The editors of Redmond magazine are proud to recognize the winners of the 2023 Product of the Year awards, which spotlight solutions that help IT professionals manage, monitor, optimize and secure their companies’ Microsoft environments through their unique innovations and expertise. Below is this year’s full list of winners.
Winners at a Glance
ACTIVE DIRECTORY BACKUP & RECOVERY
Keepit Backup and Recovery for Azure AD
Keepit breaks through the cybersecurity industry with its cloud protection for Azure AD, which helps businesses back up and recover critical identity and application objects in the cloud that are not protected by Microsoft or hybrid Active Directory backup.
Keepit has introduced the most extensive coverage of Azure AD cloud objects on the market that allow companies to back up and recover objects like: Users, Groups, Roles, Administration Units, App Registrations, Enterprise apps, Conditional Access Policies, Intune Device Compliance and Configuration Policies, BitLocker Recovery Keys, Audit Logs and Sign-In Logs.
Although a solid on-premises AD backup and recovery plan is still necessary, it is no longer sufficient as the only recovery plan. With the move to the cloud, organizations have increased the use of cloud-only objects like conditional access policies, Intune device policies, and BitLocker.
AZURE MANAGEMENT & MONITORING
eG Enterprise for Azure Virtual Desktop Monitoring
Over the last few years, hybrid workstyles have become common and virtual desktop technology is being widely used to deliver secure, remote access to corporate applications and desktops for employees. Virtual desktop delivery from the cloud has been gaining adoption and Azure virtual desktop (AVD) technology is fast emerging as a preferred method of delivering virtual desktops from the cloud, using multi-session capabilities of Windows 10/11, a capability that is only available on Azure. When organizations look at deploying AVD, the initial focus is on the architecture, sizing, and delivery of the service. But the important day-2 challenge is monitoring and reporting on AVD usage. Once users access the service, they expect virtual desktops in the cloud to be as performing and reliable as their physical desktops. So organizations deploying AVD need ways to proactively monitor the performance of the service and should there be a problem, they need ways to quickly troubleshoot and determine where the root-cause of a problem lies.
HYBRID CLOUD MANAGEMENT
Huge volumes of data are hard to access, understand, and analyze when spread across dozens to hundreds of applications and systems throughout the organization – especially when your data ecosystem resides both on-premises and in the cloud.
One challenge organizations often face is traversing on-premises firewalls to connect to data in the cloud. As firewalls block inbound requests, most cloud-based integration solutions are simply unable to cross the firewall and move data between cloud and on-premises systems.
While some pure-cloud ETL providers suggest that customers should open ports on their corporate firewall to internal systems, or setup complex tunneling, these solutions are bulky and limited in scope and flexibility. Other providers suggest the installation of internal agents for on-premises access, but ultimately whenever you expose the ability for external requests to internal resources, you expose a new security vulnerability in the process.
IDENTITY AND ACCESS MANAGEMENT
IS Decisions UserLock
UserLock provides enterprise-caliber access management security for on-premises and hybrid AD environments of any size that want a cost-effective, easy-to-use and scalable solution to protect employee access to the corporate network and cloud applications, no matter where they work.
Easy to Use: UserLock is quick to deploy, intuitive to manage, and scales effortlessly for any number of users, to ease the burden on IT.
Non-Disruptive: (For IT Teams) UserLock works seamlessly alongside your existing Active Directory infrastructure, reducing complexity and frustration
Easily Adopted: (For Users) UserLock's granular controls allow for customized restrictions that protect access without unnecessarily impeding employees.
Cost Effective: Building on your investment in Active Directory, UserLock offers additional, effective and affordable security that stops threats, before damage is done.
MICROSOFT 365 BACKUP & RECOVERY
Synology Active Backup for M365
Synology Active Backup for Microsoft 365 is a license-free software that is available on Synology NAS devices. It allows users to backup data from OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Teams to a centralized Synology server and enables continuous access to each user's data if data loss events occur.
Active Backup for M365 allows organizations to schedule unlimited backups of their M365 data without incurring any additional costs. The software offers flexible backup options for M365 data, allowing users to create schedules, initiate manual backup tasks, or leverage continuous backups to ensure uninterrupted business operations. In addition, detailed retention settings allow organizations to surpass the limitations of their cloud-native recovery options and configure their policies to meet organizational or regulatory requirements. Active Backup for M365 also allows users to centrally monitor backup tasks, manage storage consumption, and track data transmission history through a single console.
In order to maximize storage efficiency, Active Backup for M365 employs single-instancing and block-level deduplication, storing duplicate files only once. This efficiency measure is critical for cost-effective data management.
MICROSOFT 365 GOVERNANCE, POLICY ENFORCEMENT & E-DISCOVERY
Rencore Governance offers maximum flexibility and efficiency for Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, Azure, Exchange, Viva Engage, and Power Platform governance.
Rencore Governance is a SaaS tool connecting to one or more Microsoft 365 tenants and consolidating meta data from all services into one central inventory.
From there, IT admins can drill down into individual services (eg. number of Teams teams without owners, Flows using premium licences, SharePoint large lists, etc.), dive into the relations between services (eg. Teams and SharePoint Groups) or look up memberships and activities of individual end users (eg. files shared via OneDrive, Power Apps without runs, etc.).
TEAMS INTEGRATION & ENHANCEMENT
Dataminr Pulse helps organizations strengthen business resilience with real-time risk and event discovery and the integrated tools to manage responses—powered by cutting edge predictive and generative AI. Planning for and responding to dynamic and unforeseen risks is radically improved, people are safer and business disruptions are minimized. More at https://www.dataminr.com/pulse
Protect your business and employees with real-time alerting from Dataminr Pulse integrated with Teams. This combined solution enables you to quickly communicate and collaboratively respond to business-impacting events across all of your departments and locations. When facing risk, minutes or hours of advantage can be the difference between an effective response or significant damage to your business. Real-time alerts delivered using Teams' unmatched ability to reach across groups and locations and foster collaboration, save valuable time and help build a more resilient organization.
TEAMS WORKFLOW & COLLABORATION
Frameable Spaces makes video and audio calls with coworkers quick and efficient. Improve the Microsoft Teams in-call experience with advanced features such as multiple screen shares and a live dashboard of ongoing meetings and office activity.
Frameable Spaces is a collaborative solution to boost workforce productivity by enabling real-time collaboration with five simple features: MultiShare, Meetings, Rooms, People and Insights.
MultiShare enables multiple users to share their screen simultaneously during a Microsoft Teams call and provides all users in the call the ability to toggle between any shared screens as they please.
The Meetings tab shows statuses synced from Microsoft Teams and Outlook in real-time, allowing you a view of all office activity.
Rely on persistent project rooms, offices, and war rooms in our Rooms tab to meet and collaborate live, and easily find commonly shared and referenced documents, files, and links in one centralized location.
Have a bird's eye view of everyone's availability by simply scanning the People tab. A quick glance around your team's space will let you see if your colleagues are in a meeting, on a call, focusing or away.
Use the Insights tab to access easily digestible metrics and set up alerts to improve team engagement and productivity. Make informed decisions with actionable data readily available.
WINDOWS ENDPOINT SECURITY & THREAT INTELLIGENCE
CommandCTRL, Liquidware's first SaaS offering, is a real-time remediation solution that includes a DVR-like function that allows desktop support teams to accurately see and solve issues. The solution reduces time to resolution, thus increasing productivity and improving user experience. Extremely cost effective, CommandCTRL requires no additional infrastructure or set up. Admins are up-to-speed with minimal training. Troubleshooting is done in the background, so users are not interrupted with unplanned downtime. You have two different options to try CommandCTRL - you can either get the full version for a 15-day trial or you can get a FREE Community Edition of CommandCTRL, which is perfect for home use.
In the many features of CommandCTRL there are four unique features:
ChatGPT integration for process identification.
DVR-like playback mode lets you see historical events to see what actually occurred.
Switch feature enables you to seamlessly navigate and switch between two separate workspaces.
Protocol mirroring feature displays the protocol to the physical machine endpoint.
CommandCTRL is ideal for monitoring and remediation any Windows desktop, no matter how delivered or where they reside in the world.
WINDOWS SERVER MONITORING
Real-time hybrid monitoring solution with comprehensive log, system health, network & Active Directory monitoring that provides its users with a complete picture of their servers and endpoints.
In addition to its real-time log and security monitoring feature set, EventSentry offers complete monitoring of all relevant system metrics including performance, disk space, software/hardware, services and more.
The included security event log normalization & correlation engine with descriptive email alerts provides additional context and presents cryptic Windows security events in easy to understand reports that offer insight beyond what is available from raw events.
The flexible monitoring architecture supports real time monitoring for all Windows-based end points including laptops without a permanent network connection. Various integrations & multi-tenancy available.