Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Monday, September 25, 2017

Microsoft Intelligent Communications Announcement

There was a big announcement today about Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business.

The big announcement is that Microsoft is uniting the Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business to bring together a new vision of intelligent communications.  Microsoft Teams is a core Microsoft’s vision for communications and bringing the Skype for Business capability into this solution will further enable communication within groups and teams of people.

So, what are some important facts?  This is what I picked up from the reference items below:
  • Skype for Business is not going away; Skype for Business is being incorporated and will remain a key solution for Microsoft.
  • Microsoft Teams will evolve as the primary client for intelligent communications for Office 365.
  • Skype for Business brand will not be removed, and that brand will be surfaced up in the Microsoft Teams client.
  • The integration of Skype for Business Online capabilities to the Microsoft Teams user experience will not occur immediately.  Features such as Cloud PBX and voice capabilities to Cloud PBX will not occur until late CY18.
  • Skype for Business clients will remain supported for a long-time, so customers have time to transition.  Running both Microsoft Teams and the Skype for Business client will remain supported.  Customer administrators have control and choice of how to transition users to this new experience.
  • Microsoft recommends to start using the core capabilities of Microsoft Teams sooner than later to prepare yourself for this transition.
  • They are bringing together “conversation can be captured, transcribed, and time-coded, with closed captioning and voice recognition for attributing remarks to specific individuals”.  From what I can tell they are leveraging services used to support the new Microsoft Stream service with this.  Brilliant!
  • Skype for Business Server will still have another on-premise release due out in CY18 H2.
Announcement - https://blogs.office.com/en-us/2017/09/25/a-new-vision-for-intelligent-communications-in-office-365/
Intelligent Communications - http://skypeandteams.fasttrack.microsoft.com/
FAQs - https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/MicrosoftTeams/faq-journey

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Celebrating 10 Years!

I have reached a milestone; 10 years with 451 blog entries.  I started this blog in September 2007.  Over the years the blog evolved, starting out an app dev blog to now being focused on cloud strategy.  This blog has been truly valuable in my career development.  Learning about new solutions and communicating them outward has help me improve my writing and communication skills.  It has helped me learn new technologies and hone my thoughts.  In these 10 years, I have had two kids, worked at couple companies, landed at Microsoft for past 7 years, and have been part of Office 365 the entire time.  I am super excited to keep this going.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Office 365 Security Blog

If you ever want to read some fascinating articles about how Microsoft security protects the Office 365 service itself, I high recommend you read the Office 365 Security Blog - https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/office365security/

They recently had several articles on intrusion detection and DNS intrusion which were very interesting reads.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Office 365 Supervision

If you did not now, there was a recent announcement for a feature called Office 365 Supervision.  This feature is a “gem” of a feature for enterprise organizations that have complex compliance or regulatory requirements.  Office 365 Supervision feature is part of the Office 365 Advanced Data Governance (E5) service.

What Supervision provides is the ability to review (“supervise”) inbound/outbound data for your organization.  This is not a data loss prevention (DLP) solution; DLP is already provided through the Office 365 service.  What Supervision does is provide you the ability to create policies to monitor communications and designate reviewers who perform that monitoring (“supervision”).  Supervision can be done on more than just Office 365 data; if there is inbound/outbound data (including data going to Facebook, Twitter, etc.), these reviewers can review data that meets criteria. 

When creating a policy you have the ability to scope it to users, groups of users, and specify complex search criteria to identify the data.  For instance, you may have scenarios where you need to monitor how different groups within your organization talk with each other (i.e. make sure conversations are being firewalled) or you need to monitor communications are that are going external from your organization. 

Reviewers then have the ability to review messages that fall within a policy and then mark them as compliant, non-compliant, questionable and resolved communications.  Then you use Supervision reports to review policy compliance.

Announcement - https://blogs.office.com/2017/06/22/new-in-office-365-security-and-compliance-june-update/

Announcement - https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Security-Privacy-and-Compliance/Announcing-GA-of-Supervision-in-Office-365-Advanced-Data/ba-p/69344

Supervision Policies - https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Configure-supervision-policies-for-your-organization-d14ae7c3-fcb0-4a03-967b-cbed861bb086?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

Supervision Reports - https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Supervision-reports-2a762db5-e1c9-4c09-aa8e-bef49ce97209

Office 365 and SIEM Data Feeds

Another announcement that was recently made is the SIEM connector service has not been added to Office 365 Advanced Security Management (E5).  SIEM stands for Security Information and Event Management.  Many customers who have complex security requirements require the ability to centralize monitoring of alerts and events to do monitoring.  With this solution, customers have the ability to analyze application logs/events and then do contextual analysis to their organization’s security using your own SIEM solution.

To deploy this solution, the organization is responsible for deploying a SIEM agent which will poll the Office 365 REST APIs.  All communications are over HTTPS/443.  Once data is retrieved from the SIEM agent, syslog messages will be sent to your local SIEM solution.

Announcement - https://blogs.office.com/2017/06/22/new-in-office-365-security-and-compliance-june-update/

SEIM Integration – with install instructions - https://support.office.com/en-us/article/SIEM-integration-with-Office-365-Advanced-Security-Management-dd6d2417-49c4-4de6-9294-67fdabbf8532?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

Microsoft Stream has gone Generally Available

What do you need to know about this release?

Microsoft Stream is an enterprise video service that allows you to upload, share, manage and view videos.  Microsoft Stream can become the location to search and discover all video content for your organization.  Microsoft Stream can become a communication hub, training center, used to support business and drive better social communications.

Some major capabilities of the Microsoft Stream service are:
  • Create and organize content with channels and groups.
  • View trending videos.
  • Personal watch list of videos.
  • Ability to upload, manage and share videos from a personalized home page.
  • Like and comments on videos.
  • Automatic closed captioning.
  • Face timeline (using facial recognition) for better navigation of videos.
  • Auto generated speech to text transcript; which help make videos more discoverable.
    Clickable time codes in comments section, transcript or table of contents allowing for easy video navigation.
  • Ability to watch video across devices.
  • Ability to manage permissions to videos.
  • Ability to define metadata for classification of videos.
  • Microsoft Stream is still highly integrated with the Office 365 service.  It has deep integration with SharePoint Online, Microsoft Teams, Office 365 Groups and Yammer.

Office 365 Video - Microsoft Stream is a replacement solution for the Office 365 Video service.  Office 365 Video will still be around for a while so there is time to transition.

Video Storage - Microsoft Stream uses pooled storage model for the entire tenant.  Each tenant is allocated pooled storage and then additional pooled storage is provided based on the number of licensed users.  The concept is identical to SharePoint Online storage.  Each tenant is provided 500 GB of video storage plus an additional 500 MB of storage per user.  If you need more storage, you can purchase more storage in 500 GB increments.

Azure Media Services - Azure Media Services provides the power behind Microsoft Stream.  You do not need to purchase any additional Azure Media Services.  All you need to do is acquire Microsoft Stream.

Microsoft Stream Plans - There are two plans for Microsoft Stream.  The big different between Plan 1 and Plan 2, is Plan 2 includes: A) Deep search based speech to text metadata and B) Interact with video content using face detection and audio transcripts. 
Office 365 Plans - You can acquire Microsoft Stream in several ways as it is part of Office 365 plans or as a standalone service.  If you have an Office 365 Suite (E1 or higher) you have access for Microsoft Stream.  You also have the ability to purchase Microsoft Stream as an independent service.   If you have an Office 365 E1 or E3 Suite, you will get the Microsoft Stream Plan 1.  To get Microsoft Stream Plan 2, you have two options: purchase Microsoft Stream Plan 2 as an add-on or purchase Office 365 E5 suite.

Public Announcement - https://blogs.office.com/2017/06/20/microsoft-stream-now-available-worldwide-new-intelligent-features-take-enterprise-video-to-new-heights/

Microsoft Stream Document – all of the documentation associated to this service is located here - https://stream.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/stream-overview/ 

Microsoft Stream Site - https://stream.microsoft.com/en-us/

Microsoft Stream Licensing - https://stream.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/ and https://stream.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/stream-license-overview/