SBS 2008 Community Survey

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Kevin Beares is the Community lead inside the Microsoft Server Group in the US.  He’s been conducting a yearly survey of the community for the past 3 years now and it’s that time of year again.  Please support the community by taking a few minutes to do the survey.  Below is the note from him.

 

The Windows Small Business Server 2008 WW Community Survey is live

This is the third year we have published an SBS WW Community Survey to the SBS Community. 

We have learned an amazing amount of information from the people who have taken the time to tell us what they thought. Some things we kind of knew already, but other things were not as clear before we had received the feedback.

Because of the previous surveys, we have made some adjustments in our community engagement. To name a few; we really worked on putting more focus on the Official SBS Blog. Our Sustaining Engineering team runs mini betas with our MVPs before KB’s and Bug Fixes are released via Windows Update. We try to get more involvement in our techbetas from our User Groups. The list does go on.

To the survey, the SBS Product Team would like to hear from the Windows SBS Community again. This survey is completely anonymous. In fact, some of you may have to sign out from Live in order to take the survey. So, if you get a PAGE NOT FOUND error message, please log out of Live and click on the link to the survey again.

We want to know how valuable your experience is with the community resources and information that is available to you today as a member of the Windows SBS Community. We also want to know what you think could be done to improve your Windows SBS Community Experience. Please take a couple of minutes to provide us your candid feedback via this survey and let us know what you think.

SBS WW Community Survey 2008

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Kevin Beares
Community Lead – WSSG


Category: SBS 2008 / Cougar

Published: 30/05/2008 5:19 PM

SBS 2008 Public Beta now available

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Finally – SBS 2008 is available for the wider public audience to download and start to test in your own environments.  Having been part of the SBS 2008 beta now for nearly 2 years, it’s interesting to see where the product has come from and where it is heading too.  At this late stage, I don’t expect to see too many changes in features between what you can get today and what will be released.  Having said that, if you want to get the jump on the competition, you NEED to be playing with this now.  Sure it is beta and that means you SHOULD NOT use it in a production environment.

Here’s the official release by Dean Paron http://blogs.technet.com/sbs/archive/2008/05/28/announcing-small-business-server-2008-rc0-public-preview.aspx


Category: SBS 2008 / Cougar

Published: 29/05/2008 10:04 PM

SBS 2008 & EBS 2008 Training around Australia

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Woohooo… Today SBS 2008 went public with the beta which means I can now talk more freely about this product and what’s cool about it.  Robbie Upcroft the SBS/SBSC Product Manager here in Australia, is keen to ensure that we get some advance training on SBS and EBS and in conjunction with him, I’ll be running a morning training session on both SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 over the next few weeks in the 5 main capital cities here in Australia.  I’m looking forward to doing this so please check out Robbies blog post below and register ASAP so that we can have a full house!

http://blogs.technet.com/sbsaustralia/archive/2008/05/28/register-now-for-sbs-ebs-partner-training.aspx


Category: SBS 2008 / Cougar

Published: 29/05/2008 9:59 PM

Free security software from Scorpion Software

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image Yes – you heard right, CEO of Scorpion Software, Dana Epp has released a free security tool to help address one of the often raised security concerns about the Remote Web Workplace in Small Business Server 2003.  By default SBS 2003 allows all users (including administrators) to remotely access their desktops inside the network.  This is via the Remote Web Workplace portal and requires the users username and password.  Administrators can also access your server via the same page.  Dana has for some time had a product called AuthAnvil which gives you two factor authentication for your SBS servers RWW page and this helps secure things a lot as it requires you to have a token combined with your password to access the inside of your network.  AuthAnvil is a great product and I use it to secure the assets of SBSfaq.com (and yes – people have tried to hack it without success). If you implemented AuthAnvil for your users then you would have no concern about people trying to attack your RWW as it would be impossible for them to access your server without the users password AND their token.

However, the reality is that SMB resellers and customers are a cheap bunch.  They don’t value or respect security because "it’s never happened to them".  They’ve typically never had a network breach and therefore they can’t quantify and justify the value that a solution like AuthAnvil presents to them.  Therein lies the problem.  Installing AuthAnvil AFTER a network attack is shutting the gate after the horse has bolted.  Great response, but too late.

Scorpion Software are very community minded and Dana brings his considerable security experience to bear in this respect with the products that they create.  Dana has heard and recognises that an RWW without AuthAnvil is a potential security risk.  Administrator accounts can easily access the server once the password is guessed.  In response to that risk, Dana has create the RWWProtect tool.  This free tool is available to anyone from their site and will allow you to restrict the RWW to just Normal Users in your network.  It will prevent administrator users from accessing at all.  For me, RWWProtect is not needed, as I have the two factor authentication in place.

Check out their site (http://www.authanvil.com/rwwprotect/) and while you are there, check out the other cool products they have.  Security should not be an after thought, it should be designed in from the beginning.


Category: Software I use

Published: 24/05/2008 5:07 PM


Small Business Events in Australia this week

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I didn’t know about it until today, but the New South Wales government have labelled this week as Home Based Business week and they are running a host of seminars all around the state all related to home based and small business.  Looking through the topics, it looks like they are covering some very interesting information and I wish I’d found out about it earlier so I could attend.

Anyway – the link is here and I’ll be watching out for it in future.


Category: Business Focus

Published: 20/05/2008 6:07 PM

Funny view on what Microsoft does conveyed by children

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Microsoft Australia are doing a cute viral marketing campaign which is aimed to raise awareness of it’s Office 2007 product and at the same time donate money to charity.  They have said they will donate up to $100,000 to charity based on this campaign.  Nice one Microsoft.

Anyway – they way they are doing this is via viral marketing.  They’ve got some cute kids telling us all about Office 2007, what they think Microsoft is… I love that bit.

Anyway – go check out their site here


Category: Business Focus

Published: 20/05/2008 8:24 AM

Microsoft learns from their mistakes with the SBSCs

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In a great example of Microsoft listening to the SBSC partners and learning from their mistakes, Robbie has advised that they are marketing to our SMB customers.  http://blogs.technet.com/sbsaustralia/archive/2008/05/15/microsoft-smb-customer-profiling-a-follow-up.aspx

Thank you Microsoft for letting us know about this.  It shows that you have learnt from your last experience :-)  I look forward to hearing more about what you learn about our customers so that together we can help the customers build their business.


Category: Business Focus

Published: 19/05/2008 10:19 PM

New Small Business Specialist Partner (SBSC) Area Lead (PAL) for Australia – Hilton Travis

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Now I really don’t think Microsoft know what they are in for with this announcement.  Late last night, Robbie Upcroft – the Microsoft Australia dude covering the SBSC program and the SBS/EBS product range, made the following announcement to the local SBSC yahoogroup.  I’ve known Hilton for some years now and he’s pretty much a nice guy.  Sure there are times when I wish he would just shut up, but I believe that all in all, his heart is in the right place.  Hilton is replacing Dean Calvert here in Australia as the SBSC PAL, and to be honest, I think he will do a stellar job at it (no offense to Dean).  The problem is though, that I don’t think Microsoft know what they are doing by appointing Hilton.  They do not know the true tireless bombardment they are about to go under as he does not care what gets in his way when he tries to promote the cause of the SBSC.  One of them will break – either Hilton will realise that Microsoft can’t move that fast to change and stop, or Microsoft will ultimately give in and change to our way of thinking faster.  I certainly hope it is the latter.  The SBSC program is nothing more than a badge right now.  A badge that anyone can get if they bother to try.  It needs to be far more than that.  It needs to be recognised by the business owner and held in the same level of respect as the CPA program for Chartered Accountants.  It needs to become a house hold name for it to have any real value to the SMB community.

Hilton – I wish you all the best mate.  You are going to need it.  If you need something then let us know.  Your time starts…..now!

 

Hi folks,

Just a quick heads-up that we have appointed a new Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL) for Australia. The wider announcement will be made in the upcoming newsletter & blog however given the passionate nature of this forum, we wanted to let you know first.

Commencing July 1st & lasting for 12 months, Hilton Travis of Quark IT in Brisbane will follow Dean Calvert’s tenure as our nominated PAL. I’d like to take this time to wholeheartedly thank Dean for his drive & efforts in working on the first instalment of the PAL program & at the same time, welcome Hilton to the role. An active member of the Brisbane SBS Users group & vocal contributor to the global SBS forums, Hilton was selected for his passion, knowledge of Microsoft SMB solutions & blistering honesty when it comes to providing feedback.

I understand that some of you may not have heard of the SBSC PAL program before & so an overview is located here: https://partner.microsoft.com/global/40011087?PS=95000124. In summary though, it is:

· A Microsoft Corporate program designed to foster better relationships between SBSCs & the wider Microsoft SMB / Partner teams

· A way for SBSCs to channel feedback through to Microsoft, and for us in turn to hear a rolled-up summary of issues

· A 12 month appointment with the PAL being nominated by Microsoft.

Although Hilton will undoubtedly respond to this post & let you know how to get in contact with him in his own inimitable way, I would expect him to be a rather passionate, vocal representative of the community on all things SBSC – the good, the bad & the ugly. Amongst other things he will be involved in quarterly conference calls, meet the local Microsoft partner executive team & participate in feedback sessions with the MS Corp owners of the SBSC program at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston in July.

As per the recent series of SBSC roundtables & increased focus on activities (such as the “We’ve got a guy” campaign & better newsletter coverage), we’re looking to ramp-up our efforts in this space & the appointment of a new PAL is just one in a long line of shake-ups coming to the Australian version.

A quick background on Hilton in his words is below.

Thanks & please let me know if you have any questions,

Robbie Upcroft | Product Manager – SMB Servers | Microsoft Australia

 

 

 

Name: Hilton Travis

Company: Quark IT (Quark Group Pty Ltd)

Location: Brisbane, Sunny Queensland

Years in business: 19

Describe your business in 25 words or less:                         

Quark IT: Specializing in the SMB market, providing networking and general technology support to allow our clients to better run the business side their business.

Quark Group: Automation, Audio Visual and IT integrator specializing in commercial and high end residential projects helping to integrate technology so it is unobtrusive yet functional.

What are you passionate about in business?:                    

Being at the leading edge of the current “integration” technology allowing us to be able to  make people’s lives easier by the careful selection and implementation of technology in their homes and workplaces.  Also, being able to design this so that we can be as environmentally and socially responsible as possible without reducing the functionality and effectiveness of the solutions to our clients’ requirements.

How long have you been in IT?: 26 long years

How long have you been working with Microsoft products?:

Since the days of MS DOS being supplied on 360 KB floppy diskettes.  Around 1984, if my failing memory serves me correctly.  I do have a copy of Microsoft OS/2 Version 1.21 on 5.25” disks somewhere.

If Microsoft could do one thing to help your business thrive, what would it be?:

Look back at the good old days when they were good at releasing killer desktop OSes and great Office applications – and start running the business once again like that.  If Microsoft could focus on its strengths instead of trying to borg the entire IT world, they could once again release great products that would really help our clients run their businesses better.

What’s the best thing about the SBSC program?:

At this point, aahhh, well…  Its potential.  (See, I *can* be politically correct!)

What’s the worst thing?:

Nobody knows what it is.  None of our clients.  No-one outside an SBSC.  It is the program you have when you don’t have a program!  That is, however, starting to change a little and I want to encourage that change.

What are you looking forward to most over the next 12 months as the new Aussie SBSC PAL?:

Firstly, working out what a PAL actually does, and then doing it!

I’m hoping to be able to encourage Microsoft to promote the SBSC program in Australia to the point where it is recognized by people outside the SBSC members.  This will involve input not only from Microsoft, but from the SBSCs ourselves.  Yet another paper certification is something we don’t need and we definitely shouldn’t want – having this certification actually mean something in the industry and to our clients is what I’d like to see happen by June 2009.

I’d like to be able to let Microsoft know, in my own silky smooth way, what I see wrong with the way they are going in areas that actually matter.  I’d really, really like to be able to help sort out their Licensing when it comes to the SMB marketplace and I’d like to try and understand why we’re so poorly treated when it comes to the pricing of Microsoft software and programs in Australia.


Category: People I meet

Published: 19/05/2008 5:18 AM

SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 Pricing Released

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Microsoft have today released the US pricing for Small Business Server 2008 and Essential Business Server 2008.  The official announcement is here. In addition, they have announced changes in how they will deal with Client Access Licenses (CALs) for SBS 2008 in allowing the purchase of single CAL increments, therefore making it easier for clients to stay correctly licensed.

Today Microsoft announced the following prices for the Windows Essential Server Solutions family:

  • Windows Small Business Server 2008 Standard Edition software, including five CALs, $1,089 (U.S.); additional CALs $77 each (U.S.)
  • Windows Small Business Server 2008 Premium Edition software, including five CALs, $1,899 (U.S.); additional CALs $189 each (U.S.)
  • Windows Essential Business Server 2008 Standard Edition software, including five CALs, $5,472 (U.S.); additional CALs $81 each (U.S.)
  • Windows Essential Business Server 2008 Premium Edition software, including five CALs, $7,163 (U.S.); additional CALs $195 each (U.S.)

Whilst Australian pricing has not been announced as yet, it is hoped by the community that Microsoft Australia will look favourably on the current US$ > AUD$ conversion rates and ensure that the local pricing is more favourable than it has been in the past.

Ok – so what else have they mentioned here that might not be clear?

CALs – you only need to purchase Premium CALs for those users who access the Premium features eg SQL 2008 – this means that you can have 25 users in your SBS Premium network with Standard CALs and only 5 users with Premium CALs if those 5 users are the only ones accessing SQL server.  That’s a real cost saving for the Small Business owner.

Outlook 2007 License – is not included in the SBS CAL anymore.  This is primarily due to the fact that Exchange 2007 no longer includes it and the SBS product inherits this from their licensing model.  Microsoft have statistical information to show that people are purchasing office which includes Outlook anyway, so this actually reduces the potential cost for the end user in the long run.  The Outlook Web Access experience in Exchange 2007 is greatly enhanced too so this makes the user experience when away from the office far better than before.

ForeFront for Exchange and OneCare for Server – they’ve included a 120 day trial version so that out of the box your server has protection from bad things such as SPAM and Virus infection.  It’s incomplete however as they provide no protection for the client computers and no way to centrally manage the entire operation.  For me personally, I’ll be replacing this with Trends’s WFBS product due out shortly as this gives me all that I need to centrally manage my network.

 

Ok – so that’s a brief summary – I’ll be writing more later this week.


Category: SBS 2008 / Cougar

Published: 14/05/2008 7:39 AM

USB Flash Drive not working on Windows Vista?

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I picked up a 16G Corsair Flash Voyager when I was in the US last month from Frys.  It worked fine on my laptop but refused to work on my desktop.  Instead I got the dialog box on below requesting drivers for it.  Naturally I didn’t have drivers for it.

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I did some digging and found this article on their website. The Corsair website had some helpful FAQ’s that I found at this link it had the instructions below.

Please try the following instructions to get your USB devices working properly in Windows Vista: 1. Go to Local Disk (C)/Windows/System32/Driverstore/Filerepository 2. Go to usbstor.inf ( click the one that is newest) 3. Copy the usbstor.inf and usbstor.PNF files. 4. After you have copied the two files go to Windows/inf folder and paste the files in that folder. Now your USB devices should work.

Now – in my case, I found that the usbstor.inf and usbstor.pnf files were both missing from the Windows/inf folder.  I don’t know why – but they were.  Copy and replace as per instructions and it’s working fine now.

 

 

 

 


Category: Troubleshooting

Published: 12/05/2008 10:48 PM