Office 365 Weekly Digest | July 21 – 27, 2019

Welcome to the July 21 – 27, 2019 edition of the Office 365 Weekly Digest.

There were five additions to the Office 365 Roadmap last week including updates for SharePoint, as well as the much-anticipated secure private channels in Microsoft Teams, currently targeted for Q4 CY2019.

No brand new events for this week’s digest, but lots of new sessions were added to existing event series. This week’s spotlight event is a combo with the “Refining Mobility with OneDrive” webinar, followed immediately by an “Ask Microsoft Anything” session, all on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 starting at 9:00am Pacific.

Highlights from last week’s blogs include details on upcoming improvements to Office 365 ProPlus client licensing and activation, the draft preview of the security baseline for Office 365 ProPlus v1907, and a change in branding for Office Online.

Noteworthy items from last week include the announcement of new South African cloud datacenters, recent updates for Microsoft Flow, and a Microsoft Mechanics video series on using System Center Configuration Manager to manage Office 365 ProPlus.


OFFICE 365 ROADMAP

Below are the items added to the Office 365 Roadmap last week…

DescriptionFeature IDEstimated ReleaseDetails
Office 365 license activation changes53698August CY2019Added: 22 July 2019
Status: Rolling out
App / Service: Office 365 ProPlus
In August, we will start rolling out changes to Office 365 licensing technology to make it more reliable and resilient. These changes will help simplify activation management and streamline the Office activation experience for users. Users will still sign-in to activate Office on their devices, and if single sign-on is enabled, Office will automatically pick up the credentials and activate Office. As part of your subscription, users can still install and activate Office 365 apps on up to five PCs or Macs, five tablets, and five smartphones. Previously, users who reached this limit were prompted to deactivate an existing install before activating Office on a new device. Going forward, Office will automatically sign the user out of the user’s least recently used device when the user exceeds the limit, eliminating unnecessary friction. In August, we’ll start slowly rolling out these changes to commercial customers on Monthly Channel. No additional action is required on your part.
Per site “anyone link” expiration policy53748August CY2019Added: 23 July 2019
Status: Rolling out
App / Service: OneDrive
Tenant admins can now set custom anyone link expiration policy on site collections that differs from default tenant policies.
Microsoft Teams – Secure private channels50588Q4 CY2019Added: 23 July 2019
Status: In development
App / Service: Teams
Limit which team members can see the conversation and content within a particular channel. You can right-size channel participation and exposure without having to create discrete teams to limit visibility.
Site owners can now associate their sites with a SharePoint hub53903August CY2019Added: 26 July 2019
Status: In development
App / Service: SharePoint
Previously, associating with a hub site required site collection admin privileges. We are updating this permission so now site owners can associate their sites to a hub. This provides a more consistent experience across SharePoint.
Add call to action link to hero web part50806July CY2019Added: 26 July 2019
Status: Rolling out
App / Service: SharePoint
Using the latest version of the hero web part on SharePoint, authors can add a link to content and an additional call to action link that displays on the tile.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Designed specifically for Skype for Business end users, this course offers everything you need to help make the transition to Microsoft Teams. We’ll focus on the core communication capabilities you use today, chat and meetings, as well as provide an orientation to additional collaboration functionality Teams has to offer. The session is also available on demand at https://aka.ms/fromskypetoteamsondemand.

This 60-minute session introduces you to the key activities needed to get started with Microsoft Teams today. From setting your profile, to running a meeting, users will leave this session with the foundation needed to use Teams with confidence. The session is also available on demand at https://aka.ms/teamsgettingstartedondemand.

Designed for those who are already familiar with Microsoft Teams, our Tips and Tricks sessions offer insights, best practices and advanced functionality to help optimize how Teams can work for you. Each session will also include a few real-world examples of how customers are using Microsoft Teams today. Part 1 is focused on tips for conversations and meetings. Many of our interactions start as a simple chat. Learn how you can take those conversations to the next level, including: (1) Formatting messages to help increase response rates, (2) Managing conversations to easily track and follow-up, (3) Organizing conversations, keeping important and active chats front-and-center, (4) Expanding conversations into a full meeting experience, and more. Prefer to watch this session on your own time or simply want a refresher after attending the live training? Access the consolidated on-demand version of Tips and Tricks here: https://aka.ms/teamstipsandtricksondemand.

Designed for those who are already familiar with Microsoft Teams, our Tips and Tricks sessions offer insights, best practices and advanced functionality to help optimize how Teams can work for you. Each session will also include a few real-world examples of how customers are using Microsoft Teams today. Organizing your workflow and projects in Teams can really help simplify productivity. Join us for Part 2 of this series, where you’ll learn tips including: (1) Implementing effective strategies creating and managing teams and channels, (2) Leveraging best practices for channel-based conversations, (3) Utilizing a personal team to manage your own productivity, (4) Designing your workspace to quickly find relevant content in Teams, and more. Prefer to watch this session on your own time or simply want a refresher after attending the live training? Access the consolidated on-demand version of Tips and Tricks here: https://aka.ms/teamstipsandtricksondemand.

The average employee spends approximately 30% of their working life in meetings. But meetings in Microsoft Teams are designed to be flexible and enable different types of connections for all the ways that work needs to get done. For users who are familiar with Microsoft Teams but want to better understand and optimize the Teams meeting experience, this session provides guidance into how to create spontaneous and scheduled meetings, leverage the pre, during and post-meeting features, identifying supported devices, and more.

When: Wednesday, July 31, 2019 at 9am PT | In an era of rapid digital transformation, how we work is changing. Work does not solely revolve around an office space and we are expected to be productive even when we are working remotely or traveling. Our OneDrive mobile apps on iOS and Android empower you to stay connected to all files throughout Microsoft 365 from anywhere as well as capture and collaborate on the go. Alongside Office mobile apps, with OneDrive, you can create and edit documents, scan receipts and business cards, markup and annotate PDFs, chat and co-author Office documents and securely share content with your peers across departments and with external clients and vendors outside your organization – directly from a mobile device. In this webinar we will demonstrate these effective functionalities and discuss end user scenarios that can make you productive. We will also showcase the refreshed look and feel of the OneDrive mobile app that we have recently released.

When: Wednesday, July 31, 2019 at 9:30am PT | We are very excited to announce a Redefining Mobility with OneDrive ‘Ask Microsoft Anything’ (AMA) for OneDrive for Business! The focus will be on the recent Fluent Design updates to the OneDrive mobile app. An AMA is a live online event similar to a “YamJam” on Yammer or an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit. This AMA gives you the opportunity to connect with members of the product teams who will be on hand to answer your questions and listen to feedback. Join in the OneDrive AMA space, or add the event to your calendar. We look forward to seeing you there!

Data needs to be protected wherever it’s stored and whenever it travels, and you need the tools to monitor policy violations and risky behavior. Join us to explore how to implement a comprehensive and integrated approach across devices, apps, cloud services, and on-premises. During this 2-hour interactive session, you will explore how to: (1) Identify, monitor and automatically protect sensitive information across Office 365, (2) Help classify and protect documents and email, and (3) Use policies to enable BYOD scenarios by protecting data at the app level. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.

Are you still sending an e-mail with an attachment to your teammates when you want to collaborate on a file? How fast do they respond? How do you know if they are working on the file? How do you manage version control? With Microsoft 365 tools for teamwork, you can seamlessly collaborate on files with your team members. Using Microsoft Teams, you can invite your teammates into an environment where they can effectively collaborate and engage in a persistent conversation. Join us for this session and explore how to avoid productivity sinkholes and increase productivity. This interactive 2-hour session will give you the opportunity to test drive Microsoft Teams in a live cloud environment. A trained facilitator will guide you as you apply these tools to your own business scenarios and experience how they can work for you. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.

Identity is at the center of security: don’t compromise when it comes to your company’s valuable information. Join us to explore how to use secure authentication, govern access, get comprehensive protection and set the right identity foundation. During this 2-hour interactive session, you will explore how to: (1) Enable password protection, (2) Bring multi-factor authentication to your Windows 10 users, (3) Protect your users and data through Office 365 multi-factor authentication, and (4) Use conditional access to protect across devices, locations and apps. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.

How do you bring various stakeholders together across multiple teams to achieve your goal? Do you wish you could reduce the number of meetings or e-mails while still being able to solicit feedback, keep everyone informed, and get consensus? Join us to explore how to bring everything together in a shared workspace with Microsoft Teams. Learn how to chat, meet, share files, and work with other business applications to effectively engage others. This interactive 2-hour session will give you the opportunity to try it for yourself and test drive Microsoft Teams in a live cloud environment. A trained facilitator will guide you as you apply these tools to your own business scenarios and experience how they can work for you. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.

Your business needs to control how sensitive data is managed. Join us and explore how to assess your compliance risk, protect sensitive and business critical data, and respond efficiently to data discovery requests. During this 2-hour interactive session, you will explore how to: (1) Simplify assessment of compliance risk, (2) Integrate protection and governance of data, and (3) Intelligently respond to data discovery requests. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.

Today’s workforce can work from anywhere, on any device, and on any app. Security teams need to understand threat signals from disconnected products and optimize security with minimal complexity. During this 2-hour interactive session, you will explore how to: (1) Safeguard users from malware attacks such as phishing and spoofing with Office 365, (2) Use the Windows Defender ecosystem to proactively monitor and protect your users, (3) Utilize Office 365 ATP to help protect users from bad links and attachments, and (4) Let machine learning and automation protect users from threats. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.


BLOG ROUNDUP

Over the years, we’ve heard feedback from customers and IT Admins about the difficulty in managing Office activation for subscription-based Office clients, such as Office 365 ProPlus. We’re excited to announce upcoming changes to Office that will help simplify activation management and streamline the Office activation experience for users. Sign in to activate Office and sign-in limits will remain the same. There are changes that users and administrators may notice, and those are detailed in this post. In August, we’ll start slowly rolling out these changes to commercial customers on Monthly Channel. The roll-out will continue to Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) in September, and Semi-Annual Channel in January 2020.

Microsoft is pleased to announce the draft release of the recommended security configuration baseline settings for Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus, version 1907. This baseline builds on the overhauled Office baseline we released in early 2018. The highlights of this baseline include: (1) Componentization of GPOs so that “challenging” settings can be added or removed as a unit, (2) Comprehensive blocking of legacy file formats, and (3) Blocking Excel from using Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE). Also see the announcements at the end of this post regarding the new Security Policy Advisor and Office cloud policy services. The downloadable attachment to this blog post includes importable GPOs, a script to apply the GPOs to local policy, a custom administrative template (ADMX) file for Group Policy settings, all the recommended settings in spreadsheet form and as Policy Analyzer rules. The recommended settings correspond with the Office 365 ProPlus administrative templates version 4888 released on July 17, 2019. The download for the final version of this baseline will be released through the Security Compliance Toolkit.

Microsoft has decided to retire the “Online” branding for the web version of Office and adopt new terminology for how we refer to the apps on the web. Office uses sub-brands to denote our offerings such as Office 365 and Office 2019. Because our offerings have evolved to provide access to apps on more than one platform, it no longer makes sense to use any platform-specific sub-brands. In line with this approach, the official product name for what was previously referred to as “Office Online” is now simply “Office.” We have also discontinued use of the “Online” branding with each of the apps so “Word Online” is now “Word,” “Excel Online” is now “Excel,” etc. It is important to note that this branding change only applies to the Office apps. There is no change to the branding for our “Online” server products – specifically Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Project Online, and Office Online Server. We have already made these changes across most of our in-product experiences, communications, and marketing and technical content and expect to complete the remaining updates relatively soon.

This webcast provides step-by-step guidance in setting up several scenarios for integrating Microsoft Stream Videos (both on demand and Live Events) with Microsoft Forms for knowledge check quizzes and surveys. Additionally, attendees learned how to further leverage these integrated assets within the previously covered Integrated User Training and Support Solution (based on Learning Pathways) as well as integrating directly into Microsoft Teams!

Related:


NOTEWORTHY

As Microsoft strives to support the digital transformation of organizations and enterprises around the world, we continue to drive innovation and expand into new geographies to empower more customers with Office 365, the world’s leading cloud-based productivity solution, with more than 180 million commercial monthly active users. We’re taking another step in our ongoing investment to help enable digital transformation and societal impact across Africa with the general availability of Office 365 services from our new cloud datacenters in South Africa. Office 365, delivered from local datacenters in South Africa, helps our customers enable the modern workplace and empower their employees with real-time collaboration and cloud-powered intelligence while maintaining security, compliance, and in-country customer data residency. The new cloud regions in South Africa are connected to Microsoft’s other regions via our global network, one of the largest and most innovative on the planet—spanning more than 100,000 miles (161,000 kilometers) of terrestrial fiber and subsea cable systems to deliver services to customers.

We are very excited to announce that the Flow designer now allows you to copy and paste actions! This has been one of the most desired features which our users have been asking for and it is finally here. In this post, we will share how to use the Clipboard, along with some tips and tricks so that you can cut the amount of time it takes for you to build flows. In the Flow designer – you will notice we have added a new tab called “My clipboard” – this is where all the actions you copy will be stored. In addition to Clipboard support, we have also introduced a few user experience updates in the last few months, that will make it easier for you to create, manage and run your flows: (1) New create experiences, (2) New flow details page, and (3) New run flow experience.

First video in our series to help you prepare, upgrade, and manage Office in your organization. The primary focus is to move from an older version of Office to a current release and how to stay up to date.

We are excited to announce the general availability of SAML-based single sign-on (SSO) support for your on-premises apps using Application Proxy. Hundreds of customers have used this integration to connect their custom Line of Business apps with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) and to integrate popular on-premises applications like Tableau, Qlik, and more. Connecting all your apps to Azure AD is a critical step in making identity your control plane. In case you missed it, we put together guidance and tools to help you discover your applications and connect them to Azure AD. Since your on-premises applications use a variety of authentication protocols, we expanded the number of authentication options we support with Azure AD Application Proxy. Connecting your on-premises applications to Azure AD Application Proxy benefits from all the work we’ve done in Azure AD to secure your applications with Identity Protection, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), and Conditional Access.

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