Eastern Cloud Blog

This blog is aimed at our East Region State & Local Government customers. Opinions are our own - be gentle with us.

Getting started with Operations Management Suite Security and Audit Solution

Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS) is Microsoft's cloud based IT management solution that helps you manage and protect your on-premises and cloud infrastructure. Explore the OMS Security and Audit dashboard, security domains, and common security queries then get step-by-step guidance on how to leverage OMS to proactively and automatically:


Want more information on OMS? See the Operations Management Suite overview.

June Office 365 security and compliance update

Below is a roundup of recent security and compliance news.

Gain enhanced visibility and control with Office 365 Advanced Security Management—The cloud offers many security benefits to organizations but also raises new security considerations. It can also add to existing ones, such as shadow IT, the use of software that is not formally sanctioned by the organization. We are thrilled to introduce Office 365 Advanced Security Management, a new set of capabilities—powered by Microsoft Cloud App Security—to give you greater visibility and control over your Office 365 environment. To learn more, watch the Microsoft Mechanics video and review the technical documentation.

New enhancements to Office 365 eDiscovery further simplify the eDiscovery process—To save you time and make it easier to perform investigations and eDiscovery from one central location, we have released several eDiscovery enhancements to the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center, including case management, search, hold and export. These new eDiscovery enhancements further strengthen the rich set of eDiscovery capabilities already present in Office 365 to help you quickly investigate and meet legal and regulatory obligations from the Security and Compliance Center.

Download the updated Security Intelligence Report—The Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR) analyzes the threat landscape of exploits, vulnerabilities and malware using data from internet services and over 600 million computers worldwide. It has been updated for July–December 2015 and is now available for download.

Microsoft Secure launches as a resource to learn about Microsoft’s security offerings—Microsoft Secure is the new place to learn about Microsoft’s security offerings. It covers topics including identity protection, securing apps and data, expanding device controls and safeguarding infrastructure. Here you’ll find resources like webinars, videos and e-books on the Microsoft security approach.

Read more here..

Microsoft Azure Government adds Premium Storage and expanded virtual machine image coverage

Virtual machine disks – now with Premium Storage
Customers now have the option to select Azure Premium Storage when provisioning DS-series virtual machines through PowerShell and the Azure CLI. Premium Storage provides high-performance, low-latency disk support for virtual machines running I/O-intensive workloads. VM disks using Premium Storage store data on solid state drives (SSDs), providing improved performance for the most demanding applications. More information about this functionality is available here.
Expanded virtual machine image support
In addition to Premium Storage, Azure Government has also been expanded to include a number of pre-configured VM images. With these images, customers can quickly provision a VM running pre-installed and configured software. In addition to the existing VM image portfolio available today, provisioning of the following image types can be accomplished immediately:
  • Windows Server Remote Desktop Session Host on Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server Remote Desktop Session Host with Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus
  • SharePoint Server 2016 Trial
  • Visual Studio Enterprise 2015 Update 2 with Azure SDK 2.9 on Windows Server 2012 R2

We are excited to share these additions. To keep up with the latest Azure Government news or provide feedback, please follow the Azure Government blog! We look forward to continuing to expand Microsoft Azure Government!

Read more here...

Lookout and Microsoft: securing enterprise mobility together

Microsoft and Lookout announced a new partnership that will integrate Lookout Mobile Threat Protection with our Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS).  The partnership will result in product integration that will improve how customers protect and manage the sensitive data that employees access through their mobile devices every day.  Lookout is a leading provider of mobile threat protection with a global sensor network of over 100 million mobile sensors.  Integrating the threat intelligence from Lookout into EMS will give security teams the ability to take action on threats to protect users, devices and data.

Read this Lookout blog post for information about this partnership and what we are building together.

Azure Security Information Site on Azure.com

We are very happy to announce today the release of the Azure Security Information site on Azure.com!

The Azure Security Information site is intended to be your one-stop shop for getting information about Azure security services, technologies, and features. In addition to this, we have information about security architecture, best practices and patterns, security in industry verticals, and an array of other security resources.

Prior to this site, you would have had to poke around in the Azure documentation to piece this information together for yourselves.

Since we're talking about security, here's a reminder of some of the other key sites related to Microsoft cloud security:

Announcing a new version of the Office 365 admin app

As an Office 365 admin, you sometimes find yourself in a situation when you’re not at your desk but you still want to act quickly. For example, if your CEO has forgotten their Office 365 password or an employee left the company, you want to take action right away. To help you in these situations and to easily stay up to date on the latest changes in Office 365, we developed the Office 365 admin app, which gives you access to all common admin features on the go.

Quickly find what you’re looking for—With all the new functionality that has been added, we want to make sure that you’re still able to quickly find the feature you’re looking for. With the update, we are introducing feature grouping to the app. Similar features, such as quick actions on the user card, are now categorized and displayed together in one card.

In addition, new quick links on the dashboard give you direct access to settings that you use on a regular basis, such as users, groups and billing.

Announcing a new version of the Office 365 admin app 2

Spot important information right away—The update also makes it easier for you to identify areas that need your attention. Information that is important to you and that you might want to take action on, such as blocked users, is now highlighted in the app.

Announcing a new version of the Office 365 admin app 3b

One management experience across admin app and admin center—We also worked on aligning the design of the app with the design of the new Office 365 admin center. The app now uses the same color and icons, making it easier for you to move from one tool to the other.

Read more here...

Check out all the Azure sessions planned for Microsoft Ignite

Ready to join the Azure team at Microsoft Ignite? Now you can start planning exactly which topics, issues, and ideas you want to dive into! The full session catalog is live, with 440+ sessions to choose from, including more than 75 sessions devoted to Azure topics. And it’s easy to search and filter so you can find just the courses that fit your needs.

Here’s a sample of the Azure topics you’ll find…

Review Microsoft Azure Stack with Jeffrey Snover and Mark Russinovich

Get an overview of Azure Stack from Technical Fellow Jeffrey Snover and Azure CTO Mark Russinovich. They’ll discuss—and demonstrate—the approach and benefits of allowing customers to run Azure on the servers in their datacenters.

Master modern PaaS for the Enterprise with Azure App Service

Security. Scale. Hybrid. Modern. These aren’t just buzzwords—they all describe capabilities that a modern PaaS platform should provide. Azure App Service is the battle-tested PaaS platform for modern enterprise applications. Learn how Azure App Service lets you seamlessly compose data across on-premises and the cloud, support both mobile clients and traditional browsers, and scale your apps around the world—all while maintaining the security and control that your enterprise demands.

Make your life easier one environment at a time with Azure DevTest Labs

This session presents how teams can use Microsoft Azure DevTest Labs to quickly create environments with a few clicks using reusable templates and artifacts while minimizing waste and controlling cost by setting policies and automated shutdowns. We also show examples of how to use the Labs APIs directly to create continuous delivery pipelines.

And that’s just a start…

With more than 75 Azure sessions to choose from, which ones will you attend?

> Explore Azure sessions <

Remember: September 26–30 is approaching fast. We’re excited to see everyone soon—and if you haven’t yet registered, don’t delay! Register for Microsoft Ignite.

What’s new in Office 365 Groups administration—June 2016 update

  • Ability to update privacy type—When you create an Office 365 group, users have two privacy options: public (anyone within your organization can access the group’s content) and private (only approved members can access the group’s content). This update enables group owners to change the privacy setting from public to private or vice versa by editing the group properties in Outlook on the web. Administrators can also leverage the Set-UnifiedGroup cmdlets to change the privacy type. Read “Make Office 365 groups public or private” for more information.

What’s new in Office 365 Groups administration 1

Easily edit a group’s privacy setting.

  • Multi-domain support—Larger organizations use separate email domains to reflect different parts of their businesses. Office 365 groups that are created by users in one domain will share that domain (as opposed to using a common domain across the tenant). Administrators now also have control to create groups in specific domains of their choosing. Read “Multi-domain support for Office 365 Groups” for more information.
  • Guidance to configure Office 365 Groups with on-premises Exchange mailbox users—If you’ve configured a hybrid deployment between your on-premises Exchange organization and Office 365, you can make groups created in Office 365 available to your on-premises users by following the steps outlined in “Configure Office 365 Groups with on-premises Exchange hybrid.”
  • Allow users to send as the Office 365 group—If you want to enable your group’s shared mailbox to “Send As,” you can now use the PowerShell cmdlets to configure this. Once you enable this setting, your Office 365 group users can use Outlook or Outlook on the web to send and reply to email as the Office 365 group. Users can go to the group, create a new email and change the “Send As” field to the group’s email address. See “Use PowerShell to manage Office 365 Groups” for more information.
Read more here...

Ransomware: Understanding the Risk

If you are in IT, and you've paid even the slightest bit of attention to trending topics, you know the threat from ransomware is on the rise.  I was told that about $25 million was paid out in 2015 by people and organizations to get their data unlocked.  I can't imagine what the cost is in terms of time and effort, but that has to go way beyond $25M.

Microsoft's Director of Security, Tim Rains, has written a fairly technical post on evaluating and understanding the risks associated with ransomware.  The Office 365 Security team published a blog, How to Deal with Ransomware, aimed at Office 365 admins and customers.  Finally, the Microsoft Malware Protection Center has a blog entry providing more high-level information, as well as a ransomware page that has information for both home and enterprise customers and the Microsoft.

So, there are plenty of resources to help you better understand what you need to do in order to be better protected.

#AzureAD a leader in the 2016 Gartner IDaaS MQ

Gartner released their Magic Quadrant for Identity and Access Management as a Service (IDaaS) for 2016 and Azure Active Directory was placed in the “leaders” quadrant, and positioned very strongly for our completeness of vision.

Read more, and get access to the Gartner report here.