A couple weeks ago you may have heard through the grape vine that Skype for Business Server 2019 was released to the general public. Not only that, but all Office 2019 servers (Exchange, Skype for Business, SharePoint, and Project) were released for commercial customers. With this release came some great additions to features and functionality not previously offered in Skype for Business Server 2015. So, for those of you that were worried Microsoft would stop releasing on-premises server options for your environment (due to the Microsoft Teams focus) fear not, Microsoft has not forgotten about you! In this article I’ll cover some of the new features and functionality available with the newest release of Skype for Business Server 2019 for those of you not going to the cloud.
New Features & Functionality
- Cloud Voicemail Support – Gone are the days of Exchange Unified Messaging. Now whether you’re homed in Skype for Business on-premises or Skype for Business Online you will have access to Cloud (Azure) Voicemail.
- Cloud Call Data Connector – One of the big issues when in hybrid is the difficulty of call monitoring. With this newest feature you can now monitor call quality using this new online tool in one place!
- Streamlined Teams Migration – As an organization you must always plan for the future. Whether you like it or not, Microsoft has geared most of its effort going forward towards Microsoft Teams. However, Microsoft wants to make this process as smooth as possible for you administrators out there, so they have released a specific streamlined approach to migrate from Skype for Business on-premises to Teams. So even if you choose to implement Skype for Business Server 2019, you can start planning your transition over to Teams with this new process.
- TLS 1.2 support – You may already know this but, Microsoft has been changing their mind on the whole TLS 1.0/1.1 debacle and as of Oct. 24th 2018 Microsoft has finally made a decision to not reject TLS 1.0/1.1 connections to Office 365 (where they previously were stating that they were going to do this). Well lucky for you, as an on-premises user you don’t have to worry about any of that, but just know that Skype for Business Server 2019 now supports TLS 1.2 for improved security.
- Added support for Windows Server 2019 – For those of you that plan on adding Windows 2019 server to your environment just know that Skype for Business Server 2019 now can run on that Windows Server version. Microsoft will still of course continue to support Windows Server 2016.
What’s in the works?
- Cloud Auto Attendant – Later this year, Microsoft will release support for Cloud Auto Attendant meaning on-premises customers can now have the latest and greatest updates for their auto attendants.
- Note: You will need to use a hybrid configuration if your users are syncing to Azure AD.
- Meetings First – Love Skype for Business for IM and Calling but want to leverage Teams for your cloud-based meetings? No problem, Microsoft has you covered with “Meetings First”!
Microsoft wants to continually provide customers with on-premises AND cloud features so keep an eye out for more updates in the coming months! If you want to learn more about the release, please watch or download the Ignite session recording and the accompanying PowerPoint presentation. You can also read Microsoft’s latest documentation. Lastly, for a full breakdown of these features check out the official blog post here.