Author: Tony Redmond

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 is the lead author of the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook, the only constantly-updated book covering Office 365 and associated technologies. You can buy a copy of the book at (Gumroad.com – EPUB/PDF version) or (Amazon – Kindle).

Phishing Report Highlights Need for Sophisticated Anti-Malware Software

by Tony Redmond

A recent report by a security vendor says that 25% of phishing messages get by Exchange Online Protection (EOP) and arrive into Office 365 user mailboxes. This highlights the need to configure EOP properly and run multiple lines of defense. Microsoft would like you to use Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) alongside EOP. Offerings from other security vendors are also available. For better protection against phishing, you should consider something like ATP.

Exchange’s EHLO Blog Moves to The Microsoft Technical Community

by Tony Redmond

Microsoft has moved the venerable EHLO blog maintained by the Exchange product group to the Microsoft Technical Community (MTC) platform. The first post is about the Exchange 2019 sizing calculator. Hopefully the changeover won't affect the great content published in EHLO over the years. What's of more concern is the lack of participation in the MTC by Microsoft product engineers and MVPs.

Important Office 365 Announcements from the SharePoint Conference

with 1 Comment by Tony Redmond

Microsoft made a ton of announcements at this week's SharePoint conference in Las Vegas. If you're an Office 365 tenant administrator, the health of SharePoint Online and what it and OneDrive for Business can do is important to you. Among all the fluffy stuff about intelligent intranets, there was some good news about improvements in administration, security, and network utilization, all of which will help other Office 365 apps too.

Bringing Microsoft Search by Bing to Office 365

by Tony Redmond

You can now connect Office 365 sources like SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Teams, and Yammer to Microsoft Search and have Bing reveal results from those sources in its searches. It's a useful trick, as long as you use Bing as your search engine. And there's the small matter that Microsoft has left Exchange out of the list of connected sources, which seems to reduce the usefulness of searches a tad.

Microsoft Enables Longer Azure Active Directory Passwords

with 1 Comment by Tony Redmond

You can now protect your Azure Active Directory account with a 256-character password, including spaces. This news will bring much joy to Office 365 administrators and others who hated the previous 16-character limit, but please don't rush into forcing users to change their passwords without taking the time to pause and consider how best to proceed. Longer passwords are good, but they should be only one part of a strategy to protect user accounts.

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    Microsoft Previews Azure Active Directory Entitlement Management

    by Tony Redmond

    Microsoft launched the preview of Entitlement Management, a new part of their Azure Active Directory Identity Governance program. The idea is that you can manage access to resources via policy, which seems to be a good thing, especially in large organizations where objects like Office 365 Groups, SharePoint Sites, and Teams might just get a little out of hand. The preview is interesting, but like all previews, it needs some work to be ready for prime time.

    Exchange and the Turla LightNeuron Attack

    by Tony Redmond

    Turla, a Russian cyber-espionage group is reported as being behind an attack on Exchange on-premises servers that uses transport agents to capture and process messages for selected users. It's an attack vector that hasn't been seen before and raises the question of how often administrators should review transport agents active on their servers. The important point is that unless your network is compromised, hackers cannot install transport agents on Exchange servers and this attack is more theoretical than practical.

    Office ProPlus Desktop Apps Get New Privacy Controls

    with 4 Comments by Tony Redmond

    Office ProPlus Version 1904 boasts new privacy controls and Microsoft has documented how it thinks about required and optional data collected from users. Office 365 still lacks privacy controls for the server apps. It remains to be seen if customers will be happy and consider that Microsoft has solved the GDPR issues identified in the Dutch DPIA report in November 2018.

    Creating and Publishing a Teams Directory

    by Tony Redmond

    If your Office 365 tenant has many private Teams, you might run the risk that people create duplicate teams because they don't know that a team already exists. Teams doesn't have a separate directory but you can create one with PowerShell and publish the output in Teams. The magic is provided by deep links, which users click to navigate to a team they want to join.

    SharePoint Launches Files Restore and New Admin Center

    by Tony Redmond

    Microsoft announced the Files Restore feature for SharePoint Online on April 22. It's the kind of news we can expect as the SharePoint conference draws near, and it's good news for Office 365 tenants. Some backup vendors might not be so keen as Files Restore makes it a tad harder for them to sell their backups. Small Office 365 tenants also got the news that the new SharePoint Admin Center is becoming the default. The new portal might even be ready soon.

    Slack Uploads from Outlook and Other Office Integrations

    by Tony Redmond

    Slack released some integrations for Office (365) on April 9. I took a look and discovered some interesting things about how the Outlook add-in for Slack works (and doesn't work sometimes). If you use Slack, you'll probably be interested in a tighter connection between it and Office, but if you're invested in the Office 365 ecosystem, Teams is a better choice.

    Teams Supports Office 365 Data Loss Prevention Policies

    by Tony Redmond

    Microsoft Teams supports Office 365 Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policies, which means that you can check for the sharing of sensitive data like credit card or passport numbers in personal chats or channel conversations. Quite why someone would want to share their credit card number with someone else in a chat is beyond me, but there's no accounting for human taste.