Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ category

Gitex 2018 – Synergy Software Systems

October 15th, 2018

A busy first day got Gitex off to a good start. This leading IT event in the MEA region is showcasing new technologies driving the digital revolution Artificial intelligence Is manifested in the form of robots, and a self driving taxi.

Drop by the Globaiis stand to see Filehold document management or catch up with our staff around the main hall or callus to arrange a meeting, 0097143365589

See this short overview video from Microsoft Gulf https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6457257933087522816

Microsoft is the fastest growing vendor in the enterprise Software as a Service (SaaS)

October 14th, 2018

A recent report from Synergy Research Group, indicates that Microsoft is the fastest growing vendor in the enterprise Software as a Service (SaaS) market with annual revenue growth of 45%.

The report, covering the year to Q2 2018, also puts Microsoft at number one in market share with 17% of the global enterprise SaaS market, ahead of: Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle and SAP.

The market for SaaS enterprise business applications: customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP), is still relatively small compared to on-premises software deployment accounts for 85% of total enterprise software spending.

Last quarter, the enterprise SaaS market generated $20 billion in revenues, a figure Synergy forecasts will continue to grow strongly “across all SaaS segments and all geographic regions”.

https://www.srgresearch.com/articles

Dynamics 365 with AI and mixed reality on preview

October 14th, 2018

Microsoft has added intelligent functionality to the Dynamics 365 platform released as previews this month,
This includes,
– three Artificial Intelligence (AI) apps deliver out-of-the-box AI functionality which can be applied, extended and customised without the need of in-house AI experts or writing any –code:.
- two mixed reality apps that use HoloLens.

Dynamics 365 AI for Sales
Dynamics 365 AI for Sales offers detailed insights into the sales pipeline and performance of sales teams. Next-step suggestions guide managers and salespeople to optimal outcomes.

Dynamics 365 AI for Customer Service
Dynamics 365 AI for Customer Service enables service managers to reduce support costs by taking advantage of natural language understanding and virtual agents powered by machine learning.

Dynamics 365 AI for Market Insights
Dynamics 365 AI for Market Insights delivers actionable insights across social media and the internet to enable marketing professionals to identify opportunities and react faster.

Dynamics 365 Remote Assist
Dynamics 365 Remote Assist uses the mixed reality capabilities of Microsoft HoloLens to provide a connection point between first-line workers and remote experts. Service personnel onsite can benefit from the knowledge and guidance of experts anywhere in the world through a holographic interface.

Dynamics 365 Layout
Dynamics 365 Layout allows users wearing HoloLens to walk around and manipulate a physical space overlaid with a holographic representation of design and layout.

Windows 10 and the ‘edge’

October 13th, 2018

Microsoft recently announced in ablog post. “Windows 10 IoT delivers innovation and intelligence at the edge with the October 2018 Update” The Windows 10 October 2018 update will deliver ‘edge’ intelligence with machine learning, industrial strength security, new silicon options, and additional monetization models for distributors and sellers for enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) projects.

The edge” is a theoretical space where a data center resource may be accessed in the minimum amount of time. The edge, in simple terms, is where you generate, collect, and analyze data i.e. where the data is generate. Edge computing technology is applied to smartphones, tablets, sensor-generated input, robotics, automated machines on manufacturing floors, and distributed analytics servers that are used for “on the spot” computing and analytics.

Traditional datacenter architecture is all about central computing powerhouses, from where information is sent and received across globally spread networks. Here, the larger the distance between the endpoint and the datacenter, the higher the response time. In many applications, this incrementally larger time gap is inconsequential. However, in many others, it’s critical. For example:
• when the computation required for rendering the content is carried out close enough to AR and VR devices.
• Autonomous vehicles require near real-time feedback from external networks to make course corrections and avoid collisions
• In IoT, many analytical actions need to be carried out closed to the devices that generate the source data.
• HD video content, if cached closer to large concentrations of people who’re likely to access it, means that providers can avoid large costs of transmission over networks provisioned by third-party carriers.
• Critical infrastructures such as oil and gas facilities require the highest levels of precautions to avoid system failures that could escalate into catastrophes. Edge computing allows for data from temperature and humidity sensors, IP camera, pressure and moisture sensors, and handheld devices. The data is analyzed, processed, and then sent back to users in near real-time, helping them prevent malfunctions.

Edge computing is all about achieving geographical distribution so that computing power can be taken closer to the endpoints that need it most. So, instead of only relying on a dozen giant datacenters, edge computing provides for the cloud to come closer to places/people/devices where there’s a business case for reducing response times even by a few hundred microseconds.

Critical security and safety systems always need to function on premises. You need these systems to operate or fail in a safe state regardless of what happens to the cloud or the connection. The simplest on-premises approach is a big red shut-off button on each machine. Azure IoT Edge enables a more complex safety system.
Example: You monitor the temperature across a range of machines and if the combined temperature gets too high you need to shut down all machines to prevent damage or risk to human operators. A safety system at the level of the individual machine is not enough, because it can’t track combined temperature across multiple machines. Your safety system needs to be one level higher to monitor and control multiple machines, and you can do this with Azure IoT Edge.

• By 2020, it’s expected that there will be more than 5,600 million smart sensors and connected IoT devices across the globe.
• The data generated by these devices will be to the tune of 5,000+ zettabytes.
• The IoT market size is expected to reach $724 billion by the end of 2023.

Most of this data will be generated at enterprise endpoints located on the “edge” — such as sensors, machines, smartphones, wearable devices, etc. We can consider these to be located on the “edge” because they’re far away from the central datacenter of the organization.

This massive data can’t simply be relayed to the central server because it will overwhelm the entire network. Enterprises will implement edge computing so that massive data doesn’t have to be transported to corporate datacenters. Instead, advanced operational analytics will happen at the remote facilities, to enable site managers and individuals to act in real time on the available information.

Microsoft Windows 10 customers can now commercialize devices with new servicing options:
• A Semi-Annual Servicing Channel, offers two feature update releases per year,
• A Long-Term Servicing Channel, provides security and quality updates without any new features over a 10-year period. The long-term model is ideal for commercial IoT devices, including point-of-sale systems, ATMs, and industrial equipment controllers, which all require strong security and fewer feature updates.

A new cloud service subscription, called Windows 10 IoT Core Services, offers companies the services to commercialize a device on Windows 10 IoT Core, including both long-term OS support, and services to manage device updates and assess device health. This will help device manufacturers to lower support costs, and will help distributors create better business models to create customer value.

Microsoft has added the ability to do more work at the edge, including: machine learning, event processing, and image recognition, “Seamless integration with Azure IoT Edge brings cloud intelligence and analytics securely to Windows 10 IoT devices at scale,”

Windows Machine Learning allows developers to use pre-trained machine learning models in their applications, which can be evaluated and adjusted as needed at the edge.

Microsoft also added support for NXP i.MX 6, 7 and 8M series processors to Windows 10 IoT Core.

Windows 10 IoT also includes turnkey support for both Azure IoT Device Management and Microsoft Intune to provide more scalable device management for enterprise IoT deployments.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/microsoft-azure-enables-a-new-wave-of-edge-computing-here-s-how/

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/iot-edge/about-iot-edge

https://www.zdnet.com/article/where-the-edge-is-in-edge-computing-why-it-matters-and-how-we-use-it/

The acatech Industrie 4.0 Maturity Index is a six-stage maturity model that analyses the capabilities in the areas of resources, information systems, culture and organisational structure that are required by companies operating in a digitalised industrial environment.

https://www.acatech.de/Publikation/industrie-4-0-maturity-index-managing-the-digital-transformation-of-companies/

Windows 10 Oct update – pulled.

October 9th, 2018

Microsoft has stopped distributing its latest Windows 10 October 2018 Update.
it was rolling out the update during the company’s Surface event earlier this week, when some Windows 10 users noticed their documents were being deleted. from the C:/Users/[username]/Documents/ folder.
“We have paused the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) for all users as we investigate isolated reports of users missing some files after updating,” says Microsoft on its support site for Windows Update.

Microsoft recommends that affected users contact the company directly – , and if you’ve manually downloaded the October update then “please don’t install it and wait until new media is available.”

Other Windows 10 users have complained that the Microsoft Edge browser and other store apps were unable to connect to the internet after the October 2018 Update, and the update was even blocked on certain PCs due to Intel driver incompatibilities.

Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Enterprise- ask Synergy Software Systems

October 2nd, 2018

With D365 for Finance and Operations, organizations are able to automate their supply chain and make informed decisions while maintaining accuracy throughout financial reporting. Contact the UAE’s oldest Dynamics Partner to find out hpw why Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations can help your organization to making timely, informed, smarter decisions.

D365 for Finance and Operations has many features that improve and streamline business processes, therefore making the lives of accounting and finance professionals’ easier. With outstanding security, there is no reason to worry that your information will not be safe. D365 for Finance and Operations also provides easy integration between other D365 applications like D365 for Talent or D365 for Sales. D365 for Finance and Operations is also available on-premise and cloud based so you can choose what works for your organization. Here’s more information on why Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations is right for you:

Outstanding Security

Running a business can be extremely overwhelming so it’s best to know that your data is safe. With Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations there are a few features that ensure you are as stress-free as possible regarding security. D365 for Finance and Operations includes out-of-box security reports to help manage security roles. D365 for Finance and Operations uses role-based security in which users are assigned individual security roles. Role-based security restricts access for users therefore keeping information safe and reliable.

Effortless Integration

Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations integrates beautifully with Office 365 and other Dynamics 365 applications. For example, with the CRM tracking option in Office 365, you can track the customer data within an email. Also, with a cloud-based solution, you have easy access to information anywhere at any time, making integration as easy as possible.

On-Premise & Cloud Based Options

D365 for Finance and Operations is available with an on-premise option or cloud based option. This way, you can decide what is best for your organization financially. With both options, there are pros and cons so being able to choose what deployment option works best for you is a plus when it comes to D365 for Finance and Operations.

Lots of new features coming in the October 2018 update.

Ask us about:
Synergy Software Systems D365 localised Payroll – already live in the the U.A.E.
Our Advanced Power BI reporting models.

AI why will it make any difference?

October 1st, 2018

For all the talk around the rise of AI, or Artificial Intelligence, the technology isn’t new. We use AI in our daily lives.

Predictive text is the most visible example.Google searches, Word spellcheck are examples. You frequently text a friend to meet at the mall. You type: “Meet me at the …” Your phone suggests “park” or another common place to meet. Over time, your phone learns, and the suggestions start to prioritize “mall” over other words.

A basic case is that AI:
• takes data,
• analyzes it,
• implements a solution (suggesting the next word),
• evaluates the results (recognizing that you almost always type “bar” with that friend),
• and then repeats the process with improved recommendations based on data.
• Over time, the system grows smarter.

Typically ‘triggers’ to execute a ‘script’ were ways to automate processes. A log fiel is mintored and akey word triggers a support ticket, or runs a script.Over time thje system learns and can predict and run checks before the error happens.
Other examples of AI in everyday life include pricing on ridesharing apps, facial recognition in social media and even non-player characters in video games.

Until recently, the technology was available to a few companies with deep pockets. To take advantage of AI, you had to have a big data center, specialized software and data scientists in house. We’ve reached a tipping point. With cloud-based technology, companies of all sizes can more easily plug into AI-infused applications at a much lower entry cost.
AI is the next big disrupter in many industries.

Let’s look at the wholesale trading industry. Here are two ways you can leverage AI to benefit a business:
Optimize where a team spends their time.
- Imagine the ability to direct your Accounts Receivable team to the late-paying customers that are most likely to respond.
– AI can help distributors differentiate between those who aren’t going to pay and need to be turned over to collections, and those who are more likely to pay with just one phone call.
- AI could also direct a call centre team to focus on certain times of day to increase the likelihood someone picks up the phone. Given the importance of cashflow to distributors, this is a powerful application of the technology.
- The same idea goes for a sales team. With which customers should they be spending more time? AI can identify the data points that influence purchasing, such as whether a prospect downloaded a whitepaper, they have an account exec assigned to them, or they have previously purchased related products.

It could even be something you can’t control, like the weather forecast. If it’s going to be 110 degrees, you can expect an uptick in sales of air conditioning units or parts to fix them in certain geographies. AI can identify these opportunities for salespeople. AI then adjusts those recommendations based on how customers respond, and the cycle continues.

Grow sales and margin with existing customers.
When a customer is checking out on a website, via your call center, at the counter or through another channel, how can you engage them more? Enter AI. For example, let’s say that data show that electrical contractor customers of a particular size regularly buy red, green, white and black 10-gauge copper wire at the same time. So when an electrical contractor of that size selects just red, green and white, a salesperson should be prompted to ask: “Are you forgetting black?” Chances are, the customer will add black wire to the basket.

To identify those relationships, however, and to code them into your system is a lot of work. We can do much of this already with BI analysis and on screen prompts.Add to that the evaluation of whether the offers were effective – how often they were accepted, how often they weren’t (and why) – and adjusting for that on the next sale, or updating sales scripts and offers. It becomes increasingly difficult if not impossible to do that manually across thousands of products.
AI can do this far more quickly and effectively than a human can, and can have a big impact on the top line. A foodservice distributor grew sales volume by 5% nearly overnight after turning on an AI-powered cross-sell and upsell recommendation engine on their website.

This is not just about selling online. Sure Distributors use cross-sell/upsell technology to grow share across their channels. However, they can also provide more meaningful, targeted content to make the customer’s selection process smoother and better informed, to draw his attention to designs or offers that are likely to be of interest, and so on. The ROI can be huge, and it requires very little upfront work by humans.

Pricing software is a more mature application of AI-based technology, determining the optimal price for a particular item based on lost sales, historical sales volume, competitor pricing, and potential for up sell or cross sell or repeat sell. and other data points. Hotels and airlines use revenue yield management. If it’s a business trip they may feel you will spend more in their restaurant on an expense account. I may only book when rates are cheap but I might always eat in house use, pay tv, and order wine with my meal and be a more profitable customer. If my rooms for tonight or my airline seats are less than 50% sold then I might discount heavily to ensure I sell enough to cover costs, but once past 80% I may charge a premium price because you may be desperate with little choice and a few high value sales will make up for the one or two I lose.

If a product has excess stock and is nearing the end of its shelf life, or a cinema is going to be half empty then AI can auto trigger instant sms sales promotions or happy hours but can it learn and predict and better tune the films shown in a given cinema, and whether average clothes sizes are trending bigger, or whether some colours and sizes will sell better in one branch than another and how that correlates with other data, How much is spent on marketing, what other sales are happening nearby, are temperatures going to rise, what si te epxcted change on the exchange rate or inflation rate or oil price and will that affect the number of tourist, and will revised parking fees affect who shows where and when?

is this a Big Brother nightmare, or does it mean that we are going to get better service because what we need to buy is going to be in stock even before we realise we need it.

As new younger generation z employees are hired into purchasing roles, they expect the kind of customer experience that AI-powered technology can deliver. This technology is here now. It’s not just a technical decision. There are real business benefits to using AI, including growing average order size, boosting margins and tightening customer relationships.

Windows 10 October 2018 Update – Synergy Software Systems review

September 26th, 2018

Windows 10 known as version 1809 and codenamed Redstone 5 during its development process,continues to add new features and improve existing ones. Some expected changes didn;t make it like adding tabs to applications with Sets.

The control panel lives but the Fluent Design System is applied to more Windows elements.

The snipping feature is changed (again). The new Snip & Sketch tool lets you draw on it and add annotations, including arrows and highlights. This clipping tool appears when you press Windows+Shift+S to open it. However, there’s a setting under Settings > Ease of Access > Keyboard that makes the new tool appear when you press the Print Screen key on your keyboard

This major upgrade includes a clipboard history that syncs between your devices and a dark theme for File Explorer. access by pressing Windows+V. Optionally synchronize this clipboard history between your devices, i.e.a clipboard that synchronizes itself between your PCs or click an icon in the clipboard popup to psync manually, and prevent Windows from synchronizing potentially sensitive data like passwords and credit card numbers. In future, Microsoft will likely add support for the cloud clipboard to its SwiftKey keyboard for Android, iPhone, and iPad to copy and paste between your phone or tablet and your Windows PC.

As Microsoft puts it, “SwiftKey gives you more accurate autocorrections and predictions by learning your writing style.” It also offers swipe-to-type support, letting you type by swiping your finger from letter to letter rather than tapping each letter.”

A key feature is integration with Android devices to quickly access recent phone photos and to view and nd reply to text messages, which is powered by services included in the October 2018 Update, However, its delivered via the separate Your Phone app, which needed much more development according to ZDNet. The “Your Phone” app will bring Windows 10’s smartphone integration features together and make these easier to set up. Microsoft has put a shortcut to this app on the default desktop. For Android phone users running Android 7.0 or newer, the Your Phone app lets you text from your PC and instantly access photos from your phone on your PC. In the future, Microsoft plans to add syncing notifications from your Android phone, which is already available in the Cortana app,

iPhone users get fewer features due to Apple’s platform restrictions. The “Continue on PC” feature is available for both iPhone and Android users to use a smartphone’s share sheet to send a link viewed on a phone to a PC, to quickly go from the small screen to the big screen. This feature existed on Windows 10, and the Your Phone app makes these easier to discover and set up.

The Start menu’s search feature, also known as the Cortana search feature, now has search previews. When you start typing to search for something, Windows will show you a preview pane with more information about your result.
If the Start menu decides a web search is the best result for your search, hen you’ll see the Bing search results in the Start menu. When you search for an application, you’ll see options like “Pin to Start” for that application, and a document preview when Windows decides a particular document on your PC is the best result. When you search for an application, you’ll see a “Go To Download” button in the search preview pane that will take you straight to its download page.
Along with this change, it’s no longer possible to disable web search in the Start menu via Group Policy.

(i’m probably going to hate that change!, I don’t appreciate Windows and Office trying to second guess what I want to do, but i am sure many will see the benefits of this feature.)

There are also a lot ot tweaks to Edge i don;t have time to cover.
Many other geeky changes for example

• Bluetooth Battery Levels in Settings: see Bluetooth battery percentages on the Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & Other Devices screen. This works with devices that support this feature—like Microsoft’s Surface Pen. You will see a notification when one of these devices is low on battery power.
• Privacy Notifications: If your privacy settings block access to your microphone in an app, you’ll see a pop-up notification informing you the first time an app is stopped from accessing your microphone.
• Focus Assist Improvements: Focus Assist now turns on automatically to reduce your interruptions when you’re playing any full-screen game. Previously, this feature only supported full-screen DirectX games.
• Adjust Video Based on Lighting: There’s a new “Adjust video based on lighting” option under Apps > Video Playback. When enabled, Windows 10 uses your device’s brightness sensor to automatically adjust video playback to make it more visible based on the lighting around you. For example, it may make dark scenes brighter if you’re watching in a very bright room.

Microsoft Ignite agenda insights to the future road map

August 14th, 2018

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

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.

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

July 23rd, 2018

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

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

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

Sharepoint Updates

July 8th, 2018

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.

Password ‘Spray attacks’ target ADFS

July 1st, 2018

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.)