Tony Redmond is an independent consultant who specializes in Microsoft collaboration technology. He runs his own consulting company and advises many companies on how to best develop, use, or exploit Microsoft technology, He has written 15 books and is the lead author of the "Office 365 for IT Pros" ebook.
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Microsoft introduced the Safe Attachments feature as part of its Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) offering in 2015. ATP is an option for Exchange Online Protection (EOP). It is included in the Office 365 E5 plan and can be licensed as an add-on for $2/user per month for other Office 365 plans. Now Safe Attachments can handle dynamic delivery and the improvement is noticeable.
Microsoft has moved 400 million Outlook.com mailboxes to an Office 365 infrastructure. Outlook.com mailboxes are now powered by Exchange Online and exploit other parts of the infrastructure like EOP. It’s a good change from a engineering and economic perspective.
Microsoft has intensified its competition with Slack by making the Teams platform more attractive for developers. New Bots and deep link capabilities are now available. Meantime, Microsoft also says that they will enable Teams for all Office 365 business tenants.
Teams and Planner are excellent examples of new functionality that Microsoft can create using the toolkit of parts that exist within Office 365. The two applications have excited and delighted customers since their announcement, but the applications are not yet complete. Some challenges exist that Microsoft really needs to take on to round out functionality and capabilities.
Microsoft offers Office 365 administrators the opportunity to measure the security of their tenant against standard benchmarks set by Microsoft. Despite some glitches, the Secure Score service is a worthwhile and useful tool.
Microsoft has announced that they will block Office 365 tenants from creating workload-specific searches from July 2017. Instead of using Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, you have to create content searches and eDiscovery cases through the Security and Compliance Center. It’s a good change, even with the complication of keeping old searches until they expire.
Beginning in March 2017, SharePoint site owners will no longer be able to create new site mailboxes. Existing site mailboxes will function until they are replaced by something else.
Background processing usually remains hidden from end users. No need exists for a user to understand what maintenance goes on under the covers of the service. Office 365 delivers service with no fuss to its users, but recently I have noticed some instances when background processes have made themselves felt. Although these are not serious issues, they are a worrying sign of a lack of attention to detail.
Office 365 Connectors provide a means to connect network data sources such as Twitter, Trello, and RSS feeds to Office 365 Groups and Microsoft Teams. The out-of-the-box connectors work well, but there’s nothing like being able to process your own data, which is exactly what the Incoming Webhook connector allows you to do. In this example, we grab some Office 365 service incident information and post it to a group. All a mere matter of writing some PowerShell code.
Microsoft’s FY17 Q2 results posted on January 26 boasted a 49% year-over-year growth in commercial Office 365 revenues, contributing to an annualized run rate for commercial cloud products that now “exceeds” $14 billion. The number of cloud users has grown again, underlying the continuing movement of work to the Office 365 and Azure.
Microsoft has long used OWA as the test-bed client for new features. After all, it’s easy to update a web client. Now they’ve added the ability to integrate content stored in Office 365 Groups in OWA searches. It’s a nice feature, as is the message digest for Office 365 updates that you can have sent to your mailbox.
The advent of the New Year is a catalyst for change. One change that’s been coming for a while is the “new” Office 365 Admin Center. Now it’s time for the “old” to be swapped out and the “new” to be used everywhere. The change is good. At least, I think it is.
On January 20, Microsoft unexpectedly updated their original blog post from July announcing the Focused Inbox with information about client updates to support the feature. The update contains some answers to questions why people have not been able to use the much-trumpeted feature.