Archive for the ‘Technology’ category

XP workarounds

April 14th, 2014

Microsoft has officially ended support for Windows XP .
In 2013, more than 70 percent of Microsoft’s security patches affected Windows XP.
Opinons range that from 14 to 25% + of Windows users are still on Xp
An estimated 95 percent of all the ATM machines in the world run XP, and JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, and Wells Fargo are also reportedly concluding deals for extended support from Microsoft.

The UK government has signed a similar deal, paying 5.5 million euros for 12 months of support for XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003. That deal covers the national and local government, charities, schools and the country’s National Health Service. The national government told news media that OS upgrades are expected to be completed for most of the XP users by April of next year.

What does that mean for your due diligence in trading relationships with such companies?

As C level Executive how does this square with your SOX, ITIL or other compliance obligations?

If you stick with Xp then how do others now view you? What can you do about it?. Start by reading the post the link above. It gives good advise and

Last Tuesday patch day was the last xp patches so make the most of those. There were two crtical vulnerabilities fixed.

SQL patches March 2014

March 23rd, 2014

The SQL Server team has released SQL Server 2012 SP1 Cumulative Update #9.
• KB Article: KB #2931078
• Build # is 11.0.3412
• Currently there are 29 public fixes listed (33 total)
Relevant for builds 11.0.3000 -> 11.0.3411.
Do not attempt to install on SQL Server 2012 RTM (any build < 11.0.3000) or any other major version

March 2014 Cumulative Update for SQL Server 2008 SP3

Microsoft has also released SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 Cumulative Update #16
•Build # 10.00.5852
• KB Article: KB #2936421
• 2 public fixes
• Relevant for builds 10.00.5500 -> 10.00.5851
• NOT for SQL Server 2008 R2 (10.50.xxxx)

The small number of fixes (and zero fixes for the engine) is telling: this is almost certainly the last service pack for SQL Server 2008, support for this version ends in July. If you’re still on 2008 (and I know some of you are still on 2005 and even 2000, and ), its time to start considering moving on

SQL 2014 coming soon

March 19th, 2014

Microsoft released the latest version of its SQL Server database, SQL Server 2014, to manufacturing on March 18.

SQL Server 2014 will be available to customers as of 1 April 2014 (and that is not an April fool’s joke.)

The newest version of SQL Server’s biggest new feature is its built-in in-memory online transaction processing (OLTP) capability, which Microsoft has said can improve database performance up to 30 times (not 30 percent — 30 times) without any code changes to existing applications or hardware.

The in-memory OLTP engine is codenamed “Hekaton.” with capabilities to complement the in-memory data-warehousing and business-intelligence capabilities that are already in SQL Server.

With traditional database models, the assumption is that data lives on disk and is stored on disk pages which creates a lot of overhead when you try to access records. When data lives totally in memory, much, much simpler data structures can be used. Hekaton indexes of data structures and storage structures are optimized on the basis that when a table is declared memory-optimized, all of its records live in memory.”

New concurrency-control mechanisms remove barriers to scalability. It moved away from a partitioned multi core approach to a latch-free/lock-free design. (Latches are synchronization mechanisms designed to avoid data corruption caused when multiple users try to modify a data structure concurrently, .)

The indexing system for high-speed data access, is referred to as the “Bw-tree.” which gives much improved processor-cache performance, in SQL Server 2014t.

SQL Server 2014 is also designed to back up more simply and seamlessly to Windows Azure, enabling users to back up their on-premises data to the cloud at an instance-level for disaster-recovery purposes. Backups can be automatic or manual, and a backup can be restored to a Windows Azure Virtual Machine, if need be.

Only the Enterprise version of SQL 2014 includes Hekaton support. The Standard, BI, Web and Express SKUs do not.

Power BI and BI4Dynamics

March 13th, 2014

We will show you how to take advantage of Power BI to:

· Connect external sources and create new structures.
· Visualize data with Power View.
· Explore geospatial data using Power Map.
· Answer questions with natural query language.

Let us show you:

How BI4Dynamics data structures can work together with Power BI?

Which visualization features offered with Power BI are even better than standard Excel features.

XP – time is running out to upgrade.

March 7th, 2014

Microsoft will cease support of XP from 8 April this year, so now is the time both to update your software and to migrate to a new operating system.

Document Management – Dubai, U.A.E., Qatar, Kuwait, KSA, Oman, Bahrain – anywhere! Synergy Software Systems

March 4th, 2014

As we move more and more into the digital world the need to access documents electronically, anytime anywhere is of increasing importance. To complement our financial and erp systems we have also provide solutions such as fax software, print management software and document management. Many erp systems have some facility for document linking or attachment e.g Dynamics CRM and Dynamics Ax. However the document repository is usually best kept outside the erp system for many reasons e.g.:
- Users need an erp license to access documents stored in an erp system
- Documents stored in an erp system are usually static in contact because those relate to specific transactions and time and should not be subject to changes and version control.
- Documents take up database space and increase the size of the erp system back ups thereby extending downtime on the operational system
- There may be document workflow processes outside of erp.
- OCR scanning and searching are generally not supported within erp systems

Filehold is a modern feature rich comprehensive document system which integrates with SharePoint and we extend it with Arabic OCR. It is available on premise or on-cloud.

There are several considerations to select and to introduce a document management system. For example:

How many documents?
What types of documents?
What is the mix of document types e.g., what % are created soft copy by applications e.. erp systems, email systems and thus don’t need scanning or physical printing and filing , and how many are received as hard copies e.g. faxes, or printed contracts?
Do you receive faxes as hard copy print outs or do you use a fax software to send and to receive?
How many users?
How many locations?
Will hard copy documents need to be scanned?
If so, then will there be a central scanning department or will users have individual access to scanners?
Do you already have scanners in place?
Is OCR scan conversion required?
If so then does this need to be multi lingual e.g. Arabic or English?
Do you need to ocr scan dual language within the same document? e.g. a bi-lingual Arabic-English contract?
How much integration is needed to other systems and how easy is this e.g. from within email systems, or within erp systems?
will the document management system work with you collaboration system e.g. SharePoint?
Does it offer version controls?
Does it offer workflow approval processes?
What will be done about legacy hard copy documents- how many are there?
How long would it take to unbind, scan, ocr convert, index, and then re-file?
Does it provide the right security Access controls to digital documents rather than to physical documents?
Which physical documents will still also be filed?
How should it be phased in e.g. by one function or one department at a time?

Business case?
For a knowledge-worker time is money. If the average annual cost of an engineer is ~$100k then how much of that workers time is consumed searching for amendments in paper contracts?

Modern businesses create complex contracts that often require multiple revisions and many authorizations. Creating and managing those contracts electronically in a document management system saves time and frustration and ensures that everyone is working with the most current version of a document.

Filehold provides important features for contract management that : maintains security, allows users to collaborate, provides alerts and reminders as to contract expiration or renewal dates. It is essential that the solution allows project users at site users to look at and even check out contract documents from anywhere in the world from where they have access to the Internet.

Engineering organizations and engineering departments create large and complex design and report documents. Being able to put these documents into a document management workflow for review and approval saves time and money. Tight version control ensures everyone uses with the most recent version of a document.

There are obvious cost saving benefits stemming from document management such as reduced printing, postage, and physical storage costs. The more significant benefits from the business impacts:
• Rapid find and search of key data and files for timely decision making based on all the related information
• Version control to ensure the correct prices, designs and contractual terms are used.
• Streamlined electronic processes,
• Support for compliance and audit trails and avoidance of legal disputes

If you are drowning in documents and want to streamline our business, reduce errors, improve collaboration, reduce errors and ensure compliance then document management is often one of the fastest solutions to implement with the quickest ROI.

Ask us for a demo: 00971 43365589

Power map for Excel

March 2nd, 2014

In Office Service Pack 1,Power Map isnative to Excel. No longer a preview add-in, Power Map can now be found on the “Insert” tab in Excel for Office 365 ProPlus customers.

Subscription customers will have access to all the new and upcoming features of Power Map, from new types of data visualizations on the Bing map, to new 3-D analysis features, to new ways of storytelling with your “tours”.

Power Map allows you to quickly visualize geospatial data that you have already brought into Excel with Power Query and mashed-up with Power Pivot. Power Map also provides an immersive 3-D data exploration experience, supplementing the self-service visualization capabilities of Power View dashboards sharable through Power BI for Office 365.

The general availability of Power Map is world-wide, with support for all 40 languages that Office supports.

Remove admin rights and prevent >90% + of your security problems

March 2nd, 2014

Avecto a market leading privilege management firm analyzed data from security bulletins issued by Microsoft throughout 2013. it concldued that:

- 92% of all vulnerabilities reported by Microsoft with a critical severity rating can be mitigated by removing admin rights,
the same goes for:
- 96% of critical vulnerabilities affecting Windows operating systems, – - – 91% critical vulnerabilities affecting Microsoft Office
- 100% of vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer.

When malware infects a user with admin rights, it can cause incredible damage locally, as well as on a wider network.

Employees with admin rights have access to install, modify and delete software and files and to change system settings.

Paul Kenyon, co-founder and EVP of Avecto said: “It’s astounding just how many vulnerabilities can be overcome by the removal of admin rights. “

Apple bug -as bad as it gets

March 2nd, 2014

Apple acknowledged has a major security flaw in its software for mobile devices and most users aren’t aware of just how at risk they might be if they fail to update their software. Mac computers could be even more exposed to attacks.

A Secure Socket Layer (SSL) vulnerability allowing hackers to intercept information that is supposed to encrypted. If an attacker hsd access to the same network over an unsecured WiFi connection then he could impersonate a protected site such as Facebook or Gmail and alter any data passed between the iPhone and the site.

Johns Hopkins University cryptography professor Matthew Green summarized it succinctly to Reuters: “It’s as bad as you could imagine, that’s all I can say.”

IE Vulnerabilities 30% or more of internet users at risk

February 17th, 2014

Microsoft late Thursday said that both Internet Explorer 10 and its predecessor, IE9, were under attack by hackers exploiting an unpatched flaw in the browsers. The extension of the vulnerability to IE9 followed confirmation earlier yesterday that active attacks are compromising the newer IE10 and hijacking PCs running the browser.

With both IE9 and IE10 vulnerable and under attack, it means that about a third of all those using Internet Explorer are at risk.
Milpitas, Calif.-based FireEye was the first to spot the attacks, and said that they had been aimed at IE10 as part of a campaign targeting current and former U.S. military personnel when they visited the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) website.

San Diego security company Websense said it had found evidence that the exploit may have been used as early as Jan. 20, or more than three weeks ago.Websense also speculated that those earlier attacks had been aimed at visitors to a French aerospace association’s website. Members of the organization, GIFAS (Groupement des Industries Francaises Aeronautiques et Spatiales), include defense and space contractors and subcontractors.

Microsoft’s advice to customers is that they upgrade to IE11 -(not possible for those still running Windows Vista. Most Vista users are likely running IE9, since Microsoft automatically upgraded their copies from IE7 or IE8 to the then-new IE9 in the first half of 2012.

Dynamics AX mobile logistics – Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

January 21st, 2014

AX Anywhere offers Dynamics AX mobile logistics solutions for your business. we were the first partner to implement this system in Dubai and it has contributed to the customers significant growth in new business over the last two years. In fast moving systems real time update are essential. The more data to enter the greater the risk of mistakes. With a mobile solution you can capture document id, item code, batch code, serial code etc. with fast accurate bar code scans.

When there are crucial differences in structural or chemical properties, or part dimensions then the risk of error in data entry is not just administrative correction but may result in catastrophic failure after shipment.

Dynamics AX Anywhere offers mobile solutions for various business processes that are standard to the Dynamics AX experience, particularly in the areas of trade and logistics, production, sales and retail. In the trade and logistics realm, this product offers the mobile flexibility companies, especially those without a WMS, need while maintaining any level of security required.

AX Anywhere allows users to: receive, transfer, count, adjust and pick goods from any mobile device.

AX Anywhere gives companies the option of their users initiate any of these processes by scanning (or keying in) data, by selecting from a list (such as a list of shipments or products) or by working off of a user-created journal that directs the mobile user on exactly what products to count or move.

End user training time and cost in the warehouse is significantly reduced – no need to learn Ax transactions and navigation. Choose a transaction, enter document id, enter item code and quantity, and the rest is automated.

Receiving – scan, key in or select a product from a list to initiate a receipt. Begin the receiving process by selecting an already created item arrival journal.
Transfer order – scan, key in or select a transfer order from a list to initiate a transfer order between warehouses.
Move/Put-away – A, key in or select a product from a list to initiate a product transport within the warehouse via a transfer journal. ahead of time create a transfer journal in AX that contains a list of specific product moves you want to make, and then have a user in the warehouse select that journal with AX Anywhere to perform the moves.
Pallet transport – scan or key in a pallet license plate (LP) to initiate a pallet transport.
Count – scan, key in or select a product from a list to initiate a product count. Optionally, create a count journal ahead of time to specify the products and locations to count. Then a user can select that journal with AX Anywhere and perform the counts.
Adjust – perform a profit/loss stock adjustment on any product by simply scanning, keying in or selecting that product from a list.
Pick – scan, key in or select a shipment number from a list to initiate a pick.

There are several additional options available for customizing AX Anywhere to fit your needs through the use of parameter settings:

Allow the scanning of a GTIN to determine the unit ID used for a receipt, count or pick.
Prefill pallet quantity will assign a predetermined pallet quantity when receiving.
Turn on or off the requirement of scanning a location, item, batch, pick bin or license plate when picking.
Enter a note after picking is completed.
Print a pick license plate after picking is completed.
Auto-ship when items on a transfer order are picked.
Automatically enter the quantity when scanning an EAN128 during counting.
Set a deviation quantity for cycle counting

AX Anywhere also provides information on any product or pallet LP through the use of inquiries. For example, scan or key in a product number to view a list locations and quantities of that product within the warehouse.

AX Anywhere supports any device with a browser, and data is 100% real-time within AX.
It is integrated within AX, so implementation is quick and easy to replace current manual processes and will improve your operation’s productivity, accuracy and cost-effectiveness.

Ask us for details-better still see a working system.

Synergy at the Microsoft CRM 2013 Gulf launch in Dubai

January 15th, 2014

Our Dynamics CRM team visited Microsoft Gulf offices yesterday for the official launch of CRM 2013 for this region. As readers of this blog know we were working on this version throughout the last quarter and eagerly awaiting its official release.

Aishwarya updated me on the announcement made at the meeting that Microsoft has acquired Parature . Parature is a 13-year-old company that delivers Web- and mobile-access knowledge-bases, live chat, survey and feedback systems, and social monitoring and response functionality. The Herndon, Va.-based firm has more than 500 customers with over 70 million end users licences.

About 13 years ago, a group of five Cornell University undergraduates started a business out of their dorm, based on one simple product: a free Internet-based instant messaging service. That company, Parature, has now built a strong foothold in key industries such as: education, gaming, high-tech, non-profit associations, online media, public sector, and travel.

Major brands include:, Asure Software, ATRA, Brenau University, BuilderMT, CompTIA, e-MDs, EPA, Florida Atlantic University, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, IGN Entertainment, iWin, NASA SEWP, PlayFirst, SoftChalk, Threadless, Top Down Systems, TMA Resources, and Travel Lodge UK.

Parature is the industry’s leading provider of cloud-based customer engagement solutions and it takes a personalized approach to web-based customer service & help desk software. It provides:-

1. Key, self-service, knowledge base software
2. Core customer service
3. Live chat
4. Mobile access
5. Survey and feedback capabilities
6. Social monitoring
7. Facebook portal capabilities
8. Automated customer service
9. Ability to manage online discussion boards
10. On-line surveys

Parature, will integrate multiple channels, such as social, email, Web-based chat, and Web self-service. The two companies have already partnered for more than a year, so a pre-built integration is already available to connect Parature’s cloud-based apps to Dynamics CRM.

This is addition to Microsoft’s acquisitions last year of NetBreeze and Marketing Pilot.

Bank Regulatory Reporting for 2014 in the G.C.C.

January 6th, 2014

Banks today have to contend with increasingly stringent regulations in various stages of development and implementation.

Furthermore, new regulations impact financial institutions at a global, regional and national level and continue to be issued at a rapid rate. Regulators want to shape a stronger financial and economic reality but this brings about a counter situation in which operational costs rise as a direct consequence of changes in the regulatory landscape.

The financial climate of this new era of banking is unarguably complex and unforgiving, and stricter regulations regarding data quality, more frequent reporting and greater aggregation of risk data, IT and operations are proving to be unwieldy to most financial institutions.

A new set of regulations are theoretically now in force for FATCA. While questions about the final regulations remain, the first important deadline for implementing system and process changes has arrived. From January 2014, FFIs who have entered into an agreement with the IRS must have adopted their procedures for opening new accounts to ensure capture of U.S. indicia. Soon screening of pre-existing relationships will also begin. Designed as a tool to counteract tax evasion, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act requires additional reporting requirements for all US citizens overseas. It also means substantial compliance obligations for all non-US financial institutions worldwide. Bankers say all banks in the UAE will be forced to comply as they must rely on US correspondent banks to clear dollar denominated transactions. Non compliance could invite sanctions that could include withdrawal of US dollar clearing rights with correspondent banks.

Act now, and choose proven technology to support your regulatory reporting. Synergy Software Systems a proven local specialist for more than 20 years in the implementation and support of financial and reporting solutions ensures an effective and cost-efficient path to compliance. BRSAnalytics is purpose built to address regulatory requirements with an automated pre-built data warehouse and reporting framework.

Below are listed some of its core features. Tomorrow I will highlight the benefits these bring.

Ad-hoc data drill-downs and drill-ups reporting
Following the submission of reports to the regulator, it is common to receive queries from the regulator on specific figures. The solution provides the facility to address this requirement by allowing easy-to-use data-drilling and ad hoc analytics.

Support and audit of full reporting cycle
The solution provides a single environment from which the business user can manage the full reporting cycle; from data loading, to data checking and validations, from data querying, to report generation and report submission. Moreover, the solution keeps track of and also audits all historic activities.

Customisable engine and reporting
The core engine of the solution allows business users to customise and add business rules to the underlying calculations without any programming interventions. Furthermore, the reporting layer allows changes or additions to the reports, both in terms of content as well as layout. System authorised personnel, such as power users, may also assign the rights to modify reference data mappings. This increases flexibility and prevents changes being either overlooked or forgotten.

Standard data interface layer
The solution provides a standard data interface that clearly defines the data fields and file formats required by the solution to produce the regulatory reports. This facilitates the implementation of the solution by keeping an abstracted layer from any back-end source systems.

Supports XBRL submission format
Over 30 regulators across the world have mandated XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) as the required electronic reporting format. The primary driver for XBRL adoption is the provision of a systematic reporting framework in which institutions domiciled in different countries may easily be compared. BRSANALYTICS has been developed so that it can be easily extended to support this format (with COREP and FINREP reports bearing over 35,000 data points. Source: EBA), thus satisfying the reporting requirements of such jurisdictions.

Consolidated group reporting
Consolidated reporting requirements of bank subsidiaries vary depending on the country in which they operate. Group reporting of multi-regional banks to head offices is made possible through BRSANALYTICS. The solution provides different reporting views of data as a result of the multiple Chart of Accounts hierarchies that can be structured within the application. This provides easy reporting configurations, be it for internal, subsidiary and/or the group.

Security lapses already in 2014 – useful infographic

January 5th, 2014

Three days ago, Snapchat released a response to security professionals at Gibson Security who claimed numerous exploits of the app’s API.
Snapshot replied they had implemented various safeguards to make it more difficult to do.

Those safeguards weren’t enough. A team of hackers posted 4.6 million usernames and phone numbers of Snapchat users as a downloadable just before midnight on Tuesday. The data is partially obfuscated by blurring the last two digits of each user’s phone number. The anonymous hackers hinted that they might turn over the raw data to the ‘right party’.

On New Year’s Eve it was reported that the USA’s National Security Agency hacked into SEA-Me-We-4, a subsea cable system that connects Europe to Asia via the Middle East and North Africa, according to documents seen by German news site, Spiegel Online International. The documents, part of the haul of information leaked by computer analyst and whistleblower, Edward Snowden, reveal that the NSA’s dedicated hacking unit, the TAO (Tailored Access Operations) “successfully collected network management information for the SEA-Me-We Undersea Cable Systems (SMW-4)” on February 13, 2013.

FoxIT, reported on its blog that a number of its clients had encountered infections on or before 3 January after they visited “Based on a sample of traffic we estimate the number of visits to the malicious site to be around 300,000 per hour,” FoxIT claimed on its blog.

The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a group of hackers that supports the Syrian government, has claimed credit for hacking Skype’s official blog, Facebook and Twitter feeds last Wednesday.The group claimed that the attack on Skype, which is owned by Microsoft, was in retaliation for Microsoft’s alleged involvement in spying by the US National Security Agency.

Not a good start to 2014 for security for one last year’s hot apps.

At the end of 2013 Reuters reported that a hacker secretly took over a computer server at the BBC, Britain’s public broadcaster, and then launched a Christmas Day campaign to convince other cyber criminals to pay him for access to the system. The BBC’s security team responded to the issue last Saturday and believes it has secured the site. A BBC spokesman helpfully stated “We do not comment on security issues,” .

So you might like to take a look at this infographic from Deloitte.

Cloud security- what do you need to consider?

December 30th, 2013

if you are considering moving enterprise solutions to the cloud then this article offers some common sense considerations.