Archive for June, 2011

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Office 365 Vs. Google Apps: Top 10 Enterprise Concerns

June 30, 2011

Is Microsoft Office 365 ready to rumble with the ease of use and lower cost of archrival Google Apps? Consider this point-by-point comparison for enterprises.

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Google turns over user data in 94% of US demands

June 28, 2011

The US government filed more than twice as many demands for data about Google users than any other other country in the past six months, according to figures the search behemoth supplied Monday.

What’s more, according to the Google Transparency Report, Google fully or partially complied with the US demands in 94 percent of the cases, a rate that was higher than responses to any other government.

From July to December of last year, Google received 4,601 demands from US-based governments for information relating to one or more of its users, Monday’s report stated. Brazil and India were second and third with 1,804 and 1,699 requests respectively.

Source Google turns over user data in 94% of US demands

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BPOS customers face transition to Office 365

June 27, 2011

To Microsoft’s credit, the company has plenty of information already available detailing the technical requirements for implementing Office 365, including necessary software, instructions for directory synchronization, troubleshooting tips, and blog postings. There is also a discussion forum and a special Web portal for Office 365 transitions.

The abundance of BPOS-to-Office 365 information could be indicative that the migration process may turn out complex, especially for smaller companies with few or no IT employees and little or no resources to hire outside help, said Rebecca Wettemann, a Nucleus Research analyst.

“If you need an entire website dedicated to explaining to people how you transition to Office 365, you’ve made things pretty complicated for the customer,” she said.

Source BPOS customers face transition to Office 365

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Microsoft: ‘We can hand over Office 365 data without your permission’

June 25, 2011

Microsoft’s words, not mine.

Hidden within a whitepaper, detailing the security features in the upcoming Office 365 suite, it reveals links to the Trust Center; a treasure trove of data protection policies and legalities of how Microsoft will handle your data in its cloud datacenters.

In light of the Patriot Act furore, customers of cloud services are naturally becoming more aware of the limitations to cloud security and privacy; with legalities and powerful acts of law taking precedent.

In short, Microsoft states:
“In a limited number of circumstances, Microsoft may need to disclose data without your prior consent, including as needed to satisfy legal requirements, or to protect the rights or property of Microsoft or others (including the enforcement of agreements or policies governing the use of the service).”

This covers all users and data of Microsoft Online Services, including the current offering of BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite), currently in migration to Office 365. Current Live@edu users are also affected by this — mostly schools and colleges — which are also upgrading to Office 365.

It goes on:
“Accordingly, if a governmental entity approaches Microsoft Online Services directly for information hosted on behalf of our customers, [Microsoft] will try in the first instance to redirect the entity to the customer to afford it the opportunity to determine how to respond.”
“…and will use commercially reasonable efforts to notify the enterprise customer in advance of any production unless legally prohibited.”

Geographic location of data is crucial to the customer. Microsoft respects this, with only a few exceptions:
“As a general rule, customer data will not be transferred to datacenters outside that region. There are, however, some limited circumstances where customer data might be accessed by Microsoft personnel or subcontractors from outside the specified region (e.g., for technical support, troubleshooting, or in response to a valid legal subpoena)”

Yet, Microsoft makes it clear that they will not inform customers when data leaves the country it is stored in. Under EU rules, if data leaves the European zone, customers must consent to this.

Source Microsoft: ‘We can hand over Office 365 data without your permission’

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Google Apps Vs. Office 365: Prepare For Battle

June 23, 2011

Google and the other companies involved in the cloud productivity competition–IBM, Novell, ThinkFree, Zoho–have been preparing for this day, (Microsoft 365 launch notice on June 28) the moment when the battle of the cloud productivity suites is joined in earnest.

Taking a few last shots at its approaching foe before it has to grapple with Office 365 at every sales call, Google on Tuesday revealed that the State of Wyoming has finished moving all 10,000 state government employees to Google Apps for Government. One day earlier, Google presented a testimonial from Terry Geiger, director of corporate IT at The McClatchy Company, about how his company has “gone Google.” And amid these customer-win stories, Google just released an enhancement to Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office that allows users to open any Office file stored in Google Docs directly from within Microsoft Office.

McClatchy has decided to ditch Microsoft Exchange and adopt Google Apps for email, collaboration, calendars, chat, and website creation for its 8,400 employees. The company plans to stop upgrading Microsoft Office licenses en masse and to encourage the organic adoption of Google Docs.

Geiger’s “Dear Steve” letter, in which he breaks up with Microsoft, derides Microsoft Exchange as complex, expensive, and cumbersome. He says that his company weighed Google Apps against Office 365 and its predecessor, BPOS, and found Microsoft’s products wanting. As Geiger sees it, Microsoft fails to understand the “service” part of software-as-a-service.

Source Google Apps Vs. Office 365: Prepare For Battle

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Microsoft Office 365 Cloud Suite Faces PreLaunch Hurdles

June 18, 2011

No doubt, Microsoft is working to address additional issues before Office 365 officially launches June 28.

Generally speaking, Office 365 seems to be driving channel partners into four camps.

* True Believers: Those who plan to promote the SaaS applications to end-customers, focusing aggressively on consulting and integration revenues rather than small recurring revenue opportunities.
* Classic Resellers: Those who plan to offer Office 365 simply as a check-mark offering to end-customers.
* Curious Observers: Those who are watching Office 365 from the sideline while developing cloud strategies that won’t compete head-on with Microsoft’s low-cost suite. This camp simply doesn’t see enough revenue and margin opportunity in Office 365.
* Staunch Critics: Those who feel alienated because Microsoft won’t permit partners to manage end-customer cloud billing, Though there are signs that distributors, cloud syndicates and cloud aggregators may ultimately assist VARs and MSPs with the end-customer billing opportunity.

Source

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Judge Approves $2.4 Million Quantcast Privacy Settlement

June 16, 2011

So-called “Flash cookies” got some headlines in the online privacy world last year, after some prominent researchers noted that they were sometimes being used to track users—even users who took steps to protect their privacy, like clearing their regular (HTTP) cookies. Flash cookies were mentioned by the FTC as a problem, and a few class-action lawsuits were filed against companies that used Flash cookies for targeted advertising. Now that litigation has been resolved, after a judge approved a final settlement under which Quantcast and Clearspring will pay $2.4 million.

Source Judge Approves $2.4 Million Quantcast Privacy Settlement