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Small Businesses Aren’t Going To Have It Easy With The Nearing Expiration Of Windows 7

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After January 14, 2020, support for Windows 7 will have ended and Microsoft will be halting the operating system’s free security updates and bug fixes. The updates, however, will be available to those willing to spend for the privilege after expiration. This Windows 7 Extended Security Update (ESU) program will be running through January 2023 after its official launch on December 2 this year.

Back in September 2018, Microsoft announced the availability of the Windows 7 ESU program to its most valuable customers, that being mammoth corporations, government agencies with volume licensing subscriptions, medium-sized businesses, and educational institutions with Windows 10 Enterprise or Education subscriptions. In October 2019, Microsoft then extended this program to all business sizes.

Thing is, small businesses and large organizations with active volume licensing contracts can keep using Windows 7. For the latter, a Multiple Activation Key (MAK) from the Volume Licensing Service Center can be downloaded and registered by installing a few servicing stack updates and using a command-line tool. This should deploy ESU to Windows 7 devices. For the former, however, Windows 7 ESUs have to be purchased via one of Microsoft’s partners in the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, and this is far more difficult than it appears to be.

If you’re like the majority to click on the official Microsoft website’s FAQs about Extended Security Updates for Windows 7, you will be presented with the Q&A below:

Who should I contact for more information about pricing and ordering for Windows 7 ESU?

VL customers: Please contact your Account Team CE for pricing and ordering information that is tailored to specific customer scenarios.

Customers who are interested in purchasing Windows 7 ESU in CSP should reach out to a CSP partner. You can find a qualified partner at this site.

Using the official link from the site, you will be taken to the Microsoft Solution Providers database where you will be asked to fill in your U.S. business location, the size of your workforce (one to nine employees), and, well, your “products, services, skills, industries, or organizations”. Indicating “Cloud Solution Provider” will bring you eight recommended consultancies with broad-based skill sets demanding high payouts for medium- and large-scale deployment and development tasks – a sure indication that they largely serve big guys with big bucks.

In Ed Bott’s experience, he chose the maximum of three providers, entered a description of what he needed, and provided his contact information before hitting ‘send’. Within 15 minutes, the response he received wasn’t what he hoped for because the “best match” for his request was apparently “unavailable”, followed by the same status for his “second-best match” 12 hours later.

After asking for help from two companies whom Bott already had an established reseller relationship with, a reply saying, “Unfortunately, you would need to reach out to a reseller to purchase this license. We’re not able to sell to an end user directly,” made it to his inbox hours later.

Bott has worked with Microsoft’s cloud partners in the past to know the process doesn’t follow a simple point-click-pay-activate procedure. First, an Azure Active Directory tenant has to be set up in creating a reseller relationship with a partner to allow their access to your Azure AD portal and have them fill your order.

This scenario can be confirmed by another reseller whom Bott contacted as they replied to his request saying,

“Hello,

We received your message regarding Windows 7.

We are Cloud Solution Provider and only provide licenses for customers who have a commercial account.

If you are interested in becoming a commercial customer of Microsoft please let us know.”

To buy a single, good-for-a-year product key that doesn’t require any deployment or support, this is an overview for small businesses that don’t enjoy a volume licensing contract (even if Microsoft has long ago allowed the purchase of Office 365, Microsoft 365, and other cloud-based services directly from the Office 365 portal).

After the Windows 7 support from Microsoft expires on January 14 next year, a full-screen warning will be delivered to all PCs still running Windows 7. Until then, Microsoft can make it informative for users to access the paid updates by adding an option to pay for the extended security updates to the pop-up notifications it has been sending out for several months now. At least this way, people can have it easy by knowing that the program is a dead-end and Windows 10 is a more secure option.

Ed Bott puts it, “It’s almost like Microsoft wants people to become discouraged and give up.”

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#GirlBoss: How a Successful Entrepreneur Launched a Global Business

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In the entrepreneurial world, men would often dominate the field. With times changing, more and more females are conquering the business world to make a mark and let their voices be heard. One example is Heather Sanders, the CEO of the fashion label, Sorella Boutique.

Her fashion line started with humble beginnings of having only ten products in her line that, with her determination, boomed into a full product line with a shop at Melrose Avenue to boot! Indeed, Sanders is an inspiration to many aspiring female entrepreneurs who want to make it in the cut-throat industry.

When asked what her secret to success is, Sanders mentioned that a big portion of her success is her ability to stay true and authentic. In fact, here are some of Sanders’ words of wisdom to anyone who wants to pursue their dreams of launching a business.

Sanders’ Food for Thought:

  1. “Only compete with yourself.”

In any field, whether it’s dancing, school, or even a yoga session – you should only compete with yourself. Yes, there may be tough competition out there, but you will never go anywhere if you are too busy checking out the competition instead of focusing on yourself and your growth potential.

While it is good to check what are the edge of other companies that you have to watch out for, invest your time, energy, and resources on building the good things of your brand, and you can never go wrong in growing your business.

  1. “Support each other!”

In a heavily male-dominated sector, there are only a few brave females who would even attempt to try it out in business. Instead of being catty and pulling each other down, do what females do best, and that is to support each other. Create a social group and maybe share best practices.

Have a session solely dedicated to talk about everything and anything under the sun EXCEPT work. Get to know each other on a personal level, and it gets easier to have each other’s back.

  1. “Use fear as a motivating factor.”

Being a newbie in any industry can be quite scary. Use this fear as a motivating factor to reach even greater heights! Do not be afraid to ask questions or speak out your ideas in board meetings or conferences. After all, this is your chance to be heard.

Engage in mentoring sessions with other leaders and experts in the field. The main objective is for you to learn as much as you can and apply it to let your business grow.

  1. “Practice determination.”

Some people say that determination comes naturally, but determination requires discipline and lots of it! Choose a goal and make sure that you contribute every single day towards achieving that goal. For example, if you want to promote your brand, there are plenty of ways to do so!

You can host meetings to gather feedback from your colleagues, share best practices with your female group, take online lessons on digital marketing, and up your marketing strategy in your social media accounts. 

  1. “Stay true to yourself.”

Some leaders, once they have achieved their perspective of what success is, often divert from the path they once called their true selves. However, many successful leaders remain true to their authentic and genuine selves. In fact, they thrive because of it!

Hopefully, the tips above can help budding female entrepreneurs to launch their new businesses.

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Aviation Aftermath Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

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The Covid-19 pandemic has changed a lot of what was considered ‘normal’ before. For example, gone are the days when you can have a fun night out with friends while drinking and partying. Another aspect that the pandemic changed is everyone’s ability to travel freely (as long as their passport, budget, and visas will allow).

With everyone expected to stay home, the airline industry strongly felt the pandemic’s effects as the majority of the flights got canceled due to travel restrictions in an attempt to contain the spread of the deadly virus. Because of this, the airline industry has been forced to lay off employees or, worst, declare bankruptcy. 

The Aftermath

Government regulations in countries such as the United States and Europe have reiterated that any canceled travel plans because of the Covid-19 pandemic should be refunded in whole to the ticket holders.

Despite this regulation, many airlines have failed to comply with as they have felt the financial brunt during the pandemic. Some airlines opted to provide travel vouchers (that can be claimed until 2022) instead. Still, government regulations were specific in their guideline to give back the refund.

Statistics show a decline of 10% in early March 2020 as the pandemic started to boom globally. By late March, statistics showed a 40% to 60% decline in the aviation industry, with more flights being canceled and fewer individuals attempting to travel, including the imposition of travel restrictions by multiple countries. By April 2020, there was an 80% decline, with flight movements restricted in all countries.

What’s Next?

Because of the aftermath of the pandemic to the aviation industry, many airlines are cutting off employees, including flight attendants. US airlines have cut down flight attendants ranging from 30% to 60% because of the low demand for flights.

Because of these, flight attendants all over the world became creative in ways to earn more money now that their current jobs are unstable because of the pandemic. For example, Susannah Carr, a flight attendant from United Airlines, mentioned she rejoined AppWag to walk dogs through making extra money now that there is a lull in her flights.

Making Ends Meet

In an interview, she mentioned that her previous paycheck was just enough to cover her monthly rent, a place she co-rents with a fellow flight attendant. Since Carr has previous experience in freelance jobs such as online translations and wedding event planner, she is now busy applying for other freelance types of jobs to make ends meet.

She acknowledges that while it is not the dream job, she hoped for right off college, the sense of urgency to make a living so she can survive the pandemic remains to be a top priority.

On the other hand, another flight attendant, Joan Marie Santos, turned to bake cupcakes and pastries during the flight lull. Her passion truly lies with baking, a hobby she only got to do in-between flights. But with the ongoing pandemic and approximately one flight per month (as opposed to her usual 15 flights per month), she started baking and selling her pastries to nearby communities to make ends meet.

With the uncertainty of the pandemic, people, not just flight attendants, have to be flexible and adaptable to the changing times. 

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Big Businesses – Bigger Global Actions

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The beginning of 2020 also marks the commencement of the Climate Decade, which aims to limit global heating to 1.5°C by 2030. Making bigger, bolder steps in effectuating the Paris Agreement are over 200 multinationals with ambitious initiatives on renewable energy, electric vehicles, and smart efficient energy. In steering their wheels towards becoming environmentally responsive profiles that globally collaborate, innovate, and sustainably lead, 10 of these big businesses share below the critical role they’re playing in this urgent global cause that brings awareness into action.

1. Unilever

CEO Alan Jope declares that Unilever’s collective response comes in the form of a set commitment to 100% renewable sources for grid electricity; a science-based target at 1.5 degrees; and an envisioned carbon-neutral business by 2030.

In light of this, Jope  says, “But governments need to join forces with businesses to increase climate ambition, particularly in the run-up to COP26 in Glasgow and limit warming to below 1.5 degrees.”

2. Dell Technologies

Vice President of Corporate Sustainability David Lear claims that Dell Technologies turns to its #ProgressMadeReal 2030 goals in committing to their deliverance of a “comprehensive science-based climate program, setting emissions goals across facilities, supply chain, and operations and extending to customer’s use of [their] products.” Moreover, Dell is a part of The Climate Group’s RE100 that accelerates commitment to go 100% renewable.

3. ReNew Power

Chair of the India Advisory Group and Chairman and Managing Director Sumant Sinha’s company holds the title as India’s largest clean energy company with over 5 GW of power generated from renewables. Sinha shares ReNew Power’s role as a catalyst in the country’s transition to green energy by means of “targeting a capacity of 20 GW by 2024 to reduce dependence on polluting fossil fuels and make a healthy contribution to the Government’s target of 450 GW from renewables by 2030.”

He added, “We will focus on adopting best practices in energy efficiency, greening our supply chain and supporting the development of cutting edge storage and e-mobility solutions to add more teeth to the fight against climate change. We also look forward to working closely with the Government and civil society to advocate necessary policy reforms for decarbonizing the economy.”

4. Givaudan

CEO Gilles Andrier holds that Givaudan is headed to climate-positive operations before 2050, with an interim measure that rolls a decade earlier; is aligning their science-based targets with the 1.5° Celsius ambition; and has signed the UN pledge. Also, Givaudan’s entire electricity supply is moving towards fully renewable source by 2025 as an active member of RE100.

5. Ingersoll Rand

Chairman and CEO Michael Lamach shares the company’s Gigaton Challenge that, as part of their 2030 sustainability commitments, aims to reduce carbon emissions by one gigaton, solely gobbling 2% of the world’s annual emissions. Operating by this initiative means dramatically rethinking and changing the way the brand heats and cools homes, buildings, and transportation.

6. BT

Head of Environmental Sustainability Gabrielle Giner prides BT in internally harnessing technology that abides by environmentally conscious targets that, too, encourages suppliers and consumers to act accordingly.

“We were among the first companies in the world to set a science-based 1.5-degree target on global warming and [to have] achieved our 2020 goal on carbon emissions reduction four years ahead of schedule. We now aim to reach net zero by 2045 – and to get almost 90% of the way there by 2030.”

7. Landsec

Group Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Director Caroline Hill boasts Landsec’s path towards becoming a net zero business that aligns with the company’s updated science-based 1.5° Celsius target that sees a 70% reduction in its absolute carbon emissions by 2030, future developments included.

8. Mahindra Group

Chairman of Mahindra Group Anand Mahindra describes the detailed directions guiding the organization towards the implementation of The Paris Agreement: Science Based Targets for 2030 and Carbon Neutral by 2040. Mahindra says, “Nations will do a stocktake in 2023. We hope there will be good news. It’s all for one and one for all. Let it be a decade of outperformance on climate action.”

9. UltraTech Cement

Managing Director KK Maheshwari details, “UltraTech is accelerating investments in low carbon products and technologies to develop customized solutions for the Built Environment.” In collaboration with The Climate Group and other like-minded actors in targeting the world’s challenging target of Net Zero by 2050, the company is eyeing technological breakthroughs that would boldly address and reduce emissions.

10. VMware

CEO of VMware Pat Gelsinger prides the company in its recent carbon-neutral distinction after its efficient and intelligent use of infrastructure that has barred the emission of 664 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere since 2003, such amounting to the combined annual power consumption of Germany, Spain, and France.

Gelsinger added, “That’s why we’re proud members of REBA, RE100 and EV100—powering 100 percent of our operations with renewable energy and have committed to support the uptake of EVs by our employees. We’re also working on exponential innovation such as our solar-powered community microgrid and a carbon avoidance meter for our customers.”

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