Archive for the ‘Microsoft Dynamics CRM’ category

EAM, field service, IOT and Holo lens -ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

February 17th, 2018

The digital world is already here and what seemed science fiction few years back we now accept as everyday. Voice activated commands on our smear phone now also query our databases and update our dashboards, remote medical checks are done at an atm, artificial intelligence and big data influence our live every time we log onto google, amazon, facebook or ring a callcentre.

We have been investigating IoT for over a year, particularly with regard to condition monitoring for asset management and several of our team were involved in recent training that included a hands on session for Microsoft Field Services. This is built on the Dynamics 365 platform as an extension of CRM and offer comprehensive features for field service: help desk, engineer scheduling and mobile operations. Field service is aimed at service companies with a large field force of service engineers and is typically integrated with erp systems and thus the overall project can be quite complex. To reduce the risk and implementation time we offer a proven accelerator.

We also offer a Enterprise Asset Management suite which is successfully deployed in several leading UAE companies for a number of years particularly for asset tracking.

In Dynamics 365/2012 for Ax EAM also needs to consider that both engineers and equipment may be sued is production or on projects. Thus engineering and maintenance scheduling also has to consider in house planned and breakdown maintenance and servicing and more complex overhauls and asset structures, the impact of equipment downtime on production schedules and much more. We offer a Microsoft certified isv integrated suite of EAM modules built on the Ax 2012/D365 platform that covers both field service and mobile as well as in in house maintenance.

Predictive maintenance and SCADA integration and extensive condition monitoring., embedded and Power BI analytics are no longer rocket science.

At a recent client 4 day workshop we demonstrated HOLO lens assisted reality to support engineers. This can for example be used to provide step by step guidance or for collaboration from the field with an OEM a remote manufacturer, or your chief engineer.

“Meltdown” and “Spectre and azure.”

February 10th, 2018

Last month as reported on this blog, Intel revealed two critical vulnerabilities they found in Intel chips. These vulnerabilities allow cyber-attackers to steal data from the memory of running apps. This data can include passwords, emails, photos, or documents. Intel dubbed these as: “Meltdown” and “Spectre.”

Microsoft released a patch for Azure the very next day. Just as well because Microsoft Azure is a shared-computing environment by default. One server hosts applications and development of applications, and various Virtual Machines tap into the server to allow employees to and others to access these applications. As such, the Meltdown vulnerability allows an attacker to compromise the host and read all the data from every operating system tapping into it. Around 3-10 million physical servers host Azure, and these servers in turn host tens of millions of Virtual Machines. So impressively Microsoft developed deployed a patch for these vulnerabilities in less than a week’s time. Azure is a cloud-based application and so Microsoft could focus their security team to work on the cloud servers and only the cloud servers. This way, these millions of servers and users had a patch and all applications hosted on the Azure cloud-platform were immediately protected.

A good business case example for business to move to Azure cloud services.

Malware developers are still out there. German antivirus testing firm AV-Test reported 139 samples of malware trying to attack the Meltdown vulnerability in January to exploit those who have not patched.

Microsoft patched their cloud servers, but non-Azure users (as well as all Windows users, period) still need to apply their operating system patches to ensure complete protection. This is one vulnerability you definitely don’t want cyber-attackers to exploit, whether it’s your personal computer or your business’s server.

Outlook Add in for Dynamics 365 lives on – ask Dubai Dynamics partner Synergy Software Systems

February 1st, 2018

In June 2017, Microsoft announced the deprecation of Dynamics 365 for Outlook (otherwise known as the “Outlook add-in”) and the plan to replace it with Dynamics 365 App for Outlook. The deprecation announcement meant that although Dynamics 365 for Outlook would continue to be supported, it would be removed in Dynamics 365 version 10.0.

Some feature gaps in Dynamics 365 App for Outlook prevent it from being a viable replacement for the Outlook add-in. Along with many other partners and customers we voiced our concern. Microsoft has announced it is reversing the deprecation of Dynamics 365 for Outlook so that customers who are still on older versions of Dynamics 365 can upgrade and not lose core functionalities on.

Microsoft will still release Dynamics 365 for Outlook with new versions of Dynamics 365. As a result, customers upgrading to a new version of Dynamics 365 will have the same Outlook integration experience as in previous versions.

The Outlook add-in will also continue to be fully supported in current and future versions of Dynamics 365, and bugs will continue to be fixed with improvements to the performance and reliability of the Outlook add-in

From a functionality standpoint, all current scenarios will continue to be supported; we are not planning to add any new features.

The reversal of the deprecation of Dynamics 365 for Outlook does not change the fact that COM add-ins (like Dynamics 365 for Outlook) are an older and slower technology.

The Dynamics 365 App for Outlook is based on newer Office add-in technology. This is an area where the Outlook team is also investing heavily. Unlike COM add-ins, Office add-ins do not have any code physically installed on the user’s device or on the Outlook client. They are easier to deploy and maintain, much more reliable, and work across platforms.

SQL Server 2014 SP2 CU9

January 2nd, 2018

On December 18, 2017, Microsoft released SQL Server 2014 SP2 CU9, which is Build 12.05563.0.
This CU has seven public hotfixes, most of which are for the SQL Engine of SQL performance -critical for taks like mrp. inventory close, consolidation etc.

Since SQL Server 2014 SP1 and earlier are no longer “supported service packs”, there is no corresponding CU for the SP1 or RTM branches of SQL Server 2014.

As always, make an effort to stay current on cumulative updates

Dynamics Partner- Dubai, U.A.E., G.C.C. Global – Ax, erp, CRM

December 20th, 2017

As we near the end of 2017 we look back on 25 years of partnership with Microsoft and 15 years as one of the oldest Dynamics global partners, and the longest established ,Dynamics certified regional partner.

For the last 10 years we have also been the regional representative for Ax Pact global projects.

Our Ax journey from Axapta 2.5, 3, 4, then Dynamics Ax 2009, 20012, RTM. R1, R2, R3, and now Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Enterprise, as well as Dynamics CRM though all versions since v 3 ahs taken us across the world and into many verticals and international companies. Our experience encompasses Manufacturing Trading, Construction, Oil and gas, Financial services, Utilities, Education, Government, PSA, Retail ……. we have implemented our Dynamics Ax GCC localised HR and Payroll in more than 40 companies.
We currently have Dynamics projects running in KSA, Oman, Africa, and a dozen projects in the U.A.E.

Now we have the full Dynamics technology stack with which to support customers in their digital transformation to a more agile future at a time of disruptive innovation. Dynamics 365, , Power apps, Power Bi
Flow, Common data platform, Talent, and much more. The power of the new SQL databases and of the azure cloud platform , and Edge computing open up the world of IoT, Big data, predictive analytics, Mobile any time any where, Social media monitoring and integration, new means of collaboration from teams to Surface hub to Holo lens.

Its a brave new world ahead – let us help you charter a safe course, or join us in the journey as part of one of the best certified teams globally..

SQL Server 2017

November 22nd, 2017

SQL Server 2017 went on general release a couple of weeks ago. This brings a whole host of benefits

Microsoft SQL Server 2017 features the much-anticipated SQL Graph, which provides new graph database capabilities for representing complex many-to-many relationships. Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn use graph databases extensively, and in the era of big data, use cases are emerging across many industries.

Businesses can explore these relationships to reveal valuable information – from changes in the types of structures to the query abilities being requested of you and your teams. Whether it’s identifying similarities in customers behind trends in purchasing behavior, or mapping patterns in credit card usage to determine credit limits or risk indicators of defaulting on repayments, the introduction of graph capabilities to SQL Server makes the processes more streamlined.

Perhaps the most touted feature of the new version is that it will be available to be installed on Linux; an entirely inconceivable premise 10 years ago, which just goes to show how far Microsoft have changed in their approach to supporting non-Windows platforms as standard.

The announcement earlier this year that Power BI would be included as part of SSRS in was welcome. Previously, each tool was well suited for a specific reporting purpose – SSRS was great for designing reports that require a lot of visual tailoring and widely common formats for exporting, whereas Power BI is more geared towards real-time, dashboard views that marry together disparate data sources in a straightforward way. By being able to leverage SSRS to fully utilise Power BI reports, the application suddenly becomes a lot more versatile and the potential for combining together functionality becomes a lot more recognisable. So, for example, having the ability to drill down to an SSRS report from a Power BI report would be an excellent way of providing reporting capabilities that satisfy end-user consumption in 2 different, but wildly applicable, scenarios

The updated SSMS client for SQL Server 2017 has been given refreshed icons that bring the application more in line with how Visual Studio and other Microsoft products are looking these days

Inside a Microsoft cloud data centre with Synergy Software Systems

November 22nd, 2017

Get the reach and local presence you need with Microsoft’s global datacenters – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/regions/ Azure is generally available in 36 regions around the world, with plans announced for 6 additional regions.

Go beyond the limits of your on-premises datacenter using the scalable, reliable infrastructure that powers the Microsoft Cloud.

Transform your business and reduce maintenance costs with an energy-efficient infrastructure spanning more than 100 highly secure facilities worldwide, linked by one of the largest networks on earth.

The engine that powers Microsoft’s cloud services, the is designed to support smart growth, high reliability, operational excellence, cost-effectiveness, environmental sustainability, and a trustworthy online experience for customers and partners worldwide.

Microsoft deliver the core infrastructure and foundational technologies for Microsoft’s over numerous online businesses including: Dynamics 365, Power Bi, Cortana analytics, IoT, Bing, MSN, Office 365, Xbox Live, Skype, OneDrive and the Windows Azure platform.

The infrastructure is comprised of a large global portfolio of more than 100 datacenters and 1 million servers, content distribution networks, edge computing nodes, and fiber optic networks.

The portfolio is built and managed by a team of subject matter experts working 24x7x365 to support services for more than 1 billion customers and 20 million businesses in over 90 countries worldwide

Those are 2014 figures and the Microsoft cloud has expanded greatly since then for example the acquisition of Linked in and the launch of Dynamics 365.

To help you comply with national, regional, and industry-specific requirements governing the collection and use of individuals’ data, Microsoft offers the most comprehensive set of compliance offerings of any cloud service provider. Microsoft business cloud services operate with a cloud control framework, which aligns controls with multiple regulatory standards (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/trustcenter/guidance/risk-assessment#Audit-reports)

Argentina PDPA – Microsoft has implemented the security measures in the Argentina Personal Data Protection Act.

BIR 2012 – Agencies operating in the Netherlands government sector must comply with the Baseline Informatiebeveiliging Rijksdienst standard.

Canadian Privacy Laws – Microsoft contractually commits to implementing security that helps protect individuals’ privacy.

CCSL (IRAP) – Microsoft is accredited for the Australian Certified Cloud Services List based on an IRAP assessment.

CDSA – Azure is certified to the Content Delivery and Security Assoc. Content Protection and Security standard.

China DJCP – Azure and Office 365 operated by 21Vianet are rated at Level 3 for information security protection.

China GB 18030 – Azure and Office 365 operated by 21Vianet are certified as compliant with the Chinese character standard.

China TRUCS – Azure and Office 365 operated by 21Vianet obtained Trusted Cloud Service certification.

CJIS – Microsoft government cloud services adhere to the US Criminal Justice Information Services Security Policy.

CS Mark (Gold) – Microsoft received the CS Gold Mark in Japan for Azure (IaaS and PaaS) and Office 365 (SaaS).

CSA STAR Attestation -Azure and Intune were awarded Cloud Security Alliance STAR Attestation based on an independent audit.

CSA STAR Certification – Azure, Intune, and Power BI were awarded Cloud Security Alliance STAR Certification at the Gold level.

CSA STAR Self-Assessment – Microsoft STAR Self-Assessment details how cloud services fulfill Cloud Security Alliance requirements.

DFARS – Microsoft Azure Government supports Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation (DFARS) requirements.

DoD – Microsoft received Department of Defense (DoD) Provisional Authorizations at Impact Levels 5, 4, and 2.

EN 301 549 – Microsoft meets EU accessibility requirements for public procurement of ICT products and services.

ENISA IAF – Azure aligns with the ENISA framework requirements through the CSA CCM version 3.0.1.

EU Model Clauses – Microsoft offers EU Standard Contractual Clauses, guarantees for transfers of personal data.

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield – Microsoft complies with this framework for protecting personal data transferred from the EU to the US.

FACT – Microsoft Azure achieved certification from the Federation Against Copyright Theft in the UK.

FDA CFR Title 21 Part 11 – Microsoft helps customers comply with these US Food and Drug Administration regulations.

FedRAMP – Microsoft was granted US Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program P-ATOs and ATOs.

FERPA – Microsoft aligns with the requirements of the US Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

FIPS 140-2 – Microsoft certifies that its cryptographic modules comply with the US Federal Info Processing Standard.

FISC – Microsoft meets the requirements of the Financial Industry Information Systems v8 standard in Japan.

GxP – Microsoft cloud services adhere to Good Clinical, Laboratory, and Manufacturing Practices (GxP).

HIPAA/HITECH – Microsoft offers Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act Business Associate Agreements (BAAs).

HITRUST – Azure is certified to the Health Information Trust Alliance Common Security Framework.

IRS 1075 – Microsoft has controls that meet the requirements of US Internal Revenue Service Publication 1075.

ISO 9001 – Microsoft is certified for its implementation of these quality management standards.

ISO 20000-1:2011 – Microsoft is certified for its implementation of these service management standards.

ISO 22301 – Microsoft is certified for its implementation of these business continuity management standards.

ISO 27001 – Microsoft is certified for its implementation of these information security management standards.

ISO 27017 – Microsoft cloud services have implemented this Code of Practice for Information Security Controls.

ISO 27018 – Microsoft was the first cloud provider to adhere to this code of practice for cloud privacy.

IT Grundschutz Compliance Workbook – Azure Germany published this Workbook to help our clients achieve IT Grundschutz certification.

ITAR – Azure Government supports customers building US International Traffic in Arms Regs-capable systems.

MARS-E – Microsoft complies with the US Minimum Acceptable Risk Standards for Exchanges (MARS-E).

MeitY – The Ministry of Electronics and Info Technology in India awarded Microsoft a Provisional Accreditation.

MPAA – Azure successfully completed a formal assessment by the Motion Picture Association of America.

MTCS – Microsoft received certification for the Multi-Tier Cloud Security Standard for Singapore.

My Number (Japan) – Microsoft does not have standing access to My Number data, a number unique to each resident of Japan.

NEN 7510:2011 – Organizations in the Netherlands must demonstrate control over patient health data in accordance with the NEN 7510 standard.

NHS IG Toolkit – Azure is certified to the Health Information Trust Alliance Common Security Framework.

NIST 800-171 – Microsoft DoD certifications address and exceed US NIST 800-171 security requirements.

NIST CSF – Microsoft Cloud Services meet the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework (CSF)

NZ CC Framework – Microsoft NZ addresses the questions published in the New Zealand cloud computing framework.

PCI DSS – Azure complies with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards Level 1 version 3.1.

Section 508 – Microsoft cloud services offer Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates.

Shared Assessments – Microsoft demonstrates alignment of Azure with this program through the CSA CCM version 3.0.1.

SOC 1- Microsoft cloud services comply with Service Organization Controls standards for operational security.

SOC 2 – Microsoft cloud services comply with Service Organization Controls standards for operational security.

SOC 3 – Microsoft cloud services comply with Service Organization Controls standards for operational security.

Spain ENS – Microsoft received Spain’s Esquema Nacional de Seguridad (National Security Framework) certification.

UK Cyber Essentials PLUS – Cyber Essentials PLUS is a UK government-defined scheme to help organizations protect against common cyber-security threats.

UK G-Cloud – The Crown Commercial Service renewed the Microsoft cloud services classification to Government Cloud v6.

WCAG 2.0 – Microsoft cloud services comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.

Bad Rabbit – a virulent wave of data-encrypting malware is sweeping through Eastern Europe

October 28th, 2017

A new, potentially virulent wave of data-encrypting malware is sweeping through Eastern Europe and has left a wake of outages at news agencies, train stations, and airports, according to multiple security companies

A new ransomware outbreak similar to WCry is shutting down computers worldwide, Ransom:Win32/Tibbar.A or Bad Rabbit, as the outbreak is dubbed, is primarily attacking targets in Russia, but it’s also infecting computers in Ukraine, Turkey and Germany, researchers from Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab said. In a blog post, the antivirus provider reported that the malware is using hacked Russian media websites to display fake Adobe Flash installers, which when clicked infect the computer visiting the hacked site. Researchers elsewhere said the malware may use other means to infect targets.

Bad Rabbit appears to specifically target corporate networks by using methods similar to those used in a June data-wiping attack dubbed “NotPetya” that shut down computers around the world.
Bad Rabbit infects Windows computers and relies solely on targets manually clicking on the installer, Kaspersky Lab said. So far, there’s no evidence the attack uses any exploits.

The Ukrainian computer emergency agency CERT-UA posted an advisory on Tuesday morning reporting a series of cyberattacks.

Kevin Beaumont said on Twitter that Bad Rabbit uses a legitimate, digitally signed program called DiskCryptor to lock targets’ hard drives. Kaspersky Labs’ blog post said the executable file dispci.exe appears to be derived from DiskCryptor and is being used by Bad Rabbit as the disk encryption module.

Bad Rabbit relies on hard-coded credentials that are commonly used in enterprise networks for file sharing and takes aim at a particularly vulnerable portion of infected computers’ hard drives known as the master boot record. A malicious file called infpub.dat appears to be able to use the credentials to allow the Bad Rabbit to spread to other Windows computers on the same local network, The malware also uses the Mimikatz network administrative tool to harvest credentials from the affected systems.

Once Bad Rabbit infects a computer, it displays a message in orange letters on a black background. It directs users to a Dark Web site that demands about $283 in Bitcoin to decrypt data stored on the encrypted hard drive. The dark Web site also displays a ticking clock that gives victims 40 hours to pay before the price increases. It’s not yet known what happens when targets pay the ransom in an attempt to restore their data. The NotPetya malware was written in a way that made recovery just about impossible, a trait that has stoked theories that the true objectives of the attackers was to wipe data in an act of sabotage, as opposed to generate revenue from ransomware. It also remains unclear who is behind the attack.

The outbreak is the latest reminder that you should back up all their data on drives that are secured with a password or other measure to protect them from ransomware.

Windows Defender Antivirus detects and removes this threat with protection update 1.255.29.0 and higher.

This threat appears as a fake Adobe Flash Player update.

Microsoft advice:
Microsoft doesn’t recommend you pay the ransom. There is no guarantee that paying the ransom will give you access to your files. If you’ve already paid, then see our https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/mmpc/shared/ransomware.aspx for help on what to do.

Review logs and shutdown or run Windows Defender Offline.

This ransomware attempts to reboot your PC so it can encrypt your files. You might be able to stop your PC from rebooting and instead shut it down or run a Windows Defender Offline scan:
Check event logs for the following IDs: 1102 and 106
• Event 1102 indicates that the audit log has been cleared, so previous activities can’t be seen.
• Event 106 indicates that scheduled tasks “drogon” and “Rhaegel” have been registered (these are ransomware wipers)
• If events 1102 and 106 are present, then issue a shutdown with the parameter -a to prevent a reboot

You can also immediately inititate a Windows Defender Offline scan by using PowerShell or the Windows Defender Security Center app.

Run antivirus or antimalware software

Use the following free Microsoft software to detect and remove this threat:
• Windows Defender Antivirus for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, or Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows 7 and Windows Vista
• Microsoft Safety Scanner – Run a full scan to look for anyhidden malware.

Advanced troubleshooting – To restore your PC, download and run Windows Defender Offline.

Ask us about how to use cloud protection to guard against the latest malware threats. It’s turned on by default for Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Defender for Windows 10. Go to All settings > Update & security > Windows Defender and make sure that your Cloud-based Protection settings is turned On.

Indicators of compromise
Presence of the following files in %SystemRoot%:
• infpub.dat
• cscc.dat
• dispci.exe
• You can’t access your files or your PC
• A ransom message in red on a black background

VAT registration U.A.E. – act now deadlines are imminent

October 17th, 2017

The UAE Federal Tax Authority (FTA) online portal is open 24/7 to allow for taxpayers to register for VAT purposes. The FTA has also determined the deadlines for the application for VAT registration based on business turnover.
For larger companies VAT registration is required by 31 October 2017, and such businesses should
immediately consider the timeline requirement given their turnover profile and the other registration
requirements.
Businesses that are required to register for VAT will need to set up an online account on the FTA website and complete the VAT registration form.

The FTA has announced that a phased registration approach has been introduced. In particular, those businesses that meet these criteria must comply with the relevant application dates for registration:
● Businesses with an annual turnover exceeding AED 150 million must apply for registration by
31 October 2017
● Businesses with an annual turnover exceeding AED 10 million must apply for registration by 30 November 2017

● Remaining businesses with an annual turnover exceed the mandatory registration threshold
(expected to be AED 375,000) must apply for registration by 4 December 2017
Prior to the fulfilment of the VAT registration form, the FTA provides a “Getting Started Guide” that shares essential information that businesses should be aware of. This includes information on the registration criteria, registration of a VAT group, and necessity to register if only zero-rated supplies are made.

Additional details clarifying the VAT registration mechanism are found in the VAT registration guide, a document posted on FTA online portal under the “Advice” tab. This document captures the
calculation of turnover for VAT purposes, a walk-through of VAT registration through the FTA
registration portal, registration of a VAT group and types of books and records required to be held by a
taxpayer to ensure accurate tax compliance.

We strongly advise for businesses to visit the FTA website to initiate their VAT registration application by
their applicable deadline after having considered the guidance provided by the FTA and other advice
as required (for instance VAT Grouping).
Businesses should allow time to compile the required information for the VAT registration.

SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 4 (SP4) is available

October 16th, 2017

SQL Server 2012 Service Packs, Service Pack 4 (SP4). This release of SQL 2012 Service Pack has 20+ improvements centered around performance, scalability and diagnostics to enable SQL Server 2012 to perform faster and scale out of the box on modern hardware design.

SQL Server 2012 SP4 includes all the fixes up to and including SQL Server 2012 SP3 CU10

Dynamics 365 October update

October 10th, 2017

Several enhancements and new capabilitiestwill be rolled out to customers of the Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement services for: Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, and Project Service Automation.

User productivity

Employees interact with business data across different form factors on-the-go. It is important for them to get a consistent experiences and behavior across all types of devices. With this update, the Dynamics 365 applications get a refresh of the web user interface that will help employees achieve higher levels of productivity. The user experience includes consistent color themes, uniform page structuring and spacing, font standardization, and containers for related data.A new, Unified Interface powers Dynamics 365 for phones and tablets app and Dynamics 365 App for Outlook.

Users will see customer data in easy-to-read ‘containers’ that streamline data entry for improved employee productivity. The new experience reduces the need for scrolling on the form and leverages enhanced use of whitespace. It also allows for text wrapping, and an updated business process experience that they can expand and dock on-demand as needed.

The new timeline control gives a single sequential view of activity, notes, and posts across the time horizon that can be filtered easily to show relevant data. The record navigation experience makes it easy for employees to find and navigate to critical data with minimal clicks.

Microsoft Flow is provided in the context of Dynamics 365 to provide the user direct access to a list of active flows that are user-owned, as well as the ones enabled from their organization, to automate tasks and workflows between apps and services. Users can invoke flows from the site map, grid, and detail forms of records. This capability is now available on all form factors: web, tablets, and phones.

Business application platform improvements
Significant enhancements to the business application platform across the design surface and integration options for Dynamics 365 applications will support an organization’s ability to launch changes quickly at Microsoft cloud scale. This release will bring the following new platform capabilities:

Data integration and management
With Virtual entities, application customizers can easily embed external data in Dynamics 365 without writing any code or replicating data. Customizers can integrate this external data into Dynamics 365 grids, forms, lookups, sub-grids, and find at runtime. You can use this data by creating a data source for your OData endpoint. For more advanced requirements, developers can implement their own data providers to suit their specific needs.

Security and compliance
Activity Logging and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems integration with Dynamics 365 enables auditing and analysis of create, read, update, and delete actions, admin operations, and login events. This release enables scenarios for basic forensic investigation, reporting, access to SIEM systems, monitoring, and compliance.

Existing customers will start receiving these updates later this calendar year.
New customers, and trials for these Dynamics 365 applications ,will receive these updates this month.

.

Synergy Software Systems at the Microsoft Manufacturing Masterclass-

September 27th, 2017

A packed house for the Microsoft Manufacturing Masterclass today with stimulating presentations on Digital transformation.

Security security security

September 26th, 2017

You never know when some item that queries or alters data in SQL Server will cause issues.

Bruce Schneier recently commented on FaceID and Bluetooth security, the latter of which has a vulnerability issue. I was amazed to see his piece on infrared camera hacking. A POC on using light to jump air gaps is truly frightening. It seems that truly anywhere that we are processing data, we need to be thinking (see https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/09/attackers-can-use-surveillance-cameras-to-grab-data-from-air-gapped-networks/)

Airborne attacks, unfortunately, provide a number of opportunities for the attacker. First, spreading through the air renders the attack much more contagious, and allows it to spread with minimum effort. Second, it allows the attack to bypass current security measures and remain undetected, as traditional methods do not protect from airborne threats. Airborne attacks can also allow hackers to penetrate secure internal networks which are “air gapped,” meaning they are disconnected from any other network for protection. This can endanger industrial systems, government agencies, and critical infrastructure. With BlueBorne, attackers can gain full control right from the start. Moreover, Bluetooth offers a wider attacker surface than WiFi, almost entirely unexplored by the research community and hence contains far more vulnerabilities

Finally, unlike traditional malware or attacks, the user does not have to click on a link or download a questionable file. No action by the user is necessary to enable the attack.

Fully patched Windows and iOS systems are protected

– the Equifax breach for example must worry everyone who has ever had credit in the USA. (Hackers broke into Equifax’s computer systems in March, which is two months earlier than the company had previously disclosed, according to a Wall Street Journal report.)

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday that a cyber breach of a filing system it uses may have provided the basis for some illegal trading in 2016. In a statement posted on the SEC’s website, Chairman Jay Clayton said a review of the agency’s cybersecurity risk profile determined that the previously detected “incident” was caused by “a software vulnerability” in its EDGAR filing system (which processes over 1.7 million electronic filings in any given year.) The agency also discovered instances in which its personnel used private, unsecured email accounts to transmit confidential information.

So let me suggest take a good look at your systems and be honest – do you feel safe?

Microsoft has released Microsoft 365, a complete, intelligent solution, including Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security, that empowers everyone to be creative and work together, securely. Watch Satya introduce it.

What about your websites?
Although acts of vandalism such as defacing corporate websites are still commonplace, hackers prefer to gain access to the sensitive data residing on the database server and then to sell the data.

The costs of not giving due attention to your web security are extensive and apart form direct financial burden and inconvenience also risks:
• Loss of customer confidence, trust and reputation with the consequent harm to brand equity
• Negative impact on revenues and profits arising e.g. from falsified transactions, or from
employee downtime
• Website downtime – is in effect the closure of one of the most important sales and marketing channels
especially for an e-business
• Legal battles and related implications from Web application attacks and poor security
measures including fines and damages to be paid to victims.

Web Security Weaknesses
Hackers will attempt to gain access to your database server through any way they can e.g. out of date protocols on a router. Two main targets are :
• Web and database servers.
• Web applications.

Information about such exploits are readily available on the Internet, and many have been reported on this blog previously.

Web Security Scanning
So no surprise that Web security should contain two important components: web and database server security, and web application security.

Addressing web application security is as critical as addressing server security.

Firewalls and similar intrusion detection mechanisms provide little defense against full-scale web
attacks.
Since your website needs to be public, security mechanisms allow public web traffic to
communicate with your web and databases servers (i.e. over port 80).

It is of paramount importance to scan the security of these web assets on the network for possible vulnerabilities. For example, modern database systems (e.g. Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and MySQL) may be
accessed through specific ports and so anyone can attempt direct connections to the databases to try and bypass the security mechanisms used by the operating system. These ports remain open to allow communication with legitimate traffic and therefore constitute a major vulnerability.

Other weaknesses relate to the database application itself and the use of weak or default passwords by
administrators. Vendors patch their products regularly, and equally regularly find new ways of
attack.

75% of cyber attacks target weaknesses within web applications rather than directly at the
servers. Hackers launch web application attacks on port 80 . Web applications are more open to uncovered vulnerabilities since these are generally custom-built and therefore pass through a lesser degree of
testing than off-the-shelf software.

Some hackers, for example, maliciously inject code within vulnerable web applications to trick users
and redirect them towards phishing sites. This technique is called Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) and may
be used even though the web and database servers contain no vulnerability themselves.

Hence, any web security audit must answer the questions “which elements of our network
infrastructure are open to hack attacks?”,
“which parts of a website are open to hack attacks?”, and “what data can we throw at an application to cause it to perform something it shouldn’t do?”

Ask us about Acunetix and Web Security
Acunetix ensures web site security by automatically checking for SQL Injection, Cross Site Scripting,
and other vulnerabilities. It checks password strength on authentication pages and automatically
audits shopping carts, forms, dynamic content and other web applications. As the scan is being
completed, the software produces detailed reports that pinpoint where vulnerabilities exist

Industry 4.0 : Digitalization of the Manufacturing Sector Masterclass – Meet Synergy Software Systems Manufacturing experts tomorrow H Hotel Dubai

September 26th, 2017

Hear from industry experts, network, meet with us and let us show you Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Enterprise at this Microsoft Gul sponsored Manufacturing Master Class.

08:00 – 09:00 Registration
09:00 – 09:20 Omar Saleh – Microsoft – Industry Director, Manufacturing MEA
09:20 – 09:50 Gert Thoonen – Business Development Network & Security Services, ME – Rockwell Automation
09:50-10:20 Nicholas Brunet – Middle East Regional Business Leader – 3M
10:20-10:50 Mustafa Farhan – Strategic Transformation Lead, Middle East and Africa, Microsoft
Break
11:00 – 11:30 Suryanka Jatain – Principal – Digital Strategy and Transformation – KPMG
11:30 – 12:00 Assem Khalaili – Executive Vice President, Customer Services – MEA Digital Factory – Process Industries & Drives – Siemens
12:00 – 12:30 Charif Hamidi – Senior Consultant – Strategy – EY

Join us for lunch.
If you have not yet registered then call us now on 00971 43365589 or email Suresh Savari

Microsoft Modern Lifecycle Policy (and Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations)

September 20th, 2017

When you move to Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, whether on cloud or on premise, ensure your understand the requirements to keep your system updated. The Modern Lifecycle Policy covers products and services that are serviced and supported continuously.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/30881/modern-lifecycle-policy

The Finance and Operations online service and the Finance and Operations (on-premises) software are covered by the Modern Lifecycle Policy. Licensed customers must stay current with updates to the Finance and Operations online service or the Finance and Operations (on-premises) software in accordance with the following servicing and system requirements:
•Starting with the release of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations version 1611, application versions are supported for three years from the initial date of a major release, as specified in Table 1 later in this topic.

Platform versions are supported for one year . Platform versions maintain backward compatibility. . Critical fixes and non-critical updates are handled in the following way:

Critical fixes – Microsoft may provide a customer with a hotfix for their current platform version of Finance and Operations, or a fix may be provided in the latest platform version of Finance and Operations, at its discretion.

Non-critical updates – Customers must update to the most current Finance and Operations platform version to deploy non-critical updates.

On-premises software update policies

On-premises deployments
The customer is in full control of its on-premises deployments and must follow this policy. The customer is in control of installing updates in its on-premises environments. Microsoft will support the Finance and Operations (on-premises) software through December 31, 2027, at a minimum, but only if the customer keeps the deployed software current according to this policy.

The Finance and Operations (on-premises) software is licensed and supported under the Modern Lifecycle Policy. This policy requires that the customer maintain Software Assurance (SA) or the Enhancement Plan, and that it deploys updates . Customers who want to use the Fixed Support Lifecycle Policy (5+5) must downgrade to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3.

When a customer lapses on SA or the Enhancement Plan, then it will be eligible only for the perpetual license rights to AX 2012 R3 and must uninstall the Finance and Operations (on-premises) software.

The initial release of the Finance and Operations (on-premises) software will be based on Platform update 8 and the July 2017 update of the application.

For details of what changed with which each update see https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/unified-operations/dev-itpro/get-started/what’s-new-changed.

Be aware also if deployed on premise of related products like SQL, Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, Visual Studio, Sharepoint etc that may also need to be upgraded.

Note that both Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 support will end in 2018

Here are some products for which support will end in 2018 start planning:
The following list represents some of the products reaching end of support in the next year. For a comprehensive list of Microsoft products and their lifecycle policy timelines, please search the Microsoft Lifecycle Product Database.
Products Under the Modern Policy Moving to End of Support:
The following products, governed by the Modern Policy, have announced end of support for 2018. There will be no new security updates, non-security updates, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.

Products Under the Modern Policy Moving to End of Support
Effective end dates are shown against each>

Microsoft Azure Mobile Engagement March 31, 2018
Parature, from Microsoft
Microsoft Dynamics Marketing May 15, 2018
Adxstudio Portals v7 October 9, 2018

Fixed Policy Products Moving to End of Support:
The following products will be reaching end of support in 2018. There will be no new security updates, non-security updates, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.

Microsoft Dynamics C5 2014
Microsoft Expression Encoder
Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, all editions
Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, all editions
Microsoft Office Communicator 2007
Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2
Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2 Phone Edition
Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007
Microsoft PlayReady Server Software Development Kit v. 2.0
Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2007
Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007
Windows Embedded Device Manager 2011
Windows Embedded Device Manager Software Development Kit
Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise, released in November 2015**
Windows 10 Mobile, released in November 2015**

January 9, 2018

FAST Unity 2.5 April 1, 2018
Microsoft SQL Server Compact 3.5
Microsoft Visual Studio 2008, all editions
Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2008, all editions
Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0
Microsoft Office Accounting 2008, all editions
Microsoft System Center Capacity Planner 2007
Microsoft Visual Basic 2008 Express Edition
Microsoft Visual C# 2008 Express Edition
Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition
Windows Embedded CE 6.0

April 10, 2018

FAST Featured Content 1.3
FAST Recommendations 2.2 April 23, 2018
FAST ESP 5.2 May 9, 2018
FAST ImPulse 5.0 July 1, 2018
Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008
Microsoft Search Server 2008, all editions
StorSimple 5000/7000 Series
Windows Web Server 2008
July 10, 2018

FAST ESP 5.3 July 16, 2018
FAST Recommendations 2.5 October 8, 2018
Lync for Mac 2011
Lync Meeting room
Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization
Microsoft Expression Blend 2
Microsoft Expression Design 2
Microsoft Expression Encoder 2
Microsoft Expression Studio 2
Microsoft Expression Web 2

October 9, 2018

FAST AdMomentum 3 November 2, 2018
Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway, Medium Business Edition November 12, 2018
FAST ImPulse 5.1 December 18, 2018

Products Transitioning from Mainstream to Extended Support: The following products will be moving from Mainstream Support into Extended Support over the next year. Extended Support lasts for a minimum of 5 years and includes security updates at no cost, and paid non-security updates and support. Additionally, Microsoft will not accept requests for design changes or new features during the Extended Support phase.

Products Moving from Mainstream to Extended Support

Microsoft Application Virtualization 5.1 for Remote Desktop Services
Microsoft Application Virtualization 5.1 for Windows Desktops
Microsoft Application Virtualization Hosting 5.1 for Windows Desktops
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2
Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012
Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2
Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 Software Development Kit
Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 Tools for Applications Software Development Kit
Service Bus for Windows Server
Windows 8.1, all editions
Workflow Manager 1.0
Workflow Manager Client 1.0
Workflow Manager Tools for Visual Studio 2012

January 9, 2018

Exchange Server 2013, all editions
Microsoft Access 2013
Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management 4.0
Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009
Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013
Microsoft Excel 2013
Microsoft HPC Pack 2012
Microsoft HPC Pack 2012 R2
Microsoft Lync 2013
Microsoft Lync Phone Edition
Microsoft Lync Server 2013, all editions
Microsoft Office 2013
Microsoft Office Web Apps Server 2013
Microsoft OneNote 2013
Microsoft Outlook 2013
Microsoft PowerPoint 2013
Microsoft Project 2013, all editions
Microsoft Project Server 2013
Microsoft Publisher 2013
Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2013
Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013
Microsoft Visio 2013
Microsoft Word 2013
Skype for Business 2015

April 10, 2018

Microsoft Lync 2013 Software Development Kit April 20, 2018
BizTalk Server 2013, all editions
BizTalk Server 2013 R2, all editions
Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring 2.0
Windows Embedded 8 Standard
Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Enterprise
Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Pro

July 10, 2018

Microsoft Audit and Control Management Server 2013
Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012
Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse
Windows Embedded Compact 2013
Windows Multipoint Server 2012, all editions
Windows Server 2012, all editions
Windows Server 2012 R2, all editions
Windows Server Update Services for Windows Server 2012
Windows Storage Server 2012, all editions
Windows Storage Server 2012 R2, all editions

October 9, 2018
** = Windows 10 follows the Windows as a Service (WaaS) lifecycle.