SystemsNet Blog

Tag Archives: Microsoft

Microsoft Product Releases: Skype For Business Is Now Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Product Releases: Microsoft Windows Server 2016

Improved Security

The next generation of windows server is more robust with features than its predecessors

When it comes to Microsoft Product Releases, we can’t stress enough how Microsoft Windows Server 2016 is vital to a successful IT team. We can give you seven reasons why your team needs it. So, without further delay, read on:

Windows Server 2016 has multiple layers of security built-in to the operating system. This new security system helps block attacks against your data and applications that run on-premises and in the Cloud, as well as attacks against virtual machines. Several isolation and threat detection features activate as soon as Windows Server 2016 launches.

You can also activate other security features after server deployment:

  • switch on protection against malware/ransomware injection into server
  • block compromises to credentials, such as pass-the-hash attacks, using Credential Guard and Remote Credential Guard
  • pro-actively identify behavior indicating potential server breaches
  • expand security protection to include virtual machines, using Shielded Virtual Machines encrypted by Bitlocker. Bitlocker is full disc encryption that protects the hard drive from offline attacks, first introduced in Windows 2007, and now applied to virtual machines.

Credential Guard/Remote Credential Guard. Microsoft first introduced this security feature in Windows 10 Enterprise. The protection uses virtualization security techniques that wall off cryptic  information like credentials and put the cloaked information where only a set of privileged software has access. Even malware running within the operating system cannot break into the credentials. Credential Guard protects NTLM (NT Lan Manager) password hashes and Kerberos Ticket Granting Tickets as well as other credentials that applications store for their domains.

Shielded Virtual Machines. Microsoft introduced this security feature in Windows 2016. Shielded Virtual Machines protect Microsoft’s Hyper-V Generation 2 virtual machines from malicious attacks. Shielded VMs do not boot from a traditional BIOS system. Instead, they boot from something called a virtual Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). Technology companies, 140 of them including Microsoft, developed UEFI to replace BIOS.

Shielded Virtual Machines work their security magic thanks to Secure Boot and Bitlocker encryption that resides inside the virtual disks. Bitlocker protects data whether it’s in transit or not moving. Secure Boot is a PC industry standard that checks the boot loader to make sure it only uses software trusted by the PC manufacturer.

Device Guard. This security feature make sure that only trusted software runs on your server — whether your applications run in-house or in the Cloud. It is security software and Enterprise hardware that together lock a device down to only run trusted software that you define in your code policies.

Control Flow Guard. This security feature developed to prevent vulnerabilities that result in memory corruption. One of its strengths is that it severely restricts from where code executes which means that hackers cannot take advantage of buffer overflows or other vulnerabilities to execute malicious code.

Windows Defender. This feature is an anti-malware protection for the server, not the operating system.

Microsoft Focuses on Hybrid Cloud. The new Windows Server 2016 is an example of Microsoft’s emphasis on Hybrid Cloud. The company is betting that certain Enterprise organizations will always want to transfer some of their data and work spaces to the Cloud while maintaining other parts of their data/applications on the in-house server. Microsoft designed Windows Server 2016 to facilitate organizations who want to take advantage of the Hybrid Cloud.

Have the most knowledgeable IT team. Windows Server 2016 is much more powerful than previous servers. To get the most out of Windows Server 2016, it makes sense to have highly trained IT personnel who have the skills necessary to run the server and all of its security features.

To talk more about this topic, or about anything else, please contact us. We want to help you with all your IT questions.

Microsoft Announces the New Surface Pro


Microsoft Product Releases

Microsoft combines stunning creativity with powerful productivity in the new Surface Pro, announced on May 23rd, 2017. The Surface Pro’s top-down redesign includes an extremely long 13.5 hour battery life; lightning-fast Intel Core 7th generation processor; support for the new Surface Pen with its amazing inking capabilities; and a great deal more. Yet despite the long list of improvements, the new Surface Pro weighs only 1.69 pounds and costs only $799 USD.

Faster performance

The new Surface Pro, which runs on an Intel Core 7th generation processor, delivers speeds that are 2.5 times faster than the Surface Pro 3. Despite its remarkable performance, the Surface Pro’s fanless design keeps it nice and quiet.

Longer battery life

The new Surface Pro’s battery has an extremely long life of 13.5 hours, lasting 50% longer than its predecessor.

Streamlined design

With softer edges, an ultra-thin 8.5mm profile, and a weight of only 1.69 pounds, the new Surface Pro is elegant and streamlined. Furthermore, users can not only customize the color of their new Surface Pro, but also the Surface Arc mouse and the new Surface Pen. There are three rich colors available: cobalt blue, burgundy and platinum.

Improved keyboard and display

The new Surface Pro’s type cover features 1.3mm of key travel for quicker, more accurate typing than its predecessors. A soft, elegant, yet strong, covering envelops the keyboard for maximum comfort and aesthetic appeal. Thanks to a new hinge with a 165-degree range, users can now take advantage of Studio Mode, which provides the ideal position for drawing or writing with the Surface Pen. The new Surface Pro also has a high-resolution 12.3 inch PixelSense Display (supporting the new Surface Pen) and a full-glass trackpad that includes multi-touch, five-finger precision.

The new Surface Pen

Thanks to its PixelSense Accelerator, the new Surface Pen is not only faster than its predecessors, but features twice the accuracy and responsiveness. With 4,096 levels of sensitivity to pressure, both writing and drawing are vastly improved with the new Surface Pen. The device also features support for tilt functionality, which detects the angle that the user holds the pen against the screen’s surface. The result is enhanced shading with an improved, natural quality.

Windows 10, Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Whiteboard will unlock still more possibilities for inking with the new Surface Pen in 2017.

Surface Dial capabilities

You can now access many of the creative experiences from Surface Studio by using Surface Dial with the new Surface Pro. Simply place Surface Dial on the screen to access app-specific shortcuts and tools.

A new path to productivity

Microsoft is bringing the creative power of the new Surface Pro and the Surface Pen into the domain of productivity. In June, 2017, Microsoft 365 subscribers will begin to see new inking functionality, including a gallery of drawing devices that follow you throughout your activities in Word, Powerpoint and Excel. Office users will soon find themselves inking comments in their documents with the Surface Pro and Surface Pen. Later in 2017, Microsoft will release Whiteboard, unlocking still more features for ink-enabled Windows 10 devices. Subscribers of Office 365 will have exclusive access to many features.

Launch date

Microsoft plans to release the new Surface Pro on June 15th, 2017 in twenty-four markets. Pre-ordering is already available in select markets and stores. Microsoft plans to release the new Surface Pen in the coming weeks.

With the new Surface Pro, Microsoft offers both a creative studio and a powerful laptop in a single, 1.69 pound package. The top-down resign includes a faster processor; an extraordinary 13.5 hour battery life; an ultra-thin 8.55mm profile; a redesigned keyboard for faster typing; and support for the new Surface Pen’s industry-leading inking capabilities. As Microsoft rolls out Whiteboard later this year, owners of the new Surface Pro will find themselves unlocking even more remarkable features to enhance both their creativity and productivity in 2017.

Contact us to learn more about Microsoft’s new Surface Pro.

Four Ways To Prepare for a Windows 10 Migration


Backing up your data will make sure it stays safe during the migration.

A recent article from Business Insider takes a sharp tone in its title when it urges people to “stop waffling and install Windows 10 on your computers already.”

It’s understandable why companies may show some reluctance to migrate to Windows 10. People don’t always trust Microsoft and its promises, and sometimes they’re turned away by the computer giant’s aggressive marketing tactics. People may prefer an older system they’re accustomed to and the programs compatible with it. And they may also have legitimate concerns about new problems they’ll have to deal with after migrating.

Making your Windows 10 migration easier

Maybe one of your main concerns about the new operating system is the migration process itself.

To make a Windows 10 migration go more smoothly, it’s important to take the right steps to prepare. Without proper preparation, you’re more likely to encounter frustrating and perhaps devastating problems.

The following are four major ways to get ready for your Windows 10 migration:

  1. Evaluate your device and consider if it’s ready for Windows 10. Depending on the device you’re using, Windows 10 may put a strain on it. Look into whether your device can accommodate the new operating system. (Here’s a link to Microsoft’s specifications for Windows 10.) Inspect the health of your device as well; perform a disk check, and scan your device for malware.
  2. Review the contents of your device. Look into whether you have software that may not work well with Windows 10. And if you have any software on your device that you never use, feel free to delete it and create more space on your device. Do the same for any files you no longer need. (As long as you’re sure you’re not accidentally deleting something you really do need). Check that peripheral devices and hardware, such as your printer, will have compatible drivers with Windows 10. If you understand the content of your computer and work to organize it and clean it up, you’re less likely to experience unpleasant surprises after migrating to Windows 10.
  3. Back up your device. Never migrate to a new operating system without first backing up all of your data. Check that your backups are complete and that you really have copies of everything. Even if your Windows 10 migration goes smoothly, there’s still some danger of permanent data loss.
  4. Make sure you have all of your software license and password information. While many programs should make a smooth transition to Windows 10, it’s best to have copies of certain information readily available, such as software license keys and passwords. Maybe you’ll need to reinstall something or regain access to one of your accounts.

After installation, there are various settings you can check and configure to make the operating system more convenient for you, such as when to schedule updates that restart your device. The more carefully you prepare in advance, the fewer adjustments you’ll likely need to make once the migration is complete. But regardless of whether you think the migration went well, it’s important to go through your device and check that everything is working as you expect.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance with migrating to Windows 10. Although people’s lingering concerns about the new operating system have some weight, it’s important to consider the advantages you’ll get once you migrate to it. Many companies are opting for Windows 10 because of its powerful security, its strong performance across computing devices, its user-friendliness, and its array of helpful, high-quality programs such as Cortana. Windows 10 users will also benefit from future tweaks and updates, along with support for compatible Microsoft programs. (In the next few years Microsoft will withdraw support from older operating systems.)

We can help you ensure that the migration process goes smoothly and that your operating system and its programs are set up in an optimal way for your business.