What’s New in Hosted Exchange 2016?

IfWhat's New in Hosted Exchange 2016 you’re already using Hosted Exchange in your organisation, you’ll be aware of the benefits and cost savings that hosted email can offer. If you’ve yet to try it, we’re confident that you’ll love the convenience and reliability once you switch.

Now, Cloud4 is able to offer Microsoft Hosted Exchange 2016 – the very newest version of the platform. We were one of the first companies in the UK to roll out Hosted Exchange 2016, and it offers a number of new features that could prove very useful.

Increased Capacity

Microsoft Hosted Exchange 2016 comes with a larger mailbox allowance: a maximum of 100GB for every user in your company. When you consider the fact that many businesses are still providing tiny 500mb mailboxes from on-premise Exchange servers, it’s clear just how much of an improvement hosted Exchange is.

The benefits of increased capacity also extend to other areas of the system. Your users can enjoy permanent email archiving with Cloud4, so your critical corporate data never has to be deleted to free up space. It’s a welcome change from the bad old days of constantly combing your mailbox for large files to free up space.

Better Security

Cyber threats are an increasing risk for small businesses, since hackers use suppliers as an entry point to acquire valuable data about larger companies. While most businesses understand the potential risk of cyber attack, UK government figures suggest that less than 20 percent are confident that their business’ cyber security strategy is robust.

Each hosted Exchange 2016 instance comes with free spam and virus protection as standard, giving you a valuable first line of defence. If your users frequently access their email from public WiFi networks, this kind of protection is essential.

Always Low Cost

Microsoft Hosted Exchange 2016 is a fantastic business tool, but it’s not just for corporate users. Charities, colleges, volunteer groups and religious organisations can all benefit from its accessible price point.

The set-up costs for hosted Exchange are very low; you won’t need a server, a server room, air conditioning or specialist infrastructure. You simply need a good quality connection to our Exchange server, via mobile data connections or a WiFi network.

Once you’re with Cloud4, you can relax: our team takes care of the technical side, leaving you free to get on with your work.

Other Benefits of Hosted Exchange 2016

Microsoft Hosted Exchange 2016 comes with a number of other benefits that can prove valuable in a busy organisation:

  • The new Outlook for the Web application has support for 17 new languages
  • When you access Outlook for the Web on your phone, you’ll get a version tailored for your OS
  • You can use emojis in messages composed using Outlook for the Web – a first for hosted Exchange
  • In SharePoint, sharing documents through OneDrive for Business and hosted Exchange is easier than ever
  • A new Compliance Search tool lets authorised personnel search multiple mailboxes

These are just a few of the changes that Microsoft has introduced this year. We think the new hosted Exchange is the best ever.

Getting Set Up

We can offer you a choice of hosted Exchange installations: 2010, 2013 or 2016. While 2016 offers you all the latest features, 2010 and 2013 offer the functionality and performance you’re used to. If you’re not sure which one to choose, get in touch with our friendly team, and we’ll explain the benefits of each version in more detail.

Is It Time Your Charity Embraced the Cloud?

ChaJPEG image-568A4BE6643C-1rities and small non-profits run to ridiculously tight budgets, and a climate of cuts has only served to make their work more challenging. In an ever more competitive market, charities need to spend money on marketing in order to reach their potential donators, and they need to run at optimum efficiency so that none of those donations are wasted.

Adopting new technology can seem like an extravagance, but there are lots of examples of cloud computing actually reducing business spend. There’s no reason why your charity can’t benefit from the same efficiency.

Making the most of your volunteers’ time

Cloud computing helps you to do more work quicker, and it lets you work at more convenient times. For example, if you give your volunteers a hosted desktop, they can log on from home to contribute their time. This can help you increase their contribution, without necessarily asking them to do more hours.

We also offer hosted Lync, a communications platform for teams. If you all work different hours, and you find it difficult to work efficiently, Lync gives you the power of instant messaging, video and audio chat so you can hold meetings literally anywhere.

Keep data secure

Charities that work with vulnerable people have a responsibility to care for their data. Cloud technology lets you store your data in our secure data centre, so you don’t need to store anything locally on your office or home PC. You can use MyOwnCloud to share it with the people who need to see it, and nobody else. The convenience of MyOwnCloud helps to prevent the non-compliant use of data, such as spreadsheets being shared on memory sticks, sent via email, or shared using public cloud services that you don’t control internally.

Cloud4 offers many charities entire hosted servers, which are ideal for managing cost while also reducing the amount of space they need for their IT. We can provide Windows or Linux hardware, with or without virtualisation, and you can access the very best specifications – exactly as you would in the business world.

Making the most of your budget

Cloud4 can offer significant discounts on software, with savings of up to 33% on the cloud services you decide to use. These discounts come from top brands like Microsoft, and they let you access business grade cloud technology at an appropriate price for your organisation.

We can also give you a Hosted Exchange email system, so that your email is held on our secure servers. That gives you all the functionality of business email – including tasks, contacts and calendars – but you only pay per mailbox, and you’re never over-committed.

Friendly, impartial advice

Don’t let this year be the year your charity goes under. By improving efficiency and performance, you can make the most of the time and resources you have. Speak to Cloud4’s friendly sales advisors, and describe your IT pain points. We’ll come up with a customisable and affordable solution that helps you to decrease your operating overheads.

Is Windows 10 Testing Your Patience Yet?

Microsoft doesn’t have a great record when it comes to operating systems. Windows Vista was widely considered to be a slow, lumbering beast of an operating system – a completely worthless upgrade to its predecessor, XP. Recently, Windows has got a lot better, but there are still problems cropping up, here and there.

Now, Windows 10 is here, and hopes were high. Microsoft finally did away with Internet Explorer, and we’d hope they had learned from their past mistakes. For many Windows 10 users, the testing times started from the very first day of installation. Cryptic error messages have caused many clumps of hair to be torn out, while using browsers and email has been fraught with problems.

How much time have you wasted on Windows 10?

Tricky Beginnings

The majority of Windows 10 problems have stemmed from the installation process. All of the web, people complained of problems, giving Windows 10 something of a muted reception.

The most maligned error message was a rather mysterious ‘Something happened’. Underneath, the explainer text said exactly the same thing. In the history of useless error codes, this has to rank as the least helpful. It wasn’t even possible to Google for an error reference; there wasn’t one.

The error message was so ridiculous, some people on social media thought it was a hoax. But no: this was real.

Lessons Learned

If you’re still struggling with the ‘Something happened’ error, try changing your language to United States English. It’s apparently caused by an invalid combination of language and region in Windows 10. And it’s a shame, since the operating system had such a promising reception, and it seemed to solve many things we didn’t like about the previous version.

The lesson here is that your computer is very vulnerable, and a big provider like Microsoft still sometimes gets things wrong. If you forget to back up before installing a new operating system, the consequences could be dire for your data.

At Cloud4, we are still running Windows 7 and Windows 8 desktop builds for out hosted desktop customers. When the time comes to roll out Windows 10, we will make sure that it has been rigorously tested so that users don’t experience these kinds of heart-stopping errors. We’re also here to support you from day one; not only will we help you to choose the right desktop OS, we’ll also ensure it’s available to you 24/7.

Take to the Cloud

Hosted desktops offer businesses flexible access to the applications they need, with cross-device, remote connectivity and a range of advanced features. Choose to log on using Citrix or via a remote desktop, and opt for ‘keyless’ two factor authentication for complete peace of mind. You can also have Office 2013 standard installed on your virtual desktop, or opt for Office 2013 Professional Plus if you need it.

Wasting time on a new operating system is no fun at all, and in business, unwelcome errors can kill productivity. If you’ve wasted time on Windows 10 this week, consider switching to a hosted solution for stress-free computing.

Server 2003: It’s Now or Never For Ageing Servers

There cannot be a server administrator in the world who’s not aware of the deadline. Windows Server 2003 will reach end of life in less than three months’ time, so if you’re still using it, consider this a red alert. For your data, and your network security, it’s now or never.

Many businesses are facing the very real possibility that their systems are not going to be migrated before the deadline of 14th July.

Risks of Continued Use

From mid-July, Windows Server 2003 will be considered unsupported software, since Microsoft will essentially cut it from its moorings and leave it without any updates at all.

Fortunate users may simply see performance degradation or incompatibility with different peripherals or hardware. This is likely to worsen over time.

For other users, incompatibility may be the least of their problems. We are certain to see increased hacking attempts on Server 2003 machines, not just because they’re unsupported, but because hackers know these machines are likely to be running on autopilot – long since forgotten.

Businesses that carry compliance responsibilities should be well rid of Windows Server 2003 before the cut-off date arrives. Those that continue to use it could face serious compliance problems, leading to fines, penalties and audits.

Ways Forward

Yes, it’s late in the day, but you can still do something about your Windows Server 2003 machine.

Isolation is one option. You could, in theory, cut that machine off from the wider world. But is non-migration even practical, and is it a long-term solution that is worth spending money on? Windows 2003 support is going to become a legacy product within just a few months, and it doesn’t make sense to throw more money at it when better alternatives exist.

You could organise a custom support agreement for your ageing Windows 2003 servers. However, be prepared for a hefty monthly bill to keep those servers online. This is the only way you can guarantee that your server will be secure going forward, yet it could bankrupt the IT budget in the long term.

The best way forward is an upgrade to a newer server, most likely Windows Server 2012, either on-premise or in the cloud. On-premise migration could be a tall order, particularly given the short deadline, but that depends on the resource you have available for testing and deployment.

A cloud move could be the most sensible way to control operational expenses and keep upfront expenditure to a minimum. And while there are going to be costs and hurdles to plan for, it’s going to be cheaper than ringfencing an ageing server, or retaining the necessary knowledge to maintain it.

Cloud4 Solutions

In need a quick exit from the world of Windows Server 2003? We can help migrate your servers safely, securely and without unnecessary downtime. Whether you need a single hosted server or a complete IaaS package, our support will get your data off Windows Server 2003 as soon as you’re ready to migrate.

Get in touch to find out how our scalable, affordable servers could soothe your Server 2003 headache.

Will July 14 Be the Most Expensive Day of 2015?

The server your business uses to run critical applications could be about to face redundancy. Microsoft is retiring its phenomenally popular Windows Server 2003 operating system on July 14 2015, officially bringing it to the end of its useful life.

4262500695_dc3e0aa2b0_oAccording to vendor Hewlett-Packard, there were still 11 million Windows Server 2003 installations in active use as of May 2014. As the End of Life date approaches, many will now have been migrated or upgraded. But chances are that millions are still waiting their turn.

If your IT department has not yet made haste and asked you for the necessary funds to upgrade, it’s time to remind them. July 14 is not just a deadline for their system administrators: it’s a date the whole business should be ready for.

Not an IT Issue?

When it comes to large migration projects, the IT department isn’t always the department in charge of flicking the switch. While they do a lot of the leg work, the business has to put the wheels in motion, and that means approving the budget for the work and getting buy in from senior management.

Arguing the case is fairly easy. If your server isn’t migrated, your business will get hacked. It’s that simple. Nobody can tell you how long it will take for that to happen, but it will. Worse, nobody at Microsoft will prevent it, nor will they support you as you pick up the pieces.

Any preconceived ideas about server security should be set aside from July. You won’t be able to say that your server is secure, because you simply won’t know that for a fact. You won’t be able to claim that your email mailboxes haven’t been tampered with, either; you just won’t know about it until it’s too late. If you process payments, you’ll be non-compliant. And you won’t be able to promise your clients that you’re holding their personal data appropriately.

Of course, you could set up a custom support agreement and put off the move for a few more months. But if the budget is the issue that’s stalling a proper migration, that kind of contract is not going to make things cheaper. Quite the opposite.

It makes more sense to bite the bullet, invest the money and look at the Windows Server 2003 End of Life as an opportunity to improve and upgrade your infrastructure.

Making the Move28184160_d379a5d843_b

Before End of Life – the official name for the support end date – your business should have migrated away from Windows Server 2003. For some companies, that means migrating a couple of physical servers. Others will need to migrate dozens, or even hundreds. If you take into account the re-platforming and testing needed, there’s very little time to get this done.

Chances are, your system administrators have been desperate to upgrade your server farm since the end of 2014. If you don’t have an approved budget and a strategy for this urgent move, you need to get it signed off yesterday. And if your IT team doesn’t have a plan in place, bring in a consultancy now to accelerate the migration and figure out the best way to host your business critical applications.

How Hosted Exchange Helps You Achieve Better Compliance

Cloud 4 Computers Hosted ExchangeRegulatory compliance compels businesses to treat data with care, and according to frameworks and the law. Some industries are harder hit than others by compliance burdens, but every organisation in the EU has some kind of responsibility to treat data responsibly.

Data protection, and the safe retention of data, is the most common regulatory concern for EU businesses, and it’s not a concern that’s confined to the cloud. The mismanagement of personal information can cost a company dear, regardless of how it happens. A data breach, or mismanagement of data, is likely to pique the interest of the Information Commissioner; while the Office shoe chain was lucky to escape a fine, your business may not be so fortunate.

As your IT systems mature, and your data silos grow, it’s important to consider how that data is being stored and transmitted.

Data Boundaries

The cloud is designed to be multi-location. By its nature, it allows data to be stored in more than one place. For businesses, this is seen as a potential risk.

In fact, risk doesn’t change in the cloud. Our use of remote technologies is not a cause for concern. But businesses are right to be cautious. All of us store masses of personal data in our email mailboxes, and we also deal with intellectual property and other types of data that are subject to compliance or regulation. Once you transmit this data outside your company’s corporate network, you need to know what happens to it next.

Helping, not Hindering

Hosted Exchange involves shifting your company’s helps staff comply with policy by offering them a secure messaging platform from day one.

When you choose the right provider:

– Hosted Exchange is secure, and its ongoing security is managed by a specialised third party who are experts in their field

– Email servers are continually monitored for intruders and unusual activity

– Users can connect to Exchange on any device, including iOS and Android devices, and from any location

– All their favourite features, such as calendars, operate as they always have

– Emails are preserved and archived permanently; vital for companies who need to comply with the UK Companies Act

– Data centres comply with ISO 27001, an information security standard that suggests best practice in data storage

– Email data is always stored within the EU, not distributed to data centres around the world

The latter point is important. If email storage crosses that critical boundary, it may violate the Data Protection Directive. Note that the United States is not an approved, compliant country, which means many cloud services are unsuitable for compliance with EU law.

Cloud ChoicesCloud services

Cloud4 offers Hosted Exchange 2013 or 2010 services, hosted in compliant UK data centres and accessible all over the world. Because your service is managed by us, we take care of essential security patches and services like malware scanning. Our support teams are available 24/7 from our UK offices, ready to assist if you have any trouble accessing your business email.


There’s an app for that! – Or maybe there’s not.

mobile business apps for productivity

In a televised advertisement for the Apple iPhone 3G, the famous trademarked quote “There’s an app for that” was said to describe the library of the Apple App Store. This sparked the beginning of the App wars between Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store.

Google beat Apple at their own game. While Apple’s staple quote might suggest that they hold the most amount of apps, Google’s Play Continue reading There’s an app for that! – Or maybe there’s not.

Do not use Internet Explorer until the bug is fixed!

Security tech
Looking out for security

In late April 2014, a major vulnerability was found in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer effecting versions 6 through to 11. Known as “Use-after-free”, the bug allows unauthorised access to computer systems through the application.

Continue reading Do not use Internet Explorer until the bug is fixed!

Why Your Business Will Benefit From Sharepoint 2013?

SharePoint is an intranet collaboration tool, developed by Microsoft, which can greatly increase business efficiency and productivity. For a web-only application, there are an unprecedented amount of features which can be added to your business SharePoint site to help you with your busy business day.

Continue reading Why Your Business Will Benefit From Sharepoint 2013?