Posts Tagged ‘hosted exchange’

Farewell to Exchange 2007

Posted on: August 29th, 2016 by jiml | No Comments

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 was a tremendous leap forward for Microsoft’s industry-leading email and collaboration platform. Exchange 2007 introduced things like failover and disaster recovery features, PowerShell in the Exchange Management Shell (EMS), the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) based Exchange Management Console (EMC), Unified Messaging, 64-bit architecture, Exchange Web Services, compliance features, transport rules, retention management, and many other key features. Many businesses worldwide still use Exchange 2007 for the email and collaboration features that their business relies on.

Exchange 2007 will be ten years old next year and, like many Microsoft products before it, is reaching the end of its support life. Microsoft will be terminating extended support for Exchange 2007 on April 11, 2017. Termination of extended support means that there will be no monthly patches for security problems, bugs, etc. In short, as of April 11, 2017, the Exchange 2007 you’re running will be the Exchange 2007 you’re running forever – unchanging and no longer protected.

The potential exposure to your business by running Exchange 2007 after April 11, 2017, can not be overstated. In order to provide email services, Exchange 2007 must be exposed to the Internet; inbound and outbound email has to be transferred, smartphones have to connect, users have to connect to Outlook Web Access or Outlook Anywhere for remote work, etc. These features require that your Exchange 2007 infrastructure be exposed to the public Internet. As of April 11, 2017, your exposed Exchange 2007 infrastructure will never receive another security update from Microsoft.

If your business still relies on Exchange 2007, it’s time to start considering your options. It takes time to plan and execute a migration, whether that migration is to a newer version of on-premises Exchange Server, Office 365, Hosted Exchange, or any alternative. Whichever direction to plan to take, the time to start working on it is now.

What are some of your options?

Upgrade to Exchange Server 2010 – This is the most direct and least painful choice, but if you opt for this path you should consider it a very short term solution. Exchange 2010 is N-2 (two versions older than N, the current version of Exchange) and already in extended support itself. Upgrading from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010 will only buy you a few years before you have to upgrade again. Is that really what you want to do? Probably not.

Upgrade to Exchange Server 2013 – Exchange 2013 is arguably the go-to Exchange version right now. It has been in mainstream use for several years, has had several updates, and is proving its worth and reliability. It is compatible with Exchange 2007 so you can upgrade your Exchange organization from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2013 without any significant complexity (e.g. multi-step migrations, feature compatibility issues, etc.). Exchange 2013 has a long support lifecycle still ahead of it; it has two years of mainstream support plus another five of extended support remaining. However, it is still an N-1 product, and if you’re going to spend your money on a migration, it might be best to go to an N product (Exchange 2016) rather than continue to be behind the curve.

Upgrade to Exchange Server 2016 – Exchange 2016, while a newcomer to on-premises installation, has more mainstream use behind it via Office 365, which is used by millions of users and provides the foundation upon which the on-premises release of Exchange 2016 is based. Any concerns about Exchange 2016 being “too new” for production use don’t take into account that the software has been through many rounds of testing and hard production use in the cloud before being delivered to enterprises for on-premises use.

However, the biggest challenge for Exchange 2016 is that there is no way to upgrade directly from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2016. Since Exchange 2016 is N, and Exchange 2007 is N-3, Microsoft doesn’t support any direct migration options. If Exchange 2016 is your goal, you have to go through a “double-hop” migration – upgrade your organization to either Exchange 2010 or Exchange 2013, migrate all your users from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010/2013, decommission all your Exchange 2007 servers, and start all over again to upgrade your Exchange 2010/2013 organization to Exchange 2016. Other option is to create a “resource forest,” which has many advantages but also introduces complexity into your IT infrastructure.

Migrate to The Cloud – Office 365 / Hosted Exchange – If your business is still running Exchange 2007, that might be a sign that keeping your Exchange infrastructure current hasn’t been a priority. Whether it’s an issue of cost or manpower, your business is running its communications on ten-year-old software. Moving your email infrastructure to the cloud removes this concern from your radar – permanently. Once you move your email infrastructure to the cloud, you will never have to do another Exchange migration ever again.

Colden Company has always recommended email as a perfect fit for the cloud. Whether you prefer Microsoft Office 365 for best-of-breed features capabilities (with more being added every day) that you couldn’t offer your users at any cost, or you prefer a simple Hosted Exchange (i.e. email only) solution, moving your email infrastructure to the cloud removes the ongoing concern regarding Exchange maintenance and upgrades from your business permanently.

A discussion of the perceived risks associated with cloud computing is beyond the scope of this post, but rest assured that if your concerns revolve around reliability, compliance, security, backup, or any other concerns you might have, Colden Company is ready to put your fears to rest. We have moved many businesses to cloud email and they will never look back.

In summary, if you’re still running your business on Exchange 2007, you have options. What you’re running out of is time. April 11, 2017 is not that far away, and major upgrades can take six months to a year or more to do under normal circumstances; you simply don’t have that much time anymore. Don’t underestimate either the importance of doing this or the timelines required, or think that this will be quick and painless. Upgrading from ten-year-old software is a very major event and needs to be handled carefully.

The good new is that you have Colden Company to help. We have performed many successful Exchange migrations – both on-premises and to the cloud – for businesses of many sizes and in many markets. Start planning your exit from Exchange 2007 today by calling Colden Company at 888-600-4560, email us, or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.







Have You Considered Office 365?

Posted on: May 27th, 2016 by jiml | No Comments

As many companies and workers are embracing mobile computing and working on multiple devices, it may be time to take a fresh look at how email and documents are accessed. For these workers it is worth considering Office 365 for email and Office licensing solutions. There is a lot of information to be aware of when considering this option. There are many versions of Office 365 and not all implementations of it are equal.

Let’s start with the basics: What is Office 365? It is Microsoft’s cloud based email solution at its core. Let’s stop here and examine this core solution for its benefits and drawbacks. With Office 365 being a cloud-based service, it means your email will reside at Microsoft’s various data centers and not locally on an in-house Exchange server. This brings up the question of security. Is your email more secure in house or hosted by Microsoft? Some will argue that Microsoft is a bigger target and therefore your data is more at risk. The counter argument to this is that Microsoft has the resources to put into protecting your data. Statistically, small to medium sized businesses are three times more often compromised by hacking attempts for the simple reasons that there are more of them and they have less effective security measures in place. Hackers will often bypass well-secured infrastructures to find easier prey.

Putting the security issue aside, email is a good fit for the cloud. The cloud provides high availability for critical applications, in this case Microsoft Office 365 guarantees 99.9% uptime. In today’s world, access to email is critical. Lost email means lost business.

Email also needs to be available on a variety of platforms, such as mobile devices as well as office computers. Office 365 provides expanding mobility with Office-to-go so Microsoft Office documents can be opened on a mobile device. Access to data on mobile devices in becoming increasingly important as mobile devices continue to outsell traditional desktops.

In addition to the core email service, an Office 365 subscription offers other benefits. One of these is Microsoft Office licensing. The Software-as-a-Service model replaces the upfront expense of buying Microsoft Office with a monthly subscription. As long as the subscription is valid, your access to the software will continue AND be updated as newer releases come out- no more need to buy new versions every few years to stay current. The subscription also allows you to install the Office Software on up to five devices. If you have a work computer, home computer and a tablet, all can download the Office software and use the programs within the license agreement.

Microsoft One-Drive for Business is an additional feature that provides cloud storage for documents. There are limitations of One-Drive but it will provide you with up to one terabytes of storage space for documents in Microsoft’s cloud.

A final consideration when deciding if Office 365 is right for your business is whether or not you require email backup and/or archiving. This is often overlooked as a consideration during the analysis but it an important point to consider. Colden Company can provide solutions for backup and archiving particularly if you are working in a regulated industry where email legal holds are common or at least occasionally required.

As with most technology these days, there are many choices to consider with Office 365. There are email only options, Office Licensing options, and many business class options which should be thoroughly reviewed to make the right choice for your business. This is where Colden Company can help. We are experts in navigating the complexity of options, choosing the proper solution and implementing it on-time and on-budget.

To get the process started, contact Colden Company at 888-600-4560, email us, or see us on Facebook or Twitter.







What Kind of Cloud Does Your Business Have?

Posted on: June 28th, 2013 by jiml | No Comments

Cloud computing and its place in the business world can be a confusing topic for even the most IT-savvy business people. Should we be using the cloud?  What should we be using the cloud for? Is it cost-efficient for our business to use the cloud?  These are all legitimate questions that business decision makers face every day.  The wrong decision can turn your cloud into a thunder cloud for the business!

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Which is your cloud?

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At Colden Company Inc., we have experience helping businesses not only implement cloud solutions, but in helping businesses decide on which cloud services are a fit for their business. We can help you navigate around the clouds, to stay with the analogy. Our role as trusted advisor to our clients is one we take pride in; after all if our customers are doing well, we do well.  Our customers think of us as an extension of their business and as their “Virtual CIO,” if you will.

Our position in favor of email in the cloud has been regularly communicated in our blog postings, so it should be no surprise where we stand on that topic.  Email needs to be highly available – which the cloud provides – and it does not require the same persistent connection that many line of business (LoB) applications require, making it a great fit. There are many options for email in the cloud and we have advised our customers on a range of solutions from Google Apps to Office 365 to Hosted Exchange. Each has it benefits and Colden Company can deliver any of these solutions to your business with the skill and expertise needed to reduce downtime and maximize efficiency.

Office 365 in particular has been generating interest because of its inclusion of Microsoft Office 2013 licensing in its offerings. In fact, each license of certain versions of Office 365 allows installation of Office 2013 on up to five computers. Microsoft Office becomes a subscription-based purchase rather than an up-front out-of-pocket expense as it has been traditionally. As with any Microsoft product, there are a confusing range of options to navigate when considering Office 365.  Our experts can help.

Email and productivity applications are only scratching the surface; there is a wide range of services that can be moved to the cloud. Colden Company can help your business move, for example, your phone system, shared file storage, backups, and even comprehensive disaster recovery to the cloud. Cloud alternatives to traditional on-premises solutions are easier to manage and maintain and require significantly less up-front investment. Cloud solutions bring formerly enterprise-class IT services into the range of affordability for small and medium businesses.

If your business is not utilizing the cloud effectively and you would like assistance turning that thunder cloud into a fair weather cloud, contact us today at (888) 600-4560 or at info@coldencompany.com, or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.







Put Your Money Where It Counts

Posted on: April 30th, 2013 by jiml | No Comments

Technology in a business for the sake of technology is not an effective strategy. Technology should be used for only two things:

1)      Improve efficiency and other revenue generating tasks

2)      Reduce risks and other expense lowering tasks

Businesses can be more profitable only in these two manners – either increasing revenue or decreasing costs.  A lot of technology advertising is focused on the first point and perhaps rightfully so.  Improvements in technology do bring efficiencies and opportunities for revenue generation.  The second point is perhaps of greater value.  A dollar saved has a greater impact on your bottom line because there is no assosciated cost to generating that dollar, consider savings a “force multiplier.” We will spend time talking about how thinking about your technology  differently can lower your expenses, so you can put your money where it counts!

Hardware and software expenses are a necessary evil in many cases.  Although you can mitigate some expenses with cloud computing, there still needs to be end points for users to work on.  One way to reduce costs is to buy in bulk.  If you are a small business, perhaps you do not have the opportunity to do so. In that scenario partnering with Colden Company Inc. can benefit your business.  Colden Company does larger volumes of equipment purchasing and is eligible for discounted pricing on desktops, laptops, network equipment, and software. Why not save on your next purchase?

Another method of saving is through the use of automation. Colden Company customers benefit from automated task to keep their technology environment running at peak efficiency and also reducing support costs. Colden Company uses technology to automate as much as practically possible on our clients’ networks with the idea of working toward networks that not only detect problems, but are programmed to respond and repair, thus lowering support costs. One common example is PCs that experience decreased performance over time due to file build up that require a support call to fix with other vendors. The use of automation to prune that file build up can improve the performance, reduce the frequency of support calls, freeing up money so you can put your money where it counts!

A third way to reduce costs is by planning.  Colden Company distinguishes itself from the competition by providing a variety of planning services such as our life cycle planning process. This process allows our customers to plan ahead and budget for expenses while making qualified decisions about their infrastructure.  For example, a business may have a policy to renew the hardware maintenance on the office desktops and laptops. That seems like a noble and well considered policy. At Colden Company Inc., our approach is different.  We do not advocate for such blanket policies.  Our advice is to determine which workstations (laptops and desktops) are deemed important and critical and which ones are unimportant.  The unimportant PCs do not need extended hardware maintenance agreements as long as there is a backup or spare PC that could fill its role without needing too much time and expense to transition it into a production role. The exercise of planning can yield savings in an example like this. Put your money where it counts!

Finally, as previously mentioned, cloud services can offer savings for businesses.  The use of hosted solutions can not only eliminate the upfront costs of server hardware but also pay dividend down the road with reduced maintenance, reduced power consumption, and reduced risk.  For example, Colden Company Inc is a supporter of email in the cloud. The stability of guaranteed uptime for such a critical communication method is just one of several reasons why email is the perfect application for the cloud. But did you also know that many Hosted Exchange solutions like the one offered by Colden Company include Microsoft Outlook licensing? As Microsoft releases new versions, your software licenses upgrade along with it without having to repurchase.  In addition, in a cloud model, software is often delivered as a service, meaning if you have ten users in January you pay for ten users.  If you have five users in February, you pay for five users. In a traditional model, you would buy ten licenses in January and then have five unproductive copies around in February that you paid for but are now not being used.  The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model can generate savings particularly if your business has fluctuations in staffing levels.  Isn’t that right, accounting and construction firms? Why put money into licenses that you are using?  Put your money where it counts!

Contact Colden Company today at (888) 600-4560 or at info@coldencomany.com, or visit us on Facebook or Twitter and see how we can help your business put your money where it counts!







The Year of the Cloud

Posted on: December 30th, 2012 by jiml | No Comments

We have a saying at Colden Company Inc. which is “If you are running your business the same way you were two or three years ago, you are not staying the same – you are falling behind.”.  Your competition is not standing still, and unless your business is progressing as well, it is not keeping up.

Technology is one of the variables that can help make your business successful or cause it to fall behind. At Colden Company Inc., we specialize in bringing pertinent technology into businesses to help keep their competitive edge. It is important to realize that all the technology in the world will not make your business successful on its own.  Technology is a piece that compliments business directives.  It is important that the business directives are the drivers – not the other way around.

One of the reasons we often hear from businesses for maintaining the status quo is uncertainty. The business environment is uncertain and the rapid change in technology can also lead to uncertainty about which direction to take.  We have seen many businesses hold off on upgrades because of financial uncertainty and the byproduct of that is risk to the business because of older or more frequently unstable technology.  This increases short term maintenance costs but saves the larger investment dollars.

Businesses are longing for certainty. Cloud technology can help bring more certainty to monthly costs and also reduce the large upfront costs that accompany traditional on-premise upgrades.  According to research at Gartner, 80% of businesses are already using some type of cloud-based service.  If you are a regular reader of our blog postings, you already know that we feel email is a great application to migrate to the cloud. In today’s world of mobile devices, there are many ways to send and receive email, leaving your business not dependent on the office Internet connection for availability. From a technical perspective, email does not require as much of a persistent connection as line of business (LOB) applications, making it a natural fit for the cloud.  In addition, the consistent monthly recurring cost (MRC) brings that certainty that businesses need. Many cloud services include license upgrades as newer products are released, further reducing the periodic large expenditures that on-premise solutions are prone to.

If your business is looking for certainty and you have found yourself standing still over the last couple years, then 2013 is the Year of the Cloud! Colden Company has successfully assisted customer in this type of migration and we would be happy to provide our expertise to your business.  Call us at (888) 600-4560, or via email at info@coldencompany.com.  Find us on Facebook and Twitter (@coldenco) as well.