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.
Tony Redmond's Recent Posts
Office 365 Groups are the reason why many SharePoint Online sites appear in tenants. If you’re on the Pacific coast of the U.S., the regional settings are OK. But anyone else in the rest of the world who uses the SharePoint browser interface will see times and dates in that instead of the local format. You can change the regional settings for a site, and now you can make sure that new sites have the right settings.
With GDPR coming, it’s good news that Teams now supports Office 365 retention policies. You can apply retention to messages posted to channels and chats, or use a mixture of policies to target different sets of users and teams. You might be surprised how Teams has implemented retention – and remember, we’re only talking about messages – other content might also need a policy.
The venerable Exchange Get-MailboxStatistics has been around for over ten years, but now it’s telling lies about Office 365 users. Well, just the last login date to their mailbox. The problem is that the world is a very different place to when Microsoft first introduced PowerShell in Exchange 2007. Mailboxes didn’t get so many visits from mailbox assistants then…
Office 365 has a new admin center for Teams and Skype for Business Online. It’s still early days for the TSBAC, as I like to call it, but you can see where Microsoft is going as it unifies the disparate parts of Teams and Skype for Business Online into one uber-admin center to beat them all.
Teams now hides the Office 365 Groups that it creates from Exchange clients (Outlook, OWA, and the mobile apps). That’s as it should be for groups created for new teams. If you want to hide groups created for older teams, you can run the Set-UnifiedGroup cmdlet, but that soon becomes boring when you might have hundreds of groups to process. PowerShell to the rescue once again.
It is nice to have an Azure Active Directory Expiration Policy for Office 365 Groups, but it’s not so good that the policy functions exclusively based on age. Another problem is that administrators have no way of knowing when groups will expire. So we take out PowerShell, write a script, and hey presto, we have a report. We still need to solve the problem of creating a policy that functions based on activity rather than age, but that’s another day’s work.
PowerShell is a critical skill for Office 365 tenant administrators. A knowledge of PowerShell allows you to fix things that Microsoft leaves undone in apps like Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Teams. Sure, black holes exist for PowerShell (like Planner) and it is slow to process thousands of objects, but there’s nothing like a little script for getting things done.
Companies that move to Office 365 have to decide what mobile email client to use. A native client that uses Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) or Outlook? In the past, the best choice was probably something like the iOS mail app. Now, Outlook is the focus of Microsoft’s mobile efforts and it’s where all the new functionality appears. EAS is still valuable, just less so than it was before.
Office 365 now includes out-of-the-box email encryption, which might just mean that the era of using S/MIME and PGP might be coming to a close, at least inside Office 365. The new functionality scores highly on ease of use and integration, but the lack of support in the current Outlook desktop clients means that adoption will be slow.
Since Office 365 appeared in 2011, Microsoft’s collaboration story has varied according to whatever technology is available. Originally based on Exchange and SharePoint, it’s gone through Yammer, Office 365 Groups, and now Teams. You’d be forgiven for being confused by the frequent changes in the strategy du jour. And now we have inner and outer loops to consider, at least according to Microsoft’s favorite collaboration slide. Here’s my take.
Microsoft upgraded their EOP anti-spoofing capabilities inside Office 365, which is good, but they didn’t tell anyone. The first users knew was when they started to receive messages stamped with “the sender failed our fraud detection checks” – something that is never assuring. This only applies to ATP customers, but it’s not the first time Microsoft has failed to communicate important news.
Exchange Online has two new PowerShell cmdlets to help administrators recover deleted email on behalf of users. You can now search for deleted items and recover found items without having to sign into a user’s mailbox, something that will be popular with both administrators and users alike. The joy of helping users find email they deleted and can’t find themselves…
Owners of Office 365 Groups can delete groups if they want. Some don’t like this as it means that SharePoint site collections, teams, and plans are removed. The simple membership model used by Office 365 Groups is the cause, and while you cannot stop owners deleting their groups, you can take action to detect and recover deleted groups if necessary.