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‘Microsoft Dynamics’ Category

‘Petya’ Ransomware Outbreak Goes Global

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

As you are may be aware, ‘Petya’ is the latest global Ransomware outbreak.  Just a month ago it was WannaCry.  Petya does WannaCry one better.  Instead of merely encrypting all your data files on all vulnerable servers and computers on your network, it makes them unbootable without paying the ransom and even then the odds of a successful unlock are less than 50%.

If you run the latest Windows operating systems and have automatic updating turned on you should be protected from this variant.  If you don’t you may be exposed to severe risk. Regardless, Ransomware is hands down the #1 source of unexpected IT data loss and downtime and is a much more likely risk than fire or natural disaster.

How to permanently protect yourself against this and future Ransomware as well as other IT disasters such as crashed drives, human error, fire, flood etc.

This week it’s Petya but you never know what is going to happen to your IT systems or when.  We’ve seen a $2 part in a sprinkler head break and flood a server room on a Friday night leading to IT disaster.

Clients First’s EverSafe solution is a hardware, software and services solution that actively protects you against all unexpected IT downtime.  Even if some of your key applications are in the cloud, it’s likely you still have some data and systems on-premise.

EverSafe continually backs up or ‘snapshots’ your entire IT infrastructure, including your ERP software as frequently as every 5 minutes.  It actively looks at the backed up data and will send out immediate alerts to you as well as us if it detects the latest snapshot has files being affected by RansomWare.  In the event this occurs, we can track down the source machine, address the infection, while simultaneously restoring all the affected files quickly from the last unaffected backup.

If one or more of your servers suffers a failure like a crashed hard drive, the EverSafe device can boot up a 5 minute old ‘clone’ of the affected server(s) and be online servicing your users again literally in minutes.

If you had a site disaster like a fire or flood, we can boot up the backups we are continually sending to our cloud data centers.  They will run on the EverSafe enterprise hardware in the cloud and your users can work from home or alternate locations until your facility is moved or repaired.

To learn more or see a demo, check out www.eversafe-backup.com  If you have any questions about this or any other IT related issues or needs, please contact me at mchinsky@clientsfirst-us.com

Upgrading from Microsoft Dynamics GP or SL to NAV

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Microsoft currently offers four on-premise ERP solutions as well as two SaaS based solutions.

The four on-premise (Which can also be hosted in the cloud) are: Dynamics Gl, Dynamics SL, Dynamics AX and Dynamix NAV.  The two SaaS solutions are Dynamics 365 for Financials and Dynamics 365 for Operations.

In THIS article we go into significant detail on the history of the various Microsoft Dynamics solutions, where they are targeted and what the future may hold for them.

If you are on Dynamics SL or Dynamics GP, products and want to move to a solution that has a long term development future or the distribution and manufacturing functionality Dynamics AX or NAV provides,  we recommend you take advantage of Microsoft’s “Product Line Transition” promotions.

Customers who are current on product maintenance get full investment credit for the cost of the original ERP purchase.  If you spent $40,000 on Dynamics GP 10 years ago and want to move to say a $55,000 Dynamics NAV solution, you would only have to pay $15,000 to Microsoft for the switch.  Of course some data conversion, implementation and training are involved, but Clients First can help you minimize that effort required.

Besides having a clear charted course for the future of your ERP solution you’ll gain many new advantages.

Some advantages of moving from Dynamics GP or SL to NAV
  • More powerful and flexible multi-dimensional chart of accounts.
    • Imagine being able to ‘slice and dice’ all of your business entities, department, even companies without growing your chart of accounts.  Traditional solutions like GP require thousands of accounts as you add ways to measure you business.  NAV does not.
  • Latest technology to make mobile computing easier including a 100% Web Client option
  • Broad and deep functionality in areas like advanced distribution, replenishment, warehousing etc.
  • The ability to rapidly customize the solution to your unique business including drag and drop workflow and enterprise content management
  • Native integration to Dynamics CRM (Now Dynamics 365 for Sales)
  • Simple powerful reporting via Excel using Jet Reports for NAV.

There are literally hundreds of reasons to switch.  Hit the chat button below to find out more.  We also have extensive free online training and demonstrations at dynamics-nav-training.com

The History of Microsoft Dynamics ERP Systems – SL, GP, AX & NAV

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Microsoft has multiple ERP solutions that were acquired at different points in the past.  They had somewhat different target markets and capabilities and there still exists some market confusion, especially with the  similar names.

Microsoft Dynamics SL

Dynamics SL was originally known as Solomon Software and was acquired by Great Plains who was later acquired by Microsoft.  SL is focused on small and midsized companies with a heavy emphasis on Project Accounting.  However, SL’s technology platform has gotten dated and Microsoft outsourced all development on the product years ago.

Microsoft Dynamics GP

Dynamics GP was originally known as Great Plains Dynamics.  At one point, Dynamics was one of the top selling small and mid-market accounting systems and typically was ‘neck and neck’ with State of the Art’s MAS90 (Later to become Sage 100).  It was a very competent general accounting system with basic distribution and manufacturing functionality.  It was based on a language that was built for the solution known as Dexterity.  It’s still sold today, but given that it’s not localized to run outside of the US, it’s not a strategic solution for Microsoft as it moves to the cloud.

Microsoft Dynamics AX

Dynamics AX, originally called Axapta, was a solution that was created by a group of executives who left Navision.  It was later acquired by Navision before Navision was acquired by Microsoft.  Axapta historically focused on complex customization, global implementations and later a strong focus on manufacturing.  Over the years Microsoft has pushed AX upmarket to compete head to head with the likes of Oracle and SAP at large multi-national corporations.  Although it can fit a variety of industries and business sizes, its deep functionality and thus longer implementation times leaves it best in complex multi-plant manufacturing environments and those that need to run one system instance across multiple geographies with multiple localization requirements.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Dynamics NAV, formally Navision Financials, was developed by Navision.  It was a solution that introduced many capabilities that have been copied by others since including a multi-dimensional chart of accounts, built in real time summation and analytics for fast summaries and instant drill down anywhere and a rapid development environment designed to be mold-able to a client’s needs rather than a solution that assumes you will change to it’s ‘best practices.’  Over the years, the distribution functionality of NAV was heavily enhanced along with a mid-level range of manufacturing functionality and is ideal for financials only, distribution and light manufacturing companies.

The Future:

Microsoft has known for sometime it needs to streamline its offerings while still not leaving existing clients abandoned.  It’s opportunity to do so became clear while it simultaneously is retooling its solutions to be offered in the cloud.  The fact that Microsoft get’s the majority of its revenues from international sales spells trouble for Dynamics GP & SL because neither solution can be used outside of the US in most cases and are among the only solutions of the hundreds of products Microsoft offers to be in this position.

With Microsoft’s introduction of Dynamics 365 for Financials and Dynamics 365 for Operations, Microsoft has retooled NAV for the small and mid-market cloud ERP market and retooled AX for the upper mid-market and upper market cloud world.

Microsoft has rebuilt the core architectures of NAV & AX to run smoothly in the cloud and to be run completely in a browser.  If you are a mid-size distribution or light manufacturing company, NAV & Dynamics 365 for Financials are the Microsoft solutions to look at today and Dynamics AX and Dynamics 365 for Operations for those with complex manufacturing requirements.

Did you know if you are on Dynamics GP or SL (Great Plains or Solomon), you can get 100% of your license investment applied toward upgrading to NAV or AX?  Read more about it HERE.

Microsoft Azure… Epicor, Microsoft Dynamics NAV & AX and SAP Business One now has a Cloud Answer

Monday, March 13th, 2017

azure

Microsoft Azure is the perfect solution for hosting your ERP System. In the past there were stand alone data centers that would let you install your solution. However, they were essentially remote fixed servers. The same as hosting in your office, just at a more secure or robust location.

After spending over $20 Billion Dollars!, Microsoft has built a worldwide infrastructure that allows for a level of reliability, scalability and cost effectiveness that was only a dream just a few years ago.

With Azure we get 24x7x365 worldwide monitoring and support to run your mission critical applications. Using Clients First Business Solutions, a Microsoft Gold Azure Partner, we can manage and host your Epicor ERP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV and AX or SAP Business One solution in the worlds most powerful public cloud.

Advantages include

  • No need for a physical environment, power, cooling and heating
  • A global infrastructure for security, backup, and management
  • The ability for ‘compute on demand’ and scaling capabilities.  We can automatically bring up additional application servers during your busiest periods and yet you don’t pay for them when things are quiet.
  • We can scale up the performance of your servers as you grow.  We can literally ‘add memory and processors’, while your users continue to use the system with no downtime.
  • The ability to use a specialized partner, like Clients First, to manage your infrastructure with the same level of connectivity and support as your internal IT resources.  Let them focus on your strategic growth visions and let us be the ERP specialists so they don’t have to.  Asking your IT department to manage your ERP system is like asking your personal doctor, a general practitioner, to also be a heart surgeon when needed.

The Cloud isn’t the right solution for everyone and don’t let your software vendor box you into a solution built for their profitability, not yours.  With Clients First, you can take advantage of the lower cost of ownership of perpetual ERP licensing while having the same or better full cloud offloading of local IT responsibility and with no limitations in what you can do to customize your system for your company’s needs.

If On-Premise is right for you, Clients First’s IT specialists and our EverSafe Business Continuity solution can still provide for you the same level of managed ‘no headache’ services as a cloud solution.

Clients First has spent years perfecting the managing and hosting of ERP systems on public clouds.  It’s not as simple as simply subscribing to Azure and installing your software there.  We’ve developed a significant amount of IP (Intellectual Property) around the ability to have your ERP system run in a public cloud but still feel as if it’s installed in the room next door.  Standalone public clouds like Azure or Amazon S3 will not touch your ERP solution whatsoever.  They are only responsible for keeping the operating system up and running.  When you host through Clients First’s Azure Hosting, its a ‘one throat to choke’ managed service solution.

We even have solutions for on-premise cellular fail-over should your Internet go down and make the cloud inaccessible at your office.

Whether you are hosting Epicor ERP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics AX or SAP Business One, let Clients First Business solutions be your go to partner for ‘lights out’ headache free uptime.

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 End of Life June 30, 2016

Friday, July 15th, 2016

Microsoft no longer will support SQL Server 2008 or 2008r2.  It does not mean it will stop working, but it does mean that there will be no more support, no patches, no fixes, no security holes fixed and no support for any new operating systems.

If you haven’t done so, it’s critical that you update to at least SQL Server 2012 or 2014.  You’ll need to check with your ERP, CRM or other line of business software developers to ensure the version you are currently on supports the newer versions of SQL or whether you need to update your other business applications at the same time.  This would also apply to Microsoft Dynamics NAV, AX, Epicor, SAP Business One and Sage ERP 100.

For Clients First clients, please contact our support desk or your Customer Account Manager to find out what your options are.  You can do nothing, but you are flirting with a potential disaster. Here are some potential examples:

  • For example, if a major security hole is found by hackers, they will freely be able to infiltrate your system and no fix will be forthcoming from Microsoft.
  • Your server that is running Windows 2008 & SQL 2008 dies.  You can only replace it with Windows 2012.  Will your outdated software support this scenario?  If not, you’ll need to do an emergency upgrade which is very costly, time consuming and can result in many post upgrade problems.
  • You decide your server hardware is outdated and needs upgrading.  You find out, again, you can’t purchase one with Windows Server 2008.  This may mean your current ERP software won’t run on the new server

Give us a call or hit the chat button below if you have any concerns.