Sunday, December 10, 2017

New Azure Free Account !

Microsoft team recenlty launched the New Azure free Account. This Azure free account includes $200 credit to spend for 30 days and free 25+ Azure products for 12 Months.

Below FAQ article clearly outlines the available free products with complete details on this topic.

Azure Free Account FAQ

Also view the Azure Friday session for more details: Azure Free Account

Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection for SharePoint Online, OneDrive For Business, and Teams reaches GA !

Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection is available for Exchange for quite some time now and recently Microsoft extended the ATP capabilities to files in SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft last week announced the General Availability of Office 365 ATP for SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Microsoft Teams.

You can read the Official Announcement here: GA of Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection for SharePoint Online, OneDrive For Business, and Teams

Note: Advanced Threat Protection for SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams is not available on-premises. Advanced Threat Protection is included in Office 365 Enterprise E5. If your organization is using another Office 365 Enterprise subscription, Advanced Threat Protection can be purchased as an add-on. (As a global admin, in the Office 365 admin center, choose Billing > Add subscriptions.)

Follow the instructions provided in the support article here to enable Enable ATP and secure your Organization.

Hybrid Modern Authentication (HMA) is now available for Exchange On-Premises and Skype for Business

Hybrid Modern Authentication (HMA) is now available for Exchange On-Premises and Skype for Business. Hybrid Modern Authentication provides users ability to access On-premises applications using Auth tokens obtain from the cloud (Azure AD). HMA allows to leverage Azure AD capabilities like MFA, Conditional Access across both On premises and Cloud seamlessly.

You can read this blog post to know how HMA works: Deep Dive: How Hybrid Authentication Really Works

Below are the Official Posts on the HMA availability for Exchange On premises and Skype for Business.

Exchange On-Premises

Read here: Announcing Hybrid Modern Authentication for Exchange On-Premises

Skype for Business

Read here: Hybrid Modern Authentication for Skype for Business   

Following are the updates required for HMA to get enabled for Exchange On-premises and Skype for Business.
  • Skype for Business Server (SfB) 2015 May 2017 cumulative update supports Hybrid Modern Authentication (HMA).
  • Hybrid Modern Authentication (HMA) is available with next set of Cumulative updates for Exchange 2013 and 2016 that's CU8 for Exchange Server 2016, and CU19 for Exchange Server 2013.
Read the support article provides the complete set of prerequisites here: Hybrid Modern Authentication overview and prerequisites for using it with on-premises Skype for Business and Exchange servers

Stay tuned for more updates...

First Release becomes Targeted Release in Office 365

To experience the latest features released, updates and changes made to Office 365 Service most Organizations opt in for First release program to validate the features and provide feedback to Microsoft Product team before its made available as a Standard release.

Microsoft team recently renamed the First Release Program as Targeted release and published the support article that covers this change with key updates.

Access the support article here: Set up the Standard or Targeted release options in Office 365

Official Tech Community Announcement here: Enable “Targeted Release” in Office 365 to receive updates first (formerly known as "First Release")

Its advisable to opt in for Targeted release in the Test tenant if you have a large user base, or opt in only for selected users in the Primary tenant if no Test tenant is available.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Slide Deck: Understanding the benefits of Azure AD, EM+S and Tips to get prepared for GDPR Compliance

I recently had an opportunity to deliver a session for C# Corner - Bangalore Chapter Meet and presented my session in Understanding the benefits of Azure AD, EM+S and Tips to get prepared for GDPR Compliance.

Sharing the slide deck presented in the session here: Understanding the benefits of Azure AD, EM+S and Tips to get prepared for GDPR Compliance

Azure Stack: Building an end-to-end validation environment e-Book

Azure Stack is an extension of Azure, bringing the agility and fast-paced innovation of cloud computing to on-premises environments.  Organizations adopted Hybrid cloud Model started their move towards Azure Stack.

To help Organizations on their Azure Stack journey Microsoft team published a guidance e-book to help you plan for an end-to-end Azure Stack validation environment using the Azure Stack Development Kit.

You can download the e-book here: Azure Stack: Building an end-to-end validation environment

Also review the following Blog post series on this topic published by AzureCAT team to know more in detail.

Azure Stack Validation Environment – Part 1: Overview

Azure Stack Validation Environment – Part 2: Quotas, Plans, and Offers

Azure Stack Validation Environment – Part 3: Subscriptions

Azure Stack Validation Environment – Part 4: Services and Resource Manager

Azure Stack Validation Environment – Part 5: Putting it all together

Additionally access the Azure Resources  to advance your learning and for next steps.

Compliance Manager Preview now Available

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) effective date is just six months away and most of the Organizations already started to align their environment to meet the critical requirements for GDPR Compliance. Microsoft 365 which combines the power of Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility and Security offers a complete cloud solution to help you with GDPR compliance.

Now you have the new Compliance Manager (in Public Preview) which helps you to access and manage your compliance risk from one single location.

Compliance Manager Public Preview program is now available for organizations with a paid or trial subscription for Microsoft cloud services (e.g., Office 365, Microsoft Azure, etc.). You can access the Compliance Manager by Sign in using your Office 365 or Azure Active Directory user account.

Read this Tech Community blog post to know more on the Compliance Manager Preview: Compliance Manager Preview is now available   

Access the Official Blog post here: Microsoft 365 helps businesses increase trust and innovation through compliance with Compliance Manager Preview

Stay tuned for more updates...

Microsoft Teams - PowerShell Module now Available

PowerShell Module for Microsoft Teams is now available,  This module contains set of command lets that allows you to manage Microsoft Teams via PowerShell and use Automated scripts at ease.

You can download the Module here: MicrosoftTeams 0.9.0

Read the below Excellent write-up from Matt Soseman MSFT to get an Overview of the new PowerShell Module and how it helps IT Admins to manage and automate tasks for Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams: PowerShell Support

Also read the below blog post from MVP Tony Redmond, where he shows the limitations of the current Module with additional information.

Why the PowerShell Module for Teams is Critically Flawed

Stay tuned for more updates...

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams Capabilities Roadmap Available !

Microsoft during last month Ignite event announced, Microsoft Teams becoming the Primary client for Communication and Collaboration in Office 365. Today Microsoft published more details on their Planned Roadmap for adding Skype for Business capabilities to Teams.

Download the Roadmap here: Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams Capabilities Roadmap

Access the Official Microsoft Tech Community post to know more: Roadmap for Skype for Business capabilities coming to Microsoft Teams now available

Be sure to participate in the upcoming Microsoft Teams "Ask Microsoft Anything" on October 25th, at 9 AM PDT and a live broadcast on October 27th, at 9 AM PDT on Teams On Air to hear the product team discuss the roadmap in more detail and have your questions answered.

Get started with your Microsoft Teams Journey today with the help of  Microsoft FastTrack.

Add-on Read:

New usage reports for Microsoft Teams is now available :  New usage reports for Microsoft Teams   

Monday, October 23, 2017

Configure Azure Multi-Factor Authentication settings in Azure Portal - Public preview

Azure Multi-Factor Authentication Configuration settings are now available in the Azure Portal (in Public Preview).  MFA settings are manged in the Azure Classic Portal, the PFweb portal, and now finally they are getting included in to the Azure Portal. This is an expected change as Microsoft is working towards simplifying the Admin Experience for Azure AD, and also announced recently that by November 30, Azure AD admin experience in the classic Azure portal will be retired.

Access the documentation here: Configure Azure Multi-Factor Authentication settings - Public preview

Not all features are completely available yet in the Azure Portal and we still rely on PFweb Portal as outlined in the documentation.

Additionally, Read the following Blog post from MVP Sander Berkouwer on this topic with more detailed updates: Azure Multi-Factor Authentication is now in the new Azure Portal (in Public Preview)

As of today we don't have any major updates on this topic from Microsoft Product team, and expecting they will soon publish the same in the upcoming days along with the GA date.

You can read my blog post to know more on Azure MFA with latest updates here: Let's Learn Azure Multi-Factor Authentication today!!!


Microsoft recently updated the retirement date for Azure AD Admin experience in the Azure Classic portal to January 8, 2018.

Stay tuned for more updates...

Monday, October 16, 2017

Azure Essentials - Free Training

Microsoft launched the new Azure Essentials Free training Programme, the best place to get started with and Learn more about Azure.This is a new addition to the list of existing Learning resources for Microsoft Azure and helpful for IT Professionals and Developers both new to Azure and already work on Azure.

Access the Content here: 

Additionally, Review the newly launched Microsoft Tech Academy in Microsoft Tech Community site for more resources, This newly launched Tech Academy unifies Microsoft’s learning and readiness platforms for IT Professionals and Developers into a single place.

Access Tech Academy here: Microsoft Tech Academy

Start your Learning Journey today !!!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

IT Roadmap Planning Tool for Microsoft 365

In today's world of Digital era, more and more Organizations are embracing Digital Transformation to adopt new ways of connecting people, data, and processes to create value for customers. Microsoft 365 product suite comprising Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security and Windows 10 provides rich set of features to support the Organizations in their Digital transformation Journey.

Microsoft recently released the new IT Roadmap Planning Tool for Microsoft 365 currently in Preview to benefit Organizations in their Digital Transformation Journey to explore the available options, prioritize and target what they want, and build long-term set of deployment and configuration plans. This Roadmap Tool is built around Microsoft 365 services for deployment, configuration and management. It displays options and levels for core capabilities spanning teamwork, creativity, device management, identity, security and more.

IT Roadmap Tool is available for usage in two ways. Light version of the IT Roadmap tool  is available for anyone to try. The full version of the Tool is available to Microsoft partners as part of the Business Value Programs.

You can access the Light version of the Tool here: IT Roadmap for Microsoft 365

More details are available in the Official Microsoft Tech Community post here: Introducing the IT Roadmap planning tool preview

Access the Microsoft Mechanics Session to explore the full capabilities of the Tool.

Watch here: Introducing the IT Roadmap planning tool: A new way to build tailored implementation plans

Review for additional resources.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Microsoft 365 and Office 365 Adoption Guide

Microsoft team published adoption guides for Microsoft 365 and Office 365 in their Microsoft FastTrack Center. These guides are essential for Organizations planning to adopt these services by understanding the right adoption approach for successful deployment and usage.

Download here: Microsoft 365 Adoption Guide

Download here: Office 365 Adoption Guide

Access the Microsoft FastTrack site for more resources.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

New Azure Exams Announced !!!

During Microsoft Ignite 2017 event, Microsoft team announced their plan to develop three new Certification exams for Azure.

These 3 New exams are aligned to the skills required for the Modern IT Job Roles identified by the Azure Team.

  • For Azure Stack Operators - Exam 537: Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack
  • For Azure Solutions Architects - Exam 539: Managing Linux Workloads on Azure
  • For Azure DevOps - Exam 538: Implementing Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions

Exam 537: Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack will release in January. The remaining exams will follow a bit later in 2018.

You can access the Official Announcement post here with more information: Announcing New Azure Exams And Certification Path Recommendations for Azure Job Roles

You can utilize the Azure Training and Certification resource, other essential learning resources specified in the above site and Choose your Learning path today, and get prepared for the New Azure Exams.

Be sure to read this post to know the retirement timeline for the existing Exams and their new replacements: Exam Retirement Update for October 2017


Exam 70-534: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions is getting retired and replaced by a new Exam 70-535 (Proposed /Tentative) with few significant changes in the Exam objectives.

Read the below post to know more: Microsoft retires exam 70-534 and replaces with a new exam 70-535 (tentative name)

Additionally, Microsoft team further expanded their Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) with the addition of two new tracks: Cloud Administration and DevOps

Read this Blog post to know more: Expanding the Microsoft Professional Program to drive impact

Follow Microsoft learning @MSLearning and read the Born to Learn blog for the latest updates.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Microsoft Ignite 2017 Sessions on demand !

Microsoft Ignite 2017 completed last week successfully with a ton great announcements across all major Microsoft Technologies. The excitement is still on following the event, and now its time for us to revisit the great announcements and download the Sessions on demand and watch out for the latest updates in the upcoming days.

Though I have not attend the event in person, I watched the keynote sessions online on day one,  through which got a glimpse of the latest innovations and the upcoming Roadmap, following this I received active updates through-out the event and round the clock from fellow Microsoft MVPs, Microsoft Product Teams and Technical Enthusiasts direct from the event via twitter tweets, Tech Community posts and live blogs. I am thankful to all of them for sharing the latest updates timely through which I was able to get to know the latest news and share those updates with the fellow Community members.

Some of the Key announcements related to Office 365 are below:

  • Vnext announcement of Office 2019, Exchange Server 2019, SharePoint Server 2019, Skype for Business Server 2019.
  • Microsoft Teams to replace Skype for Business Client in Office 365 over time
  • New Office 365 Admin capabilities, Security & Compliance updates and Analytics & Reporting enhancements
  • Most awaited Multi-Geo Capabilities for OneDrive, SharePoint Online and Exchange Online.
Also we had some major announcements on Microsoft 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security, Microsoft Azure, Azure Stack and much more.

Not to forget some great announcements on Microsoft's new Mantra for Digital Transformation "New Era of Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Edge" spreading across the innovations in Artificial Intelligence, Serverless Computing, Machine Learning, IoT, Mixed Reality and the future with Quantum Computing.

You can get to know more by reading the information available in Official Channels like Microsoft News Center Office Blogs, Enterprise Mobility and Security Blog, Azure Blogs etc. and also through the Articles and Blogs of well known Microsoft MVPs and Technical Enthusiasts in the Community.

Access the dedicated Microsoft Tech Community Space to view all the sessions on demand here:  Microsoft Ignite Content 2017

You can also access the On demand sessions on Channel 9 now: Microsoft Ignite 2017

Download the Recordings and slide decks using the PowerShell script created by MVP Michael De Rooij here: Get Microsoft Ignite session information or contents

Access the related Microsoft Mechanics videos here: Microsoft Ignite 2017 - Microsoft Mechanics Live!

You can further read the latest news on the Microsoft Tech Community spaces dedicated for each of the Technology.

Stay tuned for more updates...

Sunday, September 24, 2017

New Office 365 admin and IT pro courses now available !

Microsoft Partnered with LinkedIn learning announced new courses for Enterprise Admins and IT pros to ramp up on critical skills for Office 365 deployment, administration, and internal help desk support. You have free Premium video training up to 7 hrs. via with the option to get a LinkedIn Learning trial or paid Subscription to complete the full learning Series.

Below are the available courses:
  • Microsoft Cloud: Explore Cloud Services
  • Office 365: Deployment
  • Office 365: Administration
  • Office 365: Manage Identities Using Azure AD Connect
  • Microsoft Cloud Services: Administer Office 365 and Intune
  • Office 365: Troubleshoot Availability and Usage
  • Office 365 for Administrators: Supporting Users Part 1

Access the Courses here: Office 365 admin and IT pro courses

Also you have latest Office 365 training courses now available for both Small Business customers and End users

Access the source Microsoft Tech Community post more details: Just released: Free Office 365 training for IT pros, small business, and end users   

These resources are essential and much helpful for every IT Pro work with Office 365.

Happy Learning !!!

Get to know Microsoft Project Honolulu !

Microsoft is all set to release the next version of Windows Server, version 1709 at Microsoft Ignite 2017 Next week. This new version is built on the innovation in Windows Server 2016.

Microsoft team published Sneak Peek posts for the past few weeks following the Official Announcement on the new version  and one of the most admired feature is Project “Honolulu” Microsoft's new Windows Server management experience made available in Windows Server, Version 1709 and several other versions.

Honolulu is a locally deployed, browser-based, management tool set that enables on-premises administration of Windows Servers with no Azure or cloud dependency. Honolulu gives IT Admins full control over all aspects of their Server infrastructure, and is particularly useful for management on private networks that are not connected to the Internet.

Honolulu is the modern evolution of “in-box” management tools, like Server Manager and MMC. It is complementary to System Center and Operations Management Suite, and is not intended to replace these products and services.

More information is available in this blog post: Sneak peek #4: Introducing Project “Honolulu”, our new Windows Server management experience

Last week "Project Honolulu" Technical Preview was released and made available for Download along with the deployment guide.

Access the Official Blog post here: Project “Honolulu” technical preview is now available for download!

Review the Video Walk-through made available in the above blog posts to know more on this new feature.

Technical Preview Download link : Project Honolulu Technical Preview Evaluation

Download Poster here: Honolulu Ignite poster

Documentation Link: Microsoft Project Honolulu

Be sure to follow the Project “Honolulu” team blog for latest news and additional resources.

We are expected to get more updates during the Microsoft Ignite event, Stay tuned for more updates...

Monday, September 11, 2017

Skype for Business is now Microsoft Teams ?

Most of you might already be aware about this ongoing buzz in today 's IT World, that Skype for Business is going to be upgraded to Microsoft Teams. Users try to login to Skype for Business saw this surprise change notification, and there were no Official Public Announcements made by Microsoft on this change through their major channels.

Office 365 Message center notification that indicated the changes confirmed this, which was later removed, but the news spread across the world and made everyone aware on possible upcoming changes to get prepared soon, and to add to this Microsoft Teams finally got the most awaited "Guest Access" support.

Since there are lot of Excellent write-ups are already made available, I am going to refer some of the posts that I came across on this topic in the community that could be helpful.

First this new change was reported by  Mary Jo Foley via ZDNet article: Microsoft may be repositioning some (or all) of Skype for Business as Teams

Then we have the following Blog posts from Petri IT Knowledgebase that outlined more information on this update

There are lot more great posts in the community on this topic and above one's covers things in a nutshell.

Yesterday Microsoft announced the availability of Guest Access in Microsoft Teams along with the new developer Tools 

Note: Currently Users with an Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) account can be added as a guest in Teams. Ability to add anyone with a Microsoft Account (MSA) to be added as a guest in Teams will be available in the next few weeks.

A Nice walk-through from  UC Expert Randy Chapman here: How to enable external guest access in Microsoft Teams

Another great post from MVP Matt Landis here: Microsoft Teams Guest Access: How it Works

A detailed write-up from MVP Tony Redmond on Microsoft Teams Guest Access below

How External Access for Microsoft Teams Works

Things You Should Know About External Access for Teams

Also review this post from Matt Soseman MSFT : Microsoft Teams: Enabling and Using Guest Access

We are only few weeks away from Microsoft Ignite 2017 to get more updates on the new changes and innovations in Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams.

Following Microsoft Tech Community post outlines the key sessions on this topic to watch-out for

Stay tuned for more updates...

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

MVA Learning: Experience the Microsoft Cloud with Cloud Adoption Test Lab Guides

To get hands-on experience in the latest Microsoft Cloud technologies you can utilize the "Cloud adoption Test Lab Guides (TLGs)" as an essential resource, and to know more on how to use this resource you now have the latest Microsoft Virtual Academy course.

This course provides an overview of the Cloud Adoption Test Lab Guides and steps you through:

  • The value of using prescriptive, modular Test Lab Guide (TLG) documents for technical ramp-up, demos, proof-of-concept configurations, and dev/test environments.
  • Using cloud adoption TLGs to experience the integration of Microsoft’s cloud offerings, which include Office 365, Azure, Dynamics 365, and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS)/Intune.

Access the MVA course content here: Experience the Microsoft Cloud with Cloud Adoption Test Lab Guides

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Licensing Microsoft 365

A new Licensing guide is now available for licensing Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is a per-user licensing option that includes Office 365, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Enterprise Mobility +Security. Microsoft 365 is available in two options, E3 and E5. You can access the Licensing guide to know the available licensing options in detail and choose the right option for your requirement.

This guide also includes details on how to license Microsoft 365 in different customer scenarios and answers the common FAQs.

Download the guide here: Microsoft 365 Licensing Guide

Additionally, Get to know about the new Microsoft 365 F1 plan here: Maximize the impact of your Firstline Workforce

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Defense in depth: Secure your enterprise with advanced protection capabilities Whitepaper

Microsoft team released a new whitepaper that outlines how Enterprise Mobility + Security Advanced Protection Capabilities forms the defensive rings to Secure your Organization.

Read this White paper to learn about the defensive rings built into EMS, including:

  • Azure Active Directory Identity Protection Security Reports
  • Azure Active Directory Risk-Based Conditional Access
  • Microsoft Cloud Application Security
  • Advanced Threat Analytics
  • Azure Active Directory Privileged Identity Management
  • Azure Information Protection
  • Microsoft Intune Mobile Device Management and Mobile Application Management

Download here: Defense in Depth: Enterprise Mobility + Security Advanced Protection 

Monday, August 21, 2017

MVA Learning: Active Directory in a Hybrid Environment

Microsoft’s identity solutions span on-premises and cloud-based capabilities, creating a single user identity for authentication and  authorization to all resources, regardless of location. We call this Hybrid Identity. Today most Organizations adopt the Hybrid Identity Model to provide rich end user experience when accessing resources from anywhere, anytime on any device with enhanced Access controls.

Extending your AD DS to Azure, Integrating your On premises AD DS with Azure AD, and Extending your AD FS to Azure are some key concepts when you plan on this Hybrid Identity Model. To understand these topics in detail you now have the latest Microsoft Virtual Academy Course "Active Directory in a Hybrid Environment" a new addition to the list of authoritavie set of Course on Azure.

Microsoft MVP Corey Hynes presents this excellent course to cover the below key concepts to get you prepared to understand and implement the Hybrid Active Directory.
  • Hybrid Active Directory: Learn the different ways that Azure AD can be connected to Windows Server AD.
  • Azure AD Connect: Walk through Azure AD connect, the tool used to connect Azure AD and Windows Server AD.
  • Manage and Monitor Azure AD Connect: Use the monitoring tools to maintain the health of Azure AD Connect.
  • AD Federation: Configure Azure AD Federation and connect it to Windows Server Active Directory.
Access the Course here: Active Directory in a Hybrid Environment

You can further advance your learning by reviewing the below Resources:

Reference Architecture: Identity management

Microsoft Ignite session : Connect your on-premises directories to Azure AD and use one identity for all your apps

Microsoft Cloud IT Architecture Resources: Microsoft Cloud Identity for Enterprise Architects

Design GuideHybrid Identity Design Considerations Guide

Finally, A real world Technical Case study from Microsoft on their own Journey: Managing user identities and secure access at Microsoft

Hope these resources are useful for your Learning. Stay tuned for more updates...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

MVA Learning : Skype for Business Infrastructure

If you are planning to learn, deploy and manage Skype for Business, and also preparing for the Microsoft Exams  70-333, Deploying Enterprise Voice with Skype for Business 2015 and 70-334, Core Solutions of Microsoft Skype for Business 2015, you now have the latest Microsoft Virtual Academy course series to begin your journey.

Following Courses are available now in this series:
As an add-on learning take a look at the below video to know the available deployment models for Skype for Business Cloud PBX presented by MVP Tom Arbuthnot.

View here: Skype for Business Cloud PBX - your four deployment models explained


Read the real time Microsoft IT Showcase Business case studies below to know how Microsoft as an Organization adopted Skype for Business in the cloud and received enhanced benefits

Stay tuned for more updates...

Friday, August 11, 2017

PowerShell Module Browser Now Available

Microsoft team recently released the new PowerShell Module Browser, an easy, predictable way to search all Microsoft PowerShell modules and cmdlets.

Access the Browser here: PowerShell Module Browser

Review the documentation here: Announcing the PowerShell Module Browser

New Servicing Model for Windows 10

Microsoft team recently updated the Servicing Model for Windows 10 to align with Office 365 ProPlus as announced earlier, and also now adopting common terminology to make it as easy as possible to understand the servicing process.

 The two most important terms to understand:

Semi-Annual Channel. These are the twice-per-year feature update releases, targeting March and September, designed for the broad population of general-purpose PCs used throughout organizations.  Each of these releases will be serviced for 18 months from the date of release.  (The Semi-Annual Channel replaces the Current Branch [CB] and Current Branch for Business [CBB] concepts.)

Long-Term Servicing Channel. These are less frequent releases, expected every 2-3 years (with the next one expected in 2019), designed for special-purpose PCs such as those used in point-of-sale systems or controlling factory or medical equipment.  Each of these releases will be serviced for 10 years from the date of release.  (The Long-Term Servicing Channel replaces the Long-Term Servicing Branch [LTSB].)

Access the Official Blog post here: Windows as a service: Simplified and Aligned

Additionally review the below Blog post for more details.

Demystifying Windows as a Service – wake up! please

More detailed updates are shared in the below Blog posts.

Update to the Windows as a Service Model

Automating Windows as a Service

Get your hands-on on WaaS with the new Windows 10 Virtual lab.

Access the virtual lab here: Deploy and manage Windows as a service

Also take a look at the latest Microsoft Mechanics video to explore the streamline update model between Office and Windows 10.

Keeping your Office clients up-to-date: New tools and aligned update model with Windows 10

Updated Support article: Overview of the upcoming changes to Office 365 ProPlus update management


Access the related Microsoft Ignite 2017 Sessions on demand to know more.

Stay tune for more updates...

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Skype for Business topologies supported with Modern Authentication

As of August 1, 2017, for all newly created Office 365 tenants, use of modern authentication is now on by default for Exchange Online and Skype for Business Online

Microsoft team updated the Office Blogs post to reflect the new updates and the related Support article is updated to reflect the new changes. 

You can access the support article here: Using Office 365 modern authentication with Office clients

You can follow the instructions in the below posts to know how to turn on Modern Authentication for Skype for Business Online.

This Blog post is written to share the above updates and direct you to the new TechNet article published recently on the Skype for Business topologies supported with Modern Authentication.

This article lists what online and on-premises topologies are supported with Modern Authentication in Skype for Business, as well as security features that apply to each topology.

Supported MA topologies in Skype for Business

There are potentially two server applications, and two Office 365 workloads, involved with Skype for Business topologies used by MA.
  • Skype for Business server 2015 (CU 5) on-premises
  • Skype for Business online (SFBO)
  • Exchange server on-premises
  • Exchange server online (EXO)

If your Organization is planning to enable Modern Authentication for your users with Skype for Business, this article is quite handy to know the supported topologies for Modern Authentication.

New Sign-in Experience Updates !!!

Microsoft team is making progress to converge the Azure AF and Microsoft Account (MSA) identity systems and as a part of this Journey last week they announced the new unified log-in screen/experience which is now in Public Preview.

This new change makes both Azure AD Login and Microsoft Account sign-in page to have a consistent look. Users have the option to Opt-in to this new experience now, Per the Official Announcement below, This new experience will be available as an opt-in public preview for the next few weeks and Microsoft will switch over to the new UI by default during the last week of September.

Read the Official Announcement here to know more: The new Azure AD Signin Experience is now in Public Preview

Microsoft team is still working to update this new Sign-in experience with missing features.

Review the related Comments in the Blog post above and the Conversations in Microsoft Tech Community to know the latest updates and feedback on the new Sign-in experience.

Read the below Blog post from Veteran MVP Tony Redmond to know the issues caused by this new change and plan on the next steps if your are getting impacted.

Read here: Azure AD Sign-in Changes Cause Problems for Office 365

In addition to this above change, Microsoft team recently announced, Accessing the authenticated Office 365 home page (either through or will require that your users satisfy the Azure Active Directory Premium Conditional Access policies that you have applied to either Exchange Online or SharePoint Online.

Earlier this change was planned to roll-out on Aug 09th as per this Microsoft Tech Community post, and now its planned for Aug 24th  as per the Official Announcement made in the Enterprise Mobility and Security Blog.

Access the Official Announcement here: An update to Azure AD Conditional Access for

This change has a minor impact on the installation of Office Applications which is explained in the above post.

Ensure that you take required actions as applicable, and update your end users and support teams on these new Sign-in Experience changes and provide the right support.

Friday, July 28, 2017

NPS Extension for Azure MFA reaches general availability !

Customers who wanted to secure on-premises clients such as VPN are required to to deploy MFA Servers on-premises, Since Cloud-based MFA services like Azure AD have not traditionally supported RADIUS authentication. Microsoft team announced the availability of "Network Policy Server (NPS) extension for Azure MFA"  this February 2017 as a Public Preview, that adds cloud-based MFA capabilities to your authentication infrastructure using your existing servers without the need of On premises MFA Servers specifically deployed for the purpose of securing VPN connections with MFA.

You can read about the announcement here: Azure AD News: Azure MFA cloud-based protection for on-premises VPNs is now in public preview!

This Week Microsoft team announced the General Availability of "NPS Extension for Azure MFA" inside the "Cloud Platform Release Announcements" blog post.

Access the announcement blog post here: Cloud Platform Release Announcements for July 26, 2017

You can review the below Technical documentation to know more on this feature and plan your deployment.

Access the Technical documentation here: Integrate your existing NPS infrastructure with Azure Multi-Factor Authentication

For advanced scenarios refer here: Advanced configuration options for the NPS extension for Multi-Factor Authentication

Also review the excellent blog post from MVP Freek Breson to know how you can Secure the RD Gateway with MFA using the new NPS extension for Azure MFA. Organizations deployed MFA servers On premises or in IAAS environments for the purpose of securing Remote desktop connections with MFA can now take the advantage of this new extension to leverage Azure MFA and remove the MFA servers.

Read here : Securing RD Gateway with MFA using the new NPS Extension for Azure MFA!

Access the latest Technical documentation here: Integrate your Remote Desktop Gateway infrastructure using the Network Policy Server (NPS) extension and Azure AD

Additionally, read another related blog post here : How to Configure Azure MFA as Citrix NetScaler RADIUS using the new NPS Extension

You can take the advantage of Conditional Access once you use start to leverage Azure MFA with this new Extension, review the below Support discussion to know more in detail

Review here: Conditional access for NPS extension for Azure  
Stay tuned for more updates...

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Let's Learn About DevOps

"DevOps" is the new buzzword for many people and many are eager to know what is DevOps? and How it changes today's traditional IT approach, and how it benefits Business Organizations etc. and to know this you have ton of resources available now in the Online Communities.

DevOps ensures both Development and Operations team work together effectively by breaking the "Wall of Confusion" that affects the efficiency of delivering services. DevOps is a cultural change inside the Organization that requires proper planning, training and implementation, and many Organizations have already started to embrace DevOps, and having good knowledge on this new ways of working is essential for every IT Pro today.

When I started learning about DevOps I came across few great resources available from Microsoft and thought of writing this blog post to refer you to begin your DevOps Journey. Some of you would already came across these resources and for some it could be new and beneficial.

Lets begin...

Microsoft Virtual Academy team published a Blog post in the Born to Learn Community that provides references to 8 key resources to begin your DevOps Learning

  • Introduction to DevOps (on edX)
  • DevOps Dimension (on Channel 9)
  • DevOps Fundamentals (on Channel 9)
  • Building Blocks: DevOps and Enterprise Development (on MVA)
  • Modern IT: DevOps to ITIL, Creating a Complete Lifecycle for Service Management (on MVA)
  • The DevOps factory (on TechNet)
  • The DevOps blog (on TechNet)
  • Enabling DevOps Practices with Visual Studio Online Build (on MVA)

Access Blog post here: 8 Ways to Learn About DevOps

In addition to the above review few more additional resources referenced in the below IT Resources & Training space from Microsoft Tech Community.

Access here: Enhance your knowledge of the rising DevOps culture

Above resources covers most of your learning path to DevOps, in addition to this you now have the latest MVA course to know the answers for Top 10 DevOps Questions

Access the course here: Top 10 DevOps Questions Answered

If you are in to Mobile development then download the free Mobile DevOps e-Book: Mobile DevOps methodology e-book: Your Guide to Mobile DevOps

Above collection are some of the key resources curated from my end and you have much more available Online to advance your Learning.

Follow Key DevOps Twitter Handles and Enthusiasts in the Online communities to know the latest updates.

Stay tuned for more updates...

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition version 2.0 now Available

Microsoft recently announced the availability of Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition version 2.0

This new version brings the latest capabilities that lets customers integrate their existing PSTN trunks to Cloud PBX providing three modalities:

  • Authentication of the local trunk to Office 365 Cloud PBX;
  • Keep media within enterprise boundaries;
  • Negotiation of codecs between the clients and a PSTN gateway/Session Border Controller (SBC)

Also it addresses the most requested improvements by our customers including media bypass, support of 16 Cloud Connector Editions per one PSTN site, the ability to manipulate SIP headers, use of Office 365 Skype for Business accounts and more.

More updates are available in the Official announcement post in Microsoft Tech Community site: Announcing Skype For Business Cloud Connector Edition 2.0

Be sure to review the documentation references and the recorded training videos to know more.


Next Version of Cloud Connector Edition 2.1 will support Coexistence with On-Premises Skype for Business server 

Access the below Blog post from renowned MVP Tom Arbuthnot to know more: Cloud Connector Edition 2.1 with Coexistence with On-Premises Hybrid due 2017 Quarter 4, Requires SfBS CU6

Stay tuned for more updates...

Friday, July 21, 2017

MVA Learning: Optimize Your Network for Microsoft Cloud Offerings

Is your organization moving to a cloud-inclusive infrastructure or planning your Journey,  As an IT Pro, part of your responsibility is to prepare your network environments to handle the increased traffic and to create stronger infrastructures. Access the latest Microsoft Virtual Academy course to know how to optimize your Network for Microsoft Cloud Offerings.

This MVA course is based on the content in the Microsoft Cloud Networking for Enterprise Architects poster and covers the below essential topics,
  • The fundamental shift in networking for cloud-based computing
  • On-premises network path optimization
  • Optimizing intermediate systems in your network edge
  • The role and use of ExpressRoute connections
Access the Course here: Optimize Your Network for Microsoft Cloud Offerings

Review the real time case study of Microsoft's own Journey here: Driving digital transformation with modern network infrastructure

Friday, July 14, 2017

Microsoft 365 now available

During Microsoft Inspire 2017 event, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella unveiled Microsoft 365, which brings together Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security, delivering a complete, intelligent and secure solution to empower employees and address your Organization needs for a modern workplace.

To address the commercial needs from the largest enterprise to the smallest business, Microsoft 365 comes in two ways Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Microsoft 365 Business

Microsoft 365 Enterprise is designed for large organizations and integrates Office 365 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise and Enterprise Mobility + Security to empower employees to be creative and work together, securely.

Microsoft 365 Enterprise is offered in two plans—Microsoft 365 E3 and Microsoft 365 E5. Both are available for purchase on August 1, 2017.

Microsoft 365 Business is designed for small- to medium-sized businesses with up to 300 users and integrates Office 365 Business Premium with tailored security and management features from Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security.

Microsoft 365 Business will be available in public preview on August 2, 2017. It will become generally available on a worldwide basis in the fall of 2017, priced at US $20 per user, per month.

In addition for small-to-medium sized customers, Microsoft announced the preview of three new business applications that are coming for Office 365 Business Premium and Microsoft 365 Business:

Microsoft Connections —A simple-to-use email marketing service.
Microsoft Listings —An easy way to publish your business information on top sites.
Microsoft Invoicing —A new way to create professional invoices and get paid fast.

Also Microsoft team announced new mileage tracking app, MileIQ, which is now included with Office 365 Business Premium.

Review the Microsoft Business Center support article for more updates.

Access the Official Blog post here: Introducing Microsoft 365

Read the related EMS Blog post here: Microsoft 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security

Review real time Customer case study here: Fruit of the Loom thrives in digital era with Microsoft 365 Enterprise

Also read this great write-up from Aaron Dinnage MSFT: Unpacking Microsoft 365

Another great Blog post from "Matt Soseman's "The Productive Cloud" Blog" here: How Microsoft 365 Enables Me to Rebuild My PC over Lunch

Finally watch Microsoft Inspire 2017 on-demand Session Videos related to Microsoft Office 365 here: Inspire 2017 Microsoft 365 Session Recordings


Microsoft 365 Documentation is now available

Access here: Microsoft 365 Documentation


Microsoft Opened up the public preview of its recently announced Microsoft 365 Business on August 2nd.

Access the new Microsoft Tech Community "Microsoft 365" space for the latest updates.


Microsoft 365 is the new modern workplace Solution that empowers everyone to be creative and work together,securely. Microsoft team is continuously working to add new features in to this space, and as a part of this, now you have the latest innovation -  the ability to deploy Office 365 ProPlus applications to Windows 10 devices from the cloud with Intune.

Access the Official Blog post here to know more: Deploying Office 365 ProPlus with Microsoft Intune


New Microsoft 365 Enterprise dev/test environment is now available, this dev/test environment consists of:

  • An Office 365 E5 trial subscription
  • An EMS E5 trial subscription
  • An on-premises or cloud-based computer running Windows 10 Enterprise

Access the Dev/Test environment here: New Microsoft 365 Enterprise dev/test environment

Note: This new article replaces the "Office 365 and EMS dev/test environment" article previously published.


Learn how Microsoft 365 Enterprise supports GDPR compliance through this interactive demos

Access the demos here: Microsoft GDPR Compliance Demos


Microsoft announced New capabilities in Microsoft 365 help simplify your GDPR compliance journey.

Access here to know more: New Microsoft 365 features to accelerate GDPR compliance


Get to know about the new Microsoft 365 F1 plan, This new plan is specifically designed for First Line workers, and brings together Office 365 F1 (formally K1), Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security .

Access here to know more: Maximize the impact of your Firstline Workforce


Access Microsoft Ignite 2017 Sessions on demand to know more on Microsoft 365.


Microsoft 365 Business reached General Availability on Oct 31 2017.

Also General availability of three new business apps - Microsoft Connections, Microsoft Listings and Microsoft Invoicing—which join Microsoft Bookings, Outlook Customer Manager, and MileIQ to create a suite of capabilities to help small businesses grow and thrive. These new apps are now available in Microsoft 365 Business and Office 365 Business Premium for customers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada.

In addition, Microsoft StaffHub, an app to help Firstline Workers manage their workday, is now included in Microsoft 365 Business and Office 365 Business Premium subscriptions.

Access the Official Blog post to know more: Empower your team and safeguard your business with Microsoft 365 Business

Stay tuned for more updates...