Eastern Cloud Blog

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

Chicago improves city services with Office 365



The City of Chicago wanted to improve collaboration and communication between 30+ city departments as well as residents.  After evaluating enterprise-class cloud computing services for things such as cost, security and ease of adoption, the City of Chicago settled on Office 365.  Since then, they have reduced email costs by 80% per user, improved interdepartmental communication, reduced the need for in person meetings and printouts and created a platform for collaboration and sharing.

You can read the full case study for more information.

On-premises StorSimple Virtual Array in public preview

On-premises StorSimple Virtual Array in public preview 
The StorSimple Virtual Array is a version of StorSimple in a virtual machine (VM) form. It provides a cost-effective, lightweight solution for remote office environments while delivering the fundamental value of StorSimple Hybrid Cloud Storage, including:

Seamless cloud integration with automated tiering to manage data growth.
Simplified data protection with cloud-based snapshots.
Location-independent recovery of data from the cloud.

The StorSimple Virtual Array can be downloaded from the StorSimple Manager in the Azure portal and installed on a VM configured on a Hyper-V or VMware hypervisor. The StorSimple Virtual Array is configurable as a NAS (using SMB) or a SAN (using iSCSI) device. It's initially being targeted for file sharing, for information worker and collaboration scenarios, and for small database workloads using a combination of local and tiered volumes. It can be managed from the StorSimple Manager service in the Azure portal.

The on-premises StorSimple Virtual Array is billed against the same meters as the StorSimple 8000 Series, the StorSimple meter, and the Azure Blob Storage meter.

For more information, please visit the TechNet blog.

StorSimple 8000 Series Update 2 generally available
StorSimple 8000 Series Update 2 is a software-only update available via Microsoft Update and on shipping units. The update will be rolled out across geographies in stages. It includes two key enhancements that expand StorSimple’s use cases and workloads: local volumes and the StorSimple Cloud Appliance 8020 (based on Azure Premium Storage).

Local volumes help ensure that primary data stays local to the device and does not tier to the cloud, so customers can run workloads sensitive to cloud latency, such as SQL and VMs. The new StorSimple Cloud Appliance is a software-only version of the StorSimple solution that runs on a VM in Azure. It offers increased capacity to 64 TB, as well as increased performance by using Premium Storage as the local tier. In addition, customers can now help protect entire workloads hosted on StorSimple devices with Azure Site Recovery. For more information about pricing, please contact your channel partner.

For more information, please visit the TechNet blog.

Learn on more on these new features in this short video...


Skype for Business for Android now available

Tailored for on-the-go scenarios

A new dashboard design brings the contact search bar, your upcoming meetings and most recent conversations to one place. Simply tap the Quick Join icon to the right of your appointment name to join your meetings with one touch, or tap the name of the meeting to see its details. Your recent conversations are at your fingertips, no matter which device you had the conversation on. Additionally, full-screen video as well as larger call-control buttons to mute and add participants to a meeting make it easy for you to collaborate on the go.


Read more here...

OneDrive for Business update on storage plans and Next Generation Sync Client

Next Generation Sync Client for Windows and Mac

After a successful preview program, we are happy to report that the OneDrive for Business Next Generation Sync Client is now available for deployment. Our top priorities for this release were improved reliability and performance, as well as delivering core capabilities such as selective sync, support for large files up to 10 GB in size and removing the 20,000 file sync limit. For IT Professionals, we’ve provided the ability to silently deploy and configure the client on behalf of your end users. The OneDrive for Business Next Generation Sync Client is available for Windows 7, 8 and 10 (8.1 support will be added in the first quarter of 2016) and Mac OS X 10.9 and above. The Windows client is available today with the Mac client being available before the end of December 2015.


We are also happy to announce the OneDrive for iOS app will support offline storage. You can selectively flag files for local availability and open them when disconnected. The updated app will be available before the end of December 2015. We first released offline storage on Android in September 2015 and will take this same capability to Windows 10 Mobile in the second quarter of 2016.


OneDrive for Business update on storage plans 2aOneDrive for Business update on storage plans 2b


Read more here...

Microsoft Security Intelligence Report Volume 19 Published



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. Threat awareness can help you protect your organization, software, and people.

Microsoft has just published volume 19 of the SIR, which covers January to June 2015.  You can download the full report or just read the key findings at http://www.microsoft.com/security/sir/.

How Microsoft IT manages and governs the internal SharePoint environment

SharePoint Online hosts over 200,000 team sites, personal sites, and portals internally at Microsoft—which can be challenging to manage. In this webinar, David Johnson, Senior IT Program Manager, and Carrie Doring, Senior Business Program Manager, walk through how Microsoft IT uses a combination of custom solutions, organizational policy, and user communications to ensure that Microsoft content is protected and relevant to users.  Watch this 60-minute video to see how Microsoft meets our challenges.  This was originally a live broadcast, so there is some audience Q&A toward the end, plus a review of the tools that might help you, too.


Azure Government Achieves Significant Compliance Milestones

Microsoft Azure Government has achieved four significant new compliance milestones that are effective immediately for our customers:

 

  • FedRAMP Moderate Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO)
  • DISA Level 2 Provisional Authorization (PA)
  • HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA)
  • Support for federal tax workloads under IRS Publication 1075

 

These are clear differentiators for our government customers looking at cloud services.  Only Microsoft can provide this secure, enterprise ready environment dedicated to US Government customers and built specifically for their needs.  Read the Azure Blog entry for more information, and reach out to your Microsoft Team to learn more.

 

Schedule meetings faster with people outside your company with FindTime app from the Microsoft Garage

Time is not always on your side, especially when it comes to scheduling meetings. Nailing down an opening where everyone you need is available at the same time can take hours of emails over a typical week, especially when you don’t have access to view everyone’s calendar.

That’s where FindTime, an Outlook add-in, comes in, helping you coordinate schedules and find meeting times with people outside your company. If you have an Office 365 subscription you can install the add-in and send FindTime invites, but you only need an email address to receive them.



Read more here..

Announcing Azure Portal general availability



The next generation Azure management portal is now out of Preview and officially released!  This portal provides a simplified management experience and supports advanced configurations like Resource Groups and role-based access.  You can also customize a dashboard to show your critical services, resources or reports.

Take a look at the Azure Blog announcement, then log onto your Azure Portal and see the new experience.

A Single, Unified Trust Center for the Microsoft Cloud

 

Microsoft is pleased to announce that we have created a single Microsoft Trust Center at www.microsoft.com/trustcenter, which unifies the trust centers of our enterprise cloud services - Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, Microsoft Intune, and Microsoft Office 365.

 

Now, you have a single place to go, and one URL to remember to get all the information you need about the security, compliance and privacy of Microsoft’s cloud solutions.  Read the full announcement on the Microsoft Cyber Trust blog.