Anne Robinson asks… Windows 7 – is it secure for your applications?

If you’re considering using Med-V or XPC mode to get around your application compatibility status – be careful, it is more than just placing an application into a Virtual Machine.  The Virtual Machine needs to be managed and patched for vulnerabilities and with XP progressing towards end-of-support not only from Microsoft but also Application vendors – the vulnerabilities will increase.  Recently a new flaw in VPC has been posted by Microsoft whilst it does not affect the security of Windows 7, it will be a vulnerability should you choose to put a sticking plaster over an application compatibility issue. Microsoft has recently released statistics that demonstrate that the Operating System is less likely to be attacked and the applications are being perceived as the weakest link.  Interestingly enough, IE8 has been hacked.;jsessionid=BZSIQ1FMXFGLTQE1GHPSKHWATMY32JVN?cid=InformationWeek

Forrest Gump Endorses Office 2010

We at Camwood are very excited about Office 2010.  Coupling this with our current Microsoft DDPS and Sharepoint delivery, there is a big increase in the number of people talking about it and asking our opinion.   What is our opinion?  Sharepoint 2010 and Office 2010 go together like peas and carrots (Thanks Forrest!). What we really want to understand is whether the data is going to be a big deal.  Our past assessments with customers have shown that an early view of the data and scaling out the size of the move has shown that no two organisations are the same.  Some of our clients have found that an Office Data Assessment has been enough to establish that it isn’t a big deal; others, well they’ve bought the automated remediation software and used it to fix the macros and VBA.    My two-pennorth – it’s about removing the road-blocks.  Get enlightened with your migration – find out early or as any pubescent lad on the pull will say “Go Early, Go Ugly!” If you’re moving to Windows 7 and want to use App-V – get an application assessment and shape the programme properly.  You’ll need to check that your browser works, so get a browser assessment.  If you think Office 2010 is a great idea – which it is, don’t forget the data!

The importance of app knowledge

You know a lot about your digital kingdom. You know exactly how many computers you have because your inventory systems are mature and you have agents of various flavours keeping a close eye on your infrastructure. You can tell the difference between desktops and laptops. You know their BIOS versions. You control their power schemes and tell them when to wake up and when to shutdown. You OWN them in every sense. You also know exactly how many users you have because your directory systems are keeping a good register of which they are, what groups they belong to, who they report to and what they can access. You might even know where they log-in every day, what folders they traverse and what files they open. You even know in microscopic detail what applications you own, because agents are busy collecting a ton of data every day about what file is installed where. That is indeed a lot of knowledge. Now, with all this knowledge you might be thinking that you have pretty good control over your assets, right? Many people might agree with you. What else is there to know, anyway? So, it should be quite easy for you answer these seemingly innocent questions: What do your applications actually do? Who is using them? What are they using them for? Are any of your applications overlapping functionality with other apps? Do you have 10 of ‘almost the same thing’ without knowing it, all with different vendors, different licensing schemes, and different costs? If you have tried to answer these questions just now and found yourself looking at a blank wall…welcome to two of today’s biggest application logistics challenges – Application Categorisation and Application Usage. If you have tried to answer these questions before and got stuck at the first hurdle, you are not alone. What is the first hurdle anyway? Most of the time this level of challenge is not even perceived let alone acknowledged. Take your time and have another go…try harder to find the answer. Try to find out how you would actually look for an answer. Still stuck? The reason that no ready answer springs to mind is because the challenge is not just one beast – it has many faces, many guises and no single sure-fire answer. Now, why would you take on this problem in the first place? Simple – literally millions of pounds are locked up in redundant, useless and dead-end applications that you own. If your company is a ship, then you are probably carrying these applications around with you as dead cargo while your organisation sails on the business oceans. They weigh you down, they make you consume extra fuel – they are the barnacles that are attached to your hull bringing you no benefit whatsoever. You want business agility, litheness and flexibility to compete. You need to leverage the latest technology such as Windows 7. When you do want to go to Windows 7, your biggest fear should be application compatibility. Will your XP apps work on Win7? Well, you don’t need to answer that question for applications that you don’t even need, right? These apps don’t need to be migrated, remediated or touched in any way. They can just be dropped from your portfolio, instantly bringing you that extra spring in your step or the ability to go a yard further than the next guy. Survival sometimes comes down to that last yard. Looking at this situation realistically, as you sail your ship, your company, you don’t have time to bring it into port for a full check-up. You’ve got goods to deliver and customers are waiting. Ask Camwood how you can park your corporate ship in our moving corporate dry-dock. We will travel with you, assess your situation, give you an applications MOT and scrape the barnacles off your ship while you continue to sail in your chosen direction. By the time we are done and pull away, you will be sailing faster, using less fuel and reaching your destinations ahead of your competitors.

Time to upgrade your browser

Internet Explorer 6 has been around since 2001 and for the most part it’s been a frustrating headache for web developers. The good news is it finally looks like it’s on its way out. For a while now there have been campaigns by the development community to cull IE6, finally big names like Google and YouTube have decided to ditch support for IE6 which accounts for less than 10% of traffic. The reality is that some large companies are still running IE6 and it will take time to test & migrate their web applications to modern browser standards. Thankfully we have an automated solution which should speed things along nicely. Find out more