Microsoft Ignite agenda insights to the future road map

August 14th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Microsoft recently published the session list for its annual Ignite IT Pro conference happening at the end of the September. Alook at the topcis gives a clue to its roadmap. There sessionson on the next version of SQL Server. Surface Hub 2 and Surface Go with LTE, Intune and Windows Autopilot, Windows Server 2019. New Remote Desktop services.

Last year, Microsoft used Ignite to highlight AI, intelligent edge and its futuristic quantum-computing technologies but overall the listed sessions, look more down to earth. There are two mixed-reality sessions — including “Visio Immersive,” Almost 100 listed sessions touch on AI . At Inspire Microsoft told partners the “AI Accelerate Kit”would be coming in October and include AI use cases, best practices and “Ethical AI” guidance so that seems lilley to be included.

At Ignite Microsoft will again focus on Microsoft 365,- the bundle of Windows 10, Office 365 and Intune security/management technologies.

Expect to a lot of Dynamics 365 CRM and ERP content — because October is when the next feature update will arrive for the suite of Dynamics products.

There seems to be more developer content: . ASP.NET, Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio 2017, Node.js, and sessions on linux and Docket containers, Progressive Web Apps and MSIX, the new Windows 10 application-packaging technology Microsoft is rolling out.

There are 115 sessions listed for SQL Server /Azure SQL. Mayeb we will get an insight into the successor to SQL Server 2017 — codenamed “Aris,” which is currently in private Community Technology Preview testing.

Microsoft wil lalso show the new the Surface Hub 2 and Surface Go.

Expect Windows Server 2019, Microsoft’s next major release of Windows Server, to be a hot topic -it’s due to start roll out before year end.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/ignite

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/ignite/faq

September 24–28, 2018 | Orlando, Florida

Dynamics 365 October 2018 release – many new features

August 4th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

What to expect from the Dynamics 365 October 2018 release is set out in a 250 plus page document. The coming October update includes more than a hundred incremental updates to: the core Dynamics, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Portals, Omni-channel Engagement Hub, Field Service, Project Service, Social Engagement, Finance and Operations, Talent, Retail, and Business Central products and services.

The new Dynamics 365 AI for Sales app, will help sales teams to use technologies, such as call sentiment analysis and warnings about deals being at risk, to take proactive actions. This app will be in public preview as of October 2018.

Expect to see a more tightly integrated Dynamics 365 with Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, LinkedIn, Microsoft Stream video platform, Azure, Azure IoT Central, Outlook together with relationship analytics and predictive lead scoring also in public preview as of October.

Finance and Operations (Dynamics AX, ERP) each feature listed below will be released with general availability
Financial
• Dual currency
• View settlement transactions
• Global number sequences
• Vendor and customer approvals for specific fields
• Data entry dimension values
• Consistent validation actions
• IBAN number validation
• Change cash discounts
• Automatic ledger settlements
• Reverse journal posting
• On-hand inventory report performance
• Simplification through configurable templates
• Enterprise credit management
• Revenue recognition

Operations
• Master planning performance improvements
• Consolidation of planned orders during parallel firming
• Sealed bidding
• Unit of measure
• Public sector enhancements

Globalization
• Russian localization
• Globalization – enhanced configurability
• Regulatory Services, Configuration service
Platform Updates
• Usability and productivity updates
• Personalization improvements
• Additional demo data
• Data resident subscriptions
• Supportability rules
• Test automation support
• Troubleshooting for the document routing agent
• Upgrade automation
• On-premises deployment
• Manage batch jobs

Integration
• Integration with Field Service: Inventory and Projects
• Extend analytical workspaces by mashing up external data with Power BI

Analytics
• BYOD (Public Preview)
• Edit analytical workspaces
• Pin Power BI dashboards to workspaces
• Real-time embedded Power BI Reports

Lifecycle Services
• Dynamics Translation Services API (Public Preview)

Microsoft continues to emphasize the applicability of its HoloLens augmented reality goggles with the company’s business applications. The October 2018 update will feautre integration with Remote Assist, Microsoft’s new hands-free video calling, and Microsoft Layout, which allows space planners to design their spaces.

The Common Data Service, which is part of its “Power Platform,” will also be updated with the October 2018 release.

Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations catch up with the new features

July 30th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Take a look into the new Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations capabilities mentioned in several of our prior posts that were added during the Business Applications Spring 2018 Launch that help you to engage customers, empower employees, optimize operations, and transform products.

Call Synergy Software Systems – implementing Dynamics from Dubai since 2003.

Vendor collaboration Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations – ask Synergy Software Systems

July 23rd, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Vendor collaboration is a process where you, as a company, grant the access to your vendors in order to perform the following:
•review, accept, and reject request for quotations (RFQs)
•review, accept, reject, accept with the changes purchase orders (POs)
•perform vendor invoicing
•work with consignment stock

Since Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations is web-based application, you can easily allow vendors work directly in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations without need for EDI. It lets vendors work with purchase orders (POs), invoices, consignment inventory information, and requests for quotation (RFQs), and also lets them access parts of their vendor master data. The video and graphic explain the initial, on-boarding process.

The Vendor Collaboration features allow a vendor contact to have access to the D365FOE environment for specific workspaces, to support review and feedback on POs. That feedback is visible to the internal user(s) to further process. A record is retained in D365FOE for all Vendor Collaboration actions for audit and vendor performance evaluations.

SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU2, SP1 CU10

July 18th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Fixes and improvements:
• DAG improvement – automatically seed replicas – when you add a database to an existing AG, SQL Server can automatically seed it across the secondary replicas. .
• AGs – configurable session_timeouts
• AGs – slow transactions with 1 sync and 1 async secondary
• AGs – on cross-data-center AG failover, you get a non-yielding scheduler and a crash
• AGs – queries on secondary take twice as long
• AGs – VSS backups fail on secondary replicas in a Basic Availability Group (which technically you’re not supposed to do, but you can still back up the entire secondary VM, and that’s where the problem looks like it’s coming in)
• AGs – fixing error 19432 for duplicate log blocks
• Log shipping – add support for Transparent Data Encryption by configuring MAXTRANSFERSIZE.
• Dynamic data masking doesn’t
• SSAS crashes when Process Full follows Process Clear –“you will notice that the SSAS may crash.” .
• Memory dump when you merge partitioned temporal tables .
• Stats updates can get a “corrupted index” message and a disconnect
• Assertion error when you add a database
• Slow performance when Query Store is enabled
• Non-yielding schedulers require a reboot – not the most informative KB article ever. “Assume that you have a Microsoft SQL Server 2016 installed.” .

See KB articles for more information . Download SQL 2016 SP2 CU2 and/or SP1 CU10.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4341569/cumulative-update-10-for-sql-server-2016-sp1

End of life for SQL 2008 and 2008 r2 is only a year away

July 14th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

On July 9, 2019, Microsoft will end Extended Support, for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2hich means no more updates or support of any kind, potentially leaving you vulnerable to security and compliance issues.
Some considerations:
That is only a year away. So time to start planning and to get it into your 2019 budget.
What applications are affected? With what new SQL version are they compatible?
Will you need to rebuy licenses? The SQL license cost is now core based and it might prove lot higher than last time so take the time to consider all options.
Should any of your applications move to the cloud?
Should you also look at upgrades to Hardware? Windows, Office, Exchange, or Business finance/erp systems in conjunction with SQL?
Is now the time to review your security solutions?
Are you going to expand, or implement heavy new processes like consolidation, budgeting, BI in then next 2-3 years?
Is your mobile network growing?

There are major enhancements at QL 2016 sp1 so we recommend you should not consider any version lower than that. By next year SQL 2017 will also have settled down.

To discuss options callus o 0097143365589

Is your rdp access secure?

July 14th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

A recently released report sponsored by IBM Security and conducted by Ponemon Institute estimated that a data breach costs Companies an average of $148 per lost or stolen record. This was based on interviews regarding meg breaches i.e. more than 1 million records.

According to the McAfee Advanced Threat research team, Cybercriminals are compromising and selling remote desktop protocol (RDP) access on the dark web for as little as $10, Cybercriminals will try to RDP access to: create false flags, spam, account abuse, credential harvesting, extortion, ransomware, and to cryptomine.

If you use RDP network access then you are vulnerable to such attack, which will concern everyone from government to healthcare institutions,

Remote access systems are needed by many organizations to conduct their businesses, McAfee’s research team recommendations:
• Use complicated passwords and two-factor authentication on your RDP, as this will make brute-force attack more difficult to complete
• Do not conduct or allow RDP connections across open internet
• Lock out or timeout users with too many failed login attempts
• Check event logs regularly for strange login attempts
• Use an account-naming convention that doesn’t give away details about your organization
• Make a list of all systems using the network and what protocols they are connected through, including POS systems and Internet of Things (IoT)

The good news is that the research found that security automation tools are doing their stuff.. Machine learning, artificial intelligence, analytics, and orchestration to identify and contain breaches are new tools in the fightback against malware.. Companies that extensively use automatic security tech saved over $1.5 million on the total of a breach, said the release.

Meanwhile

Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations the Optimization advisor

July 9th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

One of the key features D365 uses to help users with task automation and keeping up productivity levels is the Optimization Advisor. When a business process is not able to produce the required performance, companies usually have to involve users, internal consultants, implementation partners or even write up incidents and ask vendors for support. This can cause a lot of chaos and disparate solutions. Incorrect configuration and setup of a module can lead to reduced functionality within Finance and Operations, as well as slower system performance and incomplete business process workflows.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/unified-operations/dev-itpro/sysadmin/optimization-advisor-overview

The quality of business data (for example, the correctness, completeness, and cleanliness of the data) also affects system performance, and an organization’s decision-making capabilities, productivity, and so on.

The Optimization Advisors guides users by offering them opportunities to follow best practices and increase the quality of their workflows. It can suggest best practices for module configuration and identify business data that is obsolete or incorrect immediately. When violation of a rule within the system is detected, an optimization opportunity is shown on the user’s screen. The user can take corrective action directly from the Optimization Advisor workspace – it’s as simple as clicking one button. When an optimization action is taken, the system calculates the impact of the opportunity by estimating the reduction in the runtime of business processes.

To ensure maximum efficiency and operational excellence, the Optimization Advisor goes through the following processes:
• business process analysis
• search for optimization opportunities
• use of data composition
• quantification of opportunities
• solution recommendations

For some opportunities, when the recommended action is taken, the system can then calculate, and display in the Impact tab, the result of the optimisation in terms of the reduction in the runtime of business processes. If a corrective action doesn’t fully resolve the issue, the opportunity will be generated again the next time that rule is run. Opportunities can be hidden from a user’s list or the rule deactivated.
Optimisation opportunities can be company-specific or cross-company, and new rules can be coded to apply per legal entity or to the whole system

The current release of Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations includes a new tool named the Optimization advisor. The Optimization advisor workspace suggests best practices for module configuration and identifies bad data. If you have customizations or ISV solutions in your environment, you can create additional rules for identifying configuration or data issues relative to the associated processes. The Optimization advisor will run periodically in the background and identify “opportunities” for optimization that you can “take action” on in the workspace.

Sharepoint Updates

July 8th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Idle-Session Timeout Policy
The general availability release of the new Idle-Session Timeout Policy feature, will help businesses to avoid the risk of data leaks and theft.

When devices are left unattended or are shared among multiple users organizations can set timeout thresholds to automatically sign out users when SharePoint Online remains inactive. The Idle-Session Timeout Policy feature is available for both SharePoint Online and OneDrive, ,
Companies that use SharePoint Online tend to keep some sensitive information on the collaboration platform.

Bill Baer, Senior Technical Product Marketing Manager for SharePoint at Microsoft, in a July 2 announcement said:. “Idle session timeout provides [a way for] an Office 365 administrator to configure a threshold at which a user is warned and subsequently signed out of SharePoint or OneDrive after a period of inactivity.”

SharePoint Migration Tool-compatible cmdlets
Administrators can migrating from on-premise to the cloud can now use PowerShell “cmdlets”, or single-function commands, to create, start and add tasks to a migration session, among other actions. The complete list of new SharePoint Migration Tool-compatible cmdlets is available in the online support document.

Page Diagnostics Tool for SharePoint.
SharePoint content renders well on PCs, smartphones and tablets, but some legacy pages can give problems. The Page Diagnostics Tool for SharePoint runs older pages through a set of baseline rules, and e.g. checks for large image sizes, alerts users when it encounters an issue, and points them to a support page to help solve the issue. The Chrome browser extension helps users get to the bottom of performance problems affecting Classic SharePoint pages hosted in SharePoint Online.

Infor Sunsystems 6.3 ask Synergy Software Systems why its time to upgrade.

July 7th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

If you have not yet upgraded to SunSystems 6.3 from Infor it is time to consider what major benefits are available for existing SunSystems clients. Infor has for many years provided ongoing support for a range of SunSystems versions. This has been great for clients to maximise their investment in the solution over extended time frames, but it can cause difficulty when assessing when and why to upgrade to the latest version. This comprehensive, updated financial management system is particularly significant because it not only delivers mnay new features and enhancements but also runs on Infor Xi, the latest and most innovative enterprise technology platform from Infor.

Let’s have a look at the various top level versions in use today:
SunSystems v4 (The current production release is v4.4)
Pros: A proven, self-contained system that operates on minimal IT infrastructure and demands little support and maintenance effort. Continues to be patched and upgraded with new features and Microsoft technology framework compliance.

Cons: Its been around a long time with an aging user interface, some operating limitations on modern technology platforms and is not integrated to the Infor Platform Xi enterprise framework.
SunSystems v5 (The final version is v5.4)
Pros: Still covered under the support framework.
Cons: This version is effectively at end-of-life from an extension point of view. There are no new patches or updates being released, it will not be kept compliant with future versions of Microsoft Windows and SQL Server and it is not possible to purchase additional user licences.

SunSystems v6 (v6.3)
Pros: Significant increase in power and scalability from the original Sun 4.
A complete re-visioning of the system :more agility, flexibility, and control for companies with complex financial management requirements, multi-company operations, multi-currency trading.
Modern user interface stemming from Infor’s in-house user experience and design team, Hook and Loop.
Cons: SunSystems itself and the broader Infor Platform Xi framework demands more computing power and hardware than v4 or v5 did.

Why upgrade now to SunSystems v6.3?
User experience and usability – the screen designs and operation are revised to enhance user experience. Think “apps” on smartphones and tablets that require little or no user training, Infor has a vision of enterprise grade software usability going the same way. Every new release take steps towards that goal using content feeds, visual triggers and graphics to help people navigate rather than menus and options.
SunSystems users can now replace their Favorites menu page with a customizable homepage—available through Infor Ming.le® or directly within SunSystems. Users can also select the graphical content that best reflects their roles and daily tasks with drag-and-drop widgets. Widgets allow users to create links to relevant SunSystems functions, reports, and records, to help speed up routine tasks and navigation

Integrated Document Management Repository – best practice financial management is underpinned by substantiating documents from many sources. The integrated document management repository lets you attach a PDF or other document to the exact transaction or reference data it relates to and to easily find and view that document again at any time. Documents can be searched and retrieved directly from within the web-based IDM application.

External web portal – this new module allows secure access to SunSystems documents to for additional stakeholders to engage electronically with the financial arm of the business. Get your suppliers to upload their own invoices and maintain their own details; let your clients access their own statements and order history, or let your employees access their expenses history. Reduce the number of queries into the finance team and the rekeying of data when external stakeholders could choose to serve themselves.

Automated master data management – for larger companies running multiple sites or business units the administration of managing common reference data between systems and entities can be centralised. Define a primary business unit for your supplier register and any moves/adds/changes/deletes applied to this primary data can be automatically applied to any nominated secondary entities.

Configuration
Infor SunSystems 6.3 consolidates all configuration settings, over 400 of these, into a single web-based console and makes complete control of all aspects within the system much easier.

Performance
Allocate memory capacity in Ledger Import caching, to speed up the process – up to 2 – 3 times faster.
For many processes system’s memory is now dynamically allocated for maximum performance. The caching limits can be set in the Configuration Manager and a task is completed, all allocated memory will be freed immediately. Similar web-enabled enhancements are extended to functions like Transfer Desk, Business Unit Administration, and SunSystems Connect portal.

Currency Rate Type
Multicurrency functionality has always been a key strength of Infor SunSystems. In the 6.3 release, users wcan create different sets of exchange rates for different purposes and have control of when and how they can use a specific rate type. Use one exchange rate that is different from the default monthly rate for a specific collection run. Use a different rate for evaluation than the rate used for day-to-day transactions. These rate types are defined at business unit level.

Withholding tax
Now a core function. SunSystems can now automatically calculate withholding taxes for payment and invoice posting directly from within the core, SunSystems application

Form management
Currently, when users want to make some changes to a form, they need to check out that form, make necessary changes, and check it in again. Sometimes, users check out forms and forget to check them back in again. With SunSystems 6.3, the check-in and check-out process is performed entirely in the background. Users only need to open the form and make amendments using Forms Designer.

For more information contact Synergy Software Systems, your SunSystems U.A.E. partner, supporting clients across MEA for over 20 years, 0097143365589

‘Hello’ -no passwords!

July 3rd, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Microsoft plans to replace passwords with Windows Hello and other tools, starting from the Windows 10 April 2018 Update in S mode which allows cloud users an end-to-end experience that does not require any passwords.

Microsoft promises to rid the world of passwords and to replace those with more convenient and secure options, the company announced in a Tuesday blog post. “Nobody likes passwords. They are inconvenient, insecure, and expensive,” ………. end users “should never have to deal with passwords in their day-to-day lives,” and to replace passwords with “user credentials [that] cannot be cracked, breached, or phished.”

Windows Hello, which was introduced in Windows 10, uses biometric sensors to verify a user’s identity e.g. fingerprint or a face scan. It has since introduced the Authenticator app, which allows users to log into their Microsoft account on their desktop using their phone.

Hero Rat is targetting your android devices

July 3rd, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

HeroRat, a nasty new Android remote access Trojan (RAT) is capable of giving anyone GUI-based control over an infected device.

It is spreading via third-party app stores and messaging services and can take complete control of infected devices. Currently the main target region seems to be Iran. It uses offers, like free Bitcoin, to trick users into downloading it, at which point it says it will not work on the affected system before apparently “uninstalling” itself. Instead it deletes its icon and registers itself with the attacker as a newly accessible device

Hero Rat relies on traditional methods to infect Android devices. Users are advised to install apps only from official sources, to keep update anti-malware software, and to always check app permissions.

Password ‘Spray attacks’ target ADFS

July 1st, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Be aware of ‘Password Spray’ style attacks which target ADFS. Attackers no longer simply launch ‘Brute Force Attack’ to guess someone’s password to gain access – they are adopting a stealthier approach to automate this process over a longer time frame so they don’t trigger any alerts.

The FBI released this Alert in late March 2018: Brute Force Attacks Conducted by Cyber Actors. This “Slow and Low” method is evermore commonplace and one area in particular tat has been targeted to externally facing ADFS. Malicious traffic can be hidden/masked amongst genuine traffic and when successful this offers very valuable credentials possibly even across more than one organisation .

ADFS must be connected to the public internet to work so it offers an attack vector. Review the informative article from Beau Bullock @ BlackHills InfoSec. Once you have determined the valid accounts, simply try all accounts with one password at a time and this should leave enough time between each attempt to allow the “lockout threshold” timeout to expire.

If ADFS itself is could be compromised to gain entry, then how can we improve the security around this authentication mechanism?

On 5 March 2018, Microsoft released an article on Azure AD and ADFS best practices –’ Defending against password spray attacks’, which covers how multi-factor authentication (MFA) and a number of other elements can be applied to improve security. Subsequently Microsoft released an updated and more improved article – ‘Monitor your ADFS sign-in activity using Azure AD Connect Health’s risky IP reports’.

With Azure AD Connect Health, Microsoft’s “Risky IP Reports” :
- Easily detect risky external IP addresses that are generating large numbers of failed logins
- Get instant email notifications when risky IP addresses are detected
- Download detailed reports to perform offline analysis or share within your organisation
- Customise your threshold settings to match the security policy of your organisation

A mechanism to differentiate a single user attack pattern versus multi-user attack pattern.

One simple indicator of malicious activity is: “Unique Users Attempted” ( a count of unique user accounts attempted from the IP address during the detection time window. This provides a mechanism to differentiate a single user attack pattern versus multi-user attack pattern.)

SharePoint 2019 – coming soon ask Synergy Software Systems

July 1st, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Microsoft recently announced SharePoint 2019 with lots of new features and capabilities, which are backed by Azure and Artificial Intelligence.

With the release of SharePoint 2019, the new platform provides features from the SharePoint Online world to on-premises users. SharePoint 2019 supports powerful, integrated hybrid scenarios out-of-the-box, and delivers user interface improvements: modern team sites, communication sites, list and libraries, pages, and news.

the SharePoint Framework eliminates major differences between sites on-premises and in Office 365.

The new SharePoint migration tool supports automated migration using PowerShell.

Any device: SharePoint 2019 helps ensure that you have access to the information regardless of the screen by which you access.

Navigation: The SharePoint 2019 navigation model aligns with Office 365.

New sites: Compelling communication and collaboration experiences for both cloud and on-premises.
- Communication Sites, Team News and modern Team Sites to include lists and libraries with broader data mobility. Use the Next Generation Sync Client support for reliable access to documents anywhere, anytime.

Business process improvements: With InfoPath for customising forms, Microsoft added PowerApps and Flow in the cloud. In SharePoint 2019, Microsoft has further improved support for building business processes with PowerApps and Flow.

SharePoint Home: A user can visit SharePoint Home and find all relevant sites or news in one place. Users in SharePoint 2019 will also be able to utilise this feature.

Prepare for cloud: SharePoint 2019, provides for improved hybrid scenarios and support.

Developers: Microsoft rolled out the SharePoint Framework capabilities from SharePoint 2016 via updates. In SharePoint 2019, expect to have SharePoint Framework web parts and extensions available to enable developers to build solutions aligned with a cloud model. This is the recommended path- especially if you are planning to take the road to the cloud soon.

Availability: SharePoint 2019 will be generally available in the second half of 2018. The new Office 2019 contains the well-known Office apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well as the Office server products such as Exchange, SharePoint and Skype for Business. Previews of the new products will start shipping mid-year 2018, the final release will be late 2018.

The SharePoint Server 2019 on-premises version is built on the foundational release of SharePoint Server 2016. The goal is to bring you closer to the cloud and the cloud closer to you.

What you can expect from SharePoint Server 2019 on-premises:
• NextGen OneDrive Sync Client, no support for SharePoint 2016
• PowerApps integration
• Team News and Communication sites, but no Hub Sites
• Modern UI
• InfoPath is still supported

Apply for the SharePoint Server on-premises TAP: https://aka.ms/sptap (Code: SPT232)

SQL training in Arabic – free on line course

June 26th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

A free video course presented in Arabic to help you learn about SQL Server 2012. The course covers a number of concepts important to database professionals such as installation, configuration, storage, backup, security and high availability/disaster recovery concepts. Ayman El-Ghazali narrates the course in the Arabic language and demonstrates the skills so you can follow along on your own instance. You can find the videos and more information here.

https://thesqlpro.com/ArabicSQL/