Sunday, December 13, 2020

Teams Breakout Rooms GA

 This week Teams made a GA release of a new feature called Breakout Rooms.

This new capability gives meeting organizers the ability to create up to 50 breakout rooms.  Meeting participants then transition to the breakout rooms and participants can move between the breakout rooms.  Announcements can be made to each breakout room, and participants can be brought back to the main room.

I see some really interesting tele-work and tele-education scenarios where Teams Breakout Rooms can really help out.  


Breakout rooms generally available today in Microsoft Teams - Microsoft Tech Community

Monday, November 23, 2020

Office 365 Secure Score and Azure Sentinel

This is actually really neat.  A new feature of Office 365 Secure Score was released as a Preview release that will allow customer to continuously sending Secure Score reporting to Azure Sentinel (or other third party SIEM).  Tons of customers are looking for way to “monitor” their tenant configuration and react to changes that they view as risky for their organization.

See announcementContinuously Export Secure Score for Over-Time Tracking and Reporting (Preview) - Microsoft Tech Community

What is Office 365 Secure Score:

What is Azure SentinelAzure Sentinel – Cloud-native SIEM | Microsoft Azure

Office 365 Access vs Refresh Tokens

I had to provide a short write-up to some folks to help them with the understanding of how Office 365 and Sessions Tokens worked.  Hope this helps.

Access Token Definition
Clients use access tokens to access a protected resource. An access token can be used only for a specific combination of user, client, and resource. Access tokens cannot be revoked and are valid until their expiry. A malicious actor that has obtained an access token can use it for extent of its lifetime. Adjusting the lifetime of an access token is a trade-off between improving system performance and increasing the amount of time that the client retains access after the user’s account is disabled. Improved system performance is achieved by reducing the number of times a client needs to acquire a fresh access token. The default is 1 hour - after 1 hour, the client must use the refresh token to (usually silently) acquire a new refresh token and access token.

Refresh Token Definition
When a client acquires an access token to access a protected resource, the client also receives a refresh token. The refresh token is used to obtain new access/refresh token pairs when the current access token expires. A refresh token is bound to a combination of user and client. A refresh token can be revoked at any time, and the token's validity is checked every time the token is used. Refresh tokens are reissued every time they are  used to fetch new access tokens.

Access Tokens
  • Purpose: Give users access to resources (i.e. Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Teams).
  • Duration: Expire after 1 hour.
  • Customer Revoke: Access Tokens cannot be revoked once it has been created.
Refresh Tokens
  • Purpose: Alleviate the end user from having to continually input in their credentials and have no context to resources the user is accessing.
  • Duration: Expire after 90 days.
  • Customer Revoke: Refresh Tokens can be revoked at any time.
  • Requesting New Token: Whenever a new Access Token is requested, a new Refresh token is also provided to the requesting client (re-starting the 90 day count).
  • Evaluation of Conditions: Every time a client presents a Refresh Token to AAD to obtain a new Access Token to resources, AAD Conditional Access will revaluate all conditions defined for the tenant and then provide the client new Refresh and Access Tokens to the client.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Microsoft Teams Sept 2020

Ok folks, Teams is cranking out capabilities at a pace even I am having trouble keeping up with.  In September 2020, please review this.

What’s New in Microsoft Teams | September 2020

  • Offline Support in Desktop for limited network connectivity is an investment area.
  • Other optimizations around desktop launching, video rendering, battery life optimization, etc. are investment areas.
  • Up to 49 participants in large gallery view.


New capabilities on Microsoft Teams phones | September 2020

Several new capabilities that are tailored to how we work with Teams on a mobile device.  New home screens, customized views, quick access to apps, etc.

New inclusive features in Microsoft Teams and more | Ignite 2020 Edition

The big news is the release of Live caption and Transcript.

New capabilities for Teams Management | Ignite 2020

Just tons of things…

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Office 365 Compliance for Commercial, GCC, GCCH and DoD

I am commonly asked, what is Microsoft’s accreditation stance for Office 365 Commercial, GCC, GCC High and DoD for years.  Lately I get tons of questions bubbling up to me from System Integrators who work with the US Government.  In many cases they are seeking information on ITAR, CMMS, NIST 800-171, DFARs, etc, etc.

My colleague wrote this blog entry and I always suggest they read it.  Seems to always clear out the questions.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Skype for Business Online End of Life Coming

Remember Skype for Business Online will be reaching end of life July 31, 2021.  This was announced over two years ago and organizations should be making every best attempt they can at transitioning over to Microsoft Teams.


Sunday, July 12, 2020

Microsoft Teams June 2020

Microsoft Teams engineering did it again, in June they released tons of new capabilities.

  • Large gallery view with up to 49 participants.
  • Announcement that Virtual Breakout Rooms is coming later this calendar year.
  • Multi-window for meetings and calling.
  • Team meetings can now support 300 participants.
  • Additional Meet Now buttons to streamline users jumping into meetings.
  • Priority Notifications…  I have had to use the Urgent feature a few times already…
  • Etc.

Read more here -

Microsoft Teams Together Mode

If you have not heard, Microsoft Teams Together Mode is making waves.  It provides a new collaboration experience for users to meet within Teams.

It brings a unique perspective to meeting with people.  It is not just showing a video feed, it basically puts you in a room and all of the meeting attendees see each other from their point of view.  It is also great because it removes all the background, allowing you to meet from anywhere.  It is super unique and innovative.

It works really well for open discussion with small and large groups of people.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Microsoft Teams May 2020 Releases

Teams is releasing capabilities at a fast and furious pace; here is what released in May 2020.

What’s New: Meetings, Calling, and Devices
  • Improved meeting join launcher experience
  • Easily access meeting options during a Teams meeting
  • Download a participant report in a Teams meeting
  • Set tenant-wide default selection for "Who Can Present" in meetings
  • Set background effects policy at a user-level
  • Better policy controls over screen sharing from chats
  • Teams and Skype Interoperability
  • Reverse Number Lookup (RNL) Enhancements
  • Microsoft Teams Rooms, app version now available
  • Poly announces new solution for Microsoft Teams Rooms
  • Jabra PanaCast now certified for Microsoft Teams
  • Yealink, EPOS, and Jabra announce new Teams peripherals
  • Limited time partner offers available for Teams Devices: Creston, Poly, Yealink
What’s New: Chat & Collaboration
  • Templates in Teams
  • Microsoft Lists in Teams
  • Bring more people together in group chats and teams
  • Pop out chats into separate windows
What’s New: Onboarding your organization to Teams
  • New Skype for Business to Teams Upgrade Advisor
What’s New: Developer, Platform, and App management
  • Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code Extension for Teams
  • Bringing low-code bots to Teams, with Power Virtual Agents
  • Simplified Power Apps and Power Virtual Agents “Add to Teams”
  • Enhanced workflow automation with Power Automate + Teams
  • Improved Power BI sharing to Teams
What’s New: Education
  • Change in meeting join experience for our education customers
  • Keeping distance learning engaging and secure

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Office 365 Split Tunneling

With COVID-19 many organizations are dealing VPNs that are stressed and saturated.  One solution many organizations have been considering is using Split-tunneling for Office 365 traffic.  If you have not looked at it, please do.  There are several good articles that you should read up on.

New Microsoft Teams Features

I take it for granted because I get access to all the Office 365 features before they get on the market because I sit in Microsoft’s internal “dog food” deployment rings.  Now I can finally talk about some features of Teams that were released in April 2020.

Here is a reference:

Features I love are:

  • We can now see 9 streaming videos vs. the previous of 4.  The Brady bunch view.
  • Raising Hands – Yes try using it.  Helps you to control a room so you do not have people trying to talk over here.
  • Background Effects – When you do a video, instead of just blur, have a nice picture in the background.
  • Live Events Increased – will be raised from 10,000 to 20,000 through July 1, 2020.
  • End the Meeting for all participants
  • There is a new meeting dashboard.
  • New Teams App Usage reporting
  • New lobby controls

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Office 365 Records Management

A few days ago, it was announced that a new Records Management solutions went GA for Office 365.  I was super excited to see this because I have done a lot of Records Management work in the early days of SharePoint 2007 and 2010.  Back then, the SharePoint Server Records Management records collection was pretty basic.  However after reading what we are now doing with Records Management with Office 365, I can see some huge steps forward.  This is much more sophisticated than in-place records management using the content organizer.

Here are the key takeaways I had.

  • New and advanced capabilities to classify, retain and dispose data.
  • Advancements leverage cloud machine learning capabilities to identity and classify records.
  • New capability for event based retention policies.
  • Works for SPO and EXO plus documents stored in Teams (which uses SPO).
  • Requires you to purchase of E5 because it is leveraging advanced cloud features inside of data governance, labeling, etc.  Minimally you need the Office 365 Advanced Compliance SKU.  Apparently not everyone in the tenant needs to be licensed, only users with edit access where records management features are used must be licensed.

Announcement -
Announcement -
Service Description -
Licensing -

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Office 365 and Azure Sentinel

I have been working with some customers on how to do analysis on their Office 365 audit logs.  Here are some quick things to think about.

Here is a reference to the Office 365 audit logs.  Remember, Office 365 logs are generally only stored for 90 days.

You can additionally purchase Advanced Audit logging, which gives you the ability to retina logs for a year.

The Office 365 Management API provides rest services you can use to download data.

It is possible to sent the Office 365 Management API logs to a SIEM solution.  This allows you to retain the logs for longer.

Here is the schema to all the data in the Office 365 Management API.

Here is information on Azure AD Audit logs.

Also there is Azure Sentinel; it is a SEIM solution in the cloud.

Here is how to connect Office 365 to Sentinel.

Here is how to connect Azure AD to Sentinel.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Office 365 Advanced Audit

Another announcement which customers have asked a lot about.  There is a new E5 feature called Advanced Audit.

First - Depending on your license level, audit log retention can be increased from 90 days to 1 year.  Prior to this, if customers needed retain logs for longer, customers would have to export logs to another location for retention.

Second - Previously customers will get throttled when pulling logs off the Office 365 Management Activity API.  Now, there are options for bandwidth allocation if they are pulling large volumes of logs. 

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Office 365 Insider Risk Management going GA

There was a recent announcement that the Office 365 Insider Risk Management is transitioning out of “preview” to “generally available”.

This is a really interesting solution that brings several Office 365 offerings for data protection and monitoring against risky end-user behavior.  Insider Risk Management introduces the ability to create policy, create alerts, and then utilize a case management solution that will allow you to triage, investigate and action on events that you deem to be an issue.  This can help you with monitoring every day challenges with departing employee data theft, data leaks and offensive/abusive behavior by individuals.

Announcement -

Overview -

Getting Started -

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Microsoft To Do

Some of you know I am an advanced user of Wunderlist.  It the only way to stay on top of the things.  As you know, Wunderlist is end of life on May 6, 2020.  Microsoft To Do is really awesome.  Some features to think about:
  • In Microsoft To Doy ou get tons of additional features integrated with O365.  Any email flagged or task in Exchange Online appears in Microsoft To Do.  Awesome!
  • In Microsoft To Do when you create sub steps, it shows you a count of how many you completed.
  • Create groups and then lists in each group around work areas.
  • I live and die by the My Day and Planned views.
  • In Microsoft To Do tasks assigned to you from Planner are shown.
  • Use both the mobile and desktop app.
If you have not become a power user of Microsoft To Do, you are missing out.

Microsoft To Do-

Import Wunderlist to Microsoft To Do-

Monday, January 20, 2020

Microsoft Teams Linux Desktop App Now Available

If you have not heard, Microsoft Teams is now available in public preview for Linux users and is the first Microsoft Office 365 app that actually runs on a Linux desktop.  There is a separate down for this build using the link below.

Microsoft Teams Now Deploying with Office 365 ProPlus

We have received a lot of feedback to have the Microsoft Teams client to be incorporated with Office 365 ProPlus such that organizations can deploy Teams and ProPlus in a single process.

Starting in Jan 2020, you will have the ability to start receiving Teams through ProPlus through the semi-annual channel.

More information can be found here.