Eastern Cloud Blog

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

Introducing Office 365 Connectors

Whether you are tracking a Twitter feed, managing a project with Trello or watching the latest news headlines with Bing—Office 365 Connectors surfaces all the information you care about in the Office 365 Groups shared inbox, so you can easily collaborate with others and interact with the updates as they happen.

Over 50 Office 365 Connectors are available today, spanning popular applications across productivity, news sources, HR systems, sales, project management, marketing automation, entertainment, eLearning, developer tools and many more. Some examples include MailChimp, Asana, GitHub, Stack Overflow, Aha, Zendesk, Salesforce, Twitter and UserVoice. We are also working with many other partners to enable additional connectors that will be made available soon.

Introducing Office 365 Connectors 3

Read more here...

New feature in Office 2016 can block macros and help prevent infection

Macro-based malware is on the rise and we understand it is a frustrating experience for everyone. To help counter this threat, we are releasing a new feature in Office 2016 that blocks macros from loading in certain high-risk scenarios.  Check out this Microsoft Malware Protection Center blog entry for more details on how you can add another layer of defense.

An Introduction to Microservices with Mark Russinovich

Do you know what "Microservices" are?  If you are a developer or an organization looking to move applications and services to the cloud, microservices allow you to break down applications into smaller, reusable parts.  At its simplest, the microservices design approach is about a decoupled federation of services, with independent changes to each and agreed-upon standards for communication.  Learn more about this by watching This Channel 9 overview video with one of the smartest guys at Microsoft, Mark Russinovich.

Microsoft Cloud for Government extends leadership in compliance with FedRAMP High, CJIS expansion and DISA Impact Levels 4 and Level 5 investments

Last week in Washington, DC, Microsoft confirmed that Azure Government was one of the cloud service providers selected to participate in the FedRAMP High Pilot to build the High Impact Baseline. We completed the pilot process and successfully submitted for a High Impact Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) for our Azure Government environment. We anticipate signature of our P-ATO by the end of the month. This is the highest impact level for FedRAMP accreditation.  Building on the successful FedRAMP High pilot completion, Azure Government is on track to achieve DISA Impact Level 4 authorization shortly.  To further extend our commitment to providing high levels of security controls and compliance required for government data, Azure Government is adding two new regions for US Department of Defense data, designed to meet DISA Impact Level 5.

There are a lot of acronyms in here, but the take-away is that Microsoft is committed to maintaining the most secure cloud for our government customers.  No one else in the industry is leading this charge or making these investments.

Read the Microsoft Blog entry for more details on these announcements, as well as some news about additional services being made available in the Azure Government Cloud.

Inside the Microsoft Operations Management Suite [e-book]

This free release of "Inside the Microsoft Operations Management Suite" is an end-to-end deep dive into the full range of Microsoft OMS features and functionality, complete with downloadable sample scripts.  Find the ebook on this site.

Office 365 integration and updates to Dynamics CRM

Last May, we highlighted how Office 365 and Dynamics CRM work together to help boost productivity. Now, with capabilities spanning Office 365 Groups, the Office Graph and inherited Protection Center controls, the integration goes much deeper.

This week, Microsoft Mechanics goes hands-on with the latest Dynamics CRM to highlight Office 365 integration for sellers, admins and developers. Eric Boocock from the Dynamics team joins me to demonstrate how CRM creates Office 365 Groups to improve collaboration and how you can access CRM data in the context of email with the Outlook add-in. The updated experiences can also leverage Azure Machine Learning to create cross-sell recommendations and Cortana to report interactive insights from Windows 10.

Read the Office Blog post for more info and a short video from Microsoft Mechanics.

Azure AD Identity Protection is in public preview!

In a nutshell, Azure AD Identity Protection offers the following capabilities:

1.) Detection of identity-based security issues using our signals intelligence, experience, and algorithms.

2.) Support investigation of risk events and users flagged for risk.

3.) Support for in-line remediation and management of risk events.

4.) Harnesses the power of Azure AD Conditional Access policies and real-time risk evaluation to auto-remediate leaked-credentials before they can cause harm:

Read more here...

New security capabilities in Operations Management Suite

Today we are announcing that we are increasing the value of Security and Audit solution by improving its user experience, extending its coverage and introducing new capabilities. Some of these changes are available today, while others will gradually roll out over the coming weeks. Today this benefit is available as part of public preview of OMS Log Analytics.

New Dashboard

New dashboard

Security Audit Preview

Security has many different domains, and each one has its own specifics and particular data sources. In this release, we introduce several new and updated domain dashboards:

  • Identity and Access: Presents security information relating to authentication and access control events
  • Networking: Highlights the security aspects of networking data based on information collected by the OMS WireData solution
  • Azure Security Center: Links to Azure Security Center, which provides enhanced security protection and detection for resources located in Azure
  • Malware Assessment: Links to the malware assessment solution that presents the status of the antimalware software on the different servers. In the future, the antimalware solution will be integrated into the Security and Audit solution and appear as another domain dashboard. More details on antimalware below.
  • Update Assessment: Links to the system update assessment solution

Read more here...

Free ebook: Deploying Windows 10 using SCCM

Get a head start deploying Windows 10—with tips and best practices from experts in the field. This guide shows you how to deploy Windows 10 in an automated way without impacting end users by leveraging System Center Configuration Manager, which is the most used product to deploy Microsoft operating systems in the industry today.  Download the ebook in your choice of formats from the Microsoft Press Blog.

Resizing Azure VMs

As apps grow or shrink in use, you may find yourself wanting to resize the virtual machine that supports it.  You may want to save money or improve performance.  Ever wonder what complexities are behind changing the size of an Azure virtual machine?  Sometimes it’s easy, other times, not so much.  Read this detailed Azure Blog entry to learn more about when you can do it and how.  The news is mostly good, but you’ll want to understand the nuances before you go to do it.