Office 365 Weekly Digest | December 1 – 7, 2019

Welcome to the December 1 – 7, 2019 edition of the Office 365 Weekly Digest.

Thirty-one features were added to the Office 365 Roadmap last week, so in order to keep the length of this post reasonable the details have been included in a separate post, Office 365 Roadmap Update | December 1 – 7, 2019.

There are a few new sessions for existing event series, along with a couple of new Microsoft IT Showcase events focused on modern collaboration, with the first on January 15, 2020 and the second on February 26, 2020. This week’s spotlight event is the Office ProPlus Deployment Ask Microsoft Anything (AMA) session on Tuesday, December 10th at 9am Pacific.

Highlights from last week’s blog posts include the November 2019 SharePoint roadmap summary, a compilation of Teams and Office 365 ATP highlights from Ignite 2019, information on recent enhancements to Office 365 Message Encryption, and a complete 2019 recap for Microsoft Search.

Wrapping up the post are noteworthy items on the latest updates for the Microsoft 365 admin center, a FAQ for Exchange and Outlook based on questions asked at Ignite 2019, and a Microsoft IT Showcase article on how Microsoft IT communicated during the transition from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams. In addition, there is an interesting behind the scenes look at how Microsoft secures the Microsoft 365 platform, including the link to the whitepaper with more details.


UPCOMING EVENTS

When: Monday, December 9, 2019 9:00am – 10:00am PT | On December 9th 12 noon eastern (9am pacific) join Microsoft’s Michael Gannotti and Pradeep Bethi, as Pradeep presents the opportunities, approaches, and resources available with the People Manager Framework. The framework is designed to help organizations increase adoption of Microsoft Teams. During the session Pradeep will be addressing the following areas: (1) How to make Teams adoption easy for end-users, (2) How and why should we think beyond chat and meeting, (3) How to create a motion for Microsoft Teams as a platform, (4) How to utilize People Manager Framework to create hockey stick adoption of Microsoft Teams, and (5) How to get funded. Along the way Pradeep will field your questions around adoption and the People Manager Framework. Don’t forget to add the event to your calendar!

Designed for those who are already familiar with Microsoft Teams, our Tips & Tricks sessions offer insights and best practices. Learn how Teams can help organize your workday and make it easier to stay connected with colleagues. In Part 1 – Effective Workspaces, you will explore ways to determine the best approach for creating workspaces for projects and workgroups. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Decide if your team is best served by a team and channels or a group chat and meetings, (2) Create a workspace for your team to provide the best collaboration experience, (3) Use a personal team to simplify your productivity, and (4) Determine best practices for Teams. Access the consolidated on-demand version of Tips and Tricks here: https://aka.ms/teamstipsandtricksondemand.

Determine the most suitable approach based on your current Skype for Business implementation and upgrade goals. By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to: (1) Understand common scenarios and upgrade approaches, (2) Visualize the user experience for each approach, and (3) Determine the optimal upgrade approach for your organization.  IT Admins are the primary audience for this session.

When: Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at 9:00am PT | We are very excited to announce an Office ProPlus Deployment ‘Ask Microsoft Anything’ (AMA). 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 engineering teams who will be on hand to answer your questions and listen to feedback. Join in the Office ProPlus AMA space, and be sure to add the event to your calendar. We look forward to seeing you there!

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.

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.

Designed for those who are already familiar with Microsoft Teams, our Tips & Tricks sessions offer insights and best practices. Learn how Teams can help organize your workday and make it easier to stay connected with colleagues. In Part 2 – Get More from Teams, you will learn tips and tricks for managing and organizing work and communications in Teams. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Implement strategies to manage and organize your work, (2) Leverage formatting best practices to help get your messages noticed (and responded to), (3) Easily find files, chats and projects, and (4) Simplify your workday. Access the consolidated on-demand version of Tips and Tricks here: https://aka.ms/teamstipsandtricksondemand.

Execute your defined upgrade approach as part of your formal upgrade plan. By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to: (1) Recognize the upgrade settings in your O365 tenant admin portal, (2) Understand technical tips and considerations for a successful upgrade, and (3) Apply the appropriate settings in the Portal to execute your upgrade. The primary audience for this session is IT Admins.

Design a user readiness strategy to help your users love and adopt Teams. By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to: (1) Recognize factors that influence user acceptance and adoption, (2) Define core value messaging for Teams in your organization, and (3) Outline your awareness, training and support activities. The audience for this session is: User Readiness/Change Manager.

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.

Have you spent significant time and resources to prepare for a meeting and still felt it wasn’t productive? Have you attended a meeting only to leave feeling like not much was accomplished? Join this class to learn how to make your meetings engaging, productive and effective. Microsoft Teams can help make your meetings worth showing up for. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Use Teams for your entire meeting experience, (2) Record your meeting, making it easy for those who couldn’t attend to get caught up, (3) Keep important meetings at your fingertips by pinning them for easy access, and (4) Assess which audio and video devices are best for your meeting needs. You can access the recorded version of this session on-demand at Run Effective Meetings with Microsoft Teams – On Demand.

Discover everything you need to facilitate a successful upgrade to Teams. By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to: (1) Understand why a formal plan is crucial for upgrade success, (2) Identify the steps to the upgrade success framework, (3) Recognize common attributes of successful customers, and (4) Create and implement their own upgrade plan. The audience for this session is All (Business Sponsors, IT Admins, User Readiness/Change Manager, Project Lead).

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.

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.

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.

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.

When: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 10:00am PT | In this webinar, experts from both the product group, and the IT side of Microsoft will share candid insights and best practices around modernizing employee experiences including Enterprise Search, Microsoft’s home site (MSW), and the latest on how we manage our authoritative portals. Our experts will also take your questions about our strategy for delivering targeted communications and enabling employees to find the content they need.

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.

When: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 at 10:00am PT | For today’s mobile workforce, providing users with access to the content they need at any time, from any place, and on any device is important. During this webinar, experts from the Microsoft Core Services Engineering and Operations (CSEO) team answers audience questions about our strategy for file management across mobile web, sync and sharing using OneDrive, SharePoint and Microsoft Teams.


BLOG ROUNDUP

This post includes all the SharePoint and related tech updates that rolled out in November 2019. This is the all-inclusive roadmap release recap for all things SharePoint and related technology. Highlighted features include SharePoint home sites, Save for later functionality, support for sensitivity labels in SharePoint and OneDrive, a new files experience in Teams, and many more. All the features listed began rolling out to Targeted Release customers in Office 365 as of November 2019 (possibly early December 2019).

We hope you had as much fun at Microsoft Ignite 2019 as we did! Thank you to everyone who joined us for keynotes, breakout and theater sessions, and conversations on the expo floor. We announced many new Microsoft Teams functionalities and want to make sure you have everything you need to know in one location. We announced new capabilities: Private channels, multiwindow meetings and chats, Tasks in Teams, new integrations between Teams and other Microsoft 365 apps like Outlook and Yammer – just to name a few, as well as firstline and healthcare industry updates! Check out our “What’s New” blog to learn about everything we announced. We also have great new features for IT Admins, such as policy packages, advisor for Teams, and managed meeting rooms. | Related: Get the most out of Teams for Education: Check out these how-to videos to help you save time, boost collaboration, and build student-centered learning environments

We are excited to announce a few new enhancements to Office 365 Message Encryption that help broaden protection and simplify reading protected messages. Updates include: (1) Support for PDF attachments – previously only Office documents were supported, (2) Support for viewing protected content sent to shared mailboxes, and (3) Outlook pre-licensing for Mac. All of these updates are now available. | Resource: Office 365 Message Encryption FAQ

Office 365 groups expiration policy now includes auto-renewal based on activity! About a year ago, we shipped expiration capability for Office 365 groups, which allows you to retire unused groups. That was a great first step, but we knew we could make the experience even better. So we’re announcing that the following actions will lead to automatic renewal of the groups, which are configured with the expiration policy: (1) SharePoint—View, Edit, Download, Move, Share, and Upload Files, (2) Outlook—Join group, Read/write group message, and Like a message, or (3) Microsoft Teams—Visit a Teams channel. If you have already configured the Office 365 expiration policy for groups, you’ll notice this change applied immediately to those groups. | Resource: How to configure the expiration policy for Office 365 groups

Following an incredible Ignite conference in November, we’d like to share a short summary of the product enhancements that were announced. Below you’ll find links to the full Ignite sessions as well as a few other helpful links, so please take a look! At Ignite we announced new recommended settings for Exchange Online Protection and Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection in both a standard and strict variant. You can also try out the Office 365 ATP Recommended Configuration Analyzer in your environment. Prior to Ignite, we announced general availability of Automated Incident Response (AIR), and at Ignite we showcased this capability and demonstrated its power. The Compromised Users report in the Security and Compliance Center, alerts and investigation graph help identify suspicious user activity and potential compromise. Last, but certainly not least, ATP Evaluation mode is currently in private preview.

It’s been a busy year for Microsoft Search, here’s the 2019 recap from Microsoft Search and the year ahead. When you need to find something to get work done, what do you do? If you’re like many people, you look through your personal files or company intranet to find what you need. If you don’t know or remember enough about the document you need, your search experience can be difficult and time consuming. The time you put into searching could instead be used to complete your current task. Search shouldn’t hold you back, but rather propel you forward to do more in less time. We believe that for search to work, search needs to evolve – to free you from searching and allow you to discover, and as a result allow you to find your free time.  This is where Microsoft Search in Microsoft 365 comes in. We’re looking at search differently. We don’t want to have you ask yourself where you put your keys, we want to tell you where they are. Microsoft Search is your default search experience across Microsoft 365 apps and services, built with AI technologies from Microsoft Bing and intelligence and insights from the Microsoft Graph, Microsoft Search delivers contextually relevant results, when you need them, – whether in Microsoft Word or SharePoint, Microsoft Search is there to help you get answers to your questions and make more time for you – where you’re already working, across the applications and services you use every day.


NOTEWORTHY

Updated: 02 December 2019 | The October 2019 updates for the Microsoft 365 admin center, which were announced at Ignite 2019, are now published. A few highlights include: (1) updates to role-based access control, (2) the ability to report an issue that is not showing up on your Service Health dashboard, (3) view “viral subscriptions” your users have been trying, (4) creating templates for user creation, and (5) Office “What’s New” management, currently in preview.

Microsoft 365 Enterprise is much more than just a large group of integrated features and services. Think of it as a box of building blocks, some of which are required for a foundation and some that can be used to create buildings on the campus of an organization. The buildings are designed for different purposes but serve larger organizational needs and goals. Transform the building blocks into services and features of Microsoft 365 Enterprise and when combining them, you get targeted scenarios that provide direct business value beyond the use of the services and features alone. To this end, we have documented three scenarios that illustrate this capability: (1) Microsoft Teams for highly regulated data, (2) SharePoint team sites for highly regulated data, and (3) Empower remote workers.

Published: 03 December 2019 | When Microsoft started the rollout to Microsoft Teams-only mode in the fall of 2018, Sarah Lundy was anticipating a tough trek for the company’s largest-ever internal upgrade. Instead, in March 2019, when Microsoft’s internal upgrade from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams was complete, the results were pleasantly positive. It was one of the smoothest upgrades Microsoft has ever had, thanks in large part to support from leaders and the use of old and new ways of marketing to get the word out across the company. Critical help came from grassroots champions who believed in the product and from Microsoft Teams itself, which created new ways for employees to work. So, what did it take to get Microsoft ready for Teams? It was not done overnight. Applying lessons learned from previous launches, the team knew it needed to raise awareness around the value of Teams.

During Microsoft Ignite 2019, we had a bunch of Microsoft employees and Exchange MVPs in the Exchange and Outlook booths on the show floor. We send them there to answer our customer’s questions. Unsurprisingly, when you get a lot of questions (and we got many), some of them come up more frequently than others. We are going to assume here that the questions that we got in the booth might very well be the same questions that many of our wider Exchange and Outlook communities have too. So, we will answer them here. Obviously, these aren’t all the questions we got, just those we heard often and we thought might be useful to a larger audience. Sample questions include: “When can I uninstall that last Exchange Server on-premises (I currently need it to manage my users)?, “I’m already in hybrid; should I switch to Modern hybrid (using the Hybrid Agent)?, various public folder migration questions, and more. | Related: Upcoming change in the way migration batches for public folders are created

Microsoft 365 is one of the world’s largest enterprise and consumer cloud services, and customer trust is the foundation of our business: customers and people all around the world rely on us to securely operate and maintain some of their most critical assets. To maintain that trust, we invest heavily in securing the infrastructure that powers our services and hosts this data on behalf of our customers – keeping customer data private and secure is THE top priority for our business. This post, and the other ones we’ll share in this series, will shed light on what we do behind the scenes to secure the infrastructure powering the Microsoft 365 service. To secure the service for our customers given these challenges, we focus on these three areas: (1) Building tools and architecture that protect the service from compromise, (2) Building the capability to detect and respond to threats if a successful attack does occur, and (3) Continuous assessment and validation of the security posture of the service. The rest of this post we will briefly explore each of these areas… | Whitepaper: Behind the Scenes: Securing the Infrastructure Powering the Microsoft 365 Service

We’re excited to let you know about the public preview of Azure AD Connect cloud provisioning! With cloud provisioning, customers can easily provision identities from multiple disconnected AD forest to Azure AD. Azure AD Connect cloud provisioning moves the heavy lifting for provisioning from AD to Azure AD to the cloud with lightweight agents on-premises and provides the following benefits: (1) Helps with provisioning from disconnected AD forests to Azure AD—Organizations may have disconnected AD forests due to mergers and acquisitions or remote office locations, (2) Reduces on-premises footprint—The provisioning agent is a lightweight agent with the sync complexity (configuration and processing) in the cloud, and (3) Enterprise grade high availability—Multiple provisioning agents can be deployed to ensure high availability for provisioning especially for password hash sync. Setting up cloud provisioning is a two-step process. The first step is to install the lightweight provisioning agent on a domain joined server (or server VM). The second step is to configure cloud provisioning in the Azure portal.

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