Office 365 Weekly Digest | 2020-11

Welcome to the March 8 – 14, 2020 edition of the Office 365 Weekly Digest.

Eight features were added to the Office 365 Roadmap last week, including Teams, SharePoint, Office 365 Admin, and Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP).

There are lots of new sessions for existing event series, and there are also new customer immersion experience sessions available. A new “Microsoft Teams: Master working from home” webinar series kicks off on Tuesday, March 17th and (currently) runs through the end of March 2020. There is also a new “Ask Microsoft Anything (AMA)” for Microsoft Teams Government on Thursday, March 19th at 9:30am Pacific. The spotlight event of the week is the Power Platform Online Conference that runs from 6am – 3pm Pacific on Friday, March 20th.

The Blog Roundup for last week is filled with content on working remotely – with Microsoft Teams, staying secure, using Live Events, coordinating critical communications, and how Teams can be used for remote learning. There’s also a summary of the current Microsoft Information Protection & Compliance Preview Programs.

Wrapping up the post are noteworthy items on tools available to troubleshoot issues in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business, new tools to block legacy authentication, new Profile Card customization through Microsoft Graph (Beta), and recent improvements to FindTime.


OFFICE 365 ROADMAP

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

Note: The Estimated Release dates listed below are subject to change. The direct link provided for each item can be used to determine if the estimated release date has been updated since the time of publication.

DescriptionFeature IDEstimated ReleaseDetails
OneDrive for Business usage reporting for GCC High tenants62325March CY2020Added: 09 March 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Office 365 Admin, OneDrive
The OneDrive for Business user activity report helps you understand OneDrive activity by looking at user interaction with files on OneDrive. This will be added to the Microsoft 365 Admin Center for GCC High tenants.
Microsoft Teams usage reporting for GCC High tenants62327March CY2020Added: 09 March 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Office 365 Admin, Teams
The Microsoft Teams user activity and device usage reports helps you understand Teams activity and what platforms it is being used on in your tenant. This will be added to the Microsoft 365 Admin Center for GCC High tenants.
Office 365 ATP, Secure by Default: Do not allow for domains that fail authentication62398April CY2020Added: 12 March 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Office 365 ATP
We see lots of cases where configuration of our protection stack has enabled malicious content to be inadvertently delivered to end users. We’re working on a few features that will help address this problem. The second phase of this is blocking domains that fail authentication. The Antispam policy allows administrators to “Allow” domains regardless of the reputation of the domain. We’re changing our policies to not honor Allow rules when the domain fails authentication. This can be resolved by either addressing the authentication concerns with the sender domain, or adding a transport rule to allow the domain.
Cumulative analytics for Hubs in SharePoint57160Q1 CY2020Added: 12 March 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: SharePoint
Hub owners can now analyze aggregate usage analytics for their SharePoint hub sites, including all associated sites. Going to the site usage page for a hub site will automatically display usage data (including total visits, unique viewers, top sites, popular content) for all associated sites in the hub.
SharePoint integrations with Power Automate and Power Apps to GCC High tenants62437Q2 CY2020Added: 12 March 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: SharePoint
In this update, we are enabling you and your users to create/manage custom flows with Power Automate and custom forms/apps with Power Apps for SharePoint lists and libraries in the GCC-High environment.
Device Management support for Collaboration Bars62446March CY2020Added: 13 March 2020
Status: Rolling out
App / Service: Teams
We are adding support for managing Collaboration Bars in Teams Admin Center. Admin users will have the capability to manage “Collaboration Bar” devices from Teams Admin Center. Also, to accommodate newer device types, we have re-aligned the interface under the Devices tab. The arrangement is done to ensure the revised UI is simpler to navigate and extensible. Now, the left pane will show all the device types: Phones, Teams Rooms, Collaboration Bars. IT admins will be able to create configuration profiles for individual device types. Phones will be further classified into desk phones, common area phones, and conference phones, and shown separately in the UI.
Office 365 ATP Request Release workflow62449March CY2020Added: 13 March 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Office 365 ATP
We’ve added a way for end users to triage quarantined phish messages. We understand that managing false positives is important to ensuring email is delivered appropriately, and in the past, end users weren’t granted access to the quarantine to view messages. We’ve introduced an option to grant end users read-only access to the quarantine to view quarantined messages and request that an admin release messages to the inbox.
Quarantine – Custom Policy and Folder62450March CY2020Added: 13 March 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Office 365
Previously, quarantine behavior was configured through each individual filtering policy. To reduce complexity, we’ve moved new and existing quarantine parameters into a standalone Quarantine policy.

UPCOMING EVENTS

When: Monday, March 16, 2020 at 9:00am PT | Update: Due to the evolving requests from customers in light of COVID-19 anticipated impact this webcast has been extended to 2 hours with 2 distinct portions. The first half is applicable to any organization looking at the potential impact of COVID-19 and how to ensure organizational responsiveness and business continuity. The second half will focus on health care providers looking at patient community outreach and virtual consultation. | In the course of regular business operations, any organization situations may arise that can serve to interrupt business flow and continuity. Employees may be unable to get to offices. Offices may be shut down due to physical plant failure. Whatever the reason, organizations need the ability to manage such situational incidents and be able to communicate with, and engage employees, to ensure business continuity. Microsoft’s Healthcare and Life Sciences group will show how organizations can cope with disruptive situations and ensure business continuity irrespective of the situation using Microsoft Teams and the additional Microsoft 365 Services of SharePoint Online, Yammer, Stream, and more. Be sure to add this event to your calendar!

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 here.

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. You can access the recorded version of this session on-demand here.

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.

Many organizations are empowering their entire workforce with best-in-class tools that enable them to deliver superior customer experience and optimize operational productivity. In this session, we’ll explore how Teams can help you unlock the full potential of your Firstline Workforce and connect your entire organization. Featuring examples from manufacturing, retail, hospitality, and transportation industries, we’ll discuss how Microsoft Teams provides a single experience for productive conversations, smooth flow of information, simplified schedule management in a compliant and secure environment. Join us to learn how to expand your enterprise in ways you never thought possible by integrating technology into every aspect of your business.

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).

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 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. You can access the recorded version of this session on-demand here.

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.

Working from home offers the opportunity to maintain your workflow while allowing flexibility in how and where you get your work done. Shifting to a remote worker status can be an adjustment as you look for ways to balance home and work life, maintain focus and be fully productive. Microsoft Teams can help you stay connected to your team while providing access to all of the tools and resources you need to get your work done. Join us to learn tips that can help set you up for success as you transition into a ‘work from home’ scenario. During this session, we’ll share: (1) Guidance for setting up your home environment for work, (2) Best practices for maintaining your workflow while working at home, (3) Tips for staying connected to your team while remote, and (4) Insights for effectively supporting a remote team.

This session introduces you to the key activities needed to get started with adding applications, bots and connectors in Microsoft Teams today. Through a series of live demonstrations and best practices, you’ll leave this session with everything you need to start using apps in Teams. After this session, you will be able to: (1) See how applications, bots and connectors can help you be more efficient while working in Teams, (2) Select an application, bot or connector for your workspace, (3) Install an application, bot or connector, and (4) Use an application, bot or connector in your workspace.

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.

Please join us for the Azure AD Webinar Series. Our engineering team is hosting these (free) sessions on deploying and configuring Azure Active Directory.  In this webinar, you will learn how to enable new customer experiences with Azure AD B2C..

When: Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 9:30am PT | We want to hear from you and answer your questions around using Microsoft Teams in the government space! An AMA is a live online event similar to a “YamJam” on Yammer or an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit. This event is open to all and we’ll have members of the Microsoft product, engineering, and licensing teams standing by to provide answers. Join in the Government AMA space, and be sure to 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.

When: Friday, March 20, 2020 from 6am – 3pm PT | Come and join some of the best teachers, trainers and Power Platform MVP’s from around the world as they bring 9 hours of back-to-back training and tutorial sessions live and on-demand to you! The day will consist of 18 unique 30 minute sessions ranging from beginner at the start of the day all the way to advanced content toward the end of the day. This ensures that no matter what your skill set is, you will be able to get valuable insights and new skills to help take your #LessCodeMorePower game to the next level. Join us for a fun day of laughs and learning, right from the comfort of your own living room or office!  The full conference schedule is available here.

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.

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.

Please join us for the Azure AD Webinar Series. Our engineering team is hosting these (free) sessions on deploying and configuring Azure Active Directory.  In this webinar, we will introduce tools to govern the lifecycle of your user and guest identities in your Azure AD and Office 365 deployment.

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.

Please join us for the Azure AD Webinar Series. Our engineering team is hosting these (free) sessions on deploying and configuring Azure Active Directory.  In this webinar, you will learn how to interpret Azure AD logs, integrate with your SIEM tools, and gather insights about your Azure AD service.

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.

Please join us for the Azure AD Webinar Series. Our engineering team is hosting these (free) sessions on deploying and configuring Azure Active Directory.  In this webinar, you will learn how to assess and implement a modern approach to secure your organization identities with Azure AD.

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.

When: Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at 9:00am PT | We are very excited to announce a Microsoft 365 ‘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 Microsoft 365 AMA space, and be sure to add the event to your calendar. We look forward to seeing you there!


BLOG ROUNDUP

How do you move tens of thousands of employees to remote work overnight? With the COVID-19 outbreak spreading around the world, that was the big question on our minds at Microsoft last week. Then, last Wednesday, we just did it—sending out an email that asked approximately 50,000 Microsoft employees in the Seattle area to work from home if they could. We were already heavy Teams users, but in our first fully remote days usage among Microsoft employees in the U.S. went up significantly. By the end of the day Thursday, chat was up 50 percent week over week and meetings were up 37 percent. And we’re seeing usage upticks among customers, too, as workers everywhere adjust to meeting, chatting, and collaborating exclusively online. We want to help everyone meet this challenge. As the team behind Teams, we have spent a lot of time learning about the best ways to make working from home productive and healthy.  A quick note before you read on: These tips are part of our ongoing effort to help everyone stay connected and productive during this challenging time.

Related:

With many employees suddenly working from home, there are things an organization and employees can do to help remain productive without increasing cybersecurity risk. While employees in this new remote work situation will be thinking about how to stay in touch with colleagues and coworkers using chat applications, shared documents, and replacing planned meetings with conference calls, they may not be thinking about cyberattacks. CISOs and admins need to look urgently at new scenarios and new threat vectors as their organizations become a distributed organization overnight, with less time to make detailed plans or run pilots. Based on our experiences working with customers who have had to pivot to new working environments quickly, we want to share some of those best practices that help ensure the best protection. | Related: Top 5 ways Azure Active Directory can help you enable remote work

During times of potential business disruption organizations look to deliver large scale messaging to employees as a part of business continuity communications. Organizations with Office 365 have a great capability on hand for the best delivery of such communications, Microsoft 365 Live Events. Live Events delivers highly scalable real-time video delivery of communications with the capacity to facilitate live Q&A and more. This video includes a walk-through of the three flavors of Microsoft 365 Live Events, key tips on delivery, and also some IT management considerations around eCDN and VPN connections. | Related: Digital transformation of live events: Bob Bejan’s observations from the frontline

If you have deployed or upgraded end user experiences in the past, you’ll probably recognize many of the steps from other roll-outs. For the best adoption results, we recommend an incremental and measured approach across three phases: Start, Experiment, and Scale. Start – it’s time to establish a multi-disciplined team to assess your organizational readiness at both a technical and user level, as you roll out Teams. It’s not enough to pilot Teams in IT before you roll it out broadly. Experiment – With your core team in place and baseline information about your organization’s readiness, you can move on to building the foundation for piloting Teams services to specific groups or business units. This is where you’ll want to make sure that you have the right policies and governance models in place. Scale – With the early adopter program running during the Experiment phase, you gathered the experiences and skills to broaden your deployment of Microsoft Teams. When expanding to a broad roll-out, you’ll also need to expand your stakeholder groups and implementation team. Consider thinking about potential updates to your governance policies as you add more departments or regions to your roll-out. You’ll also want to set organization-wide goals by working with your roll-out team and your executive sponsor to identify the right metrics to measure success at a company level. | Related: Microsoft Mechanics: Drive Microsoft Teams User Adoption

Welcome to the MIP and Compliance previews page! Here you will find details of the various preview programs being managed by the MIP&C CXE team including the program status. This page won’t include upcoming preview programs so if you have any interest in working with us on new features as they are close to release make sure you register your interest at https://aka.ms/MIPC/JoinPreviews for both MIP and Compliance previews.

Related:


NOTEWORTHY

At Microsoft, our aim is to help you in your cloud journey, all the way from initial use to running full production workloads on SharePoint with confidence. Software fails, hardware breaks and you can run into issues when trying new things. That’s why it’s important that you’re able to diagnose and resolve issues quickly. To support those efforts, the SharePoint support team is pleased to share new features in the M365 Admin Center to help you diagnose and resolve issues. Administrators may have started to notice our diagnostics starting to render within the M365 Admin Center support portal for certain text queries as early as December 2018.

In 2019 we announced the MyAnalytics focus plan, which helps you block time every day for distraction-free work. We’re excited to announce that the focus plan is now available for all MyAnalytics users. Productivity preferences are different for everyone, but experts on deep work report that setting aside regular blocks of time to focus on challenging work can have massive benefits. With the focus plan, MyAnalytics will help you establish a daily focus time routine. The automatic booking algorithm will prioritize booking morning hours, if they are open, so you can be at your peak capacity for tackling your most challenging tasks. To help you concentrate, your status in Teams will automatically switch to “Focusing” during booked focus time. You will only get notifications for messages that are urgent or from contacts with priority access.

People are the heart and soul of your company, but finding the right people at the right time isn’t always easy. Sometimes you’re looking for more than just a name and face, maybe it’s a skill, location, or something else. In Office 365 when you select someone’s name or picture in Outlook or other Office apps and services, you can find information related to them on their profile card. To see a profile card in Outlook mobile, tap a person’s picture or name. To see the profile card in other apps, hover or click the person’s photo or name. To see your own profile card, select your own profile picture or name. The profile card is also sometimes referred to as a contact card or people card. However, profile cards are limited in the amount of information they display. Perhaps you want to include custom properties related to your company or a person’s role to help people find the right person or expertise. We’re pleased to announce we’ll be adding the ability to add custom information to a person’s profile card through the Microsoft Graph Beta. This allows an administrator to customize people’s profile cards by adding properties according to your business needs. The new Beta experience will provide a simple way to supplement a person’s profile card via the Microsoft Graph.

If you’re a regular reader of the Azure Active Directory Identity blog, you know we’ve been advocating for admins to enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for a while. In one of our previous posts, we showed how vulnerable passwords are to attack and why enabling MFA reduces the likelihood of being compromised by more than 99.9 percent. For MFA to be effective, you also need to block legacy authentication. This is because legacy authentication protocols like POP, SMTP, IMAP, and MAPI can’t enforce MFA, making them preferred entry points for adversaries attacking your organization. In September 2019, Exchange Online announced the deprecation of legacy authentication prior to its removal on October 13, 2020. Disabling legacy authentication for users is a must-do on your identity security checklist. In this blog post, we walk through all the steps you need to take to secure your organization and introduce three changes we’ve made in Azure AD to make your job easier.

As many of you might know, we move mailboxes between different databases in the cloud to balance the load. This is done daily through local move requests automatically triggered by our Mailbox Load Balancing service. A few years ago, we launched the GoLocal program, enabling customer data to reside in datacenters local to their geographic location (North America, Europe, Asia/Pacific, etc.). As part of this program we also exposed New-MoveRequest to tenant admins to help them expedite the moves of individual or small sets of mailboxes. Currently the service that load balances mailboxes is used to manage these moves, and over the years our service has become quite efficient at managing the load, more so than tenant admins utilizing the admin portal or PowerShell. As a result, we have decided to disable the use of New-MoveRequest for manual moves within our datacenters and only allow New-MoveRequest to be used for migrating to and off of Exchange Online.

For users who schedule meetings with people outside of your organization (sales, HR, supply chain, etc.), it could take up to an hour of emailing back and forth to settle on a time of meetings. In addition to the lack of free/busy availability, additional number of attendees, time zones, and other factors could increase the scheduling complexity further. FindTime can help reduce this time because it allows the meeting organizer to propose multiple potential time slots for attendees and they can vote on which slot fits better with their available time and in their local time zone. Unlike most services with similar features, FindTime is included as part of all Office and Microsoft 365 Business and Enterprise licenses. FindTime also have access to your organization’s free/busy availability, so you can choose slots based on your colleagues’ availability too! You’ve told us multiple times that you wanted to deploy FindTime but were blocked by its data storage infrastructure. We heard you and so we re-wrote the entire back-end infrastructure for FindTime, we built a new service within the Office 365 compliance boundary! Wait, what? More specifically, the organizer’s poll data is now stored in their mailbox and will not leave your tenant’s environment (woohoo EXO!).

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