Eastern Cloud Blog

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

StorSimple adds support for cool Blob storage

Blob storage accounts are specialized storage accounts for storing your unstructured data as blobs (objects) in Azure Storage. With Blob storage accounts, you can now choose between hot and cool storage access tiers. And you can switch between hot and cool access tiers any time with a quick toggle from the Azure portal. The latency for Blob storage accounts (hot and cool) is in the milliseconds and the scalability and performance targets are the same as general-purpose storage accounts. Read more details in the Azure Blob storage documentation.

Best practices for using the Azure Blob storage accounts with StorSimple:

  • Initially set the access tier to hot. Keep the access tier set to hot until any initial data migrations are complete and the account has a significant amount of infrequently accessed data. Then consider switching to cool.
  • Evaluate your existing usage pattern to determine whether you will benefit from using a cool storage account. To learn how Azure Storage metrics can help you to understand your storage usage pattern, click here.
  • Scenarios that involve a lot of cloud data access, such as using the StorSimple Cloud Appliance for dev/test or research, are better suited for hot storage.
  • If you expect to clone data often you should choose hot storage.

Read more here..

#AzureAD Identity Protection adds support for federated identities!

Azure AD Identity Protection has been generating a TON of customer interest, especially with recent news about hackers selling huge lists of leaked user credentials. So today Azure AD Identity Protection has just turned on support for federated identities. This means that our largest customer, most of who use Active Directory Federation Server with Azure AD, can now get the benefit of this powerful security service.

Identity Protection detects risk events involving identities in an Azure Active Directory that indicate that the identities may have been compromised. For details on risk detection, see Types of risk events detected by Azure Active Directory Identity Protection.

What’s new: Starting today, all of Identity Protection’s risk event types will be covered for federated identities! Now you can tell if botnet infections, TOR networks, or location anomalies are present in your federated sign-ins. [Note that leaked credentials detection requires that you have enabled password hash sync in your federated tenant.]

Read more here...

Power BI Desktop May Update Feature Summary

This is what we have for you in the May update of Power BI Desktop:

Report View

  • Customizable tooltips Keyboard nudging for visuals
  • Conditional formatting in tables
  • Publish to Pyramid server
  • Scrolling loads more data in chart
  • Ability to “Save As” a Power BI Template
  • Support for reordering Query Steps by using drag & drop
  • Date picker support in Conditional Columns dialog input Date fields
  • New context menu entry to create new queries from the Queries pane


For a summary of the major updates, you can watch the following video:

Read more here...

New to Office 365 in May—updates to Skype for Business, Outlook, SharePoint and more

  • OneDrive and Skype for Business integration in Outlook for iOS and Android—Collaborate on documents more easily in Outlook by emailing a link to a file stored in OneDrive for Business, keeping all the recipients on the same page with the latest version. Coming in next week’s update, you’ll be able to quickly join Skype Meetings in one tap from Outlook’s event details view.

Pre-populated attachments in Skype Meetings—Files you attach to a Skype Meeting request in Outlook 2016 or Outlook on the web now automatically load into the Skype Meeting document bin as soon as participants join. Cloud attachments automatically assign permissions to meeting attendees. That way everybody can collaborate during the Skype Meeting. Learn more about preloading attachments into Skype for Business meetings.

SharePoint and OneDrive for Business enhancements for Office 365

Earlier this month, we unveiled our new cloud-first, mobile-first vision and roadmap for SharePoint. We’ve already started rolling out some of those improvements to help empower people, teams and organizations to intelligently discover, share and collaborate on content from anywhere and on any device.

It’s simpler and more powerful to share files and collaborate from any device. Now you can use OneDrive for iPhone and iPad to seamlessly share, edit and take offline any files stored in SharePoint document libraries, Office 365 groups and OneDrive for Business. On the web, you can copy files from OneDrive for Business to a SharePoint team site or Office 365 group. The new Discover view in both the web and OneDrive for Android helps files find you, minimizing search time with recommendations powered by the Office Graph. We’ll expand these capabilities to more platforms later this year.

Office 365 May update 6c

Read more here..

Webinar: Top 5 security threats facing your business – and how to respond

June 29, 2016 – 10:00 –11:00AM PST

Connected cloud and mobile technologies present immense business opportunity, but there is potential for increased risk as organizations increase their exposure to cybersecurity threats. The digital world requires new approaches to protect against, detect, and respond to security threats.

Join speakers Julia White, General Manager in the Cloud + Enterprise, and Ann Johnson, Vice President of the Enterprise Cybersecurity Group, for our webinar: Top 5 security threats facing your business—and how to respond. You’ll discover our unique approach to security and how to benefit from the insight into the threat landscape that Microsoft derives from trillions of signals from billions of sources.

During this webinar you'll learn about:

  • Protecting against identity compromise and identify breaches before they cause damage
  • Ensuring device security while enabling mobile work for your users
  • The unique perspective Microsoft brings to cybersecurity



Microsoft helps secure accounts by blocking weak passwords

Recent news about the 167 million accounts and passwords for LinkedIn that have been put up for sale on the dark web has scared a lot of people - hopefully, you have reset your password by now.  Of course, this is just the latest in a long history of accounts being leaked and potentially used for nefarious purposes.  What was interesting about this latest breach is that one organization has managed to crack about 117 million of those passwords because users were using weak, easily guessable passwords. 

Microsoft is taking action on this problem of users electing to use weak passwords by dynamically blocking those types of passwords for Microsoft Accounts (aka Live IDs).  Microsoft has been securing these accounts for years and sees millions of attacks on these accounts every day.  Leveraging this experience, machine learning and the compute resources of Azure, we have the ability to solve some of these issues.

Please review this Active Directory Team Blog post to learn about some interesting statistics, some research we've done on the problem and the solutions we are implementing to protect consumers and customers.

Microsoft and Citrix Partner to Help Customers Move to the Cloud

At the Citrix Synergy event in Las Vegas today, there were several exciting announcements about how Microsoft and Citrix are partnering together to accelerate Windows 10 and Office 365 adoption. 

  • Citrix will leverage Azure to provide a Windows 10 VDI solution for customers with Windows licensed per user. 
  • Citrix is updating their mobile applications with the Microsoft Intune SDK so they can be managed by Intune and integrated with Office 365 mobile apps.
  • Citrix has announced an updated connector for SCCM, allowing organizations to manage Citrix XenApps applications with a single tool.
  • Microsoft and Citrix have partnered to optimize the Skype for Business application for use in XenApp and XenDesktop environments
  • Citrix and Microsoft are working together to leverage the Citrix NetScaler solution to provide secure, conditional access to on premises applications through the Intune solution
  • Citrix is building capabilities into its mobile apps like support for MFA and self-service password reset

Find out more about how the Microsoft and Citrix partnership continues to grow and provide valuable solutions for our customers.  All the details are in this Brad Anderson blog post.

Video: What’s new in Intune MAM without device enrollment

Did you know that Intune can be used to manage individual applications on a mobile device, even if that device is managed by a different MDM solution?  Intune can also manage apps on a device that is not managed or enrolled.  We call it Mobile Application Management (MAM), and you can find out how we do it by checking out this new Microsoft Mechanics video that shows the admin and end-user experience.

Microsoft Flow will help you Automate Daily Tasks

Automate your time-consuming tasks

Set up flows that instantaneously deal with critical emails, notify the whole team whenever a work item is updated, or capture, track, and follow up with new sales leads—almost anything, all automatically.

Some great Office 365 Templates examples below 

See entire Library of Flows here...

OMS Office 365 management solution now in public preview

Microsoft has announced the public preview of the Microsoft Operations Management Suite solution for Office 365.  With this solution, you can monitor user activities, monitor admin activities, detect/investigate unwanted user behavior, demonstrate compliance and perform troubleshooting.  Check out this TechNet Blog entry for more detail and the steps you'll need to follow to test it out.