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Microsoft Veterans Among New Execs at SkyKick

Fresh off a recent round of investment, channel-focused Office 365 migration project automation specialist SkyKick is expanding its management team to accelerate North American growth and drive into new markets internationally.

The Seattle-based startup and a 2013 Microsoft Partner of the Year winner is adding three senior executives -- Steve Bonilla as COO, Peter Labes as vice president of business development and Eric Jewett as vice president of international operations. The executive additions, being announced Monday, follow a $3 million round of private equity and angel investor funding announced in late July. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on October 20, 2014 at 5:29 AM0 comments

How Wireless 802.11ac Could Be a Win for Microsoft Lync

Wireless standard upgrades often meet with a collective yawn by customers. If the wireless network is getting the job done, a speed increase often won't do enough to improve performance to justify the cost.

But Jamie Stark, senior product manager with Microsoft Lync, is evangelizing a recent wireless standard as a big opportunity to dramatically improve unified communications performance on mobile networks. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on October 07, 2014 at 11:31 AM0 comments

Channel Takeaways from the HP Split

The rumors over the weekend were correct, and Hewlett-Packard revealed Monday morning that it will split into two roughly equal-sized entities -- Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and HP Inc.

The move creates two massive new, if familiar, players in the tech industry -- Hewlett-Packard Enterprise's annual revenues for a recently concluded period would have been $58 billion, HP Inc.'s $57 billion. The new arrangement has implications across the IT industry, including for the many Microsoft partners who are also HP partners. Here are a few of the main takeaways that are visible at first blush. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on October 06, 2014 at 12:56 PM0 comments

Interop: 5 Up-and-Coming Hacking Tools

The security professional's toolbox is fairly mature, with ethical hackers commonly using familiar and powerful tools such as Metasploit, Nmap, Wireshark and dozens of others, many of them conveniently wrapped up for free in the security-focused Kali Linux distribution.

Still, in the fast-moving field of IT security, new threats and tools are constantly emerging. In a standing-room-only session at Interop New York this week, David Rhoades of Maven Security Consulting recommended five up-and-coming tools that can help penetration testers do their jobs better. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on October 02, 2014 at 9:44 AM0 comments

Security the Focus of Kaseya 8

Kaseya this week issued another core platform release and this month will open a beta program for some additional functionality.

"With 8, we have shifted the focus to security," said Yogesh Gupta, CEO of Kaseya, in a telephone interview. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 30, 2014 at 11:18 AM0 comments

Microsoft Adjusts SMB Cloud Competency Requirements, Relaunches Pinpoint

Hitting a delivery date promised in July, Microsoft on Monday launched three new cloud competencies for partners.

At the same time, Microsoft drastically reduced the number of customers a partner is required to have to achieve the SMB competency's silver tier, and announced improvements to Pinpoint, the partner directory for customers. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 29, 2014 at 1:13 PM0 comments

Details Emerging About Microsoft Cloud Reseller Program

Details are starting to emerge about Cloud Solution Provider (CSP), a promising partner program that Microsoft previewed at its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in July.

The CSP program is designed to accommodate the requests by partners to be able to bundle Microsoft services and own the customer billing, a requirement that was partly but not fully addressed with the Office 365 Open program. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 24, 2014 at 12:15 PM0 comments

Q&A: Getting Customers Ready for the Windows Server 2003 Deadline

Although it's gotten far less attention than the recent Windows XP deadline, the retirement of support for Windows Server 2003 will be one of the most important of the predictable security issues of 2015.

Microsoft officially ends support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015. The deadline has some of the same ramifications that the Windows XP deadline had: Microsoft will no longer patch Windows Server 2003 for new security vulnerabilities. Presumably, Microsoft will offer expensive Custom Support Agreements for enterprises to continue getting patch support after that date, but there's been no official announcement yet. In the meantime, new security vulnerabilities keep cropping up for the aging OS. During the last full year, 2013, Microsoft released 37 critical updates for Windows Server 2003. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 17, 2014 at 1:30 PM0 comments

Gartner Raising a Scare About Mobile Apps

How secure are those mobile apps that users bring into company networks via their own devices? Not very, according to researchers at Gartner. Nor is the situation likely to improve soon.

As part of the Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit this week in Dubai, Gartner principal research analyst Dionisio Zumerle flagged mobile apps as an emerging route for attackers to get into enterprise networks and steal corporate data. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 17, 2014 at 11:20 AM0 comments

Mojang Ranks Among Microsoft's Biggest Acquisitions

Microsoft just spent $2.5 billion on Mojang, the little Swedish company that created the wildly popular, blocky-graphic video game Minecraft.

This is an enormous amount of money by any standard. For a little context, this ranks as the fourth-largest dollar amount for an investment in Microsoft's history. It trails only what Microsoft paid for Skype ($8.5 billion), Nokia's phone business ($7.2 billion) and aQuantive ($6.3 billion). More

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 15, 2014 at 9:10 AM0 comments

Microsoft Takes Some Office 365 Deployments In-House

A new program offering free Office 365 migrations performed remotely by Microsoft employees for customers with more than 150 seats went live this week. Partner reaction so far has ranged generally from extreme concern to wary acceptance.

Microsoft formally announced two new programs to customers in a blog post on Wednesday -- the Office 365 FastTrack Onboarding Center and the Office 365 Adoption Offer. Both programs officially launched Sept. 1. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 04, 2014 at 11:17 AM0 comments

Windows 8 Use Overtakes XP Worldwide

Windows 8 finally overtook Windows XP in global Internet usage in August, more than four months after Microsoft stopped supporting the aging operating system, according to Web site analytics company StatCounter.

In figures released Tuesday, StatCounter Global Stats put the combined worldwide share for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 at 14 percent, compared with 12.9 percent for Windows XP (see Figure 1). Microsoft put a stop to paid support for Windows XP on April 8. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 02, 2014 at 9:51 AM0 comments