More Changes

In preparing for this version of my blog, I went back and read the April 2020 version in which I talked about Microsoft introducing or renaming their Microsoft 365 product line. I started off that blog making light of the “Bizzaro World” I lived in at the time. The Covid-19 Pandemic was just in full swing with the 30 days to stop the spread shutdown in full effect. All our lives have been fundamentally changed as we navigate through the daily effects the Pandemic continues to bring, truly a “Bizzaro World”.

Also, in that blog, I discussed how Microsoft is pushing its customers to the cloud by making some features in their cloud version of software not available in the on-premises version of software.

Microsoft states in their Office 2019 for Windows FAQ…

“Office 2019 (for both Windows and Mac) is a one-time purchase and does not receive feature updates after you purchase it. It includes a meaningful subset of features that are found in Microsoft 365, but it’s not part of Microsoft 365. Office 2019 will receive quality and security updates as required.”


Microsoft Open Programs

In September 2020, Microsoft announced they would be ending the Open License program at the end of 2021. For those that might not be familiar with the Open Programs, there are three:

    • Open Value – recommended if you have a small to midsize organization with five or more desktop PCs and want to simplify licensing management, manage software costs, and get better control over your software investments. It also includes Software Assurance (SA), providing valuable benefits such as training, deployment planning, software upgrades, and product support. At the end of the agreement, you could renew your agreement for another 3-year term, purchasing only SA to continue accessing the latest product versions and other benefits. Or you can let the agreement expire and own the rights to the current version at the end of your agreement term, but you will no longer continue receiving SA benefits or upgrade rights.
    • Open Value Subscription – provides the lowest up-front costs. It also includes SA mentioned above. It is a 3-year agreement which takes the purchase and spreads the payments over three annual payments. At the end of the term, you have three options:
      • Renew your agreement for another three-year term and continue enjoying the latest licensed products and other benefits, or
      • Make an optional buyout payment to own the licenses for the current version at the end of your agreement, or
      • Choose to not renew your agreement and forfeit the rights to use the products.
    • Open License – is very much the same as the Open Value, but SA is optional purchase. Open License is commonly used for purchasing as-needed software licenses and online services. If SA was not purchased, the software license is only good for the current version of software. There are no upgrades included without SA.

Open License moving to Cloud Solution Provider (CSP)

“Simplifying the purchase experience for our customers is a core element of making it easier to do business with Microsoft. It requires a change in the way we’ve engaged with you, and in how you buy and manage your software licenses and subscriptions for online services.”

“In September 2020, we announced changes to the Microsoft Open License program with the introduction of perpetual software license purchases through the new commerce experience. If you’re a small or midsized customer, you can now buy software licenses from partners participating in the Cloud Solution Provider program. As a result, we’ll be ending purchases through the Open License program on December 31, 2021. If you have a small or midsize organization with little or no IT resources, Microsoft partners can provide expertise and services and build unique solutions with the latest Microsoft services and offers.”

Previously, Open License purchases were made through CSP Partners, such as Zunesis. The CSP model was designed for the partner to add value to its customers’ cloud experience via support, billing flexibility and advice. The customer effectively has a pay as you go consumption arrangement through the partner, rather than directly with Microsoft.

CSP has numerous benefits to customers.  One is Flexibility. This is where you pay for what you use and have the ability to add/remove licenses on a monthly basis. Other features include Monthly Billing, no upfront costs, benefit from the Partner’s Licensing expertise, and discounts off MSRP to name a few.


Seriously, what does this mean?

It means these as-needed software purchases without SA will be subscription-based purchases through Microsoft’s Cloud.

Does this mean you have to “move” to the cloud?

No, you get all the features you are used to, with the flexibility of the CSP program. The software is downloaded and installed the same way it always was.

In fact, it could be argued that licensing through CSP has better benefits than SA.


Office Productivity Suite

There are several options for purchasing Office via CSP, some include online services, some are software only. Plans start as low as $5 per month. Each one of these plans include always up to date software. When updates are released, the user is prompted to install them. A few examples:

  • Microsoft 365 Business Apps ($8.25/mo) – provides access to the Office Online Applications (through a web browser) and also download and install Office on the user’s PC. Includes 1 TB of storage in OneDrive.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic ($5/mo) – provides access to the Office Online Applications (through a web browser). Includes 1 TB of storage in OneDrive and Exchange Online email with a 50 GB mailbox.
  • Office 365 Apps ($12/mo) – provides access to the Office Online Applications (through a web browser) and also download and install Office on the user’s PC. Includes Teams. Includes 1 TB of storage in OneDrive.

Windows/SQL Server/BizTalk Server/Exchange Server

Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server can be purchase through CSP. These licenses can be used both on-premises and in Azure, saving 40% in Azure using the Hybrid Benefit and save more as there is no need for Client Access Licenses in Azure. Customers are billed monthly for the CSP licenses, even though the server purchases are annual.



Microsoft continues to push customers toward their cloud offerings. There are a lot of combinations when looking at Microsoft Licensing through CSP. A CSP Partner can assist in finding the most cost-effective solution for your organization.








August 11, 2021

DENVER, CO – Zunesis, a leading provider of Information Technology (IT) infrastructure and consulting services announced a merger with Absolute Performance, Inc. (“API”).  Since its founding in 2004, Zunesis has helped large enterprises, mid-market commercial and public sector clients with their IT infrastructure strategy and data center needs.  API is a leading provider of end-to-end IT managed services to enterprise and middle-market clients across the United States.


Steve Shaffer, CEO and founder of Zunesis, said “Absolute Performance has the right vision, strategy and culture to deliver world class IT services throughout the industry. I am thrilled about the partnership with API and look forward to the next chapter of growth for Zunesis.  I believe this combination provides new and exciting opportunities for Zunesis employees.”


Shaffer further explained, “for existing Zunesis customers, nothing changes in terms of support, personnel or current contracts.  The Zunesis name, core competencies and personnel will remain intact.  Zunesis will now be able to offer world-class 24/7 managed services, help desk, and cyber-security services.”


“Zunesis has deep expertise in the IT infrastructure strategy & planning market and a long list of very happy customers, and we are thrilled to bring Zunesis together with API’s leading managed services platform – together, the companies will deliver a best-in-class suite of IT managed service solutions to our combined customer base,” said Scott Shafer, CEO of Absolute Performance.


About Absolute Performance:

Absolute Performance, Inc. (“API”) is a leading provider of IT management services with customers ranging from Fortune 500 to mid-market organizations across a wide range of verticals.  API provides an end-to-end suite of IT services including cybersecurity, 24/7 monitoring and management, IBM infrastructure management and modernization, cloud hosting, and IT outsourcing. API is based in Broomfield, CO.

For additional information on Absolute Performance, see


About Zunesis:

Zunesis’ vision is to make the lives of its customers better by managing their IT strategy and management needs. Zunesis is a prominent IT Solutions provider in enterprise infrastructure, Microsoft Solutions, edge computing, networking and on-premise and cloud solutions. Zunesis services both the public and private sectors customers and provides all services to help assess and improve any technology environment. Zunesis is based in Englewood, CO.

For additional information on Zunesis, see


Assessments – A Necessary Evil

Assessments are a necessary evil for an IT Department. Egos are hurt, exposure of negligence and complacency are all deliverables of a thorough assessment. But we’re going to look at it in a different way.

An IT Department can be considered the Heroes of an organization because they realized an assessment(s) needed to be done. Preventing a catastrophic breakdown or failure of an organization’s infrastructure or by saving an organization millions of dollars, the IT Team can leverage the C-Suite for that pool table in the breakroom without much resistance.


Limited Bandwidth

We all wear many hats in an organization and can be considered the Jacks of all trades and Masters of none. An individual who’s heading up the IT Department may have a Networking core competency but have little or no knowledge of a Storage competency. And, there’s the chance an individual and only that individual makes up the entire IT Department. This can be the case for SMB companies. Enterprises have a few folks, but even their bandwidth is not what it should be.

Gaps in knowledge ranging from Networking, Compute, Storage, etc. can jeopardize an organizations’ infrastructure. This can cause significant trouble with product outputs. However, being proactive instead of being reactive can help minimize the opportunity for failure or loss to occur.


Available Assessments

Assessment is a very broad term. There can be levels and micro-levels of assessments within an IT Infrastructure.

Here’s a very high-level summary of the types of assessments that are available via Zunesis at the click of the ‘SEND’ button on a product / service inquiry form:
1. IT Infrastructure Assessment – Experts will assess the current IT infrastructure and deliver a report detailing observations regarding hardware, software, and the business processes impacted by the organization’s IT environment. Recommendations and potential solutions should also be part of the final deliverable.
2. Data Management Assessment – Data Management Assessment Service can be used to focus separately on Production Data, Archive Data, Backup/Recovery, or it can encompass all three. Part of the perks of having this information would be to document current data management practices as well as short-term and long-term objectives.
3. Recurring Data Center Assessment & Advisory Service – This is a review of the IT Infrastructure Assessment, but it would occur on a quarterly, bi-annually, or yearly cadence. Benefits include lower support and maintenance costs, greater control over the existing environment and other attributes which lead to high performance without breaking the bank.
4. VMware Assessment Services – Deliverables include documentation on current environment, observations about current VMware use and short-term recommendations and areas of opportunity. This information will provide a clearer picture of the environment’s long-term strategy and cost efficiency.
5. Wireless Site Survey – This assessment should be done by all organizations (i.e., Government agencies, Education, office buildings, etc.). A Network Engineer will import floor plans into a tool and draw walls on the map to give them an idea of what their coverage area will look like. Or if already installed, the site survey will validate a recent wireless network installation.
6. Ransomware Recovery Preparedness & Risk Assessment – There’s no need to elaborate on this assessment. To be blunt, if an organization doesn’t feel this is necessary, then they better be prepared to lose all their data and pay a fortune to get it back. And, there’s a chance an organization may never get their lost data back. People will lose jobs over this if this assessment is not done and done soon.
7. Firewall Assessment – This provides the overall utilization of an organization’s current firewall and their adherence to industry’s best standards through a Network Vulnerability Assessment. Recommendations, best practices, snapshot of existing firewall layout, potential of what the layout can be in the long-term are just some of the attributes a company can glean from this assessment.


Potential Problem Analysis

Now that these assessments have been identified and the importance of each, organizations need to think operationally, tactically and strategically about the consequences and costs of not undergoing these assessments. Potential Problem Analysis consists of identifying the problem before it actually occurs. This type of thinking is true in any infrastructure environment and should be implemented immediately. Band Aide’s and Duct Tape can only go so far.

Again, being proactive rather than reactive, an organization can prevent significant down-times, reduce costs by protecting current hardware, avoid ransomware, avoid closure, save jobs and many other elements which will lead to continued operation time and an increased/valid sense of security.






Zunesis, Inc.
12303 Airport Way, Suite 100,
Broomfield, CO 80021
(720) 221-5200

Las Vegas
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Building D Suite 210, Office 260
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