Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas to all



To all readers of this blog I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I thank you for taking the time to read and comment on what I produce here.
Remember to take some time off and spend with family and friends as it is important to have some down time as 2014 I think is going to be even more hectic than 2013 was.
So enjoy, stay safe and thanks for staying tuned.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Cloud Business Podcast–Episode 5

The Cloud Business Podcast - Opportunity in the Cloud is only a Click Away with Robert Crane and Nigel Moore

http://www.cloudbusinessblueprint.com/podcast/episode-005-accounting-for-it-providers-2/

iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/cloud-business-podcast-opportunity/id742109989

In this podcast episode we discuss why financial reporting and accounting is so important to profitably managing your Cloud Business. We’ll highlight the 4 major reports that you should be reviewing daily and why. We’ll then take a deeper dive into each of these to give you a better idea of what role they play in your business.

We cover Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Reports and Budgets. Four very important financial and accounting reports you should be keeping an eye on when managing your Cloud Business.

Rob relays some recent examples of good and bad customer service he has been subjected to and we answer the question about when is the right time to be talking to your clients about cloud services.

Resources

www.xero.com.au – Cloud based account system
www.sassu.com – Cloud based account system

New and Noteworthy



Wow! turns out that our Cloud Business Blueprint podcast made the New and Noteworthy section of iTunes.

Look for it in the business section or via the direct link:
https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/cloud-business-podcast-opportunity/id742109989
or directly on the Cloud Business Blueprint web site:
http://www.cloudbusinessblueprint.com/category/podcast/
Episode 5 is about to be released.
When you do listen we’d really appreciate any feedback or ratings you can provide as it all helps us create a better result for our listeners.

All in the name


As you may well know I have written a number of books that are available on my site or from places like Amazon. One of these is:
Getting Started with SkyDrive Pro for Office 365.
I recently received a very poor review from PL1 Pgrmr that reads:
Not what it purports to be: I found this book to be totally corporate oriented. When I bought it, my thought was to understand Skydrive and how it works better. This book fails on all counts. After skimming it, I was sorry I even bought it. Stay away unless you are in a corporate environment.
Now my first reaction, especially to the review title, has annoyance as I certainly believed that both the title and the description were valid. However, upon reflection I can see where the problem lies.
Office 365 has a Home Edition that also includes SkyDrive but the consumer version NOT the Pro version. So this person would seem to have Office 365 Home Edition and was looking for information about SkyDrive, bought my book and was disappointed because my book only covers the business versions of Office 365.
So here we have a great example of how inconsistency in products confuses end users:
1. Office 365 Home is NOTHING like Office 365 for business
2. SkyDrive Pro is NOTHING like consumer SkyDrive
Now I do understand that Microsoft is trying to unify its products and brand all under one cloud banner but it is still very confusing for end users. Even I had to stop and look at this from the point of view of someone who has purchase Office 365 Home and wants information on SkyDrive and how easily it would be to confuse my book on Office 365 Business and SkyDrive Pro.
It is so easy as technology people who understand the differences between products like SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro to overlook the fact that the vast majority of end users struggle to differentiate the products. It also highlights how you have to really, really specific with these cloud offering to ensure you are targeting exactly the right audience.
No one is at fault here, it is just confusion around the product editions. I have now updated the description on Amazon to indicate my book doesn’t talk to the Office 365 Home edition and I have left a comment for the reviewer indicating what I believe is where the confusion lies.
My book NEVER attempted to cover consumer SkyDrive and in the first few pages (which I am sure you can view via a preview it does say:
It is important not to confuse the consumer edition of SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro
and
This means it covers material that is applicable for Enterprise Office 365 Plans and well as for the Small Business and Professionals Plans. It will not cover the consumer version of SkyDrive.
However, I do understand how someone using the Office 365 Home edition could still be confused, yet I think the title of the review is a little harsh but I accept that is what happens when you publish publically.
So what’s the point of this post? I suppose it is to say always ensure that you avoid confusion in the minds of consumers when it comes to your products. If there is confusion there will be frustration like that experienced by the reviewer and myself as an author both expecting different content from a product of the same name, that being Office 365. That frustration results in negative sentiment when in fact each product provides a great solution for home users and for business. It is unfortunate that they are so dissimilar but share a common name.
Oh well, I need to update that SkyDrive Pro book anyway.



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Review - Spigen SGP Neo Hybrid for Google Nexus 5

Full disclosure – the review unit was supplied by Mobilezap. You can find this device and others at the Mobilezap category page at:
http://www.mobilezap.com.au/34604/google/nexus-5/cases.htm

This is a pretty handy cover for the Nexus 5 in my books. It basically comes in two pieces as you can see above. This first is the case which the phone fits into snuggly. The second is a band that fit around the border to hold it in place, which is easy to attach. The case even has rails to ensure the band fits correctly and stays in place.

It is hard to even notice the cover when it is place. It adds very little bulk or weight to the phone and protects it very well. All the guide holes align perfectly and the surface makes the phone nice and grippy.
I like simple covers like these because they protect the phone while not making any more cumbersome to use. Certainly would recommend this case to all Nexus 5 users.





Monday, December 16, 2013

Last chance for Cloud Business Blueprint discount

Cloud Business Blueprint

 

 

 

A few weeks back I let you know about signing up to my new project www.cloudbusinessblueprint.com. We opened the doors on the private members site on Friday night and by Saturday all the Foundation spots where taken.

Many people contacted us saying that this was the ONLY weekend that they didn’t check their emails and they were very disappointed to miss out. Thus, after discussions with my business partner Nigel Moore, we have decided to make a similar once off offer.

Until Wednesday 5pm Australian eastern standard time (GMT+11) you can get membership for AUD $37 per month (plus GST for AU people), if you use the code:

CBB-LAUNCH-EXTRAS

Right now in the community, you already have access to a half dozen training courses along with some templates and eBooks and that's growing rapidly.

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So, if you're keen to jump on board, head on over now to www.cloudbusinessblueprint.com/members-sign-up - the coupon code for the $37 pricing is CBB-LAUNCH-EXTRAS

Just to make sure you don't miss out on this one (as we definitely won't be offering any more discounts on membership).

After that membership will be locked and staying at $47 for the time being.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cloud Business Podcast–Episode 4

The Cloud Business Podcast - Opportunity in the Cloud is only a Click Away with Robert Crane and Nigel Moore

http://www.cloudbusinessblueprint.com/podcast/episode-004-white-label-cloud/

iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/cloud-business-podcast-opportunity/id742109989

This podcast discussed the benefits and challenges of white labelling cloud offerings. It looks at the challenges of incorporating public and private cloud offerings in an effort to generate profit and develop a long term strategy. We however also cover the huge opportunities in niches that are not currently adequately covered by resellers and why focusing on commissions is a losing game. Some of these opportunities come from businesses like:

  • Office 365 = www.office365.com 
  • Google Apps = http://www.google.com/intx/en_au/enterprise/apps/business/
  • Intermedia = www.intermedia.net
  • My Hosted Solution = www.myhostedsolution.com

As well as some nice solutions like:

  • Saleforce = www.salesforce.com
  • 37signals = www.37signals.com
  • Sassu – www.sassu.com
  • Xero = www.xero.com.au
  • Windows Azure = http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/

We answer the question about how to make product offerings easier for clients as well as wrap up some of the latest goings on at Cloud Business Blueprint

We’d love to hear feedback, so please leave your comments below and don’t forget to rate us on iTunes. This will help us grow our listener base which will encourage us to add more value and help us to bring on some fantastic guests.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Meet the New Windows


It is very unfortunate that Windows 8 has received a lot of negative press, mainly from those who have never used it! Yep, it works better on a touch device which are not that common yet but if you simply press the Windows Key you end up at the desktop. How hard is that?
Windows 8 is certainly a major departure in terms of interface from what most people are used to but anyone who has ever used a tablet or a smart phone should be able to adapt pretty quickly, so I can’t see why some people moan so much?? Are they not using a smart phone? I doubt it. Most of the negativity seems to be coming from those ‘old school’ users who don’t want to learn anything new. However, any new interface always elicits cries of angst. What happened to the day when we couldn’t wait for something new? Have people really become that staid now days?
The secret to success with Windows 8 is to spend some time acclimatizing yourself to the new stuff. It doesn’t take long, 10 – 15 minutes is enough for most people to get up to speed and be more productive than they were with previous operating systems. It would have been great if Windows 8 did include its own usage tutorial but it doesn’t and that has counted against it when it comes to adoption.
A little bit of digging around the Microsoft site reveals a wonderful training document on Windows 8.
Windows 8 End User Training brochure
I’d recommend that any Windows 8 user download and work their way through the document as it covers a huge amount of the new features in Windows 8. In many cases, once you become familiar with these features you’ll really appreciate how much better than can make your technology experience.
Even if you aren’t currently using Windows 8 it is probably worthwhile downloading and going through the document or at least keeping it handy as chances are, one day you’ll be using Windows 8!
Before you write Windows 8 off and consign yourself back to your 1980’s machine, go through the Windows 8 End User Training brochure and then use Windows 8 for yourself. I’m pretty sure you’ll find a whole new world with a bit of knowledge under your belt.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

CIAOPS December Virtual Tech Meeting–Resources

Thanks to Boon Tee for his presentation at the meeting. Here is a recording of that presentation for anyone who missed it.

Here also is the list of resources mentioned in the news section:

Amazon workspaces - https://aws.amazon.com/workspaces/

Office 365 admin app - http://www.windowsphone.com/en-au/store/app/office-365-admin/76f9b288-37bc-4d75-8164-16d1df0447a2

Ingress – http://www.ingress.com

Office 365 Power BI - http://blog.ciaops.com/2013/11/office-365-power-bi.html

Office 365 message encryption - http://blogs.office.com/b/office365tech/archive/2013/11/21/introducing-office-365-message-encryption-send-encrypted-emails-to-anyone.aspx

Cloud Business Blueprint - http://www.cloudbusinessblueprint.com/

I hope you can join us at our next planned meeting in February. Keep an eye out for registration details here in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

CIAOPS Virtual Technology Meeting–December


The final CIAOPS Virtual Technology meeting 2013 will be held on Wednesday December the 4th at 4pm Sydney time. You can register for free now at:
https://ciaops1213.eventbrite.com.au
This meeting will feature a presentation by Windows Server MVP Boon Tee focused on connecting on premise servers to Office 365. Here, in broad strokes is what Boon will be covering:
1. Integrating Office 365  into the network.
a. WS2012E R2 features
b. How it fits together
c. Using ProPlus
d. Migration


- i. From SBS
- ii. From POP3/iMAP
- iii. MigrationWiz

2. Bug check
a. Essentials only DC or integration will break.
b. Unscheduled Server Backup after reboot
c. GPO setup
d. Licensing


The meeting will the usual swag of news, information and discussion so I hope that you’ll come along and join with us for this last meeting before Christmas and let me know what you’d like to see in the coming year.
I hope to see you there.






Thursday, November 28, 2013

Enable Yammer integration in Office 365

A while back Microsoft bought Yammer and since then has been working hard to integrate it into Office 365. If you have an Enterprise Office 365 plan you should now have the ability to enable this integration.

Here’s a brief outline of how to complete this integration.

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Login to your Office 365 portal as an administrator. At the bottom of the second column on this page you should see Included services. Select this.

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That will now display the above option to the right. Select the link – Yes, activate Yammer Enterprise for my network.

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You’ll then be taken to a screen where you can select which domain you wish to activate that on from the pull down list at the top of the screen.

Then select the Activate Yammer Enterprise button below.

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The configuration will now commence. As noted this process could take 1 to 30 minutes to complete.

Look out for future post of the Yammer integration with Office 365 as I think this is another HUGE opportunity with the product.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Adding additional SharePoint storage for Office 365 P plans

All SharePoint Online plans provide the ability to add additional storage. In the Small Business plans this can be a little hard to locate. Here’s a quick overview of what you need to do.

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Login to your Office 365 tenant as an administrator and select Manage and purchase licenses from under the licenses heading at the bottom of the page.

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Click on purchase services at the top of the page and then Add under your Small Business plan on the right under the price.

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Select optional add-ons item under user license at $XX.XX

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Add your storage and complete the purchase.

Now you should be able to assign additional storage to your SharePoint Online site in the Small Business plans.

Adding space is slightly different for M and E plans and I’ll cover that in an upcoming post. Also, the story is a little different for plan in Australia so beware.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cloud Business Podcast–Episode 3 out

The Cloud Business Podcast - Opportunity in the Cloud is only a Click Away with Robert Crane and Nigel Moore

The third episode of the the Cloud Business podcast is now available for your listening pleasure. In this episode Nigel and I discuss the steps that you should be taking to optimize your business.

From emails to checklists to other tools we cover it here. You’ll find the episode and resources at:

http://www.cloudbusinessblueprint.com/podcast/episode-003-business-optimisation/

of course you can subscribe to the podcast directly in iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/cloud-business-podcast-opportunity/id742109989

and Stitcher radio

http://app.stitcher.com/browse/feed/40479/details

Have a listen and let us know what you think. Feedback and comments are much appreciated.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Office 365 Power BI

Here’s a nice video showing the features of Power BI (Business Intelligence) for Office 365.

In essence it allows you to easily report on large data sets. There are plenty of really good examples of this already like:

No matter how small a business they can benefit from improved data analysis. Great thing is most already have the tools like Excel and Office365.

What really impressed me in the first video is the natural language queries that were performed towards the end of the video. Honestly, take a look at that and tell me that isn’t firstly really cool and really handy, especially for those no-IT type business owners.

There is so much opportunity around BI in the market and so few resellers seeming to grab it. Even down at the SMB level, BI is huge so if you are wondering how to make money as a reseller in the cloud look at getting into BI for your clients. In simple terms, BI helps customer understand their business by allowing them to quickly analyse their data. You won’t regret it I’ll bet.

Office 365 health mobile app


Microsoft has released a new app for Windows Phone (with iOS and Android versions coming soon), that allows you to monitor the health of your Office 365 tenant. You can find out more information about the release at this blog post:
http://blogs.office.com/b/office365tech/archive/2013/11/21/check-the-service-health-of-your-office-365-service-on-the-go.aspx
and if you actually want the Windows Phone app then you can get it from:
http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/office-365-admin/76f9b288-37bc-4d75-8164-16d1df0447a2

Although the app is pretty basic at the moment I see it maturing into being so much more. What it does indicate is Microsoft’s commitment not only to mobile devices but also to the range of mobile operating systems.
if you have an Office 365 tenant download it to your device today and see what it does. Remember, I think that it is only going to improve.

Message encryption coming to Office 365


A very common request I see out there is people wanting to ensure that a person who receives an email does so securely and can’t forward it to others. That is a little tough given the way the standard email protocol was designed and implemented.
To provide an enhanced level of security with its Office 365 service Microsoft has recently announced that it will be shortly introducing email message encryption. if you want to see how it will work then check out this blog post.
http://blogs.office.com/b/office365tech/archive/2013/11/21/introducing-office-365-message-encryption-send-encrypted-emails-to-anyone.aspx
The great thing about this is that you’ll be able to send encrypted mail to anyone! That is certainly going to fill a major need these days as well as make a real point of differentiation for Office 365.
We’ll have to wait until early next year until it becomes available and the good news is that E3 and E4 plans will automatically receive it. It will also be available as an option with other plans but in the long run I see it becoming part of the standard Office 365 offering for all plans.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Using Feedly

My business partner, Nigel Moore, has just done a quick video on how to use Feedly.com to keep up to date with various content published via RSS. This of course includes our new Cloud Business Blueprint and this blog.

Both Nigel and I are big Feedly users because it simply works across so many difference devices. So if you haven’t see Feedly yet, take a look and of course sign up to the Cloud Business Blueprint feed for more updates on what we are doing.

Review–Padpivot NST Ultra Portable Universal Tablet stand

Full disclosure – the review unit was supplied by Mobilezap. You can find this device and others at the Mobilezap category page at:
http://www.mobilezap.com.au/32359/electronics/ipad-4.htm

A rather interesting stand this one. Basically it is a base with a swivelling base. Onto that base you can either lies the iPad or use it to prop the device up as shown.
In portrait mode the stand worked really well I found on the desktop, it was easy to view and could be operated normally. The only downside in portrait orientation is that you can fit the power connector on at the same time (if you want it down the bottom of the device, like I think most people do).
In landscape mode the stand held the iPad fine and allowed the power connector to be attached but when you try and use the iPad you find yourself pushing it around the desk. This is because, in portrait mode, the stand width is not wide enough to prevent the leverage you generate working at the edges of the screen. This wouldn’t be a huge issue except you need to push the on/off button regularly.

The curved base also supports attaching the stand to something like  a chair arm for using when watching TV. It however relies on a strap to hold it steady on the arm of a chair so you’d need to have a chair is a gap under the arm to accommodate this. Not many lounge chairs have this these days so its functionality here is somewhat limited I feel.
Overall the unit works well on the desk and provides the functionality to be used in a number of different ways and locations. It is small and light and even folds up if you want to use while travelling. The only other major downside to the small issues mentioned above is that you really need to take it out of any travelling case to use it generally and this can be a bit of a pain. However, if your iPad spends most of its time one a desk or you want a stand to take with you while travelling, then this handy little stand works a treat.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Cloud Business Podcast Episode 2 available

The Cloud Business Podcast - Opportunity in the Cloud is only a Click Away with Robert Crane and Nigel Moore

http://www.cloudbusinessblueprint.com/2013/11/episode-002-managing-teams/

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/cloud-business-podcast-opportunity/id742109989

The latest episode of the Cloud Business Podcast is now available for download. We talk about Managing a Team of staff in your IT company.

We cover topics such as:

  • The hiring process
  • Hiring on Technical Skills or Personality
  • Working with international Teams
  • The World is Flat
  • Software tools you can use to help manage your team

We’d love to hear feedback, so please leave your comments and don’t forget to rate us on iTunes.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Lync Online Sign-in Guided Walkthrough

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If you are having trouble getting Lync in Office 365 connected there is a now a step by step guided web site that can assist. You’ll find it at:

http://support.microsoft.com/common/survey.aspx?scid=sw;en;3695&showpage=1

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Disabling SkyDrive Pro in Office 365

SkyDrive Pro in Office 365 is a personal area where users can store files. Every user in Office 365 currently receives 25GB of space allocated to them, that can be increased up to 100GB if desired. However, what happens if you don’t want users to have access to this web based file storage in office 365? Can it be disabled? Yes it can. Here’s how.

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A user’s standard SkyDrive Pro looks something like that shown above. To remove this access the first thing you’ll need to do is login as an administrator to the Office 365 portal.

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In the top right of the portal you’ll find an Admin option, which if selected will display the menu shown above. From this menu select SharePoint.

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In the SharePoint admin center select user profiles from the menu on the left and then Manage User Permissions from the People section on the right.

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You should see here that the group Everyone except external users has the rights to Create Personal Site. To prevent any future users from creating or accessing SkyDrive Pro simply Remove this group.

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If the box is blank, as shown above then no new users will have access to SkyDrive Pro. You can of course individually add users and group in here for whom you wish to have the ability to create SkyDrive Pro at any stage.

What does that look like if a newly created user now attempts to access SkyDrive Pro?

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When they try and access SkyDrive Pro from the menu across the top of their account by selecting SkyDrive they will be taken to the Newsfeed tab as shown above.

Can you remove the SkyDrive option from the menu bar across the top of the page? Not at this stage.

Now that is all well and good for NEW users, what about that already have SkyDrive Pro set up? Can that be disabled? Yes it can but the process is much more involved.

A users SkyDrive Pro is basically a SharePoint subsite created in the Site Collection:

http://<tenant name>-my.sharepoint.com

under /personal

Now the primary administrator for the Office 365 tenant (i.e. the first login assigned when the tenant was created) has full rights to the site collection

http://<tenant name>-my.sharepoint.com

however they only have read rights (like every other Office 365 licensed user) by default to another individuals SkyDrive Pro. Thus, if that administrator navigates to a users SkyDrive Pro they can view it but not make changes. This needs to be changed so the administrator can take control.

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To change the ownership of an individual users existing SkyDrive Pro site you need to return to the SharePoint admin center and select Manage User Profiles from the People section in the right hand side of the screen.

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Now run a search for the user whose SkyDrive Pro you wish to modify. In this case Lewis Collins as shown above.

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On the right of the Account name you will find a down arrow which when selected will display the menu above. From this menu select Manage site collection owners.

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By default you will see the users name listed as the Primary and Secondary Site Collection Administrator. You’ll need to remove the user from both locations and the recommendation would be to add the administrator so that the site still can be managed.

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Thus now, Lewis Collins no longer should have access, only Robert Crane (i.e the tenant administrator) does.

Once that is saved the administrator should now be able to access the URL of the users SkyDrive Pro and be able to edit the site.

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You’ll know you’ll be able to do that if when you select the Cog icon in the top right of the screen you see a menu like that shown above that includes the menu item Site Settings. Select this item to continue.

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Select Site Permissions from under the Users and Permissions section in the top left of the page as shown above.

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Select the user from the list by placing a check mark to the left of their name and then selecting Remove User Permissions from Ribbon menu.

Don’t forget that the user is still a member of the group Everyone except external users, so if you don’t also edit that security group in Office 365 and remove them from there they will continue to have read access.

If however no one except the administrator needs access to this users SkyDrive Pro Site then simply remove the group Everyone except external users using the same process above.

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In this case we only want the administrator to have access so we have removed everything displayed. The administrator will continue to gain access to the site no matter what rights are modified in the actual SharePoint site because they where made a Site Collection administrator previously.

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Return to Site Settings using the Cog in the top right hand corner of the window.

Now select Site collection administrators from the Users and Permissions section in the top right as shown above.

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If any items appear in here that you don’t want to gain access (i.e. the user Lewis Collins) remove them and press OK to save.

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Return to Site Settings again and this time select People and Groups at the top of the Users and Permissions section.

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If the user appear here, place a check to the left of their name and then select the Actions menu.

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From the menu select Delete users from Site Collection.

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Press OK to continue.

You might ask why didn’t I do that first and remove the user from the Site Collection in one action? The reason is, I wanted to illustrate how many locations it is possible to provision rights. I would therefore highly recommend you check all areas I have run through here to ensure the user no longer appears.

So finally,

Before, with normal SkyDrive Pro access:

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After, with no SkyDrive Pro access:

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Now when a user visits their SkyDrive Pro they will no longer see any files or they will no longer be able to upload documents. Basically, they have no access.

You need to beware of the fact that a users SkyDrive Pro area is a dedicated SharePoint site in which the user has full admin rights when it is created. This means that can change permissions, create subsites with different permissions and so on. It is like giving users full access to a folder on a network drive.

The easiest way to prevent a user from accessing SkyDrive Pro is to disable the account or remove their rights to SharePoint, however the above scenario illustrates that you can still permit access to SharePoint but not SkyDrive Pro, even if SkyDrive Pro for that user has already been created. It is a lot of work to do that but at least you know how to if you need to. Just beware that there may be further permissions enabled by a user (perhaps giving buddy hidden access) that you may have to dig out. Finger crossed, most users won’t alter the defaults but beware they certainly have the power to if they want by default!

Future of workplaces

Some great and interesting insights here. Especially around the fact that Microsoft is ham strung by existing users who don’t want things to change. <SIGH> Couldn’t agree more.

Amazon Workspaces


Now that we have services like Office 365 and Google Apps the only thing that is left is virtual desktops and it seems like it has commercially arrived with Amazon WorkSpaces.
As the site says:
Amazon WorkSpaces is a fully managed desktop computing service in the cloud. Amazon WorkSpaces allows customers to easily provision cloud-based desktops that allow end-users to access the documents, applications and resources they need with the device of their choice, including laptops, iPad, Kindle Fire, or Android tablets. With a few clicks in the AWS Management Console, customers can provision a high-quality desktop experience for any number of users at a cost that is highly competitive with traditional desktops and half the cost of most virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions.
This means you’ll be able to get a standard Windows desktop that will be locked down and controlled no matter where it is accessed from. You’ll now get the same experience on a desktop, mobile device or where you have Internet access. How much easier is it going to be able to support a totally controlled desktop environment all the in the cloud? More importantly, since this is going to be a per user per month arrangement like other cloud services what does that mean for a traditional IT reseller?
How easy will be it be to walk into a prospect and be able to provide them with a consistent, controlled desktop environment across every device without them having to upgrade anything? I reckon that is going to sound pretty enticing from a customers point of view. How are traditional resellers, who only sell on premise upgrades going to fair? Simple, they aren’t.
It may be early days for this concept of virtual desktops but I have a feeling that both Microsoft (especially) and maybe Google will do something similar. If you are an IT reseller of traditional on premise stuff, your opportunity to sell servers is fast disappearing with things like Office 365 and now the same is happening with desktops.
As much as that is a threat to some, to others it is a MASSIVE opportunity because it gives them something they have always wanted, full control and management of d a desktop environment from anywhere. How much better service could you provide a customer with this virtual desktop environment? How much better could you manage it? The mind boggles.
Virtual desktops is simply the next step in the change we see with cloud computing. Are you on board with this? If not, the train is pulling away from the station in my books.

CIAOPS Virtual Technology Meeting–December



The final CIAOPS Virtual Technology meeting 2013 will be held on Wednesday December the 4th at 4pm Sydney time. You can register for free now at:
https://ciaops1213.eventbrite.com.au
This meeting will feature a presentation by Windows Server MVP Boon Tee focused on connecting on premise servers to Office 365.
The meeting will the usual swag of news, information and discussion so I hope that you’ll come along and join with us for this last meeting before Christmas and let me know what you’d like to see in the coming year.
I hope to see you there.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Office Web Apps improvements

You have always been able to work on documents simultaneously in Office Web Apps and Word on the desktop with SharePoint Online in Office 365, the only difference was that it would do a paragraph lock. This differed from the Google Docs approach which showed you real time editing of everyone. Basically you could follow every change they made to a document. Microsoft’s research indicated that was distracting to authors (and it is for me I know) so that is why they initially did it the way they did.

However, it seems that having the ability to see people individually editing every item in a document has won out, so Microsoft has now updated it’s Office Web Apps in SkyDrive and Office 365 to include this feature. You’ll get a better idea of what it looks like in this video:

This now makes the Office 365 editing experience more like that in Google Docs and removes a perceived difference between the products (and to be honest what appeared like a limitation in Office 365 even though it wasn’t). That is great news for Office 365 and makes the sell to customers who want a Google Apps like web editing experience much easier.

It will be interesting to see what Google does about this as puts the ball back in their court to come up with another differentiator. In fact, I think it puts the pressure squarely on them to come up with something as rich as what Office Web Apps is. Google Apps is looking pretty basic compared to Office Web Apps these days I reckon.

Microsoft Volume Licensing video

One of the toughest things to get your head around is Microsoft Volume licensing, so anything that assists that is a big benefit.

Well here is a nice short video that hits all the major and is a damm sight easier than reading a web page.

It helped me and I hope it helps you.

Cloud Business Podcast available on iTunes

The Cloud Business Podcast - Opportunity in the Cloud is only a Click Away with Robert Crane and Nigel Moore

I am very happy to announce that the Cloud Business Podcast featuring Nigel Moore and myself is now available for listening via iTunes. You’ll find it at:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/cloud-business-podcast-opportunity/id742109989

Here’s the description:

If you are a global IT entrepreneur looking to profit from the opportunity offered by the cloud, join us each episode to learn more about how products like Office 365, Google Apps, and other cloud services can boost your IT services business and grow your bottom line. Unlike other programs, this one covers both technical and business topics as well as the feedback and experiences from a community of members devoted to helping each other move their business to new levels. The show will take you from simply reselling products to creating successful offerings that customer want. It will show you how to position your business to move beyond the traditional services model and best of all it will inspire you with stories of those who are already succeeding in this new world of IT. Our aim is to show you how to progress from the basics of business to effectively utilizing all the tools that the online world has to offer all with the aim of generating you more profit and helping grow your business. If you want to learn how to compete more effectively in the new paradigm of the cloud, if you want to learn the secrets of business success in the online world, if you are looking to benefit from the experience and support of others, if you want to learn from the best in the business and most importantly, if you are looking to be inspired to take your business to new levels then this is the podcast for you.

We’d really love you to subscribe and most importantly to leave comments and feedback in iTunes so that we can improve the shows rankings and get it out to a wider audience.

Of course we always welcome your direct feedback, good and bad, to info@cloudbusinessblueprint.com.

Enjoy the first episode and subscribe for upcoming episodes.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cloud Business Blueprint is launched

Print

The 11th of November also marks the launch of Cloud Business Blueprint. The website, blog and podcast are now LIVE! We’d love for you to go and check it out at :

http://www.cloudbusinessblueprint.com/

We’d also love to hear any feedback which you can send to info@cloudbusinessblueprint.com. We read and answer all emails personally.

In appreciation for those that registered early we are going to start sending you one of our first courses – an 8 part series titled “Profit Training Tips for Cloud Business” as a small way of saying thank you for you ongoing support.

If you missed early registration you can still register directly on the site and receive the same 8 part series now.

Everyone who registers will soon receive details on how to sign up for our private members only section. This is where you’ll gain access to things like our private discussions forums (already operational), as well as all of the additional content we are producing (sample document templates, training guides and more).

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In the meantime make sure you add our new “Cloud Business Podcast”  to your favourite player as well as our blog.

We’re really looking forward to having people come on board as members to take advantage of everything we are working on.

Lest We Forget

The 11th hour of the 11th month is the moment that we pause to remember all those people who have given their lives in war for the services of our country.

Being a bit of a military history buff and having toured the Australian Battlefields of World War 1 in northern France I always like to make special mention of this day, especially the sacrifices that Australian and New Zealand diggers made.

If you are also interested please have a look at my battlefields site:

http://www.anzacsinfrance.com/

and I urge you to take a minute and thank all those who laid down their lives in the services of their country so we can enjoy the freedoms we do today.

Lest We Forget.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

More Cloud Business Blueprint sneak previews

Although it won’t officially go live until tomorrow I thought I’d share with you some more details on the upcoming launch of my new venture.

Here’s the info video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYVtJbmdQh4

and some About Us info:

Cloud Business Blueprint provides products and services to overcome confusion for technology providers about how they can benefit from the billion-dollar opportunity from cloud computing and increase revenue for their business.

Services

We provide updated industry information all in one location. Some of these products and services include:

- Access to video training

- Guides

- Checklists

- Sample templates

- Exam preparation guides to train you and your team

- Templated proposals and agreements

- Technical whitepapers on products such as Office 365 and Google Apps

Unlike other offerings, our covers the full range of topics, from business to technical, nowhere else will you find it all in one location like this. We’ll show you how to position your business to move beyond the traditional services model and best of all you’ll be inspired by others already succeeding in this new world of IT.

Private members forum

Cloud Business Blueprint also provides a managed private members forum to get all your questions answered by cloud industry leaders as well as experiences and feedback from other business owners from all around the world all devoted to helping each other move their business to new levels.

 

Remember that you have until 11:11 tomorrow to register your interest to take advantage of our once only, heavily discounted, foundation membership. Visit:

http://www.cloudbusinessblueprint.com

and register you no obligation interest today.

More exciting news on Cloud Business Blueprint tomorrow!

Cloud Business Blueprint goes live Monday!

My business partner, Nigel Moore, and I are gearing up for the launch of Cloud Business Blueprint this Monday the 11th of November. Here’s a quick overview from Nigel about what will be on offer:

After the launch on Monday we'll then be working flat out putting the finishing touches on our private members section ready for those who are interested in coming on board. We've seen the industry crying out for help in how to make money with the cloud and so we're building a private members only community where you can access training videos, eBooks, business templates, peer discussions and much more to help you grow your cloud business.

Remember, if you want to have the opportunity to come on board at heavily discounted founders rates you need to register your internet at:

www.cloudbusinessblueprint.com

before 11am on Monday the 11th of November 2013.

One of the big differences withe Cloud Business Blueprint is that it is going to provide both technical and business information and support. It is not only going to help you understand what online services do but also how to create successful offerings that customers want. Mots importantly it will show you how to position your business to move beyond the traditional services model and inspire you with stories of those who are already succeeding in this new world of IT.

Our aim is to show you how to progress from the basics of business to effectively utilizing all the tools that the online world has to offer all with the aim of generating you more profit and helping grow your business. If you want to learn how to compete more effectively in the new paradigm of the cloud, if you want to learn the secrets of business success in the online world, if you are looking to benefit from the experience and support of others, if you want to learn from the best in the business and most importantly, if you are looking to be inspired to take your business to new levels then this is the program for you.

Remember to register your interest at www.cloudbusinessblueprint.com before Monday and stay tuned for the launch of our services after that.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

CIAOPS November Virtual Meeting–Resources

After a bit of a technical hiccup during the meeting yesterday I decided to re-record the video which you can now on my YouTube channel:

Here are the remaining resources I mentioned during the meeting:

Some resources on the Office 365 Public web site:

Office 365 Public website examples:

I hope to see you at the next meeting on December 4th featuring Boon Tee talking about on premise server integration with Office 365. Registrations will be available shortly.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Google Plus land grab has started


Remember the days when you could get any domain name you wanted? Remember the days when you could get any Twitter, Facebook or email address you wanted? Ah, the good ole days. Well I’m here to tell you that there is a new social media name grabbing opportunity that has just become available.
If you own your name or brand on what I believe is probably going to be the most important social media platform going forward then it is time to head over to Google Plus and see whether you can register you desired name. I’ve been lucky enough now to grab:
http://plus.google.com/+robertcrane
and
http://plus.google.com/+ciaops
To understand whether you qualify and what you need to do to register your desired name check out this post:
https://plus.google.com/+googleplus/posts/8C5oKFUKLVs
which will explain everything.
So head on over to your Google Plus account and see whether you can stake your claim in this next Internet naming stampede.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

DIRSYNC can now be deployed on a domain controller

The latest release of DIRSYNC (version 6553.0002) can now be installed on a domain controller according to the release notes at:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/18429.windows-azure-active-directory-sync-tool-version-release-history.aspx

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The details on how to go about this are located at:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/17370.best-practices-for-deploying-and-managing-the-windows-azure-active-directory-sync-tool.aspx#A11

DIRSYNC is a stand alone application that copies information from the local active directory (user names, passwords etc) and copies them to Office 365, saving you from having to create these attributes in Office 365. DIRSYNC continues to copy any changes from the local Active Directory to Office 365 as well.

This is a HUGE improvement for smaller customers who typically only have a single server in their environment which runs as a domain controller (read Small Business Server).

It again points to fact that Microsoft is continuing to make incremental improvements to Office 365 in light of what customers are asking for. They don’t always come as quickly as we would like but they do come as evidenced above.

Now’s there’s one less excuse for smaller customers to configure Office 365 and one less excuse for going hybrid.

Best posts from November

Time to jump into the way back machine and see what I wrote that was worthwhile in the past Novembers:

2012

SharePoint Foundation 2013 setups

Adding a SharePoint calendar

2011

Installing SharePoint Services SP3 on SBS 2008

Windows SharePoint tutorials eBook

2010

PDFs on SharePoint 2010 Foundation

Optimizing Windows SharePoint Services Search

2009

Vehicles and drivers

Being busy is just an excuse

2008

The value of clear space

Further evidence of the coming of cloud computing

2007

Blocked file types in SharePoint

SharePoint V3.0 file locations

So here’s to 5 years of Novembers and I thank everyone who takes the time to read what I write.

Additional versions of recent SharePoint Online book

GSWSP2013E

As promised, additional versions (ePub and Kindle) of my latest book “Getting Started With SharePoint Online 2013 for Enterprises” are now available from:

www.ciaops.com/publications

Although this book is aimed at people with Office 365 E and M plans much of it still remains relevant for those on P plans.

I’d also appreciate you letting others know about this work as it takes many, many hours to create and edit these books and at a sale price of less that five dollars I REALLY need to sell a lot to even break even, so any assistance you can provide really does go a long way.

Look out for additional titles soon.

Monday, November 4, 2013

CIAOPS Virtual Technology meeting–reminder



Don’t forget the CIAOPS Virtual Technology meeting this Wednesday the 6th of November from 4pm Sydney time. Registrations are still available via:
https://ciaops1113.eventbrite.com.au/
At this meeting I’ll be doing a presentation and demonstration of the Office 365 public web site basics and capabilities. The details of the session are:
You may not be aware that every Office 365 plan that includes SharePoint Online comes with the ability to create a public website linked to any domain. In this demonstration you'll learn how to configure this public website and how to customize it for your needs.
There will also be the usual news, product updates, general discussion as well as questions and answers.
So if you want to get the latest make sure you register now.
I look forward to seeing you on the day.