We listen because it all begins with questions…

At Silversands we have been able to adapt to the ever changing world of IT infrastructure by staying on top of the latest advances in our areas of expertise, listening to our customer’s needs, applying our knowledge or researching the best way to approach a solution and applying that knowledge to any given project. Here are some of the most regularly asked questions we get asked.

Broken down into topics we hope that we will answer your question. However, if you cannot see your question here, please feel free to send us a new question and we will get one of our sales team or consultants to get an answer for you.

We offer complete Infrastructure, SharePoint and Software Support Services – providing support across a comprehensive range of technologies. Services range from support for your critical server infrastructure up to 24×7 cover, remote monitoring, pro-active health checks, hardware maintenance and so on.

SharePoint Support Services – for simplicity, we separate support for SharePoint into the following areas:
Platform Support – this may encompass support for the Windows operating system and the base out of the box SharePoint server package
Application Support – this is for the systems developed by us that sit on top of the core SharePoint platform.

Managed Services – services are provided for part, or all, of your IT infrastructure where you require them ‘outsourced’. Elements of a Managed Service may include Helpdesk services, desk side support, server support, management of change, service management, Microsoft security patching and so on.

We have a great range of technical skills available to assist and more importantly, a friendly and flexible attitude to delivering our service.

We have a range of both re-active and pro-active services for Azure:

  • Bronze Service includes Azure service health monitoring, Azure planned maintenance and service updates monitoring, IaaS nodes proactively monitored, notification of recommended Microsoft actions, service reporting
  • Silver Service includes all of Bronze, plus support resource for the remediation of IaaS node exception alerts and service management
  • Gold Service includes all of Bronze and Silver, plus management and system administration, advanced service reporting

We have a range of both re-active and pro-active services for O365:

  • Bronze Service includes service health log monitoring, planned maintenance and service updates monitoring, notification of exceptions and recommend actions
  • Silver Service includes all of Bronze, plus support resource for the remediation break / fix service issues
  • Gold Service includes all of Bronze and Silver, plus roadmap guidance, O365 adoption reports and administration of selected serivces

Our highly skilled resources work across a variety of industry sectors, we can provide support re-actively, but to get best benefit, work with us on a pro-active basis to help get the maximum benefit from your investment in IT.

SharePoint is a platform within Office 365 that provides an extensive range of collaborative and creative capabilities enabling organisations to share, manage and access information from almost any device.

SharePoint Server 2016 provides the latest technologies and standards for mobile push and information synchronisation. You can access the information on the go by using your mobile devices.

You will have consistent experience across screens, whether it is by using a browser on the desktop, a mobile device, tablet or slate.

There is a new feature known as App Launcher, which provides a new navigation experience where all your apps are easily available from the top navigation bar. You can quickly launch your application, browse sites and access your personal files.

In SharePoint Server 2016 you can now upload files up to 10GB

SharePoint Online is the Microsoft cloud hosted edition of SharePoint and is provided as part of Office 365.

SharePoint 2016 is the latest version of the on-premises edition of SharePoint.

Yes, this is referred to as a hybrid environment and is a common scenario for organisations with existing SharePoint on-premises environments who are making the transition to SharePoint Online.

There are a number of methods that can be used to migrate content into either SharePoint 2016 or SharePoint Online. The most appropriate approach will be highly dependent on the given scenario (e.g. content source(s), volumes, meta-data mapping, restructuring content etc.).

We can offer both, or a combination of both.  The important thing is that we work in a way that best fits your business.  We often find a combination of onsite and office based working enables a balance to be struck between physical team integration and keeping control on things like travel costs.  We do find regular stand-ups with customers via Skype work very well for development projects. The use of Cloud base technologies including Visual Studio Team Services and Office 365 allows a client to view the development progress. This gives the client the continuous ability to see progress and the state of the project.

Within all the teams within Silversands we instil a culture of continuous technological development.   On a monthly basis we hold an internal knowledge transfer day where individuals present their findings and experiences from recent engagements, industry events and focused R&D to their peers.  Outside of these specific days our teams extensively utilise Yammer to share knowledge, thoughts and views on various technologies or trends.  This practise is a core part of the development team as with all other teams within Silversands.  We are continually researching and investigating the latest tools and techniques and sharing this knowledge throughout the team. It is important to note that when you engage with a Silversands Developer you get the experience of the entire Silversands team. Silversands has experience across multiple Microsoft Products.

Yes, this is an area where customers often ask for our assistance.  These types of engagements are usually very bespoke to the customer’s need.  Typical activities might be: Single whiteboard or “how do I?” workshops, a review of the architecture, even down to detailed analysis of the existing code base. This can lead to formal documentation or recommendations and deskside advice for developers and guidelines on the latest best practices such as Office 365 development.
If you have a specific requirement, please ask if we can help.  It may save your business time and money in the longer term.

We do.  We have our own in house web design team that bring your ideas and concepts to reality, whilst also introducing the latest concepts and thinking from industry.  With any web and / or mobile solution we work with you on the design concepts to ensure the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) meets your requirements and expectations.

At Silversands we purposely try not to specialise in one industry vertical.  We pride ourselves being able to work across many types of industries and sharing knowledge and experiences across the verticals.  However, over the years we have gained deep specialist skills in areas such as Marine -Vessel Vetting and Financial – Staff Loans

We have been developing Software solutions since the early 1990’s.  Over those years we have seen may different languages and tools come and go.  It is important to note that we are still working with customers from those early days!

Yes, what professional Software Development company wouldn’t? As part of our internal development guidelines we require all code to be ‘checked in’ to a source control system at a minimum daily.  This ensures that all code is backed up to a single location.  It also means that developers can share code between them.  We are currently using Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) and Team Foundation Server (TFS) as our tools of choice.  These bring great advantages for not only source control but also controlling and managing development projects.

Across our development team we have a very wide skill set. We do work primarily with Microsoft Technologies and we try and utilise the most modern tools were possible, quite simply because we find them more productive, which in turn saves customers money.

The following are commonly used tools and technologies: C#.NET, VB.NET, ASP.NET, MVC, JasvaScript, HTLM, Angular js, AJAX, JQUERY, JSOM, CSOM, REST, SQL, SQL SSIS, SQL SSRS, Xamarin, Powershell, SharePoint, Office 365, Azure and the list goes on.  If you have a specific language or technology you want us to use, then please just ask if we have the skills. We usually do!

As we have been providing a development service for many years we still have solutions based on legacy languages, tools and designs that we continue to support.  We are still managing classic solutions consisting of a client frontend in VB, a middle COM layer and a SQL backend database.  We are also often asked by customers to support their own solutions where perhaps the legacy skills are no longer in their business

No.  We maintain our own in development team that is based primarily in our Poole office.  This ensures that we can vouch for the quality of the products being delivered.

‘The cloud’ is a general term, which covers any number of services that are typically delivered over the Internet. Cloud services include Microsoft Azure, Intune and Office 365, Hotmail, Google Mail, Amazon Web Services and many more.

A cloud solution and an equivalent on-premises solution may provide similar functionality but the on-premises solution will require hardware, operating systems, management, backup and other tasks whilst the cloud solution requires none of this.

Office 365 is a suite of cloud-based productivity applications that includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Skype for Business Online and other supporting solutions.  It is delivered from multiple Microsoft data centres across the world, including the UK.  More information is available here
At a basic level, Office 365 requires an Internet connection, Office 2013 or 2016 and Internet Explorer 11/Edge or Chrome/Safari/Firefox.  More information is available here.

Yes, internet access is a pre-requisite.

Currently, an Office 365 tenancy can only reside in one location.  However, users in other parts of the world  may make use of the global Microsoft network for better performance, depending on the application they are using.

If you have migrated into Office 365 and later decide that you wish to move to another platform then you are free to do so.  Of course, there will be a migration process to go through to extract the data, etc.

Office 365 is available in a number of subscription plans, which provide varying levels of functionality.  Different plans are available for small business, enterprise and academic.  More information is available here

A Microsoft account allows Microsoft to authenticate users, which is a requirement to be able to use Office 365

Office 365 is the suite of products including Exchange and SharePoint, Office is the desktop product that provides Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.  Office is actually required to make best use of Office 365.
Some plans include a version of desktop Office called Office ProPlus

Office 365 ProPlus, the version of Office bought with some Office 365 plans, allows installation on up to 5 devices.  Office Professional Plus, the traditional desktop product, only allows one installation.

Yes, in most cases it is possible to switch from one plan to another.

Yes, there are some options to mix different plans.  This might, for example, support a mix of low-use consumers and high use creator-type employees.

Silversands can provide a trial key and evaluation advice on request.

The security of Office 365 is a very important element of the service.  The Microsoft data centres are ISO27001 and 27018 certified and the services themselves are protected by various security features including data encryption.  Microsoft has created a site specifically to cover virtually any security-related questions or concerns. Click here for details.

All data stored in Office 365 remains your property.  Microsoft engineers do not have standing access to customer data.

An Exchange Online mailbox is a maximum of 50Gb

The location of email and documents in Office 365 is based on the region that you select when the tenancy is created.   For European customers, data may be stored in Ireland, Netherlands, Austria and Finland.  For customers using the new UK region, the data will be stored in London and Durham. Click her for details. You will need to sign in

Yes, you can create what is known as a hybrid configuration, which allows users to be split across the two platforms.  Full mail flow will be as expected but mailbox delegation, sharing and calendar access will not be fully available.

Migrating a user from on-premises Exchange to Exchange Online can be achieved in a number of ways.  The typical method used for organisations is known as a hybrid migration and is virtually transparent to users, requiring only a restart of Outlook (and possibly a re-profiling of their mobile device)

It is possible for users to manage their distribution lists but, typically, this requires that they are re-created in Office 365.

Skype for Business is primarily a communication and collaboration tool.  It allows users to communicate and work with one another using a number of different methods including instant messaging (real time type and response), desktop audio/video and audio/video conferencing with multiple parties.  Skype also provides presence information to show whether a user is available, busy or away, and full telephony capabilities.

Skype is the public instant messaging/audio service and provides similar functionality to Skype for Business.  The latter provides standardisation of corporate naming, policies and greater levels of functionality.

Skype for Business allows you to connect to anyone in an external organisation if that organisation has Skype for Business Online, on-premises, Lync or public Skype.  This can be controlled through policy, if required.

Apart from communications, it is also possible to share your desktop, to present a PowerPoint deck, to show a whiteboard and to conduct instant polls.

Office 2016, the latest version runs on any PC running Windows 7 or later.  Office 2016 for Mac runs on OSX 10.10 or later

Yes, Office is available for Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices.

Document fidelity is maintained as far as possible across all platforms (desktop, browser, mobile) but very complex documents may not render the same as on desktop Office.

If you need to share documents with users of Office 2003 or earlier then you can save in a legacy format.

Office 365 ProPlus, the version of Office bought with some Office 365 plans, allows installation on up to 5 devices.  Office Professional Plus, the traditional desktop product, only allows one installation.

Office 365 comes with a built-in support service that can be accessed through the portal.  This can be supplemented with a Silversands support service, if desired.

Silversands has been working with Office 365 since its original incarnation (called BPOS) and has implemented and migrated for many organisations, large and small, across Exchange, SharePoint and Skype.

Silversands can provide end-to-end consultancy for design, implementation, configuration, migration and support.  Having been around for 30 years, we have a deep level of experience of the on-premises versions of Exchange, Skype and SharePoint, which enables us to fully understand all aspects of an Office 365 migration.

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