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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The European SharePoint Conference took place in Dublin, Ireland this week. The SharePoint content was top-notch and the conference ran smoothly, but I was a little disappointed at the relative lack of Office 365 coverage despite the claim made in the conference moniker.
A new premium Azure Active Directory feature allows you to force group owners to certify that external members should have continued access. Given that Office 365 Groups and Microsoft Teams now both support guest users, it is wise to check on who can access what from time to time. Whether you will want to pay extra for such a feature is quite another matter!
Microsoft has released a beta version of the Teams PowerShell module. The only problem is that the module is not very good. In fact, the module is very disappointing because it does not contain the cmdlets that an Office 365 administrator might except to automate operations around Teams. Maybe the 1.0 release will be better. We can only hope!
Office 365 includes supervision policies to allow tenants to monitor email traffic between selected groups to ensure that they comply with regulations. Supervision policies are easy to set up, but be careful about the workload involved in processing the captured email.
Exchange Online Protection now highlights unauthenticated users – or messages that come from people who cannot prove their identity. Instead of a nice picture (or avatar), you see a question mark for the user. Maybe this might make people think twice about the opportunity to send money to someone to liberate funds held in a bank. Just maybe.
A year ago, Microsoft said RPC over HTTP was dead from Oct 31, 2017 and that Outlook clients must use MAPI over HTTP to connect to Exchange Online. The protocol is still dead, but it will persist in a zombie-like unsupported mode. The question is for how long?
Office 365 has given its rights management capabilities a complete refresh. Clients deal with protected email better and it’s easy to send protected email to people inside and outside your organization, including coverage of consumer email systems like Gmail and Outlook.com. And protected email works on mobile devices too.
Microsoft says they will communicate large changes in Office 365 better, but what about all the small changes that show up without warning? Teams is a serial offender, perhaps because it’s the new kid on the block and is rushing to replace Skype for Business Online. In any case, it would be nice if we heard about small changes before we found them.
OWA now boasts a useful mailbox option, which is helpful if you feel that you need to remove some old and lingering email. The funny thing is that Microsoft doesn’t seem to have told anyone about the feature – or my search-karma is failing me in finding any information about it.
Based on user feedback and a horrible year of change management missteps, Microsoft is changing the way it handles major updates for Office 365. The plan seems like it might work and let’s hope that it does. No one wants to experience the same kind of update surprises we have seen in 2017.
Office 365 continues to grow strongly but all the added users (and tenants) do not seem to have impacted the reliability of the service, at least not measured by performance against the guaranteed 99.9% SLA for availability. Incidents do steal minutes away from users, but not enough to make a difference.
Microsoft clarified what AAD features need premium licenses at Ignite. Tenants need many of those features to control Office 365 Groups and Teams, and some of the listed features are surprising. Did you know that the group creation policy is a premium feature? Or adding a default classification. The chosen set of features seems odd, but at least Microsoft is now clear about what you must license.
You can capture Exchange mailbox events in the Office 365 audit log, but only if you remember to enable auditing for target mailboxes. Exchange Online doesn’t enable new mailboxes for auditing by default, so administrators must remember to enable the mailboxes manually – and check for new mailboxes periodically. If you don’t, nothing is recorded and your audit log will be empty.