Thursday, December 31, 2015

Join me in the Microsoft IT Journey into the Past 2015...

Today I am writing this final blog post for the year 2015, Few more hours left to step in to the New Year 2016. My advanced New Year Wishes to you all in first place. I started blogging from the year 2013 and crossed 3 successful New years on this blogging journey, Its always good to look back and see how things were, how things are now and what's coming in the mere future and get prepared for a fresh start.


This year 2015 was a great year for me, starting from the day one, I was recognized by Microsoft for my Community contributions and honored with the prestigious Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award for my expertise Office 365 and now a Microsoft MVP for Office Servers and Services after the new Award restructuring, which further expanded my expertise including my Technical Interests. I felt blissful to get listed among one of the Top Technical Experts in the Global Community. Being a Microsoft MVP is not just an honor its a boon for me to do more to the community and help others to know more about current Technology happenings in the world of Microsoft and beyond in a more sophisticated way in this agile World, where you can see changes occur by every second at a rapid rate.

This year is quite special for Microsoft, where we had more innovations and announcements than ever before inline with their Mobile First, Cloud First Strategy.

Microsoft Ignite, Convergence, Build, WPC, Azure Conference, Global Azure Bootcamp, Cloud Roadshows, Connect() and various other Conferences and events were filled in this year.

Lets get ready to explore some of the key happenings in the world of Microsoft this year 2015, I am making this post bit simple for readers by curating some key blog posts that includes significant announcements from Microsoft and few other vital resources from my collection this year in a single window for your ease of review. I would still recommend readers to go through all the posts in my blog and other essential blogs available in the global community.


December:

Office 365 E5 is All Set to Go Live!!!

Office 365 Protection Center Coming Soon...

Office 365 Planner Preview

Office 365 Tenant Lifecycle

New Microsoft Beta Exams are here!!!

Deadline is Near for your IE Upgrade - Office 365

November:

Microsoft PowerApps

Troubleshooting Azure AD Application Proxy Guide now Available!!!

Top 5 Announcements for Office 365 !!!

Raise your Voice in Office 365 UserVoice !!!

Get ready to Manage and Administer Office 365 better

Vision eBook - Protecting and Empowering Your Connected Organization

October:

Let's Learn Azure Multi-Factor Authentication today!!!

Office Blog: The Evolution of Microsoft FastTrack - The Customer Success Service

Exchange Server 2016 now Available!!!

Azure Active Directory PowerShell with Modern Authentication

Azure AD Domain Services is now in Public Preview

Active Directory from on-premises to the cloud – Azure AD whitepapers now Available!!!

Microsoft Ignite 2016 moves to Atlanta!!!

September:

ExpressRoute for Office 365 goes GA!!!

Office 2016 is now here!!!

Microsoft Cloud Roadshow is on the way!!!

Microsoft Office 365 Hybrid Configuration Wizard is here!!!

Time to Manage your Unmanaged Mailboxes!!!

Azure AD B2C and B2B are now in Public Preview

Introducing the new Office 365 Admin Center Preview

August:

New Home for Office Hybrid!!!

SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview and Cloud Hybrid search Now Available

Managing Changes in the world of Office 365 !!!

Microsoft Identity Manager 2016 Reaches GA!!!

Outlook on the web is now here!!!

Windows 10 and MDM

July:

Preview of New Skype for Business Services in Office 365

Windows 10 Launched!!!

Troubleshoot Password Synchronization when using an Azure AD sync Appliance

New Home of PowerShell !!!

Office 365 Activity Report is on the way !!!

June:


May:

Azure AD and Microsoft Identity Manager Reporting Now available!!!

Skype for Business Server 2015 Step by Step for Anyone E-Book now Available

Microsoft Ignite 2015 Sessions on Demand!!!

Skype for Business Server goes GA !!!

Exchange Server 2016 Architecture is Here!!!

April:

Global Azure Bootcamp 2015 !!!

Get ready for Exchange Server and SharePoint Server 2016 !!!

Skype for Business 2015 Protocol Workloads Poster

Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection is on the way !!!

Office 365 Compliance Center Overview

March:


Office 365 for IT Pros Session !!!

Get ready to Experience Office Delve, Office 2016 & Skype for Business

Microsoft Convergence 2015 is On!!!

Lync Online is becoming Skype for Business!!!

Hybrid deployments with Exchange 2013 and Exchange 2010

Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) hits Open License and Reseller Community!

Built-in MDM for Office 365 Reaches GA !!!

February:

New Identity and Access Management features added to Office 365!!!

Exchange Hybrid: Automated Hybrid Troubleshooting Experience

Get to know the Evolution of SharePoint

Office 2016 Consumer Technical Preview now available !!!

Alternative Microsoft Training Options !!!

January:


What's New in Windows Server Technical Preview !!!

ADFS & Dirsync Server and Service Availability Check Script !!!

Know Azure AD better today !!!

DAG Witness Server on Microsoft Azure !!!

Office 365 - Microsoft Peering Agreements!!!

Add-on bytes:

Below are few of the essential resources from Microsoft for your reference, get ready to stay updated.


*Here comes 2015 Roundup from Office 365 Network made with Sway.

Access here: 2015 Network Roundup

Hope my blog is quite informative for you all and I am excited to welcome this New Year to take-up new challenges and gain more experience that I can share with you all as always.

Clock is ticking... Bidding Adieu 2015...Wish you all "Happy New Year 2016" in advance once again, meet you next year. 


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Microsoft Virutal Academy: Office 365 for IT Pros Courses

Office 365 learning gets advanced everyday as and when a new feature gets introduced in to the Service. Office 365 learning resources available from Microsoft Virtual Academy is not just limited to migration and best practices, its beyond the traditional learning and introduces you to the latest innovations from Microsoft.


If you are an Office 365 Administrator, or an IT Pro working on Office 365, then these video courses are essential for you to stay updated with latest innovation and to learn more about Office 365.

Access the Courses here: Office 365 for IT Pros Courses

Enable RSS feeds to stay updated with new courses.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Office 365 - Myths About Moving to the Cloud

I recently came across this new e-book from Microsoft, solving common myths that revolves around Office 365 adoption and moving workloads to the cloud.



Register and Access the e-Book here: Myths About Moving to the Cloud


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Office 365 Tenant Lifecycle

Customers migrating to Office 365 often asks this question,what happens to my data after my organization’s Office 365 subscription ends? Many answers revolves around this topic and to answer this essential question Microsoft team published a recent EHLO Blog post and explains Office 365 Tenant Lifecycle.



Be sure to read this blog post and the referenced Office 365 Subscription Lifecycle documentation.


New Microsoft Beta Exams are here!!!

Microsoft team has announced the availability of new Beta Exams, these exams are free for a limited period of time using the beta codes provided and only limited seats are available for free. If your interested register soon. Also beta codes are not applicable for countries like Turkey, Pakistan, India, China, Vietnam. If you belong to one of these countries you can still write this exam at the regular price and no second shot is applicable on beta exams as with other generally available exams.



Below are the Exams announced recently via Microsoft Born To Learn Blog,

Now Open: Beta Exam 475 Design & Implement Big Data Analytics Solutions

Now Available: Beta Exam 473 Design and Implement Cloud Data Platform Solutions

Skype for Business 2015 Beta Exams 333 and 334 Now Available

Now in Beta: Exam 70-398 Planning for and Managing Devices in the Enterprise

Beta Exam 345: Designing and Deploying Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 NOW AVAILABLE

Since these exams are in beta as stated there is no Instructor led training or practice tests available, you can refer the Skills Measured section for each exam and take pointers from there and prepare for the Exam with the available resources from Microsoft like, TechNet, Microsoft Virtual Academy, Microsoft Azure Blog, Microsoft Servers and Tools Blogs and few other Technical blogs available in general from the community.

Update:

Before you start registering for the exams, read the below Guidance post from Microsoft team.

Just How Does One Prepare for Beta Exams without Preparation Materials?!?

Also, keep in mind that this exam is in beta, which means that you will not be scored immediately. You will receive your final score and passing status once the exam is live.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Deadline is Near for your IE Upgrade - Office 365

I wrote a blog post last year February referencing MVP Tony Redmond's blog post on End of Life for IE8 browser and suggested to upgrade to IE11.  Also I had updated that article referencing Redmond magazine blog post which points to IE Team Blog post "Stay up-to-date with Internet Explorer" explaining the support policy for IE browsers.



As stated in the IE Team blog post, "After January 12, 2016, only the most recent version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates" Upgrading to IE 11 now becomes mandatory as we are near to the deadline and Microsoft team recently published a knowledge base article on the new "End of Life" upgrade notification feature that will be delivered in the January 12, 2016, cumulative security update.

Review the Support article here: The new "End of Life" upgrade notification for Internet Explorer

As stated in the article if you have not yet upgraded to IE11, you can disable the notifications temporarily and plan for a upgrade soon.

Office 365 System requirements page is updated to reflect the same,

"Beginning January 12, 2016, we are implementing changes across Office 365 workloads, which will result in a significantly diminished experience for Office 365 users on Internet Explorer 8 and Internet Explorer 9.” 




Review the Office 365 system requirements page here for more details: https://products.office.com/en-US/office-system-requirements/#Browsers

Microsoft recommends the usage of current or immediately previous version of Internet Explorer; the current version of Microsoft Edge, Safari, Chrome, or Firefox as supported web clients and if the browser clients are legacy there will see diminished performance.

If your Organization is still using Legacy IE browsers, you can obtain the browser usage report from Office 365 portal as a start, Generate the complete report to identify full set of users by connecting to Office 365 service using remote PowerShell as explained in the below article.

View browser or operating system usage reports for Office 365

Refer related blog post on this Topic from MVP Tony Redmond here: IE9 to deliver "diminished experience" for Office 365 users from January 12

Start your upgrade soon... "Time and Tide wait for none"...


Azure AD Mailbag Series!!!

Azure AD is expanding rapidly with new innovations on the fly, Bringing everything under one roof is always challenging and to make things ease Azure AD team has started a new series of posts called "The Azure AD Mailbag". This Series will provide answers for questions that are regularly received from customers on Azure AD by members of Microsoft Customer Success team.


Be sure to read the currently available posts on this series from AD Team blog.

New Series: The Azure AD Mailbag

AzureAD Mailbag: Self-Service Password Reset

Azure AD Mailbag: Syncing with Azure AD Connect

Subscribe and stay tuned for future posts with lot of interesting discussions.

Office 365 Protection Center is now Office 365 Security & Compliance Center - Updated !

Microsoft is renaming Office 365 Compliance Center to Office 365 Protection Center, with the recent launch of new security features in Office 365, such as Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and Mobile Device Management (MDM).


Office 365 Protection Center includes all the same great features available in the Compliance Center with a new enhanced experience. Also we will start seeing the Office 365 security features, such as ATP, DLP and MDM, in the Protection Center during the first half of 2016.

More information is available in the Official blog post below

Managing your security and compliance needs with the new Office 365 Protection Center

Review the new protection center preview here: https://protection.office.com

Don't forget to share your feedback.

Update:

Office 365 Protection Center is now the new Office 365 Security and Compliance Center.

Office 365 Security & Compliance Center is your one-stop portal for protecting your data in Office 365. Use the Office 365 Security & Compliance Center to manage compliance for all of your organization’s data across Office 365. You can manage eDiscovery searches and holds, manage access for mobiles devices, and more.

Access the Support Article here : Overview of the Office 365 Security & Compliance Center

Update:

Latest updates in 2016 : April Office 365 security and compliance update


Join  for a security and compliance YamJam on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 9–10 a.m. PT / 4–5 p.m. GT in the Security and Compliance YamJam group on the Office 365 Network.

Update:

New enhancements to stay updated...

Unifying Data Loss Prevention in Office 365


Stay tuned for more updates...

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Office 365 Planner Preview

Project Management plays a key role in every Organization, and now its time for us to utilize a simple but effective project management tool called "Planner" with Office 365. Office 365 Planner is available in public preview for First release customers and you can start using planner and share your feedback and suggestions through Uservoice.


Review Official Announcements here:Admins—get ready for Office 365 Planner preview!

Once you have Planner available for your tenant, you can start using it effectively by following the below support article as a start.

Get started quickly with Office 365 Planner Preview

Update: 

Planner Preview gets expanded.

Review here : Planner preview expanded to include more plans and additional First Release types

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Quarterly Exchange Updates - December 2015

Its now time for December 2015 Quarterly updates for Exchange Server 2013, Exchange Server 2010 SP3 and Exchange Server 2007 SP3.



Download:

Cumulative Update 11 for Exchange Server 2013 (KB3099522)

Update Rollup 12 For Exchange 2010 SP3 (KB3096066)

Update Rollup 18 for Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 3 (KB3078672)

Review the Official EHLO Blog post for more information:

Released: December 2015 Quarterly Exchange Updates

Also a new change in Exchange Management Shell connectivity is introduced with the new updates for Exchange Server 2010 and 2013, below blog posts explains in detail

Exchange Management Shell and Mailbox Anchoring

Be sure to test the updates in your lab environment and plan for production, Customers using Hybrid deployment and Exchange Online Archiving are required to deploy the most current or the prior Cumulative/Update Rollup release. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Skype for Business 2015 Planning Tool now Available

Microsoft team published planning Tools for Lync 2010/2013 deployments and also we do have few other designer tools available from experts in the community, you can access my earlier blog post on this topic here. Its now time for the Skype for Business 2015,  This new Planning Tool provides prescriptive guidance to get you started with planning your topology.


New Mobility issues with iOS 9.x Devices

Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync with Apple iOS devices are not a good combination till date and still end up with new issues overtime. We all know that they both have a long history on this topic. Even with the new iOS 9.x release few issues reported globally with EAS and Microsoft team has updated their Current issues article to reflect this.


Below are the two key issues:

The organizer of a meeting receives multiple responses from an attendee

Attendees receive a meeting update after the event reminder is triggered

Once an issue becomes a known issue, Microsoft support will point you to the above said articles, but convincing our users to accept this is still painful. Though we educate them to accept or update meetings only from their outlook client as a best practice, most of them are mobile users and this is not much ideal in today's World. So they finally end up creating new issues, which results in more support cases to either Corporate IT or Microsoft support teams.

After the release of new Microsoft Outlook for iOS, Microsoft Support team is giving this a workaround till they resolve the actual issue.

List of fixes provided with every iOS 9.x  can be found here: https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1842?locale=en_US

Noting seems straight forward for the above said issues in the current update and still we need to wait for these to get addressed with the next build from Apple and also from Microsoft side, if a fix needs to be applied on their end.

Now, not only our EAS is impacted, one more new issue has hit the MDM Space with these new iOS devices

Most Organizations utilize either EAS or MDM for managing their mobile users, With the latest innovations and threats in today's mobile world, most Organizations are using a strong MDM solution to manage their mobility workforce to ensure that their corporate data is Secure. Creates polices for the devices that are accessing the corporate resources from anywhere in the world and make them compliant inline with their IS policy and manage them effectively.

If you are utilizing Microsoft Intune as your MDM solution and your users are using iOS 9.2 devices then you are hit by the new issue explained in the below Intune Blog post,

Review here: Important: Issue with iOS 9.2 release

Also the article states that this issue is affecting other MDM providers too and they are working with Apple support to address this issue.

Defer upgrading to iOS 9.2 for managed devices is provided as the current workaround.

Fixing these issues is always painful, because if we upgrade to a new iOS version for addressing an existing issue, it breaks the other working services and creates a new one.

Ensure that your users are made aware about these current issues periodically and educate them not to flood your IT support team with these known issues, reducing these cases creates a better support experience to handle other issues inside your environment timely.

Update:

Status Update: Issue Resolved, advise your end-users to upgrade to iOS 9.2.1 (as of January 19, 2016)

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Office 365 E5 Launch Webinar

New Office 365 E5  offering went live recently with lot of new features added to the service and to know what's new with this offering, get yourself registered to the upcoming Microsoft webcast Event "Office 365 E5 Launch" this Friday, 11 Dec 2015, 10.00 AM PT or the next 18 Dec 2015.


During this Office 365 E5 launch webcast, a Microsoft TS2 expert will provide you with an overview on the new offering and discuss the best options available to build your successful Office 365 E5 practice.

In this webcast you will: 
  • Gain an overview on Office 365 E5 plan features that include – advanced security, analytics for eDiscovery with secure attachments/URLs with advanced threat protection and access control using Power BI Pro and Delve analytics, machine learning.
  • Understand how cloud PBX and PSTN conferencing will work as part of this new solution.
  • Learn the fundamentals of building a profitable Office 365 E5 practice.
  • Study the Office 365 E3 pricing and licensing models.
  • Understand your target customers and learn about partner incentives designed to help you close deals.
  • Learn about different customers’ scenarios.
Register here: Office 365 E5 Launch

*If you miss any of these events you can register to view them On demand from the Events webpage.

This is the best place to begin your E5 learning and explore the new features.

Directory of Azure Cloud Services

Microsoft Azure is empowering today's IT world by offering various Cloud Services and continue to expand rapidly with new innovations.


Access the list of available Services here: Directory of Azure Cloud Services

You can navigate to the Pricing Overview page to choose the services available under each category for your requirement.


Access here; Detailed Pricing information

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Office 365 E5 is All Set to Go Live!!!

Office 365 E5 plan was announced earlier this July 2015, As stated in the Official announcement Microsoft planned to release E5 by the end if this calendar year, as stated in this ZDNET post today is the day "December 1, 2015" for its general availability to global customers. Now you can buy E5 from your Office 365 portal and enjoy the latest innovations from Microsoft and add more value to your Enterprise.



Once you Navigate to your existing Subscription page in Office 365 portal and select to add additional subscription, you can see the new "Office 365 Enterprise E5 without PSTN Conferencing" plan now available, You can choose to pay per month or Annually. 


As stated in the below referenced Official blog post PSTN Conferencing is available only in US and will be available later to other regions.

Each License costs $35 per user/month and you can assign few licenses to your tenant to explore the new features and switch plans for appropriate users in the mere future as needed.

Access the Office.com E5 plan and pricing page for more details here: Office 365 E5 Plan and Pricing 

Microsoft team started to introduce new features available in E5 one after the other in the recent past and made significant announcements through Office blogs post and yesterday blog post was more significant and concludes these announcements and puts things in action.



Additionally read the yesterday's ZDNET post below on this topic from Mary Jo Foley 


Stay tuned for more updates...

Monday, November 30, 2015

Microsoft PowerApps

Microsoft launched the new PowerApps, an enterprise service for innovators everywhere to connect, create and share business apps with your team on any device in minutes. And PowerApps helps anyone in your organization unlock new business agility.


Access PowerApps here: https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/

Get to know more on the Official Microsoft Blog : Introducing Microsoft PowerApps

This is a great news for Developers and IT Pros to utilize latest innovation from Microsoft that address today's Business needs and improve IT Agility.

Office 365 Groups Overview, Administration and Roadmap in a NutShell

After the launch of Office 365 Groups most Organizations started their transition from traditional Distribution Groups to new Office 365 Groups. Microsoft team started to introduce new innovations to Office 365 Groups on the move and extended their Roadmap, Office 365 Groups has evolved from it initial stages and now have tighter integration capabilities with multiple Microsoft product line providing more enhanced features than ever before. Administrating Office 365 groups is now simplified with rich set of granular controls for management.



To know things in a nutshell, review the new Microsoft Ignite Australia 2015 session by Christophe Fiessinger MSFT.

View here: Office 365 Groups Overview, Administration and Roadmap

Update:

Your One stop resource with Support Articles to to create and manage Office 365 Groups



Access here: Office 365 Groups

Update:

New Support Articles published on Office 365 Groups

Multi-domain support for Office 365 Groups - Admin help

Make Office 365 groups public or private

Update:

Check out the latest innovations for Office 365 Groups.

Office 365 Groups now supports eDiscovery, litigation hold, dynamic membership and more!

Update:


Access Microsoft Ignite 2016 session below to know more on Office 365 Groups


Watch here: Explore the ultimate field guide to Microsoft Office 365 Groups

Update:

Latest updates to Office 365 Groups Administration

What’s new in Office 365 Groups administration—June 2016 update

Update:

Office 365 Groups Guest access is coming to all customers starting September 2016, Access the essential Admin help below

Guest access to Office 365 groups - Admin Help

Also review another great announcement related to Office 365 Groups below

New capabilities in SharePoint Online team sites including integration with Office 365 Groups

Update: 

Recently Microsoft came up with the plan of Automatic creation of Direct reports groups in outlook, and due to feedback received from Customers around the world, instead of making this update to roll-out globally, now this update applies to Customers that have received either message center post MC94808 or message center post MC98024.

Access the Related Support Articles below,

Automatic creation of Direct Reports groups in Outlook

Manage automatic creation of direct reports group - Admin help

Access this below Office Blogs post to know the recent significant enhancements made for Office 365 Groups

What’s new in Office 365 Groups for April 2017

Update:

Introducing Groups in Outlook for Mac, iOS and Android

Update:

New Feature Announcement: PowerShell support of Allow/Block guest access based on Domain list

Update:

Long waited Automated Expiration for Office 365 Groups is now available in public preview. With this new feature you can set an expiration timeframe for any Office 365 group you choose. Once that timeframe is set, owners of any groups set to expire will be asked to renew them if they still need them. Groups that aren’t renewed will be deleted. And using the “Soft-delete of groups” feature, any group that was not meant to be deleted can be restored within 30 days by the group owners.

Note: The Office 365 groups expiration feature is available in public preview for Azure AD Premium customers. This feature will require Azure AD Premium License when it GAs.

Access the Official blog post here to know more: Azure AD Automated Expiration for Office 365 Groups is now in Public Preview

Support Article here: Office 365 Group Expiration Policy

Update:

Review the below documentation to know how you can configure Office 365 Groups settings using Azure AD cmdlets.

Azure Active Directory cmdlets for configuring group settings

Stay tuned for more updates...

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Microsoft Ignite Australia Sessions On demand

Microsoft Ignite Australia 2015 conference, completed earlier this Month and now the session videos are available on demand in Channel 9.  Lot of great stuff from Microsoft on their latest innovations sparking towards the future of IT.



Access Sessions here : Ignite Australia 2015

Office 365 Customer Security Considerations Workbook now Available

Microsoft team recently released the new Customer Security Considerations (CSC) workbook as an addition to the rich set of available resources for Information Security and Compliance.  The CSC workbook is designed to provide you with information on key security and compliance features to consider when adopting, deploying and managing Office 365.



You can access the Office 365 Service Trust Portal and Select Trust Documents and download the workbook and the usage guide.



Review the Official Blog here: Announcing Office 365 customer security considerations preview

If you are new to Service Trust Portal, review the below Support article to get started.

Review here: Get started with the Service Trust Portal for Office 365 for business, Azure, and Dynamics CRM Online subscriptions

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Troubleshooting Azure AD Application Proxy Guide now Available!!!

Microsoft Azure AD Application Proxy team recently published a Whitepaper, for troubleshooting Azure AD application proxy. This acts as a complete guide and provides full overview of all the capabilities around Application Proxy troubleshooting



Additionally read through the values and benefits of using Azure AD Application proxy through the eyes of an EMS Blackbelt.

Update:

Now read the new guidance from Microsoft on Security considerations when using Azure AD application proxy


Access here: Security considerations when using Azure AD application proxy

Update:

Get to know more on Azure AD Application proxy through the Azure AD Mailbag series

Azure AD Mailbag: Azure AD App Proxy

AzureAD Mailbag: Azure AD App Proxy, Round 2

Update:

New enhancements or Azure AD Application proxy in 2017

We’ve made the Azure AD App Proxy even better!

Stay tuned for more updates...

Top 5 Announcements for Office 365 !!!

Last week was quite a great week for Office 365, Microsoft team made various new significant announcements for Office 365 and also few more on other related platforms like Azure, Enterprise Mobility, SharePoint and Skype for Business.



This post is written to list out the Top 5 announcements made last week for Office 365

Office 2013 modern authentication public preview program got renamed to the Office 365 modern authentication public preview. Also now Modern authentication for Office 2013/2016 Windows client are now GA.

Archiving of Third Party data like facebook, twitter etc. in Office 365 was announced earlier this year and now available in Preview

Microsoft Team announced new Security and Compliance capabilities to Office 365, including Advanced Threat Protection, Customer Lockbox and Advanced eDiscovery, which integrates Equivio. Customer Lockbox and Advanced eDiscovery will be available for customers to purchase starting December 1, 2015.

Microsoft Graph (formerly “Office 365 Unified API”) reached GA as announced during last week Microsoft Connect() Developer event.

Finally,Enforcing Office 365 identity in Yammer is now available and Administrators can configure federated identity in Office 365 to achieve single sign-on (SSO) capabilities for all services in Office 365, which includes Yammer. Also Microsot team is removing the Yammer SSO and directory synchronization (DSync) tools, starting December 1, 2016.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Raise your Voice in Office 365 UserVoice !!!

Microsoft is making innovations on the fly, day by day, and stay to update with all of these innovations are quite challenging, By accepting consisting feedback from customers and responding to their queries Microsoft team has over come this challenge and enhanced the adoption ratio.


Office 365 is one key area, where these fore said innovations are occurring at a rapid rate and to get feedback from customers "Office 365 User Voice" forum was launched. We could see lot of feedback posts and discussions are now available on various topics and I wrote this post today to bring this to readers attention. If you have not come across this yet, Its time for you to  utilize the same and share your feedback to Microsoft.

Raise your voice here: Customer Feedback for Microsoft Office 365

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Vision eBook - Protecting and Empowering Your Connected Organization

Microsoft Enterprise Mobility team published a great e-Book for readers, to know how to Protect Identities, Devices and Company Information in Today’s Device-Centric World.



In Today's cloud connected world, its essential to know how to move your workloads to cloud and also allow users to utilize the benefits of latest technology innovations, without compromising security and this e-Book is worth reading to know more on this topic and begin your journey with Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS).

Update:

I recently came across few more vital resources on the topic and referenced below for your reading as an add-on read.

Download: Managing Access and Help Protect Corporate Email Data on Mobile Devices

Download: Deploying Enterprise Solutions for Protecting Email Data on Mobile Devices

EMS Architecture Poster: Enterprise Mobility Poster



Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Overcome Throttling issues with Office 365 for your PowerShell Scripts

I am writing this post today to point you to the latest Exchange Team blog post, explains how to overcome throttling issues when running PowerShell cmdlets for large numbers of users in Office 365.




Its quite common that we generate reports or apply changes to large number of users in Office 365 as a part of Operations and need to wait for hours to get the results. We all know about the throttling limits that exist with Office 365 and sometime the script breaks and makes us to start from the scratch. Finally, Microsoft team published a blog post to overcome this issue.

By using the the help of Script blocks and Invoke-command cmdlet we can construct PowerShell Scripts that returns the required data without much issues on time and also a great PowerShell script "Start-RobustCloudCommand script" is shared to us that makes our job a lot easier.

More information is available in the below EHLO blog post,

Review here: Running PowerShell cmdlets for large numbers of users in Office 365

I have personally used this script for a recent requirement to disable clutter for a large set of users and it did worked well.

Here is the example,

Set-ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted

$cred = Get-Credential

$session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri https://ps.outlook.com/powershell -Credential $cred -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection

$importresults = Import-PSSession $session 


$Mailboxes = invoke-command -scriptblock {Get-mailbox -resultsize unlimited | select-object -property Displayname,PrimarySMTPAddress,Identity} -session (get-pssession)

$cred = get-Credential

.\Start-RobustCloudCommand.ps1 -Agree -Credential $cred -recipients $Mailboxes -logfile C:\temp\out.log -ScriptBlock {Set-Clutter -identity $input.PrimarySMTPAddress.tostring() -enable:$false} –interactive

This guidance is great and it will reduce some of our support cases related to throttling.

Get ready to Manage and Administer Office 365 better

Office 365 Administration mainly relies on the Admin Center and PowerShell, When Managing Office 365 via the Admin Center its is quite complicated as new features added day by day the Admin Center is now having various options made available in different areas and we need to navigate to multiple locations to manage things related to a single task. Also when it comes to reporting we require some additional innovation from Microsoft which can make the reporting lot easier and effective which  suits our needs and we don't require to invest on 3rd party providers.



To address the above said needs Microsoft team is revamping the Admin Center with new UI and enhancements which makes the Administrative experience a lot more easier and also new reporting capabilities are added including new usage reports across Office 365 workloads. Office 365 Admin Center Preview gets this soon and also upcoming Power BI Content Pack for Office 365 admins is a new add-on that will take the reporting capabilities to next level.

Office 365 Admin app also gets new features added to make administration a lot easier on the go, where ever you are with few clicks on your mobile.

PowerShell is the next reliable Administrative tool to manage Office 365 workloads, Automation relies here to make your management experience a lot easier, Microsoft team is giving additional guidance and resources to this key area along with the above said innovations.

All of this is covered with real time demo in the recent Microsoft Mechanics video series by Lawrence Chiu, Sr.Product Manager, Office 365

Review the Official blog post here: Office 365 admin updates—from portal enhancements to PowerShell

We can expect a lot more enhancements  in the upcoming days. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

MVA Learning: Core Concepts of Skype for Business Server 2015

Skype for Business Server 2015 is gaining momentum and multiple customers started to adopt or migrate to the latest Microsoft communication platform. If you are currently working on a new roll-out or working on a migration project, then this Microsoft Virtual Academy course is an essential resource to your learning road-map and also assisting you in preparing for the latest Microsoft Exam 70-334 ("Core Solutions of Microsoft Skype for Business 2015") 



Below are the topics covered in the series,

1 | Overview of Skype for Business Server 2015

2 | Skype for Business Server 2015 Planning and Design Process

3 | Skype for Business Server 2015 Setup and Management

4 | Skype for Business Server 2015 Client and Device Deployment and Management

5 | Skype for Business Server 2015 Conferencing Concepts

6 | Skype for Business Server 2015 Conferencing Interoperability

7 | Skype for Business Server 2015 External Access

8 | Skype for Business Server 2015 Persistent Chat

9 | Skype for Business Server 2015 Monitoring and Archiving

10 | Skype for Business Server 2015 High Availability

11 | Skype for Business Server 2015 Disaster Recovery

12 | Skype for Business Server 2015 Migration

13 | Skype for Business Server 2015 Hybrid Scenarios

Access the course here: Core Concepts of Skype for Business Server 2015

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Active Directory from on-premises to the cloud – Azure AD whitepapers now Available!!!

Identity management is the key for every Organization, Microsoft Azure AD is enhanced in such away that it addresses every need of the customers with advanced set new features and innovations occur rapidly day by day.When you extend your On premises AD infrastructure to the cloud and deploy an Hybrid model you can manage and take advantage of both the AD environment seamlessly.



Microsoft team published the below Whitepapers for ease of understanding of various rich features a available with Azure AD and the benefit you will get when you extend or bridge your On premises to the cloud.

Below are the series of whitepapers available for download


  • Active Directory from the on-premises to the cloud.
  • An overview of Azure AD.
  • An overview of Azure AD B2C.
  • Introducing Azure AD B2B collaboration.
  • Azure AD & Windows 10: Better together for Work or School.
  • Azure AD/Office 365 single sign-on with AD FS in Windows Server 2012 R2.
  • Azure AD/Office 365 single sign-on with Shibboleth 2.
  • Leverage Multi-Factor Authentication with Azure AD.
  • Leverage Multi-Factor Authentication Server on your premises.
  • Leverage Azure AD for modern Business Applications.


To know about what each whitepaper contains refer the description or you can review the below excellent presentation from Microsoft using the new Office Sway

View Sway presentation here: Active Directory from on-premises to the cloud – Azure AD whitepapers

Download the whitepapers here: Active Directory from on-premises to the cloud – Azure AD whitepapers

Friday, October 23, 2015

Skype for Business—IT Pro video broadcast series

Check out the latest Office Blogs post for the day, Its the new learning video series for Skype for Business for IT Pros powered by Skype Meeting Broadcast. This is a great resource added to the product learning and all you need to do is to join the the Skype for Business IT Pro yammer community.


Access the Official Blog post to know more: Skype for Business—IT Pro video broadcast series goes live

Also I would recommend that, you can Join the Office 365 Network and search for your relevant group and join the technical discussion to gain more insight on the product and enhance your technical skills and also a key place to share your queries for answers and vice versa.

If you are Microsoft partneryou have access to Skype for Business Online Academy courses for advanced learning.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Skype for Business Server, Real-Time Statistics Manager now Available

Monitoring server performance and health is quite critical, Microsoft Skype for Business server 2015 has an in-built management tool called Statistics Manager for Skype for Business Server 2015, a powerful tool that allows you to view Skype for Business Server health and performance data in real time.



You can download the tool here:Skype for Business Server, Real-Time Statistics Manager (64-bit)

Read the planning and deployment guide for more information.

Update:

Read the below excellent walk-through post on Statistics manager installation from Mark Vale's Blog

Skype for Business – Statistics Manager (Installation Guide)

Office Mechanics becomes Microsoft Mechanics

Microsoft team launched Office Garage series quite some time before to provide real-time demo videos of latest Microsoft innovations in Office 365 and later it got renamed to Office Mechanics and covered a vast majority of topics from Office Server and services product line, to further expand this with additional technologies, a new unified name has been chosen which addresses everything this show will be hosting as "Microsoft Mechanics".



Review the Official Blog post here: Office Mechanics is expanding to become Microsoft Mechanics

If you are new to this show, I would recommend you to review the archive of videos from the Official YouTube channel to stay a head with the new innovations from Microsoft.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Azure Active Directory PowerShell with Modern Authentication

Microsoft team recently released the public preview of Modern Authentication to the Azure Active Directory PowerShell Module, Now this new update removes the dependency of Microsoft Online Services Sign-In assistant and utilizes the new modern authentication model using Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL).


You can review the Connect site for more updates, this includes changes to the way we connect to the service along with other enhancements etc.

Access here to know more: Azure Active Directory PowerShell with Modern Authentication

Be sure to read the release notes for more updates.

Also recently we had the Azure PowerShell 1.0 Preview release to manage Azure.

Read the product documentation to know more: How to install and configure Azure PowerShell

Update:

Here comes the Official announcement from Microsoft team regarding the Public preview of Azure AD PowerShell with Modern authentication.

Azure AD PowerShell: Public Preview of support for Azure MFA + new Device Management Commands

Update:

Here is Quick demo from my experience.

I installed the new AAD PowerShell module, Next we are going to connect to the service using an admin account enabled for MFA.

You can refer my earlier blog post, Let's Learn Azure Multi-Factor Authentication today!!! to know about Azure MFA .

Here is the new sign-in experience



Once second factor authentication is successfully completed, I am connected to the service and able to manage my tenant.



Play around with this new product and share your feedback in connect site for betterment before it reaches GA.

Access the Version Release history here: Microsoft Azure Active Directory PowerShell Module Version Release History