Eastern Cloud Blog

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

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...

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...

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..

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...