Dynamics 365 recent news June 2018

June 14th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Microsoft is rolling out a new Support Center for Dynamics 365. It’s still in Preview (as of June 2018), but if you meet the Prerequisites then, you can check it out now! It’s really simple to navigate when you have the appropriate Office 365 role. After logging into Portal.office.com, just go to https://admin.dynamics.com to see the new support center. Once you’ve submitted a ticket, you can monitor open support issues from the same place, https://admin.dynamics.com

Dynamics 365 Spring 2018 release – updates and resources

On June 1st, Microsoft announced on their official Dynamics 365 Twitter channel (@MSFTDynamics365) that the Dynamics 365 Spring 2018 release notes are updated. Several changes were made to the Field Service, Social Engagement, Talent, Finance and Operations, PowerBI, Microsoft Flow and Data Integration sections of the Spring 2018 release notes.

This follows another series of updates announced on May 1st, so if you’ve read the Spring 2018 update notes upon their first release last April, there is now a lot of new information!

Information and links about the Dynamics 365 Spring 2018 release:
•Dynamics 365 Spring 2018 release page (with on-demand videos to learn more about the Dynamics 365 capabilities)
•Spring ’18 Release Overview page on the Microsoft website (includes link to download the release notes)
•Spring ’18 change history (to check everything that has changed since April)
•Dynamics 365 Spring 2018 release – documentation & readiness (for a few additional resources)
•Watch the Business Applications spring launch event on‑demand – for more information about Dynamics 365 Business Central

In the Microsoft Documents site, you will find information and a number of resources to help you understand how Dynamics supports GDPR and tools for customers to define and support their GDPR obligations.

Visit the site to access the following types of information:
•White papers
•Data Subject Requests
•Compliance Manager
•Webcasts
•Blogs
•eBooks
see https://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2018/05/21/microsofts-commitment-to-gdpr-privacy-and-putting-customers-in-control-of-their-own-data/

Customer consent is major aspect of the regulations. It is important that you include relevant information in your marketing objects (like landing pages and email marketing message) that unambiguously informs your audience about the data you collect and the purpose of your processing. Your audience must have the option to give consent freely, make an informed decision, and be able to review, update, or revoke consent at any time.

Dynamics 365 for Marketing:
• Allows you to request, capture, and store consent
•Lets you design your marketing activities to respect the consent given by your audience

see this informative post https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/lystavlen/2018/06/07/consent-management-in-dynamics-365-for-marketing/

Microsoft delivers new features and improvements to Dynamics 365 (online) through service updates that are periodically delivered to customers. They recommend you update to the latest major version when it becomes available. The update policy defines how customers move from one version to the next. Customers have the option to provide consent prior to updating their organization. Customers also have the choice to either take the updates as they become available or take only one update per year. If a customer chooses to take only one update per year, then this update is mandatory and the customer will be required to take the update during the available dates for that release.

In keeping with this policy, all organizations running version 8.1 (two versions behind the current version) will be upgraded to Dynamics 365 (online), version 9.0.2. The automatic update will take place during your normal maintenance window. So please ensure you plan for testing and any updates you need to make.

At the beginning of the year, Microsoft set out to bridge the gap between Dynamics 365 App for Outlook, the future of Dynamics 365 and Outlook integration, and the legacy Outlook add-in, Dynamics 365 for Outlook. The latest improvements to server-side synchronization and Dynamics 365 App for Outlook in Dynamics 365 (online) version 8.2,enable customers to track emails, appointments, and tasks in Outlook with a special “Tracked to Dynamics 365” Outlook category enabled through server-side synchronization. Assigning the category to an email, appointment, or task in Outlook will track the item to Dynamics 365. Category-based tracking via server-side synchronization is an opt-in experience. This is currently available on Dynamics 365 (online) version 8.2, with support for version 9.0 soon to follow.

Service Update 8 for Microsoft Dynamics 365 8.2.2 (online) is now available. Resolved issues include:
• Recurring Appointment occurrence is not updated correctly when synchronizing with Dynamics 365 for Outlook
• A user should able to Untrack an auto tracked email before email tagger processes the item
• Duplicate Detection triggers when SuppressDuplicateDetection parameter is set to true
• Views saved with Custom Filters do not respond to changes in filter criteria
• Generic SQL Error occurs while trying to perform an Offline Sync with the Dynamics 365 for Outlook
• Unable to filter Orders by Currency
• Associated View icon for Leads does not appear on an Account

The latest update to the Field Service and Project Service Automation solutions for Dynamics 365 version 9.0.x is now available

The Voice of the Customer app provides a new experience in survey and theme designing. The new survey designer provides a simple and intuitive experience to add, remove, and modify survey pages, sections, questions, and answers. see https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/crm/2018/05/23/whats-new-in-voice-of-the-customer-version-9-0-1162/

Microsoft Social Engagement 2018 Update 1.5 is now available. Social Engagement now shows attached images and videos in private messages on Facebook and direct messages on Twitter directly in the post list. Resolved issues include:
• Fixed an issue to ensure that private messages in any language are acquired by Social Engagement.
• Fixed an issue where private messages in Indonesian language were discarded due to wrong language mapping.
• Fixed an issue where the ‘Link to Dynamics 365’ filter didn’t have a tooltip, making it impossible in some languages to understand if a post from Social Engagement is or isn’t linked to Dynamics 365.
• Fixed an issue that prevented adding multiple Facebook pages as social profiles.

Microsoft Inspire is next month! It will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, from July 15th to July 19th.

Eid Mubarak from Synergy Software Systems to one and all.

June 14th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

The first day of Eid Al Fitr – which translates in Arabic to the feast of breaking the fast – marks the end of Ramadan and coincides with the first day of the lunar calendar month of Shawwal.
Eid al-Fitr 2018 in United Arab Emirates will likely this evening of Thursday, June 14 and end in the evening of Sunday June 17
Our offices will be closed Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
With Ramadan ended our normal office working hours resume Monday at 9am.

Free parking in Dubai for Eid Al Fitr 2018

June 11th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Its reported that U.A.E. Residents will be able to enjoy four days of free parking in celebration of Eid Al Fitr, announced the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) on Monday. Eid Al Fitr is yet to be announced, but it is thought it will fall on June 15 and on that basis:

From 29 Ramadan to 3 Shawaal 1439H, which falls on Thursday June 14 to Sunday June 17, all public car parks will be free, except for multi-level parking terminals,

The parking tariff will be re-activated on Monday June 18 – as of 4 Shawaal 1439H,

The Dubai Metro stations on the Red Line will be operating on Thursday, June 14, from 5am to 2am (of the following day) and on Friday, June 15, from 10am to 2am (of the following day). From Saturday to Monday (June 16-18, 2018), the service will be running from 5am to 2am (of the following day).

The Dubai Metro Stations on the Green Line will be operating on Thursday, June 14, 5.3am to 2am (of the following day) and on Friday, June 15, from 10am to 2am (of the following day). From Saturday to Monday (June 16-18, 2018), the service will be running from 5.3am to 2am (of the following day).

The Dubai Tram will operate from Saturday to Thursday from 6am to 1am (of the following day), and on Friday from 9am to 1am (of the following day).

SQL 2016 Servcies packs May 2018

May 31st, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 2 came out last month, but Microsoft also just released Service Pack 1 Cumulative Update 9, which has fixes that aren’t in Service Pack 2:
•PFS page round robin algorithm improvement
•Fixed PAGELATCH_EX and PAGELATCH_SH waits in TempDB
•Change tracking is inconsistent during an update on a table with a clustered index
•TDE database goes offline during a log flush

However, they also just released 2016 SP2 CU1! https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4135048/cumulative-update-1-for-sql-server-2016-sp2

Windows 10 April update

May 28th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

The Windows 10 April Update is causing stress for users, with many claiming their PCs were wiped clean after they hit OK on the update prompt.
Windows message boards were bombarded with complaints after users found that the “restart and install” prompt for the Windows 10 update led to a blank screen with a message saying:

C:\WINDOWS\system32\config\systemprofile\Desktop is unavailable. If the location is on this PC, make sure the device or drive is connected or the disc is inserted, and then try again. If the location is on a network, make sure you’re connected to the network or internet, and then try again. If the location still can’t be found, it might have been moved or deleted.

The screen has no icons and a few users were only able to remedy the problem with the help of another PC. The blank desktop issue has reached users across the world but does not appear to have affected a large number of users. If you have already installed the Windows 10 update and had no problems, then you don’t have to worry.

The problem seems to be linked to Avast Antivirus and a specific line of code. Avast released a statement denying any involvement in the issue.
“We have tested this and couldn’t identify any problems affecting Avast Antivirus consumer users specifically. …”We cannot rule out that a small number of Avast users may be having difficulties updating, too, but we don’t see any indications that this is caused by Avast.”

This month, Microsoft Surface users said they had issues with the device following the Windows 10 update. The all-in-one desktop Surface Studio and 2017 Surface Pro models repeatedly froze and disconnected from keyboards and mouses after the update.

•If you have Avast Antivirus, it may be prudent to delete it before installing the new Windows 10 update, as many users have reported losing access to all of their files after the installation.
•If you have been affected by the issue, computer repair shops have released lists of steps you can take to restore your desktop and get your files back.

Ax 2009 mainstream support extended to Oct 2018. Ask Synergy Software Systems about your options.

May 28th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

The original mainstream support deadline was April 10, 2018 for those who are still using Dynamics AX 2009. Microsoft has extended mainstream support for this version of Dynamics AX to October 9, 2018 when mainstream support for AX 2009, AX 2012, and AX 2012 R2 will all end.

So for the next five months, Microsoft will still release bug fixes and patches, third party applications will remain compatible, and Microsoft will still provide tech support. In addition, AX 2009 and Ax 2012 RTM and R2 users now have more time to plan their next steps for their ERP software.

If you plan to stay with Dynamics then ask how we can help you to upgrade your business from AX to Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Enterprise.
If you can’t move this year then consider a health check to reduce risk and improve performance, and to advise what you need tp consider with regard to upgrade.

Contact Synergy Software Systems, the Dubai based Dynamics partner, today to discuss your Dynamics AX options. You have a little more time but the planning needs to start now. 0097143365589

Optimisation Advisor – boost your Dynamics 365 Finance and Operartions Enterprise performance

May 13th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

The Optimization advisor workspace is a tool that assists power users, business analysts, functional consultants, and IT support functions to identify issues in Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Enterprise that are related to module configuration and business data. The Optimization advisor suggests best practices for module configuration and identifies business data that is obsolete or incorrect.

If master data isn’t correct (for example, or if you have unit of measure conversions for units that haven’t been defined, or if you have unit of measure conversions that have a division by 0 [zero]), then an optimization opportunity is generated to suggest that you correct the data.

If you have too many batch job history entries, or obsolete items, or closed on-hand entries for warehouse enabled items, and so on, or if those entries and items are too old, then optimization opportunities are generated to suggest that you clean up the data to help improve overall system performance.

The Optimisation advisor works by periodically running a set of best practice rules, using telemetry to analyse business processes, and finding optimisation opportunities. Optimisation opportunities can be company-specific or cross-company, and new rules can be coded to apply per legal entity or to the whole system.

Yet another great feature with Dynamics 365 for more information contact your Dubai partner, Synergy Software Systems 00971 4 3365589

Microsoft Build 2018 – AI, IoT and Edge are changing the world

May 9th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Microsoft’s annual developer conference, Build, is happening in Seattle.

Expect the products and services that emerge from the conference to have a major impact on all businesses not just those that use Microsoft products.. Azure and Microsoft 365, the announcements made at Build 2018 seem to point to key themes that will impact the enterprise.

By 2020, the average person will generate 1.5GB of data a day, a smart home 50GB and a smart city, a whopping 250 petabytes of data per day. This data presents an enormous opportunity for developers — while also giving them tremendous responsibility. That’s why this morning at Build, we don’t take our jobs lightly in helping to equip these developers with the tools and guidance to change the world. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella described this new world view, and AI that can power better health care, relieve challenges around basic human needs and create a society that’s more inclusive and accessible.

In the next 10 years, billions of everyday devices will be connected — smart devices that can see, listen, reason, predict and more, without a 24/7 dependence on the cloud. This is the intelligent “Edge”, the interface between the computer and the real world. The Edge combines AI and cloud together to collect and make sense of new information, whether they be on the factory floor or in the operating room or areas to dangerous for humans.

What to expect:

1. AI – all pervasive
Google and facebook are not the only tech firms leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, Microsoft’s declared its mission to “help every developer be an AI developer.” CEO Satya Nadella called it the “era of the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.” Microsoft announced a new architecture for neural networks, new AI SDKs, new cognitive services, and even AI-powered software development.

The firm also unveiled Windows Machine Learning, which it described in a press release as “a new platform that enables developers to easily develop machine learning models in the intelligent cloud and then deploy them offline and in high performance to the PC platform.”

2.Over the Edge
Microsoft has expanded outside of the office. Building on its efforts in AI, Microsoft launched a host of new edge computing capabilities and Internet of Things (IoT) products for developers to build solutions to support new, automated business processes.

At Build, Microsoft:
- open sourced the Azure IoT Edge Runtime for easier debugging,
- enabled its Custom Vision cognitive service to run on the Azure IoT platform,
- worked with DJI to build a drone SDK for Windows 10 PCs,
- highlighted mixed reality, with two new apps for irst workers to interface with customers and triage problems: Microsoft Remote Assist and Microsoft Layout. Microsoft Remote Assist enables remote collaboration via hands-free video calling, letting firstline workers share what they see with any expert on Microsoft Teams, while staying hands on to solve problems and complete tasks together.
In a similar vein, Microsoft Layout lets workers design spaces in context with mixed reality, using 3D models for creating room layouts with holograms.
- With Qualcomm Technologies Inc., announced a joint effort to create a vision AI dev kit running Azure IoT Edge, for camera-based IoT solutions.
Other advancements include a preview of Project Brainwave, an architecture for deep neural net processing, available on Azure and on the edge. Project Brainwave makes Azure the fastest cloud to run real-time AI today.
. Microsoft is integrating Visual Studio App Center with GitHub for iOS and Android developers to support DevOps process automation,
- Microsoft is also embracing blockchain with the Microsoft Azure Blockchain Workbench, to streamline the process for building blockchain applications.
- Project Kinect for Azure — a package of sensors from Microsoft that contains unmatched time-of-flight depth camera, with onboard compute, in a small, power-efficient form factor — designed for AI on the edge. Project Kinect for Azure brings together this leading hardware technology with Azure AI

3. Microsoft 365 is here to stay

Microsoft 365, the company’s enterprise bundle offering of Office 365, Windows 10, and enterprise mobility and security, was also a focus of Build,
“Microsoft 365 is where the world gets its best work done,” said Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Microsoft,. “With 135 million commercial monthly active users of Office 365 and nearly 700 million Windows 10 connected devices, Microsoft 365 helps developers reach people how and where they work.”

The Microsoft 365 offering, is boosted by:
- new support for Power BI Visualizations in Excel,
- Microsoft Teams APIs in the Microsoft Graph,
- Fluent Design System updates, .
- NET Core 3.0, and Azure Machine Learning and JavaScript custom functions for Excel.

Embed Power Apps in Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Workspaces

May 6th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Platform update 14 of D365 for Finance & Operations – the ‘Spring release’ included this great feature to embed Power Apps into your workspaces. The feature is available only in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations version 8.0 and for targeted users who have opted in to the Continuous Auto-update Advantage Program (CAAP) for platform updates

Publish your PowerApp on web.powerapps.com to get an App ID that can be found on the details tab of the PowerApp.
Log into D365, and navigate to the form where you want to embed the PowerApp. Select the button to insert a PowerApp and enter in the App ID. The input data for the PowerApp allows the user to select the field to map to the application from the drop-down list. Click Insert
Use it!

PowerApps are purpose-built apps you can build specifically for your business. You can either save time by using the many predefined templates or build an app from through a simple, drag-and-drop user interface. No coding required!

Design and build a business app from a canvas in Microsoft PowerApps without writing code in a traditional programming language such as C#. Design the app by dragging and dropping elements onto a canvas, just as you would design a slide in PowerPoint. Create Excel-like expressions for specifying logic and working with data. Build apps that integrate business data from a wide variety of Microsoft and third-party sources. Share your app so that users can run it in a browser or on a mobile device, and embed your app so that users can run it in SharePoint, Power BI, or Teams. If you don’t need a custom design and your data is in Common Data Service (CDS) for Apps, you can automatically generate a model-driven app from your business data and processes. This type of app can model forms, views, and other components, and the default UI automatically adjusts to phones, laptops, and other devices.

To capture data in a form, perform or for look-up data records, or scan barcodes, record GPS coordinates, get driving directions, capture a signature or route a document for approval all as part of a workflow, form your mobile devices use Power Apps.

Couple PowerApps with Microsoft Flow, to trigger Dynamics applications ( 200+ solutions are available already to natively connects with Flow )

Use Flow, to create end-to-end business processes that span multiple applications, while sending email notifications or approval requests to all interested internal or external parties .

Employees can access these PowerApps from any mobile device (iOS, Android, other) or fuse a webpage front end (HTML5).

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/unified-operations/fin-and-ops/get-started/embed-power-apps

TSB upgrade – what lessons are there to learn?.

May 5th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

By now most of us have heard about the catastrophic attempt by the Spanish-owned TSB to introduce a new IT platform for their UK customers.
As my first mortgage was with the TSB many years ago, and I was also in the U.K. when the story broke I took a little more interest.

TSB, (Trustee Savings Bank), merged with and was spun out of Lloyds Bank after the EU ruled that it was a monopoly, because of the state aid it had received at the time of the banking crisis. TSB used Lloyds IT at a cost of about £220 million a year, but later moved to the Proteo platform, also used by its new owners, Sabadell. The Proteo system design goes back to 2000 and was specifically for mergers, and was used for successful integration of the four Spanish banks.

Proteo is based on Accenture’s Cobol-based Alnova system, and is customized, installed and managed by TSBs staff and runs on Amazon Cloud.

At the launch of Proteo4UK, Paul Pester, CEO of TSB, boasted that they had “created a more digital, agile and flexible TSB”. Carlos Abarca, the CIO, agreed, “It’s the technology journey that we are on together with our customers!” Similar ‘digital transformation’ good news messages from cloud providers are all too familiar.

This was to be “customer-centric by design” platform to “enable the open banking revolution”.

Well there was a revolution alright – from the locking nearly two million banking customers out of their accounts for up to ten days.

This was over a month-end, when businesses rely more heavily on access to their accounts.

TSB turned to IBM, to help get the system under control and “to help identify and resolve performance issues in the platform”. This included customers : experiencing zero balances, incorrect currencies, massively inflated mortgage amounts, and e-mails saying that there are no records of recent direct debits. IBank customers puzzled over on-screen messages, such as: ‘BeanCreationNotAllowedException exception: Error creating bean with name ‘contextManagerPostController’: Singleton bean creation not allowed while the singletons of this factory are in destruction (Do not request a bean from a BeanFactory in a destroy method implementation!)’

Customers who tried to make transfers got errors like: ‘ArrayIndexOutofBounds’ and java.lang.NullPointer and some Branches reported the systems spewing out error messages in Spanish. When I travelled back form U.K. early May, problems with internet banking wee still being reported by customers.

Instead of saving TSB over £100 million a year, this has greatly reduced public confidence in the bank but also in other banks and other financial services on the cloud generally. TSB are likely to be fined by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which is the last thing they need to get things sorted – the loss in reputation alone is huge.

Supporters of Peter Pester believe he is being scapegoated for tech disaster:
• Allies said he has been ‘betrayed’ by a ‘bunch of Spanish numpties’
• Software that caused the problems was installed by Sabadell’s technology offshoot, Sabis
• Regulators could put TSB under a Section 166 probe – a formal investigation by an independent expert

What are the lessons?
Well, the first is not to claim success until the job is done. ( A damning report on the Guardian website suggests there were plenty of warning signs, up to a year before this all happened. Quoting an anonymous insider, the report explains how a mixture of poor technical and business decisions led to the eventual crises TSB finds itself in today.)

Which leads to the second lesson- bearers of bad news may have appoint to consider and is a hint at least the challenge needs more attention.

It seems Sabadell, the company that bought TSB, was warned about the high risk of its migration plans, which were seen by some as having too short a deadline and not big enough a budget. But Sabadell was not to be discouraged, and it pressed ahead with its plans, confident that it could successfully transfer TSB customers to its own Proteo software, as it had done with other customers in the past.

If you are doing some thing big and complicated consider the worst case and what that means for: insurance, contingency plans, contractual and legal protection, (so far none of the original contractors on the TSB redesign and upgrade have acknowledged any culpability) and PR mitigation:

PR week called it the flop of the month …….. and recipe for reputational disaster. Pester is well respected in the industry, but took too long to accept responsibility, was too quick to assume the problem was over, and too slow to appease customers. Easy to say from an armchair in Dubai but why do corporate leaders fail to heed the lessons of the past and to recognise the potential for disaster and that that when disaster arrives the only way to avoid reputational damage is to offer maximum compensation and care and to call in reinforcements asap.
Sabis is understood to have given TSB a written assurance that the parts of the system for which they were responsible had been comprehensively tested- maybe TSB needed to be more involved in those tests.

Microsoft to retire ACS today for Ax 2012 – last chance to ask to be whitelisted

May 1st, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Microsoft announcement: “Microsoft does have a future roadmap that will migrate ACS to SAS. Application updates will be released before the support of ACS is depreciated. Until then, Azure support will continue to support new AX 2012 customers with their whitelisting process. The whitelisting process will end May 1st, 2018
Microsoft is retiring Access Control Services used in AX 2012 to configure the Azure Service bus, AD Federation Services and enable Workflow approval by email feature.

Until 7 November2018, all other ACS functionality will continue to work. This includes:
- the ACS secure token service,
- the ACS management service,
- the ACS token transformation engine.

After 7 November 2018 , all ACS service and functionality will be shut down. So by this date ensure that all traffic is migrated off Access Control Service to other technology.”

What you need to do now:

If you use this functionality you need to be whitelisted by May 1, 2018 i.e. today – and to plan on getting migrated to SAS by November 7th, 2018.

A typical use case involving ACS is ‘Workflow Approval by Email’.
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/develop/active-directory-acs-migration https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/time-to-migrate-off-access-control-service/

If you miss the deadline, services that will be dysfunctional are:
1.Workflow approval via email
2.Expense App

Raise a support ticket to alert Microsoft:

Hello there,

We have an Azure service bus with type “ACS Namespace” and it is the only way the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Workflow via Email functionality work.

Create a Support ticket on these lines:

” Microsoft has a future roadmap; that will migrate ACS to SAS but for now, we do not have another option to make the SAS Service bus work. Please whitelist my subscription, so it doesn’t get decommissioned after May 1st, 2018.

Subscription Id:

How good is your password? Can it withstand an attack every 39 seconds?

April 27th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

A Clark School study at the University of Maryland found a near-constant rate of hacker attacks of computers with Internet access—every 39 seconds on average—and non-secure usernames and passwords give attackers more chance of success.

“Brute force” hackers, use simple software-aided techniques to randomly attack large numbers of computers.The vast majority of attacks came from relatively unsophisticated hackers using “dictionary scripts,” a type of software that runs through lists of common usernames and passwords attempting to break into a computer.

Top usernames in the hackers’ scripts were “test,” “guest,” “info,” “adm,” “mysql,” “user,” “administrator” and “oracle’ so avoid use of these. The most common password-guessing ploy is to re-enter or to try variations of the username. Some 43 percent of all password-guessing attempts simply reentered the username. The username followed by “123″ was the second most-tried choice.

A password should never be identical or even related to its associated username.

The hackers’ most common sequence of actions is to check the accessed computer’s software configuration, change the password, check the hardware and/or software configuration again, download a file, install the downloaded program, and then run it.

http://www.eng.umd.edu/html/news/news_story.php?id=1881

Total meltdown – patch now and revisit patches mnay are bugged

April 27th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

A person known as XPN, whose blog lists identifies as a hacker and infosec researcher, posted details of a working exploit that takes advantage of Total Meltdown on Monday. The source code for Total Meltdown, a vulnerability created when Microsoft tried to patch the initial Meltdown flaw, is available on GitHub.

XPN describes Total Meltdown as a “pretty awesome” vulnerability in that it allows “any process to access and modify page table entries.”

XPN also noted that the goal was to create an exploit that could “elevate privileges during an assessment,” but it was only to help other people understand the exploitation technique, not to create a read-to-use attack.

Total Meltdown was originally created from a botched patch Microsoft issued for the original Meltdown flaw–of the Spectre/Meltdown vulnerabilities reported earlier.

Whereas the original Meltdown flaw was read-only, Total Meltdown also provides write access. This only affects 64-bit versions of Win7 and Server 2008 R2.

See the Woody on Windows column in Computerworld, https://www.computerworld.com/article/3269003/microsoft-windows/heads-up-total-meltdown-exploit-code-now-available-on-github.
There have been a series of flawed patches and its not pretty reading so take tiem to check out the article in full.

To tell if you’re protected from Total Meltdown, you’ll have to check your patch history. If you have no patches from 2018, you should be good, according to Woody on Windows. If you do have patches, KB 4100480, 4093108, or 4093118 installed, you should also be protected. Without those, Woody on Windows noted, you’ll need to rollback your machine, manually install KB 4093108, or use “Windows Update to install all of the checked April Windows patches.”

However there is lot more cautionary advice to read.

SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 2

April 25th, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 2 is released. This SP2 release includes the hotfixes from all released 2016 cumulative updates: SQL Server 2016 CU1 through SP1 CU8.

SQL Server 2016 Updates
Each update is linked to its Microsoft knowledge base article with the download and the list of hotfixes included. The dates show the end of support date

SP2 2018/04/24 13.0.5026.0 2026/07/14
CU8 2018/03/19 13.0.4474.0 2019/04/24
CU7 2018/01/04 13.0.4466.4 2019/04/24
CU6 2017/11/22 13.0.4457.0 2019/04/24
CU5 2017/09/18 13.0.4451.0 2019/04/24
CU4 (w/MDS bug) 2017/08/08 13.0.4446.0 2019/04/24
CU3 2017/05/15 13.0.4435.0 2019/04/24
CU2 2017/03/20 13.0.4422.0 2019/04/24
CU1 2017/01/18 13.0.4411.0 2019/04/24
SP1 2016/11/16 13.0.4001.0 2019/04/24
CU9 2017/11/22 13.0.2216.0 2018/01/09 – out of support
CU8 2017/09/18 13.0.2213.0 2018/01/09 – out of support
CU7 2017/08/08 13.0.2210.0 2018/01/09 – out of support
CU6 2017/05/15 13.0.2204.0 2018/01/09 – out of support
CU5 2017/03/28 13.0.2197.0 2018/01/09 – out of support
CU4 2017/01/18 13.0.2193.0 2018/01/09 – out of support
CU3 2016/11/17 13.0.2186.6 2018/01/09 – out of support
CU2 (see note 1 and note 2) 2016/09/22 13.0.2164.0 2018/01/09 – out of support
CU1 2016/07/25 13.0.2149.0 2018/01/09 – out of support
None (RTM) 2016/06/01 13.0.1601.5 2018/01/09 – out of support

Note 1: CU2 has a known issue with Filestream not working when SecureBoot is enabled. If you’re on Windows Server 2016 or Windows 10, and using SecureBoot (which is enabled by default with Hyper-V Gen2 VMs), and your database has Filestream, then either need disable SecureBoot, or skip CU2 for now.

Note 2: columnstore index users should consider the on-demand hotfix update 13.0.2170.0, which includes serious performance and reliability fixes.

Warnin read the bottom note about “Uninstalling SQL Server 2016 SP2 (Not recommended): there some new features which once installed may give issues if you then try to uninstall.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=56836

Dynamics 365 Spring release and v9.2

April 23rd, 2018 by Stephen Jones No comments »

We recently posted about Dynamics 365 Spring release and focused on Finance and Operations Enterprise features and enhancements.

Now lets look at the customer engagement apps. We now have the previously mentioned new Unified Interface framework and Customer Service Hub Dynamics 365 for Marketing

D365 for Marketing includes event management, email marketing and lead nurturing capabilities embedded within the Dynamics 365 user interface.

Dynamics 365 for Sales – Professional Licence. In addition to the functionality of the D365 for Sales Enterprise licence, Microsoft will offer a new streamlined licence at a lower price point for sales teams members only need lighter functionality. This new licence type restricts use of custom entities, workflows and forms and excludes some functionality including hierarchies, sales goals, social engagement and mobile offline sync.

Embedded Intelligence. Previously available as a preview feature (formerly called Relationship Insights),
• Relationship assistant helps sales users by letting them know when to: follow up on an email, answer a question, attend a meeting, follow-up with a neglected contact and much more. Alert cards are displayed throughout the application to provide relevant information for the context in which the user is currently working and uses data stored in Dynamics 365 and Exchange inbox and calendar.
• Auto capture with Outlook – analyses emails to find messages relevant to specific accounts and then tracks in Dynamics 365 with just one click
• Email engagement – insights from customer emails so sellers can prioritize the most receptive contacts.

Power BI Insights apps. Microsoft will release a series of embedded Power BI Insight apps tailored to specific business functions beginning with a previous release for Sales Insights. This is expected to include predictive lead scoring and relationship analytics to give a relationship health score calculated from emails and content exchanged, and frequency and level of customer interactions brought together from Dynamics 365, email and social networks.

New App Platform Capabilities

The application platform that sits underneath Dynamics 365 sees a significant change with this release. For Dynamics 365 v9, the legacy XRM framework behind Dynamics is npw merged with an updated version of Microsoft’s Common Data Service (CDS). This uses the same Dynamics code base and with backwards compatibility promised, there will be no obvious change, with existing Dynamics 365 apps continuing to work without any modification.
This means that the same platform that powers Dynamics 365 is also used by PowerApps, Office 365, Power BI and the Common Data Service – now renamed Common Data Service for Apps. CDS for Apps has a boost in functionality through server side logic, improved app building experiences and developer capabilities.

PowerApps. PowerApps together with the platform that powers Dynamics 365 lets you build an app and choose between a Canvas app (using a visual WYSIWYG editor) or a Model-driven app (driven by entities, their relationships & business processes). Both apps can access your data and logic in CDS for Apps.

In addition to server side logic, the latest app building capabilities include:
• Business Process Flows to model process stages and guide users through them
• Sophisticated security model providing row level security and model hierarchies
• Calculated fields that use server side logic to compute values in an entity

These new capabilities enable lightweight mobile apps to be quickly developed for field based staff to collect data and also to create new processes that will natively connect across Dynamics 365 and other Microsoft cloud services. PowerApps P2 now becomes the platform licence for users of stand-alone model driven apps. PowerApps P2 is included with the Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Plan.

Common Data Service for Analytics. Another CDS for Analytics reduces the complexity of analysing data and extracting insights across standalone business apps and other sources. A new capability in Power BI, Common Data Service for Analytics enables organisations to integrate data from multiple sources and will provide teams with increased access to analytics across all the relevant tdata.

GDPR Microsoft states its Spring 18 release features a series of updates across Dynamics 365 products to address the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Visit the Microsoft Trust Center to find tools and auditing reports for managing cloud-data security and compliance within your organisation and to read more about what Microsoft is doing to help its customers comply with this regulation.
Use Microsoft Compliance Manager to get insights into your responsibilities for meeting compliance standards.

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation effective from 18th May 2018 in Europe.
The primary objectives of the GDPR are to give citizens and residents back control of their personal data and to “simplify” the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulation within the EU.
As per the ICO, the UK’s independent body set up to uphold information rights, the GDPR applies to “controllers” and “processors”. The definitions of controllers and processes are broadly the same as those under the Data Protection Act. In short, the controller says how and why personal data is processed and the processor acts on the controller’s behalf.

If you are a processor, then the GDPR places specific legal obligations on you. For example, when you/ your organisation / your solution / your product maintains or stores records of personal data and includes processing activities, you will have significantly more legal liability if you are responsible for a breach. These obligations for processors are a new requirement under the GDPR and were not as such in the Data Protection Act (DPA).

For Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM projects, this is a significant legal obligation. The majority, of Dynamics CRM projects include the storage, maintenance and processing of personal data and will most probably fall under GDPR rules if you have European operations, customers and vendors..

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Integration. Improvements to the integration between Dynamics 365 for Sales and LinkedIn Sales Navigator provides more detail about companies and LinkedIn members synchronised to Dynamics record forms and dashboard including profile pictures.

Web Portal . With the Spring Upgrade, portal search is now extended to knowledge article attachments increasing the likelihood of relevant search results.

Dynamics 365 – 9.0.2 Update. This month icrosoft will begin applying Update 9.0.2 to Dynamics 365 (Online), version 9.0 and higher. This update is focused on reliability and performance improvements as well as some new features. Any updates from version 8.x to version 9.0 are scheduled on or after April 2 will automatically get this update – no change of schedule is needed. For customers already running Dynamics 365 (Online) version 9.0.1 or higher, Microsoft begin deploying this update from April 7 through its normal deployment process. No customer action is needed to deploy this update.

Dynamics 365 Spring 2018 (v9.0.2) licensing guide:

https://mbs.microsoft.com/Files/public/365/Dynamics365LicensingGuide.pdf