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Citrix, Microsoft, News, Press Release, Uncategorized

Citrix Platinum Partner, Cetus Solutions, to Showcase New Brand at IPEXPO 2018


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Citrix Platinum Partner, Cetus Solutions, will be showcasing, instrato, its Hybrid Cloud Solution stack at this year’s IP Expo.

Officially launched in July of this year, instrato focuses on delivering high-quality cloud deployments for organisations that are looking to move to the cloud as part of their digital transformation strategy.

Cetus Solutions is one of the UK’s leading Citrix Platinum partners and multiple award winners with over 17-years’ experience in delivering tailored solutions to customers.

As one of only three partners who hold all four esteemed Citrix Specialisations – A Citrix worldwide recognised standard achieved by only the technical elite – Cetus design and deliver Secure Application and Data Delivery Platforms embracing Citrix’s Networking and Digital Cloud Workspace solutions.

instrato brings together Cetus’ experience and successful business outcomes in building hybrid cloud infrastructure solutions.

This experience, while not born in the cloud, was born from unparalleled solution experience and industry knowledge. instrato delivers one of the most prominent and proven hybrid cloud solutions for Citrix and Microsoft Azure platforms.

Cetus has exhibited at IP Expo since 2012, and as an established Citrix partner will be exhibiting this year in the Citrix Partner Zone on stand K26, demonstrating the company’s experience and knowledge in Citrix’s Workspace, Networking and Analytic solutions.

Plus, Cetus’ customer, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, will be speaking at the event on 3rd October at 13:40 in the App Virtualisation & Mobile Workspaces theatre. Justin Beardsmore, the Trust’s CIO, will be explaining why L&G NHS Trust chose to work with Cetus to deploy over 6,000Citrix virtual workspaces on Microsoft Azure as part of its modern workspace strategy.

For more information on this release, please contact Colleen O’Brien: 0161 848 4315

Blog, Cetus Solutions, IT Solutions, News, Technology, Uncategorized

instrato or Lexus?


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Toyota is the world’s second largest automotive manufacturer, and in 2017 was standing as the fifth largest global company by revenue. So why did such a successful company create another totally new brand – Lexus, in a highly saturated and ultra-competitive marketplace?

Lexus was an idea from the Japanese car manufacturer, not to enter a new diverse market sector, but to show the world just how good they are at manufacturing high-quality vehicles, appealing to both existing and new customers alike. They believed they needed a fresh, more relevant brand which was built on their already trusted and proven heritage, a brand which appealed to a wider audience with perhaps a different use case. Strangely, many didn’t regard Toyota as a world-leading brand, so this perception had to change.

Toyota responded to their customers, bringing together many years of success, quality, experience and proven customer satisfaction in an exciting, new, forward-thinking premium brand.

We live in the Cloud-era; not a day goes by without the word Cloud in whatever context. We see large multi-national vendors placing their ‘cloud-bets’ with their entire reputation. I guess if they are, well it must be good, right?! I’d rather test such a theory, so we did and have been for several years… We’ve also seen a flurry of the new kids on the block, ‘born in the cloud’ they say! Such organisations claiming to harness the power of the public cloud, yet with limited experience and actual solution design heritage. Why would an organisation place all their commercial eggs in a basket of hope?!

Here at Cetus, we have been designing, building, implementing and supporting infrastructure solutions for almost twenty years and haven’t times changed eh, especially in our industry?! Cetus adopted Cloud strategies many years ago and have successfully built and run our own private cloud platform – Continuum C3 for over six years now for our customers; the public cloud providers were not the appropriate choice for this, not back then anyway, but watch this space…

Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS and Google Cloud are the alleged leaders today, the weapons of choice one may say.

As a true Solutions-House, Cetus actively respond to customers challenges and market forces, and we too must place our bets! Our solution stack is so, by design, a well-developed and focused set of products and solutions to drive business outcomes and address real business challenges. Enter stage right, the Public Cloud to our strategic catalogue and its time to refresh our thoughts!

Instrato is Cetus’s new fresh and relevant approach in the journey to the Cloud, ‘on-point’ and developed with a focused set of technologies, capitalising and leveraging Cloud Infrastructure combined with Cetus’s experienced 17-year heritage in delivering successful customer solutions. Cetus have delivered successful public cloud projects which, combined with the Cetus Team’s knowledge and experience, set us apart from many ‘new to the cloud’ organisations. “Real, proven and trusted experience is hard to find…” states a valued Cetus customer.

Instrato redefines Cetus’s approach to your journey to the cloud and the ultimate goal of SaaS. Instrato is a compelling set of technologies and solutions which, akin to Cetus, deliver on our proven experience and knowledge to assist customers into the world of the cloud. “We’re proudly letting the market know we have deep and unparalleled experience in the world of cloud computing, combining our years of infrastructure solution success to deliver to our customers” says Colleen O’Brien, Head of Marketing at Cetus.

So here we have it!
Instrato builds on our heritage and experience of listening to customers, designing successful solutions and delivering business outcomes by adopting and integrating Cloud and SaaS technologies! Experience counts…

This is a strange blog for me, this time I am discussing and marketing a fresh, new and exciting brand, Instrato, but just think about that should you step into a Lexus; it may be new but its built-on years of experience and proven success, wouldn’t you want that underpinning your business decisions in such a competitive world?
C’mon in instrato!
Find out more at hello@instrato.co.uk and visit www.instrato.co.uk

Mike.pngMike English – Managing Director
Since forming Cetus in 2001, Mike drives change and development to ensure Cetus empower and deliver real value to our customers, enabling successful business outcomes.

 

Blog, GDPR, Security, Technology, Uncategorized

Is The Password Dead?


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My boyfriend was amazing me last weekend when he showed me how he could unlock his brand-new Google Pixel 2 using just his voice. I was seriously impressed until he laughed and showed me the index scanner on the back that actually unlocked it. To be honest, it’s a perfectly useless piece of hardware since I know his pin code anyway. Which isn’t much of a win- I just get full access to the albums upon albums of stupid memes that he stores for later consumption.

These days, it seems as though you’d need to live and work in the Pentagon to keep your data safe. And even then, you’d probably be safer by having a photographic memory and never writing or typing anything. Ever. For the entirety of your life- and chances are, you’ve ballsed that one up already, right? If not, there you go, cyber security problem solved. You can tell that annoying antivirus update pop-up reminder where to stick it because you JUST DON’T NEED IT. However, if you don’t have the privilege of a) living in the Pentagon or b) having a photographic memory, then keeping your data safe can be a smidge harder (and I’m betting that’s most of us). Back in the old days of computers and the internet, simple passwords were enough to keep sensitive data safe. Nowadays, the opportunities for cyber criminals to exploit this information are too good for these less-than-moral people to miss out on.

But, as with the Google Pixel 2, we’re quickly catching on to the fact that a simple password or pin number isn’t enough, especially when it comes to our accounts online. According to password management company Dashlane, a single email address can be registered to a whopping 130 passwords. This tells us that some people either have too much time on their hands or a terrible memory, or both. Let’s be honest, when we have a password that we can remember, has a capital letter, a special character AND contains more than eight letters, we all use the same one for the random things around the web. Deliveroo, Amazon, Tesco Delivery; so many things are online now and they all require an account. And it’s not much better in the workplace. ‘For security purposes’, passwords get changed every three months or so at work, but it’s just a case of using a particular word and going up the number line each time we get that annoying notification. I am definitely guilty of this (I wait until the absolute last minute to message around to all of our IT support techies to get it changed. So they all end up knowing my new password. I like to call it ‘herd immunity’). And 42% of workers admit to sharing their passwords with co-workers. So, in the age of GRPR and a heightened awareness of cybercrime, we have to ask ourselves; is the password dead?

A recent Verizon report states that two thirds of data breaches are caused by stolen passwords or misused credentials. So basically human error. And it’s not like we can remove that problem until AI progresses enough to create robots that can do the work for us- wouldn’t that be convenient? Maybe robots are the answer, but not in the short term.

Passwords are a lot like mayonnaise. You wouldn’t consume it on its own (or at least not more than a tablespoonful or two straight from the jar at a time), but it’s a nice little addition to a dish. So what would be the ‘piece de resistance’? We have biometrics that are starting to become popular. Even I managed to fall into the ‘high tech’ phenomenon of having a thumb scanner on my ancient iPhone. And how many times has NatWest bothered me about getting their banking app? “It’s so much safer!” they say. “I don’t trust mobile devices!” I scream back. “WE’VE NEVER HAD A SECURITY BREACH!” they holler. “I WILL NOT BELIEVE IT!” I finish. I’m paraphrasing, of course, the conversation I had with my, considerably older, banking agent. Shocked that a twenty-something would have so little faith in technology, he took out his fancy phone to show me. Needless to say, I won that argument. As it was, it took me a while to get into the idea of biometrics. Realistically, all it takes is some criminal genius to sever your finger to access your bank account. I don’t know about you, but having someone steal my money after stealing my thumb is, quite literally, adding insult to injury.

So what about removing the password altogether? I’m not suggesting we scrap the whole thing, of course. But multi-factor authentication has become something of interest recently. Microsoft shocked the world in May when they announced in a blog post that they were trying to rid the world of passwords for good. Promising a future where end users will never have to deal with passwords while also vowing that user credentials will never be ‘cracked, breached or phished’ seems too good to be true. But apparently, with 47 million users worldwide, Windows Hello is very much a thing. And it only needs one authentication method; facial recognition (luckily, you’re slightly less likely of having your face severed), fingerprint or retina scan. If you are absolutely adamant that fingerprint scan is the way you want to go, you can buy a tiny little USB device to plug into your laptop, a bit like the connection bit of a wireless keyboard. I’ve said it before, but starting my day like Tom Cruise in Minority Report sounds pretty cool. I might just start getting out of bed at the first alarm every morning. My ultimate favourite feature of Windows Hello is Dynamic Lock. It’s a fancy name for something pretty simple; essentially, your computer detects when you’re out of reach and automatically locks itself. And by ‘you’, I mean your phone. So you’ll never have to worry about fire drills, emergency pee breaks, or having your laptop stolen out of the window by sleuths with fishing rods. True peace of mind.

What makes Windows Hello so secure? If you use facial or fingerprint recognition, Microsoft does not transfer the raw data over the internet. So that’s already a huge chunk of potential Mission Impossible criminals who won’t be able to make latex copies to break in. Apparently, Microsoft doesn’t even store the raw data, creating a digital abstraction instead that can only be interpreted with a machine. And what user information does get transferred across the internet gets encrypted to almost-Pentagon standards. And all you need is the Windows 10 Anniversary Update- easy!

So, what do you think? Will you be chucking that little black notebook full of usernames and passwords? (Maybe burn it instead) Or will you insist on keeping the same password you’ve used since you had to put your social media profiles on private? Either way, you might be interested in hearing what our experts can do for you.

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Directors-9619Missy Beaudelot – Digital Marketing Executive
With a background in journalism and an interest in all things tech, Missy keeps our social media in check while monitoring our websites and developing our digital presence.

 

Blog, Cloud Hosting, IT Solutions, Microsoft, Our Upcoming Events, Uncategorized

A Brief History of Azure


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You’d be hard pressed to imagine a modern world without Microsoft Azure. Since 2010, it has graced many a cloud strategy, promising to deliver an ever-expanding set of cloud services to help meet organisations’ business challenges. It’s safe to say that it provides full freedom to build, manage and deploy applications on a large scale, using plenty of tools and frameworks to achieve it. The inner workings of Azure were already in the planning stages in 2005. Hoping to bring disruption to internet services, Ray Ozzy, Chief Technical Officer and Chief Software Architect at Microsoft, insisted that Azure would bring “the effectiveness of a new delivery and adoption model” that would also create “the demand for compelling, integrated user experiences that ‘just work’.” 13 years later, and eight years after being released into the public domain, Azure has done just that.

When it comes to cloud computing, Microsoft offers all of the main categories that interest organisations; Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). Microsoft, being Microsoft, has had every opportunity to innovate, diversify and establish Azure as a top-level fixture in the industry. Announced in October 2008 with codename ‘Project Red Dog’, it wasn’t always one of the Big Players in the world of cloud. Microsoft intended on launching a total of five key categories of cloud services, with Azure in the hot seat for compute, storage and networking; while incorporating Microsoft SQL Services for databases; .NET Services for developers, Live Services for filesharing and Microsoft SharePoint Services and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Services for SaaS offerings.

Take yourself back to 2010. It was the year that brought so many highs and lows for the country; Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, the engagement announcement of Prince William and Kate Middleton, and the brutal loss for England to host the 2018 World Cup (which evidently went to Russia). Originally called Windows Azure, it provided a service platform for SQL Services, .Net services and Live Services. Back then, the ‘cloud’ was a semi-obscure idea that some couldn’t really get their heads around. Honestly, the internet was a wacky idea in the 90s but in 2010 we’d largely accepted it as a fundamental human right, so being able to store data and access apps online wasn’t much of a stretch. But anyway. Because of that slight doubt, Azure didn’t know it, but it was on the cusp of a technological revolution- and it was at the right place at the right time to reap the rewards.

Unfortunately, in 2011 Azure had a slight hiccup. Still in its infancy, the documentation describing Azure services and capabilities was deemed incomprehensible, and its web-based interface was difficult to use. Thankfully, in May 2011 Scott Guthrie, former Corporate Vice President of the .Net platform at Microsoft, took over the Azure Application Platform team in order to shake things up a little and make some improvements. And he did! The user interface that was formerly a Silverlight application was changed to a HTML5 web portal, which improved things drastically and made the whole platform feel more like a systematised set of services. Adding support for quite a wide variety of programming languages, frameworks and operating systems (including, surprisingly, Linux) propelled Azure into a new, more innovative age. By 2014, Azure had made significant leaps in user experience. Becoming a cloud platform known for being robust and comprehensive for IaaS and PaaS cloud computing models. By continuing to expand its cloud capabilities, it has increased its support for open source software, making Azure the first choice for organisations that don’t even run Windows. In the years that followed, Azure has gone from strength to strength, developing significantly since 2008. The platform has seen only a few major outages in its history, creating an impressive reputation of reliability in a world where even five minutes of downtime can mean hundreds of thousands in loss of profits for organisations.

Back to 2018; Microsoft Azure enjoys a very mature, stable and reliable reputation as a secure public cloud provider, holding the title of second-largest IaaS and PaaS provider (behind Amazon Web Services) in the world. We are proud to work with Microsoft, obviously a huge name in the world of IT in its own right, but also with Azure. We regularly incorporate the platform as part of a business challenge solution as its flexibility and dependability are second to none. We hope this blog post has piqued your interest in the opportunities that Azure can open. If you want to keep up-to-date with what’s going on with Citrix, make sure to keep an eye on our events page where we regularly share workshops and webinars to keep you in the know!

 

Directors-9619Missy Beaudelot – Digital Marketing Executive
With a background in journalism and an interest in all things tech, Missy keeps our social media in check while monitoring our websites and developing our digital presence.

Blog, Citrix, Cloud, IT Solutions, News, Uncategorized

What is ‘New’?


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Have you ever tried to create something new? I don’t mean ‘fresh’; I mean actually ‘new’ – a thing that no else is doing that will make people pause and say “Oh! That’s different – tell me more…”

This Thursday we launch a new brand. It’s been under wraps for a few months now and is the result of several years of evolutionary growth. It’s a thing that seeks to make us stand out from the crowd; to capture the imagination of prospective clients; to define the next five years of significant growth for Cetus. We’re quite excited.

It’s called ‘Instrato’ – that’s the first ‘new’ thing we needed to come up with. It’s actually rather difficult to come up with a new brand name. A new brand needs to achieve two things: 1 – capture the imagination, and 2 – be an available domain name. Instrato ticked both boxes for us.

So – here’s the bit where creating something ‘new’ becomes really tricky. Instrato is a cloud solutions brand, but it’s a cloud solutions brand with a difference. The problem is that ‘cloud solutions providers’ tend to fall into two camps: Cloud Only & Hybrid Cloud.

They each have their limitations:

Cloud Only Providers – tend to have grown up as Microsoft Azure (or AWS) partners and are really good at provisioning Microsoft Azure instances – but not much else.

Hybrid Cloud Providers – are, well, just about every IT solutions provider out there. Their message is simple – add some cloud stuff and, hey presto! – you’ve got a ‘hybrid cloud’.

So why is Instrato new? In the above cases they are either: capable of building a cloud-only infrastructure or, capable of adding some cloud stuff to meet your current needs. That’s not the way we see it at Instrato.

To us ‘the cloud’ is a journey, who’s ultimate destination is SaaS. Not convinced? Then consider this question: “if you were starting up a brand-new business – would you even consider any form of ‘server infrastructure’?”. We don’t think so – you’d spend a lot of time finding a set of SaaS solutions (e.g. Office 365, SalesForce) to provide the business functionality you need without the associated hassle of an ‘infrastructure’.

Unfortunately, most businesses aren’t in the position of starting from scratch. Instead they have years of accumulated legacy infrastructure to deal with; users who are used to ‘desktops’; shadow IT solutions that just ‘appeared. This is why instrato is ‘new’ … we get that, to most organisations, the journey to SaaS is going to take a little time to complete. The challenge is to manage the bit in the middle: a near constant state of change as their organisation transitions individual applications to SaaS.

Instrato’s role in life is to make that state of near-constant change as seamless as possible from a user’s perspective; and as simple and cost-effective as possible from an IT team’s perspective. We do so by providing technology that addresses four specific business needs during the transition:

– Cloud Hosted Virtual Apps & Desktops (to provide an abstraction layer between your users and the underlying platform)

– Cloud Orchestration – to provide automated management and provisioning of an ever-changing hybrid cloud infrastructure

-Software Defined Networking – to provide resilient, secure, cost effective connection to your changing cloud portfolio

Cloud Analytics – to provide contextual, deep understanding of the traffic flowing across your evolving network.

We think that qualifies as ‘new’ – and we reckon that makes instrato pretty unique.
To hear more about how instrato can help you with your Cloud Journey – why not visit us at www.instrato.co.uk and see how our ‘new’ way of thinking about hybrid cloud can help your organisation to accelerate your cloud journey?

Directors-9619Paul Kiveal – Business Development Director
Paul works with business leaders, helping combine strategic objectives with innovative technical solutions, developing inspirational new IT platforms that transform the way technology powers organisations.

 

Blog, Citrix, Cloud Hosting, IT Solutions, News, Uncategorized

Citrix Summit 2018


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This week, I’ve been in Anaheim at Citrix’s annual partner conference – Citrix Summit. The event provides an opportunity to hear from Citrix’s executive leadership team about the vision and strategy for the year ahead, share industry perspective and innovation, and attend a range of interactive breakout sessions that focus on how Citrix technology can be applied to initiate change, transform organisations and solve real-world challenges to improve the way people work.

For me, Citrix Summit always proves to be invaluable. In the busy nature of every day work life, it can often be challenging to find time to fully embrace and evaluate new concepts, approaches and innovation. With the industry moving at pace, this is just one of the reasons why I love Summit… it provides an opportunity to hear, see, discuss the future of the workspace among friends and peers.

With Citrix experiencing plenty of change within the last year – including former CEO Kirill Tatarinov’s departure – I was apprehensive to see how the Citrix story had evolved. However, from the opening keynote it was evident was that Citrix’s technology focus on ‘people’ has filtered through to the top.

David Henshall proved to be a welcomed and refreshing leader – addressing critics from early 2017 head on by acknowledging that some negative press that Citrix received was justified yet by no means acceptable to the business. He continued to discuss how Citrix has turned around to end the year on a series of records including; record revenue numbers, record cash flow, record profits, record share price and record innovation – with 122% increase in new patents filed in over a year, an 80% increase in product releases, and 4 analyst leadership positions for EFSS, Mobility, UEM and Networking.

More exciting to see was Citrix’s secure digital workspace vision, which in my opinion, is superior to any other vendor in this space. Simple, secure and unified. Visionary enough that people understand the direction, development and investment Citrix are moving into the future, yet real enough that customers can get on board with that vision today and accelerate their cloud strategy to achieve benefits and eliminate / manage challenges right now.

“The cloud is not a destination… It’s the beginning of a new journey.”

Citrix’s products have evolved into solution areas; Citrix Workspace, Citrix Networking and Citrix Analytics with people-centric embedded security at the centre. The benefits of using Citrix technology together as a unified solution rather than separate products is core to the Citrix story and it’s because of this integration why Citrix stands out among many vendors. With the workspace, networking and analytics solutions integrating together to provide an unrivalled workspace where user experience, security and choice are of upmost importance. And, on integration… Microsoft corporate vice president for Enterprise Client & Mobility, Brad Anderson, joined the keynote to describe a deeper integration and partnership between Citrix and Microsoft than ever before.

As a Citrix Platinum and specialist partner, we are so excited for 2018. This year there is promise of faster, focused innovation and upmost support to accelerate customers to benefit from Citrix Cloud Services. It’s not about workloads… It’s about people. And we look forward to helping you enable your people, with Citrix, in 2018.

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Blog, Citrix, Cloud Hosting, IT Solutions, News, Our Upcoming Events, Technology, Uncategorized

Citrix Cloud: The Coping Mechanism for Digital Disruption


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In most organisations at least one commonality exists; nobody likes unnecessary complexity. And, perhaps contrary to many stereotypes, least of all the IT department. So much so, many organisations that I have spoken to recently have prioritised simplification and automation among the highest business objectives for 2017; in order to increase their businesses agility, improve their ability to react to changing requirements and demands, and to speed up the time to value when delivering IT initiatives. 

This comes as many businesses are admittedly struggling to keep up with the constant pace of workplace change, innovations in technology, and the increasingly digital landscape in which we operate. Whilst business leaders recognise the value that digital presents including; improved productivity, effectiveness, engagement and profitability; standing in the way of achieving these objectives is complexity.

As a result, many find themselves in a state of digital disruption, with the organisations failing to react to changing workplace landscapes, user demands and organisational pressures quick enough to sustain a competitive advantage in challenging markets whilst maintaining the level of security required in today’s modern workspaces.

In addition, for many organisations it is becoming increasingly complex for their IT department to manage mobile workspace infrastructure – with vast amounts of different applications to install, ever-changing user bases to account for, challenges in forecasting capacity, both known and unknown security threats, constant installing of updates and investing in infrastructure to meet changing and unpredictable user and business demands.

This is where Citrix Cloud comes in. Citrix Cloud is a secure, evergreen SaaS like control plane that unites and integrates all of the Citrix technologies to deliver a unified administration, user experience that overcomes the challenges presented by the digital landscape – delivering workspaces the way you want that are “Secure by Design”. It has quickly become the fastest and most flexible way to securely deliver applications and data to any device, over any network, whilst simplifying the management of your secure digital workspace in the process.

In Jan 2017, I was fortunate enough to attend Citrix’s annual partner conference, Citrix Summit, and saw first-hand how and why Citrix Cloud is going to be a game changer for businesses in 2017. Quite simply, Citrix Cloud enables customers to cope effectively with digital disruption by removing complexity and empowering IT departments to say yes.

Over the past few weeks we have been running a collaborative series of workshops with Citrix SE’s to share insight and recommendations with organisations about preparing for the transition to Citrix Cloud and Hybrid Cloud strategies. Due to the positive feedback from these sessions, we added a number of additional dates for March. So if you would like to explore the features and benefits of using Citrix Cloud services, understand Citrix’s vision and roadmap for 2017 – including their strategic alliance with Microsoft “Better Together” – then we would love you to join us at one of our upcoming events.

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Blog, Citrix, Cloud Hosting, IT Solutions, News, Our Upcoming Events, Technology, Uncategorized

Citrix Summit 2017


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This week I attended Citrix’s annual partner conference – Citrix Summit – in Anaheim, California. As a specialist Citrix Platinum partner, we attend the event each year to ensure we are primed to inform our customers about the latest updates, announcements, vision and roadmap. You can register here to hear Cetus and Citrix deliver the very latest updates from Citrix Summit. 

The event kicked off with a vision keynote which allowed the senior leadership team at Citrix, lead by president and CEO Kirill Tatarinov, to offer perspective on industry transformation and position Citrix’s vision for helping customers leverage innovation and strategic partnerships in 2017 to achieve business objectives and outcomes.

Throughout the entirety of the keynote, tech talks and the numerous breakout tracks, Citrix’s strategy was clear and consistent. To provide integrated technology services that make apps and data secure and easy to access, and as a result help organisations of all sizes achieve the speed and agility necessary to grow and succeed in a rapidly changing world.

Within the content, some key themes emerged and took predominant focus in my opinion; Citrix’s Cloud Strategy, the strategic partnership with Microsoft, and integration of solutions (in terms of user experience and administration).

Citrix’s Cloud Strategy
There is no hesitation that Citrix are rapidly moving towards a cloud-first strategy, with Citrix Cloud providing a single place to access all Citrix technologies in the cloud. It’s quickly becoming the fastest, simplest and most flexible way to deliver Citrix technology to any device over any network – therefore a very interesting and attractive update was the launch of Citrix Cloud Accelerator; a comprehensive set of transition and trade-up offers for customers who own existing XenApp or XenDesktop licenses and want to move to Citrix Cloud. Also made available is a XenApp on Azure Cost Calculator, which is a tool that Cetus can help you use to provide you with a complete set of cost estimates for deploying Citrix XenApp on Microsoft Azure. In addition, a new Citrix Ready HCI Workspace Appliance Program was launched that enables hyper-converged appliances from hardware and storage partners to connect into Citrix Cloud.

Strategic partnership with Microsoft
Over the past year, Citrix and Microsoft have built the foundations and now Citrix are stepping it up a gear to further accelerate their joint innovation.

– The integration of Citrix NetScaler Unified Gateway with Microsoft Intune
Citrix unveil the integration of NetScaler Unified Gateway with Microsoft EMS. Together, Citrix and Microsoft joined forces to deliver to our customers a solution that offers conditional access for mobile users.  Conditional access delivers an added level of security for mobile users which helps customers protect their on-premise resources

– The launch of XenApp Essentials and XenDesktop Essentials
Available in the Azure Marketplace, XenApp Essentials and XenDesktop Essentials make it easier for customers to accelerate secure app delivery and cloud-based Windows 10 VDI, empowering IT to align apps and desktop services with business needs, while delivering the superior experience, reliability and value associated with XenApp and XenDesktop.

– Collaboration between Citrix & Microsoft on Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS)
The expanded Citrix partnership with Microsoft includes powerful collaboration to significantly enhance value for Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) customers with Citrix capabilities for delivering enterprise-grade productivity combined with device and data security managed over the network. This Azure-based Citrix solution for EMS will include micro-VPN capability for secure, identity-based access to on-premises applications on EMS managed devices, providing the most comprehensive mobility solution available in the market. In addition, later this year, the solution will also include versions of Citrix market-leading productivity apps, such as Secure Mail and Secure Web that customers will be able to manage with EMS.

Wrapping up this blog for now on the note of integration. At this years Summit there was a big focus on integration of solutions, from both an end user experience and an administration perspective, echoed in a joined up product strategy. To find out more, and hear what we feel are the most pressing updates, make sure you register for our update events, taking place in various locations throughout the UK.

Register for our upcoming cloud events, where we will demonstrate how the cloud can transform your work environment.

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Blog, Microsoft, Technology, Uncategorized

Future Decoded – The Microsoft Security Story


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Change has been the only constant in 2016 – with Brexit, and a change of prime minister, notably creating a great deal of noise and uncertainty around the future of the UK economy. With 44% of UK business leaders indicating their current business models will not exist in 5 years and predictions intensifying that we are entering the fourth industrial revolution, it is increasingly apparent that as businesses we must understand change, explore transformation and adapt in order to avoid extinction.

So, it came as no surprise the key theme of Microsoft’s annual UK event Future Decoded was centred on digital transformation. Whilst Microsoft’s core mission remains unchanged – to empower every organisation and every person to achieve more – the first day of Future Decoded focused less on the things we know that Microsoft do consistently well – providing rich user experiences, suites of applications, and intuitive interfaces, and instead cemented their strategy around security and proved how Microsoft are enabling business and digital transformation.

But it wasn’t just Microsoft’s strategy around security that took centre stage. During one of the opening keynotes, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, formally launched the government’s new National Cyber Security Strategy, which sets out decisive action that we will be taking to protect the UK economy, the privacy of British citizens, whilst encouraging and equipping industry to prevent damaging cyber-attacks.

The Chancellor recognised that cyber security is one of the greatest threats to business around the world – with the global cost of crimes estimated at in excess of $445 billion. However, the Chancellor predicts that this new strategy underpinned by £1.9 billion of investment will position the UK as one of the safest places in the world to do business – perhaps a compelling reason for businesses to remain in the UK instead of fleeing in the aftermath of Brexit.

“If we want Britain to be the best place in the world to be a tech business then it is also crucial that Britain is a safe place to do the digital business,” The Chancellor said, “Trust in the internet and the infrastructure on which it relies is fundamental to our economic future.”

With data the currency of today’s world, a predicted 1 million new devices coming online per hour by 2020 and Microsoft opening UK data centres that deliver world-class reliability and data residency earlier this year, I was interested to explore how Microsoft’s security strategy has evolved. I was not disappointed.

During a breakout session, Microsoft illustrated exactly how they have upped their game, and integrated their products to create a solution which is seriously cool, effortlessly delivered, and oh… it’s available today when using EMS, Intune and Windows 10. Sophisticated security built on principles around user ‘identity’, facial recognition and multi-factor authentication, and integrated access and control policies, resulting in a solution that presents itself as simple, seamless… and can be completely self-provisioned by any end user (seriously it looked idiot proof… perhaps even I could replicate the demo – perhaps that’s a vblog for another time!)

Security has been one of the many, and important, focus areas at Future Decoded. Make sure you follow Cetus Solutions on LinkedIn, where over the next few days I will be posting additional blogs around some of the product announcements and updates, forward thinking around big data and AI, workspaces, Skype for Business, and migrating to Windows 10.

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Microsoft WPC: Day 1


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From the very outset of today’s opening keynote at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) the notion of making computing personal resonated, with Cortana introducing the journey that Microsoft has been on over the past twelve months prior to Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, even stepping foot onto the stage.

Microsoft’s vision remains unchanged; to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more, however what is apparent from today’s keynote is the role in which Microsoft, and partners, are playing in empowering businesses across the world to achieve digital transformation.

Often, I find the term ‘digital transformation’ over-used, a buzz-term that lacks any sense of meaning other than ‘transform your business using our technology.’ Today, I heard Microsoft’s definition and it’s one that I like a lot; it’s not monolithic and closed business application packages that take half a decade to customise and deploy, and another for employees to begrudgingly learn how to use. When Microsoft speak of digital transformation reference systems that requires a level of intelligence tailored to the individual business and users – systems that have the ability to learn, expand and evolve as the world and business changes.

Together with their partners, Microsoft are focused on enabling businesses to experience the subsequent benefits that come from fundamentally changing business outcomes, empowering employees to make better decisions, optimising business operations and ensuring that every business process is intelligent within their digitally empowered organisations.

After hearing from many CEO’s around the world about what digital transformation means for their business, Nadella summarised suggesting “Leadership in today’s age is about driving successful change” After which, he went on to unveil three of Microsoft’s focus areas surrounding digital transformation, to ensure that together, we are able to support customers in successfully driving and implementing change within their respective businesses.

Reinvent productivity and business processes
Within the keynote, and within this blog, Nadella discussed how by removing the barriers between productivity tools and business applications, we are able to support our customers in reinventing business processes whilst taking a people-centric and platform-centric approach – meaning that IT are able to deliver what the user wants and needs in order to work productivity in context to their role, from a platform that will drive lucrative business outcomes. 

Enable computing to be more personal
There is a clear focus on making computing more personal and to an extent combining both digital and physical experiences to drive better outcomes. A great example of this was shown in relation to the cognitive services Microsoft have developed. During the demo, Nadella showed how a speech algorithm has been created to transform McDonald’s’ drive-through experience – something simple, yet very cool and a clear improvement to business processes for McDonalds.

When looking at personal computing no digital transformation outcome is going to be complete without having the right device at the edge. There was evidence again that Windows 10 is not just a device operating system for a single device, it is an operating system for use across all devices. And for the first time ever, I saw a HoloLens being demoed in a way that served a purpose within a real business environment – showing it as a mixed reality training tool for an aircraft engineer. Again, this was a great demonstration of how technology is changing, and benefitting organisations around the world who are deciding to go digital.

Build out the intelligent cloud 
Finally, the third focus for Microsoft was very much to build the intelligent cloud platform to take advantage of scalability and flexibility, combined with the power of intelligence and security. The ability to connect all your solutions whether it be Office 365, Dynamics 365, alongside Microsoft Azure and third-party technologies to provide an unparalleled cloud platform.

Reflecting back to the start, Nadella asked the question “What if we could personally stitch together and connect disparate worlds and processes… bring them together seamlessly?” In the pursuit for digital transformation, technologies are leveraged to drive change and achieve business outcomes, and different teams need to be engaged to create heightened value and tailored intelligence associated with digital transformation. This is where Microsoft partners like Cetus Solutions can help customers accelerate their time to value and drive the adoption of transformational IT solutions that piece together to create a seamless solution for users – and as a result, fulfilling Microsoft’s vision to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.

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