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Fast Track your Office 365 Deployments with Centrify

This guest post comes courtesy of our partner, Centrify.

Whether you are an SMB with hundreds of users or a large enterprise with tens of thousands of users, when it comes to making Office 365 deployments to be effective, it must be scalable to on-board existing & add new O365 users quickly and thereafter enable easy access to all users anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

This leads into several challenges:

  1. User provisioning – do I as the IT admin have to manually add hundreds or thousands of my employee accounts, assign their licenses, and manage their roles and access controls within these cloud apps?
  2. Easy 1-click access – will I as the end user have to supply my login credentials every time I try to access Office 365 wherever I am?
  3. Secure mobile access – If I do find a Single Sign-on (SSO) solution, how can it protect all the devices on which I would access Office 365 from, in the wake of those devices’ theft or compromise?

Thanks to Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) solutions, IT and end users can experience:

  • Seamless integration with Active Directory and Office 365
  • Automatic user provisioning from Active Directory based upon roles & groups
  • Policy and role based access by location, time and device
  • Password-free secure login to any SaaS app from anywhere
  • Secure management and support for any mobile device
  • All through a single, centralized IT management console

Meet the Centrify IDaaS solution — built on Microsoft Azure.

Azure Centrify

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Ignite 2015 – Keynote Review & New Product Announcements

ignite mainThe Microsoft Ignite Conference 2015 kicked off today with Microsoft CEO Sayta Nadella. Lots of marketing fluff to start the presentation, which is to be expected. Microsoft’s new vision is Cloud First | Mobile First – Empowering I.T., Developers, and Consumers to come together.

Next, he outlined the three key pillars that span Devices, Apps, Data, and Cloud:

  1. Security & Privacy
  2. Data Sovereignty
  3. Regulations

Coming into the conference, I expected to hear lots about Security. The #1 concern of the enterprise is security, so this focus is no surprise.

After the marketing fluff, Satya did hit us with some specifics around new product announcements.

Windows Update for Business – details were sparse, but sounded like a customizable update platform for your internal I.T.

Windows Server 2016 & System Center 2016 – no real detail, only that they are coming

Azure Stack – get Azure services on your premises, no detail, but sounds real interesting for cloud averse organizations

Operations Management Suite – a singular plane to manage I.T. – combines cloud and on-premises resources

Advanced Threat Analytics – behavior analysis on authentication events (logins), see who is logging in from where, if someone logged in from Chicago and then logged in 30 minutes later from S. Korea, you know you have a problem

Good job, Satya, very nice presentation.

Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President was next to the mic. Joe demonstrated a ton of new features in Windows 10, here are the highlights:

Intelligent Personal Assistant – connect Cortana to your business data for spoken queries

Edge Browser (Project Spartan) – reading pane is very functional, auto translate, and OneNote integration

Universal App Platform – build your app in one code base for any device, this was the promise originally with Windows 8, but they never got there with the kernel, glad to see this one coming to fruition.

Well done, Joe!

Next was Gurdeep Singh Pall, Corporate Vice President. More marketing fluff and standard messaging from Gurdeep. He handed off to Julia White, General Manager, for a demo. Julia showed lots of new productivity and collaboration features –

Group integration into Delve

Next Gen Enterprise Search and visualization

Delve Analytics – personal PowerBI powered dashboard for really interesting metrics –

  • How much time spent on email
  • How many hours worked outside normal business hours
  • Amount of time spent in meetings

Really cool to see the usage of Office Graph to show me how good/bad my Work-Life-Balance is.

Finally, Julia showed some new integrations with Skype for Business and Co-Authoring.

The last speaker, Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President, discussed the four layers of protection necessary for any organization – Devices, Apps, Files, and Identity.

Brad talked a little bit about Windows Device Guard, a new application to protect your devices.

Next, Brad discussed Data Leakage and the various was in which data can accidentally leave your organization. Sufficient to say, that’s never an intended consequence of moving data. Brad showed some really cool new features in Windows 10 and Office 2016 that will block copy and paste into personal apps from business apps – based on your identity and context, Windows will know which you are accessing.

Brad also discussed Azure Remote App – which allows you to publish a windows based desktop app to the cloud, enabling all users to access it securely from the web.

Finally, Brad demonstrated some of the new threat analytics visualizations and how you can better protect your organization from an external intrusion. Really cool stuff going on with this, and I’m glad to see Microsoft taking a lead role in developing these tools.

All in all, the keynote was a good way to kick off the conference. I’m looking forward to more announcements and product deep-dive sessions. Stay tuned to this blog for more information!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Office 365 Data Loss Prevention in Transit – Ignite 2015

Office 365 Data loss protection (DLP) comes with 6 to 7 predefined templates, MS is adding 20-30 every month
One central place to manage all workloads (SP, OD4B, Exchange) .

Admin Actions

Block access to content for SME. They shouldn’t be able to see end user content.
Send email notification
Policy tip (like outlook) across all workloads
Target policies by group (change scope anytime)
Everything is audited. Incident report is available per each hit, per user.

End User UX

Scenario – User places the file in OD4B.
Owner gets email notification that access was restricted. Probably because the person it was shared with added sensitive data. That user has the file blocked in Outlook.
Sees policy tip even inside the office client (e.g. Excel)

Admin UX

Incident mgmt system – integration with dynamics (if u have license). Admin can go to single dashboard to see a case and shows a view for compliance and dlp cases. Office 365 activity report also shows some incident reporting (not detailed). Export to csv or anything else.

SharePoint 2016 Roadmap Announced – Ignite 2015

SharePoint always had focus on key trends

  • Modern collaboration
  • Content Management
  • Personalized insights
  • Security compliance

SharePoint Evolution

Delve people profile will be part of SharePoint sites. (replaces the mysite profile and org chart scenarios). This UI allows for authoring capability (blog). Office graph is future for powering all of these experiences.

On Premise Investment – SharePoint 2016

Evolution Of Portals

UX: custom navigation and design (2016 adds video, people exp (nextgen portal) in delve from o365)

Management – Content re use and publishing (2016 adds ready to go simplified admin, configurable, customizable)

Extensibility – SP master pages, css (2016 adds standard apps and office 365 APIs)

Evolution of Files –

UX – doc lib (2016 adds store and share personal files across devices, mobile and social)

Management- admin controls for security and compliance (2016 adds MDM/DLP/Auditing & reporting/sync controls)

Extensibility – SharePoint APIs (2016 adds common set of APIs, apps, experience in delve)

Evolution of Enterprise Search

UX – enterprise search center

Management- search driven experiences

Extensibility – content and connector framework

SP – The Road Ahead

Renewed focus on our core – files, content, mgmt., sites and portals

Continued innovation across cloud, on-prem and hybrid

Strongest dev ecosystem – for partners and extended solutions

“Seth Patton” We will continue to evolve on cloud, on on-prem, and with hybrid

Release cadence

SharePoint 2016 – first major SP release where cloud will define how we deliver on-prem software.

Vision – deliver UX, improve, speed, scale better. And people centric compliance

Continue to maintain hybrid model. Continue to use existing customization on prem. Subscribe to cloud innovation, on your terms to enrich customer scenarios.

Search page and Delve page will now consolidate everything in a single result set. Filter content at one place. Blended results displayed from online or on prem.

SP config wizard – will now give a new screen to configure specific role for that server.

  1. Multiple server farm – special load , WFE, search, App, Distributed Cache
  2. Single server farm – single server farm

Patched/Updates – Zero downtime patching. All upgrades will run online.

Delve will now be available for 2013 on-prem by end of this year.

OOB SharePoint 2016 will now be responsive across mobile devices

Beta candidate will come out end of 2015. Release candidate by 2016 Q2

Protect Against Data Loss in Transit in Office 365 – Ignite 2015

Office 365 Data loss protection (DLP) comes with 6 to 7 predefined templates, MS is adding 20-30 every month

One central place to manage all workloads (SP, OD4B, Exchange) .

Admin Action

Block access to content for SME. They shouldn’t be able to see end user content.
Send email notification
Policy tip (like outlook) across all workloads
Target policies by group (change scope anytime)
Everything is audited. Incident report is available per each hit, per user.

End User UX

Scenario – User places the file in OD4B.
Owner gets email notification that access was restricted. Probably because the person it was shared with added sensitive data. That user has the file blocked in Outlook.
Sees policy tip even inside the office client (e.g. Excel)

Admin UX

Incident mgmt system – integration with dynamics (if u have license). Admin can go to single dashboard to see a case and shows a view for compliance and dlp cases. Office 365 activity report also shows some incident reporting (not detailed). Export to csv or anything else.

Key Announcements at Microsoft Ignite Keynote – Satya Nadella

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It’s absolutely stunning atmosphere here in Chicago. What a breathtaking use of technology and level of energy with 23,000 technology folks here at Microsoft Ignite. It took two full days just to arrange chairs for the keynote!

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke about how businesses are being transformed and will be the focus of Microsoft along with end customers. This is the very same opportunity that is driving Microsoft’s transformation. In the past 12 months, Microsoft had significant momentum and that comes from all users. Every business out there is a digital or software company and that creates amazing opportunity for Microsoft. Some of the announcements coming up include: Read the rest of this post »

Office 365 – Using the New PST Import Service

Mention the word “PST” around an Exchange admin and you’ll likely receive the same gloomy expression as if you mentioned “Public Folders”. PSTs, however, cause headaches for many others outside of the Exchange administration world. They’re even a pain for the users that create them as they can be wiped away with the reimaging of a workstation or failure of a hard drive. From a legal eDiscovery standpoint, they’re a nightmare and they make data security, well, not so secure.

During the course of a mail migration, it’s not uncommon to find that users have accumulated gigabytes or possibly terabytes of PST data. In some cases they’ve been forced to as we’ve enacted artificially small mailbox quotas. So the user takes their emails off the mail server and places them into a PST on the file server instead.

Few will argue that PSTs should not be used but what do we do with the PSTs that we have?

Microsoft has a new offering in Office 365 that will hopefully provide an answer.
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Perficient to provide insights on cloud solutions at #MSIgnite

Today, Perficient announced that its team will be heading to the inaugural Microsoft Ignite conference as an exhibitor. The Perficient team will be showcasing their Microsoft Cloud expertise in booth 330 and Joe Palarchio will be sharing his Office 365 experience in a session on Exchange in a hybrid environment. We’ll also be giving away a Surface Pro 3. The winner does not need to be present to win.

From the news release:

The inaugural Ignite, scheduled for May 4-8 in Chicago at the McCormick Place Convention Center, is Microsoft’s largest and most comprehensive technology event. More than 20,000 technology leaders, IT professionals and enterprise developers are expected, bringing together attendees from previous Microsoft events including the Exchange, Lync, SharePoint and TechEd conferences.

Perficient’s Joseph Palarchio, Office 365 Technical Consultant, will share insights about integrating Exchange and ensuring a smooth migration during the session titled “Exchange Hybrid – The Unspoken Limitations That You Should Know.” Palarchio will address commonly overlooked limitations that should be accounted for when deploying an Exchange Hybrid environment. His session is scheduled for Wednesday at 11:35 a.m.

Throughout the conference, Perficient’s Microsoft experts will be available in booth No. 330 to demonstrate how companies can deploy enterprise solutions that promote user adoption, increase operational productivity, and drive measurable business value. Perficient’s Microsoft consultants specialize in several practice areas including unified communications, social business solutions, business intelligence and cloud computing to provide digital marketing, portals and collaboration, mobile development and custom application development solutions to clients.

Perficient consistently has been recognized by Microsoft as one of its premier national solution providers, particularly around cloud services. With nationally known experts on Office 365, Azure and Yammer platforms, as well as a deep and rich history in SharePoint, Lync, and Exchange, Perficient will show attendees how to use Microsoft platforms, products and best practices to connect employees to key communications and data, and especially to one another.

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Office 365 – How to Handle Departed Users (Part 1 of 2)

As a result of a decision made by either the employee or the employer, users will inevitably leave your organization. Whether you call these user “separations”, “terminations” or “offboarding”, the impact to IT is the same: network access needs to be secured and the user’s data needs to be addressed.

When using cloud services such as Office 365, there are additional aspects to consider which will make your process different than in an on-premises scenario. There may be a licensing impact which can equate to costs and you are dependent upon another party (Microsoft) for handling the disposal of data.

In this two part series, I will cover some of the ways to handle Office 365 data for users that have left your organization. This article, part 1, will cover how to handle Exchange Online data or more specifically, the user’s mailbox. Part 2 of this series will cover how to handle the user’s OneDrive for Business data.
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Azure: Did You Know? Always On Web Apps

alwayson-1When you creating a new web app (or web site, how it used to be called until recently) it’s have “Always On” setting off by default, which means the web site will be recycled after period of inactivity (20 minutes). This setting is somewhat similar to “Idle Time-out” setting on IIS application pool.When you web app is recycled, it will take Azure some time to bring it up the site when it’s accessed next time (in my experience it may take about 5-10 seconds) which could be frustrating for user.  So enabling “Always On” setting on Azure web app increases application responsiveness, especially if application is not very frequently accessed by users.

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