O365 versus Google Apps

Google Apps or Office 365 – Which one is right for your business?
Many organizations continue to love Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps for Business. Office 365 aims at being all things for all businesses, while Google Apps offers key capabilities without the complexity. Both Microsoft and Google allow simultaneous logins to multiple accounts from different browser tabs. Their platforms are very different in terms of usability and functionality. Let’s take a look.
Function & Features Both Google Apps and Office 365 offer functional counterparts that can be used by office workers every day. They also have a lot of collaborative capabilities. Here’s a breakdown:

Online Storage Office 365 offers 50GB of storage space in Outlook and 25GB for OneDrive. Google Apps offers 30GB of storage which is split between Gmail, Drive, and Picasa. Both companies will offer freebies, with Google offering 15GB and Microsoft giving 7GB. If you need more space, both vendors will sell it.
OneDrive and Drive both integrate with other products from each vendor. Each also offers online document readers that allow you to view all types of files directly in your browser without the need to download or open them. However, neither storage platform provides central control over document sharing.
Desktop Apps Some Office 365 plans include desktop apps such as Word, Excel, etc. To complete the suite, customers can choose between the browser-based and thick clients. Google Apps is completely browser-based, so there is no desktop counterpart. You can still use Docs, Sheets, and Slides offline with Chrome. However, changes must be made both in the Admin Console as well as on the user’s side. To work in Gmail offline, you can also install an extension for Chrome.
Spreadsheet Application Many people believe that Google Sheets is inferior to Microsoft Excel’s powerful formulas and features. This can be a significant consideration for companies that rely on Excel. Excel still has some useful features that companies may need. Sheets may not be able to store detailed formulas or in-depth calculations. Google also limits Sheets to 400,000 cells compared to Excel’s 17 billion.
Office 365 Business Options Office 365 comes in many, many business options, as well as the Office 365 offerings to Government, Education, and Universities. Each offer a wide range of features and services at different price points. As you can see, there are only six of the most popular Business Options. You’ll probably notice that Google offers a slightly simpler or more limited selection depending on your perspective.

Features/Familiarity Office 365 offers a number of advantages to users who are familiar with Word, Excel, and the rest of the gang over years. There is less learning curve with Google Apps if it is a new experience. It is true that Office can be confusing and complex. This is why many users will find it familiar. However, companies may pay more for advanced packages that not all employees will use. Google Apps programs, on the other hand, are intuitive and easy to use, but may feel awkward to those who have to code Office.
Email both suites are fairly similar in terms of email functionality, with Exchange Online and Gmail offering similar functionality. Although the web clients are quite different, Gmail is likely to be a better and more flexible offering overall. However, Outlook’s web option could make the transition from a traditional Microsoft setup a little easier.
App Marketplaces The beauty and appeal of cloud-based environments are their ability to be customized according to company needs, new advancements and administrator skills. Both Microsoft and Google offer add-ons through a central marketplace. The Microsoft Office 365 Marketplace is very similar to the Google Apps Marketplace. It offers professional services and applications that can be used to enhance your platform.
While Google Apps is more user-friendly than Office 365, its feature-set is much smaller. Although less robust than the desktop versions of Office Apps Word and Excel, they still have more polish than their Google counterparts and can work with Microsoft’s file types. Some Office 365 packages also include the latest desktop versions for Windows and OS X.
Tom Rizzo, Senior Director at Microsoft Online Services, says that online tools complement existing on-premise productivity suites and are a winning combination. Office 365 provides a more refined and comprehensive experience in terms of capabilities. Office 365 is a great option for organizations that need a more robust feature list and those who can’t bear to abandon the original Office apps.

Live Microsoft 365 Beta Certification Exams

Are you a Microsoft 365 Enterprise Administrator? This is where you evaluate, plan, migrate, deploy, and manage Microsoft 365 services. Are you able to manage Microsoft 365 tenants for an enterprise, including its identity, security, compliance and supporting technologies? Do you have a working knowledge about Microsoft 365 workloads Are you an administrator for at most one Microsoft 365 workload (Exchange or SharePoint, Skype for Business, Windows as a Service, or Skype for Business)? Do you have working knowledge in networking, server administration, as well as IT fundamentals such DNS, Active Directory, PowerShell? Let me tell you all about Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert certification.

To be eligible for the Microsoft 365 Certified Enterprise Administrator Expert certification, candidates must pass MS-100 – Microsoft 365 Identity and Services and MS-101 – Microsoft 365 Mobility and Security. We have just announced the Microsoft 365 Certified Modern Desktop Administrator Associate certification. We also plan to offer certifications on additional workloads in early 2019. Given our history of certification, you can probably guess which ones. I will also announce the betas and their availability on this blog.
Take one or both the MS-100 or MS-101 beta exams to get started in your journey to becoming a Microsoft 365 Enterprise Administrator Expert. Once you have completed at least one of the upcoming workload exams and passed MS-100 or MS-101, your status will be as a Microsoft 365 Certified Enterprise Administrator Expert. You can be one of the first to take these beta exams (if passed, it counts towards this certification) and you get a 80% discount.
Use code MS100LibertyGenius to receive a 80% discount on MS100* when you are prompted for payment.
Review the MS-100 prep guide to help you prepare for the exam. Practice the skills listed in the MS-100 prep book. You might consider taking one of the instructor-led courses listed in the Preparation options section. These courses are directly related to the exam.
MS-100T01 Office 365 ManagementMS-102: Microsoft 365 Tenant & Service ManagementMS-103: Microsoft 365 Identity ManagementTo get a 80% discount on MS101,* use the code MS101AmazingPjM when you are asked for payment. Our exam development team has some incredible project managers.
Review the MS-101 prep guide to help you prepare for the exam. Practice the skills listed in the MS-101 preparation guide. You might consider taking one of our instructor-led courses in Preparation options section. These courses are directly aligned to the exam.
MS-101T01 Microsoft 365 Security ManagementMS-102T02: Microsoft 365 Compliance ManagementMS-103T03: Microsoft 365 Device ManagementThese codes are not private access codes. These codes can be used to register for the exam(s), but you must not use them before December 14, 2018.
This certification does not include a transition exam. The new role-based Microsoft 365 Certified Enterprise Administrator Expert certification, however, is an expert-level certification. The related content was previously part of an associate-level certificate.
*The first 300 people to register can receive a 80% discount on these exams. (Because beta exams are no more free. The seats will be offered on a first come, first served basis. Register for the exam(s), by December 14, 2018, and take them by December 17, 2018 to ensure that we have your feedback, comments, and exam data to help us evaluate the quality of the questions.
This is your chance for you to be heard in the questions that are included on the exam when it goes live. Final scores are released around 10 days later. Follow me on Twitter @libertymunson for updates about when the rescore has been completed. Questions about the release of live exam scores and the timing of beta exam scoring can be found in the blog posts The Path From Beta Exam to Live Exam as well as More Tips About Beta Exams.
You may also be interested in other preparation tips. Check out my blog post about preparing for beta exams. It may be helpful to review all Microsoft 365 exams, preparation options, and other resources on one page.

Remember that beta seats are limited and will disappear when they’re gone. The beta code may not work in certain countries, such as India, Pakistan, China, and India. These countries will not allow you to take the beta test.
These exams are still in beta and you won’t be scored immediately. After your exam is live, you will receive your final score.
This article was originally published on the Microsoft Learning Blog here.

Microsoft Ends Support For Windows 8

Microsoft announced that it will no more be supporting Windows 8. This is a move that has been in the works for a while. This is a major announcement, but it shouldn’t surprise users who have been paying close.
Microsoft announced in a blog post almost 2 years ago that Windows 8 support would end January 13, 2016. Users of this OS have the simple option to upgrade to Windows 8.1. Microsoft support will continue until January. 9, 2018.
What’s the deal?
Microsoft is not saying they are “ending support” for a particular service. They are actually saying they won’t be applying updates to that software. Because of the size of the OS, Microsoft must continue to work on it. Microsoft cannot predict every problem users may have with the OS, so programmers must continue to patch it.
This can often be translated to the general usability and functionality of the OS. However, many updates released by companies such as Microsoft are about security. Hackers are always looking to find vulnerabilities in software, especially Windows. These hackers exploit security holes in Windows’ security to their advantage. Microsoft must therefore close these holes to prevent future hackers from attacking innocent persons.
It might seem annoying to be reminded to update your computer regularly. This reminder to update your Internet browser is not meant to be annoying. It is simply trying to protect your information.
What happens if you don’t update your website?
Hackers love nothing more than reviewing old OS versions for security holes. People are slow to update and a large portion of the population is unwilling to make any changes because they are used to the way a system works.
Using outdated software is one way hackers can target you. Take a look at the 2012 cyberattack on Naperville’s municipal network. Officials from the Chicago suburb forgot to update the Web software used by the city, which led to a cyberattack of epic proportions.
After the dust settled Naperville spent $760,000 on investigations and updates to their cybersecurity system. Despite the fact that the hack cost Naperville a lot, the Chicago Tribune reported that the cyberattack used “very basic, off-the shelf tools.”
Although Naperville’s hack was caused by outdated Web software, rather than an entire OS, this principle is the same. You could be vulnerable to hackers if you don’t update your software. Hackers love the end of OS support. Many users will forget to update or refuse to do so. Cybercriminals see this as an opportunity to target anyone with obsolete software. Those concerned about their security should upgrade from Windows 8 as soon as possible.
End of support means that more people will upgrade to Windows 10
Microsoft is trying to remind everyone about the dangers of being behind, even though the end of support means bad news for users who refuse upgrades. In all honesty, there is no reason to not move on. Windows 10 is a free upgrade for Windows 8 users since a while, but they will need to upgrade to Windows 8 before moving to the latest Microsoft OS.
With this in mind, Windows 10 will soon be available on a wide range of computers that have stopped supporting Windows 8. It’s not unreasonable to believe that Windows 10 will soon be widely used, judging by the positive reviews. It remains to be seen if Microsoft will reach its goal of Windows 10 running across a billion devices in the next few years. But the point is that Microsoft and its wide range of software aren’t going anywhere soon.
This will depend on how much Microsoft-based training you have. If Windows 10 continues to grow in popularity, then having Microsoft certified training will prove extremely useful. Windows 8’s end of support is going to bring in new users. To stay ahead of the curve, you should now get a Microsoft certificate.
New Horizons is your one stop shop for all your Microsoft Certified training needs. New Horizons offers courses in everything Microsoft Office and more technical aspects like Azure and Windows Server to help you make the next big step in your IT career.
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The more you learn, the more you save! Do you have a wish list for education? We’ve got you covered! Are you looking for a specific class? You are looking to mix and match? You can save up to 50% on certain Citrix, VMware, or MS Tech classes for a limited time. Grab a seat and get in the cloud!LinkedIn confirms that IT skills are the most valuable in 2015. It is impossible to run a business without technology and the jobs that are associated with it are in high demand. It was therefore not surprising that LinkedIn researchers found that tech-based skills were the 25 most sought-after skill categories in 2015.

Google restructures its holding company Alphabet

Google has been a company that is difficult to define. It began as an Internet search engine. Later, it expanded into other tech fields such as drones and driverless cars. Soon after, it ventured into non-tech fields such as venture capital and pharmaceuticals. The company continues to defy convention by reorganizing its corporate structure and naming it Alphabet.
The decision to restructure was primarily a financial one. Many of Google’s offshoot businesses don’t make a lot of money, which has caused some investors to be scared by the prospect for dwindling returns. Alphabet gives investors stability and allows the company to continue innovating in a safe environment.
In a blog post, Larry Page, chief executive of Google wrote that “For Sergey [Brin] this is a very exciting chapter in the Google life — the birth of Alphabet.” “We liked the name Alphabet as it represents a collection letters that represent language, which is one of humanity’s most important innovations and the core of how Google search indexes.”
Alphabet, which is run by Page and Brin will become the parent entity to several companies, including Google. The Alphabet umbrella will also include Calico, a biotech company focused on longevity, and Nest, a smart-home business. Sundar Pichai will be Google’s new CEO. He was previously the senior vice president in charge for products. Google will now be focusing on Internet projects like search, maps and applications like Gmail. Alphabet will take control of the financial divisions of Google Ventures, Google Capital, and Google Ventures. Incubation projects such as Google X, which develops self-driving cars and delivery drones, will also shift under their control.
Google has proven to be a Silicon Valley giant that is ahead of the rest, as Alphabet’s creation is yet another proof. It is becoming increasingly difficult for large technology companies like Amazon or Facebook to control the expanding sprawl as they move beyond their original goals.
Amazon is an example. Amazon, which started out as an online bookstore, has grown to be one of the largest companies on the Internet. It is also known internally as the “Everything Store”. Jeff Bezos, the CEO, has expanded his offerings to include cloud computing solutions, streaming media, and original content creation. Despite having many successful ventures, Amazon has yet not made a profit. Each of its new business ideas requires capital. This may be the cost of doing business, but it can scare away investors if they don’t believe they’ll ever see significant returns.
Financial stability and technological innovation. Page and Brin created Alphabet to avoid speculation and mistrust of their financial situation. Structure Alphabet as a holding company gives investors more financial transparency. This helps to reduce fears that Google might become distracted by other business ventures and lose focus of its founding principles. Alphabet will release financial results for Google Inc. and the company as a whole in the last quarter of 2015. While investors won’t see the results of each company individually, they will be able to get a general idea of how Google’s core business is doing.
“Google’s portfolio-like approach to Alphabet allows it to remain innovative.”
Google can stay innovative by using a portfolio-like approach to managing its many business ventures. Google’s new structure allows it to give operating divisions more flexibility in making decisions and make the business operations more agile.
Page stated in his blog that “we’ve always believed that companies get comfortable doing the exact same thing over time, only making incremental changes.” “But in technology, where innovative ideas drive the next big growth areas,” Page wrote in his blog post.
Complacency or comfort can be disastrous in the technology industry, leading to the downfall of large companies, or at the very least, their downsizing. Although IBM was a huge success in creating mainframes and it lost the chance to remain dominant in the PC market to companies like Microsoft, it had great success with other technologies. Microsoft was in the smartphone market before Apple. However, it didn’t win the race to the top because it was too focused on its money-making machines Office and Windows. While all companies must worry about making money and maintaining a profit, it shouldn’t stop them from innovating and staying relevant, especially in the tech sector. Google’s founders have set out to kill two birds with Alphabet. But only time will tell if this is a successful hunt.

Four Strategies to Deal with the Cyber Security Skills Deficit

Cyber security is an evolving field due to the many new risks presented by mobile devices, cloud-connected apps, and more sophisticated botnets. Many IT organizations are finding it difficult to keep up with these new challenges.
According to the ISACA “State of Cyber Security 2017”, 55 percent of organizations take at least three months to fill a vacant cyber security position. This is possibly due to the ongoing struggle of companies to keep up their staffing requirements. The current situation as described by ISACA raises the question: What can IT departments do today to protect themselves from today’s threats and vulnerabilities? Here are four areas you should focus on:
1. Make the most of machine learning and other forms automation
It is tempting to delegate more tasks to machines, as experienced workers are often scarce. Although we are still years away from fully automated solutions that can be as reliable as human-supervised ones in the future, there have been important advances in areas like analyzing large sets of unstructured data.
IBM, for example, has tested its Watson artificial Intelligence solutions – originally designed to compete in “Jeopardy!” According to TechCrunch, – as a cybersecurity tool. It may be especially adept at analysing numerous cybersecurity documents to understand threats and detect them.
This information is used to supplement routine network traffic and endpoint readings to provide a complete picture of a company’s cybersecurity posture. Be alert for false positives and ensure that your team has final say on all critical defense decisions.
2. Always keep your computer’s operating system up-to-date
Many dot-releases are security patches that fix vulnerabilities. These updates are vital for protecting your identity and data, even though they don’t have a lot of new features as one would expect from a version upgrade from 9.0 to 10.0.0. These updates are low-hanging security fruits that help to strengthen an IT department’s defenses, and prevent serious problems from spiraling out of control.
Older operating systems are often less secure than the newer ones. Microsoft Windows XP is an example of this. It has been in widespread use for over a decade, even after its 2001 release. Its popularity has created many problems for enterprises, especially when it comes to embedded systems like the software in bank ATMs.
Microsoft recently announced that it will cease supporting Windows 7 in January 2020. This is to prevent something similar from happening with Windows 7. Microsoft cited security concerns as the reason for discontinuing support for Windows 7, which was released in 2009.
3. Invest in staff retention and training
The ISACA survey found that IT certification is an essential part of modern IT work. Certification in a specific field such as Linux, cyber security, or networking is more than a mark of distinction. It requires real work in setting-up, configuring, and troubleshooting hardware and software with the goal to understand their vulnerabilities.
Training and certification can help tangential (to security) IT staff, such as network engineers, become more involved in protecting data and devices. When new staffing is scarce, it is often a smart decision to invest in existing staff. Cybersecurity is a company-wide endeavor, which makes skills development and education essential ongoing tasks.
“Having certification is an essential part of modern IT work.”
4. Keep up-to-date with the latest threats
Computer viruses are no longer a major concern. Although viruses are still a concern, there are many other concerns, such as ransomware, distributed denial-of service attacks that break records, and exploits within Internet of Things.
A group of security researchers discovered that Linux malware has become more sophisticated and prevalent between October 2016 and January 2017. While some of the most advanced threats may not directly affect your organization’s systems, it is worth learning about the wider security world.
This knowledge will allow you to make informed decisions about software and personnel. You can reduce your risk exposure and put more effort into improving your operations.
What are the next steps for an IT worker who is interested in cyber security?
A cyber security certification is a great first step for anyone looking for more opportunities in IT. New Horizons Learning Group will provide you with the training and knowledge that you need to stand out from the crowd. Come join us at one of the 10 locations in Arizona, California, or Nevada.
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……Information Security

Cyberthreat to Critical Infrastructure

If you still believe hackers are after the mainframe, here’s some good news: They’re not. Mainframes have been almost obsolete for over a decade. They are mostly useful for spare parts.
Anyone who worries that ISIS might try to hack into the power grid to cause mass chaos or that air conditioners could be used to create large-scale blackouts is probably right.
High-stakes cybercrime
CNN reports that ISIS has been trying to hack into the U.S. electricity grid with the apparent intention of “turning off or blowing up machines.” They are terrible at it, which is the good news. They lack the technical ability to succeed in this ambitious venture. However, there are some cybercriminals who do have the technology and have demonstrated it in a real-world situation.
The highly coordinated and sophisticated hackers responsible for the blackout that occurred in Ukraine on December 23, 2015, which affected hundreds of thousands of people, was recently confirmed. The malware used to attack computers and shut down control systems was extremely destructive. The attack targeted six large power providers at once. CNN reports that the methods were so effective that “even call centers used for reporting outages were knocked down.”
This could be called “The Starry Night” in cyberattacks. It’s alarming to learn that the attacker responsible for this malicious masterpiece is still at large.
This is a scary possibility, but if you aren’t alarmed, the fact that air conditioners could be used to hack into the power grid might raise some red flags. Wired reports that cybersecurity experts have discovered a way to bypass remote controls of air conditioner units and cause outages during peak energy times.
Customers who agree to have AC units installed by utility companies can receive a discount. This allows the provider to turn off the system when there is too much demand, such as on hot summer evenings. Hackers only need to match the frequency and record commands. Then they can send them. This allows them turn the units on and off. A surge could result if there are too many of them activated during peak summer hours.
Last but not the least, Chatham House, a think tank, identified a serious weakness in some nuclear facilities in October: the inclusion VPNs. This basically means that mission-critical hubs may not be as isolated from the Internet as previously stated. Hackers are smart. Hackers are clever. Give them an inch and they’ll take it all. Remember Stuxnet? A thumb drive and a cleverly designed worm were all that was needed to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities.
It’s a thrilling time to be a security professional
People used to believe that cybersecurity experts were only responsible for building firewalls and keeping spam from breaking the computer. It is reasonable to wish for simpler times, given the gravity of many cyberthreats mentioned above.
There is a silver lining to this whole mess: cybersecurity has become a lot more interesting. Computer science gurus who thought their skills would be most useful in an enterprise IT environment suddenly see a value proposition that involves protecting the nation’s electricity grid. There’s no telling what chaos could result from a blackout if it happens on a large enough scale.
It is now that you can use your basic computer training to launch you into bigger things. The next step is to pursue more advanced certificates such as network security certification, or CompTIAsecuritycertification. As a thought leader in the Internet-of-Things-type technology that will drive innovation in the smart grid, any type of Cisco network network certification including Cisco wireless certification and Cisco security certification, will also be of extraordinary value to cybersecurity firms.
We are on the verge of a cybersecurity revolution. Contact New Horizons today to become part of the solution.
For our four-day course in EC CCISO, don’t forget to join us from March 14-18! Click here for more information and to register.
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Cybersecurity: 2016 will be the year of cybersecurity. Cybercriminals are being thwarted by professionals in this field, who use computer-based training to stay on the cutting edge of technology. It is challenging to work in cybersecurity as hackers constantly update and change their methods in order to gain private data. Cybersecurity experts are needed because of the growing number of cyberattacks. Symantec, a cybersecurity company, has produced a report on cybercrime activity in 2014. It found that businesses were not adequately prepared for cybersecurity needs.

Cost-effective Solution: Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V

Virtualization: Cost-Effective Solutions from R. Lungariello
The technologies in Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V are cost-effective whether you’re building a private cloud or virtualizing your workloads. These are just two examples:
1. Technology Specialists, Fort Wayne IN Jay Tipton is the CEO of Technology Specialists. This company provides technology services to small business. He called on virtualization for a 15-employee firm that needed multiple e-commerce sites to run its business. The licenses for the software used to run the stores had to be managed separately.
Tipton claims that this business might have had to purchase and set up three hardware servers. It was able to purchase a single system to manage all three stores, each running separately with virtualization software.
2. HotSchedules Austin, Texas Microsoft customer HotSchedules offers online services as its core product offering. It must invest in the technology infrastructure to support its customers’ accounts in peak times. The company used to report that it took several weeks to provision a new server before it switched to virtual architecture.
This process can be cut to a matter of days or less with Hyper-V. The case study also reports that the company was able to reduce its power consumption by up to 77% by running 19 virtual machines on each of their physical servers HotSchedules. This is in comparison to the energy required to run a similar number of “real” systems.
Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V gives you the freedom to create a server environment that supports your business at any stage of your IT lifecycle. Here are some additional benefits:
Increase business flexibility Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V lets you live migrate virtual machines and can even migrate virtual machine storage independently. This is possible from outside a clustered environment or between two clusters.
Increase Support for Larger Workloads Windows Server 2012 with HyperV supports 64 virtual processors, 1 terabyte memory for Hyper-V guests, and 4,000 virtual machines in a 64-node cluster. You can use Hyper-V to support Offloaded Data Transfer, and Improved Quality of Service to ensure minimum bandwidth requirements (even network storage).
Increase Virtual Machine Availability. High-availability options include incremental back up support, enhancements to clustered environments that support virtual Fibre Channel adapters within virtual machines, and inbox network teaming. Windows Server 2012 HyperV can also use virtual storage via server message block file sharing. This new option is easy to set up and offers performance capabilities that rival those of Fibre Channel storage areas networks.
Improved handling of multi-tenant environments Hyper-V multitenancy offers new security and multi-tenant isolation capabilities. Virtual machines can be isolated even when they are stored on a single physical network or server. Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V offers new network virtualization features that can help you scale beyond virtual area network implementations. Virtual machines can be placed on any node, regardless of their IP address. This makes the network infrastructure virtually invisible.
Resource Metering is another capability that allows you to monitor the use of your virtualization environment and help with chargeback (external customers), as well as showback (internal accountant) scenarios.
You should offer more options Virtualization relies more on virtualization. This means that you must be able handle different types requests. Many of these requests fall under the umbrella of networking options. The Hyper-V Extensible switch within Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V provides an extensible, open switch that can be used to support management and security needs. You can either create your own extensions or use extensions from partners to meet these needs.
Hyper-V can be used with Microsoft System Center 2012 SP1 management tools for managing multiserver virtualization environments. You can now fully automate management tasks with Hyper-V and reduce administrative overhead costs.
New Horizons is constantly discussing IT with clients and leading vendors. We also discuss industry trends and real-life problems. Because of these close partnerships, New Horizons can help businesses like yours use our knowledge experts to discuss strategies and implementation as well as troubleshooting.
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5 Things Every IT Professional Should Know About Desktop Virtualization and Application Management

Although virtualization has been around for decades now, it has only become a well-known concept and a multi-billion-dollar market with cloud computing. Gartner, an IT research firm, estimated that the server virtualization market grew by 5.7 percent between 2015 and 2016, to reach nearly $6 billion in value. Although server virtualization is now a mature market, other forms of virtualization, such as network and/or data center virtualization (i.e. software-defined data centres), are still in development. Software-defined networking and other emerging technologies will revolutionize the way IT departments operate in the coming year.
Let’s now focus on virtualization of applications, and computer desktops. These types fall somewhere in between the maturity of server virtualization, and the novelty of SDN or SDDC – both are widely used but not a standard practice in every IT organization. Here are five key facts about desktop and application virtualization.
1. There are many ways to virtualize your desktop.
Desktop virtualization is the process of separating an operating system and the client it was accessing. If you open Microsoft Windows or Apple macOS from your personal computer, you are running an OS that is attached (in this instance, the client) and supported by the hardware/software of that PC/Mac. In a virtualized environment, however, the OS and client are not as tightly connected.
There are two main types desktop virtualization options:
Host-based: Users connect to OSes on virtual or physical machines that are hosted in a remote data center; terms such as “thin client” or “zero client” may be used to refer to the barebones hardware that they use to access the host.Client-based: Local hardware is used, but the OS is contained on a disk image that is elsewhere on the company network.Host-based allows for a smaller hardware footprint, but client-based may provide more predictable performance.Virtualized desktops can be run from remote instances in data centers.

2. Virtualization for application offers a similar set.
App virtualization can be thought of as a more specific type of desktop virtualization. It is a method in which a program is isolated from the client that uses it. Virtualizing an app can be done in two ways:
Remote apps: Users can access remote servers in data centers using a remote display protocol. The instances that support these apps may be shared by multiple users as part of a terminal services desktop, or reserved for individuals in the form of virtual desktop infrastructure.Streaming apps: As the name suggests, apps are delivered on-demand to local hardware, which executes their resources in isolation from other programs. This configuration ensures optimal performance as well as security.
3. IT can be made more secure by virtualizing apps and desktops
Computer viruses and other malware often exploit weaknesses in traditional applications. They might copy data to a local drive or exploit loopholes in non-approved software that is running on a company computer.
“Virtualized applications can be administered relatively easily.”
This is why desktop virtualization is so effective in protecting against these threats. Users are protected from malware that targets local machines and unauthorized apps by using a thin/zero client. Administrators can also identify suspicious system behavior more easily with centralized processing.
4. App virtualization simplifies legacy and cross-platform program support
Imagine that your application was created for a particular version of Windows or Linux. Your app will not work properly if you update to a newer OS. What can you do?
Virtualization is a viable option. It acts as an emulator that allows multiple versions of an application to run under the constraints of older platforms. This allows legacy and cross-platform apps to be supported without compromising security or performance.
5. Windows Server is a great platform to learn virtualization skills
Windows Server and Hyper-V, the hypervisor within it, are widely used for desktop virtualization/VDI or similar forms of virtualization. IT professionals who want to be administrators of virtualized environments may begin their learning within the Microsoft ecosystem. They can then transfer their skills to other platforms like VMware and cloud computing (Azure Web Services, Amazon Web Services, etc.). ).
Start with New Horizons Learning Group today at one of our 10 locations. Courses in Windows Server, Azure, and Cisconetworking will give you the technical and conceptual foundation to master desktop and application virtualization.

Hackers Love Universities

BBC reports that malicious hacking attempts have affected multiple universities in the U.K. The hack was a distributed denial-of service attack that targeted an academic network shared between several schools. It has prevented students from turning in their homework. A DDoS attack floods a network, blocking it and making it unusable.
These types of attacks are not designed to steal information, but they can be used as distractions. A hacker can initiate a DDoS attack and, while the institution is trying to get back online, the malicious actor will try and exploit security holes in the network. It is unclear if this latest attack was a prank or a cover, but universities are some of the most hackable institutions.
This is not a problem that is limited to the U.K.
Hacking attacks on universities aren’t something that happens only in Europe or the U.K. Harvard was the victim of a malicious hack in the summer 2015. Although Harvard claimed that no student data was compromised, including banking information and Social Security numbers, the university did mention that there was a possibility that login credentials to university accounts could have been stolen.
This is a problem that is far more widespread than people realize. Symantec’s 2015 Internet Security Threat Report found that universities are highly vulnerable to cyberattacks. According to the report, education is third in most vulnerable to cyberattacks after retail and health care.
This is why universities around the world need to invest more in cybersecurity. Harvard was able to keep the student’s data confidential, but this is too much information to be at risk with a weak cybersecurity system. Cybercriminals can easily access highly classified and sensitive research information at universities. It is dangerous to allow this data to be lost.
Cybersecurity training is best done by computer.
Universities, like all other sectors, are in dire need for individuals with cybersecurity skills. Hackers are highly skilled individuals, despite their evil intentions. Universities and the rest of the world need to be equally skilled to stop hackers. Computer-based cybersecurity training can help you stop hackers from committing crimes.
You can find basic computer training courses at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers if you are interested in taking cybersecurity training courses. New Horizons of Southern California or Southern Arizona can provide you with the tools to stop cybercriminals from their tracks.

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It’s that time again! Soon, technology training budgets will be expiring. New Horizons can help you maximize your training dollars if your company is in a time crunch. Our award-winning serviceIT positions dominate the most in-demand jobs in 2016. CareerBuilder’s list shows how important these skills are. Each position was ranked based on the number of companies that posted job ads and how many people were hired in the field. The list gave higher rankings to those jobs that had more postings than were filled. Experian, Scottrade and Donald Trump’s hotels were among those that reported breaches. CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm, found evidence that Chinese infiltrators were operating in the private sector of the United States despite the fact that they had publicly denied it. Congress is poised for cybersecurity legislation, the first time in history. Needless to mention, hackers have caused quite a stir in cyberspace.

Understanding your options for Skype for Business deployment

Skype for Business is one the most versatile components in Microsoft Office 365. It was created from Lync (the company’s previous platform for multichannel collaboration across chat and video) and was given the name of one the largest ever Microsoft acquisitions. The platform combines several key functions into one easy package.
Skype for Business is a great collaboration tool. How do you deploy Skype for Business within your company?
Skype for Business: Online or on-premises deployment options
Skype for Business, like many other components in Office 365 can be deployed in the Cloud, using your own IT infrastructure, or a combination of both. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. Skype for Business Online is the cloud-hosted version. It is similar to other cloud services in that it requires minimal maintenance but offers less control. Skype for Business Online is a smart choice if Office 365 meets all your organizational requirements for technical compliance and legal compliance. There are some tradeoffs to it compared to the Skype for Business server, such as less access to APIs, lack of persistent chat, and Video Interop Servers (VIS)
It cannot dial in to a local private branch exchange (PBX), but it can access audio conferencing providers and public switched phone networks. Its PSTN implementation is managed directly by Microsoft. This simplifies administration and may reduce costs as local infrastructure is not needed. It is impossible to manage some dependencies in SharePoint and Exchange unless these applications, as well as Skype for Business, are located on-premises. The shortcomings of Skype for Business Online can be addressed in Office 365. Microsoft Teams and Office 365 Groups are both options for persistent chat rooms. This app may eventually replace Skype for Business for many end users. Skype for Business Server is an on-prem installation of Skype for business. Skype for Business Server can be deployed locally and is more integrated than Skype for Business Online. It also allows for more control. Server is a way for organizations to exchange the convenience of Online and some advanced functionality.
“On-prem Skype for Business offers persistent Chat.”
Skype for Business on-prem offers persistent chat, VIS calls, and full access the platform’s APIs for programmers. It can also be used with local PBX infrastructure. Skype for Business Server works in the same way as any traditional IT system except that it integrates multiple forms and communication into one platform. Skype for Business Server is more complex than Skype for Business Online and requires more maintenance and oversight. It requires minimal hardware and software requirements. This includes controlling everything, from its CPU and memory to which versions of Windows Server or PowerShell it must use. It is crucial to have IT professionals who are experienced in managing such complex systems.
New Horizons Computer Learning Centers invites you to dive into Skype for Business
There are many options available for setting up Skype for Business. New Horizons Computer Learning Centers certification can help you get a rewarding job in the implementation of Office 365 and Skype for Business Server. You can view the full course listings and also check out our webinars page for more information about what we offer.