Factor Authentication like other major providers. However, Apple continues to be very new at online services and Apple iCloud has been reported to be unsafe by local news stations.