Office 365 Weekly Digest | 2020-51

Season’s Greetings and welcome to the December 14 – 20, 2020 edition of the Office 365 Weekly Digest.

There were thirty-one additions to the Office 365 Roadmap last week, including updates for Teams, Outlook (web), Microsoft 365 Compliance, Forms, Excel, and Microsoft Information Protection. Due to the large number of items, all of the roadmap items are in a separate post this week, Office 365 Roadmap Update | 2020-51.

A few pre and post holiday sessions have been added for a few of the Teams related event series. One brand new event has also been added have been added, the “Getting Started with Windows Virtual Desktop” customer immersion experience. This week’s spotlight event is the “Integrate apps to do more in Microsoft Teams” webinar on Monday, December 21st at 2pm Pacific.

Highlights from last week’s blogs include the general availability of breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams, information on the launch of the Microsoft Teams preview experience, details on new ways to celebrate holiday festivities with Microsoft Teams, and an update on the name changes for the Planner app in Teams.

Wrapping up the post are noteworthy items details on changing to search in SharePoint Online, a recap of what’s new in Teams phones for December 2020, information on securing remote work by embracing Zero Trust, and recommendations for delivering a productive and seamless user experiences with Azure Active Directory.

NOTE: Typically there isn’t much content published during the holiday week. As a result, there will not be a weekly digest posted on Monday, December 28, 2020. I am going to take a little extra time and spend it with my family. Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season!


OFFICE 365 ROADMAP

Thirty-one features were added to the Microsoft 365 Roadmap last week, so for this week the roadmap updates are detailed in a separate post, Office 365 Roadmap Update | 2020-51.


UPCOMING EVENTS

Microsoft Teams can help your employees stay connected and collaborate with each other, especially in the current unprecedented time where remote work is a reality of employees around the world. Being able to chat, do video meetings and collaborate on Office documents within Teams can help companies stay productive. Whether you are a small business, a non-profit or a large organization, you can get started with Teams within Microsoft 365 or Office 365 suite – even before deploying any other Office app or service. Join Microsoft Teams experts as we review Teams implementation for collaboration, chat and meetings. We’ll share key configurations, considerations, best practices, and resources to get your users up and running quickly. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Recognize key success factors for technical and user readiness, (2) Identify pre-requisites and tenant setup for your environment, (3) Install the Teams clients appropriate for your organization, (4) Configure policies that enable your preferred user experiences, and (5) Leverage collaboration features to enhance remote work scenarios.

Whether you are switching from Skype for Business or brand new, join us to learn the basics of how to use Teams to chat with your colleagues and collaborate on projects. Through a series of live demonstrations and best practices, you’ll leave this session with everything you need to start using Teams. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Set up your profile and notifications in Microsoft Teams, (2) Use chat and calling for 1:1 and group conversations, sharing and collaboration in Microsoft Teams, (3) Schedule and conduct meetings in Microsoft Teams, and (4) Align your team and teamwork in Microsoft Teams.

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.

Do you want to get more done in Teams? Receive targeted and timely updates? Access services directly through Teams? Apps let you complete tasks, receive updates and communicate. 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.

Designed for those who are already familiar with Microsoft Teams, our ‘Go Deeper’ sessions offer insights and best practices. Learn how Teams can help organize your workday and make it easier to stay connected with colleagues. Explore ways to determine the best approach for creating workspaces for projects and workgroups. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Determine the best approach for your collaboration needs (chat versus teams & channels), (2) Create workspaces for your team to provide the best teamwork experience​, and (3) Determine best practices in Microsoft Teams​ to enhance productivity. Note: This session was previously called ‘Learn tips for taking Microsoft Teams to the next level – Part 1’.

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.

Designed for those who are already familiar with Microsoft Teams, our ‘Go Deeper’ sessions offer insights and best practices. Learn how Teams can help organize your workday and make it easier to stay connected with colleagues. Learn tips and tricks for managing and organizing work and communications in Teams. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Leverage formatting best practices to help get your messages noticed (and responded to), (2) Easily find files, chats and projects, (3) Implement strategies to manage and organize your work, and (4) Simplify your workday. Note: This session was previously called ‘Learn tips for taking Microsoft Teams to the next level – Part 2’.

Businesses are shifting to a desktop experience that empowers IT and enables employees to be more productive and secure, but not all employees sit in an office or always work from secure locations.  With Windows Virtual Desktop, you can set up a scalable and flexible environment to unlock mobility, productivity and security. This new 2-hour session will give you the opportunity to get hands-on experience with Windows Virtual Desktop. During this session, you will explore how to: (1) Create your first Windows Virtual Desktop architecture, (2) Create images and assign them to users, (3) Operationalize the virtual desktop infrastructure with monitoring, scaling, and image management, and (4) Explore security best practices within Windows Virtual Desktop. Each session is limited to 15 participants, reserve your seat now.

In this training, you will learn how to protect your organization’s identities, data, applications, and devices across on-premises, cloud, and mobile – end to-end using the latest tools and guidance. This event covers intermediate to advanced content (level 200-300) and includes the following technologies: Threat Protection, Information Protection, Identify and Access Management, Security Management. In this workshop you will: (1) Increase level of understanding on how Microsoft delivers security across Microsoft 365, (2) Increase knowledge of security features and solutions, and (3) Connect with local technical experts and FastTrack resources.

Remote work requires smarter workflows. Microsoft 365 Virtual Training Day: Building Microsoft Teams Integrations and Workflows shows you how the Microsoft Teams developer platform makes it easy to integrate your apps and services to improve productivity, make decisions faster and create collaboration around existing content and workflows. Join us to learn how to build apps for Teams and create integrated, people-centered solutions that can transform productivity in your organization, whether you’re on-site or working remotely. During this two-part training event, you will explore how to: (1) Build modern enterprise-grade collaboration solutions with Microsoft Teams, (2) Transform everyday business processes with Microsoft 365 platform integrations for Power Platform, SharePoint and Microsoft Office, and (3) Use the wealth of data in Microsoft Graph to extend Microsoft 365 experiences and build unique intelligent applications.

To support your efforts to deliver and deploy updates to the Windows 10 devices being used by remote, onsite, and hybrid workers across your organization, and manage those devices effectively, we are continuing our series of weekly “office hours” for IT professionals here on Tech Community. During office hours, we will have a broad group of product experts, servicing experts, and engineers representing Windows, Microsoft Endpoint Manager (Microsoft Intune, Configuration Manager), security, FastTrack, and more. They will be monitoring the Windows 10 servicing space and standing by to provide guidance, discuss strategies and tactics, and, of course, answer any specific questions you may have. Office hours are text-based; there is no audio or virtual meeting component. To post a question, you just need to be a member of the Tech Community. Simply visit the Windows 10 servicing space and click Start a new conversation. At the start of office hours, we’ll pin a post outlining the individuals on hand, and their areas of expertise. Can’t attend at the designated time? Again, no problem. Post a question in the Windows 10 servicing space up to 24 hours in advance and we’ll make sure we review it during office hours.

Leverage the intelligent and integrated Microsoft solutions to help your organization achieve its compliance goals by joining the Microsoft 365 Virtual Training Day: Meeting Organizational Compliance Requirements free one day online training session. Level 200-300 (Intermediate to Advanced) content. Technology covered: Data classification, labeling, governance, policy violation remediation, eDiscovery, audit, risk assessment. In this session you will: (1) Learn to use intelligence to identify, protect and govern your important data, (2) Learn to intelligently identify and remediate critical insider threats and risks, (3) Learn how to use the latest eDiscovery and audit capabilities to find relevant data and respond efficiently, and (4) Learn how to simplify and automate IT risk assessment.


BLOG ROUNDUP

This is the second in a series of blog posts focused on helping you get the most out of your meetings and calls with Microsoft Teams. Millions of people around the world rely on Teams to collaborate via meetings, calls, and chat. In this series, we share best practices and highlight new features in Teams and the Microsoft 365 service designed to help your teams achieve more together. As many of us have experienced, meetings often get derailed by unintentional distractions. An echo or unidentifiable background noise cuts in. Someone’s audio breaks up while they’re making an important point. A person suddenly gets booted off the call. Poor audio and visual quality can hijack a meeting, inhibiting focus, wasting time, and in the long term, causing meeting fatigue. However, in the moments when technology fails us, it seems there’s nothing we can do but keep going and hope the problem resolves quickly. With Microsoft Teams, we want to give people more control over the digital quality of their meetings. Born in the cloud and built with Microsoft AI at its core, Teams uses AI to remove unwanted sounds, monitor quality and adapt as needed, give users more information and proactive actions, and provide insight into issues before they disrupt meetings.

Related:

Microsoft Information Protection (MIP) is a built-in, intelligent, unified, and extensible solution to protect sensitive data in documents and emails across your organization. MIP provides a unified set of capabilities to know and protect your data and prevent data loss across Microsoft 365 apps (e.g., Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook), services (e.g., Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, Exchange, Power BI), on-premises locations (e.g., SharePoint Server, on-premises files shares), devices, and third-party apps and services (e.g., Box and Dropbox). We are excited to announce availability for new MIP capabilities: (1) General availability of Exact Data Match user interface in Microsoft 365 compliance center and configurable match, (2) External sharing policies for Teams and SharePoint sites, in public preview, (3) Customer key support for Teams, in public preview, and (4) Expansion of MIP sensitivity labels support to Power BI desktop application (PBIX), in public preview.

Power BI is the Magic Quadrant Leader among analytics and business intelligence platforms and over 200,000 customers around the world use Power BI and bring 40 petabytes of data into Power BI every month 1 and now, we’re building on that momentum with Power BI in Microsoft Search. Microsoft Search transforms the way people in your organization find the info they need—no matter where you are in your cloud journey. Either integrated with Microsoft 365 or as a standalone solution, Microsoft Search is a secure, easily managed, enterprise search experience that works across all of your applications and services to deliver more relevant search results and increase productivity. With Power BI search in Microsoft Search we’re making it easier to find Power BI artifacts such as reports and dashboards, by expanding the ability to search across these artifacts in your favorite productivity apps including , Office.com, Microsoft Bing, and the search box in.

In this atypical year, many of us have discovered a new sense of appreciation for our computers as critical tools to get work done. Now more than ever, we are all looking for new ways to be productive on our laptops and desktops. At Microsoft, we are committed to delivering great Microsoft 365 experiences that help our customers work easier and faster on their favorite devices. With this in mind, we want to share some of the latest Microsoft 365 innovations that can make you even more productive on a Mac. We are excited to announce that we are releasing new versions of many of our Microsoft 365 for Mac apps that run natively on Macs with M1. Over the past months, we have redesigned the experiences in our flagship apps for Mac with a focus on simplicity to improve ease of use. Another area of focus is to make our Microsoft 365 apps work the way you do. Through many new innovations on our Mac apps, our goal is to help you get work done in more simple and intuitive ways. The shift to remote work highlights the need for teams to collaborate with agility, while ensuring sensitive data stays secure and meets compliance requirements. Our Microsoft 365 app teams have been busy getting modern collaboration and compliance capabilities ready so you can work from home more effectively on your Mac.


NOTEWORTHY

Our internal digital security team at Microsoft spends a fair amount of time talking to enterprise customers who face challenges similar to the ones we do when it comes to managing and securing our globally complex enterprise using a Zero Trust security model. While every organization is unique, and Zero Trust isn’t a “one size fits all” approach, nearly every CIO, CTO, or CISO that we talk to is curious to learn more about our best practices. We thought it would be useful to share our answers to the Top 10 Zero Trust questions from customers across the globe.

We are excited to announce that the Simplified Ribbon is now Generally Available in Excel for the web. The Simplified Ribbon has a refreshed modern design which makes it easy to use while retaining all the functionality and power of the classic Excel Ribbon. Going forward both the Simplified and Classic ribbon are available, and you can choose your preferred experience with a single click.

Microsoft Stream (Classic) now includes new features that deliver better video experiences across all of Microsoft 365. The Microsoft Stream team has replaced our old embed player with an improved version called Fast Embed. This means users will experience faster-loading times for all Stream videos embedded across Microsoft 365 applications. We’ve rolled out webcam-only recording to Stream (Classic) customers. This update gives everyone an additional way to create videos for training, knowledge sharing and communications across the organization without downloading additional tools or software.

Many customers connect their private corporate networks to Microsoft 365 to benefit their users, devices, and applications. However, there are many well-documented ways these private networks can be compromised. As we have seen in recent events related to the SolarWinds compromise, on-premises compromise can propagate to the cloud. Because Microsoft 365 acts as the “nervous system” for many organizations, it is critical to protect it from compromised on-premises infrastructure. This document will show you how to configure your systems to protect your Microsoft 365 cloud environment from on-premises compromise. We primarily focus on Azure AD tenant configuration settings, the ways Azure AD tenants can be safely connected to on-premises systems, and the tradeoffs required to operate your systems in ways that protect your cloud systems from on-premises compromise. We strongly recommend you implement this guidance to secure your Microsoft 365 cloud environment.

Because our identity services are vital to keep customer businesses running, resilience and security are and always will be our top priority. In the last year, we’ve seen a surge in demand as organizations moved workforces online and schools enabled study from home—in fact, some national education systems moved entire student populations online with Azure AD. We are pleased to announce that we are taking the next step in our commitment to the resilience and availability of Azure AD. On April 1, 2021, we will update our public service level agreement (SLA) to promise 99.99% uptime for Azure AD user authentication, an improvement over our previous 99.9% SLA. This change is the result of a significant and ongoing program of investment in continually raising the bar for resilience of the Azure AD service. We will also share our roadmap for the next generation of resilience investments for Azure AD and Azure AD B2C in early 2021. In conversations with our customers, we learned that the most critical promise of our service is ensuring that every user can sign in to the apps and services they need without interruption. To deliver on this promise, we are updating the definition of Azure AD SLA availability to include only user authentication and federation (and removing administrative features). This focus on critical user authentication scenarios aligns our engineering investments with the vital functions that must stay healthy for customers businesses to run. | Related: A “quick wins” approach to securing Azure Active Directory and Office 365 and improving your security posture

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