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Is It Time to Upgrade Your Business Productivity Applications?

There are several major Microsoft applications that are coming to end of support soon.  End of support means that there will be no security patches or updates for this software.  End of support is the final step in Microsoft's product lifecycle.  If a business chooses to keep these applications in place, it will leave critical business equipment vulnerable to viruses, malware, and hack attempts.  This could expose all equipment -- including devices with more current versions -- to further problems.

The applications that are nearing end of support include some of the most popular Microsoft versions of desktop, server, email, and business productivity applications.  Included are Windows XP, Office 2003, Windows Server 2003, and Exchange 2003.

Many of our customers have been seeking guidance on their options for upgrades as the landscape has dramatically changed since these applications were first available for purchase. An individual customer's circumstances depend on dozens of factors.  The logical step most are taking is direct Microsoft upgrades.  There are corresponding/upgraded applications that are available for each of these products:

  • Windows 8 and soon to be released Windows 9 for PCs/tablets
  • Office 2013
  • Exchange 2013
  • Windows Server 2012

When crafting an IT plan that will work for your company, your specific needs are always considered.  While we have had several companies turn to Google Apps, most end up utilizing predominantly Microsoft solutions.  There are a couple of reasons for this, including compliance issues and use of the data by Google for its own purposes (mining your data to target advertisements is a common complaint).

Microsoft Office 2013 is a top choice for business because it gives you familiar and rich Office applications to use online or offline across your desktop, smartphone, and tablet.

The Office upgrade has:

  • a new streamlined look
  • improved zoom
  • the ability to embed videos into documents
  • improved PowerPoint
  • better data analysis from Excel, and
  • a more user-friendly Outlook

These features take Microsoft 2013 a step above the rest. Another great tool now being incorporated into the new version is cloud technology, using its own SkyDrive cloud storage.

Despite a lot of bad press recently, Windows 8 is very comparable to Windows 7 and should not be avoided. The operating system offers improvements in performance and is less expensive than its predecessors. Windows 8 also introduces apps to the PC world. There are thousands of web-connected apps for users to discover. Additionally, Windows 8 integrates the SkyDrive cloud by Microsoft, which allows for storing your files and PC settings online in a convenient way.

With security becoming an increasing issue these days, Windows 8 ensures better security for its users. From apps to operating systems, Microsoft takes extra precautions in Windows 8 to make sure users are secured and protected from intrusion. Finally, Windows 8 offers top of the line touch input while still working well with a mouse and keyboard. Windows 8 various components and technologies make daily operations of your business safer and easier.

The switch from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2013 may also be a good idea for your company, as we see improved reliability, an enhanced webmail client, and the integration of SharePoint and Lync. Data loss prevention can also help your company ensure that your data does not get into the hands of unauthorized people. Deep content analysis can identify, protect, and monitor all of your sensitive data. With Exchange 2010 reaching its end of life, it may be time to consider an upgrade and see how Exchange 2013 can work for your company.

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